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Lower oil and natural gas prices have the petroleum industry laying off tens of thousands of workers. It looks like a decade-long trend of job growth in the U.S. oil business may end.

But there are parts of the country where those job numbers are still rising. Pennsylvania is one of them.

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ARUN RATH, HOST:

In the past few years, students at hundreds of colleges and universities have started pushing their schools to divest from fossil fuel companies as a way to slow climate change.

The campaign has had some notable wins in the past year. But at tiny Swarthmore College, outside of Philadelphia, where the movement was born, students have been staging a sit-in for nearly a month to try to make their voices heard.

Amy Scott

The movement to curb standardized testing in schools scored a small victory this week. The Florida legislature passed a bill limiting the number of hours students can spend on state and district testing to 45 per school year. 

Even some advocates of standardized testing welcomed the legislation. Two years ago, the Foundation for Excellence in Education looked into how many standardized tests students were taking in Florida. The group was founded by former Florida governor Jeb Bush, who expanded the use of testing in the state.

Your Wallet: Fast money

Apr 10, 2015

What's the fastest money you've ever made? 100 bucks in under a minute? More?

Tell us your story of making fast cash. Write to us, or tweet us — we're at @MarketplaceWKND.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Learning how the Germans learn

Apr 9, 2015
Mallory Noe-Payne

WGBH's "On Campus" producer Mallory Noe-Payne traveled to Germany with reporter Kirk Carapezza, where they visited a handful of cities and universities for a recent series of stories — that also aired on Marketplace — about higher education in the country.

Here's a behind-the-scenes look at Mallory's photo journal of their travels recording on the road.

We arrived in Cologne at the beginning of February, just before the end of the semester.

Marketplace for Thursday, April 9, 2015

Apr 9, 2015
Marketplace

The online furniture company Wayfair is now one of the most shorted stocks. Our Planet Money team talks to its CEO about what it's like to be running a company when some investors are betting on your fall.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Explaining stock buybacks

Apr 9, 2015
Paddy Hirsch

Stock buybacks are in the news again. Usually buyback stories are all about companies using their cash reserves to buy back their stock, but this week they’re all about companies stopping their buyback programs.

In the village of Tuffet, a rocky 45-minute drive from the closest city along Haiti's southern coast, several men get down to work in Monique Yusizanna Ouz's rural home. They're wiring up her two-room, dirt floor house with a breaker box, an outlet and a light fixture.

She's 66 years old, and for the first time in her life, she's going to have electricity.

Ouz, who has five grandchildren, wants a refrigerator. She wants cold drinks — for herself but also to sell. And she wants ice cream, too.

On weekend afternoons, large crowds descend on a pair of street corners across from People's Square in downtown Shanghai to trade stock tips. Shen Yuxi has set up a homemade desk with two laptops, a big flat screen and offers insights like this:

"When a Communist Party chairman takes office, I buy stock in companies from his hometown," Shen tells a crowd of about 20 people that spills out over the sidewalk.

Recently, Shen has been buying up companies in Shaanxi, the home province of Xi Jinping, who serves as general secretary of China's Communist Party.

Would you lead a more active lifestyle if it meant lower life insurance premiums? Insurer John Hancock and Vitality, a global wellness firm, are hoping the answer is yes. But there is a condition: They get to track your activity.

The practice is already employed in Australia, Europe, Singapore and South Africa, where Vitality is based.

The benefits of wearing the same thing, every day

Apr 8, 2015
Kai Ryssdal

Art director Matilda Kahl works in an office where women often wear heels and have “fixed” hair.

But one day, after Kahl was late and unprepared for work, she realized she was wasting too much time on choosing her outfit.

She was fed up.

“You know what? I’m just gonna opt out of this,” she recalls saying to herself.  

Stopping German students in their tracks?

Apr 8, 2015
Kirk Carapezza and Mallory Noe-Payne

At an elementary school in Essen, a city in northern Germany, students stream in from recess. They stuff boots into cubbies and hang up their jackets.

The fourth-grade classroom looks a lot like the classrooms in American public schools.  The class has one teacher, who covers all the subjects in the same classroom. Some students excel, some struggle, some are in the middle. 

But next year, that will end.

Marketplace for Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Apr 8, 2015
Marketplace
Sam Beard

A beautiful new friendship appeared to blossom in Moscow today between two embattled leaders. Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras held his first official meeting with Russian president Vladimir Putin. Both clearly hoped they might be able help each other in their time of need.

Putin wants to snag at least one "no" vote when the European Union meets this summer to consider renewing sanctions against Russia over Ukraine. The sanctions have to be approved unanimously, so one negative vote would terminate the measure and bring Russia some much needed economic relief.

ESPN doubles as the Grinch

Apr 8, 2015
Kai Ryssdal

Twelve-year-old Sam Holtz of Hawthorne Woods, Ill., tied for first place in ESPN's March Madness basketball bracket.

That's tied for first, out of 11.5 million brackets. ESPN awards the prize through a random draw of brackets that were among the top 1 percent in the contest.

But Holtz won't be allowed to enter for the $20,000 gift card or trip to Hawaii, because the rules say you must be 18 to enter.

Clementine Lindley says she had a great college experience, but if she had it to do over again, she probably wouldn't pick an expensive private school.

"I could actually buy a small home in Helena, Mont., with the amount of debt that I graduated with," she says.

Fresh out of school, Lindley says there were times when she had to decide whether to pay rent, buy food or make her student loan payments.

"There was a time where I defaulted on my student loans enough that I never was sent to collections, but just long enough to, honestly, ruin my credit."

They are not blue jeans. They are not slacks. They are not chinos or khakis.

"They're like a jogger," Lee Davis says of his pants, walking through an outdoor mall in Los Angeles called The Grove. He's wearing them with a professional black cardigan over a designer white tee, with a crisp fitted baseball cap and fancy tennis shoes. The pants stand out the most. They fit him impeccably, with clear, tapered lines and a high-end, light-khaki material that flows luxuriously.

A promising technique for making brain tumors glow so they'll be easier for surgeons to remove is now being tested in cancer patients.

PODCAST: Death and taxes and more

Apr 8, 2015
David Brancaccio

Shell is buying a company once called British Gas for just under $70 billion. BG Group is a major supplier of liquified gas to North America, but it also increases Royal Dutch Shell's crude oil portfolio by nearly 20 percent. More on that. Let's turn to Chicago where we find  Lindsey Piegza, Chief Economist, Managing Director at Sterne Agee, to check some dominant themes in markets and the economy this morning. Plus, we read a little e-book called "As Certain as Death: Quotations About Taxes" days before the big filing day. 

The Risky Boom In Carefree Social Payment Apps

Apr 7, 2015

The other morning, I asked my friend Amanda Mae Meyncke, a writer here in Los Angeles, to explain an app to me.

I used my debit card to pay for our order of coffee and toast, and then got her to pay me back with this app she uses, Venmo.

It's what's known as a peer-to-peer finance app, which is Silicon Valley's way of saying that it lets people pay each other without handling cash or swiping cards. People like to use it to split bills.

To get started, she opened up the app.

The old saying goes, "Nothing is certain except death and taxes." But the Affordable Care Act has added a new wrinkle.

For many policyholders, the ACA has introduced a good deal of uncertainty about their tax bills. That has led to surprise refunds for some and higher-than-expected tax payments for others.

A rash of new Web domain suffixes has popped up in recent years to supplement .com and .net — terms such as .bargains or .dating.

Several new suffixes seem to invite negative feedback. There are .gripe and .fail. There's even .wtf — a colorful variation on "what the heck." And soon, there will be .sucks.

J. Scott Evans says his objection isn't that it sounds whiny — it's the price. Evans is associate general counsel at Adobe Systems, and for a trademark owner like his to claim Adobe.sucks would cost $2,500 a year. That's more than 100 times the typical fee.

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Smartphones have new, seamless ways to purchase stuff lightning fast, with just a tap. With these new digital technologies available for mobile payment, many young people are ditching cash and plastic altogether.

But is traditional payment dead? According to Doug Conover, an analyst with the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, not exactly.

"The perception that young people rarely use cash is just not correct," he says.

For many countries, the worst of the Great Recession is over. Things aren't perfect by any stretch, but economies are growing again, employment rates are up and consumers feel more optimistic, which is important.

But that is not the case in Greece.

In the last 48 hours, this battered country has once again averted the latest threat of bankruptcy: Somehow, Greece has found the money to pay back hundreds of millions of dollars to the IMF. But the Greek government says the coffers are now almost empty, making Europe seriously worried.

Wal-Mart made its name by going big: massive super centers with gallon jars of pickles and rows and rows of lawn chairs and tires.

Its future may depend a lot on going small. It's investing in smaller stores in densely populated urban neighborhoods, where customers buy fewer items at a time.

Customers like Donna Thomas, who walked over to a Wal-Mart near Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on her lunch break from her job as an executive assistant at Comcast.

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