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Marketplace for Friday, September 4, 2015

4 hours ago

Updated at 9:50 a.m. ET

The Labor Department says the U.S. economy added 173,000 jobs in August, a figure that fell short of expectations but nonetheless appeared to shrug off turmoil in overseas markets, particularly China.

In a separate survey, the department's Bureau of Labor Statistics said the unemployment rate had dipped to 5.1 percent — a seven-year low.

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Ever since the Tea Party began in 2009, various Republicans have been auditioning to lead this populist revolt. Rand Paul took a chainsaw to the federal budget. Ted Cruz almost shut down the government. Chris Christie and Scott Walker have been bashing Washington elites.

But it wasn't until Donald Trump came along that the populist base of the Republican Party found the right mouthpiece for all its grievances.

There's a special significance to the monthly jobs report that will be released Friday morning. It could tip the balance for the Federal Reserve. Policymakers are weighing whether to raise the Fed's official interest rates later this month. It's something the Fed hasn't done since before the Great Recession.

Surveys of economists are predicting that job growth in August will be right around the current trend of about 220,000 new jobs a month, and they think the unemployment rate will tick down a notch to 5.2 percent.

PODCAST: The jobs report for August

14 hours ago
Mark Garrison

On today's show, a look at the jobs report for August, new sanctions against China for hacking American trade secrets, and a big shift in the healthcare industry. 

Making sense of good job growth and stagnant wages

15 hours ago
Mitchell Hartman

The Labor Department reported on Friday that the U.S. added 173,000 jobs in August, with the unemployment rate falling to 5.1 percent. In July, the economy added 215,000 jobs and unemployment held steady at 5.3 percent. Average hourly earnings rose 0.2 percent month over month.

A pothole for bike-sharing programs: bike helmets

15 hours ago
Gigi Douban

There are so many reasons people don’t ride bikes. It’s too hot. It’s too cold. I look ridiculous in spandex. These are what people in the bike world call “barriers to cycling.” Among the most common?

Why gas prices are likely to keep falling

15 hours ago
Andy Uhler

The national average of gas prices keeps falling. Prices are expected to reach their lowest Labor Day levels in a decade. In a lot of the country, the price at the pump is inching under $2 a gallon, which is leading a lot of Americans to take road trips this weekend. 


15 hours ago
Sabri Ben-Achour and Tim Fernholz

This week, Actuality plugs into the weird world of sonification — making data into sound. Pythagoras tried to do it with cosmic spheres. Today, sonification pioneers are making music from climate change and cheeseburger data. Plus, can you be allergic to Wi-Fi, and is that a disability?

A tale of two small-business exporters

15 hours ago
Tracey Samuelson

A sign above the entrance to the Hamakua Macadamia Nut Company reads, “Welcome to the nut house.” Inside, the Hawaiian-based small business with a staff of 55 processes 2.5 million pounds of nuts per year.

“We have to put these products somewhere,” says President Richard Schnitzler. “We sell them locally, but we really, really need to get more into Asia and other places.”

He already sells to a handful of countries. Customs can be complicated, he says, and tariffs add expenses, but he’d like to export more.

Marketplace Tech for Friday, September 4, 2015

15 hours ago

Airing on Friday, September 4, 2015: On today's show, we'll talk about Microsoft's overseas data warrants; luxury ecommerce; and Erin Ryan of Jezebel joins us for Silicon Tally.

Airing on Friday, September 4, 2015: On today's show, we'll talk about the wild week for oil prices; the record low prices for gas; and a look at two small-business exporters and how they might be affected by the Transpacific Trade Partnership.

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More than 1,500 tractors driven by angry farmers snarled Paris traffic this morning, NPR's Eleanor Beardsley reports. In an ongoing protest movement, farmers across the country have been up in arms about high taxes and low prices on their goods.

The Associated Press reports:

"They're facing increasingly slim margins they blame on cheap imports and high payroll charges, which they say make them unable to compete against producers in Germany and Eastern Europe. The farmers are seeking tax breaks from the French government and EU action."

U.S. federal prosecutors are seeking the extradition of London-based day trader Navinder Singh Sarao on charges of market manipulation that they say triggered the May 6, 2010, "flash crash" in which the Dow lost 10 percent of its value in a matter of minutes.

It was made public Thursday that Sarao, 36, who was arrested in the U.K. in April with bail set at $7.5 million, was being formally charged in the United States.

The UK is under pressure to take more refugees

Sep 3, 2015
Sam Beard

One image has brought home the scale of the tragedy unfolding in Europe. It’s of a small lifeless body on a Turkish beach. The 3-year-old boy drowned as he and his family, fleeing the war in Syria, attempted to reach Greece. This one image has sparked international outrage and piled even more pressure on European leaders to do more to help the refugees flooding into their continent. 

Why is in-flight Wi-Fi so slow?

Sep 3, 2015
Molly Wood and Mukta Mohan

If you're a business traveler who's been wanting to catch up on Twitter while you’re up in the air, you’ve probably wondered why the Wi-Fi is so bad … and why it’s so expensive. That’s because there’s only one major company in the game. Gogo controls 80 percent of the country’s in-flight Wi-Fi. Today, the company provides service on more than 2,000 commercial aircraft including American, Delta, United, Virgin America, Alaska Air and Air Canada. Yet, service tends to be slow.

Marketplace for Thursday, September 3, 2015

Sep 3, 2015

The hard math of migration; shopping for CEOs; and Forcing the issue.

Kim Adams

Most countries and various international organizations have procedures in place to handle refugees, but they are overwhelmed by the flow of people into Europe right now. There hasn’t been a global crisis on this scale since World War II.

The art of finding a new CEO

Sep 3, 2015
Scott Tong

Twitter, the company, is losing altitude. Its stock is down more than 20 percent this summer, and several top leaders have quit. A lot of that is because Twitter hasn't had a CEO for more than two months.

The company's board met, and there were rumors of an announcement. But it got us thinking: Why is it so hard to find a CEO? And at what point do you just need to … get one?

The No. 1 job of a corporate board is leadership succession, says Harry Kraemer, a former CEO and chairman of the healthcare giant Baxter International.

The merch is strong with this one

Sep 3, 2015
Tracey Samuelson

If you're Disney, it's not enough to make a movie anymore. Not by a long shot.

But Disney's now-legendary merchandise machine is in overdrive this week. At midnight, Disney stores, Toys R Us, and Wal-Mart will open up to sell new merchandise and toys around the latest "Star Wars" movie, "The Force Awakens."

Just to be clear, the movie doesn't open for another three months.

But Disney — which bought Lucasfilm and the rights to "Star Wars" franchise for $4.1 billion in 2012 — wants this rollout to be an event all its own.

It's calling it "Force Friday."

Why we cried when Steve Jobs died

Sep 3, 2015
Molly Wood and Bridget Bodnar

When Apple founder and CEO Steve Jobs died in 2011, filmmaker Alex Gibney was struck by the global outpouring of grief that followed. 

“All around the world, people were weeping. And that’s rare for a big CEO, particularly the CEO of the highest-valued corporation in the world.” In his newest documentary, “Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine,” Gibney tries to find an answer for those tears.

Only a tiny fraction of the growing number of people with health savings accounts invests the money in their accounts in the financial markets, a recent study finds. The vast majority leave their contributions in savings accounts instead where the money may earn lower returns.

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The pickup truck - sales of pickup trucks are through the roof especially small trucks. And that says something larger about the auto industry as well as the broader U.S. economy. NPR's Sonari Glinton reports from Los Angeles.

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PODCAST: The refugee crisis in Europe

Sep 3, 2015
Noel King

On today's show, we'll talk about global interest rates, wages for low-income Americans, and the humanitarian crisis in Europe.

Airing on Thursday, September 3, 2015: On today's show, we'll talk about China's announcement that it will cut 300,000 people from its military, and more on a study that finds positive association between family income and brain surface area.

Marketplace Tech for Thursday, September 3, 2015

Sep 3, 2015

Airing on Thursday, September 3, 2015: On today's show, we'll talk about Samsung's new smart watch, and why Microsoft, Google, Netflix and other tech giants are teaming up battle buffering.