Apply for a Job? Take a Test

Morning Money Memo:

Many employers are becoming a lot more picky about who they hire. New research from the employment firm Challenger Gray and Christmas finds young workers who apply for jobs are tested for their skills after they leave school. "Employers are now starting to use something similar to an SAT test for people coming out of school," CEO John Challenger says. "Employers more and more as they need skilled workers are also insisting that those workers really do have those skills." Challenger says there is a "skills gap" and that many workers need more education. "Today companies are no longer willing to let people learn on the job," he said. "Really, they want them back at school learning. So they are giving people tests to see whether they have that know-how or not."

Remember the famous phrase from the 2012 election campaign when Mitt Romney spoke of the 47 percent of Americans who paid no income taxes? New research from the Tax Policy Center think-tank says that number has now fallen to 43 percent as the economy recovers from the 2008 recession and financial crisis. The total actually was at 50 percent when the economy hit bottom. The percentage of non-income taxpayers is likely to remain relatively high for years to come, according to the analysis. The number rose in recent years as more popular tax breaks were approved by Congress. The issue became a hotly debated part of last year's campaign when candidate Romney was recorded at a private fundraising event saying 47 percent were "dependent upon government," and would vote for President Obama "no matter what."

A major shakeup could be coming in the radio industry. The Wall Street Journal says broadcaster Cumulus Media is "close to acquiring one of the country's largest syndicators of radio programming, Dial Global Inc., according to people familiar with the matter." People familiar with the proposed transaction said it would be for $260 million in cash, part of which would be used to pay off Dial's debt. The deal is subject to approval by federal antitrust regulators and could close by the end of this year. "A Cumulus-Dial combination would create a meaningful, albeit smaller, competitor to Clear Channel Communications Inc.'s Premiere Networks and Walt Disney Co.'s ESPN Radio," the Journal reported.

The strength of the U.S. economy helped lift the dollar to a four-week high against foreign currencies, and boost stock prices. The positives included stronger-than-expected U.S. 2nd quarter GDP growth and a strong report on housing sales and prices from RealtyTrac. This week on Wall Street began with a frenzied sell-off as worries grew about a likely U.S. military attack on Syria. But the week may end with gains. Futures rose again this morning after two straight days of gains for the Dow Jones index and other averages. The Nasdaq was the market's biggest gainer with a rise of 27 points. The price of oil is well off the peak level reached three days ago. This morning West Texas crude is at $108 a barrel.

Stock prices of major airlines rose amid signs that the merger between American and US Airways might go ahead after all. A federal bankruptcy court judge appears to support it. "I'm finding the arguments in favor of confirmation fairly persuasive," Judge Sean H. Lane said from the bench. He could sign off on American's restructuring plan at the next hearing Sept. 12 or in a written decision. The airlines and the Justice Department say they're open to settling the government's lawsuit aimed at blocking the merger.

Krispy Kreme Doughnuts left a bad taste in investor's mouths. The doughnut chain's shares sank sharply after it reported a disappointing fiscal 2nd quarter profit and weak outlook. Krispy Kreme's net profit slipped to $4.7 million from $4.9 million a year ago.

Richard Davies Business Correspondent ABC News Radio Twitter: daviesabc

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