Business

The Two-Way
5:15 am
Mon July 21, 2014

Rubio: Small Government Can Help Fix Economic Inequality

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, shown here at an event in Washington last month, spoke with NPR's Morning Edition about the country's economic challenges.
Molly Riley AP

Originally published on Mon July 21, 2014 9:07 am

Sen. Marco Rubio, a potential 2016 GOP presidential contender, is concerned about issues of access to affordable education, availability of job training and prospects for economic mobility. While shunning the "income inequality" language of the left, he insists that those problems need to be viewed through the lens of limited government.

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Code Switch
5:15 am
Mon July 21, 2014

The Youth Unemployment Crisis Hits African-Americans Hardest

Originally published on Mon July 21, 2014 10:50 am

Young people are being chased out of the labor market. Though the national unemployment rate has fallen steadily in recent months, youth unemployment remains stubbornly high, and the jobless rate is even higher among young minorities. For young people between the ages of 16 and 24, unemployment is more than twice the national rate, at 14.2 percent. For African-Americans, that rate jumps to 21.4 percent.

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Business
4:42 pm
Sat July 19, 2014

Temporary Tenants Give Luxury Homes A Lived-In Look

Alan Shuminer lives on two acres of land in a house with a current list price of $3.3 million in Miami รขย€ย” and he only pays $2,600 a month. He is a home manager for Showhomes, a home staging company.
Showhomes

Bernie Schupbach needed to sell his home in the height of the real estate crash.

His home in Yorkville, Ill., was unoccupied. It had lingered on the market for a long time โ€” and Schupbach, a radiologist in Aurora, Ill., was growing uncomfortable.

"To me, you worry about a pipe breaking in winter. You worry about the heat going out. You worry about vandals. You worry about animal infestation," he says. "My big concern was: There's nobody there, I'm 30 miles away."

Then somebody mentioned Showhomes to Schupbach and his wife, Lynn.

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The Two-Way
12:25 pm
Sat July 19, 2014

States That Raised Minimum Wage See Faster Job Growth, Report Says

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray (right) and Seattle City Council President Tim Burgess cut a cake to celebrate city's raised minimum wage.
Ted S. Warren AP

Originally published on Sat July 19, 2014 6:42 pm

New data released by the Department of Labor suggests that raising the minimum wage in some states might have spurred job growth, contrary to what critics said would happen.

In a report on Friday, the 13 states that raised their minimum wages on Jan. 1 have added jobs at a faster pace than those that did not. The data run counter to a Congressional Budget Office report in February that said raising the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, as the White House supports, would cost 500,000 jobs.

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Business
5:52 am
Fri July 18, 2014

Microsoft Announces Biggest Layoffs In Company's History

Originally published on Fri July 18, 2014 8:00 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

NPR's Business News starts with a downsized Microsoft. Microsoft announced the biggest layoffs in its history yesterday. It's cutting 18,000 jobs worldwide over the next year - that's 14% of its workforce. The company's new CEO wants to adapt to a society and an industry increasingly dependent on mobile devices. From member station KPLU, Bellamy Pailthorp reports.

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All Tech Considered
3:37 am
Fri July 18, 2014

Better Culture Could Have Prevented Viral Comcast Call

The call center of Zappos.com gets high marks from consumers for strong customer service.
Shashi Bellamkonda Flickr

Originally published on Mon July 21, 2014 11:13 am

This week, one man's customer service call to Comcast turned into a badgering โ€” a simple request to cancel his service was repeatedly beaten back by the employee on the other end of the line. It was a familiar feeling for a lot of us, which perhaps explains why more than 4 million people have listened to it in less than a week.

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Economy
5:36 pm
Thu July 17, 2014

Latest Wrinkle In The Jobs Debate: Blame The Boomers

Participation in the workforce has dropped significantly since 2007, and economists say more than half of the dropouts may never return.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

Originally published on Mon July 21, 2014 1:46 pm

Since late 2007, the U.S. labor force has shrunk significantly, raising questions about where former workers have gone and why.

Now the White House Council of Economic Advisers says it has found answers and has compiled them into a detailed research report released Thursday.

As it turns out, most of the missing workers have been hiding in plain sight: They are retiring baby boomers.

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Politics
5:55 am
Thu July 17, 2014

Proposal To Allow State Tolls On Interstates Hits Roadblocks

Originally published on Fri July 18, 2014 2:42 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Let's talk a little more now about the effort to refill the federal highway trust fund, which is expected to run out of cash later this summer. A short-term fix passed the house earlier this week, and the Senate is said to consider a similar measure - that's the short term. Then there's the question of the longer-term. One possible solution from the White House would let states collect tolls on interstate highways. They've been prohibited from doing that for decades. Here's NPR's Brian Naylor.

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Business
5:55 am
Thu July 17, 2014

Treasury Secretary Calls For Corporate Tax Code Overhaul

Originally published on Thu July 17, 2014 11:09 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew says, there has been an uptick in the number of U.S. corporations moving their headquarters overseas in an effort to pay less tax. In a moment, we'll talk to David Wessel about what's allowing these moves to happen. We begin with NPR's Jim Zarroli.

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Business
5:33 am
Thu July 17, 2014

U.S. Firms Beat Corporate Taxes By Moving Their Headquarters Abroad

Originally published on Thu July 17, 2014 11:09 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

We're joined now by David Wessel with the Brookings Institution. He's also a contributor to the Wall Street Journal. Good morning.

DAVID WESSEL: Good morning, Renee.

MONTAGNE: Now, American corporations have been complaining about the tax code for decades. Why are we seeing more companies looking at moving overseas now?

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U.S.
6:59 pm
Wed July 16, 2014

Lotteries Take In Billions, Often Attract The Poor

A customer holds his Mega Millions lottery ticket at Tobacco Plus in Muncie, Ind. Researchers say lotteries often draw low-income gamblers who are on welfare.
Darron Cummings AP

Originally published on Wed July 16, 2014 10:13 pm

Santo Domingo Liquors in Lawrence, Mass., has two cash registers. But sometimes only the lottery register has a line.

Elizabeth Correia, eight months pregnant, is running that register with her mother โ€” her family owns the store.

"We do this seven days a week. Seven days a week. My mom, sometimes she'll do it open to closing," Correia says.

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All Tech Considered
4:45 pm
Wed July 16, 2014

Visa Makes Big Move To Boost Consumer Spending Online

Visa Checkout will store customers' credit card numbers and billing addresses once without their having to re-enter the information each time they shop online.
Visa

Originally published on Fri July 18, 2014 11:28 am

Here's an experience many of us have had: You're shopping on your smartphone. You click on the shoes or books you want. But then, when you get to the shopping cart, you abandon ship.

Visa says that's a big problem for retailers. On Wednesday, the credit card company announced it's rolling out a brand new system designed to get us to spend more money online.

One Password, Many Tokens

Visa is actually trying to fix two problems with one swipe.

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Law
4:19 pm
Wed July 16, 2014

With New Virtual Currency Rules, N.Y. Regulators Tread A Fine Line

Originally published on Thu July 17, 2014 7:31 am

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Banking regulators in New York State are expected to release new rules this week governing Bitcoins and other virtual currencies. From member station WSHU Charles Lane reports that many industry experts welcome the regulations but some worry that they could end up limiting the creative potential of this new way of doing business.

CHARLES LANE, BYLINE: In many ways virtual currencies are just like old-fashioned money. You can buy furniture, books, beer, whatever. But some say it's even better than money.

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Goats and Soda
12:00 pm
Wed July 16, 2014

Move Over Hong Kong: The World's Priciest Cities Are In Angola And Chad

Photos of Luanda, Angola, tell a tale of two cities: sprawling poor neighborhoods and a glitzy waterfront.
Saul Loeb/Getty Images; Michael Gottschalk/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed July 16, 2014 1:23 pm

Ask someone to guess the world's two most expensive cities and it's a safe bet that the capitals of Chad and Angola โ€” two of Africa's more impoverished nations โ€” won't leap to mind. Geneva, perhaps, the home of Rolex watches, or one of those moneyed Asian capitals โ€” Hong Kong, Shanghai, Singapore or Tokyo โ€” or maybe, if you're thinking Nordically, somewhere in Scandinavia, somewhere like, say, Oslo, where a beer in a pub can famously set you back $15.

But Luanda? N'djamena?

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The Two-Way
8:28 am
Wed July 16, 2014

EEOC Announces Tougher Rules Protecting Pregnant Workers

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's new guidance states that employers who allow parental leave must provide it to men and women equally.
Yuri Arcurs iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed July 16, 2014 10:32 am

Discrimination against female workers who might get pregnant in the future, or have been pregnant in the past, is against the law, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said this week. For the first time in 30 years, the agency has updated its rules against pregnancy discrimination.

The agency clarified several policies, including one that spells out when businesses may have to provide pregnant workers light duty and another that bans employers from forcing a pregnant worker to take leave even in cases when she's able to continue on the job.

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Shots - Health News
3:27 am
Wed July 16, 2014

Coping With A Co-Worker's Body Odor Takes Tact

We can all work up a stinky sweat โ€” welders, ballerinas and number-crunchers alike. Would you want to know?
emreogan/iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed July 16, 2014 1:14 pm

It's summer. It's sweaty. And sometimes that means people are trailing some pungent body odors that their colleagues can't help but smell. But how do you tactfully inform co-workers that they stink and need to address it? As Cath Ludeman-Hall will tell you, it isn't easy.

She was just out of college and a newbie at a staffing firm when she was asked to gently talk to an older worker in a retail warehouse after his colleagues complained that he stank.

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It's All Politics
6:54 pm
Tue July 15, 2014

Temporary Fix For Highway Money Is Well-Traveled Road

The I-75 highway modernization project in Dayton, Ohio, in April 2014.
Skip Peterson AP

If kicking the can down the road were a competitive sport, the championship trophy would never leave Washington.

When the need to make a difficult choice collides with an unyielding deadline, the tendency in a city where partisan gridlock is the norm is to put the tough decisions off for another day.

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Economy
4:58 pm
Tue July 15, 2014

Despite Brightening Signs, Fed Is Likely To Stay The Course

Originally published on Tue July 15, 2014 7:23 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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Business
10:58 am
Tue July 15, 2014

Citigroup Settlement Offers Former Homeowners 'Cold Comfort'

The Citigroup Center is viewed in midtown Manhattan. Critics say the U.S. settlement with the banking giant will do nothing for those hurt most by the foreclosure crisis: people who lost their homes.
Timothy A. Clary AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue July 15, 2014 11:10 am

Should you be watching your mailbox for a check from Citigroup?

The banking giant says it will pay out $2.5 billion to provide "consumer relief" to help settle charges brought against it by the U.S. Justice Department. The government said Monday that "defects" in Citi's mortgage securities had fueled the financial crisis that triggered the Great Recession.

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Business
6:10 am
Tue July 15, 2014

Chocolatier Lindt To Buy Russell Stover

Originally published on Tue July 15, 2014 7:53 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

So the Swiss chocolate maker, Lindt, has announced plans to gobble up Kansas City-based Russell Stover, the company behind all those Valentine samplers. I know what you are thinking. I know what you are thinking - you know, that's all very fine. You're thinking about all of this business news, but what does it mean for my chocolate? Well, Frank Morris of member station KCUR in Kansas City reports.

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Parallels
3:32 am
Tue July 15, 2014

Kurds May Have Oil To Export, But Buyers Are Harder To Find

A tanker carrying crude oil from Iraq's Kurdish region anchors near Ashkelon, Israel. It's believed the oil has been off-loaded into Israel. The U.S. and Baghdad oppose the Kurdish export of oil from the autonomous northern region.
David Buimovitch AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue July 15, 2014 9:14 am

Kurdish security forces, the peshmerga, have taken over two major oil fields near Kirkuk, in northern Iraq. The fields have the potential to put billions of dollars into the coffers of the Kurdish regional government.

But there's a hitch: Even if the Kurdish government has control of the oil, it doesn't necessarily mean it can export it โ€” thanks to the Baghdad government and the U.S.

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Business
3:31 am
Tue July 15, 2014

Leased Solar Panels Can Cast A Shadow Over A Home's Value

Mark Bortman of Exact Solar in Yardley, Pa., says having leased solar panels on a roof can add an extra step when selling a house. He says typically a buyer will assume the remainder of the lease, but that requires a credit check and some paperwork
Jeff Brady NPR

Originally published on Thu July 17, 2014 11:11 am

Installing solar panels on a house to generate electricity often costs $20,000 or more, and many homeowners have turned to leasing programs to avoid those upfront costs. But most leases are for 20 years, and that can present problems if someone wants to sell the house before the lease is completed.

Peter Auditore of El Granada, Calif., was happy with the leased solar panels he installed a few years back. When he decided to sell, he found a buyer who also appreciated the environmental benefits of solar panels. But then there was a hitch just as the sale was about to go through.

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Author Interviews
3:34 pm
Mon July 14, 2014

How A Factory Man Fought To Save His Furniture Company

Author Beth Macy worked for years as a reporter for the Roanoke Times. "When I became a journalist, I gravitated to those kinds of stories of what I call 'outsiders and underdogs,' " she says.
David Hungate Courtesy of Little, Brown and Co.

In the town of Bassett in southern Virginia, some of the downtown street lights are dark. The lamps, maintained by the once prosperous Bassett Furniture Co., are now funded by voluntary contributions from residents and businesses โ€” when they can afford it.

Bassett is just one of many towns and cities in Virginia and North Carolina where scores of furniture-making plants have closed in the past 20 years, mostly because of competition from China and other foreign countries.

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The Two-Way
2:46 pm
Mon July 14, 2014

Trump Plaza Latest Atlantic City Casino To Fold

The Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino opened to much fanfare in 1984 but may close by mid-September.
Mel Evans AP

Originally published on Mon July 14, 2014 3:37 pm

The Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino is expected to close on Sept. 16, making it the latest in a series of Atlantic City casinos to go under.

As required by federal law in advance of mass layoffs, the hotel sent out warnings about the planned closure to employees on Monday. According to a document obtained by The Associated Press, a total of 1,153 layoffs are expected.

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The Salt
3:35 am
Mon July 14, 2014

Saskawhat? A Novel Berry Takes Root On Michigan Farms

Originally published on Tue July 15, 2014 2:23 pm

A new kind of berry has found its way into Michigan grocery stores. These dark purple fruits are called saskatoons.

This commercial cultivar of the wild juneberry is pretty common in Canada, but it hasn't been grown by farmers in the U.S. until recently. Here, the berry, also sometimes called the serviceberry, has been collected in the wild for generations.

One farmer who has started growing them in Michigan isn't quite sure how to describe the taste.

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Around the Nation
5:12 pm
Sun July 13, 2014

At Venice Beach, Rich, Poor And Middle Class Coexist

Originally published on Sun July 13, 2014 6:22 pm

Economists say lower-income Americans are better off when they live in an area with a diversity of income levels. NPR's Kelly McEvers reports on an area with a wide range of economic diversity, California's Venice Beach.

Business
5:19 am
Sun July 13, 2014

Congress' Latest Death Match Involves A Bank You've Never Heard Of

A worker stacks traffic safety poles at Pexco's manufacturing center in Fife, Wash. The small company ships products all over the world, with the help of federal insurance from the Export-Import Bank.
Drew Perine MCT/Landov

Originally published on Mon July 14, 2014 1:39 pm

It sits in an imposing building just across Lafayette Square from the White House. Yet the Export-Import Bank, which has been offering credit to foreign purchasers of U.S. goods for 80 years, could start shutting down operations within a matter of weeks.

"There's about a 50-50 chance," says Dan Ikenson, who directs a trade policy center at the Cato Institute.

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NPR Ed
5:37 am
Sat July 12, 2014

How Private Colleges Are Like Cheap Sushi

Originally published on Tue July 22, 2014 6:02 pm

In New York City's East Village, there are a number of hole-in-the-wall spots that advertise sushi at 50 percent off. But I can never bring myself to sample the goods. We're talking about a delicacy flown in from around the world. Marking it down drastically just doesn't sit right. Something โ€” either the price, or the fish โ€” has to be a little off.

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Sports
12:24 pm
Fri July 11, 2014

With Brazil Out Of The World Cup, Was The Price Tag Worth It?

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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Business
7:02 am
Fri July 11, 2014

Economists Say Inflation Is Tame; Consumers Aren't Buying It

Meat is displayed in a case at a grocery store in Miami. The index of retail prices for meats, poultry, fish and eggs was up 7.7 percent from a year ago โ€” more than triple the overall inflation rate.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Fri July 11, 2014 9:15 am

Economists regularly issue reports calling inflation tame or mild, or some other word that suggests consumers shouldn't be feeling much pain.

One example: "Inflation has been tame and this is providing households with some relief" from economic stress, according to an assessment done this week by PNC Financial Services.

But if you happen to be buying gasoline or groceries, you may not be feeling relieved โ€” at all.

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