National / International News
On Friday, the Labor Department reports on November job creation and unemployment. Economists predict companies and government offices added 230,000 jobs, and that the unemployment rate was unchanged at 5.8 percent.
Over the past year the economy’s been adding on average 220,000 jobs per month. And the quality of jobs has gradually improved, says Mark Hamrick at Bankrate.com. One year ago, he says, the strongest job growth was in relatively low-skilled, low-paid sectors: bars and restaurants, hotels, retail.
“We’re seeing a greater collection of sectors participating in job creation,” says Hamrick, including “professional and business services, health care, construction, occasionally manufacturing.”
Outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas has predicted a strong hiring season for seasonal retail jobs, with companies including Amazon, Macy’s, Fedex, UPS, Walmart, Kohl’s and GameStop planning to increase hiring over last year. But after disappointing sales on Black Friday, “companies look at the traffic in their stores,” says John Challenger, “and if it’s really going to be down longer-term, they’ll pull some of those people back.”
When you think of stamps, you might picture paintings of ducks, and dead, forgotten presidents. But Friday in Philadelphia, two new stamps will be released, the first ever to feature a pro basketball player.
You could say he’s the basketball equivalent of Madonna or Elvis because the new stamps dispense with his last name and only say “Wilt,” stretched out as if to emphasize his 7-foot-1 stature.
“Wilt is the greatest player to ever play,” said Donald Hunt, a sports writer for the Philadelphia Tribune who headed the effort to get Wilt Chamberlain his own stamp. “He scored 100 points in a game, averaged 50 points in a game... at one point in his career he grabbed 55 rebounds in a game.”
But Chamberlain also did other stuff, including claiming that he slept with 20,000 women. The NBA star joins recent postal honorees like Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix, who died of drug overdoses. But that doesn’t mean they don’t deserve stamps, according to Chad Snee, editor of Linn’s Stamp News.
“If the committee had to weigh personal imperfections when determining whether or not someone could be honored with a postage stamp … we wouldn’t see too many people on our stamps anymore,” he said.
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