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.

In Texas floods, homeowners count the cost

13 hours ago
Nova Safo

Floods in Oklahoma and Texas have claimed lives and destroyed numerous homes.

Rebuilding those homes and reimbursing homeowners will take months, if not a year or more. But some of those homeowners may not get all the help they will need, because they don't have flood insurance.

In Wimberley, a vacation town in between San Antonio and Austin which is situated on a river that rose 40 feet, flood waters washed away hundreds of homes and businesses.

The financial backdrop to Postal Service union talks

13 hours ago
Annie Baxter

Wednesday is the deadline for negotiators at the U.S. Postal Service to reach a new collective bargaining agreement with the American Postal Workers Union, which represents nearly 200,000 workers, including clerks, mechanics and vehicle drivers.

The talks are unfolding against a bleak financial backdrop. USPS’s financial losses have moderated a bit recently, but it’s still very much in the red. It reported a $1.5 billion net loss in the second quarter of the year, compared to a $1.9 billion loss in the period a year earlier.

Texas floods have business owners singing the blues

May 26, 2015
Kai Ryssdal and Alberta Cross

Flooding has disrupted life for many in the Lone Star State. Kellie Moore was at her bakery in Austin yesterday when the water levels began to rise.

"It was crazy," Moore told Kai Ryssdal. "I looked in the back room and I noticed that water was coming through the building ... [I] was trying to sop it up, but then it started coming into the kitchen and into the front of our showroom, and there was no way to stop the water."

Press the play button above to hear more of Kellie's story. 

Kai Ryssdal

This story comes as, I guess you might say, a mea culpa for the aspersions I cast on millennials the other day.

Maybe this'll ring a bell: 

There are 14,000 lobbying groups in Washington

May 26, 2015
Nancy Marshall-Genzer

To see just how ubiquitous lobbying has become in Washington, I make an appointment for lunch with Lee Drutman. He's a senior fellow at the New America Foundation and the author of "The Business of America is Lobbying."

He’s waiting for me at the buffet, and we're about to zero in on the food business: loading up our plates, then dissecting them to see which foods have lobbyists at the table. 

Marketplace for Tuesday, May 26, 2015

May 26, 2015

Shhh ... we're talking about Fight Club

May 26, 2015
Kai Ryssdal, Mukta Mohan and Robert Garrova

The first rule of Fight Club is … do not talk about Fight Club. We’re going to break that rule, because there is now a sequel and it’s written in a completely different style than the original. Author Chuck Palahniuk teamed up with artists David Mack and Cameron Stewart to release a 10-part comic book that brings back Tyler Durden.

Amy Scott

On a spring morning at Oyler Community Learning Center, in Cincinnati, Ohio, an announcement comes over the PA system: "Would the following students please report to the cafeteria..." It sounds like someone's in trouble.

But, it's just the opposite. They're being summoned for a  donut breakfast — a reward for making the honor roll, or missing no more than two days of school during the quarter.

PODCAST: Beers and board games

May 26, 2015
David Brancaccio

The guy behind the guy at Apple gets a promotion. Marketplace Tech host Ben Johnson explains. Plus, Bernie Sanders officially kicks off his candidacy for the Democratic nomination for the presidency on Tuesday. The senator from Vermont describes himself as a “Democratic Socialist”.  We report that while some see socialism as an improbable platform for a U.S.

Where everybody knows your game

May 26, 2015
Elaine Jones

Geek culture is having a bit of a moment. Superheroes are smashing box office records. Comic conventions have become national news. Now, gamers are getting their very own bars. A new pub in Savannah, Georgia is offering a place to throw back a few drinks while you battle it out in video or board games.

Walking into the Chromatic Dragon feels like entering most bars — at first. You decide if you want to sit at the bar or get a table; inside or out. A friendly employee approaches, but he’s not a server. He’s a "game master."

Here's why we care about durable goods

May 26, 2015
Nova Safo

Why do we care about the durable goods report, which the U.S. Census Bureau publishes each month to tell us how big-ticket item sales are going? Let Ian Shepherdson, chief U.S. economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, explain: "We get lots of information about what businesses are saying, but they don't always do what they say they're going to do." 

The durable goods report, Shepherdson says, is a hard-data antidote to that problem. "The one thing that businesses don't do if they're worried about the future is invest large amounts in new equipment."

Marketplace Tech for Tuesday, May 26, 2015

May 26, 2015
Marketplace

Vista Theatre is a one-screen wonder

May 25, 2015
Adrienne Hill and Bridget Bodnar

There aren’t a whole lot of 92-year-old theaters left in the country. For the Vista Theatre in Hollywood, success means walking a fine line: adapt to the changing times while holding on to the motif from days gone by. With just one screen, there’s not a lot of room for error.

Marketplace for Monday, May 25, 2015

May 25, 2015
Adrienne Hill and Robert Garrova

My First Job: Printing professional

May 25, 2015
Robert Garrova

When Shahrouz Varshabi was about 17 years old, he was accepted to a college outside of his hometown in Iran.

This was good news for Varshabi, but it also meant a financial strain for his parents.

“I was feeling so bad about the situation because I was coming from a sort of poor family, and I didn’t want to have pressure on my father’s shoulders,” Varshabi says.

A shot of 'America's native spirit'

May 25, 2015
Adrienne Hill and Robert Garrova

During the course of writing his book, “Bourbon Empire: The Past and Future of American Whiskey,” Reid Mitenbuler learned a lot about “America’s native spirit,” as it’s known.

According to Mitenbuler — contrary to what you might assume from looking at bottle labels — today’s bourbons aren’t all made by bearded men wearing overalls.

“By the year 2000 you have eight companies, 13 plants, and they make about 99 percent of all the whiskey in America,” Mitebuler says.

Takata, Toyota, GM: How do companies survive recalls?

May 25, 2015
Sabri Ben-Achour

Takata’s recall of defective airbags in 34 million vehicles – equivalent to two years of sales in the entire U.S. auto market – is a juggernaut.  It isn’t the largest, however.  That title belongs to the 2004 recall of 150 million pieces of Chinese-made toy jewelry that had a high risk of containing lead. 

Your funeral home may be ripping you off

May 25, 2015
Nancy Marshall-Genzer

Every year, the Federal Trade Commission conducts an undercover investigation to make sure funeral homes are following the FTC’s funeral rule to give customers a price list immediately and to not sell unnecessary, unwanted services.

PODCAST: Show me the money, airlines

May 25, 2015
Matt Nesto

Asian stocks spring while most of the world's stock takes a breather. More on that. Plus, lower fuel prices have translated into huge savings for airline companies. Very little of those savings are being passed along to customers. So, what are the airlines doing with all of that money? And on a quest to invent a smart smoker, a Harvard engineering class is partnering with Williams Sonoma. We check in on their results.

Cheaper fuel, cheaper flights. But not for you.

May 25, 2015
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

May 25, 2015
Sam Kaplan

On a quest to invent a smart smoker, a junior-year Harvard engineering class partnering with Williams-Sonoma has smoked more than 200 pounds of brisket over the last few months. 

It isn't hard to find the class — the mesquite aroma leads 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.

An up-close look at the brisket Nesmith is cooking. (Eliza Grinnell/Harvard SEAS) 

Late springs warms up housing

May 25, 2015
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:

Marketplace Tech for Monday, May 25, 2015

May 25, 2015
Marketplace

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

May 25, 2015
Annie Baxter

You can learn a lot about the economy in Williston, North Dakota, based on Mitch Petrasek’s recent hot dog 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 includes 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. 

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