The monthly jobs numbers are important — really important. They tell everyone from manufacturers to stock traders how the economy is doing. Billions of dollars ride on the jobs numbers.
Get them early, and you'd have everything you need to make a quick fortune. And once — just once, as far as anyone knows — someone did get them early.
On today's show, we talk to the guy who got the numbers before everyone else. And we learn the crazy lengths the government now goes to in order to keep those numbers secret until it's time to release them.
Job creation in July was better than in the previous months and better than expected. But Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney focused on the still-high unemployment rate in responding to the report today. President Obama said the report was a sign of progress in the economy.
Here's a way the candidates would like to be able to raise money - donations via text message. It's something nonprofits already do. The American Red Cross, for example, raised $32 million from texts after the earthquake in Haiti. But, for political campaigns, it's not a reality, not yet. In June, the FEC ruled that campaigns can collect donations from text messages, but wireless carriers still aren't onboard.
Holy mackerel, it's the holy site edition of the podcast. NPR's Ron Elving and Ken Rudin look back at the memorable — and controversial — moments of Mitt Romney's foreign trip, and then look ahead to the upcoming Republican and Democratic conventions.
Also, a new Tea Party star is born in the Lone Star State.
Credit Obama - J. Samad, Getty / Romney - E. Vucci, AP
(Revised @ 1:48 pm ET)
With only three monthly jobs reports left before Nov. 6, President Obama needs every piece of good economic news he can get to add to his argument for re-election.
Friday's employment report certainly provided some. The Labor Department reported that the economy added an unexpectedly strong 163,000 jobs in July. Forecasters had predicted that the economy would add as many as 100,000 jobs, so the report took most everyone by surprise.
With his much-publicized foreign trip behind him, Mitt Romney traveled yesterday to the swing state of Colorado. He huddled with Republican governors who he praised on him in Aspen, where he also held a fundraiser. The Republican candidate began his trip at a rally in the Denver suburb of Golden, which is where NPR's Brian Naylor begins his report.
Originally published on Thu August 2, 2012 7:32 pm
Credit Justin Sullivan / Getty Images
In his first campaign speech since returning from his trip abroad, Republican Mitt Romney on Thursday told an audience in the swing state of Colorado that President Obama has failed on the economy. And he wielded a scorecard to make his point.
"His policies have not worked," Romney said in Golden, Colo., outside Denver. "They have not gotten America back to work again. My policies will work."
Obama spent much of the day in battleground Florida before a planned evening trip to another swing state, Virginia.
Nearly a year ago, Justice Department leaders turned to B. Todd Jones to solve one of their most urgent problems: a crisis at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
The former U.S. Marine answered the call to duty and agreed to serve as ATF's acting director. His mission: to turn the bureau around in the face of congressional investigations that have shaken ATF to its core.
A year ago today, Congress and President Obama stepped back from the brink. They agreed to a deal to raise the federal debt ceiling and prevented disastrous government default. But the tortured process left no one satisfied. The government lost its triple-A bond rating. The stock market plunged. And President Obama and Congress both saw their approval ratings plummet.
As NPR's Scott Horsley reports, the summer gridlock of 2011 helped set the stage for everything that's followed in 2012.