National News

Does LinkedIn work for job seekers?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-06-24 07:13

Looking for a job hunting can feel like dropping resumes into a black hole.  And what about your LinkedIn profile? Is anyone actually reading it? Or your updates? Turns out – yes. Someone, many someones, like Dwight Scott,  a recruiter with ExecuSearch in New York, are searching LinkedIn, potentially for you.

Scott says he doesn't spend a lot of time reviewing resumes of applicants. Instead he’s searching LinkedIn for potential hires. He says 65 percent of his placements this year are a direct result of reaching out to prospects on LinkedIn.

A version of LinkedIn just for recruiters offers powerful search options, Scott says. "Degrees, field of study, industry -- you can add custom filters if you like: status, what industry are they in, what groups have they joined? Are you interested in interviewing people that have joined Deadheads with Ties? Well, it’s right there -- that's a group."

"Everybody" Scott says, "uses LinkedIn."

 So what does this mean for people who belong to LinkedIn because they’re looking for a job? Or because they have a vague understanding that belonging to the site might somehow help them? I heard from a lot of workers who said they found jobs through the site – both by making new contacts and being contacted by recruiters. Claudine Halpern, who worked in management consulting for 35 years, says she’s used LinkedIn to get a lot of projects but is still reserved about the site.

“It’s a tool," she says. "It’s not A+. Nothing is A+ without the work you do around it.”

Halpern says anyone looking for a job needs to have a strategy, like updating their LinkedIn profile on a regular basis so it gets in front of lots of eyes – like Dwight Scott’s.

“You can’t put out a profile out and ignore it," she says. "You've got to keep it rolling. It’s like a snowball. You've got to keep it rolling and rolling and rolling and you've got to keep it growing, otherwise it doesn’t work for you."

LinkedIn says it’s used for a lot more than jobs – like marketing and education. And it says it’s impossible to track how many jobs are filled through its site. But Halpern says you’ll have a better chance of getting noticed if you’re a joiner, and an updater. Providing ever more information. Which is what LinkedIn promises its paying customers – recruiters.

Peter Cappelli, a professor of human resources at Wharton, says that employers and recruiters have to be careful to see through all that white noise on the site. They have a tendency to look at workers' current titles to see if they match jobs that need to be filled, which Cappelli says can mean ignoring creative hires and potential. At the same time, he says, LinkedIn makes it easy to game the system. And no one is going to post a bad recommendation on the site.

“Everybody gets good references," Cappelli says,  "and everything is glowing, so at some point it’s kind of useless.”

Like this reporter's mother, who endorsed her skills on LinkedIn

“I hope," said Cappelli, "she gave you a good reference.” 

In Mafia Arrests, Clues To Slaying Of An NYPD Officer A Century Ago

NPR News - Tue, 2014-06-24 06:58

The murder of Lt. Giuseppe Petrosino, the only New York police officer to be killed in the line of duty outside the U.S., is unsolved. But Italian recordings unearthed a claim of responsibility.

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LeBron James Will Reportedly Become Free Agent, Ending Miami Contract

NPR News - Tue, 2014-06-24 06:30

The move comes one week after the Miami Heat were trounced by the San Antonio Spurs in the NBA Finals. The chance remains that James could return to Miami.

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Iraq's Most Influential Man Gets Pulled Back Into Politics

NPR News - Tue, 2014-06-24 06:25

Shiite Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani usually stays out of the limelight, but emerged recently to address the crisis facing Iraq with the Sunni extremist surge threatening the country.

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Employer Health Costs Are Expected To Rise In 2015

NPR News - Tue, 2014-06-24 06:21

Although medical costs will increase as the economy improves, the shift of expenses to workers by employers will help restrain the overall cost of care a little.

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Putin Asks Parliament To Revoke Power To Use Force In Ukraine

NPR News - Tue, 2014-06-24 06:14

The Kremlin said the move is intended to "normalize the situation" in Ukraine. European foreign ministers had threatened Russia with sanctions if it didn't de-escalate the situation with its neighbor.

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1 Editor Cleared, 1 Found Guilty In U.K. Phone-Hacking Trial

NPR News - Tue, 2014-06-24 05:45

Former News of the World editor Andrew Coulson was found guilty Tuesday, but fellow editor Rebekah Brooks was acquitted after a trial centering on illegal activity in the Murdoch newspaper empire.

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In Iraq, More Than 1,000 Were Killed In June

NPR News - Tue, 2014-06-24 05:01

The United Nations said most of those killed in the conflict with Sunni insurgents were civilians. In addition, more than 300 were killed in southern Iraq after car-bomb attacks.

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Will Mississippi's Black Democrats Save A Republican?

NPR News - Tue, 2014-06-24 04:28

Democrats who didn't go to the polls for their own primary can vote in today's runoff for the GOP Senate nomination. That could boost incumbent Thad Cochran — or mobilize support for his challenger.

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U.K. Phone-Hacking Trial: Brooks Cleared, Coulson Found Guilty

NPR News - Tue, 2014-06-24 04:25

Former media executive Rebekah Brooks has been cleared of all misconduct in a headline-grabbing trial revolving around tycoon Rupert Murdoch's British media empire.

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Kerry Visits Kurds To Urge A United Iraq

NPR News - Tue, 2014-06-24 03:10

The Kurdish president tells Secretary of State John Kerry, "We are facing a new reality and a new Iraq." Kerry visited as a key refinery in Beiji fell to the militants after 10 days of fighting.

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PODCAST: Specialty drugs

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-06-24 03:00

Home prices are up, but not by as much as predicted - more on the context behind the numbers. Plus, a new angle on climate change is aiming to portray the issues as an economic problem. Also, 2015 will be the first year that health care costs are expected to rise since the recession. The reason? Specialty drugs. 

That's not a beach ball, it's radar equipment

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-06-24 03:00

Vacations take many forms. Some even include an itinerary with a social conscience. But hotel guests at the Fort Walton Beach Holiday Inn Resort are in for something entirely different.

Atop the hotel is what appears to be a very large beach ball. But upon further inspection, underneath that shiny, beachy veneer is military equipment.

More specifically, it's a rooftop station designed to receive radar signals. It also houses a secure conference room for meetings. 

To the vacationers, it's like any other resort, but to the military, it's Eglin Air Force Range Test Site A5 -- The military allowed the new hotel to be built on its land to raise money in an era of tight Pentagon budgets. 

Though, guests probably won't notice anything out of the ordinary -- access to the beach ball will be limited to very few people.

At most, the giant beach ball/military base makes for an interesting photo op.

 

D.C. starts taxing more services, like yoga studios

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-06-24 02:13

The following story was updated after the D.C. Council approved the city’s new budget today. It also voted to start charging sales tax on gyms, yoga studios, and other services.

Yogis in Washington D.C. are taking deep breaths. Very deep breaths.

Partly because that’s what they always do. And partly because the D.C. Council gave final approval to a tax proposal that has yoga teachers and fitness buffs worried.

It also highlights the changing nature of the sales tax. The council expanded the sales tax on the things we buy to include more services like gyms and yoga studios.

Debra Mishalove owns Flow Yoga Center (where, full disclosure, this reporter used to cat/cow).

“I have people who come to my studio, they’re dealing with symptoms from MS,” Mishalove says, referring to muscular sclerosis. “I have people who are dealing with depression, the pills weren’t working the yoga is. I have people who are coming for weight management, for eating disorders.”

The list goes on.

“I hate to see anybody have to pay any more than they do right now to access wellness.”

Opponents have dubbed this a wellness or fitness tax. But the tax expansion will also cover tanning salons, carpet cleaners, and car washes -- services that weren’t exactly mainstream when the sales tax began in the 1930s.

Back then, we spent most of our personal consumption dollars on stuff -- physical goods -- and that’s the base of the sales tax. But now, the service sector accounts for two-thirds of what we buy.

“If you don’t tax services in the long run, you don’t have a sales tax. End of story,” says Matt Gardner, executive director of the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy. He says states should tax more services, ideally at a lower rate. But broadening the tax base isn’t easy, he says.

“Nobody really knew that Ohio tattoo parlors had a lobby in 2003. They found out really fast that they actually did,” he says. “In Maryland in 2007, I certainly don’t think lawmakers dreamed that landscapers would be surrounding the state capitol, but they did.”

What’s at stake is revenue for education, health care, transportation.

A group of tax wonks called the Federation of Tax Administrators compiled a list of 183 services that conceivably could be subject to sales tax -- everything from automotive rustproofing to taxidermy. D.C. currently taxes about 75 of them.

D.C.’s new sales tax expansion is part of a larger budget and tax proposal that reduces business and personal income taxes.

Kim Rueben, a commissioner on DC’s Tax Revision Commission, says the idea is to tax services that aren’t that portable. For example, you're not going to remove your wall-to-wall carpet to get it cleaned. That has to happen in your house.

Likewise, "If you live and work in D.C., it’s going to be really tough for you to decide that you’re going to go to a gym in Virginia or Maryland instead,” she says.

Chelsea Clinton wants more girls involved in STEM

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-06-24 02:00

Chelsea Clinton has been out in force these past few weeks. Last week, she spoke at an event in New York City for Google's pledge of $50 million dollars to close the gender gap in the tech industry. This week, she's in Denver, Colorado for the Clinton Foundation's event Clinton Global Initiative America, where she's been hosting conversations about getting women and girls to engage with careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).

The disparity between the number of women and men in STEM fields is no secret. It's a problem that Clinton says starts as early as middle school.

“Research is saying that teachers call on girls less than they call on boys in math and a science classes...which sends an invisible but insidious message their opinions aren’t as valued as boys,” says Clinton.

She also cites research showing that gender and race can play a role in the effectiveness of medical treatment, which makes increasing diversity in the science and medical fields all the more important. 

Recently, Clinton's $600,000 salary as a correspondant for NBC came under scrutiny. When asked if she felt the response was inherently gendered, Clinton pointed to a need for a larger conversation about opportunity for women on all levels instead of zeroing in on top earners like Sheryl Sandberg or Meg Whitman.

"The real question is how do we ensure that there are both equal opportunities for women, and that that work is valued commensurately...one of the challenges is, you know, we have so many fewer women, that those comparisons are still just hard to make," says Clinton.

In her own life, Clinton credits her parents for encouraging her to have diverse interests -- she still remembers when Santa Claus brought her a commodore computer.

Chelsea Clinton wants more girls involved in STEM

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-06-24 02:00

Chelsea Clinton has been out in force these past few weeks. Last week, she spoke at an event in New York City for Google's pledge of $50 million dollars to close the gender gap in the tech industry. This week, she's in Denver, Colorado for the Clinton Foundation's event Clinton Global Initiative America, where she's been hosting conversations about getting women and girls to engage with careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).

The disparity between the number of women and men in STEM fields is no secret. It's a problem that Clinton says starts as early as middle school.

“Research is saying that teachers call on girls less than they call on boys in math and a science classes...which sends an invisible but insidious message their opinions aren’t as valued as boys,” says Clinton.

She also cites research showing that gender and race can play a role in the effectiveness of medical treatment, which makes increasing diversity in the science and medical fields all the more important. 

Recently, Clinton's $600,000 salary as a correspondant for NBC came under scrutiny. When asked if she felt the response was inherently gendered, Clinton pointed to a need for a larger conversation about opportunity for women on all levels instead of zeroing in on top earners like Sheryl Sandberg or Meg Whitman.

"The real question is how do we ensure that there are both equal opportunities for women, and that that work is valued commensurately...one of the challenges is, you know, we have so many fewer women, that those comparisons are still just hard to make," says Clinton.

In her own life, Clinton credits her parents for encouraging her to have diverse interests -- she still remembers when Santa Claus brought her a commodore computer.

AT&T and DirecTV defend proposed mega-merger

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-06-24 02:00

Top executives from AT&T and DirecTV will appear before a House Judiciary subcommittee to make the case for their proposed $48.5 billion merger. The deal faces anti-trust questions, as does the $45 billion proposed merger of rivals Comcast and Time-Warner. The final decision will be made by the Federal Communications Commission and the U.S. Justice Department.

AT&T already has a strong customer base in mobile phone and internet, and it has a smaller pay-TV business, U-verse. It wants DirecTV so it can compete better in the pay-TV market. With all the satellite subscribers from DirecTV, AT&T would end up with 25 percent market share nationwide, though it would still trail a merged Comcast-Time Warner.

Carl Howe, technology analyst at the Yankee Group, says all this consolidation may lead to fewer choices for consumers — especially since cable companies tend to lay lines to an entire neighborhood or city.

“The number of companies that serve any individual consumer is usually one or two,” says Howe. "When you shrink one or two down to one, that’s called a monopoly.”

And a monopoly could mean higher prices for cable-TV customers.

Antitrust attorney Mark Ostrau at Silicon Valley law firm Fenwick & West says companies that make television shows and other video material won’t welcome all these mergers among cable-TV distributors, either.

“They (the cable companies) really do compete both for content and for advertising,” says Ostrau. “If you’re a content provider, you would be very nervous about too much concentration.”

AT&T argues that the merger with DirecTV will allow it to bundle stations and services. The company claims that could lead to better prices for consumers.

 

The share of pay-TV market held by various companies 

Cabletv.com

Specialty drugs could fuel health care inflation

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-06-24 02:00

Since the recession, U.S. employers' health care spending growth has been slowing from year to year. That's about to change, according to a new report from PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Health Research Institute.

The report says employer health care spending will accelerate in 2015, rising by 6.8 percent, a slightly faster rate of growth than what the company projected for 2014. The report’s authors say expensive specialty drugs will play a role in fueling the sharper rise in spending.

"It's actually a very big deal in terms of dollars. It's one of the reasons we single out that factor for 2015,” says Ceci Connolly, managing director of PricewaterhouseCooper’s Health Research Institute.

Connolly points to a new treatment for Hepatitis C as an example of the new, high-cost drugs. Hepatitis C is a virus that causes liver disease and affects about 3 million Americans. One breakthrough drug, Sovaldi, can completely cure Hepatitis C in a high percentage of patients. But a twelve-week treatment costs $84,000.

However, in the case of Hepatitis C drugs, the hit to employers might not last long, according to Princeton University health care economist Uwe Reinhardt.

“Eventually all the people with Hep C will be cured, and all you have to do is deal with the new ones, which is not that heavy a growth,” he says.

The PricewaterhouseCoopers researchers say that in the short-term, employers will probably try to offset higher medical costs by shifting more of them to workers.

Latest Climate Change Report Paints Dire Picture For Business

NPR News - Tue, 2014-06-24 01:07

The economy faces great risks from climate change, according to a study by a bipartisan group of former business leaders and public officials. It predicts harsh consequences if action isn't taken.

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Cuba's Budding Entrepreneurs Travel A Rocky Road Toward Success

NPR News - Mon, 2014-06-23 23:39

Cuba's communist government has allowed the creation of small private businesses in recent years. An estimated 1 million Cubans have taken the plunge, making progress in fits and starts along the way.

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