Business

Solve This
3:32 am
Tue October 2, 2012

Candidates Say Little On Difficult Issue Of Housing

Despite millions of troubled mortgages around the country, housing hasn't been a major issue in the presidential race so far.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Tue October 2, 2012 1:08 pm

Housing continues to be a big issue for the economy, and for many voters. But so far it hasn't been a major issue in the presidential campaign. Perhaps that's because both sides agree that there's no easy fix for the problem of millions of troubled mortgages.

The Problem:

Cathy Busby and her husband co-owned a realty office in Denver when they bought their house in 2006. The next year, the market for houses dried up, leaving them with little income as their house lost value.

Now, she says, she considers herself "poverty level."

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The Two-Way
12:10 pm
Mon October 1, 2012

Report: If Congress Ignores 'Fiscal Cliff,' Most Americans Will Pay More Taxes

In this Nov. 19, 2011 fie photo the U.S. Capitol building is seen in Washington.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

Unless Congress passes legislation in a lame-duck session, taxes will be higher by a half-trillion dollars next year, costing the average household nearly $3,500 a year, according to a just-released report by the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center.

After studying details of the tax changes now set to take effect for 2013, the researchers were struck by "how big the tax increase is," said Eric Toder, one of those researchers. "It's a huge, huge number."

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Business
5:13 am
Mon October 1, 2012

Maker Faire Celebrates Do-It-Yourself-Culture

Originally published on Mon October 1, 2012 5:23 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Thousands of people gathered at the New York Hall of Science this weekend for what's called the World Maker Faire. It was the third an annual celebration of 21st century Do-It-Yourself culture, with workshops, speakers and demonstrations.

But, as reporter Stan Alcorn discovered, the main attraction is the makers themselves.

STAN ALCORN, BYLINE: At the center of the World Maker Faire is Katy Perry.

JESSE GREEN: Katy Perry is the unicorn that we made for a friend's wedding.

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Fiscal Cliff Notes
3:31 am
Mon October 1, 2012

For High Earners, Expiring Tax Cuts Would Hit Hard

Originally published on Mon October 1, 2012 5:22 pm

This story is part of our occasional series Fiscal Cliff Notes.

If the Bush-era tax cuts are allowed to expire, the majority of Americans will see their taxes rise. Those who will see the largest increase are the wealthy.

Dr. Hamilton Lempert, an emergency room doctor in Cincinnati, works almost exclusively on overnight shifts.

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The Two-Way
8:54 am
Fri September 28, 2012

Income And Spending Both Basically Flat In August

Higher prices at the pump meant the amount of money consumers spent went up last month.
Kevork Djansezian Getty Images

Americans' personal income grew by just 0.1 percent in August from July and consumer spending would have been basically flat as well if it hadn't been for higher gasoline prices, the Bureau of Economic Analysis reported this morning.

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Economy
5:14 am
Fri September 28, 2012

Spain's Budget Cuts Likely To Provoke Protests

Originally published on Fri September 28, 2012 8:29 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

European finance ministers have asked Spain if it might need a few bucks to tide it over - in particular, $125 billion to prop up failing banks. The Spanish government is expected to announce today how much of that sum it will need.

Shoring up banks is one step Spain is taking to prevent economic collapse. Another step is to slash more than $50 billion dollars in spending.

Lauren Frayer reports from Madrid on Spain's new budget, unveiled last night.

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Business
4:49 am
Fri September 28, 2012

Hiring Outlook For College Graduates Improves

Originally published on Fri September 28, 2012 8:29 am

The report from the National Association of Colleges and Employers says hiring for the upcoming class of graduates will jump 13 percent from a year ago. But the improvement won't get the job market for new grads back to where it was before the recession.

Economy
3:24 am
Fri September 28, 2012

Easy Money May Boost Economy But At What Cost?

Specialist David Pologruto works at his post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on Sept. 13, as Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke holds a news conference in Washington. The world's central banks are easing credit, putting more money into the global economy.
Richard Drew AP

Originally published on Fri September 28, 2012 12:31 pm

The world's central banks are pumping cash into their economies, pushing down interest rates in hopes the ready cash and lower rates will boost borrowing and economic activity. Everyone agrees the action is dramatic and unprecedented, but there's disagreement over whether they will do more harm than good.

Economists know very well the trillions of dollars being added by the central banks to the global economy can be risky.

"These are risks about long-term rises in inflation, housing bubbles potentially building up," says Jacob Kirkegaard of the Peterson Institute.

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NPR Cities: Urban Life In The 21st Century
5:29 pm
Thu September 27, 2012

Aurora, Colo., Tries To Capitalize On Its Ethnic Riches

Families in a predominantly Latino youth soccer league gather for matches in Aurora. Hispanics make up nearly a third of the city's population, according to the 2010 Census.
Megan Verlee for NPR

Originally published on Fri September 28, 2012 1:00 pm

Aurora, Colo., became a familiar name this summer, in the wake of a mass shooting at a local movie theater.

But there's much more to this Denver suburb than the recent tragedy. Just ask Ethiopian immigrant Fekade Balcha. Balcha's apartment, on Aurora's north side, sits in a dense neighborhood of squat brick apartment buildings and tiny homes.

"You see, in our apartment, there are Russians, Mexicans, Africans," Balcha says. "From Ethiopia, Somalia, Nigeria, and something like that."

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Around the Nation
5:29 pm
Thu September 27, 2012

Despite Record Drought, Farmers Expect Banner Year

With far less than half of their normal corn yield, the Ulrich brothers are relying in part on government-subsidized crop insurance to keep their farm afloat.
Frank Morris KCUR

Originally published on Fri September 28, 2012 12:39 pm

After one of the driest summers on record, recent rains have helped in some parts of the country. But overall, the drought has still intensified. The latest tracking classifies more than a fifth of the contiguous United States in "extreme or exceptional" drought, the worst ratings.

In some parts of the Lower Midwest, water-starved crops have collapsed, but the farmers have not. Farmers across the country are surviving, and many are even thriving. This year, despite the dismal season, farmers stand to make exceptionally good money, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

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Planet Money
2:28 pm
Thu September 27, 2012

Surprise! There Are 386,000 More Jobs Than We Thought

We thought the U.S. economy added just under 2 million jobs between March, 2011 and March, 2012. Turns out, the actual number was more like 2.4 million — a big difference!

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Economy
11:43 am
Thu September 27, 2012

Housing Prices Up, But Market Far From Recovered

Originally published on Thu September 27, 2012 1:54 pm

Transcript

CELESTE HEADLEE, HOST:

This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Celeste Headlee. Michel Martin is away. Coming up, Eric LeGrand was a star college football player until a tackle left him paralyzed. We'll speak with him about his new memoir and his new life. That's in a moment.

But, first, let's turn to housing. The Standard & Poor's Case-Shiller Home Price Index is one of the top measures of the U.S. housing market and the latest report just out this week says prices are on the rise.

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The Two-Way
8:54 am
Thu September 27, 2012

Orders Plunge, GDP Growth Revised Down

A huge drop in demand for cars, aircraft and other transportation equipment pulled down orders for so-called durable goods in August, the Census Bureau says.

Orders fell 13.2 percent, "the largest decrease since January 2009."

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Business
5:08 am
Thu September 27, 2012

Has Apple's Feud With Google Hurt Its iPhone 5?

The fallout from Apple's controversial decision to drop Google Maps from the iPhone 5 continues. Customers aren't giving Apple Maps any love, and analysts say Apple made an uncharacteristic blunder in dumping Google.

The Salt
3:33 pm
Wed September 26, 2012

Greek Credit Crisis Forces Winemakers, Food Canners To Adapt

Winemakers like Stellios Boutaris, shown near his vineyard outside Naoussa, Greece, and other business leaders have been forced to pursue new financial tactics because credit is hard to come by.
Jim Zarroli NPR

Originally published on Wed September 26, 2012 5:54 pm

When the economic crisis erupted in Greece and the bottom fell out of the domestic wine market, the Kir-Yianni vineyard outside picturesque Naoussa decided to adapt. Like other wineries in Greece, it has increasingly tapped the export market, successfully marketing and selling wine in Europe, the United States and even China.

"If you ask me, this crisis has been good for us," says Stellios Boutaris, the son of the company's founder. "It's going to make us stronger."

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The Two-Way
3:22 pm
Wed September 26, 2012

Freddie Mac Didn't Harm Homeowners, Inspector General Says

In January, NPR and ProPublica reported on a potential conflict of interest at Freddie Mac, a mortgage giant sponsored by the federal government. The stories noted that even as Freddie Mac was writing rules making it harder for homeowners to refinance their mortgages, it also was stepping up investments in securities that gain when homeowners remain stuck in high-rate loans.

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The Two-Way
10:23 am
Wed September 26, 2012

New Home Sales Were Flat In August, But Prices Rose Sharply

Model homes at a new development in Millbrae, Calif., earlier this year.
David Paul Morris Getty Images

While the number of new homes sold in August was barely changed from July, the median sales price was up sharply, the Census Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban Development report. So the news adds to other recent signs, including Tuesday's report about higher home prices in major cities, of a recovering housing sector.

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Business
5:29 am
Wed September 26, 2012

Lesser-Known IPOs Fare Better Than Facebook's

Originally published on Wed September 26, 2012 10:36 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Facebook share price have lost almost half of its value since the social networking company had its initial public offering, or IPO, in the spring. Hundreds of millions of followers apparently will not guarantee you success in the stock market - at least not in the short-term.

Many lesser-known companies have also plunged into the stock market this year in the hopes of raising lots of capital, but their prices have not plunged - they're doing better than Facebook.

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Business
5:28 am
Wed September 26, 2012

Economy's Holiday Wish List: Buy Big-Ticket Items

Originally published on Wed September 26, 2012 10:36 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Warning. It's only September and we have a story about holiday shopping. Large retailers like Wal-Mart and Toys 'R' Us are hiring tens of thousands of people for the upcoming holiday shopping season.

But NPR's Ailsa Chang reports that this seasonal hiring is not the best measure of how well the economy is doing.

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Europe
5:21 am
Wed September 26, 2012

Police Fire Rubber Bullets At Spanish Protesters

Originally published on Wed September 26, 2012 10:36 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

People aren't getting much work done in parts of Europe, treading water there. Greek workers called a nationwide strike for today, protesting austerity measures. Last night, there were violent protests in Spain. Demonstrators launched a new movement dubbed Occupy Congress, surrounding the Spanish Parliament with a human chain before clashing with police.

Lauren Frayer was in the crowd in Madrid.

(SOUNDBITE OF CHANTING PROTESTERS)

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The Salt
4:52 pm
Tue September 25, 2012

Greek Olive Oil Woes Echo Country's Broader Economic Challenges

A Greek farmer drives home with his fresh pressed olive oil in barrels near Alyki, Greece. The country's pure olive oil is hard to find, expensive and poorly marketed, businessmen say.
Matthias Schrader AP

Originally published on Tue September 25, 2012 7:39 pm

Greece is in the fifth year of a painful recession, and it doesn't look like it's going to end anytime soon. One big problem the country faces is a shortage of strong companies that know how to compete on the world market. And nowhere is this more painfully apparent than in the challenges faced by the country's olive oil business.

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Economy
4:50 pm
Tue September 25, 2012

U.S. Housing Market Starts To Show Hints Of Growth

Originally published on Tue September 25, 2012 7:39 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block. In recent years, the housing sector has faked out economists, inspiring premature optimism. But this year, housing experts say things are different. NPR's Yuki Noguchi reports the housing sector that brought the economy down is now showing real signs of stability, even growth.

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Economy
1:48 pm
Tue September 25, 2012

Two Plans For Fixing The Economy, But Few Details

Job seekers fill out applications Aug. 21 at a construction job fair in New York. Polls show voters want the presidential candidates to provide more details on how they would reduce unemployment, change tax policy and alter government spending.
Seth Wenig AP

As this presidential election year was kicking off, strategists were saying the focus would be on the economy. But now — even as absentee ballots are being filled in — the candidates are still dodging details about how to improve growth.

"President Obama doesn't have a plan," says Kevin Hassett, an economic adviser to Republican candidate Mitt Romney.

Jeffrey Liebman, an economic adviser to President Obama, says Romney has revealed no plan other than "going back to the failed policies of the past decade."

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The Two-Way
9:34 am
Tue September 25, 2012

More Positive News On Housing: Prices Rose For Third Straight Month

A home for sale in Los Angeles last month.
Kevork Djansezian Getty Images

Home prices rose in July from June by 1.5 percent in its 10-city index and 1.6 percent in the 20 major cities where it tracks changes, the latest S&P/

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Economy
4:49 am
Tue September 25, 2012

IMF's Lagarde: Uncertainty Slows Global Recovery

International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde delivers remarks at the Peterson Institute for International Economics on Monday in Washington, D.C. Lagarde said there are a number of factors eroding growth.
Paul J. Richards AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue September 25, 2012 12:00 pm

Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund Christine Lagarde says recent actions by the European Central Bank mark a positive turning point in Europe's financial crisis. But she warned that uncertainty elsewhere will continue to slow the pace of the global recovery.

Back in July, the IMF was forecasting world growth of just under 4 percent for next year. The group's economists will issue a new forecast in a couple of weeks. Lagarde said the new projection still foresees a gradual recovery, but it will shave a few tenths of a percent off global growth.

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Business
3:27 am
Tue September 25, 2012

Chicago Pits Quieter, But Traders' Outcries Linger

Traders work in the bond pit at the Chicago Board of Trade in 1995. In recent decades, much of the trading has left the pits and gone electronic.
Michael S. Green AP

Originally published on Tue September 25, 2012 8:18 pm

The trading pits at the Chicago Board of Trade and the Mercantile Exchange have long been potent symbols of American capitalism. And they used to be as rough and tumble as the city itself, where burly men bought and sold commodities like hogs, cattle, corn and soybeans.

Trading volume has gone up considerably in recent years, but Chicago's trading pits are tamer places today — the result of a revolution futures trading has undergone over the past quarter century. Much of the trading has left the pits and gone electronic.

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Asia
3:21 am
Tue September 25, 2012

Americans In China Feel Pinch Of Shifting Economies

China has welcomed U.S. business expertise for many years as its economy has advanced rapidly. Jim Rogers, a prominent U.S. investor, is shown here in China at the 2nd Hunan Finance Expo in 2011. However, the Chinese are becoming more confident in their own business skills and more critical of American practices in recent years, according to U.S. business executives working in China.
ChinaFotoPress Getty Images

Originally published on Tue September 25, 2012 12:00 pm

In recent years, China's status — like its economy — has continued to rise as the economies in America and Europe have struggled.

That shift isn't just reflected in economic numbers, and some American business people in China say they don't feel as respected or as valued as before.

Not long after Michael Fagle arrived in Shanghai in 2005 with DuPont, he went to visit a Chinese customer. Back then, Fagle says, he was treated as a sage from the West.

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Around the Nation
2:10 pm
Mon September 24, 2012

U.S. Pensions In Crisis, But Not In Rhode Island

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. Here are two really ugly words: unfunded liability. Across the country, states and cities are struggling to put enough money aside to pay for the pensions they've promised to past, present and future workers: cops, firefighters, teachers and all the rest.

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Africa
12:37 pm
Mon September 24, 2012

Fighting Global Poverty With Business Strategies

Originally published on Tue September 25, 2012 1:57 pm

Transcript

CELESTE HEADLEE, HOST:

I'm Celeste Headlee and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Michel Martin is away. Coming up, many parents encourage - some say pressure - their kids to become high achievers, but what if a child just says no? David Yoo discusses his memoir, "The Choke Artist: Confessions of a Chronic Underachiever." That's just ahead.

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Election 2012
4:54 am
Mon September 24, 2012

'60 Minutes' Airs Obama, Romney Interviews

Originally published on Tue September 25, 2012 9:08 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

OK. So, all those political ads are on the air. Last night, the candidates themselves were on the air. They did interviews on the same CBS program, "60 Minutes." NPR's David Schaper was watching.

DAVID SCHAPER, BYLINE: After a week in which his campaign was on the defensive, Romney told "60 Minutes" he remains confident.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "60 MINUTES")

MITT ROMNEY: I'm going to win this thing.

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