Marketplace

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Award-winning Marketplace is public radio's daily magazine on business and economics news "for the rest of us." The 30-minute program—with an irreverent reporting style all its own—airs weekday evenings on more than 320 public radio stations nationwide and boasts the largest audience for any business program in the United States on radio, cable or network television. In conjunction with Marketplace Morning Report and Marketplace Money, this trio of financial programming covers listeners from wallet to Wall Street.

Cheaper fuel, cheaper flights. But not for you.

8 hours ago
Sabri Ben-Achour

A gallon of jet fuel will cost you around $1.66 a gallon these days. That’s down 40 percent from what it was this time last year.

At Harvard, even the meat smoker is smart

8 hours ago
Sam Kaplan

On a quest to invent a smart smoker, a Harvard engineering class is partnering with Williams-Sonoma. Over the last few months, junior-year engineering students have smoked more than 200 pounds of brisket. The result? Well, as a self-admitted meat lover, I figured the only way to really know was to take a bite.

It wasn't hard to find the class. The mesquite aroma led me right to teaching assistant Peyton Nesmith. The Alabama native is tending a 300 pound, black, hour glass shaped ceramic smoker. The contraption is covered with wires, gadgets and gizmos.

Late springs warms up housing

8 hours ago
Mitchell Hartman

Spring and summer are often a hopeful time for anyone involved in the housing economy. Houses show well; potential buyers go looking; homebuilders are building.

Bad winter weather in early 2015 made for a poor start to the year for housing. But figures for April suggest the housing economy might finally be on the rebound. “Improvement in housing really has been a missing piece to this recovery,” says Michael Baele, managing director of U.S. Bank’s wealth management division. “And we are encouraged to see some better numbers.”

Here are some key recent housing indicators:

The oil economy, as measured in hotdogs and U-Hauls

8 hours ago
Annie Baxter

You can learn a lot about the economy in Williston, N.D., based on Mitch Petrasek’s recent hotdog consumption. 

When I met him in March outside the U-Haul where he was working in Williston, the capital of the state’s oil patch, he had eight dogs lined up on a grill.

“I'll eat two now, two for dinner and two for breakfast,” he says. The remaining two, he says, would be offered to his boss.

Petrasek’s diet did include a few other things, like power bars and granola bars — the kind of stuff that didn't need to be warmed up or refrigerated.

Marketplace for Friday, May 22, 2015

May 22, 2015

Why the CPI doesn't figure in the Fed's calculations

May 22, 2015
Tim Fitzsimons

The Consumer Price Index rose by 0.1 percent last month, according to figures out Friday. You could think of it as one more piece of evidence in the "no inflation" pile.

The CPI is used for a variety of things, particularly in adjusting rent and wages, as well as "in private contracts to escalate values of money ... by the government ... to adjust social security, and so forth," says Steve Reed, an economist at the Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics who works on the CPI.

Egg-tastrophe

May 22, 2015
Sally Herships

You may not know it, but we have an egg-tastrophe on our hands. Thanks to bird flu, an estimated 31 million chickens have been killed — that’s 10 percent of the country’s egg-producing poultry.

Randy Pesciotta, vice president of the egg department at Urner Barry, a commodity market news reporting service, says prices for wholesale eggs have almost doubled, and it's the wholesale market that's going to feel the pinch of higher prices first.

You Wallet: Generations

May 22, 2015
Marketplace Weekend Staff

On the next episode of Marketplace Weekend, we're looking at your money across the years.

We want to know: What's the first thing you ever saved up to buy?

Send us your memories of your first purchases and how much they cost. 

PODCAST: Disappearing grocery stores

May 22, 2015
Noel King

The guessing game over when interest rates will go up ... continues. More on that. Plus, we all know what a 'leap year' is, but what about a 'leap second'? On June 30th, an extra second will be added to the world's clocks to make up for the discord between the earth's rotation and the clocks we humans use. And while it may not seem like much, it's a big deal to the world's markets. Plus, residents in the struggling city of Flint, Michigan, have seen their share of hardship over the years.

Marketplace Morning Report for Friday, May 22, 2015

May 22, 2015

Grocery store exodus has Flint searching for answers

May 22, 2015
Adam Allington

Residents in the struggling town of Flint, Michigan, have seen their share of hardship over the years.

In addition the catastrophic loss of manufacturing jobs and subsequent blight, the city is also struggling to provide groceries to its poorest residents.

Jason Lorenz, a public information officer at Flint City Hall, has a wall map showing the city boundaries. One thing that’s rapidly disappearing from the map are grocery stores.

Insuring governments against disease outbreaks

May 22, 2015
D Gorenstein

In the wake of the Ebola outbreak in Africa, a new plan has emerged to guard against future risk: insurance for disease outbreaks. The idea is to help protect governments and industry against the costs of pandemics. A San Francisco firm announced $30 million in funding for the idea this week.

Another Y2K moment? The 'leap second.'

May 22, 2015
Mitchell Hartman

On June 30, at midnight Greenwich Mean Time/Coordinated Universal Time, an extra second will be added to the world’s master clocks so that they sync up with the earth’s rotation, which does not precisely match the clocks and computers we earthlings use.

Financial exchanges and firms that depend on precise pricing and transaction data are planning for this so-called "leap second" down the micro-second.

Marketplace Tech for Friday, May 22, 2015

May 22, 2015
Marketplace

The impact of Baltimore's $100 million investment

May 22, 2015
Noel King and Caitlin Esch

Phyllis Young has a full life: three children, five grandchildren, a mortgage and a job she loves. Eleven years ago, Young, a geriatric nurse's assistant, was making $8 an hour and hoping to boost her wages to $12. She hit a stroke of luck.

Baltimore, in 1994, won a federal contest aimed at alleviating poverty in urban cores. Six cities were given a federal grant of $100 million each as well as a package of tax breaks for businesses and employers. The money and tax credits were intended to revitalize each city's poorest neighborhoods, which were called Empowerment Zones.

Hillary's new LinkedIn résumé

May 21, 2015
Tim Fitzsimons

Hillary Clinton is not the first person to get on LinkedIn — about 115 million Americans joined before her.  Nor is she the first 2016 contender. Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, and others already have profiles there.

"The difference between Hillary Clinton and every single other candidate running, including Jeb Bush, is she has universal recognition already," says Larry Sabato, the director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia. 

This argument is similar to the one being made by her campaign. They say everyone knows her name, but few know the real Hillary.

Blake Farmer

The number of farmers markets has more than quadrupled over the last 20 years, according to the USDA. The trouble has become defining what a farmers market is.

One of the country’s larger markets is going through a painful process of purging vendors who don’t meet a new “producer-only” standard.

“There’s nothing here. There’s no farmers,” retiree Walter Gentry says with a laugh, which echoes through the empty sheds of the Nashville Farmers’ Market. “I thought I could get some peaches here.”

Cars: hardware or software?

May 21, 2015
Kai Ryssdal

Modern technology and the law are running smack into each other at highway speeds.

At a recent copyright hearing, a lawyer for General Motors said that even after you pay off your car — even after you own every last nut, bolt, creak and rattle — GM still owns the software that basically makes modern day cars go.

What, then, are you doing when you buy a car? You're licensing the software.

Jack Dorsey: Twitter founder, Square CEO, punk

May 21, 2015
Kai Ryssdal, Tommy Andres and Mukta Mohan

You have about a 0.00006 percent chance of starting a billion-dollar business. Jack Dorsey didn't just start one — he's got two.

Dorsey was 29 when he launched Twitter with his pals Evan Williams, Biz Stone and Noah Glass back in 2006. His handle, @Jack, is Twitter's first personal account.

Marketplace for Thursday, May 21, 2015

May 21, 2015

PODCAST: New York as a lesson in economics

May 21, 2015
David Brancaccio

A new report from the OECD shows income inequality in many parts of the world including the U.S. The data shows the gap between the rich and poor is seven times larger than it was in the '80s. Plus, our senior economics contributor Chris Farrell talks about the economic lessons learned and taught by New York City.

How the Disney 'ecosystem' works

May 21, 2015
Nova Safo

Disneyland in California turns 60 this summer, and it's kicking off festivities with a big party this weekend. Revelers can stay overnight at Disney's theme parks in California and Florida.

But Disney, the media company, has more than a birthday to celebrate. A couple of weeks ago it reported second quarter profits that beat expectations—led by its theme parks and the film Frozen.

How can a film from two years ago still be a profit maker for the company?

Parent Gap Inc. benefits as Old Navy gets stylish

May 21, 2015
Gigi Douban

Clothing retailer Gap Inc. reports first-quarter results on Thursday. Revenue in 2014 totaled $16.2 billion, up 3.2 percent from the previous year. For the last four quarters, profit has gone up year-over-year by an average of 4 percent. But there's an interesting fragmentation within parent company Gap Inc. Last fiscal year, store sales fell 5 percent at Gap stores; Banana Republic's sales were also unimpressive. But at Old Navy, sales went up 5 percent.

Old Navy started out as a place where the whole family could pick up cheap fleece jackets and tank tops.

Marketplace Tech for Thursday, May 21, 2015

May 21, 2015
Marketplace

Currency control sits uneasily in trade deal

May 20, 2015
Tracey Samuelson

Congress is debating whether or not to attach some new rules about what countries can and can't do with their currencies to a pending "fast track" trade bill, which would allow Congress to vote on free trade deals but not filibuster or amend them. 

My First Job: Video dating service

May 20, 2015
Robert Garrova

Melissa O’Neil’s first job was working the front desk for a dating service, but this was before the days of sites like eHarmony or Match.com

“Back in the day before the internet, they would actually take videos of people doing all the things they do in the online forms now,” O’Neil says.

According to O’Neil, sometimes customers’ dating videos had outtakes.

“The guys very much got in trouble and had to be edited for saying things about what they were looking for … and women were more on the side of saying things about themselves that they shouldn’t have said.”

Marketplace for Wednesday, May 20, 2015

May 20, 2015

Rate rigging in London affects U.S. consumers

May 20, 2015
Nancy Marshall-Genzer

The Justice Department says five big banks have agreed to plead guilty to manipulating foreign exchange markets: Barclays, Citibgroup, JPMorgan Chase, Royal Bank of Scotland and UBS. UBS also pleaded guilty to skewing a benchmark rate called LIBOR.

LIBOR, the London Interbank Offered Rate, is what big banks charge each other for loans. Lots of consumer loans with variable interest rates are based on it, such as adjustable-rate mortgages, private student loans and car loans.

The job application for Al-Qaeda

May 20, 2015
Kai Ryssdal

On Wednesday, the U.S. government declassified a whole bunch of documents it found in Osama bin Laden's compound in Pakistan.

Lots of fascinating stuff — among them a job application to join Al-Qaeda, which will sound familiar to anyone who's ever filled out any job application.

These are all quotes:

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