Business

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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All Tech Considered
4:53 pm
Mon September 3, 2012

When A Kickstarter Campaign Fails, Does Anyone Get Their Money Back?

In seeking financial backers for her Ouya game console, Julie Uhrman was looking for about $1 million. The business received far more than that amount.
Kickstarter

Originally published on Wed September 5, 2012 3:48 pm

Crowd funding began as a way to support the arts on the Internet. Artists could go online to pitch a new album, for example, in the hope that thousands would give small amounts. But now it's expanded to entrepreneurs, and the rules aren't quite as clear.

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The Two-Way
7:43 am
Mon September 3, 2012

Trucks Full Of Cash: U.S. Firms Make Plans For Greece Euro Exit

A woman walks past a closed branch of the ATE bank in Athens, on July 30 as employees of the bank went on strike.
Angelos Tzortzinis AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon September 3, 2012 8:41 am

European leaders have vowed to do all they can to keep the eurozone intact, but U.S. companies are making contingency plans in case Greece is forced to leave the currency union.

The New York Times said major U.S. banks and corporations are "preparing for what was once unthinkable" — Greece's exit from the eurozone:

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Business
6:15 am
Mon September 3, 2012

Labor Day Check On The Jobs Market

Originally published on Mon September 3, 2012 7:23 am

At the end of this week, the government's latest snapshot of the job market will be released. David Greene talks to David Wessel, economics editor of The Wall Street Journal, about the unemployment rate.

Politics
9:42 am
Sun September 2, 2012

Occupy Plans Resurgence At Democratic Convention

Occupy Wall Street activist Jason Woody listens to a speaker during a rally before the start of the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., on Aug. 27.
Steve Nesius Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Sun September 2, 2012 1:07 pm

As President Obama reintroduces himself to America at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., next week, the Occupy movement will be there trying to do the same.

Remember Occupy Wall Street, originator of the "We are the 99 percent" slogan?

The group, which helped reshape the nation's political discourse last year before falling into disarray and uncertainty, plans to hold a demonstration outside the convention hall in an effort to recapture the spotlight. A Tampa, Fla., Occupy group protested at the Republican convention in there last week.

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The Salt
8:03 am
Sat September 1, 2012

Want To Grill Like A Zillionaire? There's An App For That

The iGrill on display at Macworld 2011in San Francisco.
Tony Avelar Bloomberg via Getty Images

Originally published on Wed September 19, 2012 4:14 pm

There are so many cooking apps out there, it's easy to get lost. Good thing the iGrill has Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg on its side.

Sales of the $80 device spiked by 400 percent after Zuckerberg updated his Facebook status on Aug. 19 with an enthusiastic thumbs up for the iGrill, a cooking thermometer that uses Bluetooth to connect to the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch.

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Economy
6:11 am
Sat September 1, 2012

The Economy: What Are The Central Bankers Saying?

Originally published on Sat September 1, 2012 3:31 pm

Transcript

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Every year at this time, many of the world's central bankers gather in Jackson Hole, Wyoming for an annual economic policy symposium, within sight of snow-capped mountain peaks. The economy continues to be weak in much of the world. A select group of journalists is allowed to attend - and Robin Harding, the U.S. Economics Editor of the Financial Times, is one of those journalists.

He joins us from Jackson Hole. Mr. Harding, thank you for being with us.

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Your Money
6:11 am
Sat September 1, 2012

Saving For Retirement? Here's A Tip

Originally published on Tue September 4, 2012 5:05 pm

Anyone with a 401(k) retirement plan has been painfully aware of the gyrations in the stock market in recent years. The market has come back up lately, but the economy is still in low gear, so many analysts aren't too bullish in the short term. Also, treasuries and CDs are offering tiny returns.

So what's the average American trying to save for retirement to do? Answers are percolating at an annual economics retreat in Maine.

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The Salt
4:45 pm
Fri August 31, 2012

Battle Over Michigan's New Swine Rules Goes Hog Wild

A Russian sow on Mark Baker's farm. Four other parties have joined Baker's lawsuit against the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.
Courtesy of Long Haul Productions

Originally published on Wed September 19, 2012 4:33 pm

It's estimated that as many as 3,000 wild pigs are on the loose in Michigan. Nationwide, they cause more than $1.8 billion in damage to farms each year. So recently, the state's Department of Natural Resources put Russian boar on the state's invasive species list.

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Economy
4:18 pm
Fri August 31, 2012

Bernanke Supports Stimulus But Stays Quiet On Plans

Originally published on Fri August 31, 2012 6:39 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke made it about as clear as he could today he favors additional steps to stimulate the economy. But he stopped short of saying when the Fed might take action. Bernanke spoke at an economic conference in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. And as NPR's Jim Zarroli reports, he spent much of his time defending the steps the Fed has already taken to address the weak economy.

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Economy
3:08 pm
Fri August 31, 2012

Are Today's Millennials The 'Screwed Generation'?

Graduates attend a ceremony at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. Writer Joel Kotkin notes that many recent college grads are saddled with high debt and dim job prospects.
Butch Dill AP

Originally published on Mon September 3, 2012 6:18 pm

U.S. student loan debt tops $1 trillion, and young people face disproportionately high unemployment. Writer Joel Kotkin points to these numbers when he claims today's millennial generation is getting the short end of the stick. Kotkin speaks with Tell Me More host Michel Martin about his Newsweek/Daily Beast article on what he calls the "screwed generation."

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U.S.
2:43 pm
Fri August 31, 2012

Gas Prices Expected To Retreat As Isaac Fades

A man fills his gas tank Wednesday in Lyndhurst, Ohio. Gas prices surged as Isaac approached, but are expected to ease after Labor Day.
Tony Dejak AP

Originally published on Fri August 31, 2012 6:12 pm

As a tropical storm was gathering strength last week, fears were growing that the fierce winds might knock out Gulf Coast refineries, send gasoline prices soaring and seriously damage the U.S. economy.

But when Hurricane Isaac slammed into the Gulf Coast on Tuesday, it was only a Category 1 hurricane, far weaker than Katrina, the monster storm that hit seven years ago.

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Planet Money
1:56 pm
Fri August 31, 2012

Inside America's Most Indebted City

A garbage truck at the Harrisburg, Pa., incinerator.
Mladen Antonov AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu September 6, 2012 4:58 pm

Harrisburg, Pa., leads the nation in a dubious distinction: It has the most debt per capita of any U.S. city. The town's 50,000 citizens are on the hook for $1.5 billion.

The bizarre tale behind the massive debt includes a do-gooder who skipped town, an epically mismanaged incinerator, and possible criminal behavior.

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The Two-Way
10:29 am
Fri August 31, 2012

Fed Chief Bernanke Issues Strong Hint Of Further Stimulus

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke arrives for a dinner at the Jackson Hole Economic Symposium on Thursday.
Ted S. Warren AP

Originally published on Fri August 31, 2012 10:49 am

As the AP reads it, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke stopped just short of "committing the Fed to any specific move, such as another round of bond purchases to lower long-term interest rates."

Bernanke gave a speech at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City Economic Symposium in Jackson Hole, Wy. today. As with all his speeches, it was being closely watched for signs on what the Federal Reserve would do next.

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