Business

Planet Money
10:51 am
Thu August 9, 2012

Paying For College: Financial Aid In America, In 2 Graphics

Lam Thuy Vo / NPR

Originally published on Thu November 8, 2012 7:40 pm

For more, see our posts The Price Of College Tuition and What America Owes In Student Loans.

Tuition has gone through the roof in the past decade. But so has financial aid.

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The Two-Way
8:47 am
Thu August 9, 2012

Jobless Claims Dipped Last Week; Still In Range They've Been In All Year

There were 361,000 first-time claims for unemployment insurance last week, the Employment and Training Administration says. That's down 6,000 from the week before (that previous week's total was revised up by 2,000).

Claims have stayed in a range between 350,000 and 400,000 all year. The unemployment rate, meanwhile, has also varied little: it's low this year has been 8.1 percent and the high has been 8.3 percent.

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NPR Story
7:56 am
Thu August 9, 2012

How Other Networks Compete Against Olympic Games

Originally published on Fri August 10, 2012 2:51 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

NBC's coverage of the London Olympics is a ratings hit - which can present a problem for other networks looking to lure viewers, especially those dedicated to broadcasting sports. John Ourand is a media reporter for Sports Business Daily, and he's been checking to see what else is on.

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Business
5:58 pm
Wed August 8, 2012

Tax Evaders Beware! Money's Getting Harder To Hide

The U.S. government has been working for years to crack down on Americans dodging taxes overseas. In 2009, under intense pressure, the Swiss bank UBS released the names of its American customers.
Fabrice Coffrini AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu August 9, 2012 3:51 pm

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has acknowledged that he had money in a Swiss bank account until 2010. Romney says he wasn't trying to hide the money, since he reported the account to the government.

Even so, he closed the account at a time when the federal government was in the middle of a major crackdown on offshore tax havens — a crackdown that has made it harder for Americans to hide their money overseas.

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All Tech Considered
2:36 pm
Wed August 8, 2012

As Starbucks Adopts 'Square' Payments, Will Other Merchants Follow?

Square allows merchants to accept payments automatically from recognized registered customers.
Square screen grab

You could soon pay for a latte at Starbucks simply by walking into the store with a smartphone in your pocket and giving the cashier your name.

Square, a San Francisco-based payments startup unveiled a deal Wednesday with the world's largest coffee chain that will move its mobile payments products into Starbucks stores around the U.S. starting this fall.

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Business
3:19 am
Wed August 8, 2012

Natural Gas Giant Tries To Shift Gears

Workers move a section of well casing into place at a Chesapeake Energy natural gas well site near Burlington, Pa., in 2010.
Ralph Wilson AP

Originally published on Thu August 9, 2012 3:54 pm

A drop in natural gas prices is hurting balance sheets across the petroleum industry. The second-largest natural gas producer in the United States — Oklahoma City-based Chesapeake Energy — has been hit especially hard.

After 23 consecutive years of touting its increasing natural gas production, Chesapeake CEO Aubrey McClendon told investors during a conference call Tuesday that the company projects its gas output will drop about 7 percent in 2013.

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National Security
2:03 pm
Tue August 7, 2012

Is There A Role For Government In Cybersecurity?

The Cyber Security Act of 2012 failed in the Senate, despite growing alarm in the intelligence community about the vulnerabilities of the nation's infrastructure. The episode highlights a unique problem for politicians concerned about the balance between national security and federal regulation.

Business
5:29 am
Tue August 7, 2012

How Internet Browser Roles Are Changing

Originally published on Wed August 8, 2012 2:39 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

As more people around the world get online using an increasing variety of devices, like smart phones and tablets, the browser wars are back and hotter than ever.

Microsoft's Internet Explorer and Google Chrome are battling to be the world's most popular browser. No matter what browser one may use, it's still the primary way through which many people still enter the Internet.

So, to browse the latest in browsers, we're joined by Rich Jaroslovsky. He's a technology columnist with Bloomberg News.

Good morning.

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World
3:27 am
Tue August 7, 2012

Growing Pains: Nations Balance Growth, Power Needs

Muslim girls study by candlelight inside a religious school in Noida, near New Delhi, on July 31. The collapse of three regional power grids last week caused a massive power outage that blacked out more than half of India.
Parivatran Sharma Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Wed August 8, 2012 2:39 pm

It may take some time to pinpoint the exact cause of India's massive blackouts last week, but the underlying issue for India and many other parts of the developing world is that supply is struggling to keep up with the growing demand for power — an imbalance that can affect the reliability of electric grids.

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Business
5:34 pm
Mon August 6, 2012

Car Insurers Eye Driving Skills To Set Prices

For years, car insurance companies have set rates based on where a driver lives. But new in-car tracking devices may soon transform how drivers are charged for insurance.
Mark Wilson Gettty Images

Originally published on Tue August 7, 2012 2:37 pm

To the average consumer, car insurance can seem pretty arbitrary. What you get charged often depends more on where you drive than how you drive.

John Egan of InsuranceQuotes.com says it's very often about location, location, location. Two people, he says, can live in two different zip codes in the same city "and pay a substantially different amount of money, depending on exactly where [they] live in your community."

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Asia
5:40 am
Mon August 6, 2012

Myanmar's Workers Exercise Rights To Organize

Originally published on Mon August 6, 2012 1:50 pm

Political and economic changes in Myanmar have fueled a wave of labor unrest in the country also known as Burma. Myanmar is in the very early stages of industrial development and has some of the lowest wages in the world. Wages are unlikely to reach levels seen elsewhere in the region anytime soon.

Author Interviews
3:01 am
Mon August 6, 2012

'American Dream,' Betrayed By Bad Economic Policy

Originally published on Tue October 9, 2012 7:33 am

A lot is at stake in the current election, but no matter who wins, the victor will stay committed to policies that cripple the middle class. That's according to Pulitzer Prize-winning reporters Donald Barlett and James Steele, who've been covering the middle class for decades.

In their new book, The Betrayal of the American Dream, Barlett and Steele criticize a government obsessed with free trade and indifferent toward companies that outsource jobs.

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Economy
7:34 am
Sun August 5, 2012

A Peek Into The Republican Economic Tool Kit

Weekend Edition Sunday is beginning a series of conversations with economists, asking them to explain their positions and what they think ought to be done to improve the economy. Guest host Linda Wertheimer talks to Greg Mankiw, former chairman of the Council of Economic advisers under President George W. Bush. He's also an informal adviser to the Romney campaign.

Around the Nation
6:06 pm
Sat August 4, 2012

How America's Losing The War On Poverty

Members of the Dolan family walk home with bags of food from the Southern Tier Mobile Food Pantry in Oswego, N.Y., in June. Food banks across the nation are reporting giant spikes in demand.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

Originally published on Mon August 6, 2012 1:53 pm

While President Obama and Gov. Romney battle for the hearts and minds of the middle class this election season, there's a huge swath of Americans that are largely ignored. It's the poor, and their ranks are growing.

According to a recent survey by The Associated Press, the number of Americans living at or below the poverty line will reach its highest point since President Johnson made his famous declaration of war on poverty in 1964.

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Economy
7:32 am
Sat August 4, 2012

Economists Cautiously Applaud Jobs Report

Originally published on Sun August 5, 2012 11:43 am

Transcript

SUSAN STAMBERG, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Susan Stamberg in for Scott Simon. In an encouraging sign for the U.S. economy, the Labor Department told us yesterday that the country gained 163,000 jobs in July. That was better than expected but not all signs are pointing up. In a separate government survey, the unemployment rate increased slightly to 8.3 percent. NPR's Chris Arnold is at a gathering of economists in northern Maine. He sent this report.

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Presidential Race
5:52 am
Sat August 4, 2012

Obama, Romney Each Read Jobs Numbers Differently

Originally published on Sun August 5, 2012 11:43 am

The stock market rallied on Friday's jobs report, with the Dow Jones industrial average jumping more than 200 points. But what do the numbers mean for the political stocks of President Obama and his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney? That's harder to measure.

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Planet Money
6:21 pm
Fri August 3, 2012

Episode 392: Keeping The Biggest Secret In The U.S. Economy

The Bureau of Labor Statistics keeps monthly unemployment figures very safe.
Don Goldberg (DoGoLaCa) flickr.com

Originally published on Mon August 6, 2012 3:01 pm

  • Listen to the Episode

The monthly jobs numbers are important — really important. They tell everyone from manufacturers to stock traders how the economy is doing. Billions of dollars ride on the jobs numbers.

Get them early, and you'd have everything you need to make a quick fortune. And once — just once, as far as anyone knows — someone did get them early.

On today's show, we talk to the guy who got the numbers before everyone else. And we learn the crazy lengths the government now goes to in order to keep those numbers secret until it's time to release them.

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Economy
4:42 pm
Fri August 3, 2012

Despite Jobs Added, U.S. Unemployment Rose In July

Originally published on Fri August 3, 2012 6:06 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish. The job market is finally showing signs of improvement after months of disappointing numbers. The Labor Department said today that employers added 163,000 jobs to their payroll in July. That's the best performance since February. Of course, it wasn't all good news. With the jobs increase also came an uptick in the overall unemployment rate to 8.3 percent. As NPR's Jim Zarroli reports, that underscores just how tenuous the recovery remains.

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It's All Politics
12:17 pm
Fri August 3, 2012

Latest Jobs Data Maintain Status Quo Of Obama-Romney Race

Originally published on Fri August 3, 2012 2:10 pm

(Revised @ 1:48 pm ET)

With only three monthly jobs reports left before Nov. 6, President Obama needs every piece of good economic news he can get to add to his argument for re-election.

Friday's employment report certainly provided some. The Labor Department reported that the economy added an unexpectedly strong 163,000 jobs in July. Forecasters had predicted that the economy would add as many as 100,000 jobs, so the report took most everyone by surprise.

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Planet Money
11:37 am
Fri August 3, 2012

Actually, The U.S. Lost 1.2 Million Jobs Last Month

Originally published on Mon August 6, 2012 3:02 pm

Everyone (including us) is saying this morning that the U.S. economy gained 163,000 jobs last month. Strictly speaking, this is a lie.

In fact, the U.S. economy actually lost 1.2 million jobs last month. There were 134.1 million jobs in June, and 132.9 million jobs in July. (The numbers are in this PDF.)

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The Two-Way
8:54 am
Fri August 3, 2012

163,000 Jobs Added In July; Unemployment Rate Rose To 8.3 Percent

A sign pointing the way to a career fair in San Mateo, Calif., last month.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Fri August 3, 2012 12:12 pm

There were 163,000 more jobs on public and private payrolls last month, but the nation's unemployment rate edged up to 8.3 percent, the Bureau of Labor Statistics just reported.

The jobs gain was the best in five months and was much better than the revised estimated of growth for June — a gain of just 64,000 jobs. But it wasn't good enough to keep the jobless rate from rising slightly. In June, it stood at 8.2 percent.

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The Two-Way
6:44 am
Fri August 3, 2012

Best Guess: 100,000 Jobs Added In July; Unemployment Stayed At 8.2 Percent

Originally published on Fri August 3, 2012 8:52 am

Update at 8:45 a.m. ET. Report Has Better Than Expected News:

"163,000 Jobs Added In July; Unemployment Rate Rose To 8.3 Percent"

Our original post:

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Economy
5:30 am
Fri August 3, 2012

July Jobs Report: A Political Analysis

The Labor Department announces the number of jobs added in July and the national unemployment rate Friday. NPR's Scott Horsley joins Renee Montagne to talk about the report and the consequences for the presidential race.

Energy
4:57 am
Fri August 3, 2012

States Ask Detroit: 'Build Us A Natural Gas Car, Please'

Honda's CNG Civic is the only natural gas-fueled sedan currently available in the United States. With so few CNG passenger cars on the road, pumping stations are few and far between.
Tracy Samilton for NPR

Originally published on Fri August 3, 2012 5:31 am

More than 20 state governors are taking an unusual step to boost the natural gas vehicle industry. Independent of the federal government, they're asking Detroit carmakers to build them a new kind of car: a midsize sedan that runs on compressed natural gas instead of gasoline.

The governors are hoping to boost demand for natural gas cars with their collective buying power. Combined, the states say they could ultimately buy thousands of CNG vehicles to replace their current vehicle fleets — if those cars were available.

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Planet Money
3:30 am
Fri August 3, 2012

Keeping The Biggest Secret In The U.S. Economy

In one part of the BLS offices, a supervisor rings this bell to let employees know that it is officially 8:30 AM.
Bureau of Labor Statistics

Originally published on Fri August 3, 2012 10:04 am

The single most important number in the U.S. economy comes out on the first Friday of each month at 8:30 a.m. That's when the government reports how many jobs were added or gained in the previous month.

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Economy
5:20 pm
Thu August 2, 2012

Americans Divided On Historically Low Interest Rates

Originally published on Thu August 2, 2012 6:39 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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

This week, the Federal Reserve acknowledged that the U.S. economy is losing strength. Economic recovery has been disappointing, and record low interest rates have not proven to be as helpful as some predicted. As it happens, they also mean different things whether you're a borrower or a saver. Thirty-year fixed home mortgage rates of three and half percent are one thing, earning less than a percent on your savings account is another.

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Economy
4:01 pm
Thu August 2, 2012

What Can We Do To Fix The Economy?

Courtesy of Jared Bernstein

U.S. employment is stalled, growth is anemic, and the Federal Reserve has decided not to take action for at least another month.

Most economists weren't expecting the Federal Open Markets Committee, which sets the Fed's monetary policy, to announce another round of quantitative easing — a fancy term that basically means the central bank buys bonds to increase the money supply and make borrowing cheaper — at this week's meeting. Still, that's exactly what a number of them think is needed.

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The Two-Way
8:52 am
Thu August 2, 2012

Jobless Claims Rose By 8,000 Last Week

The number of people filing first-time clams for unemployment insurance rose by 8,000 last week, to 365,000 from 357,000 the week before, the Employment and Training Administration says.

It adds that the "4-week moving average," which is supposed to give a slightly broader look at the trend in claims, "was 365,500, a decrease of 2,750 from the previous week's revised average of 368,250."

But according to The Associated Press:

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Economy
5:32 am
Thu August 2, 2012

The Swing Back After Stock Market Glitch

Federal regulators are trying to piece together what happened in the stock market Wednesday morning. Just after the opening bell, the prices of dozens of stocks began to gyrate up and down. The swings were soon traced to a software glitch at a New Jersey brokerage firm called Knight Capital. NPR's Jim Zarroli joins Steve Inskeep with more.

Education
5:23 am
Thu August 2, 2012

Families Make Big Changes To Pay For College

Emily Macri looks over a college brochure with her mother, Maureen O'Brien, in Kingman, Ariz. Macri is transferring to Northern Arizona University so that she can pay in-state tuition.
Courtesy of Emily Macri

Originally published on Thu August 2, 2012 8:50 am

Maureen O'Brien told her daughter Emily Macri: dream big.

She could pick any college she wanted and they would figure out a way to pay for it.

Macri chose the University of Vermont, which costs more than $49,000 in tuition and fees per year for out-of-state residents.

O'Brien and her daughter co-signed a private student loan from Sallie Mae for $24,000 and a $30,000 Parent PLUS loan, a federal loan program for parents. And that was just for Macri's first two years of college.

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