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Solar Community Endures Storm; September Jobs Report; Stanley Tucci is Interviewed about his Original Series. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired October 07, 2022 - 08:30   ET




JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: This morning, work is underway to rebuild in Florida after Hurricane Ian decimated entire neighborhoods. Thousands are still without power. But one community hit directly by the storm came out with barely a scratch.

CNN's Bill Weir has the story.


BILL WEIR, CNN CHIEF CLIMATE CORRESPONDENT (voice over): When Hurricane Ian brought gusts over 150 miles an hour, much of the power grid in its path did not stand a chance.

WEIR (on camera): Look at that.

WEIR (voice over): And thanks to two feet of rain, even communities miles from the storm surge could not escape life-altering floods.

But even as white caps ripped across the lake in Anthony Grande's (ph) back yard, he was chilled out in front of the TV.

ANTHONY GRANDE, BABCOCK RANCH RESIDENT: You know, that's one of the things I said to my wife when we were - were sitting there watching TV, I'm like, I don't have any fear right now.

WEIR: Anthony and the 2,000 families around him never lose power and did not flood because they live in Babcock Ranch, a community about 15 miles from Ft. Myers, which is 100 percent solar powered.

GRANDE: I even held on to my generator not knowing what was really going to happen. So my wife was like, get rid of it. I'm like, no, I'm not getting rid of it. I'm not doing it. That's what we - did (ph) we go through the test. And this was the test.

WEIR: This was the test.

GRANDE: This was a big test. So.

WEIR: And now you can let go of the generator?

GRANDE: I did. I gave it to a friend.

WEIR (voice over): Jennifer Langwell (ph) was nervous during the storm because with a Ph.D. in civil engineering, she helped design this place.

JENNIFER LANGWELL, BABCOCK RANCH RESIDENT: I literally got my construction drawing out and I looked at the wind load that my house was designed to, and I looked at my finished floor elevation, and I looked at the road elevation, and I just mentally was crunching numbers because I was like, this is going to be bad.

WEIR: And it was. But their interconnected lakes and protected wetlands saved them from flooding. And the 700,000 solar panels in their 150 mega-watt array all held solid.

WEIR (on camera): I always assumed that solar panels and hurricanes don't mix, that it would turn them into projectiles, but you didn't lose any or --\

LANGWELL: No. That's the beautiful thing about engineering, right, is that you understand the wind loads and you understand the stress and the strain and you design to that.

WEIR (voice over): This place is the brain child of Syd Kitson, an NFL offensive lineman turned developer, who bought a massive cattle ranch, sold most of it to Florida as a nature preserve, and set out to build the cleanest, most resilient town in America.

GRANDE: Here's the elementary school. We have a field house over there which is now housing people as a shelter.

WEIR (on camera): Right.

I guess it's fitting that the mascot of Babcock High are the Trail Blazers.

GRANDE: Trail Blazers.

Everything's very well thought out here.

WEIR: I've got to say, my heart still breaks. I feel a little guilty leaving the damage -

GRANDE: Right.

WEIR: But it's a relief to come to a place unscathed like this.

GRANDE: Yes, we're feeling the guilt to being out here.

WEIR: Are you?

GRANDE: Yes, absolutely. Yes. I mean we've certainly got it really good out here.

LANGWELL: It's unfortunate to feel guilty about it. I feel relieved that we're not adding to what first responders have to deal with and that we're able to help the community. So, we have people here making meals. We're taking in laundry from sheriffs and firefighters that are in from out of town. Because we were resilient, because we were durable, we're able to help in that way.

GRANDE: So, yes, there's the -- here's the Tesla batteries. Never had to use them.

WEIR: For those people who say, oh, if you want to live a sustainable lifestyle, you've got to live in a yurt and eat straw and walk to work. This is kind of -

GRANDE: Right.

WEIR: A counter to that argument. You're not - you're not lacking for comfort.

GRANDE: No. No. In the 21st century, you don't need to do that.

WEIR: Yes.

GRANDE: It's here. The technology is here. We just need to get everybody on board.

WEIR: Right. Right.

GRANDE: So -- make it affordable for everybody to get on board.


BERMAN: And Bill Weir joins us now live from Naples, which looks very different, Bill, than that community where you were just in. And I can't believe it's, what, a dozen miles away from Ft. Myers?

WEIR: Yes, exactly. Exactly, John. And they really want to be a model. Syd Kitson, he's a little hesitant to give interviews. He doesn't want to be tooting his horn while there's so much pain going on right now.

But just to give you an example of the economics. When he went to Florida Power and Light and said I want to build this solar city. They say, I don't know, you're probably going to have to give us the land so the cost doesn't go down to the customers. He said, I'll do that. By the time they doubled the array, added another 350,000 solar panels, the price of those panels have fallen so far he didn't have to give them the land. And so it's hard to find stories of hope and solutions in the middle of all of this misery, but this is proof that you can live the Florida dream and still protect yourself in this new age of stronger storms.


BERMAN: Maybe a model for some.

Bill Weir, really fascinating story. Thank you.

All right, just in, the September jobs report is out. We'll tell you the numbers, next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: All right, just in, the September jobs report released minutes ago.

Let's get right to chief business correspondent Christine Romans with the breakdown.


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Hi there, John. Well, let's look, a lot of information released by the government, 263,000 new jobs added in the month. Now, that is a cooldown from recent months, but in normal times this would still be a pretty strong hiring plan here. So, 263,000.

When you look at the jobless rate, the jobless rate coming down here to 3.5 percent. So, the jobless rate coming down a little bit. About 57,000 people left the labor market, stopped looking for work and left the labor market. So that might be a play there overall.

But I look at these sectors, John, I see strength across the board in this hiring.


Leisure and hospitality, 83,000 net jobs added. Health care now back to pre-pandemic levels for health care employment. Professional and business systems, 46,000 there. And manufacturing, you and I talked about this earlier this morning, 22,000 jobs added there. These tend to be highly skilled, highly paid jobs. We are seeing a manufacturing boom in this country right now.

The labor force participation rate didn't change very much, still above here, about 62.3 percent. You want to see that get back to pre- pandemic levels. That would be a good thing.

It also would actually -- if more people came into the labor market, John, it would allow the jobless rate maybe to rise a little bit, which is what the Fed wants to see without necessarily big layoffs to go with it.

So, I would say this report has something for everyone here. A jobless rate back near the 50-year low of 3.5 percent. Hiring across the board here. But the pace of hiring, while strong, slowing from recent months, John.

BERMAN: All right, Christine Romans, stick around.

I want to bring in CNN international correspondent Marc Stewart.

As you look at this, this is not a surprise. This is one of those job reports that's actually within the bands of what economists were predicting. Is it welcome news, Marc?

MARC STEWART, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Right, John. Economists were predicting about 250,000 jobs added. I think this is welcome news because it's not any kind of jolt or surprise as we have seen in earlier months.

I think one thing which is important to point out, the jobs report is certainly about jobs, but it's also an important metric for the Federal Reserve to determine whether or not to raise interest rates and by how much.

Now, it's pretty much a forgone conclusion that the Fed is going to continue to raise interest rates, but this perhaps may be an indication that things are kind of moving to plan.

We want people working. There's no question about that. But when more people are working, more money is changing hands, more opportunities to spend, and that can raise demand at a time when we are trying to cool and quell demand.

So, the Federal Reserve is going to look at this and other metrics, but it shows the job market is still strong, not a huge, dramatic slowdown, but an indication that perhaps some of these interest rate hikes in the past have had some kind of impact.

BERMAN: So, Romans, what Marc is describing there is that investors are watching the Fed watching the jobs report.

ROMANS: Right.

BERMAN: Maybe hoping for perversely bad news which would be good news to investors.

ROMANS: So - right, if you saw a slowdown, a real slowdown in hiring, that would be good news for investors because it would mean that the Fed's rate hikes, six months of them now, this - it takes - it's a lagging indicator, right, so it takes six months. So, we're starting to see these rate - rate hikes at play here.

When I look at the wages number, wage is 5 percent. So, wage growth robust by historical standards but below recent months. So that's important. The Fed wants to kind of tamp down on - on wages here as part of the inflation story.

I think next week we get a whole bunch of CPI data, we get a whole bunch of inflation data. You know, I'm actually not going to try to predict how markets react to any of this stuff because it's so -- it's so chaotic how they're finding one little number in this wealth of information to try to figure out what the Fed does next.

BERMAN: But, Marc, I guess, overall, economy moving forward. People working. You know, things are progressing, though still painful with inflation.

STEWART: Absolutely. In fact, some of the data released earlier this week shows that people are still quitting their jobs. I heard from a recruiter from a top firm in New York City who said, yes, people are quitting their jobs, but they also feel confident that they can still find a job. I mean there's still nearly two jobs, roughly, for every one person. So, that's - that's kind of the reality right now, that - that there is some comfort, at least for the moment.

BERMAN: You know, and sometimes things get so complicated, which they are in this post-pandemic economy, that we forget to look at one glaring number that can be a headline. A 3.5 percent unemployment rate is really low.

ROMANS: Yes. I mean, come on, 3.5 percent. I mean that is near a 50- year low. That's near what economists consider full employment, which is why I pointed out that labor force participation number, too. I think you've had a lot of people who've left the job search because of the pandemic, because they've had trouble finding child care, for whatever reason, and you want to kind of see that number start to move higher.

I think there are just so many different cross currents at play here, it's really hard to look at one month in the labor market and kind of divine what's happening. We like to look at these trends. The trend for the unemployment rate is still very, very low and the trend for job creation is still pretty good.

I mean before the pandemic, John, you and I would sit here on these job mornings. And if I had said 263,000, we would have been screaming from the rooftops, you know, a red hot jobs market, right?

BERMAN: Right.

ROMANS: But everything has changed and everything now is in the context of inflation and the Fed's quest to cool inflation.

BERMAN: All right, very quickly, Marc, the question people really want the answer to is, recession. Is it coming or not? Are we in it? Does this increase or decrease the chances of that? Is that a knowable thing?


STEWART: Look, John, every morning I get an e-mail from an analyst or from a bank offering their take on things. And I'm sure Christine gets those very same emails.

The bottom line is this, we still have a lot of challenges. We have a war in Ukraine, we have uncertainty about energy prices, not only from the war but also from these OPEC cuts. We are dealing with pandemic concerns, supply change concerns, interest rate hikes. Look, the environment for a recession is certainly high and I think we're probably going to - it's inevitable. But as far as a timeline, that doesn't really help us here.

BERMAN: All right, Marc Stewart, Christine Romans, thank you both so much.

So, the CNN original series "Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy" is back. Ahead, Stanley Tucci joins us with a preview.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the water mint (ph). It is wild and has a strong citrus taste, orange taste.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know that once I poisoned (ph) it myself.

TUCCI: So, this is safe?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, these are safe but -

TUCCI: I'm going to make it through, right?





BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Stanley Tucci is back with an all new season of "Searching for Italy," and he's continuing his extraordinary journey through the Italian peninsula, exploring the people, places and cuisine that make each region of the country unique.

Here's a preview.


STANLEY TUCCI, HOST, "STANLEY TUCCI: SEARCHING FOR ITALY": In typical Calabria fashion, my relatives have been up day and night for half a week preparing a feast of some of our favorite dishes, like this, stockfish Cittanova style.

This is a Tropiano (ph) family dish that is very similar to the baccala (ph) and tomato sauce that I grew up with.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): This is stockfish from Cittanova. We are famous for our stockfish. They say the water in Cittanova is very good and that's why the stockfish is so good.

TUCCI: My mother would make this with -

TUCCI (through translator): With salted cod.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): We tend to use stockfish here but we eat salted cod sometimes too.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Too Salty?

TUCCI (on camera): Wow.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): It's my homegrown tomatoes.

TUCCI: It's so good.

(END VIDEO CLIP) KEILAR: Joining us now is the host of "Searching for Italy," Stanley Tucci.

Stanley, I could almost taste it just by your little happy food dance that you were doing there. But I just love this. You're going back to this region where all four of your grandparents were born and you go back there with your parents to explore your ancestral home. What was this like?

TUCCI: Well, it was exhausting. Can you imagine? I'm with my parents and 60 relatives. It was -- it was amazing. I hadn't been to Calabria in 50 years. And it was -- it was - it was extraordinary. To see -- some of those people I knew when they were much, much younger people. And then, you know, I met a whole bunch of new relatives I didn't even know I had. It was great.

BERMAN: When I went to Portugal with my wife, and I'm Portuguese, she would walk around saying, they all look like you. Look, they look like you. They look like you. I'm just curious if you went back there and, oh my God, it's like 1,000 Stanley Tucci's walking around here.

TUCCI: No. Luckily, no. They were much more attractive. And -- but it was a very varied group of people. I mean it's not as - I suppose -- you have a lot more influx in the last 50 years of different people. So, people don't look -- Italians don't look exactly the way they used to many years ago.

KEILAR: What defines this region? What do we need to know about Calabria?

TUCCI: Well, there's a lot about Calabria. You know, it's one of the fewest visited places in Italy. And the reason for that is it's still a very, very poor region. And it's where the mafia has a very stronghold. And that has kept it -- that has kept it down. And we addressed that in the - in the show as well.

But it has so many riches. It has one of the most beautiful coast lines ever, incredible produce and just - I think the thing that maybe makes Calabria really, really interesting is that the people, having suffered so much over the years from poverty and oppression, are incredibly, incredibly generous, generous people.

BERMAN: The coastline goes on forever.


BERMAN: You brought up the mafia and the corruption, Stanley. How are the people you talked to there, you met with, how are they dealing with that?

TUCCI: Well, they deal with it in any way that -- in any way that they can. They do their best. They have started sort of cooperatives that -- where they - they join together, whether they're restauranteurs or farmers or whatever, and they speak out. As soon as there is a threat, they will speak out publicly about what is happening to them. And that has a tendency to shut things down, which is good. KEILAR: Yes, that's very good.

So, tell us where else that you are going to allow us to accompany you this season, some of the highlights of these trips.


TUCCI: Well, we went to - we went to Apulia. We went to Calabria. We went to Sardinia and we went to Liguria.

KEILAR: And favorite? Favorites?

TUCCI: And Sardinia -- well, Sardinia was fascinating to me. Sardinia is like going back to Italy 30 years ago, but in a good way, not in sort of like they don't have telephones or anything. I mean it was kind of -- it was kind of amazing. The food is extraordinary. And it's very much a land of contradictions because, you know, it is this island, the biggest island in the Mediterranean, but it's also - and it's known for its seafood, it's known for its lobster, but it's also very mountainous. And there's a whole nother culture within the center of Sardinia that differentiates it from the coastal areas.

KEILAR: I cannot wait, Stanley. I actually just made my first trip to Italy, don't laugh at me here, in the last several months, but I feel like it's because I needed to give myself something in my 40s to be newly obsessed with, and I am. I cannot wait. I'm like charting the course on your show. And I thank you so much for taking the time to be with us to tell us about this new season.

TUCCI: No, no, I'm very excited about it. And thank you for having me.

KEILAR: "Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy" is going to return with all new episodes Sunday, 9:00 p.m., only here on CNN.

And we have more ahead on the September jobs report that was just released moments ago. And 263,000 jobs added in September. Stock futures are down at this hour. We're keeping an eye on that.

CNN's coverage continues after this break.