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Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Arizona Hispanics Poised To Swing State Blue

41 minutes ago
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Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Edit note: This report contains accounts of rape, violence and other disturbing events.

Sex trafficking wasn't a major concern in the early 1980s, when Beth Jacobs was a teenager. If you were a prostitute, the thinking went, it was your choice.

Jacobs thought that too, right up until she came to on the lot of a dark truck stop one night. She says she had asked a friendly-seeming man for a ride home that afternoon.

Jacobs says he gave her something in an old McDonald's cup — a drug — and as she was waking up the man announced that he was a pimp. Her pimp.

The Boston Citgo sign, all 3,600 square LED feet of which has served as the backdrop to Red Sox games since 1965, is now officially a "pending landmark."

Spanish Surrealist Salvador Dalí spent much of the 1940s in the U.S., avoiding World War II and its aftermath. He was a well-known fixture on the art scene in Monterey, Calif. — and that's where the largest collection of Dalí's work on the West Coast is now open to the public.

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

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H1-B Visa Applications As An Economic Indicator

Apr 3, 2013
Originally published on April 3, 2013 8:19 am

The demand from American companies for high-skilled immigrants seems to be up this year. And that could mean something is about to change for the overall economy.

There is a cap on the number of visas the government gives out for these kind of workers every year. Lately, that cap has been 85,000. Demand always outstrips supply, but for the past couple of years, it has taken at least a few months to hit the quota. But this year, the H-1B visas might be gone by the end of the week.

Kramer Levin, just one big immigration firm in New York City, is having a record year with these visa applications. It represents companies that want to hire these workers. The firm is processing hundreds of requests from clients for the likes of financial analysts, software engineers, actuaries and information technology (IT) professionals.

When I visited last Friday afternoon, I saw buckets of FedEx envelopes lined up in the mailroom, ready to go. The lawyers, who'd been working late nights for months, were getting ready to go to happy hour now that everything was filed. The window opened April 1. They were done.

So what does the scene at this law firm tell us about the economy? After all, 85,000 jobs is not a lot. The U.S. economy adds an average of 100,000 jobs every month.

The surge in demand does tell us things are getting back to normal. This was the typical scene — a big push like this, at these kinds of immigration firms — before the recession, back when it used to take mere days or weeks to fill the quota.

Pia Orrenius, an economist at the Dallas Federal Reserve, says these workers are the ones companies hire to upgrade Web platforms, or expand their mobile analytics. They're the ones they hire when it looks like business is about to turn around.

"The demand for these workers comes from the demand for the services these firms produce," Orrenius says. "Once firms decide that the economy has turned around, that's when they decide to upgrade their systems."

And that could mean lots more hiring for all kinds of workers later this year.

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