Business

Business
6:21 am
Sun August 19, 2012

She's No Man; She's A Lobsterman

Lobsterman Genevieve Kurilec holds a lobster caught while fishing along Deer Isle, Maine. Kurilec says more women are beginning to captain their own lobster boats.
Chris Arnold NPR

Originally published on Mon August 20, 2012 5:46 pm

In New England, more women are breaking through the glass gangway. That's the ramp you use to walk down onto a dock to hop onboard your own fishing boat. For generations lobstermen in Maine have been predominantly, well, men — but that's starting to change.

At a small gas dock in a rock-lined cove on Deer Isle, Maine, there's a new captain fueling up. Genevieve Kurilec, 29, wears a tank-top, orange fishing overalls and lobster buoy earrings.

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Your Money
6:21 am
Sun August 19, 2012

Stores Banking On Personalized Loyalty Programs

A customer using Safeway's personalized deals gets this loaf of bread for 99 cents instead of the original $4.29.
Ashley Gross KPLU

Originally published on Sun August 19, 2012 6:56 pm

Loyalty cards have long given discounts to shoppers who sign up, but stores are increasingly offering personalized discounts tailored to each customer's shopping patterns.

Those tailored discounts mean someone standing in front of you at the supermarket checkout line might get a lower price on the exact same gallon of milk that you're buying.

A 'Secret Deal'

Heather Kulper is one of those people who really wants to get a good deal. She's a mom in a suburb north of Seattle who writes a blog about coupon clipping and saving money.

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Economy
5:01 pm
Sat August 18, 2012

In Weak Economy, College Grads 'Surge' Into Military

When his parents Tuy (center) and Mydung (right) Lam lost their jobs, electrical engineering major Louis Lam enlisted in the Navy.
Michael Tomsic NPR

Originally published on Sat August 18, 2012 7:14 pm

The weak economy is helping to drive thousands more college graduates into the U.S. military.

Since the recession began in 2007, there's been a steady increase in the number of college graduates joining the armed forces. The Navy and Army have seen the biggest jumps. About 60 percent more college grads joined the Navy last year than in 2007.

For some of them, it's a job some would never have imagined for themselves just a few years ago.

Not 'What I Thought I'd Be Doing'

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Economy
4:12 pm
Fri August 17, 2012

New Terms Set For Frannie And Freddie

Originally published on Fri August 17, 2012 6:03 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

The Treasury Department today changed the terms of its bailout agreement with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. As NPR's Chris Arnold reports, those terms were proving hopeless for the companies to keep up with.

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Your Money
2:59 am
Fri August 17, 2012

Student Loans Can Dent Retirees' Social Security

Originally published on Fri August 17, 2012 2:37 pm

Families often pull together to help finance a college education, with parents and grandparents chipping in or co-signing loans. And now, a SmartMoney report finds the U.S. government withholding money from Social Security recipients who've stopped paying on federal student loans.

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Economy
2:46 am
Fri August 17, 2012

Low Mortgage Rates Boost 'Serial Refinancers'

Originally published on Fri August 17, 2012 2:35 pm

Refinance activity continues to boom, fueling the home-loan market. Low interest rates have created a class of "serial refinancers" — those lucky enough to borrow at lower rates — and given them new opportunities to spend their freed up cash.

Settlement attorney Robert Gratz never used to be on a first-name basis with his clients.

"In the past, our practice was such that you'd see people, and that was the end of it," he says.

Gratz now sees the same faces all the time, of clients refinancing again and again — these days in the mid-3 percent range.

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All Tech Considered
6:19 pm
Thu August 16, 2012

What's In Your Wallet? Wait, You Don't Need One

A barista processes a customer's payment using Square, a device that turns a mobile device into a card swiper. More businesses are using the devices to simplify credit card payments. Others are embracing technology that allows consumers to pay with their cellphones.
Jeff Wheeler MCT/Landov

Originally published on Thu August 16, 2012 6:39 pm

Most Americans pay with plastic or cash when they visit the grocery store, buy their daily coffee, or fill up the gas tank. But a growing number of large companies are trying to change that.

Google, Starbucks and Wal-Mart are among the many firms that are eager to replace consumers' wallets and stores' cash registers, with smartphones and other mobile devices.

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U.S.
5:30 pm
Thu August 16, 2012

Drivers Wonder Where Price Of Gas Will Go Next

Teresa Jones tanks up in Los Angeles. The high price of crude oil, combined with refinery problems in California and the Midwest, have helped drive up the price of gas nationwide.
Grant Hindsley AP

Originally published on Fri August 17, 2012 2:39 pm

If you plot out a chart of 2012's average gasoline prices, you get what looks like a roller coaster. There's a steady increase from January to April, the spring peak around $4 per gallon, and then a steady decline in May and June.

By the beginning of July, the national average was hovering around $3.42.

But since then, that roller coaster chart has been heading into its second big climb. Prices have been going up since July 1, and are now approaching $3.80.

So, many drivers are now wondering if we should soon expect to pay even more — or if we're near the peak.

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The Two-Way
8:40 am
Thu August 16, 2012

Jobless Claims Held Steady At 366,000 Last Week

There were 366,000 first-time claims for unemployment insurance last week, up by 2,000 from the week before, the Employment and Training Administration says.

So what we said last week applies again:

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Business
4:38 am
Thu August 16, 2012

Olympians Try To Turn Medals Into Endorsements

Originally published on Tue August 21, 2012 4:53 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And while the Olympic Games are over and the athletes have all headed home, the competition for athletes to turn their gold into gold by securing valuable endorsements is in full swing.

To talk to us about some of the big sponsorship deals that might be in the works, we're joined by Emily Steel, who covers media and marketing in New York for the Financial Times.

Good morning.

EMILY STEEL: Good morning.

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American Dreams: Then And Now
3:28 am
Thu August 16, 2012

Persuading Banks To Give Homeowners A Break

Sara Millan (left) thanks Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America CEO Bruce Marks after NACA was able to reduce her family's mortgage during an event in Los Angeles in September 2010.
Damian Dovarganes AP

Originally published on Tue August 21, 2012 4:53 pm

Over the past four years, Bruce Marks has been on a traveling road show to help people avoid foreclosure. His nonprofit, the Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America, has held more than 80 events in cities around the country. So far, Marks says, NACA has helped 202,000 people get their payments lowered so they can afford to keep their homes.

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Economy
3:24 am
Thu August 16, 2012

Amid Budget Squeeze N.Y. Sells Nursing Homes

Horace Nye Nursing Home in Elizabethtown, N.Y., was sold in June, part of a wave of privatizations in rural counties across New York state.
Brian Mann for NPR

Originally published on Tue August 21, 2012 4:53 pm

The national recession may be over, but local governments around the country are still hurting. Core services and programs are being scaled back, cut or privatized. In Upstate New York, county officials are scrambling to sell off nursing homes that have been taxpayer-funded for generations.

Horace Nye Nursing Home in Elizabethtown, N.Y., a modest brick building that sits a stone's throw from the village square, has 100 beds, and that's how many elderly people live here. There is always a waiting list.

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Planet Money
2:51 pm
Wed August 15, 2012

Everybody Always Thinks Inflation Is Higher Than It Really Is

Tony Gutierrez AP

Originally published on Thu August 16, 2012 10:30 am

The world is going to hell, and prices are going through the roof. This, more or less, seems to be the perpetual conventional wisdom.

The first half of the statement is debatable. But the second half is clearly wrong at the moment: Prices are not going through the roof.

Prices for U.S. consumers rose by just 1.4 percent over the past year, according to the consumer price index numbers released this morning. In other words, inflation is very low.

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The Two-Way
8:41 am
Wed August 15, 2012

Inflation Stayed In Check Last Month: No Change In July

There was no change in the consumer price index last month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports.

It's the second month in a row that the index was flat — a sign that inflation remained in check for the first half or so of summer. Whether that trend will continue, however, is uncertain.

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All Tech Considered
3:40 am
Wed August 15, 2012

Twitter Lets Customers Skip Recordings, And Make Choices

For customer Laura Hargrove, the choice between moving-truck companies Budget and Penske came down to how they use Twitter.
NPR

Originally published on Wed August 15, 2012 8:48 am

Once used mostly for one-time promos and marketing, Twitter is now something businesses are relying on to provide customer service. For instance, Southwest Airlines tweets to alert folks about delays. And Best Buy responds to questions and complaints via Twitter. And they're not alone.

Let's say you're thinking of ordering a pair of shoes online and you want to know the store's exchange policy. You could pick up the phone — but then you'll hear the old recording: "To ensure quality service, your call may be monitored or recorded."

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It's All Politics
4:49 pm
Tue August 14, 2012

Ryan's Mission For Fed: Focus On Prices, Not Unemployment

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., shakes hands with Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke at the close of the committee's hearing on the state of the economy in February 2011.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Thu August 16, 2012 1:07 pm

Mitt Romney's new running mate has authored some provocative policy proposals to cut budget deficits and overhaul Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. But Rep. Paul Ryan has also been an advocate for a different course for the central banking system of the United States, the Federal Reserve.

For the past 35 years, the Fed has had a dual mandate from Congress: to set interest rates at levels that will both foster maximum employment and keep prices stable. Put another way, the Fed's goals are to get unemployment as low as possible while keeping inflation in check.

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Planet Money
3:38 pm
Tue August 14, 2012

What A Very Old Menu Tells Us About The Price Of Steak

Matt Sayles Associated Press

Originally published on Tue August 14, 2012 11:08 pm

Delmonico's, the New York City steakhouse, has been around forever.

The New York Public Library's archival menu collection doesn't go back quite that far. But it does have a Delmonico's menu from 1918. The archive also, sort of randomly, has a Delmonico's menu from 1988. Delmonico's current menu is online.

One item that's on all three menus: filet mignon.

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Economy
2:50 pm
Tue August 14, 2012

Back-To-School Shoppers Open Wallets, But Carefully

Shoppers walk along Chicago's Michigan Avenue last month.
Sitthixay Ditthavong AP

Originally published on Tue August 14, 2012 5:29 pm

After months of sitting on their wallets, Americans went shopping in July. The uptick reported Tuesday is boosting economists' hopes for a reasonably strong back-to-school season. And retailers are looking for clues about how the holiday shopping season will turn out later in the year.

"This is a good report," Chris Christopher, an economist with IHS Global Insight, a forecasting firm, wrote in an assessment of the latest report. "It indicates that consumers came back after hunkering down" during the year's first half when sales were "dismal."

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Economy
11:10 am
Tue August 14, 2012

Retail Sales Jump, But Are They High Enough?

Originally published on Tue August 14, 2012 5:30 pm

July saw the largest retail sales increase in months, according to the Commerce Department. But not all the news is rosy. NPR Senior Business Editor Marilyn Geewax joins guest host Jacki Lyden to take a look at consumer spending and the "back to school" season.

The Two-Way
8:50 am
Tue August 14, 2012

Retail Sales Rose 0.8 Percent In July; More Than Expected

There was a 0.8 percent increase in retail sales in July from June, the Census Bureau says, thanks in part to gains in purchases of cars, furniture and appliances.

Overall, The Associated Press says, "all major categories showed increases, a sign that consumers may be gaining confidence." If that is indeed the case, it's good news for the economy. Consumers purchase about 70 percent of all goods and services.

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The Salt
3:30 am
Tue August 14, 2012

Crayfish Go On The Menu To Restore Lake Tahoe's Blue Hue

A commercially harvested crayfish from Lake Tahoe near Incline Village, Nev., in July.
Max Whittaker Prime for NPR

Originally published on Mon October 22, 2012 11:30 am

Around the country, environmentalists are cooking up ways to battle invasive species by serving them up on a platter.

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Economy
11:56 am
Mon August 13, 2012

A New Kind Of Segregation, Income Segregation?

More Americans are segregated by income today, than they were 30 years ago. That's according to a new Pew Research Center study looking at U.S. neighborhoods. Rice University sociologist Stephen Klineberg says income segregation is a direct result of a shrinking middle class. He speaks with guest host Jacki Lyden about these changes.

Sports
11:56 am
Mon August 13, 2012

Can East London Keep The Olympic Spirit Burning?

The Olympics are over, but guest host Jacki Lyden takes a look at the lasting impact of the Games on young people living in the neighborhoods around Olympic Park. She speaks with East London residents Amber Charles and Rumi Begum. Both young adults participated in the Olympic torch relay in recognition of their contributions to sports in the area.

Television
11:56 am
Mon August 13, 2012

Hardcore Job Program Helps Unlikely 'Get To Work'

Transcript

JACKI LYDEN, HOST:

This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Jacki Lyden. Michel Martin is away. Coming up, we get the cross-cultural flavor of New Orleans music with writer and radio host, Gwen Thompkins. She talks to songwriters, musicians and producers in Louisiana for her program, Music Inside Out, and she shares their stories with us in just a few more minutes.

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Business
4:23 am
Mon August 13, 2012

Consumer Bureau Targets Improper Floreclosures

Originally published on Mon August 13, 2012 5:53 pm

Transcript

GREG ALLEN, BYLINE: Now Florida is among the states that were hardest-hit by the housing crisis, and foreclosures remain a big problem there and in several other parts of the country.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

One thing the government has been struggling with is how to stop banks from foreclosing on people improperly. The government is also trying to figure out more quickly help homeowners who qualify for reduced interest rates.

A federal regulator has released new rules aimed at doing both, and NPR's Chris Arnold has more.

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Europe
3:29 am
Mon August 13, 2012

Poland Watches Warily As Euro Crisis Spreads

One of the latest additions to Poland's growing luxury goods market, the Wolf Bracka department store, beckons shoppers in the heart of the Polish capital, Warsaw. The country's economy continues to grow, but Poles are anxiously watching the crisis in the eurozone.
Czarek Sokolowski AP

Originally published on Mon August 13, 2012 8:51 pm

One factor that has kept Poland somewhat insulated from the eurozone crisis is domestic consumer spending. Poland had more than 4 percent growth last year while the rest of the continent was mired in negative or flat growth. Poles have more discretionary income than ever before, and they're using it to buy things in swank malls cropping up all over the country.

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Your Money
5:51 am
Sun August 12, 2012

Some Small Investors Still Wary Of Betting On Wall St.

Traders prepare for the start of early trading at the New York Stock Exchange. Some say there's been a loss of faith in the stock market's return on investment over the last 15 years.
Bebeto Matthews AP

Originally published on Mon August 13, 2012 5:55 pm

Ten years ago, Andres Cortez, a chauffeur in Los Angeles, might have been part of the hordes of people dabbling in day trading or haunting the online stock forums. He might have been bragging to his friends about the money he made in tech stocks, or learning how to margin trade at a night school.

Instead, he keeps his distance from stocks.

As he stands by his car and waits for a passenger downtown, Cortez says he has a little money he's put aside and is keeping it in a savings account, where it earns virtually nothing.

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Economy
5:51 am
Sun August 12, 2012

Taking A 'Doomy' Look At The Economy

Originally published on Sun August 12, 2012 9:40 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

And now another gloomy financial message. Nouriel Roubini is a New York University professor and former economic advisor to the Clinton administration. And he has the nickname Dr. Doom. Roubini is next in our series of conversations with topnotch economists. But unlike some of his colleagues, he does not claim to have a crystal ball; he makes warnings, not predictions. Nouriel Roubini joins us from New York.

Welcome. So why do they call you Dr. Doom?

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Economy
5:54 pm
Fri August 10, 2012

Georgia Town Ranks As City With Worst U.S. Job Loss

Rolls of carpet
iStockphoto.com

For decades, Dalton, Ga., had been known as the carpet capital of the world. But recently, it was named something else: the town with the past year's worst job loss.

The U.S. Labor Department says Dalton lost 4,600 jobs from June 2011 to June 2012. That's because some carpet mills that once employed thousands have closed down or cut back.

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Planet Money
2:05 pm
Fri August 10, 2012

How A Pasta Factory Got People To Show Up For Work

Robert Smith NPR

Originally published on Mon August 13, 2012 10:06 am

Zoe Chace and Robert Smith are reporting from European borders this week. This story is about the unofficial border within one country — the border that divides northern and southern Italy. This is the fourth story in a four-part series.

A decade ago, the Barilla pasta factory in Foggia, Italy, had a big problem with people skipping work. The absentee rate was around 10 percent.

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