New Job Numbers, Sundance Film Reactions, Soup Basics

Air Date:
Heard On Central Time

The Sundance Film Festival gives indie movies the chance to shine on a national stage, and we talk to a Madison film critic about projects that caught his eye. We also discuss ways to get the most out of your soup, and examine the latest job numbers from the Department of Labor.

Featured in this Show

  • Latest Jobs Numbers Show Boost To Job Growth, Wages

    New numbers released on Friday by the U.S.Department of Labor show gains in wages and job growth in the country.

    The report shows that some 257,000 jobs were added to the U.S. economy in January, a rate that exceeded Wall Street predictions. The latest numbers continue a 12-month span of growth that saw at least 200,000 jobs added each month.

    Numbers from November, December and January total to more than 1 million new jobs added to the U.S. economy. The Bureau of Labor Statistics said the biggest job gains occurred in construction, health care and financial services.

    “It’s starting to appear as though (the U.S. economy) is running on all four cylinders instead of three cylinders or even on two cylinders,” said Brian Jacobsen, a portfolio strategist at Wells Fargo and professor at Wisconsin Lutheran College.

    The unemployment rate ticked up from 5.6 percent to 5.7 percent, but that’s because people are getting back into the workforce, said Jacobsen.

    “When you see unemployment rate change, it can change for a good reason or a bad reason,” he said. “In this case, the increase in the unemployment rate was actually for a good reason. It’s because there are more people who are entering into the labor force.”

    Jacobsen said the trend could be partly attributed to a combination of declining oil prices, increase in consumer confidence and continued high corporate profits.

    While the last three months have been spectacular in terms of payrolls gains, Jacobsen warned that there’s still a lot of room for improvement. Wages still aren’t growing as rapidly as what most people would like.

    “Year on year, for the entire labor force, wages went up about 2.2 percent, “ Jacobsen said. “So that’s a little above the pace of inflation, but it’s still not to the point where we could actually declare victory over some of the recessionary forces that feel like they’re dragging on the overall economy.”

  • Chef Says Key To Making Flavorful Soup Is Balance

    When chilly temperatures set in during the winter months, a warm, hearty soup can really hit the spot. For chef Leah Caplan, the trick to a flavorful soup is balance.

    “You can just put a bunch of stuff in water, turn on the heat, and then cross your fingers and hope that you get something flavorful at the end,” said Caplan — but chances are that soup will fall flat.

    Caplan, a food and branding consultant, suggests focusing on a few fundamentals to get more “bang” out of the process, starting with thinking of soup as a series of layers. At the base of the soup, typically, are browned onions.

    “I start them (on high heat), usually with olive oil,” she said. “Get a lot of steam, and then turn it down as they start to brown, and let it cook long and slow.”

    Browning onions this way gives the soup a meatiness that can’t be replicated later in the process, Caplan said. Also in the base layer, she said to consider adding a tomato or tomato paste and cooking it down until it is “brown and flavorful.” Caplan recommended this tomato-and-onion combo in meatless soups especially.

    The second “layer” can include water, stock, bones, vegetables and all the other ingredients that will make a soup unique.

    The third stage is where cooks can take one last opportunity to give their soup one last boost. Caplan said this is where vinegar, lemon juice, sherry, citrus zest and fresh herbs can be added, depending on the type of soup.

    “All those things really brighten it up and liven it up, so you’ve got a really nice balanced soup,” she said.

  • Job Numbers Up Significantly In Recent Months

    The Department of Labor reports that jobs grew steadily for the last 11 months, and payrolls are following suit. As a result, the Federal Reserve may be gearing up to increase the interest rate later this year. An economist breaks down the numbers and tells us what it means for the U.S. economy.

  • Madison Critic Brings Sundance Film Festival Back To Wisconsin

    A Madison film critic went to Park City Utah to experience last week’s Sundance Film Festival. We get his take on the latest crop of indie films and what trends to look for in the coming year of movie-watching.

  • Food Friday: Getting The Most Out Of Your Soups

    A Madison chef teaches us how to get the most out of our soups: from the best way to prepare veggies to ingredients that will make a heartier dish.

Episode Credits

  • Rob Ferrett Host
  • Veronica Rueckert Host
  • Cynthia Schuster Producer
  • Amanda Magnus Producer
  • Brian Jacobsen Guest
  • Leah Caplan Guest
  • Rob Thomas Guest