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146,000 Jobs Added In November; Unemployment Falls To 7.7 Percent; McAfee Fights Return To Belize; Activists Defy Egypt's President Again; Report: FCC Wants Gadgets Used On Flights; Outrage Over Right To Work Bill; Criminalizing HIV
Aired December 7, 2012 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now in the NEWSROOM. Surprise jump in the jobs report, 146,000 jobs added. The unemployment rate hits a four-year low.
In abroad, Japan is cleaning up after being jolted by a powerful earthquake.
The bizarre saga of John McAfee takes another strange turn. The software pioneer rushed to the hospital after a bid for asylum is rejected.
And tracking your texts, why some police officers want the power to investigate your messages.
NEWSROOM starts right now.
Good morning, everyone. I'm Don Lemon in for Carol Costello this morning. A surprising snapshot of the economy today, the jobless rate has fallen to its lowest level in four years. Let's check the numbers now from the Labor Department, 146,000 jobs were added in November and unemployment fell to 7.7 percent. Compare that to October when 138,000 jobs were added.
Ali Velshi joins us to talk about today's report. Good morning, sir. Was this what you expected? What happened?
ALI VELSHI, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: No. It's not what anybody expected, which is why this is confusing. We were expecting the unemployment rate to go up from 7.9 percent to 8 percent and we're expecting about 77,000 jobs created and we got 146,000.
Here's the problem. Normally, needed two different surveys, the unemployment rate and the number of jobs lost or created are determined two different ways. They are usually done by surveys in the same week.
In November, they moved up the unemployment rate survey a week earlier so that they wouldn't complicate things with Thanksgiving and some people are worried that it got affected by Hurricane Sandy. Some people weren't in their homes and didn't have power, whatever the case is. The Labor Department says not so, but important whatever reason. There are a lot people who are not sure -- they are not doubting the veracity of these numbers, Don. They are just saying there might be some statistic anomalies here.
Bottom line, if it is what it is, then it shows continued strengthening in the labor force. The unemployment number, I have often said don't play too much attention to that. You want to look at how many jobs are created. We went from 138,000 in October to 146,000 in November.
I would like to get three months from now, Don, to look back and see what the trend looks like. But if it is what it is, then it shows slow and steady growth in the job market, slower than expected.
Here is a point for you, Don, that is very interesting. For years now, we have seen a very substantial spread between whites and blacks unemployment rate in the United States. That gap narrowed a little bit this time around.
Again, I have to dig deeper to find out where and why it narrowed. It shows a bit of an improvement for African-Americans in the unemployment situation. Beyond that, it is -- the standard stuff that you normally expect.
LEMON: Yes. There was a huge disparity there. Checking the numbers --
VELSHI: Yes. There still is. There still is. It is just -- the gap is narrowing a little bit.
LEMON: Ali Velshi, I love talking money with Ali Velshi in the morning.
VELSHI: Always my pleasure.
LEMON: Get on there, get on Twitter and let's chat. Thank you, sir.
We are getting reaction from the Obama administration now, which has been closely monitoring the numbers in Washington. That's where we find the White House correspondent Brianna Keilar. We hope the leaf blower is done, Brianna. So what do you hear?
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: No leaf blower, no jackhammer. We are getting reaction from the White House, obviously. They saw this positively, Don, no surprise. This is coming from Alan Krueger, the chairman of the President's Council of Economic Advisers.
It says while more work remains to be done, today's employment report provides further evidence that the U.S. economy is continuing to heal and continuing to heal from the wounds inflicted by the worst downturn since the great depression.
This is obviously similar to what we've heard in past months, but the President or -- certainly the White House pointing to this as proof that his economic policies should continue specifically in this reaction. They point to that Bush era tax cut for middle class Americans that's set to expire along with tax cuts for all Americans here at the end of the year saying that that needs to get pushed through. We are not seeing really the frenzy, obviously.
We got so used to that frenzy of reaction coming out ahead of the election. It certainly not as frenzy we haven't heard -- we've heard from the RNC. I will say they say similar to what they always say.
While a downtick in the unemployment rate is welcome news, too many families are still falling behind and unemployment remains painfully high, and conversely to what President Obama or what the White House saying pointing to his policies as not working for the economy.
We haven't heard from the Speaker's office I don't believe yet, but he will be talking before cameras at 11:00 a.m. so we'll likely get reaction there, Don.
LEMON: Brianna Keilar, thank you, Brianna. Want on go to Wall Street now where for now at least the markets like what they saw this morning, all three indexes trading in positive territory. Alison Kosik is who we are going to go to the New York Stock Exchange. So Alison, tell me what's going on?
ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Don, actually we are seeing the Nasdaq dip a bit into negative territory. You are seeing a mixed bag at this point. You know, you see the build-up to the release of this report.
Investors, they have been cautious all week heading into this report. The expectation was that there will be a really weak number coming out of this instead a surprise to the upside. Report was basically double what everybody was expecting.
Still you are seeing a lot of caution here on Wall Street because many of the jobs that were added were seasonable ones. This is sort of the reality check with this. When you look at the number of retail jobs added, 53,000, a good portion of those were those temporary jobs for the holiday shopping season.
But come on, a surprise to the upside better than the alternative. So even with the quirks the reading gave some evidence the economy at least jobs part of it is holding steady despite the uncertainty about the fiscal cliff, as well.
So the number, of course, isn't going to be impacting the Federal Reserve's meeting next week, the Federal Reserve having its final meeting of the year. Of course, the fed continuing to pump stimulus money into the economy.
So you know what, everybody is looking at now, everybody is looking ahead. A lot of people looking ahead to the December report, which is expected to be less hazy and may give a little more certainty to what is going on here in the jobs market -- Don.
LEMON: Boy, wouldn't that be a great holiday-Christmas present, Christmas-Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, everything present. Thank you, Alison Kosik.
Want to check your other top stories now. House Speaker John Boehner expected to meet with reporters in about an hour. The event comes with just 25 days until that fiscal cliff deadline.
Republican sources telling CNN that staffers on both sides of the aisle resumed talks Thursday. That first time that's happened all week. And comes -- and comes one day after President Obama and Speaker Boehner talk by telephone.
In Japan, a tsunami warning has been lifted and only minor injuries have been reported after a 7.3 magnitude quake struck at sea nearly 300 miles from Tokyo. A small tsunami was triggered while a building shook in the capital city. Today's quake happened almost in the same area along the Japan's north eastern coast devastated by an earthquake nearly two years ago.
Attorneys for George Zimmerman are suing NBC Universal for its characterization of him in reporting on the Trayvon Martin shooting death. The lawsuit claims NBC edited 911 recordings to make it appear that Zimmerman was racist. NBC says it disputes the accusations and plans to defend itself in court.
On every flight, you have to power down your gadgets before takeoff and landing, but -- could that be changing? You might be surprised who is leading the charge.
LEMON: John McAfee's attorneys are looking for ways to keep him in Guatemala. Authorities there have rejected his bid for asylum and that sets the stage for his possible return to Belize to face questions about a neighbor's death.
CNN's Martin Savidge is following the case of this eccentric millionaire.
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is where John McAfee is staying here in Guatemala City. That building right there, actually up in the third floor and he has got it all to himself. That's really not a jail. It is definitely not a hotel.
What it is, is a detention center for illegal immigrants. They get a lot of them passing through Guatemala trying to get into Mexico and then eventually to North America. It was here where John McAfee suffered whatever the illness was that he had.
And he was rushed from here in an ambulance and taken to a nearby police hospital where he was checked out for several hours. We went over there. The authorities said that really it looked like he was suffering from stress and maybe was also suffering chest pains.
His attorney, though, says it was actually a minor heart attack. Either way, he was released a couple of hours later and brought back here. Now the question is what happens next. We know the president of Guatemala has denied asylum for John McAfee.
It is possible his legal team should try for some other maneuver, a stay or go all the way to the country's Supreme Court. It is also possible he may be headed back to Belize. Where I have spoken to authorities, they are waiting for him and will take him in for questioning. We will wait for him as well. Martin Savidge, CNN, Guatemala City.
LEMON: More top stories now here on CNN. Opposition activists are defying Egypt's President Mohamed Morsy staging a new demonstration today in Cairo's Tahrir Square. Morsy is standing firm against the protesters saying he won't change his decision to place himself above the nation's court or stop an upcoming constitutional referendum.
Should you have more freedom to use your electronic portable devices in flight? The head of the FCC certainly thinks so. According to the Hill, the chairman of the FCC just sent a letter to the head of the FAA and it calls for fliers to have greater use of their gadgets including tablets and e-readers. Just this summer, the FAA said it would review its policies. That review will not include cell phone call use.
The election was a month ago. Republican challenger Mitt Romney still has a sizable amount of money in the bank. His campaign says it raised almost $86 million in the final weeks before the election and just after. Still had about $24 million in the bank as of November 26, but much of that money is expected to go to pre-election expenses.
We have an upside surprise for Washington this morning. The latest jobs report shows 146,000 jobs were added last month and the unemployment rate fell to 7.7 percent, the lowest in four years.
For some perspective on this, I'm joined now by Rutgers University professor and former Labor Department chief economist, Bill Rogers in Dallas. Good morning, Bill. On the outset --
WILLIAM ROGERS, CHIEF ECONOMIST, HELDRICH CENTER FOR WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT: Good morning, Don.
LEMON: -- this is pretty positive, a pretty positive report. Give me your perspective.
ROGERS: Sure. It is very positive given what we were -- what we thought we were going to be getting. You know, we thought -- we were going to have the effects of Superstorm Sandy. We thought we were going on have some of the effects of the fiscal cliff affecting consumer confidence, investment behavior.
So given those two plus the Hostess strike and eventual shutdown, you know, this is a -- these are report. You know, it tracks the 146,000 new jobs over the month, tracks the average that we have been seeing over this past year and actually 2011.
But however, though, you know, that's right at that level, that threshold, that you have to have just to keep make ends meet. So when you turn to the household survey, that, you know, unemployment rate falling to 7.7 percent.
It is not because people are getting lots of jobs, right. It is because people have been leaving the labor force because we are -- we have been treading along in the second gear at this 140,000, 150,000 new jobs per month.
LEMON: You're saying the labor force, you believe, is shrinking. Let's --
ROGERS: Yes. This report -- this report showed it shrank again and over the last 12 months it shrank and I believe even people have been talking about we are at 20, 30-year low in terms of participation of people in the economy.
LEMON: Let's talk more about the fiscal cliff. You mentioned it there for a second. How do you think this could factor into discussions?
ROGERS: Yes. I think that this report today helps I think the administration's case for the fact that we need to -- the administration needs to and Democrats need to extend the tax cuts, Bush tax cuts, for those up to $250,000, probably needs to extend the payroll tax cut.
These are major forms of stimulus that middle income households and receive these dollars, they don't save it. They spend it. I think it also provides a little wind to the sail of the administration that we need to extend the unemployment insurance benefits that have -- we have been providing to families, which are another important stimulus for families here in the U.S.
LEMON: You answered made question about the work force because about a half million people left the work for according to BLS and you talked about why you believe that factored into it. What do you think is missing from this report, though?
ROGERS: What's missing, I think of -- you know, we focus so much on the employment front and if you look at wages, I believe wages continued to stagnate over the month. And also even over the year when you factor in inflation.
So, you know, not -- families are -- you know, continuing in this really tepid, very slow, weak recovery. They are getting hit on all fronts. You know, slow job creation, people leaving the labor force and then also stagnating wages.
But again, though, you know, we are better off than we were four years ago. We're better off in the -- in when the recession hit. We are better off than we were 12 months ago. As the administration says, you know, much more work is needed to be done.
LEMON: Good talking to you, Bill Rogers. Thanks.
ROGERS: Don, yes, thank you very much. Have a great weekend. LEMON: You as well. Much more news right after a very quick break.
LEMON: Protesters are furious at Michigan's Republican-controlled House and Senate quickly passed controversial right-to-work bills.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You are disgusting! You're disgusting?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: The bills limit the right to strike and picket and employees cannot be forced to pay union dues. Democrats and union supporters say this is a huge blow to workers' rights.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It terrifies me that they are trying to pass this through so quickly with no discussion from the other side and no understanding of what is important in it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Poppy Harlow joins from us Lansing. Poppy, so -- it is -- damaging for unions, right?
POPPY HARLOW, CNNMONEY.COM CORRESPONDENT: It could be extremely damaging for unions if you ask union workers. They say this would be bad for the entire Michigan economy for all of the workers here.
That's a position of labor in this state which, Don, I can't overemphasize is that the heart of organized labor in America, it is the birth place of the United Auto Workers, UAW.
Here is what's at stake. If this becomes a right-to-work state, it would make it illegal for unions and employers to mandate that employees be part of the union or pay any am of money to that union. That would then become illegal.
The thinking here is that is less money in the union, less power at the bargaining table. What happened here at the state capitol late yesterday, three bills passed, two in the Senate and one in the House, all pretty much saying the same thing.
It would turn this into a right-to-work state. It would affect public sector workers like teachers and public schools and it would affect private sector workers like autoworkers on the line and GM, Chrysler or Ford.
Don, the governor here, Republican Rick Snyder is saying this is what's best important for workers, those labor workers do not agree.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GOV. RICK SNYDER (R), MICHIGAN: To be pro-worker, to give freedom of choice to the workplace and that -- legislators move promptly and efficiently in moving it through the legislature and when it arrives on my desk I plan on signing it.
JEFF BRESLIN, REGISTERED NURSE AND UNION MEMBER: In the state of Michigan, we have been -- had a fledgling economy for quite some time. We have been -- way down at the bottom of the list in the country. We have just started to make a comeback by passing right-to-work, that's taking that comeback and cutting the legs out from under it. It will hurt the economy and will hurt the state and hurt the citizens.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARLOW: And to break down the numbers for you, Don, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, looking at median weekly salaries for union workers nationwide, they make more, $938 a week, versus $729 a week for non-union workers.
There is a wage differential there typically labor lawyer told me, don, this is hugely significant and that this could be devastating to the labor movement in this country. What's going to happen?
This weekend union workers across this state, labor supporters will be out trying to convince their representatives to vote down this legislation and could be taken up in a final vote as early as this Tuesday.
So you can expect big, big crowds here, Don, again on Tuesday some perspective for you. The biggest protests they have seen here in Lansing in more than 30 years. This is a very sensitive issue.
LEMON: Goodness. Can we talk more about the governor's response to this? The governor's argument, Poppy, is that it makes the state more competitive and it is going to lead to more jobs.
HARLOW: Right. Yes. You know, that's what Republicans will say. That's what this governor says. It is reported to the legislation saying that, because, know, unions have less power at the bargaining table in terms of salary and benefits, et cetera.
Maybe it attracts more companies to work here. That's their argument. Union takes issue with that since it is not the case at all. But right next door in the state of Indiana, they passed right-to-work legislation.
So there is the argument that supporters make it say the jobs are going there, we want the jobs here. We have to make this a more competitive state. That's what the governor says -- the labor movement does not agree with that at all, Don.
But when you talk about a state like Michigan that has just been bleeding jobs and needs these jobs, that is the argument that's it has been making, competitive landscape.
LEMON: Poppy, thank you. Locked up for being HIV positive. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I served over a year locked up, some of it in maximum security and some of it in solitary confinement. I still have to register as a sex offender important the rest of my life.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Should people be put in jail for not letting their partners know they are infected with HIV? We will talk to Dr. Sanjay Gupta next.
LEMON: This is a report that you want to see. This statistic may shock you. More than quarter of all new HIV infections in this country are in 13 to 24-year-olds and most of the young people don't even know they are infected.
Plus, more than half of our states have laws that make it a crime for people with HIV not to disclose their status when they have sex. Dr. Sanjay Gupta has been looking into this and he joins me now. These laws are meant to protect people, but what are the downsides?
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the biggest downside, critics of the laws, will say this is exactly part of the reason people don't get tested and don't know their status. The numbers you just cited.
You know, people that support the law say look, it is not the laws as much themselves as the way they have been applied in various states. We decided to investigate that a bit. Take a look at what we found.
GUPTA (voice-over): Four years ago, Nick Rhoades, an HIV positive, 34-year-old, living in Iowa, met a younger man. They hit it off and had sex.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I wore a condom. I did everything I could to protect him and myself.
GUPTA: What Rhoades didn't do was tell his friend about having HIV. When the friend found out later, he sought treatment at a local hospital and a hospital employee called the police. Rhodes was arrested, charged with criminal transmission of HIV, and after pleading guilty on the advice of his lawyer, he was sentenced to 25 years in prison.
NICK RHOADES, CONVICTED OF CRIMINAL TRANSMISSION OF HIV: I served over a year locked up, some of it in maximum security and some of it in solitary confinement. And I -- still have to register as a sex offender for the rest of my life.
GUPTA: Scott Schoettes, an attorney for Lambda Legal is Rhoades new lawyer. He is asking the Iowa Supreme Court to overturn Rhoades' conviction.
SCOTT SCHOETTES, HIV PROJECT DIRECTOR, LAMBDA LEGAL: This case, in particular, was compelling. It really was a good example of the ways in which these laws are misused by the justice system to punish people in very severe ways for things that should not even be crimes.
GUPTA: About a thousand miles away in Louisiana, a similar case. Robert Suttle says his partner knew Suttle had HIV, but after a messy breakup, his ex went to the police. Subtle was charged with intentionally exposing the man to the AIDS virus.
ROBERT SUTTLE, CONVICTED OF INTENTIONAL EXPOSURE TO AIDS VIRUS: I was arrested at work and I was booked.
GUPTA: To avoid a possible 10-year sentence, Suttle entered a plea and spent six months in jail. Under the picture on his driver's license in bold red capital letters, it says sex offender. He has to carry that tag for 15 years.
SUTTLE: There are a lot of good people in the world that are HIV positive, but that doesn't mean that they are criminals, doesn't mean that they have malicious intent to hurt anybody.