ANNOUNCER: This is NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT with Bill Griffeth and Sue Herera.
SUE HERERA, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT ANCHOR: Good evening, everyone. And welcome to the special edition of NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT.
BILL GRIFFETH, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT ANCHOR: On this Labor Day, we`re going to be taking a look at the American worker, whether you`re an entrepreneur starting a business or a woman trying to close that gap in a male-dominated industry.
But we begin tonight with a look at the nation`s employment picture. The strong job market has fuelled consumer spending which has helped power the economy. But there is evidence now that things are starting to slow down, and the gains in the months ahead may not be as strong as they once were.
Here`s Ylan Mui with that story for us tonight.
YLAN MUI, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: It`s lunchtime at Call Your Mother bagel shop in Washington, D.C., and business is heating up.
It only opened in October, but already owner Andrew Dana is looking for a second location and the workers to run it.
ANDREW DANA, CALL YOUR MOTHER CO-OWNER: We`re planning on minimum 20 people, and if it is really booming it will be more than that. So that will take us over the 100-employee mark, which is pretty crazy.
MUI: It is just one example of America`s red hot job market, now nearly nine years strong. The economy has added 21 million jobs since 2010 and unemployment is at the lowest rate since 1969, just 3.7 percent.
MARTHA GIMBEL, INDEED.COM FORMER RESEARCH DIRECTOR: This is a recovery people have counted out again and again and it just keeps trucking along.
MUI: The top three sectors for job growth this year, restaurants like Call Your Mother and other businesses in the leisure and hospitality industry. They added an average of 23,000 jobs a month. Second, professional and business services, growing by 33,000 jobs a month. And topping the list, health care, delivering 55,000 jobs a month.
But experts are starting to worry that trouble lies ahead. The economy isn`t growing as fast as it did last year, and hiring has slowed down too, averaging 165,000 jobs a month so far this year. Compare that to 227,000 jobs over the same period last year.
Retailers are struggling, shedding workers almost every month, and manufacturing has taken a hit, adding an average of just 8,000 jobs a month, down from 22,000 last year.
GIMBEL: It`s absolutely slowed down from last year, and part of what we`re seeing is just that some of those policy factors that we`ve all been discussing for a while like the trade war are starting to bite. And we are seeing companies starting to have to change their hiring practices to accommodate that volatility and uncertainty about the trade outlook that they`ve been putting off.
MUI: There`s good news for workers though. Wages are finally rising after remaining stagnant for years.
At Call Your Mother, employees can make up to $28 an hour, including tips. But it`s not just the money that attracts workers.
DANA: We also offer health insurance, 401(k). This year, we added dental and vision, free gym membership, free language classes. The fund committee is out of control.
MUI: He wants to make sure the business and bagels never get stale.
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Ylan Mui in Washington.
HERERA: Once a month on the day when the government releases its employment report, we bring you the story of an entrepreneur who had a bright idea and was able to turn it into a successful business. Tonight, we`re going to revisit a couple of those stories and find out where they are now.
We begin with a company called RapidSOS, which is helping to bring emergency service communications like 911 into the modern age. Here is the story we brought you first.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where you`re saying you`re at and where the phone says you`re at is about five miles apart.
HERERA: It`s a problem that`s dogged 911 operators. Built in the 1960s, 911 works well with landline phones. But call on a cellphone, and 911 gets only an approximate location, often using nearby cell towers, even if the call is made at a 911 call center.
JOE THOMAS, SUSSEX COUNTY EMERGENCY OPS. DIR.: It`s roughly 4,000 meters away from where we`re actually at.
HERERA: That`s why Joe Thomas` staff at the Sussex County Emergency Operations Center in Delaware is testing RapidSOS, a software allowing the existing 911 system to read more data coming from smartphones.
THOMAS: It pinpoints it right on top of the building where we`re located.
HERERA: Michael Martin got the idea after he felt like he had been followed home in New York City one night back in 2012.
MICHAEL MARTIN, RAPIDSOS CO-FOUNDER AND CEO: 911 call takers are doing heroic work in light of that challenge. But we`re giving them basically no data to manage those calls.
HERERA: In grad school, he teamed with Nicholas Horelik who volunteered on taking emergency calls on a hotline during college.
NICHOLAS HORELIK, RAPIDSOS CO-FOUNDER AND CTO: It was the same type of problem. Someone is calling in distress and we have no idea where they are.
HERERA: So, they co-founded RapidSOS. But perhaps more important than their techno-how was the four years they spent taking input from government officials, and many of the 6,500 911 call centers. In 2016, they released a free app call Haven.
HARRISON DANDREA, HIKER: I was, you know, trying to get to Grandfather Mountain State Park.
HERERA: Harrison Dandrea got lost when a thick damp fog rolled in as he hiked in North Carolina`s Blue Ridge Mountains.
DANDREA: Your mind just goes into frantic mode.
HERERA: So, he tapped the Haven app on his phone.
DANDREA: The operators told me to stay right where I was and a park ranger would be there within 15 minutes. And they were.
HERERA: For some, it can`t happen soon enough. In 2014, an FCC study said fixing 911 location issues could save more than 10,000 lives a year.
TOM WHEELER, RAPIDSOS INVESTOR: Congress talked about it. But there hasn`t been any legislation, let alone any passage of something that would make a difference.
HERERA: Tom Wheeler is one of three former FCC chairmen who has invested in RapidSOS.
WHEELER: They have built a platform that can be applicable in multiple kinds of situations, not just 911 calls.
HERERA: Those situations, upgrades to home security, car monitors like OnStar, and wearable health devices, are where RapidSOS hopes to make money.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If this were on a health wearable device, this screen is going to have health information, heart rate, blood pressure, that`s coming from a connected car.
Now, it`s the picture of the car, where was the impact, the airbags deployed, who was wearing a seatbelt, how many people on the vehicle.
HERERA: The cost, about $3 to $10 a month. It could be a small price to pay.
HORELIK: The enormity of what it is we work on here, I think that affects everybody on our team. I mean, that`s what really drives all of us.
MARTIN: This is technology that`s going to have the power to save a lot of lives.
HERERA: And RapidSOS co-founder Michael Martin joins us this evening from San Francisco.
It`s great to see you, Michael. Welcome back.
MARTIN: Good to be back. Thank you.
HERERA: Since our story aired, RapidSOS has seen a lot of big changes, not the least of which are partnerships with both Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), making location data from their phones available to 911 call centers.
How valuable has that been for all of us in general, of course, but also RapidSOS in particular?
MARTIN: Yes, it has just been extraordinary to see that work with Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), Uber and Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), to pass this life-saving data to thousands of first responder agencies in emergencies. So, we now manage close to 400,000 emergencies per day, and since launching last year we`ve managed nearly 90 million emergencies with over 5,000 lives saved statistically.
So, it`s — from where we started, it`s just extraordinary to see the impact we are having in partnership with first responders across the United States.
GRIFFETH: I think you just mentioned Uber as well. I mean, this location technology is not just for emergencies, it helps locate riders as well. How did that — how did you make the jump into that?
MARTIN: Yes, the core location technology is done by the existing providers, but what we`re providing is all of this rich content directly into 911 and first responders. So, in the case of an Uber, if there`s some sort of medical emergency or an emergency in a vehicle, not only can we pass location, but make, model, color of the vehicle, real-time route information. So, a variety of data that can really have an impact as first responders try to reach you in that incident.
HERERA: So, where is your next growth area in terms of bringing in more revenue?
MARTIN: Yes. So, if we think about just the scale of emergencies across the United States, we have close to 7 billion connected devices now that have various forms of life-saving data. And so, where we`re heading next is linking all of that content, whether it is real-time health data from a wearable, real-time crash data in a vehicle incident or data from a connected building if there`s a fire or something like that, and putting that directly into the hands of 911 and first responders.
And the impact obviously is a significantly faster, more effective response, which reduces costs across the ecosystem, particularly for insurance companies that are often paying for the damages from these incidents.
GRIFFETH: I`m curious. This all grew from this insight that you had that night when you felt like you were being followed. What do you tell to budding entrepreneurs who have a bright idea that they want to convert into a business?
MARTIN: I think what was so impactful for us was finding this community of people who believed in that mission. I mean, I was a kid that grew up in a farming community in Indiana, but fortunately found over 4,000 first responders that believed in what we were trying to do. And, ultimately, an ecosystem of partners including big tech companies like Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), Uber, et cetera.
So, I think that ecosystem really made this vision a reality.
HERERA: Best of luck to you, Michael. Can`t wait to get another update.
MARTIN: Thank you.
HERERA: RapidSOS co-founder, Michael Martin.
GRIFFETH: Now the other bright idea that we brought you before, what do you do when your passion is puzzles? Back in 2013 when video wasn`t as clear as it is now, we introduced you to David Hoyt. He quit a lucrative job to create games, word games. Now, you might even call him America`s wordsmith.
DAVID HOYT, PUZZLE CREATOR: If that`s the way — if everyone agrees, everyone has to agree. OK.
GRIFFETH: Who looks more puzzled, David Hoyt or these fifth graders? If your answer is David, that`s OK. His specialty isn`t solving puzzles. It`s making them.
HOYT: I have become the most syndicated puzzle creator in the world.
GRIFFETH: In the basement of his Chicago home, starting about 4:00 a.m. every day, he masterminds Jumble, that icon of word puzzles, syndicated in more than 600 newspapers, reaching about 70 million people every single day. And then when he`s done, there are a number of other puzzles to piece together.
HOYT: I have Word Roundup, that`s in “USA Today”. Up and Down Words, that`s in “USA Today.”
GRIFFETH: Not bad for a high school dropout who never went to college. He`s started trading options in Chicago, and he did pretty well.
But it left him puzzled about his future.
HOYT: What if I had never stopped trading? I would be the world`s biggest idiot.
GRIFFETH: He noticed a friend was inventing games.
HOYT: I decided that I`m going to quit my job, I`m going to save up a little bit of money and I`m going to instantly become successful.
Well, that didn`t quite work out.
GRIFFETH: He tried peddling this game and that in between part-time jobs for four long years.
HOYT: I had a game called “Economic Warfare”.
GRIFFETH: It was a struggle, but his “cup is half full” attitude eventually paid off.
HOYT: If it I had been successful on my first run, I would have thought — I would have thought I was much smarter than I actually was. In fact, I needed no, and then why.
GRIFFETH: In 1996, he brought a word game into Tribune Media Services, hoping to marry it to their Jumble brand. They bit and turned it into Jumble Plus. But that was just the beginning.
HOYT: My brain just thought, wow, if they`re willing to do this, maybe — how about Jumble crosswords, how about TV Jumble, how about Jumble brain busters?
GRIFFETH: He kept at the various Jumbles for 15 years, taking over the original Jumble, in 2011, when his predecessor retired, and then teaming with cartoonist, Jeff Knurek, Hoyt helped breathe new life into a brand dating back to the mid-1950s. They mixed in pop culture like Dick Tracy or Star Wars.
Hoyt also developed word games for Pat Sajak`s brand and then his own creation, Word Winder, where players aim to string words all the way across the board.
Word Winder began over beers at an English pub on Chicago`s north side. Hoyt says only that it sold tens of thousands of copies for about 20 bucks each. There was also a book and an app.
HOYT: People have to work together.
GRIFFETH: The giant classroom version? That was suggested by an Illinois school teacher. And since then, Hoyt`s education foundation has worked with teachers who often used it as a teaching tool.
HOYT: Teachers have basically demanded that we do this, because they`re not taking no for an answer. And the kids just love it. So, now, we have to do this.
KIDS: I love Word Winder!
GRIFFETH: And joining us once again from Chicago is America`s wordsmith, David Hoyt.
David, good to see you. Thanks for joining us again tonight.
HOYT: Thank you for having me.
GRIFFETH: We should point out, by the way, that anybody`s looking for the Word Winder board game, it`s out of production at the moment, right?
HOYT: It is. We are revamping the board game, so hopefully it will be back soon.
GRIFFETH: I always said that anybody that works as a floor trader is highly intelligent, and you are intellectually restless, and you certainly fit that mold. You have been able to just take opportunity after opportunity after opportunity.
Where does this go now? I mean, you are working with libraries and other educational institutions, right?
HOYT: Yes. When I first invented Word Winder or co-invented Word Winder, you know, the goal was to make a lot of money and then do some cool things. And what happened was is we realized just how hard it is to make a game.
And what happened was that we changed our focus. Once we started working with kids in schools and libraries, just I loved it. Like I love working with kids, and I didn`t even know it.
So, we started the David L. Hoyt Education Foundation. My wife, Claire, is the director of it. And now, what`s happening is we are meeting a whole bunch of different people who are coming into our lives who want to help us, and, you know, it`s taken us down a different path but I love the path. I`m very excited to be a part of it.
HERERA: What are you hearing from teachers or what did you see from teachers when you first put the game into the classroom that made you want to go down that path?
HOYT: It`s a collaborative game. Kids have to work together. We`ve gotten feedback from teachers and librarians that was just off the charts. I mean, some of them say it`s the best game of its kind. They all want it.
But what we didn`t realize was just how difficult it was to go into business and, you know, get the game made, get it sold. It was just a much bigger undertaking than we realized.
And I — I`m the kind of guy, I like to do everything myself. This is something I cannot do myself, and now I want to get as much help as possible.
GRIFFETH: My wife is a big fan of the Jumble. She does it every single morning. She will be thrilled to know I got to talk to you tonight.
Do you still get up at 4:00 a.m. and work those things out? I mean, where do those ideas come from?
HOYT: I do get up at 4:00 a.m. In fact, if I`m working at 4:00 a.m., I`m late. I feel like I`m up about 3:30 now.
HOYT: But, you know, the ideas for the Jumble I feel like come from life. I`ll be walking down the street and get an idea. But the amazing thing is, you know, I come up with the puzzle part and the words, but Jeff Knurek`s artwork is just incredible. He is just getting better and better.
So, I have a fun job of suggesting a, you know, cartoon to Jeff, and every time I get it back, it just blows my mind how great it is. So he`s a great partner to work with.
HERERA: You also have a game that you`re developing around golf at this point, which apparently is your passion, but it`s on hold a little bit because of the tariff situation?
HOYT: Yes. Yes, here is the fast version of this. I teamed up with PGA teaching pro Don Parker, who is also a former teacher in school, and he and I took the underlying giant Word Winder game play and we kind of turned it into golf words.
And it`s incredible. The feedback we are getting is just amazing. But I had learned so much, you know, going through the process of trying to develop giant Word Winder that I knew we needed some help.
Rather than try to do this myself, we teamed up with Diane Bergen, who is the former United Airlines executive, and she has done an amazing job of getting this thing prototyped and tested and made, but it is all being made in China and everything is a little bit on hold right now.
GRIFFETH: Yes. You got to work through those once in a while as well as an entrepreneur.
David Hoyt, good to see you again. Thanks for joining us tonight.
HOYT: You`re very welcome. Thank you.
HERERA: Still ahead, a labor shortage of pilots and the push to get more women to take flight.
GRIFFETH: Over the next two decades, it is estimated that hundreds of thousands of pilots will be needed worldwide and many of the major airlines are making their pitch to have women be the leaders in the cockpit.
Jane Wells has that story for us tonight from Anchorage, Alaska.
JANE WELLS, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: On an airstrip in Anchorage, Alaska, is one of the top flight schools in the country, owned and operated by a woman who started a flight school after the one she was working at didn`t like her style.
JAMIE PATTERSON-SIMES, SKYTREK ALASKA FLIGHT TRAINING OWNER: I sold my car for $8,000 and I renovated this building, and I had people knocking on my door from day one.
WELLS: Jamie Patterson-Sims of SkyTrek Alaska has been recognized as an FAA gold seal flight instructor. Yet women in the cockpit remain an oddity. Only about 6 percent of the pilot force at the top three airlines are female.
And that surprises Beverley Bass, hired by American Airlines in 1976 and its first female captain.
BEVERLEY BASS, FORMER AMERICAN AIRLINES CAPTAIN: You know, we talked about that all the time and I think for the most part, women are just still not aware that that is a job opportunity that is available to them.
WELLS: Boeing (NYSE:BA) estimates the global aviation industry will need 800,000 new pilots over the next 20 years. Men like Jesse Hefely and women like Madisen Minich, both taking lessons in anchorage with a female instructor.
JESSE HEFELY, STUDENT PILOT: She doesn`t let me get away with anything, which I appreciate.
MADISEN MINICH, STUDENT PILOT: My mom runs a huge corporation up here, so I`m super used to women telling me what to do.
WELLS: All three major U.S. airlines have stepped up pilot recruiting, targeting women specifically with financial aid for flight school. And this is an industry with no gender pay gap. Pay is based purely on things like the type of aircraft flown.
But surveys by Embry Riddle suggest passengers still are not as comfortable with women in the cockpit as men.
And Beverley Bass who has seen it all says women pilots are no better or worse than men, but they can multitask.
BASS: I know that I could cook dinner, feed a baby and talk on the telephone all at the same time.
WELLS: She hopes a new generation of women will love flying as much as she has, each with her own favorite part of the experience.
MINICH: Probably when the wheels lift off. When you first rotate the plane and you just kind of hover for a second, it is just the coolest feeling ever.
WELLS: For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Jane Wells in Anchorage, Alaska.
HERERA: There`s a program out of Syracuse University that`s described as a business boot camp. Its goal is to help female veterans become entrepreneurs.
Contessa Brewer has more on getting from the battlefield to the board room.
CONTESSA BREWER, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: Natasha Norie Standard spent 20 years in the Army.
NATASHA NORIE STANDARD, NORIE SHOES FOUNDER: I had opportunities to be a commander. I was airborne. I worked on Special Operations. I supported Special Operations around the world.
BREWER: When she retired, with all of her skills and logistics and management, she took a job at Williams Sonoma.
There were some hurdles.
STANDARD: It was the lack of camaraderie, lack of values. You know, civilian values are different than military values.
BREWER: After seven months, she quit. Though she landed an interview at Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN), Norie Standard opted to start her own business, shoes.
STANDARD: I remembered how much I loved shoes from being stationed in Italy.
BREWER: To get her shoe business off the ground, she needed a boot camp, one designed especially for entrepreneurs and especially for veterans. She found it here at Syracuse University. With an institute for veterans and military families, Syracuse is tackling the challenge of transitioning from the armed forces to civilian life.
For women, that can be especially challenging.
MAUREEN CASEY, SU INSTITUTE FOR VETERANS AND MILITARY FAMILIES: Getting their transition right is core to ensuring long term employability and financial independence.
BREWER: Maureen Casey testified before Congress about the problem. Women vet spend longing looking for work, make 30 percent less than their male counterparts and may struggle in a corporate environment.
CASEY: We have seen an uptick in the number of women that are drawn toward entrepreneurship programs, running counter to the trend where we`ve seen a decrease in veterans going into entrepreneurship.
BREWER: With lessons on business strategy, marketing, pitching to venture capitalists, the boot camp has been so successful, it`s been duplicated at eight other universities, graduating 2,000. Another program aimed specifically at helping women vets with small business skills has seen 3,000 graduates, 65 percent of whom started their own business, 90 percent of those are still operating.
For Derica Davis, the coaching is invaluable in growing her health and wellness business.
DERICA DAVIS, LEIZURE LIVING FOUNDER: These programs and the experience that you get in the military prepares you to be up for the challenges, and, you know, no matter what, you can keep persevering.
BREWER: Starbucks` former CEO Howard Schultz gave $7.5 million to help fund this effort and corporate partners include J.P. Morgan Chase, PepsiCo, Walmart, Lockheed Martin (NYSE:LMT), Prudential, the private sector stepping up to help veterans put their best feet forward.
In Syracuse, Contessa Brewer, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT.
GRIFFETH: And coming up, what one state is doing to recruit younger workers.
HERERA: One place looking for workers is Vermont. The state is offering incentives to help lure people to live and work there. One goal is to bring in younger workers.
Kate Rogers (NYSE:ROG) is on the job in Burlington.
KATE ROGERS, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: For Collin Palkovitz remote work means freedom.
COLLIN PALKOVITZ, REMOTE WORKER: I really value working remotely, just innately. It enables me to be wherever I want to be and to have my family be with me in a setting that we choose and a location and a culture that we choose.
ROGERS: The 37-year old has worked remotely for the better part of his career with Pure Charity, a technology nonprofit.
He and his family were based outside of Los Angeles but decided they wanted to buy a home and own some land. So they packed up their two kids and dog into an RV and drove 25,000 miles across the country for six months, looking for the perfect place to plant roots. They ended up in Vermont this past January.
Palkovitz took advantage of the state`s new remote worker grant program which offers incentives of up to $10,000 to workers who do the majority of their work remotely, to keep their jobs and move to Vermont. Palkovitz says he got some $4,500 reimbursed for his move.
State officials say this is a way to attract a new and potentially younger tax base in the face of an aging population that`s slowly growing in a historically tight labor market.
In fact, Fitch Ratings recently downgraded the state in part over age demographics.
SEN. MICHAEL SIROTKIN (D), VERMONT: We have incredibly low unemployment. We hear from the business community all the time that they`re looking for workers and skilled workers. And this seems to be one small piece of the puzzle to try and get new people to come to our state.
ROGERS: So far, nearly 60 remote workers have taken advantage of the program with an average age of 38, an average grant of around $3,800. Come January, a new phase of the program will begin — new worker grants. This will offer up to $7,500 for out-of-state residents to relocate to Vermont and work for companies based in the state like this Darn Tough Vermont. The sock manufacturer is experiencing record growth but needs workers to keep up.
BROOKE KAPLAN, DARN TOUGH VERMONT: We`re going to redouble our workforce in a matter of years and we really need to work in partner with the state to get those workers.
ROGERS: For Palkovitz who now lives on 64 acres in Pawlet, on the border of New York state, with his family, the grant program presented the opportunity to make a needed change.
PALKOVITZ: This is something that we`ve always dreamed of doing, is living out on a lot of land.
ROGERS: For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Kate Rogers (NYSE:ROG) in Burlington, Vermont.
HERERA: Thanks for watching this special edition of NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT. I`m Sue Herera.
GRIFFETH: I`m Bill Griffeth. Have a great evening. We`ll see you tomorrow.
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