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  • iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — Jobless claims slumped last week, decreasing by 15,000, according to the latest figures released Thursday by the Labor Department.For the week ending Jan. 14, the number of people filing for benefits fell from a revised level of 249,000 the previous week to 234,000.The Labor Department said there were no "special factors" impacting that week's figures.The four-week moving average decreased by 10,250 to 246,750.Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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  • ABC News(WASHINGTON) — The owner of a gift store across from the White House has been selling presidential merchandise since the '80s and has his own way of predicting who will win the election every four years -- button sales.“Since 1988, I’ve been predicting who would win based on button sales that year," White House Gifts store owner Jim Warlick said. "We predicted it right every time except for Gore in 2000. And this time we got it wrong.”The gift shop staff had planned “to turn the store into the Hillary inauguration location," Warlick said. "We had no Trump inaugural [items] and we had no vendors that had anything."Warlick says it took a few days to stock up on goods related to President-elect Donald Trump's inauguration, but now the store shelves are full.Before election day, the most popular campaign items for sale at White House Gifts featured each candidate's slogan.“The best-selling [Trump] item during the campaign was the red hat, ‘Make America Great Again.’ And then the ‘Stronger Together’ Hillary items were big sellers for her,” he said.But the candidate whose merchandise flew off the shelves more than any other's didn't make it past the Democratic primary. “Bernie [Sanders] items sold better all year than Trump or Hillary,” Warwick said.As the shop gears up for Trump’s inauguration, Warlick is cognizant of the fact that his customers will be a mix of supporters and protesters of the incoming administration. He says they have merchandise for sale that caters to both groups.Warlick estimates he has sold over 10 million pieces of political memorabilia over more than three decades. He first began selling inaugural merchandise in 1980 when President Ronald Reagan took office. He says sales of inauguration memorabilia really picked up during Bill Clinton's inauguration in 1993.But, according to Warlick, no president to date can compete with the excitement surrounding Barack Obama's inauguration in 2009.That inaugural, which drew an estimated 1.8 million people, “was unlike any other,” Warlick said. “There were so many people here, the store was packed; they were down the street and around the corner. Anything with Obama’s face on it would sell.”And he soon realized the president was not the only Obama in high demand. His customers started asking for items with the first lady's image, too."They liked Michelle better than they liked the president,” Warlick said.The popularity of Obama merchandise has continued over his two terms, so the store has created a “legacy line” of items that they plan to offer through the spring.Learn more about Jim Warlick and the next chapter for the White House Gifts store in the video below.
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  • iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — Wilbur Ross, President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for Commerce Secretary, is set to testify at his confirmation hearing Wednesday before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation.On Nov. 30, Trump announced his intent to nominate Ross, a billionaire Wall Street investor who amassed a fortune restructuring failed companies primarily in the manufacturing and steel industries, earning him the moniker, the “King of Bankruptcy.”The Trump transition says Ross will be “instrumental” in implementing Trump’s America First economic plan, which aims to create more than 25 million jobs in the next decade.“Together, we will take on the special interests and stand up for American jobs,” Trump noted in a news release tapping Ross for Commerce. “Wilbur knows that cutting taxes for working families, reducing burdensome government regulations and unleashing America's energy resources will strengthen our economy at a time when our country needs to see significant growth.”While he was one of Trump’s strongest backers during the presidential campaign, Ross, 79, is a former registered Democrat.But his relationship with Trump dates back to the 1990s, when Ross represented investors who were considering whether to oust Trump from his perch as head of his Taj Mahal casino in Atlantic City. Ross reportedly believed the casinos would remain profitable if Trump were to stay on — allowing Trump to save his image, according to The New York Times. Trump sold his interest in the Trump Taj Mahal in 2009 and the casino closed last October after enduring years of financial losses.As the owner of the Sago mine, Ross was accused of ignoring safety regulations that cost the lives of 12 miners in the 2006 disaster. Days after the mine explosion, Ross defended his company's management of the mine amid multiple warning signs in the form of previously-issued safety citations.If confirmed, Ross would take over for Penny Prtizker, another billionaire, though loyal to President Obama. Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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  • iStock/Thinkstock(DALLAS) — Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is scheduled to testify in a multi-billion dollar lawsuit against his company Tuesday. The case relates to Facebook’s 2014 purchase of Oculus, the virtual reality headset maker. Zenimax — a suburban Dallas company — claims that Oculus was created using stolen technology and that Facebook knew that when it made the buy.Zenimax is seeking $2 billion in damages, the amount Facebook paid in the deal to buy Oculus, Business Insider reports. Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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  • Walmart(WASHINGTON) — Continued expansion is expected to open up about 34,000 more job opportunities for Walmart, the retail giant announced Tuesday. Fifty-nine new Walmart and Sam’s Club facilities, expansions and relocations will generate about 10,000 retail jobs, with another 24,000 construction jobs to come with building projects at new and existing locations."Walmart is investing to better serve customers,” Walmart executive vice president for corporate affairs Dan Bartlett said in a company statement Tuesday. “With a presence in thousands of communities and a vast supplier network, we know we play an important role in supporting and creating American jobs. Our 2017 plans to grow our business — and our support for innovation in the textile industry — will have a meaningful impact across the county.”Walmart’s plans for expansion and remodeling are part of the retailer’s $6.8 billion capital investment in the U.S., set to take place over the coming fiscal year. Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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