Business

Planet Money
8:03 am
Tue July 10, 2012

Scranton Workers See Pay Slashed To Minimum Wage

Roger Leonard saw his pay plunge to $340 from about $900 for two weeks' work, after Scranton's mayor unilaterally cut city-employee pay to minimum wage.
Jeff Brady NPR

Originally published on Wed July 11, 2012 12:02 pm

A fight between political leaders in Scranton, Pa., has left each and every city employee earning $7.25 an hour — minimum wage.

Last week Mayor Chris Doherty slashed pay, on his own, saying Scranton had run out of money. Lackawanna County Judge Michael Barrasse issued an injunction telling the city it must recognize pay rates spelled out in union contracts. But Doherty continues to violate that court order.

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Election 2012
3:57 am
Tue July 10, 2012

Bush Tax Cuts: The New Middle-Class Norm

Josh Walling and Randi Cartmill with their children, Jacqueline, Josh and Ryan. Josh Walling says his family, whose household income is below the national median, would lose a substantial amount of money if the Bush tax cuts expired.
Courtesy of Randi Cartmill

Originally published on Thu July 26, 2012 2:42 pm

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

Much of the political focus when discussing the Bush-era tax cuts is on the wealthy, but they're not the only ones who would be affected if the tax cuts are allowed to expire at the end of this year.

The vast majority of American taxpayers would take a hit, including Randi Cartmill and Josh Walling, who live in Madison, Wis., with their three children.

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Business
3:16 am
Tue July 10, 2012

For Manufacturing Jobs, Workers Brush Up On Math

Brian Gasiewski removes the external housing for an industrial shock absorber from a CNC, or computer numerical control, machine at Fitzpatrick Manufacturing Co. in Sterling Heights, Mich.
Duane Burleson AP

Originally published on Tue July 10, 2012 7:52 am

Politicians have touted modern manufacturing as the solution for lifting the economy and providing good jobs.

But today's manufacturing work requires strong math skills — not just adding and subtracting, but a good grasp of fractions, decimals and basic trigonometry. And job applicants who want to go into manufacturing often don't have what it takes.

So colleges and nonprofits, especially throughout Illinois, are stepping in to bridge this skills gap by combining manufacturing training with basic reading and math.

Doing Math On The Job

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All Tech Considered
5:20 pm
Mon July 9, 2012

The Next Silicon Valley? Berlin Startups Catching Up With The Hype

Simon Fabich (center) is CEO and co-founder of the Berlin-based online shopping startup Monoqi. Artsy and relatively inexpensive, Berlin is an up-and-coming city for European tech startups.
Courtesy of Monoqi

Originally published on Tue October 16, 2012 4:29 pm

California's Silicon Valley remains by far the dominant arena for high-tech startups and venture capitalists looking to back innovative projects.

But Europe is starting to make its mark on the startup scene. London, Paris and Berlin are starting to hold their own as more and more European startups look to compete on the global stage and attract investors.

A 'Crazy Green Field' For Creative Types

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It's All Politics
4:03 pm
Mon July 9, 2012

Who 'Owns' The Bush Tax Cuts?

Originally published on Mon July 9, 2012 4:53 pm

They're called the Bush tax cuts for a reason. And when they were passed in the early 2000s, most Democrats opposed them.

Cut to a decade later: President Obama is calling for a second extension in as many years of the "temporary" cuts, but it won't come without a fight from congressional Republicans.

Given the apparent role reversal, who owns the George W. Bush-era tax cuts now: Democrats or Republicans?

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Judging The Health Care Law
2:55 pm
Mon July 9, 2012

Congress' Big Stick Just Got a Little Shorter

Susan Clark (left) argues with another protester about the Affordable Care Act outside the U.S. Supreme Court. Chief Justice John Roberts likened the law's Medicaid expansion provision to "a gun to the head" of states.
Kris Connor Getty Images

Originally published on Thu April 4, 2013 1:58 pm

Nothing breeds lawsuits like uncertainty. That being the case, the Supreme Court's landmark health care ruling is almost certain to open the door to lawsuits challenging the federal government's authority.

The court ruled the federal government can't force states to participate in a major expansion of Medicaid or else risk losing existing Medicaid funds from Washington. That threat amounted to unconstitutional coercion.

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Planet Money
1:18 pm
Mon July 9, 2012

What ever happend to the TED spread?

TED spread charts like this one — from June 2011 — have been used to judge whether the financial markets are worried about the health of the big banks.
Bloomberg News

Originally published on Mon July 9, 2012 1:32 pm

Over the last week or so, we've been watching the scandal over manipulation of LIBOR, perhaps the single most important global interest rate: See Robert Smith's piece on Morning Edition, and Tuesday's podcast.

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Economy
11:23 am
Mon July 9, 2012

No June Gloom For American Auto Sales

Originally published on Mon July 9, 2012 12:04 pm

Recovery has been creeping at a slow pace for much of the American economy, but sales by US auto makers have revved up. Chrysler and General Motors both saw double digit growth in June, and Ford wasn't too far behind. Guest host Maria Hinojosa and NPR's Sonari Glinton talk about what's driving the rise.

Planet Money
11:08 am
Mon July 9, 2012

Identifying The Real Victims In The LIBOR Scandal

LIBOR affects many consumer credit rates, from mortgages to credit cards.
Theo Francis NPR

Originally published on Wed July 11, 2012 5:16 pm

A lot of the coverage of the LIBOR scandal has focused on the ways that Barclays tried to manipulate LIBOR lower during the financial crisis, to make the bank look more secure. This has led some listeners to ask a good question: if rates were being shoved down, doesn't that help consumers? LIBOR, after all, is a financial benchmark that shows up in adjustable rate mortgages and other loans.

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Business
5:28 am
Mon July 9, 2012

Stafford Loans Interest Rate To Remain Steady

Originally published on Mon July 9, 2012 6:23 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And for one more year, college students can access a certain kind of loan for the low rate of 3.4 percent. It's known as a Stafford loan, and the interest rate was set to double, until lawmakers managed to reach an agreement to keep the rate low, which in turn will keep college more affordable for more people.

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Economy
5:28 am
Mon July 9, 2012

Charity Collects Donations To Buy Greek Bonds

Many businesses in the town of Oia, on the northern tip of Santorini, are struggling to make ends meet following a drop in tourism.
Michael Virtanen AP

Originally published on Mon July 9, 2012 6:22 pm

A young shipping heir whose family helped turn the Greek island of Santorini into a tourist hot spot is trying to help Greece dig out of its massive debt by asking average Greeks to chip in.

Peter Nomikos hopes to build a social movement beginning with a charity he launched about two weeks ago called Greece Debt Free, which collects donations to buy Greek bonds. On Santorini, the Cycladic island of whitewashed homes, residents say they'd like help with their benefactor's charity — but they can't even pay their own bills.

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Your Money
5:03 pm
Sun July 8, 2012

Raising Minimum Wage: A Help Or Harm?

Wendy Brown of Schenectady, N.Y., holds a sign before an Occupy Albany rally pushing for a raise in New York's minimum wage on May 29, 2012.
Mike Groll AP

Originally published on Sun July 8, 2012 8:55 pm

Back in 1912, Massachusetts became the first place in America to introduce a minimum wage, but it would take another quarter century before a national minimum wage was set.

President Franklin Roosevelt made it law in 1938, that any hourly worker had to be paid at least 25 cents an hour. It was revolutionary, and very few countries had anything like it.

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Politics
7:33 am
Sun July 8, 2012

Jobs Back In Political Forefront

Originally published on Sun July 8, 2012 2:59 pm

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And let's talk about the presidential campaign with Mara Liasson, NPR's national political correspondent. Mara, good morning.

MARA LIASSON, BYLINE: Good morning, David.

GREENE: So, we just heard in Cheryl's piece that the NAACP is meeting. They're going to hear from Mitt Romney. They're going to hear from Vice President Joe Biden. They are not expected to hear from President Obama. What do you make of him sitting this one out?

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Your Money
4:44 pm
Sat July 7, 2012

What Does London's LIBOR Mean To The U.S.?

British banking giant Barclays is at the center of an interbank loan rate scandal that caused several high-ranking executives to resign and forced the company to pay $455 million in fines.
Carl Court AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat July 7, 2012 5:24 pm

Many of us were introduced to the term LIBOR for the first time this week, when it was revealed that some banks might have been manipulating the dull but vital interest rates to gain an edge in the market.

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Around the Nation
8:57 am
Sat July 7, 2012

Scranton's Public Workers' Pay Cut to Minimum Wage

Originally published on Sat July 7, 2012 4:29 pm

The city of Scranton, Pa., sent out paychecks to its employees Friday, like it does every two weeks. But this time the checks were much smaller than usual. Mayor Chris Doherty has reduced everyone's pay — including his own — to the state's minimum wage: $7.25 an hour.

Doherty says his city has run out of money.

Scranton has had financial troubles for a couple of decades — the town has been losing population since the end of World War II. But the budget problems became more serious in recent months as the mayor and the city council fought over how to balance the budget.

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Economy
7:58 am
Sat July 7, 2012

Adjustments Behind The Numbers Shape Job News

Originally published on Sat July 7, 2012 8:57 am

Transcript

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Eight-point-two percent, that's the number economists and politicians are looking at closely. It is the unemployment rate for the month of June. The U.S. Labor Department reported that the economy added only 80,000 jobs last month. As the economy continues its very slow recovery, it's worth asking, is the jobs report always the best indicator? NPR's Sonari Glinton has more.

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Economy
7:58 am
Sat July 7, 2012

CEO Spill The Beans On Hiring Hesitancy

Originally published on Sat July 7, 2012 8:57 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

So, another month passes with U.S. stuck in a jobless recovery. Yet many major businesses are reportedly doing well. Their stock price is up. They have cash on hand. So why aren't more companies hiring?

I'm joined now by two chief executive officers. Christopher Gorman is the president of Key Corporate Bank and the CEO of KeyBank in Cleveland. He joins us from his office there. Mr. Gorman, thanks for being with us.

CHRISTOPHER GORMAN: Good morning, Scott.

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Economy
5:29 pm
Fri July 6, 2012

Options Slim, Older Job Seekers Try Starting Fresh

John Pham (right) reviews Bob Drake's resume at an AARP event aimed at helping older workers improve their job search. Workers age 55 and older cite particular difficulty finding employment, and some are choosing to retrain for new careers.
Frank Franklin II AP

Originally published on Tue July 10, 2012 4:46 pm

Deborah Klein sits in a parked car, a pile of envelopes on her lap. She's looking for work as a pharmacy technician, and has come to a faded strip mall near Waterbury, Conn., to drop off resumes with employers.

"I hope they get in touch with me, they want to meet with me, and who knows — they may have a position," Klein says. "It may not be now, but if I put something in their hand, they have something to think about."

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It's All Politics
3:51 pm
Fri July 6, 2012

Jobs Report And Politics: The Monthly Spin Cycle

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney speaks about the monthly jobs report Friday in Wolfeboro, N.H.
Charles Dharapak AP

Originally published on Fri July 6, 2012 4:32 pm

Like any Oval Office incumbent seeking re-election, President Obama would prefer to have the economy exceeding expectations in terms of job creation at this point in the campaign.

But exactly four months from Election Day, the economy isn't cooperating. In fact, it's doing just the opposite, underperforming job-growth forecasts in recent months.

Given the trend, it seems unlikely the four monthly jobs reports to be issued between Friday and Election Day will change the pattern in which our politics now seem trapped:

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Economy
3:51 pm
Fri July 6, 2012

U.S. Unemployment Rate Sticks At 8.2 Percent

Originally published on Tue July 10, 2012 4:46 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 big news from Washington today may not sound like big new. The unemployment rate remains stuck at 8.2 percent in June. Hiring was virtually flat compared to the prior months, with a meager 80,000 jobs added to the payrolls. But these days, the weak economy is increasingly a political story as NPR's Yuki Noguchi reports.

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Planet Money
11:53 am
Fri July 6, 2012

Rigging LIBOR: Banking Scandal Hits Home (Literally)

Lefteris Pitarakis AP

Originally published on Mon July 30, 2012 9:20 pm

The biggest scandal in the world right now has nothing to do with sex or celebrities. It's about an interest rate called LIBOR, or the London Interbank Offered Rate.

Most Americans probably never heard of LIBOR. When I first moved to New York, I hadn't. Back then, I could barely afford my apartment and got an adjustable rate mortgage. And so I wondered: When my rate adjusts, how will I know how much I'll be paying?

I searched through all the documents and it was right there — LIBOR. I would be paying a few percentage points above whatever LIBOR was.

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Election 2012
11:34 am
Fri July 6, 2012

Is The Jobs Report A 'Kick In the Gut'?

Presumed GOP nominee Mitt Romney calls the June employment report that showed 80,000 jobs created "another kick in the gut to middle class families." Host Michel Martin speaks with two of Tell Me More's regular politicos, Democrat Corey Ealons and Republican Ron Christie, about how these figures could affect the race for the White House.

Planet Money
10:08 am
Fri July 6, 2012

How Unemployment Has Dragged On, In Three Charts

Lam Thuy Vo / NPR

Originally published on Mon July 9, 2012 11:06 pm

Losing your job is rarely good. Not being able to find one for months can be disastrous for individuals, and bad for society as well. Yet during the recent recession and the current anemic recovery, more people in the U.S. have been unemployed for longer than at any time since 1948.

Of all Americans who were unemployed in June, almost half had been without a job for 27 weeks or longer. In other words, 5.4 million people have been jobless for more than half a year.

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The Two-Way
7:09 am
Fri July 6, 2012

Just 80,000 Jobs Added In June; Unemployment Rate Stays At 8.2 Percent

The line at a job fair in New York City last month.
John Moore Getty Images

Originally published on Fri July 6, 2012 11:43 am

Job growth was even weaker than economists feared in June as public and private employers added just 80,000 jobs to their payrolls, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported this morning. They had been expecting BLS would say there were closer to 100,000 more jobs in June than in May.

A separate BLS survey showed the nation's jobless rate remained stuck at 8.2 percent. It's been above 8 percent since February 2009.

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Politics
6:21 am
Fri July 6, 2012

Obama Boards A Bus To Promote His Economic Vision

Originally published on Fri July 6, 2012 12:10 pm

President Obama's campaign bus rolls from Ohio into Pennsylvania Friday. He is trying to make the case that the U.S. economy is slowly but surely on the mend. While touring Ohio's manufacturing belt Thursday, he highlighted the rebound of the auto industry.

Business
6:10 am
Fri July 6, 2012

Data Show It Was A Gloomy June For Many Retailers

Originally published on Fri July 6, 2012 12:10 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with a retail's lousy summer.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

INSKEEP: It's been sunny in much of the country, but inside many stores, the attitude is gloomy - or at least it was during the month of June. The latest sales figures are in, and they show many consumers were not in a buying mood last month. NPR's Wade Goodwyn has more.

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Economy
6:10 am
Fri July 6, 2012

June Brought 80,000 Jobs, 8.2 Percent Unemployment

Originally published on Mon July 30, 2012 9:20 pm

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Linda Wertheimer with Steve Inskeep. The U.S. economy gained 80,000 jobs in June, that's the latest word from the Labor Department and it is another disappointing month of job growth. The number was slightly below expectations. The employment report is closely followed by economists. Job growth, of course, is front and center in the presidential election.

Joining us are NPR's political reporter Tamara Keith and economics correspondent, Chris Arnold.

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Around the Nation
3:19 am
Fri July 6, 2012

Despite Delays, Chair Lifts Coming To Public Pools

New government regulations require public pools to have chair lifts, like this one in Savannah, Ga., for people with disabilities. The compliance deadline has been extended for a second time.
Russ Bynum AP

Originally published on Mon July 30, 2012 9:20 pm

Pools open to the public were supposed to have chair lifts installed for people with disabilities in time for this summer, but after a wave of protests, the federal order was delayed until January.

Still, some of the country's 300,000 or so pools at hotels, parks and gyms continue to fight the requirement.

Vestavia Hills pool near Birmingham, Ala., is one of thousands of pools that scrambled to get a chair lift installed by May.

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Business
3:02 am
Fri July 6, 2012

For Some Businesses, Daily Deals Have A Dark Side

Creative Hands is a therapy center in Washington, D.C., that used daily deals when it opened last year. Instead of bolstering revenue, the deals left Creative Hands' owner in the red.
Ebony Bailey NPR

Originally published on Mon July 30, 2012 9:20 pm

Groupon and Living Social have sold tens of millions of daily deals and are now a major force in retail. But they rely heavily on getting businesses to offer their goods and services at deep discounts. In exchange, businesses hope for payoff in the form of return customers.

Sometimes, though, the flood of extra business causes more problems than it solves.

Deal-Hungry Crowd

Ailie Ham had just opened Creative Hands Massage in Washington, D.C., when she decided to offer deals through Living Social and Groupon last year.

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NPR Cities: Urban Life In The 21st Century
5:06 pm
Thu July 5, 2012

A Company Town Reinvents Itself In South Bend, Ind.

Pete Buttigieg, 30, is the first mayor of South Bend, Ind., born after car manufacturer Studebaker left town.
Peter Hoffman for NPR

Originally published on Fri July 6, 2012 1:55 pm

There are two truths about South Bend, Ind. No. 1: You can't escape the influence of the University of Notre Dame. No. 2: You can't escape the ghost of Studebaker.

South Bend may be best known as the home of the Fighting Irish, but it was once the home of Studebaker automobiles. When Studebaker closed in 1963, it left a gaping hole in the town, where unemployment is at 10.4 percent, according to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Now, the city is working hard to create a second act for the commercial life of South Bend.

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