Business

All Tech Considered
6:12 am
Sun September 9, 2012

The Tech Buyer's Dilemma: Timing The Plunge

Amazon Kindle vice president Peter Larsen holds the Kindle Fire HD at the introduction of the new tablet in Santa Monica, Calif., on Thursday.
Reed Saxon AP

If you're one of those people who covet the latest, greatest thing (assuming you can afford it), life's been pretty tough for you lately. The announcements of new handheld electronic gadgets — and rumors of those to come (Apple fans are standing by) — have come so rapidly that it's been hard to keep up with them all.

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Presidential Race
4:31 pm
Fri September 7, 2012

Obama, Romney Spin New Jobs Report Differently

Originally published on Fri September 7, 2012 6:18 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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Economy
4:31 pm
Fri September 7, 2012

New Unemployment Report Weaker Than Expected

Originally published on Fri September 7, 2012 6:18 pm

The jobs report released Friday morning came in weaker than expected. Employers added 96,000 jobs to payrolls. The unemployment rate did fall to 8.1 percent, but that was because so many people left the workforce.

Economy
4:31 pm
Fri September 7, 2012

Obama Administration: 'Recovery Has Been Resilient'

Originally published on Fri September 7, 2012 6:18 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Joining us now to talk about today's jobs numbers is Alan Krueger. He's the chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers. Welcome.

ALAN KRUEGER: Thank you.

SIEGEL: Is it fair to say that the good news here, the lower unemployment rate is produced by bad news, so many people leaving the workforce and that 96,000 jobs in a month is a discouraging jobs report?

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It's All Politics
2:30 pm
Fri September 7, 2012

Deflating Jobs Report May Not Move The Needle On The Election

President Obama spoke at a campaign event at Strawbery Banke Museum in Portsmouth, N.H., on Friday.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

Originally published on Fri September 7, 2012 2:52 pm

It wasn't what President Obama was hoping for: another disappointing jobs report the morning after he accepted the Democratic nomination and asked Americans to stay the course.

The U.S. economy added just 96,000 jobs last month, according to the Labor Department, and a drop in the unemployment rate to 8.1 percent was mostly due to people giving up on job searches.

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Economy
11:58 am
Fri September 7, 2012

What August Job Numbers Mean

The Labor Department reported that the economy added 96,000 jobs in August, far fewer than analysts had predicted. The unemployment rate fell from 8.3 percent to 8.1 percent, an indication that more people moved out of the workforce. Host Michel Martin discusses the latest unemployment numbers with NPR Senior Business Editor Marilyn Geewax.

U.S.
10:15 am
Fri September 7, 2012

Close Read: Obama's Speech And The Jobs Numbers

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

STEVE INSKEEP. HOST: And I'm Steve Inskeep. Hours after President Obama delivered his speech at the Democratic Convention, the latest unemployment report provided a reminder of what's at stake. The unemployment rate dropped in August, which sounds good, but the number of jobs created was below expectations for August.

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The Two-Way
7:51 am
Fri September 7, 2012

High Unemployment & Slow Job Growth: Likely News From Today's Report

At a job fair in San Diego this week, Navy Sailor E-5 Cedric Washington spoke to Sim Garriotti from Lockheed Martin while interviewing for a potential position.
Sandy Huffaker Getty Images

Originally published on Fri September 7, 2012 10:34 am

The number of jobs on private and public payrolls grew by just 96,000 in August from July, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said this morning.

Meanwhile, the nation's unemployment rate edged down to 8.1 percent from 8.3 percent the month before. Often, the jobless rate dips even when employment growth is weak because the size of the labor force shrank as many Americans gave up looking for work.

It's a report that will surely add to the presidential campaign rhetoric.

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Planet Money
3:23 am
Fri September 7, 2012

This Man Makes Beautiful Suits, But He Can't Afford To Buy One

See photos of Peter Frew and other tailors in this slide show from The New York Times Magazine.
Marvin Orellana The New York Times

Originally published on Fri September 7, 2012 10:15 am

Peter Frew is one of a tiny number of people left in the United States who can — entirely on his own, using almost no machinery — make a classic bespoke suit. He can measure you, draw a pattern, cut the fabric and then hand-stitch a suit designed to fit your body perfectly.

Frew spent more than a decade as an apprentice for a remarkable tailor in his native Jamaica. He now sells his suits for about $4,000. Since New York is filled with very rich people who see their suits as an essential uniform, Frew has all the orders he can handle.

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The Salt
3:22 am
Fri September 7, 2012

Panera Sandwich Chain Explores 'Pay What You Want' Concept

This Panera Cares store in Chicago switched from for-profit to nonprofit this summer, and it started asking customers to pay whatever they want.
Niala Boodhoo for NPR

Originally published on Wed September 19, 2012 4:11 pm

The concept of "pay what you want" for goods and services is a nostalgic throwback to the days when people trusted one another just a little bit more, and it's something you expect to see at the occasional farm stand or at a hip, independent coffee shop.

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The Two-Way
6:32 pm
Thu September 6, 2012

S&P 500 Spikes To New Four-Year High On News About Europe, U.S. Jobs

The Standard & Poor's 500-stock index rose to levels it hasn't hit in more than four years today, bolstered by the European Central Bank's plan to buy bonds of struggling countries to help support the euro. Strong U.S. jobs data also contributed to the gains.

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Business
6:22 pm
Thu September 6, 2012

Stocks Get Bounce From Europe; Focus Turns To Jobs

Traders on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on Aug. 9. Economic developments on both sides of the Atlantic could have a big impact on the U.S. presidential election.
Richard Drew AP

Originally published on Thu September 6, 2012 6:32 pm

As the political conventions wrap up, talking points concerning the economy may seem locked into place: Growth is continuing, but at a slow pace.

Don't be fooled.

There's still plenty of time for big surprises, and Thursday provided a stunning example. Stock prices shot to highs not seen in years.

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Europe
4:40 pm
Thu September 6, 2012

European Central Bank Unveils Bond-Buying Plan

Originally published on Thu September 6, 2012 7:09 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED, from NPR News. I'm Robert Siegel. And we begin this hour with a bold move in Europe. The head of the European Central Bank today unveiled a plan that he said will help contain the continent's grinding debt crisis. Mario Draghi announced the ECB will step up its purchases of government bonds. The point is to bring down interest rates in Spain, Italy and other heavily indebted countries.

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Europe
4:40 pm
Thu September 6, 2012

European Bond-Buying Plan May Not End Debt Crisis

Originally published on Thu September 6, 2012 7:09 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

This move by the European Central Bank is complicated stuff, and we've asked economist Kenneth Rogoff to help explain it a bit further. He's professor of economics at Harvard and former chief economist at the International Monetary Fund.

Welcome back to the program.

KENNETH ROGOFF: Thank you.

SIEGEL: And the first question: In general, is this another incremental, stopgap measure to hold the eurozone together? Or is the European Central Bank and Mario Draghi, are they announcing a game-changer here?

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Europe
10:17 am
Thu September 6, 2012

European Central Bank Announces Euro Plan

Originally published on Thu September 6, 2012 12:02 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

OK, over in Europe there's been a lot debate on what to do about the troubled currency. And today the European Central Bank announced a new plan to bolster the euro at a meeting in Frankfurt. Bank president Mario Draghi is under immense pressure to prevent the collapse of Europe's monetary union. The bank did not lower interest rates, as some investors hoped, but did unveil steps to ease the eurozone's debt crisis. NPR's Jim Zarroli is in Germany, following the events, and he joins us now. Good morning.

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The Salt
9:45 am
Thu September 6, 2012

Extreme Weather Means Extreme Food Prices Worldwide, Aid Agency Warns

Somali girls line up to receive a hot meal in Mogadishu last year after the worst drought in the Horn of Africa in decades, compounded by war, put millions in danger of starvation.
Roberto Schmmidt AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed September 19, 2012 4:11 pm

Reducing greenhouse gases and saving the polar bears tend to dominate discussions on climate change. But to the booming world population, one climate change issue may be even more pressing – hunger.

A new report by a leading international relief agency warns that climate change will increase the risk of large spikes in global food prices in the future, and lead to more hungry people in the world. That's because extreme weather like droughts, floods and heat waves are predicted to become much more frequent as the planet heats up.

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The Two-Way
8:34 am
Thu September 6, 2012

Employers Added 201,000 Jobs Last Month, Report Signals

The scene at a job fair in Harlem earlier this summer.
Andrew Burton Getty Images

Three bits of good news about jobs were just released.

"Private-sector employment increased by 201,000 from July to August on a seasonally adjusted basis," according to the latest ADP National Employment Report.

And ADP revised up its estimate of the job growth in July — to 173,000 from the 163,000 it previously reported.

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The Two-Way
8:05 am
Thu September 6, 2012

European Central Bank Leaves Interest Rates Unchanged

Originally published on Thu September 6, 2012 9:20 am

"The European Central Bank refrained from cutting interest rates today as President Mario Draghi prepares to unveil a bond-purchase plan to save the euro," Bloomberg News writes. It adds that:

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NPR Story
5:24 am
Thu September 6, 2012

Gaggle Of New Gadgets Wow Tech Lovers

Originally published on Thu September 6, 2012 10:17 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And in the tech world, dueling press conferences and competing corporate unveilings, this week and next, are putting the focus on new and improved gadgets.

NPR's Steve Henn joined us this morning from Silicon Valley to tell us about what's on the high tech horizon.

Good morning.

STEVE HENN, BYLINE: Good morning.

MONTAGNE: So there are a host of companies rolling out shiny new toys this week. What's catching your eye?

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NPR Story
5:24 am
Thu September 6, 2012

European Central Bank To Meet On Interest Rates

Originally published on Thu September 6, 2012 10:17 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

When the European Central Bank holds its monthly meeting today, investors around the world will be watching nervously to see what the bank's head, Mario Draghi, says about interest rates. Draghi was recently quoted as saying he would do whatever it takes to keep Europe's debt crisis from growing out of control, and that could go beyond just cutting borrowing rates.

As NPR's Jim Zarroli reports, any European Central Bank plan to use its resources to prop up Europe's weaker economies will face strong opposition from the Germans.

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Crisis In The Housing Market
5:56 pm
Wed September 5, 2012

Democratic Convention Draws Troubled Homeowners

David Sole rode a bus from Detroit to the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., to protest how the Obama administration and the nation's banks have handled the foreclosure crisis.
Yuki Noguchi NPR

Originally published on Wed September 5, 2012 7:03 pm

Charlotte, N.C., host of the 2012 Democratic National Convention, is the nation's biggest financial center outside of New York. But Charlotte and surrounding Mecklenburg County have the highest foreclosure rates in the state, and many thousands of homeowners owe more on their homes than the properties are worth.

As thousands of Democrats converge in Charlotte for the convention, some troubled homeowners have also gathered, lamenting that the foreclosure crisis has not been sufficiently front and center in the presidential campaign.

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Economy
3:32 pm
Wed September 5, 2012

Journalist Evaluates Obama, Romney Economic Plans

David Leonhardt, the Washington bureau chief of The New York Times, won a Pulitzer Prize last year for his columns about the economy.
Earl Wilson The New York Times

Originally published on Wed September 5, 2012 5:39 pm

On Monday, Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan told a campaign rally audience in North Carolina that "the president can say a lot of things, but he can't tell you you are better off." Later that day in Detroit, Vice President Joe Biden responded "America is better off today than they left us."

New York Times Washington bureau chief David Leonhardt argues that both Ryan and Biden are right: It's partly semantics.

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The Two-Way
9:39 am
Wed September 5, 2012

Nearly 18 Million U.S. Households Had Trouble Getting Food Last Year

In Oswego, N.Y., this summer, a child waited at a food distribution site.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

An estimated 14.9 percent of U.S. households — 17.9 million in total — "had difficulty" at some point last year getting food because they just didn't have enough money or other resources, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported this morning.

In 2010, 14.5 percent of households were similarly "food insecure" at some point, USDA says.

Even worse:

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Business
4:46 am
Wed September 5, 2012

GM, Ford And Chrysler Post Double-Digit Increases

Originally published on Wed September 5, 2012 5:23 am

Pickup trucks sold briskly last month which is good for the bottom line of Detroit's Big Three. One analyst says "the success of the truck segment is usually seen as the harbinger of the overall economy recovery."

All Tech Considered
3:23 am
Wed September 5, 2012

Web-Based Subscription Businesses Surf A New Wave

Customers of Dollar Shave Club say that the company's sense of humor — as seen in an absurdist video of CEO Michael Dubin in his warehouse — has helped win them over.
YouTube

Originally published on Wed September 5, 2012 7:43 pm

The newspaper boy and the milkman might not come around as often as they used to, but the days of subscription and delivery aren't over. The Internet and overnight delivery have combined to make a new type of subscription business possible. The sales pitch is part convenience, part price and part cool factor.

Making Razors Cheap, And Cool

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Business
3:21 am
Wed September 5, 2012

'Quite Good' May Not Be Good Enough For GM

The General Motors logo is displayed atop the Renaissance Center in Detroit. The automaker, while doing much better following the government bailout, is still lagging some of its competitors.
Carlos Osorio AP

Originally published on Wed September 5, 2012 4:54 pm

When you talk to car people about General Motors, they all say the company has gotten better.

"I think General Motors, productwise, is in a better position than it's been in a decade or so," says Jack Nerad of Kelley Blue Book. "The new products, we feel ... are all quite good."

Like many people, however, Nerad adds an important caveat. He says GM's improvement doesn't mean the company is completely out of the woods, because the competition is very good as well.

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It's All Politics
2:47 am
Wed September 5, 2012

Payroll Tax Holiday May Not Survive Year's End

The Social Security tax rate is scheduled to revert to 6.2 percent next year, up from the temporary reduction — to 4.2 percent on an employee's first $110,000 in wages — which has been in effect since January 2011.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed September 5, 2012 4:46 am

An occasional series, Fiscal Cliff Notes breaks down the looming "fiscal cliff" of expiring tax cuts and deep automatic spending cuts set to hit around the first of year.

If you work, you've probably been getting this tax break: Since January 2011, the government has knocked 2 percentage points off the payroll tax.

For someone making $50,000 a year, the payroll tax holiday works out to about $20 a week.

"We definitely notice it," says Steve Warner of Winter Haven, Fla., while on vacation with his family recently in the nation's capital.

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The Two-Way
11:28 am
Tue September 4, 2012

Big Three All Posted Double-Digit Gains In Auto Sales Last Month

A Dodge Ram pickup on sale at Criswell Chrysler Jeep Dodge in Gaithersburg, Md.
Gary Cameron Reuters /Landov

"All three Detroit automakers saw double-digit sales increases in August compared with the same month last year," the Detroit Free Press writes. The gains "show that the automotive industry remains one of the economy's few bright spots," it adds.

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Economy
6:31 am
Tue September 4, 2012

Democrats' Convention To Focus On Jobs, Economy

Originally published on Tue September 4, 2012 12:38 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Now, as you can hear from Scott's report, the economy is a top issue in this campaign.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

So it's fitting that the Democratic Convention was preceded by Labor Day and will be followed by Friday's release of the latest employment numbers.

INSKEEP: NPR's Yuki Noguchi talked with voters about jobs on Labor Day.

YUKI NOGUCHI, BYLINE: This year, Labor Day festivities came to Charlotte in the form of a huge street party.

(SOUNDBITE OF SINGING)

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Asia
6:23 am
Tue September 4, 2012

What's Next? China's Fast-Growing Economy Slows

Originally published on Tue September 4, 2012 5:29 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Not so long ago, the journalist James Fallows made a prediction about China. Many Americans worry about the power of a rising China, but Fallows argued that in the next few years Americans may have more to worry about from China's weakness.

China's economic boom has altered the world economy, but its growth is slowing down. And we're going to talk about that with Beijing-based economist Patrick Chovanec. He's on the line from Beijing.

Welcome to the program.

PATRICK CHOVANEC ECONOMIST: Good to be here.

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