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Economic Numbers; New Dinosaur Discovered; NASCAR Diversity

Aired October 8, 2012 - 04:00:00   ET


CARL AZUZ, CNN ANCHOR: A dino discovery, an explorer`s legacy and a sport`s expanding diversity. It`s Monday. I`m Carl Azuz, and we`re kicking off a new week of CNN STUDENT NEWS.

The first thing we are talking about today involves jobs, the monthly unemployment report includes information about who has them, who doesn`t and who is looking. And teenagers who are searching for work or maybe getting part time jobs, you are part of this, too. The report includes two big numbers, one is the unemployment rate, that`s lower than it has been in more than three years, the other is the jobs number. Experts say the economy needs to add about 150,000 jobs each month, just to keep up with population growth. In the last month, it didn`t hit that level. Now, Lisa Sylvester is going to explain how that monthly report gets put together. And she is going to examine why some people are questioning the numbers in the latest report.


LISA SYLVERSTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The Labor Department has a bureau that every month asks for 400,000 businesses in all kinds of fields from retail to manufacturing, to hotel services from all around the country how many people are on your payroll. That number is reported as the payroll survey on the first Friday of every month. That`s what we usually call the jobs number. In September, 114,000 payroll jobs were added, but there is another survey also done. This one from the Census Bureau. About 60,000 households are phoned every month and asked among other things, are you working? In September, a whopping 873,000 more people reported working than the month before. That`s a big number. And that household report pushed the unemployment rate down from 8.1 percent to 7.8 percent. That`s a strong jobs showing, good news for the White House. But naysayers are wondering, if it`s too good to be true. Jack Welch, General Electric`s former CEO tweeting this "Unbelievable jobs numbers .. These Chicago guys will do anything ... can`t debate so change numbers." And the group, Americans for Limited Government, has suggested, maybe someone tinkered with the numbers.

RICK MANNING, AMERICANS FOR LIMITED GOVERNMENT: Very convenient timing for the president. If he`d mapped it out to be able to have it, this would be when you`d want to have it, you know, he is facing 43 straight months of eight percent plus of unemployment, the longest time in the history since the Great Depression.

SYLVESTER: The Labor Department and the Bureau of Labor Statistics scuff at any notion that someone manipulated the jobs report.

TOM NARDONE, U.S. BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS: It`s collected by about 2,000 interviewers who are all federal employees, career federal employees. And so, you`d have to imagine that the people who participate in the survey, and they do this voluntarily, are for some reason trying to manipulate things.

SYLVESTER: And it`s not unusual for the two surveys, one based on asking companies and the other based on asking individuals to have wide disparities. Why? The household number that shows a gain of 873,000 new workers includes all kinds of workers, including self-employed and certain agriculture workers. And it`s based on a much smaller sample than the survey of businesses. Keith Hall is a former commissioner of the Bureau of Labor Statistics. He says the numbers can vary widely.

KEITH HALL, FORMER COMMISSIONER OF THE BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS: I understand people`s frustrations and suspicion when the unemployment rate goes down, you know, right before an election. But in reality, the - all the federal statistical agencies, including the Bureau of Labor Statistics are independent agencies, they have a long tradition of being very professional and very non-political.

SYLVESTER: To change the report, well, that would be a crime. And also, very difficult to do. Lisa Sylvester, CNN, Washington.


AZUZ: All right now. Based on your perspective, our next story is either 50 or possibly 200 million years in the making. A scientist says, he`s discovered a new species of dinosaur. Actually, he came across it in a fossil that was discovered in South Africa back in the 1960s. But this is the fist scientist to describe it. He`s calling it Pegamastics Africanos. He says it lived around 200 million years ago, and this is what it might have looked like. The scientists compared it to a two-legged porcupine, saying it was covered with bristles, about the size of a house cat, you could see those sharp teeth. The scientist says, he thinks those teeth were for self-defense. He believes Pegamastics was a plant eater, not a meat eater.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: See if you can I.D. me. I was born in 1451 and died in 1506. I am an Italian explorer, but my most famous trip was paid for by Spain. You`ve probably heard of the ships I took on that journey: the Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria.

I`m Christopher Columbus, and there are streets, towns and even a country all named after me.


AZUZ: In fact, there is a whole day named after him. It is Columbus Day, and it is today. For a long time, individual states celebrated Columbus Day on October 12th, Christopher Columbus landed into Bahamas on October 12th, 1492. When it became a federal holiday in 1971, Columbus Day was set to always be the second Monday in October. New York City held the first Columbus Day celebration on the 300 anniversary of his landing. The city has been holding a Columbus Day Parade, like this one, every year since 1929.

You post a status or picture on Facebook and think, I would pay a million dollars to have all my friends see this. Well, maybe you can. It`s not going to cost you a million dollars, but it will cost you. It`s a new feature called "promote." If you pay about seven bucks, your post gets pushed to the top of your friends` news feeds. Companies have been able to do this for a while, but this would be a first for every day users. Now, we are not paying to promote it. But we are talking about this on our Facebook page. If you are already on Facebook, head on over and tell us what you think on our wall. The address,


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is this legit? NASCAR stands for North American Sports Cars and Racers.

No, not true. It`s the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing. And it was born in 1947.


AZUZ: Hispanic heritage month honors trailblazers, men and women from the Hispanic community who`ve opened doors for future generations. NASCAR is working to develop some of its own trailblazers, the Drive for Diversity program offers minority drivers new opportunities in the sport. Fredricka Whitfield introduces us to one of these programs` success stories.


SERGIO PENA, NASCAR DRIVER: You have so much adrenaline rushing to your body and you are so concentrated on hitting every mark and, you know, making sure everything that you do is absolutely perfect. My name is Sergio Pena, I`m Colombian, and I`m a NASCAR driver in the Kanon Pro (ph) series east.

FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Pena has been racing professionally since he was 13. Motocross, go-carts, formula cars, you name it. Now, the 19- year old Virginia native is working his way up the NASCAR ranks. Seeing the potential, NASCAR officials enrolled Pena in their Drive for Diversity program, a program designed to give minorities a chance to compete, gain experience and exposure

SERGIO PENA: The Diversity Program, (inaudible) me, I had a great two years there. They put my name on the map, they gave me great opportunities, I learned a lot.

WHITFIELD: Pena learned enough to land a big time sponsor, much to the delight of his father who spent over $1 million to fund his son`s efforts over the years.

JAL PENA, SERGIO`S FATHER: Everything you make to try to dump it into the sport, hoping that year, that he will get a shot out at it. I wouldn`t change, I think, yeah, economy is tough, but if I had to do it again, I think I would do it again.

SERGIO PENA: I`m so thankful that my dad put such an effort to my career. I wouldn`t be doing anything that I`m doing right now without him. It has put a huge toll on my family, but now, you know, all the hard work seems to be paying off.

WHITFIELD: A great support system and the right opportunities will only get you so far. Pena still has to deliver, and he has. Last year, Pena was tied for most wins in his series, and he finished fifth overall in points. He is eager and hungry to get to the next level.

SERGIO PENA: You know, I really hope to be in the spring cup series, and it`s not - one of the top three series, especially the nationwide. I really hope to be competing up there with the big names.

WHITFIELD: As for bringing more diversity to NASCAR, Pena says, the building blocks are there.

SERGIO PENA: You see African Americans, Latinos, and I think it`s going to be great for the sport if we can see diversity in NASCAR, not only as drivers but in the stands as well, I think it`ll be a great thing for us.

WHITFIELD: Fredricka Whitfield, CNN.


AZUZ: Presidential candidates make stump speeches on the issues. Now we want to hear yours. Go to And look for the stump speech assignment. In 30 seconds or less, tell us what issue you picked, why you think it`s important and what you would do about it as president. Remember, you have to be at least 13 years old on your mark, get set, stump.

It`s just about time for us to fly, but before we do, we`ll let these guys go first. This colorful career is part of an international balloon fiesta. It`s an annual event in Albuquerque, New Mexico, it`s been going on for 40 years. Hundreds of thousands of people show up to watch the balloons fill the sky. The first year of the fiesta was held it only had 13 balloons, now there are more than 600, you could say the event has really ballooned, but it`s possible those numbers have been inflated. After all, the fiesta is full of hot air.

Enjoy the rest of your day, for CNN STUDENT NEWS, I`m Carl Azuz.