• 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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  • EDUARDO MUNOZ ALVAREZ/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Critics are gearing up for a confirmation fight Thursday over Steven Mnuchin -- Donald Trump’s pick for treasury secretary -- who previously ran a bank that has faced criticism over its foreclosure record.Mnuchin, a Goldman Sachs veteran and former Hollywood producer, and a group of investors bought up the remains of the failed IndyMac Bank in 2009, renaming it OneWest Bank, during the financial crisis.Although he rebuilt the bank into a thriving operation, Mnuchin's bank has been accused by housing advocates of seeking to kick people out of their homes quickly and discriminating against minorities.Senate Democrats who oppose his nomination have been soliciting personal stories from people who say they were victimized by OneWest’s practices ahead of Mnuchin’s hearing.California-based IndyMac Federal Bank, which was a leading subprime lender, failed in July 2008 and control was transferred to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.Mnuchin led a group of investors and bought most of the bank’s assets at an auction held by the FDIC for about $1.3 billion in cash. The FDIC agreed to cover almost all the loan losses from soured mortgages and the lender was renamed OneWest, which soon became profitable again.By August 2015, Mnuchin and his partners sold the bank for around $3.4 billion in cash and stock to CIT Group Inc.Since the FDIC, which supervises banks, agreed to absorb the costs on the majority of the losses on the bad loans, some have questioned whether Mnuchin made money off the housing calamity, which devastated many communities, including in California.During Mnuchin’s time overseeing OneWest, the bank carried out 36,000 foreclosures in California, according to the California Reinvestment Coalition, an advocacy group.The CRC based its information on data collected by PropertyRadar, a company which specializes in foreclosure data, and analysis from the Urban Strategies Council, an Oakland-based activist group.The CRC also claims, based on analysis from a freedom of information request to the FDIC, that the bank had completed enough foreclosures as of 2014 to garner some $1 billion in loss share payments from the FDIC, relating to losses concerning IndyMac and another bank it had partially aquired."Mr. Mnuchin’s nomination and his track record... make[s] it clear, the fox has been nominated to guard the henhouse," said Paulina Gonzalez, executive director of the California Reinvestment Coalition.The California Reinvestment Coalition, along with another advocacy group called Fair Housing Advocates of Northern California, filed a federal discrimination complaint with the Department of Housing and Urban Development against OneWest in mid-November, more than a week and a half before Mnuchin was announced as Trump’s Treasury pick.The complaint alleges that OneWest violated the Fair Housing Act by allegedly failing to open branches near communities of color and offering few mortgage loans to minority applicants. The complaint cites instances of alleged violations as early as 2011 but the investigation that prompted the debate started in April 2014 and carried through 2016. No bank officials -- including Mnuchin -- are specifically named in the complaint but he did not sell the bank until August 2015 so the issues would have allegedly taken place partially during his tenure.Sean Coffey, the communications manager for the CRC, told ABC News that they have not yet heard if HUD has accepted the complaint.When a spokesman for CIT Group, which now owns OneWest, was asked to comment on the allegations made by the CRC and on the status of the complaint, he responded with the following statement.“CIT completed the acquisition of OneWest Bank in August 2015. Since that time, CIT has and continues to remain committed to meeting the credit and banking needs of borrowers in our communities,” Matt Klein, director of communications and
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  • American Airlines(NEW YORK) -- American Airlines has joined other carriers in offering customers "Basic Economy" fares.In a press release Wednesday, the airline said the new, lower fares will be available starting Feb. 10 in select markets and expanding to other markets later in the year."American Airlines now has something to offer every customer, from those who want simple, low-price travel to those who want an ultra-premium experience via First Class," American Airlines President Robert Isom said in a statement. "Importantly, this new fare product also gives American the ability to compete more effectively with the growing number of ultra low-cost carriers."With "Basic Economy" fares, customers can expect the same in-flight experience -- free drinks, snacks and free entertainment options -- as all other passengers in the main cabin. However, they will not get their seat assignments until they check in and they will be among the last boarding group.Customers will also not be allowed to stow a carry-on item in the overhead bin without incurring a cost, and they will no be able to upgrade, refund or change their tickets.
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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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  • Bill Pugliano/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Plans announced Tuesday by automotive giant General Motors to add or keep 7,000 American jobs and invest $1 billion in United States manufacturing -- later touted by President-elect Donald Trump on Twitter as part of a "big jobs push back into the U.S." -- were actually "years in the making," according to the company.In a statement, GM said the investments will "cover multiple new vehicle, advanced technology and component projects," culminating in 1,500 of the jobs, a combination of new and existing positions. The Detroit-based manufacturer said it also intends to shift some production work from Mexico back to the U.S.The timing of the announcement raised suggestions that claims by Trump contributed to the company's actions. Throughout his presidential campaign and ensuing transition, Trump made the collapse of American manufacturing and outsourcing of jobs -- particularly to Mexico and China -- a focal point of his platform and his administration's plans.
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