The bottom line
Nearly a decade after the recession put millions of Americans out of work, 14 states have set new records for low unemployment rates in the past year. Those states run the ideological gamut, from conservative Texas to liberal California, suggesting a broad-based recovery. In March, eight states marked record unemployment lows, including Hawaii (2.1 percent), Maine (2.7 percent), and Idaho (2.9 percent). TheHill.com
In 1983, 20 percent of all American wage and salary workers—some 17.7 million people—were union members. In 2017, 10.7 percent of workers, or 14.8 million people, were in unions. The New York Times
Competitive video gaming is now a $1.5 billion–a-year industry and the world’s fastest-growing spectator sport. E-sports tournaments and live streams drew 258 million unique viewers in 2017—more than watched all NFL regular-season games combined. The Wall Street Journal
Thanks to tax cuts and federal spending increases, the U.S. is the only advanced economy in the world expected to increase its debt burden over the next five years. Every other developed country—including fiscal basket cases such as Greece and Italy—is projected to lower debt as a share of its economy. The Washington Post
Despite the fact that men named John represent only 3.3 percent of the U.S. population while women represent 50.8 percent, there are almost as many Johns (21) currently serving as CEOs of Fortune 500 firms as there are women (23). The New York Times
The rocker who will hawk anything
“Gene Simmons has rarely met a brand he won’t endorse,” said Jacquie McNish and Vipal Monga in The Wall Street Journal. The 68-year-old bass player for the ’70s rock band KISS, known for “black-and-white face paint and smoke-belching guitars,” Simmons has parlayed his flair for spectacle into a career as a pitchman for a vast array of products—from life insurance to legal marijuana to a financial advice magazine for “mom-and-pop investors.” Celebrities have always hawked products, but experts say Simmons’ pitching is “unrivaled.” Never mind that he occasionally “has little knowledge about brands he promotes or, as is the case with marijuana, has openly disdained” the product. Companies are happy to hire him anyway. “For not being an A-list celebrity, his name recognition is good,” said Bob Williams, CEO of Burns Entertainment, which helps brands find endorsers.