Blinken postpones China trip amid balloon tensions, jobs report shows gain of 517,000 jobs: 5 Things podcast

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On today's episode of the 5 Things podcast: Secretary of State Antony Blinken postpones his trip to China amid tensions after a Chinese surveillance balloon was spotted flying over Montana.

USA TODAY Personal Finance and Market Reporter Elisabeth Buchwald has some good news about the U.S. economy and jobs. Plus, bitter cold in the Northeast sets records. Associate Medical Director at the National Alliance for Mental Illness Dr. Christine Crawford talks about how to talk to your kids about the police beating, death and subsequent video of Tyre Nichols and Marie Kondo has given up on tidying.

Podcasts: True crime, in-depth interviews and more USA TODAY podcasts right here.

Hit play on the player above to hear the podcast and follow along with the transcript below. This transcript was automatically generated, and then edited for clarity in its current form. There may be some differences between the audio and the text.

Taylor Wilson:

Good morning. I'm Taylor Wilson, and this is Five Things You Need to Know, Saturday, the 4th of February, 2023.

Today, the latest on the controversy surrounding a Chinese surveillance balloon, plus some positive January jobs numbers, and how to talk with your kids about the brutal beating of Tyre Nichols.

Secretary of State Anthony Blinken has postponed a trip to China, after a Chinese surveillance balloon was detected drifting over the US. Biden administration officials said, that's a clear violation of sovereignty and international law. The Pentagon is called the object, a spy balloon.

China, though, disputes that characterization, calling it a civilian airship that blew off course. The Chinese government said the airship is used for meteorological and other research, a story US officials aren't buying, but they said shooting it down poses too high a risk to people and property on the ground.

Meanwhile, the Pentagon last night acknowledged reports of a second Chinese surveillance balloon, flying over Latin America. January jobs numbers are out, and once again, it appears that the recession boogeyman is staying away, for now.

USA Today personal finance and markets reporter, Elisabeth Buchwald, has the latest. Elisabeth, welcome back to Five Things.

Elisabeth Buchwald:

Thank you for having me on again.

Taylor Wilson:

So the January jobs report is out. What did we learn?

Elisabeth Buchwald:

Big surprise on the jobs number. A lot of economists out there were expecting something around 180,000 jobs added last month.

It was 517,000 jobs, pushing the unemployment rate down to the lowest it's been since 1969. So that's 3.4%. Pretty incredible.

Taylor Wilson:

What are the industries that are hiring at a healthy rate right now, and who in particular is laying off workers?

Elisabeth Buchwald:

Industries that are hiring? Leisure and hospitality was the biggest one last month, and then, you see professional services and healthcare.

Healthcare's been pretty strong for the past several years, so that's not a surprise there. Leisure and hospitality, you figure that they're still making up for some of these shortages that they had.

And professional services is a fairly broad category, so it includes things like clerical work, it's just, there's a lot of hiring that can be done there. So that to me is not a huge surprise.

Now, people who are seeing this reporter are saying, "Well, why aren't those big tech layoffs showing up?" And that is where the biggest layoffs have been, although we've gotten some other layoff news from corporations like FedEx, who aren't directly connected to tech, but the reason they aren't showing up is, because the overall jobs added are so much heavier than the jobs lost.

Taylor Wilson:

Elisabeth, I talked to you earlier this week about Federal Reserve rate hikes. Could you just explain a little bit why the Federal Reserve is looking for job gains and wage growth to actually slow down a little?

Elisabeth Buchwald:

One thing I'd like to point out first, and this hasn't been highlighted in a lot of the jobs they reporting, but the Fed actually had the jobs report data, to make their decision on Wednesday that was released for the general public on Friday, of course, they can't share that information with the general public, that they knew that it was going to be this big jobs number. So I think that's interesting, and that kind of informed their decision to make this smaller increase, or at least allowed them to pave the way there.

Now the Fed wants to see employment slow down, because they say it's much too high right now, in terms of the job openings, there's about 11 million, and that is well above what we've seen in the past. It's historically high level, and to get inflation down, unfortunately, there has to be an economic slowdown. You can't keep having wages grow forever, because then that just fuels inflation more.

Taylor Wilson:

So what do these job numbers tell us about whether we're in a recession, or not?

Elisabeth Buchwald:

I mean, if you're going to say we're in a recession, it's really, really hard to say that, because of the level of jobs that we added last month. That's not to say that it's a good picture, going forward, but a lot of economists out there thought this is going to be the report where we really start to see the slowdown. It wasn't. It really wasn't.

And there's a reason to cast a little bit of doubt, just because there's some seasonal variation, and a lot of economists out there are saying, January is the first month of the year where they sometimes take into account new calculations. So you could see the numbers get revised down next month, although, for December jobs numbers, they were also revised up this month. So you never really know, but certainly, hard to say there's a recession with this jobs report.

Taylor Wilson:

All right, Elisabeth Buchwald, thanks so much, as always.

Elisabeth Buchwald:

Thank you.

Taylor Wilson:

The wind chill at the summit of New Hampshire's Mount Washington dropped to 108 degrees below zero last night. Climate scientist Brian Brettschneider says that's probably the lowest windchill ever recorded in the United States.

A record daily low was also set in Boston and minus eight degrees. The temperatures and wind chills are part of a wave of bitter cold on the East Coast this weekend. The AP reports that a blast of Arctic Air reached the region, just as a storm system rapidly intensified over the Canadian Maritimes. Temperatures are expected to warm up again, beginning tomorrow.

In the wake of the brutal police beating of Tyre Nichols, his death and the subsequent video, it can be daunting talking to kids about such traumatic events, but ignoring the world's trauma isn't the answer.

That's what Dr. Christine Crawford says. She's the associate medical director at the National Alliance for Mental Illness, and she has more insight with USA Today producer, Zuleka Mathu.

Zuleka Mathu:

In your view, what is happening to us when we see graphic footage like this?

Dr. Christine Crawford:

When we see this type of graphic images, it really just brings up memories of all of the trauma that collectively people of color have experienced over the years. And seeing these images of black bodies being brutally beaten, being traumatized, it certainly reminds people of color that they are vulnerable in this world, and that their safety cannot always be guaranteed, and that certainly makes individuals not feel comfortable with their day to day, and can result in a heightened sense of anxiety.

Zuleka Mathu:

With kids, what can we do as parents and educators to, I guess, protect them? I think it's unrealistic to say, we can shield them from the information. How can we talk to them about it?

Dr. Christine Crawford:

It's important for kids to be informed about what is happening in the world. Well, at the same time, as adults in the lives of these children, it is important for us to have ongoing conversations about what this content really means, and how it's impacting the children who are exposed to it.

We can't just assume that kids know exactly what is going on, just because it's in the newspapers, or on social media, people are talking about it on an ongoing basis. We need to be curious with our kids to see how they're processing this material. How are they making sense of it, and what does it mean for them? I think, when it comes to children, we have to make sure that we're engaging in conversations that are developmentally appropriate.

The conversation that you may have with a kindergartner about the videos that are coming out, certainly is going to be different from a conversation that you would have with a teenager. So when it comes to our younger kids, who may be exposed to these videos, they may approach you with some questions, and I encourage adults not to ignore the questions, not to dismiss some of the questions that are coming up from our younger kids, but to lean into them, and to ask them, "I wonder, why is it that you're asking me this question?"

So young kids are really concerned about their safety, and mainly, the safety having to do with their immediate family members, and with their own safety. So if you can talk to them about safety, talk to them about what sort of measures you put in place within your family, that can provide some reassurance.

When it comes to our older kids that are teenagers, again, it's about checking in to seeing what they're talking about with their peers, what they're talking about at school, how they're processing the information, where are they receiving their information from?

Is it mainly from social media? Is it through the news, or is it just through conversations with their friends? And again, to do that modeling, in which you're talking about how you're dealing with the information, whether that's talking to your own friend, whether that's turning off your phone, not checking your social media feeds as often, or maybe just engaging in other activities that doesn't require the use of any screens, and just talking about how you're unplugging, because being constantly exposed to this material is difficult for you. So be mindful of the age of your kid, when you're having these types of conversations.

Taylor Wilson:

Marie Kondo famously loves mess, but with three kids at home now she's lost interest in cleaning it up. The Japanese businesswoman who established herself as the mogul of tidying up is now a mom of three, and has found there's more to life than keeping a house perfectly clean and compartmentalized.

During a virtual tea ceremony, attended by the Washington Post, Kondo said, "Up until now, I was a professional tidier, so I did my best to keep my home tidy at all times. I have kind of given up on that, in a good way, for me. Now I realize, what is important to me is, enjoying spending time with my children at home."

Some have been upset by what they see as betrayal from their tidiness hero, but others say Kondo is staying consistent with her same message, as always. Does this spark joy? Read more about her new perspective with a link in today's show notes.

Thanks for listening to Five Things. You can find us every day of the week right here, wherever you're listening, right now.

James Brown is back with the Sunday edition tomorrow. And I'll be back Monday, with more of Five Things, from USA Today.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Blinken postpones China trip amid balloon tensions, jobs report shows big gains