Wall Street expectations for decent job growth in April were smashed when the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported this morning that an estimated 288,000 jobs were added last month. (Wall Street analysts had predicted a more modest 218,000.) The BLS also announced that the unemployment rate plummeted to 6.3 percent, the lowest since prior to the 2008 recession. And in more good news: March's figure was revised upward to 203,000 from 192,000.
Critics may point to a slightly negative note — most of the decrease in the unemployment rate came from people dropping out of the labor force. The labor force participation rate fell to 62.8 percent from 63.2 percent. The recovery has been a long, slow process and this dramatic drop in unemployment isn't quite as positive as it might seem at first glance.
But the bigger point is that stronger-than-expected job creation undermines the argument that the relatively weak growth data for the first quarter released earlier this week shows that the economy isn't really recovering. It boosts the argument that the first quarter slump in growth — and, indeed in job creation — was more of a problem with the weather.
The key point I'd take away is that over the past year, full-time employment is up 2.4 million. Part-time employment is down 255,000. The recovery marches on. John Aziz
The Germanwings co-pilot who locked the captain out of the cockpit in order to intentionally fly the aircraft into the side of a mountain last year had experienced notable difficulties during training, but was promoted anyway, The Associated Press reports. FBI interviews with Andreas Lubitz's flight instructors reveal that Lubitz failed two tests, including once due to a "situational awareness issue," likely meaning he got distracted by something and stopped paying close attention to the plane. Matthias Kippenberg, the president and CEO of the Airline Training Center Arizona, told the FBI the failure wasn't in itself noteworthy because students are able to retake their tests.
Lubitz was "not an ace pilot," one of his instructors, Juergen Theerkorn said. Lubitz also struggled to divide his attention between instruments on the plane, or concentrate on what was happening outside the aircraft, another instructor said. Lubitz was supposed to begin flight school in Arizona in September 2009, but due to a "long illness," he did not begin until September 2010. German authorities turned down his applications for a pilot medical certificate twice before July 2009 due to his history of depression, a technicality his school apparently hadn't checked.
The flight instructors "admit [Lubitz] failed a check ride due to a loss of situational awareness, which may very well have been caused by the very same anxiety and severe depression which were symptoms of his mental health disorder," Brian Alexander, an attorney representing the families of 150 people who died in the crash, told The Associated Press. Jeva Lange
Apparently it wasn't too late for Justin Bieber to say sorry. Guinness World Records announced Monday night that the pop star's latest album, Purpose, landed him in its 2017 edition not once, twice, but a whopping eight times.
The 22-year-old pop star set world records for the most-streamed track and the most-streamed album on Spotify in a week, with "What Do You Mean?" and Purpose, respectively. He also won records for having 17 tracks on the Billboard Hot 100 at once, having 13 simultaneous new entries on the Billboard Hot 100, and for being the first artist to simultaneously fill the top three spots on the U.K. singles chart.
His other records stemmed from his social media use: Bieber won the record for having the most Twitter followers with 82,235,563, as well as the most YouTube subscribers of any male and the most-viewed YouTube channel. Becca Stanek
On Tuesday, Hewlett Packard CEO Meg Whitman will become the first Republican to publicly campaign for Hillary Clinton. Whitman — previously a top Republican fundraiser, the GOP's 2010 gubernatorial nominee in California, and now a vocal Donald Trump detractor — will meet with business leaders in Denver to discuss the Democratic presidential nominee's proposals for jobs.
While Whitman is far from the only Republican to throw her support behind Clinton, she will be the first to make an appearance on the campaign trail on Clinton's behalf. Initially, Whitman backed New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) in the presidential primary. Earlier this month, however, she announced she would support Clinton over Trump, who, Talking Points Memo reported, she believes to be a "'demagogue' who has 'exploited anger, grievance, xenophobia, and racial division.'" Becca Stanek
Man's best friend actually knows what man is saying, according to a new study out of Hungary on how dogs react to language.
By training 13 family dogs to sit still in an fMRI scanner, the authors of the study discovered that by saying positive words in an excited manner, two different regions of the dog's brain lit up — the left hemisphere, which is connected to the meaning of words, and the right hemisphere, which is connected to how words are emotionally said. The same regions are connected to meaning and intonation in human brains, too.
"Dogs not only tell apart what we say and how we say it, but they can also combine the two, for a correct interpretation of what those words really meant," study author Attila Andics said in a statement.
Perhaps most fascinating of all, the study shows that processing meaning and emotion in separate hemispheres of the brain before tying them together developed in non-primates long, long before people ever began saying, "Who's a good dog?"
"Using words may be a human invention, but we now see that the neuromechanisms to process them are not uniquely human," Andics said. Jeva Lange
Hundreds of Bernie Sanders supporters accidentally donated more than the legal amount to his campaign
Constant fundraising requests combined with enthusiastic supporters led to more than 1,500 donors contributing more than was legally allowed to the Bernie Sanders campaign, The Atlantic reports. "It's very similar to what drug dealers use or casinos use to get people to continue to play," Timothy Fong, the co-director of the Gambling Studies Program at UCLA, said of such fundraising requests, which incite urgency and impulsiveness.
Sanders' campaign was built on grassroots support, and it drew in many people who had never donated to a political campaign before and who perhaps didn't fully understand the federal laws or lost track of how much they had contributed. Many who donated did so frequently, and without an awareness of the $2,700 limit for individual contributions to a campaign.
The FEC requires that campaigns send refunds for any donation in excess of the legal limit within 60 days, and according to its federal filings, the Sanders campaign has issued more than $5 million in refunds. But several of the largest "over donors" to Sanders said they never received checks the campaign reported that it sent to them late in the spring, in some cases for several thousand dollars. "Are you kidding me? I barely even received a thank you from the campaign," said Annamarie Weaver of Chicago when I informed her that, according to records on the FEC website, the Sanders campaign had issued her a refund of $3,617 on May 1 and another one for $500 on May 31. "That's complete bulls---." [The Atlantic]
By comparison, President Obama had only refunded $1.5 million by the end of July in 2008. This year, Hillary Clinton's campaign has refunded $3.4 million so far. Jeva Lange
The New York Times editorial board dished up some advice for the Clinton family Tuesday: Step away from the Clinton Foundation now. Hillary Clinton has already pledged to completely ban all contributions to the foundation from "any foreign governments, corporations, or citizens," as well as donations from American corporations. But if she wins in November, The New York Times recommends that the Clinton family do more — and sooner — to save herself the trouble she'll inevitably face from her political foes:
Mr. Clinton has said he will resign from the board of the foundation and the CHAI board if Mrs. Clinton wins the presidency. Simply closing the foundation, as even some Democrats recommend, could kill programs helping tens of thousands of people. While that's unwarranted, the foundation could do much more to distance itself from the foreign and corporate money that risks tainting Mrs. Clinton's campaign. Its plans to restrict its funding sources only after the election will likely dog Mrs. Clinton.
A wiser course would be to ban contributions from foreign and corporate entities now. If Mrs. Clinton wins, Bill and Chelsea Clinton should both end their operational involvement in the foundation and its affiliates for the duration of her presidency, relinquishing any control over spending, hiring, and board appointments. [The New York Times]
Clinton has already caught flak for not drawing stark enough lines between the Clinton Foundation and herself during her tenure as secretary of state. The sooner she takes action to cut ties, the editorial board contends, the less chance there will be for the Clintons' two worlds to become further entangled. Read the full editorial over at The New York Times. Becca Stanek
Chicago and Camden both have murder problems. Chris Christie only wants Donald Trump to solve one of them.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said Donald Trump does not need to do anything to help Camden, New Jersey, despite the fact that the city has more than twice as many homicides as Chicago, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.
Christie and other Republicans have blasted Chicago's Democratic Mayor Rahm Emanuel for "liberal policies," which they say have resulted in rampant homicides in the city. Emanuel "has refused to do anything about the fact that's there's over 2,000 of these incidents in a year," Christie said.
The homicide rate in Camden this year is at least 2.3 times what it is in Chicago; Camden has a homicide rate of at least 40 per 100,000, while Chicago, a much larger city, has a rate of 17 per 100,000 residents.
Still, while insisting Trump will make "safer streets," Christie said the Republican nominee needs to do "nothing" for the city of Camden.
Trump "doesn't have to worry about liberal policies in New Jersey" if he gets to the White House, Christie said. He needs to "worry about places like Chicago" instead. Jeva Lange