National / International News
The government reported personal spending fell 0.1 percent in July, following a 0.4 percent increase in June. Personal income rose 0.2 percent in July, a weaker-than-expected gain and the lowest since December 2013.
Meanwhile, the Reuters-University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index rose at the end of August, with the current conditions measure hitting its highest level since summer 2007, before the Great Recession hit.
The spending decline in July was partly a function of lower utility and gasoline bills, said economist Chris Christopher at IHS Global Insight. “That can be a good thing in many cases,” he says. “If you have a smaller electricity bill at the end of the month.”
Christopher says lower energy costs in July might result in consumers devoting extra discretionary spending to back-to-school purchases in August.
Still, combined with weak income gains in July, the consumer indicators pointed to a still-weak economic recovery. And yet, consumers now feel better about current economic conditions than they have felt since before the Great Recession.
“The fact that we’re the highest in seven years is good,” said Mark Vitner, senior economist at Wells Fargo. “It means that we’re better off than where we were a year ago or two years ago. But it still doesn’t compare to where we would be if economic conditions were truly great.” Vitner said consumers weren’t showing extremely strong satisfaction with the economy during the 2000s either, in spite of rising home prices and equity markets.
Sarai St. Julien, who was shopping at a neighborhood grocery store in Portland, Oregon, echoed the evidence in the consumer data.
“I feel more confident, but still I have to be careful,” St. Julien said. “We got hit pretty hard, my husband lost his job, and we kind of had to put ourselves back together and sold a lot of personal belongings to do it. We are doing better, he’s got a good job, but we’re still sort of digging out of a hole.”
The 10-year-old watching cartoons reportedly became annoyed at the construction racket outside his window, so he took a knife and sliced through the worker's rappelling apparatus.
Pope Francis is attracting a lot of attention to the Catholic church, but the church has a recruiting problem. A lot of its clergy its aging, and it's happening in other faiths too as religious leaders retire.
Some religions advocate student loan forgiveness as a way to attract young people, if they do significant community service, their loans can be forgiven under a federal program.
We spoke with Sister Colleen Gibson, a 28 year old who just took her vows to serve as a nun this month, on the campus of Chestnut Hill College. As far as nuns go, Gibson says she’s pretty young.
Do us a favor, take a look at the job description for the job you currently work. Do you notice anything missing? Maybe, the 4 or 5 other jobs you work at the office?
Since the recession, many workers have had to cover roles that were once filled by more colleagues. According to Gallup, the average number of hours Americans work per week is 47, almost a full workday longer than a standard 40-hour week.Gallup
We asked Farnoosh Torabi, personal finance writer and author of "When She Makes More," about what you can do to survive an ever-increasing workload:
"I think you want to take your emotion off the table, and be strategic about the position you are in. If you're the last man standing at your job, at least if you feel that way ... you need to let your employer kindly know that you're happy to take on the extra work, but you'd like to be fair about it. Before you even go to that meeting, gather some research. Go into HR, and find out what is your salary range. If you just got hired and are at a starter salary, and suddenly you're taking on a lot more work, find out the potential increase you can earn."
Click play above to hear more advice on asking for a raise, working from home, and for handling a freelance career
Those numbers are cited as evidence that women need to be more confident in the workplace, but author Tara Sophia Mohr thinks that's the wrong conclusion.
She did her own study and wrote about it in the Harvard Business Review.
I was skeptical, because the times I had decided not to apply for a job because I didn’t meet all the qualifications, faith myself wasn’t exactly the issue. I suspected I wasn’t alone.
So I surveyed over a thousand men and women, predominantly American professionals, and asked them, “If you decided not to apply for a job because you didn’t meet all the qualifications, why didn’t you apply?”
According to the self-report of the respondents, the barrier to applying was not lack of confidence. In fact, for both men and women, “I didn’t think I could do the job well” was the least common of all the responses. Only about 10% of women and 12% of men indicated that this was their top reason for not applying.
Every week, we have someone tell us their story about money. This week, Los Angeles-based storyteller Brian Finkelstein tells us about a time when the bubble bursts.
The first time I made a lot of money, I was in my twenties and I was broke. I was that broke in your twenties where you have sleep for dinner. You know that feeling where it’s like, “Oh, it’s 8 o'clock and I'm just gonna go to bed because I have no money."
And that’s the way I lived my life. I was living in Brooklyn. And I moved there because it was an arts scene. I didn’t paint or have any sort of artistic desires, but I wanted to be part of that community, so I moved there. And I was living in Williamsburg and I just would go to different jobs all the time. Make a few dollars an hour then leave. And then go on to the next one.
And I got a job at this place Kiehl's, which is a skin care store on the East Village in Manhattan. And I didn’t know what it was, I’m not the type of person who uses skin care. But I got a job as a door man. And that I could do. I went to Queens college, so I had enough education to say hello and goodbye. And I was doing that, I was making $8 an hour and after like 6 months, I quit.
[That night], I get a call at my house from this woman who owned Kiehl's, and she told me to stay. She wanted me to train people on skin care. And I was like, “No, no. That’s not for me. I’m a schlubby white straight dude.” And I worked in a place with fabulous beautiful woman and gay men. They sold skin care. I couldn’t. no one would want to buy it from me. I was not a poster for a good living. And she was like, “but you represent a certain demographic that we don’t have and we want to keep you there. We really want you."
And, so now I was making $8 an hour, I was living hand-to-mouth and she goes, "Well, we will pay you $90,000 a year to start , plus commissions. Which came to over $100,000 a year. She gave me her American Express black card to go shopping in SoHo, and buy myself "fabulous clothes," her words. A gym membership to Equinox. And benefits including a 401K.
That was the first time in my life that I made a lot of money. And that just sort of changes the way you feel about things at that point … like, the art idea just went away. Like any sort of integrity I had was bought that night in that phone call for the rest of my life.
I worked at that job for seven years. And it was great. I got myself out of debt. I paid my friend’s rent. I was very sort of the guy in that group of artists that had money.
I lived in Williamsburg, and I worked in the East Village, and both places were still independent and mom-and-pop. Kiehl's was this independent place that was owned since the 1800s by [one family]. But then one day we held this meeting, and [the owner] had told us that L'Oreal had bought it.
When L'Oreal bought it, they loved the brand of it, and they did everything they could to change it, because of course they were not going to pay people that much. They just fired all of us.
Slowly, as I looked around, Union Square was this beautiful place where there was very independent restaurants and stuff. But the L'Oreal-ization of New York happened. There was two Starbucks, a Toys R' Us, a Barnes and Noble, a Virgin Megastore, it just happened overnight where it was all over.
So, I just spent all the money I had over the next five years pursuing a job as a comedian and a writer and I started doing a lot of shows and then eventually moved to Los Angeles.