Hot Topics: January Job Growth Exceeds Expectations
U.S. unemployment dropped to a near-three-year low of 8.3 percent in January on an unexpected hiring surge by the country's private employers, according to data released today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The good news wasn't shared by all midlife workers, though. Despite the overall downward trend, the jobless rate for workers 45 and older rose slightly, to 6.6 percent in January, from 6.3 percent in November and December, according to the labor bureau. However, the unemployment rate for workers 55 and older dipped to 5.9 percent, the lowest since February 2009.
The nation added 243,000 new jobs during January, the largest gain in employment since April 2011. Job growth exceeded economists' predictions, with gains coming in accounting and bookkeeping, employment agencies, architectural and engineering services, manufacturing and construction. Other employers adding positions included restaurants and bars, hospitals and ambulatory care centers, department stores and auto dealers.
Despite the job gains, the number of long-term unemployed, those out of work 27 weeks or more, remained at 5.5 million last month, and the number of people working part time because they couldn't find full-time jobs stayed at 8.2 million.
In other news:
Tomorrow's Hot Jobs: The U.S. occupations projected to grow the fastest between 2010 and 2020 are in the health-care, personal-care, social-assistance and construction industries, according to a separate Bureau of Labor Statistics labor outlook (PDF) released this week. The aging population is expected to contribute to a slowdown in the country's civilian labor force growth rate through 2020; growth is expected at 0.7 percent a year compared to 0.8 percent for 2000 to 2010, and 1.3 percent from 1990 to 2000, according to the report. Eight years from now, the nation's baby boomers -- born between 1946 and 1964 -- will all be 55 years or older, making that age group 25.2 percent of the country's labor force, up from 19.5 percent in 2010. The jobs forecast and labor force growth rate news are among the earliest data to come from a 10-year employment outlook that the government labor bureau publishes every two years; the full report will be available in March.
Ferris Bueller Grows Up...and Drives a Honda: Super Bowl fans got a preview of at least one TV commercial they'll see during the big game when a Ferris Bueller spoof featuring a Honda-driving Matthew Broderick went viral this week online. In the ad, Broderick plays a grown-up version of his 1986 hit movie roll, calling in sick from a day on the set so he can tool around Los Angeles in a Honda CR-V. "Matthew's Day Off" is scheduled to air during the fourth quarter of Sunday's Super Bowl, according to Forbes.
Roseanne for President: Now that Lifetime has dropped her reality TV show about life on a Hawaiian nut farm, Roseanne Barr has extra time on her hands. So she's running for president on the Green Party ticket. Barr's announcement lit up Twitter today and began trending worldwide. "Consider yourself endorsed," tweeted conservative commentator Andrew Breitbart. "If Roseanne Barr becomes the next president, I hope we all receive a monthly supply of macadamia nuts during her time in the White House," another Twitter user wrote. Barr filed paperwork Jan. 25 to run for the Green Party nomination, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Letterman's 'Late Night' Turns 30: David Letterman isn't one for splashy celebrations, so the anniversary of his 30th year hosting CBS' The Late Show with David Letterman came with a minimum of fanfare. Bill Murray torched a box full of cupcakes. Regis Philbin made an appearance. Staffers made fun of Letterman with a tongue-in-cheek "Top 10 Things Staffers Would Like to Say to Letterman on His 30th Anniversary," including "I stopped watching in '92." Just how long has Letterman been sitting behind a desk? In 1982, Ronald Reagan was president, gas was 91 cents a gallon, USA Today debuted, E.T. was in movie theaters, and the first CD player was introduced in Japan.
Get Rich Slowly -- But Don't Tell Anybody: J.D. Roth made a name for himself preaching the gospel of paying off debts and saving money through his Get Rich Slowly blog. This week, the Portland, Ore., blogger revealed that in 2009 he secretly sold the blog to QuinStreet for an undisclosed amount, news he says he couldn't share until now because of a nondisclosure agreement with the online media company. True to his investing philosophy to spend a little and save a lot, Roth used proceeds from the sale to pay off his mortgage, take an overseas trip and buy season tickets to the Portland Timbers, but socked away the vast majority. "Though I'm in no danger of falling into debt, I tell myself that touching my savings would be the same thing," he explains in a post about this deal. "My goal is to keep from deficit spending. So far, so good."
Missing Ring Unearthed 16 Years Later: A Swedish woman who lost her homemade wedding ring 16 years ago found it encircling a carrot she pulled from her garden, the BBC reports. Lena Paahlsson lost the white-gold band with seven small diamonds while baking in her kitchen during the 1995 Christmas season. She searched, but finally gave the ring up for lost. That is until she was pulling carrots from her garden and saw the ring stuck to the top of a carrot. Paahlsson suspects that the ring went into vegetable scraps that ended up as garden compost, according to the news report.
Website of the Week: Thinking of starting a second-act startup? The nonprofit Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation has created a website for would-be entrepreneurs called WillItBeYou. The site directs people to startup resources organized under categories such as "inspiration," "mentoring" and "networking." The foundation is kicking off the site with TV spots that will run during the Super Bowl in New York, Washington, D.C., San Francisco and Kansas City. "It's our way of trying to make learning about starting up easy and a one-stop-shop that people can find what they need," Wendy Guillies, Kauffman's vice president of communications, tells Entrepreneur.com.
Last Word: "By practicing mindfulness, you gain a sense of a vaster interior landscape. You can still feel empowered. You can still feel possibilities. You can still feel that you have something to bring to the table with a sense of purpose and agency." -- neuropsychologist Marsha Lucas, on the benefits of meditation, in a Q&A with SecondAct contributor Bruce Frankel
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