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QUEST MEANS BUSINESS

US Unemployment Falls, 203,000 Jobs Added; Tapering: When and How; US Stock Market Rockets; Mandela Tributes; Funeral Preparations; Mandela's Global Influence; Mandela's Legacy; Official US Delegation to Mandela Funeral; US Unemployment at 7 Percent; World Cup Draw; Distances Teams Must Travel in World Cup; Hosting the World Cup; World Cup Group of Death, Group of Debt; Storms in Europe; Remembering Nelson Mandela; Profitable Moment: Tapering

Aired December 6, 2013 - 16:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(NEW YORK STOCK EXCHANGE CLOSING BELL)

RICHARD QUEST, HOST: The market is trying hard to rise by more than 200 points, but we are over 16,000 again as the closing bell rings. It is Friday, it's December the 6th.

Tonight, the stock market rockets. The US job numbers have smashed expectations.

We'll tell you about draw and overwrought. Analysis on the World Cup and the draw.

And tonight, we'll be looking at the legend in our lifetime as world tributes continue to pour in for Nelson Mandela. I'm Richard Quest.

Good evening. We will of course bring you the main economic and business news in just one moment, and over the course of the hour, we'll update you as the world remains focused on the news from South Africa as we continue to basically find out more details on the funeral arrangements.

And we hear the tributes and the reaction in South Africa to the death of Nelson Mandela. We will be live in Johannesburg in the next hour. The country is mourning the death Mr. Mandela and the world is reacting.

You'll be hearing tonight from Israel's former prime minister, Ehud Barak. He was prime minister, incidentally, when Nelson Mandela visited Israel. And Nigeria's finance minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, who's a firm friend of the program, to hear her views on Nelson Mandela's legacy.

We start, though, of course tonight with the economic news. And the reason we do so is it is of crucial significance, both for the United States and the global economy. I'm talking about the US unemployment numbers, the jobs report, which came out today. The unemployment rate has fallen --

(RINGS BELL)

QUEST: -- to a five-year low. It's now at the level at which Ben Bernanke, the outgoing Fed chief, had said he would start the reduction of stimulus. So, a good number to be sure, and a number that has started everybody a renewed and reignited the question over tapering.

The jobless rate now stands at 7 percent. It's down three tenths of one percent in one month. The US economy added 203,000 new jobs last month, more than expected. Analysts -- the consensus was around 180,000. And at 200,000, that's the sort of number where you make serious inroads into the unemployment situation.

In fact, 2013 is on track to be the best year for job creation since 2005. Look the jobs added over the past six months and you'll see how the labor market has maintained, and in some cases, gained from momentum.

Aside from July, the numbers all hover around the 200,000 number, which is the crucial mark, in many ways, that you have to see. July was aberration. This over here, of course, was the federal workers getting laid off, and many of them coming back into the workforce. And then, of course, you have the November number.

Whichever way you put it, bearing in mind these -- this job creation was widespread, broad-range, deep into the economy. I spoke to the US labor secretary, Thomas Perez, and I asked him if these strong numbers, well, are they going to continue?

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

THOMAS PEREZ, US LABOR SECRETARY: Well, we've seen, Richard, that we've had now 45 consecutive months of job growth to the tune of over 8 million jobs, 2.3 in the last year. As you correctly point out, this most recent report is broad-based.

I'm particularly heartened by what we're seeing in manufacturing, where last month was a solid month. You look the trajectory since February of 2010, more manufacturing jobs than any period since the mid-90s. You see that, now, last month, overall wages are up, hours are up. These are good signs.

But there are also areas of concern, and there's a lot of unfinished business. And one of the principal areas of concern for us is the long- term unemployment rate remains unacceptably high at historic levels, and we need to do something about that.

And the most immediate thing that Congress needs to do is extend the emergency unemployment benefits, which if Congress does nothing, on December the 28th, 1.3 million people are going to get a lump of coal --

QUEST: Right, but --

PEREZ: -- in their stockings. So, there's plenty of unfinished business. There's also really good signs that we're progressing steadily.

QUEST: Right. But why extend the unemployment benefit? If the trend is there and the jobs are being created at 200,000 a month, and this seems likely to continue, surely the market forces now will take over. And why do you need to extend this unemployment benefit?

PEREZ: Well, I think it's important to look at the history of unemployment insurance, the extension of these benefits. First of all, the rate of long-term unemployment right now, even with this solid jobs report, is at one of its highest levels that we have seen since the Great Recession. And when you look historically, it's one of the highest levels that we've seen.

You look at the bipartisan tradition in Congress of extending benefits for the long-term unemployed, and you look at the figures right now, Congress has invariably acted in a bipartisan fashion --

QUEST: Right.

PEREZ: -- when long-term unemployment has been as high as it's been now.

QUEST: If we look into the future, because there does seem to be suggestion of momentum now. Not -- in the economy, if we look at all the numbers that we've seen this week, they are showing a US economy that is picking up speed.

So, I look now into early next year, and I look for risks and I look for worries, and I see once again, the main risk is in Washington, isn't it? It's debt ceiling, it's budget negotiations. It's all the things that could create a lack of confidence in the new year.

PEREZ: Yes. We're making remarkable progress right now, as you've pointed out, 7 percent unemployment, the lowest in five years. The biggest challenge moving forward is what you've described, is making sure that Washington can provide certainty to markets. That we can invest in our infrastructure, that we don't have these manufactured crises as we had in October with the shutdown.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

QUEST: That's the US labor secretary. Now, these numbers can't be seen -- excuse me -- in isolation, because as the economy gets stronger, it's more likely that the Fed will start taking the support system away bit by bit, the so-called tapering.

We've always known that the asset purchase program -- excuse me -- couldn't last forever, and many thought tapering would begin, maybe, in first quarter of 2014. Now, though, it seems the stars are coming into alignment.

Look at what I'm talking about. Today's number on unemployment, the lowest level in five years. Ben Bernanke in June said 7 percent is the sort of threshold where tapering would begin, and it's getting closer to the 6.5 percent at which interest rates may rise.

Don't forget, big difference -- big difference -- between withdrawal of stimulus and tapering and raising of interest rates, which would be a tightening of monetary policy.

Then we've had this week US growth numbers, 3.6, much faster than what was expected in the third quarter, an annualized rate of 3.6 percent starts to get people interested.

Then we had this week consumer confidence, which rose more than expected in December, the highest levels since July. Housing, a crucial pillar of the US economy, housing -- new homes sales surged, up 25 percent in October from the previous month.

Factor in the stock market -- the Dow Jones Industrials up around 22 percent year-to-date. If all these stars come into alignment, it leads to one word: tapering. Robert Reich is the professor at the University of California, Berkeley, a former US labor secretary. Well, Mr. Secretary, when we look at this, tapering has to be next on the agenda.

ROBERT REICH, FORMER US LABOR SECRETARY: Well, we'll find out. The Fed is going to be meeting on December 17th and 18th. A lot of people think that tapering is going to be on their agenda.

But Richard, I think that the stock market is doing so well right now, partly because and especially today, the expectation was an even better overall employment situation. If you look behind the numbers, and that's what a lot of analysts are doing, they see that actually, the big untold story is that wages are actually for most people continuing to drop, adjusted for inflation.

QUEST: Oh, but --

REICH: Continuing to go down.

QUEST: Right. But, well, this particular set of numbers did show a small increase in wages, it showed a small increase in number of hours worked. I know one doesn't necessarily get into the political side of it, but frankly, it's a good set of numbers.

REICH: Yes, it's a very good set of numbers. The reason I want to emphasize wages is that average wages are going up, but the basketball player Shaquille O'Neal and I have an average height of 6 foot 1. People at the top of the wage scale are bringing up the average.

If you look at the median, that's the person smack in the middle, an equal number of people above, an equal number of people below, median household income continues to drop. That's why consumer spending in the third quarter actually showed a sharp decline, the slowest consumer spending we've seen since the recovery began.

So, I don't want to put a lot of cold water on your good mood and the enthusiasm a lot of people have --

(LAUGHTER)

QUEST: Right.

REICH: -- I just want to be very cautious about this, because we've seen false dawns before, and we've got to -- this is not by any stretch of the imagination a very healthy recovery.

QUEST: No, but it's -- I think we can -- I think honest men can agree, this is by no means a robust recovery. It's a lot better than it was. So, what's worrying you now as we move into 2013? I'm sorry, 2014.

REICH: Well, it's a lot better than -- yes, it's a lot better than it was. What worries me is, frankly, that because wages are going nowhere or dropping in terms of median wages, there's not the purchasing power that the economy needs in order to maintain a kind of robust or at least gain a robust trajectory with regard to economic growth.

Economic growth, what we saw in the third quarter, was economic growth looked pretty good, but that was mostly business inventories. That was businesses that were buying more goods and services, but they haven't been selling that many goods and services. Business investment in the third quarter was absolutely flat.

QUEST: All right.

REICH: And so what worries me is basically the consumer in the United States just doesn't have enough money.

QUEST: And we'll talk about that when we get into the new year. Many thanks, indeed, Mr. Secretary, for joining us. Rob Reich joining us from California.

Wall Street didn't appear to let those sort of worries or whether or not the tapering's around the corner rain on its parade. Stocks closed up, the Dow surged 190 points, 199 points. Zain Asher is at the Stock Exchange. They liked the news. Were they right?

ZAIN ASHER, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: The market does seem to be delighting on the news. It does seem like we have a situation, Richard, where good news does actually equal good news.

Now, the risk seeing a slow sort of recovery in the US economy, but I've been downstairs, I've been talking to traders, I've been asking what does this mean for you guys? Here's what they're telling me. They're saying that they have finally accepted that tapering is in an inevitability. They know it's going to happen. But they don't expect it to happen for a good few months.

Now here's why. Part of the reason is that yes, we did have strong jobs numbers, but consumer spending is still weak, and we don't expect fourth quarter GDP to be particularly strong --

(CROSSTALK)

QUEST: So hang on, I'm going to jump in --

ASHER: -- and they do need it to be consistently.

QUEST: -- I'm going to jump in here.

ASHER: Go ahead.

QUEST: You're saying they don't expect tapering at this meeting.

ASHER: They do not. Most of the traders I've spoken to downstairs do not expect tapering --

QUEST: All right.

ASHER: -- at this particular meeting. They're expecting it next year, early next year, possibly by March. Richard?

QUEST: Two views on that. Zain, we'll see on that one. We'll find out where we go to next. Zain Asher at the New York Stock Exchange.

Now, let's pause just for one second, because before the opening bell today on Wall Street, the New York Stock Exchange stood still and silent for one minute to honor the legacy of the former South African president, Nelson Mandela.

(SILENCE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

QUEST: It is rare that one man can unite the entire world in mourning and in celebration. Here are some of the tributes from across the globe to Nelson Mandela. In South Africa, mourners gathered outside his home. They were dancing and lighting candles in tribute to the man they called the father of their nation.

In London, people paid their respects outside the South African High Commission. And in the presidential compound in Ramallah, the Palestinian flags are at half staff, and the American flag is at half staff at the White House in Washington, too.

Funeral preparations are underway in South Africa. President Jacob Zuma announced there will be an open-air memorial service for Mr. Mandela on December the 10th. The former president's body will lie in state in Pretoria for three days thereafter, and he'll be buried at his ancestral home in the Eastern Cape after a state funeral on December the 15th.

Robyn Curnow is in Johannesburg. What -- you and I have talked about this on numerous occasions, this relationship that South Africa has with Nelson Mandela. I see behind you this celebration and mourning mixed into one.

ROBYN CURNOW, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, Richard. There's just a staggering atmosphere outside Mandela's house, where we are. He died in this home behind me just a hundred meters away last night, and since then, you've seen people flock to this area, a mixture of black and white, rich and poor.

And it seems like they've been chanting, there have been incantations of sorrow, of joy, and it also seems like they've been singing a sort of historical medley of music that in some way relates both to Nelson Mandela and the history of this country.

Just a few minutes ago, they were singing "Mandela, Mandela, you are ours. Mandela, Mandela, you are the only one, there's no one like you." And that song, that anti protest song, was sung during those days when he was in prison, and nobody knew what he looked like. People just knew he was theirs. And they've been chanting that here.

But then, it's moved on. I don't know if you can hear. They're going, "Madiba, Madiba, you're my president, you're my president." So there's that wonderful shift from these anti-apartheid struggle songs to this, the sound of -- the voices of that early democratic generation singing these songs in 1994. It's a wonderful mixture of hope, of sadness, and of course, it's for Mandela.

QUEST: The funeral arrangements that are being put in place, is everything going to go according to plan with so many people wanting to be a part of it or wanting to be connected to it?

CURNOW: You know what? It's day one. And this is going to be a monumental task. I think the governments, the family, most South Africans realize that not only are the eyes of the world on this nation.

But there is going to have to be a logistical kind of operation put in place over the next ten days. That could be one of the biggest funerals in recent memory. People say that this funeral next Saturday could equal Winston Churchill's.

The difference, that said, between Churchill's and Mandela's is that Mandela's is going to take place in a remote, rural area that is inaccessible largely to journalists going there --

QUEST: Right.

CURNOW: -- during the ordinary times. There's one small airport. So, it's going to be challenging, but I think considering the conditions and the love for Mandela, anything can be achieved.

QUEST: Robyn, I saw your superb documentary last night, absolutely riveting. But what viewers may not know about you and Madiba, you have a picture on the wall of your house and in your office of your little one meeting Mandela, don't you? Tell us about that.

CURNOW: I do. When I came back from working in London and I'd just my first child, Mandela and those close to him knew I'd come back, and I'd covered Mandela's presidency when I was a young reporter, a rookie at the South African Broadcasting Corporation. And he wanted to meet my child.

He had a wonderful affinity with children, and I think he knew how much it would mean for a little baby to have a picture with him, and I went and literally delivered her at his feet. And of course, as you see from the pictures, I got the smiling ones. Because what he did say to the baby, who was then just under a year, was "I am your great, great grandfather!"

(LAUGHTER)

CURNOW: And of course, she immediately wailed and burst into tears. I don't have that one on the mantelpiece.

QUEST: Robyn Curnow, marvelous reporting. Thank you, Robyn, good to talk to you. Now, Nigeria has declared three days of national mourning for Mandela. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is Nigeria's finance minister. Ngozi joins me now from London.

Minister, on an occasion like this, I guess the only thing I need to hear from you, ma'am, is what is your best memory of dealing with Nelson Mandela and South Africa?

NGOZI OKONJO-IWEALA, NIGERIAN FINANCE MINISTER: Well, Richard, thank you. We are sad, but we are also grateful for his life. And I have two very big personal memories. I was honored to meet President Nelson Mandela in 2005 at the Make Poverty History rally here in Trafalgar Square in London.

And at that time, we were trying to get rid of our debt and we were working with people like Bob Geldof and Bono. And he came to this rally, and we had a chance to talk with him and his wonderful wife, Graca Machel, my older sister, in the South African embassy, and it was a wonderful conversation. So, I took that memory with me, and I have some beautiful pictures.

The second time was in Mozambique when we went there, not long after that, with Gordon Brown looking at trying to get children back into school on the continent, and he was there when we went to look at some schools.

QUEST: Right.

OKONJO-IWEALA: And we had a chance to chat with him also about his ideas on education. He has a great legacy on that also.

QUEST: And that legacy, obviously you're a finance minister, former World Bank, and world of business program. That legacy of an economy for South Africa that was in such a very difficult situation, but because of the way he handled himself and led the country, it put South Africa in a very strong, robust position. Would you agree?

OKONJO-IWEALA: Oh, I agree, absolutely. Remember that when he became president, sanctions were lifted and the economy got a boost in growth. And with people like Trevor Manuel managing the economy, they stabilized and they grew.

And there are some strong economic legacies. According to the IMF, since 1994, per capita income in South Africa has increased by 40 percent. Poverty has dropped 10 percentage points. Sure, there is still poverty and inequality, but a lot has been achieved since President Nelson Mandela laid the foundations.

QUEST: Many thanks for joining us. Thank you very much.

OKONJO-IWEALA: Thank you.

QUEST: I learn something new every day. Graca Machel, I didn't realize, but there we are. Interesting. Thank you very much, indeed, for joining us, Ngozi.

Now, you're watching QUEST MEANS BUSINESS. Coming up when we return, we speak to the former Israeli prime minister, Ehud Barak, about what he learned from Nelson Mandela.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NELSON MANDELA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF SOUTH AFRICA: We have fought for peace and reconciliation, for social justice, for all men, women, and children to live together in harmony and with equal opportunity.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

QUEST: Nelson Mandela's ambitions for peace and reconciliation were not limited to South Africa. In 1999, the former Israeli prime minister, Ehud Barak, consulted Mr. Mandela on the question of the Middle East peace agreement. I asked Ehud Barak how he would remember Mandela's impact on peace in the region.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

EHUD BARAK, FORMER PRIME MINISTER OF ISRAEL: I hosted him as a young prime minister in Jerusalem out of all places. And he impressed me as physically very fragile even 13 years ago, but a volcano of emotion with overwhelming smile and a kind of contagious spirit of optimism, of can-do, kind of a great human being, a great leader.

His major achievements were already behind him with the recognition of the whole world, but he still was focused on what could be done elsewhere, in this case, in the Middle East, in order to change realities.

And of course he was for all Palestinians, so to speak, in a way. I tried to convince him very, very hardly so that Arafat is not the kind of character elects the greatness that he has in his innate personality, and Arafat was a much more narrow-minded kind of leader that could hardly abandon his role as the leader of a revolution rather than of reconciliation.

But he felt that somehow, whatever you see, he didn't dive into the details, but he conveyed his conviction that that's the role of leaders to find a way, not because there are no obstacles, but because no obstacle is insurmountable. And what really matters is what we will leave in posterity for the next generations.

QUEST: His relationship with Israel was complicated, not only because of what was this perceived pro-Palestinian view, but also because Israel had supported, in many ways, the previous apartheid regime in South Africa. Did you ever get the feeling that he held that against Israel?

BARAK: It was clear that he was fully aware of the fact that Israel, including myself, many other leaders, visited many times the Afrikanos in South Africa and we were in certain relationship with them for a long time.

But I felt that he somehow he was fully aware of this and never wanted to make it an issue that blocks, because he was focused -- first of all, he had a great, great kind of sense of tolerance and openness and kind of the capacity to reconcile, to look forward. And if he could reconcile with the people who physically bereft the blacks in South Africa, he can easily do it with others.

And he was only focused on looking forward, looking, asking in a way he used the fact that we also were aware of the fact that we had a relationship as a kind of moral high ground to ask us or to request for us to move forward with the Palestinians from a position of moral strength.

QUEST: He described you or was reported to have described you as a man of courage and vision. Finally, Mr. Barak, in a sentence, how would you describe him?

BARAK: Oh, he's a -- he's probably the greatest man of vision and determination to change reality. And probably the greatest son of South Africa and a man that -- Mandela used to say many times, it doesn't matter what you are doing when you are living. The only thing that matters is what imprint and what change you entered into the life of others. And he did it better than probably almost anyone in the 20th century.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

QUEST: That's Ehud Barak, former defense -- former prime minister of Israel, and his memories of Nelson Mandela. When we come back, President Obama and the job numbers. We'll talk about that.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

QUEST: Hello, I'm Richard Quest. There's more QUEST MEANS BUSINESS in just a moment. This is CNN, and here, of course, on this network, the news always comes first.

In South Africa, the crowds continue to gather as they mourn Nelson Mandela a day after his death. A memorial service is to be held on Tuesday for the anti-apartheid icon in Johannesburg. Mr. Mandela will then lie in state for three days and the funeral is now to be held on December the 15th.

The Red Cross says it has collected more than 280 bodies after two days of clashes in the Central African Republic's capital city of Bangui. Christian and Muslim militant factions are in a power struggle in a country that appears to be spiraling down into chaos. France is sending an additional 600 troops to help the African Union restore order.

The Ukrainian opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko has ended her 12-day hunger strike in prison. Tymoshenko's daughter said the former prime minister was in a weak condition and was ending the strike after concerns from protesters. Thousands of demonstrators continue to gather in the capital's Independence Square to call for closer integration with the European Union.

The groups for next year's World Cup tournament are now set. The host country, Brazil, will open against Croatia. The Netherlands and Spain will face off in a repeat of the 2010 final. The US is in a tough group with Germany, Ghana, and Portugal.

A strong winter storm has spread ice and cold across large parts of the central United States. It's made roads impassable and it's coated power lines and trees with thick ice. Much of the state of Texas today is colder than Anchorage in Alaska. Four deaths are blamed on the storm so far.

Perhaps no one is as happy about the strong US jobs numbers out today as President Obama, 7 percent unemployment. It may offer the president a bit of a reprieve from America's negative view of the economy.

Recent poll numbers show 40 percent of Americans think economic conditions are getting worse no matter what the data actually says. Now, that compares to 24 percent who think they are getting better.

Our senior White House correspondent joins me now from Washington. This is -- we'll deal with the job numbers in just a moment, if I may. We turn our attention to, perhaps, more pressing and important matters. We're now getting details of who will be part of the official US delegation to the funeral of Nelson Mandela. Can I have some details, please?

JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: -- any official guidance on this yet, so we're piecing this together by talking to spokespeople for the individual ex-presidents that we've been in contact with.

QUEST: Right.

ACOSTA: And we can tell you, Richard, that George W. Bush and Laura Bush will be accompanying President and Mrs. Obama on Air Force One to South Africa for services honoring Nelson Mandela next week. That has not been confirmed by the White House yet, but it has been confirmed by a spokesman for the former president.

Something else we can also tell you, the former president's father, George H.W. Bush, he will not be going. A spokesman for George H.W. Bush says it's not because of any new health condition, although, as you know, Richard, he has been in declining health, but because he's 89 and a half years old, the spokesman said, and not traveling great distances anymore. It's just not a good idea for the former president.

Bill Clinton's spokesman told me in just the last several minutes that former president Bill Clinton will be going to South Africa. Don't have the exact details as to how he's getting there, how he's doing that. And Mrs. Clinton, we have not yet nailed that one down.

So, we're piecing this together little by little, don't have official White House response just yet. We're going to have that, I think, shortly.

QUEST: Right. OK, so while we wait for that -- and thank you for that reporting -- but let's turn our attention to these job numbers. This is a really tricky one for President Obama. Because on the one hand, he wants to be able to trumpet that --

ACOSTA: Right.

QUEST: -- the unemployment numbers -- the unemployment rate is coming down. But he has to temper that with a feeling of there's still a large number of people unemployed and a very large number of longterm unemployed. So, it's not job done.

ACOSTA: Right. Not job done. And actually, White House press secretary Jay Carney was the first to say that during the briefing today. He was saying, look, things are moving in the right direction, and they actually put a chart up where it shows the job growth that has occurred, and the job stabilization as well that has occurred under Barack Obama's watch.

But they said no one in this White House, no one in this administration will rest until things get better. The president is not satisfied yet.

But Richard, this is a point of pride for this president, he does view this as part of his legacy. They feel like they stopped the Great Recession from becoming a Great Depression. If you look at the unemployment rate, when the Great Recession was at its nadir in October of 2009, it was at 10 percent, it's now at 7 percent. That is an improvement.

But as you said, it's not where this White House wants to be. They know they have a long way to go, and the president earlier this week, he gave a speech on income inequality here in the United States --

QUEST: Right.

ACOSTA: -- and he acknowledged these are trends that are not moving in the direction that he wants them to go as quickly as possible.

QUEST: And that's the real -- another issue he's got, because he's in danger of falling at the hurdle of public perception. Even if the numbers are getting better. If the public don't believe they're getting better, well, you're back to square one.

ACOSTA: And I -- it will be very interesting to see, Richard, the next time a polling organization in the United States looks at this wrong track, right track data, post these numbers that came out today --

QUEST: Right.

ACOSTA: -- because as you saw on Wall Street, things just exploded on Wall Street and everybody was very happy. I think when we see those right track, wrong numbers polled again, I think it's going to show perhaps some movement in the other direction in a positive direction for this White House.

But let's face it, there's sort of a two Americas feel in this country right now. Wall Street is loving this recovery, Main Street is not loving it quite so much. You go to places where manufacturing, perhaps, is the issue and it's not really on the rise as fast as everybody would like, although in certain parts of the country, in the automotive sector, it's doing quite well.

QUEST: All right.

ACOSTA: But it is not happening as fast for people at the lower end and middle end of the spectrum --

QUEST: Jim?

ACOSTA: -- and this White House knows that all too well.

QUEST: Jim Acosta, thank you for joining us from the White House this evening, we thank you for that. Just before we take a short break, let me remind you how the Dow Jones did end the session today.

It was up the best part of 200 points, we're back over 16,000, and if you look at the graph, it was up all through the session, and that was on the back of the jobs numbers, not only the unemployment down, but the number of employment and the number of new jobs being created. If you've just joined us, you'll want to know that was the Dow Jones today.

In over six months, well, 32 countries who have qualified for the World Cup. Now they have found out who they will be playing in Brazil and where. England aren't the only ones who have it tough, after the break.

(RINGS BELL)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

QUEST: Thirty-two countries and there is just one prize, and it's the 2014 World Cup. Well today, the teams found out to whom they are drawn to play against Brazil -- or in Brazil next June. Mark McKay joins us now from CNN Center.

So, as I -- I looked at the lists, and I thought England was all right in its group, but that shows what I know about the subject.

(LAUGHTER)

QUEST: And everybody talks about the EAU -- you may laugh! It's true! So, who's got the best, and who's got the worst?

MARK MCKAY, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Let's give you the highlights, Richard, of a day where we've already experienced World Cup excitement six months before the tournament even begins surrounding the World Cup draw in the host nation.

Fans around the world on pins and needles as they anxiously eyed the all-important pots. For those pots would hold the group stage road map for all 32 teams that will be competing next year in Brazil.

The random nature of such an event always provides its share of surprises. We saw a few on Friday. Spain, they are the reigning World Cup champions and the winners of the last two European championships. Spain will open the tournament with a rematch against the team they beat in South Africa in 2010, that being the Netherlands. Chile and Australia also make up Group B.

The host nation drawn in Group A with the five-time champions desperate to win the trophy on home soil. While the collection of teams Croatia, Mexico, and Cameroon may not look daunting, Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari promised his side would not be complacent.

Even before the draw was held, Germany was held up by many as the team to beat next year in Brazil. Here's the group they'll have to navigate in order to reach the knock-out stages. There's Cristiano Ronaldo in Portugal, there's Ghana.

And then there's the Jurgen Klinsmann-led US squad. Klinsmann made 80 appearances for Germany as a player and coached the team to a third-place finish at the 2006 World Cup on home soil.

And I tell you, Richard, when England's coach Roy Hodgson says his group is tough, you know the potential exists that another World Cup, pivotal one would loom large for the English, and they came through the qualifying rounds unbeaten.

But England's reward, in opening match in Brazil next year against group team foe Italy. Uruguay is the third former champion among these teams, a group that also includes Costa Rica.

Which European side, you ask, came out of Friday's draw feeling encouraged? It has to be France. Richard, they find themselves grouped with the likes of Ecuador, Honduras, and Switzerland in World Cup Group E, a group that's already being mocked by those who really are looking at France as the one that made it out easy in this draw on Friday.

QUEST: Mark, we'll follow this one very closely, thank you very much with that. Just shows you what I know in terms of the actual groupings. But what I do know is that fans planning to travel to Brazil now have to work out the logistics of supporting their touchscreen. I'm going to show you exactly.

These are where all the matches are going to be played. It shows the host cities. Sao Paulo is where the opening match will be played on June the 12th and between Brazil and Croatia. That much we know. So, you've got Sao Paulo, you've then got Rio, which is the final on July the 13th.

So, who's traveling most? Let me show you who travels the most. USA fans and the USA team have the most to travel with their grueling itinerary. The USA plays in Natal to start with, and then, they have to fly to Manaus over here. And after that, they fly back, along with the fans, to Recife on the east coast. It's roughly 3,482 miles. That's for the USA.

As for the Belgian team, well, the Belgian fans, they perhaps have the easiest run. They play in Belo, which is just here. And then -- in Belo Horizonte -- then they go to Rio and Sao Paulo, which gives a grand total for the Belgians of 435 miles.

Now, if you are like me and collecting air miles, you know which one you want. If you are playing football and aiming to win, this is your goal.

Hosting the World Cup is no easy task. With just 188 days to go, Brazil is rushing to get everything ready for the kickoff. Shasta Darlington, when you look at where it all has to be put in place, now reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SHASTA DARLINGTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Richard, with the final draw out of the way, we know who's going to play whom and when in the first round of matches for the World Cup, but as far as Brazil is concerned, there is still a lot of work to do. It was during this event, in fact, that FIFA announced that all six of the stadiums still under construction will fail to meet the end of December deadline that they themselves set.

Now, in the case of the Sao Paulo stadium, where there was a deadly accident last week, the completion date has been pushed back to mid-April. For the other five, no new date has been set. They just said they expected they would be completed at the beginning of the year.

This, however, sends a pretty bad signal, especially when there's still so much work to do in the area of infrastructure. Airports in particular, teams and fans will sometimes have to travel more than 3,000 kilometers between games. Those airports are going to have to handle this traffic.

Especially because some of the towns where these games will be played are so small, they don't have enough hotels to put all of the fans up. Plenty of work left to do, six months left to do it in, Richard.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

QUEST: Shasta Darlington reporting, and I suspect she will know more about the World Cup then she'll ever wish to by this time next year.

Some teams got luck in the draw that Mark McKay was telling us about, and some got into the Group of Death. Well now, of course, this is Group G, which is the group for the most fearsome -- if I can get it to do what it's supposed to do.

There we go. Germany's the second-best team in the world, based on current rankings. Portugal is the 8th -- or the 5th. Ghana in 2010, they were the penalty kick away from becoming the first African team to advance to a World Cup semifinal. The United States, they are 14th in the world, and of course, coach.

Now, that is the Group of Death, as it is nicknamed. How charitable and how charming. But what about another group that we're calling the Group of Debt. That's the one that is facing the most difficult economic conditions.

And when you put this all together, we decided it has to be Group B. Why would we say B? Well, Spain has the biggest challenge, chronic unemployment at 26 percent. The Netherlands recently lost their Triple A credit rating with weak growth.

Chile has economic activity rising at the slowest pace in two and a half years. And in Australia, third quarter growth fell short of expectations, the mining sector is underperforming, there's a possibility of a housing bubble, politics is a bit of a mess, you get the idea. That is the area that we are going to be keeping a watch on for that.

To the weather forecast now. Karen McGinnis is at the World Weather Center. Whether it's Death or Debt, the weather will be with us.

KAREN MCGINNIS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: It looks as if we are still carrying on with a very high winds. This has been an incredible calamity of storm systems that will be impacting and have already impacted many sections of Europe.

Take a look at this incredible shot of the high seas that were reported along the coastal regions of Germany, the North Sea. They're saying that in some areas, the water rose as much as six meters. Certainly being rivaled to that of the North Sea storm back in the 1960s.

It wreaked havoc all the way from the United Kingdom and into southern Scandinavia, and making its way further towards the east. Here you can see some slick roads and very high winds toppled over some trucks and produced havoc along some of the roadways.

Well, here's that area of low pressure. Another one that's expected to move on in across the United Kingdom. As it does, going to have a double- whammy with the high winds, once again very cold air.

But look at the wind gusts we saw over the last 24 hours. Some of the winds have peaked up over 200 kilometers per hour, all the way from Denmark into Germany and into sections of Southern Scandinavia.

Still looking at some gusty winds, though not as high as we've seen them in the last 12 hours or so. Still, in Warsaw, 70 kilometers per hour, that peak wind gusts, and 54 in Berlin.

Now, this is a reason why we're looking at the delays at the major airports. In Copenhagen, Berlin, and into Munich, and some minor delays, Amsterdam and London because of gusty winds and reduced visibility. You may have seen those pictures all day long of some of the airlines attempted approach to airports but the crosswinds have just been too fierce.

Some minor delays expected in Munich and Frankfurt as well as into Brussels going into Saturday's forecast. Also for Dublin, Copenhagen, and Stockholm, look for some gusty winds, delays along 15 to 30 minutes.

There you can see a jumbo jet, a heavy, as they say, attempting to land on this runway in Birmingham, and we are looking at the plane and the pilot's deciding that that's just too much of a crosswind to take on. This is very typical when you see such strong winds like this gusting up, in some cases, 100-plus kilometers per hour.

QUEST: Wow.

MCGINNIS: And not to be outdone, it does look like as we go into the next 48 hours, still looking at some gusty winds into Poland and moving into Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia. Richard, back to you.

QUEST: Karen, thank you very much, indeed. Karen McGinnis joining us from the World Weather Center. And to those of you just watching those pictures, by the way, it is normal when you come into land in a crosswind that you do come in on an angle like that. So that part of the approach is normal for a crosswind.

What, of course, you aim to do is correct it at the last -- so you come in at that sort of very steep angle, and the idea is you just bring it back, the nose wheel, to the center line at the last second, clearly not able to do that there. Hence an aborted landing. We'll be back with more after the break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

QUEST: So many solemn words and serious words will be said over the next few days about Nelson Mandela that one's apt to forget that the man had an extraordinary, lively, beautiful sense of humor as Robyn Curnow reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CURNOW (voice-over): The broad smile, the floppy shirt, the goofy dance. Nelson Mandela was a cartoonist's dream, says satirist Zapiro, who documented Mandela's political life on paper, cartoons Mandela so enjoyed that he once phoned up Zapiro to complain when his drawings were no longer printed in the newspaper that Mandela liked to read.

ZAPIRO, CARTOONIST: So, I sat with the phone at my ear for a while, and it took quite a long, I was busy drawing. And then this woman says, "Hold on for President Mandela."

So I thought, no, this is a joke. I waited a bit longer, and this voice comes on. "Hello. Is that Zapiro?"

I said, "Yes." And I said, is it him? Is it him? Is it --

"This is President Mandela."

And then I thought, well, it sounds like you, so must be you.

(LAUGHTER)

CURNOW: He says it was Mandela's next comment during their telephone conversation that said so much about Mandela's leadership style.

ZAPIRO: I just want to say something else, now that you have phoned me. I want to say that you -- I'm amazed that you're doing this when you would have seen that the cartoons have been getting a lot more critical. I've had to take a critical step back and do things that are critical of the government and of the ANC.

And he said, "Oh! But that is your job!"

CURNOW: Those who knew him, say Mandela understood the need for satire in society, that he wasn't threatened by criticism.

MANDELA: And what are you going to be when you're old? Doctor! Very good!

(LAUGHTER)

MANDELA: Very good! What are you going to be?

CURNOW: And he used humor to make people relax around him.

(LAUGHTER)

MANDELA: I'm going to look like a peacock.

(LAUGHTER)

CURNOW: And Mandela was a master of self-deprecating humor. Listen to him tell a story about meeting a child who was questioning him about his time in prison.

MANDELA: And she said, "How long did you remain there?"

Again, I said, "Well, I can't remember, but it was a long, long time."

And again, "Two years?" And so on.

And I said, "No. Longer than that."

But she insisted, "But how long?"

I said, "Well, look, I have already told you that I can't remember."

And she said, "You are a stupid old man, aren't you?"

(LAUGHTER)

CURNOW: Hid deadpan delivery, dry wit, and biting one-liners were honed in prison, says cabinet minister Tokyo Sexwale, who was jailed with Mandela, affectionately known as Madiba on Robben Island.

TOKYO SEXWALE, FORMER POLITICAL PRISONER: It was key for Nelson Mandela in prison, he kidded us throughout. He's a very humorous person. And somebody just said, "Madiba, if you are not who you are, you should have been a friend of Bill Cosby." And that was Bill Cosby himself.

And he says, "Well, you've taken my profession."

CURNOW: Despite all of Mandela's achievements, many will just remember the warmth in his heart and the twinkle in his eye.

Robyn Curnow, CNN, Johannesburg, South Africa.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

QUEST: Today's job numbers in the United States make the whole issue far more interesting about when the Fed is going to start tapering. Those who believe it was going to be first quarter of 2014, well maybe that now needs to be rethought.

The view seems to be that maybe the Fed wants to get this tapering started sooner rather than later, get it over and done with, get people used to the idea that times are now starting to change, because the numbers are good, make no bones about that. So, maybe tapering starts at the next meeting before the end of this month. We'll cover it if it does.

And that's QUEST MEANS BUSINESS for tonight. I'm Richard Quest in New York. Whatever you're up to in the hours ahead --

(RINGS BELL)

QUEST: -- I do hope it's profitable.

END