Business

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.

Read more
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:

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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 β€” thanks to the Baghdad government and the U.S.

Read more
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.

Read more
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 β€” 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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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 β€” either the price, or the fish β€” has to be a little off.

Read more
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:

Read more
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 β€” 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 β€” at all.

Read more
Business
5:06 am
Fri July 11, 2014

Economy Hurts Young Adults Looking For Their First Job

Originally published on Fri July 11, 2014 8:01 am

Youth unemployment is double the national rate. Renee Montagne talks to Roberto Angulo of AfterCollege Inc. and Courtney Hawkins of the Federation Employment & Guidance Service Bronx Youth Center.

Business
5:00 am
Fri July 11, 2014

World Cup Broadcasting Rights Pay Off For ESPN, Univision

Originally published on Fri July 11, 2014 8:01 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And this Sunday, Germany and Argentina play the final game of the World Cup. If the last few weeks are any guide, a record number of Americans will be tuning in both on television and online. To hear more about the business of broadcasting soccer, we reached John Ourand, the media reporter at the Sports Business Journal. Good morning.

JOHN OURAND: Good morning Renee.

Read more
Planet Money
3:31 am
Fri July 11, 2014

When Ikea Raises Its Minimum Wage, Where Does The Money Come From?

Flickr user: dahlstroms

Originally published on Fri July 11, 2014 3:04 pm

Ikea, a company famous for keeping its costs down, recently announced that it would raise the average minimum wage for its retail workers to $10.76 an hour. Why would the company volunteer to pay its workers more?

"By taking better care of our coworkers," says Rob Olson, the acting president of Ikea U.S., "they will take better care of our customers, who will take better care of Ikea. We see it as a win-win-win opportunity."

Read more
Business
5:45 pm
Thu July 10, 2014

Picketing Truckers Raise Tensions At LA Port Amid Dockworker Talks

Picketers supporting independent truck drivers at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach stand outside a container terminal.
Kirk Siegler NPR

Originally published on Thu July 10, 2014 7:04 pm

Labor tensions are high at the largest port complex in the country β€” Los Angeles and Long Beach β€” which handles nearly half of all the cargo coming into the United States.

Short-haul truck drivers are striking. They're the independent, contract truckers who bring the containers off the ships to nearby warehouses for companies like Wal-Mart and Costco. At the twin ports, their numbers hover around 10,000.

Read more
Asia
5:35 am
Thu July 10, 2014

China's Booming Real Estate Market Finally Begins To Slide

Villas in a luxury compound in Wuxi, in China's eastern Jiangsu province, sit empty after a year while more apartment blocks rise in the distance.
Frank Langfitt NPR

Originally published on Thu July 10, 2014 11:38 am

After years of stunning growth, China's go-go real estate market is now in retreat.

Prices fell last month in 79 out of 100 cities, according to the China Real Estate Index run by SouFun Holdings, a real estate website. Land sales dropped nearly 30 percent this spring from a year earlier.

Real estate has been one of the engines driving the world's second-largest economy, which is why economists in China and around the world are watching the market closely these days.

Read more
Business
5:01 am
Thu July 10, 2014

Flood Plan Leaves Clarksville, Mo., Residents On Their Own

Originally published on Thu July 10, 2014 11:30 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Heavy rains have led to flooding all across the Midwest in recent days in Iowa, in Illinois and in the small town of Clarksville, Missouri, which sits on the Mississippi River. The river is expected to crest there today, and residents hope the walls they've built will hold. Here's Amanda Vinicky of member station WUIS.

Read more
NPR Story
5:01 am
Thu July 10, 2014

Detroit Shuts Off Water As It Tries To Collect Millions Owed

Originally published on Thu July 10, 2014 11:30 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Let's follow up now on the water war in Detroit. So far this year, the water utility has shut off the spigots to 17,000 customers. It wants people to do pay their overdue bills. Many residents are upset with how the city is doing this and ask if some are getting special treatment. Here's Sarah Cwiek of Michigan Radio.

Read more
War On Poverty, 50 Years Later
7:57 am
Wed July 9, 2014

Class Helps Unwed Dads Navigate Ohio's Mom-Friendly Systems

Originally published on Wed July 9, 2014 9:43 am

About a quarter of U.S. families are now headed by a single mother.

That means a lot of children without a father in the home, and in some cases, fathers not having much contact with their children.

Research shows a long list of possible problems linked to fathers not being involved in their kid's lives β€” including poor performance in school, behavioral issues, drug and alcohol abuse and poverty.

To tackle these, Richland County, Ohio, is trying to get fathers more involved.

Read more
Business
6:20 am
Wed July 9, 2014

Global Boom In Asset Prices Leads To Worries About Market Bubbles

Originally published on Wed July 9, 2014 9:38 am

Renee Montagne talks to David Wessel of the Brookings Institution about the debate over whether the Federal Reserve should raise interest rates to avoid a potential asset bubble.

War On Poverty, 50 Years Later
6:39 pm
Tue July 8, 2014

To Break Cycle Of Child Poverty, Teaching Mom And Dad To Get Along

Brittiny Spears, 26, is not with the father of her daughter, Zykeiria, 4. "He just still wanted to go out and party and be a little boy," Spears says.
Jennifer Ludden NPR

Originally published on Wed July 9, 2014 9:52 am

After a half-century of the War on Poverty, an anti-poverty agency in Ohio has concluded that decades of assistance alone just hasn't changed lives. Instead, it says, the ongoing breakdown of the family is to blame.

"You're seeing the same people come year after year, and in some cases generation to generation. And so then you think, why is that happening?" says Jennifer Jennette, program manager of the Community Action Commission of Erie, Huron and Richland Counties in Ohio.

Read more
The Salt
4:59 pm
Tue July 8, 2014

3 Kickstarter Food Projects That Leave Potato Salad In The Dirt

Would you pay someone $60,000 to make this?
iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed July 9, 2014 10:14 am

Within days of asking for a total of $10 to crowdsource his first potato salad, Ohioan Zack Danger Brown raised tens of thousands of dollars. He promised people he would read their names aloud as he made this salad, which was apparently an irresistible draw.

Being the geeks we are, we asked our NPR Science Desk interns Nicholas St. Fleur and Kara Manke to do a little back-of-the-envelope calculation.

Read more
Latin America
4:13 pm
Tue July 8, 2014

With Default 23 Days Away, A Little Clause Could Cost Argentina Big

Originally published on Tue July 8, 2014 9:20 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block. The clock is ticking for Argentina. Yes, in the World Cup, but here, we're talking about its effort to prevent another debt crisis. Argentina has until the end of this month to pay its bondholders or it risks going into default. As NPR's Jim Zarroli reports, the dispute hinges on one particular clause in the country's debt contracts that could cost the country billions of dollars.

Read more
Money Coach
1:01 pm
Tue July 8, 2014

In A Tough Market For Old Furniture, Manage Your Expectations

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Read more
NPR Ed
10:38 am
Tue July 8, 2014

How A Text Message Could Revolutionize Student Aid

Could students soon text their way to financial aid?
iStockPhoto

Originally published on Tue July 8, 2014 1:53 pm

Every year, more than a million students don't complete the FAFSA β€” the main federal student-loan application.

One big reason? The form is so complicated that it discourages some people from even trying.

Read more
Parallels
3:35 am
Tue July 8, 2014

As Wire Transfer Options Dwindle, Somali-Americans Fear A Lost Lifeline

A money changer sits behind piles of banknotes in Hargeisa in Somaliland, an autonomous, relatively peaceful region in northern Somalia. The self-declared nation of Somaliland, like Somalia itself, lacks a formal banking system, and residents rely on hawaladars to receive money from abroad.
Simon Maina AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue July 8, 2014 10:51 am

Somali-Americans may soon find it harder to provide economic support to their homeland: One of the last banks to facilitate cash transfers to Somalia is getting out of the business.

As the East African country faces a potential drought and famine this summer, those cash transfers might grow even more important. That's why the Somali-American community in Minnesota β€” the largest in the U.S. β€” is lobbying Washington to find a way to keep the cash lifeline intact.

Read more
Business
3:33 am
Tue July 8, 2014

Paintballing The Boss: Office Team-Building Exercises Gone Bad

A team-building exercise involving marshmallows and knives is led by Create-Learning. This is relatively tame compared with some co-worker bonding activities.
Clark Dever Courtesy of Create-Learning

Originally published on Tue July 8, 2014 9:51 am

Who can forget that game of Twister played in a skirt? Or the failed "trust fall" where the boss ends up on the ground?

Office team-building exercises often create lasting memories β€” just not necessarily ones you want to remember.

Several years ago Ben Johnson worked at a health foods store in Iowa. He remembers store management stringing up a donkey piΓ±ata to pump up the workers.

Read more

Pages