Business

The Two-Way
4:45 pm
Fri June 15, 2012

The Euro Crisis Has A Beat (And You Can Cry To It)

The Guardian/YouTube

Originally published on Mon July 9, 2012 8:52 pm

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The Two-Way
9:13 am
Fri June 15, 2012

Central Banks 'On Standby' As Greek Elections Loom

The European Central Bank "is on standby to keep banks flush with liquidity" if Greeks effectively vote on Sunday to support politicians who want to reject austerity measures and pull the nation out of the eurozone, The Financial Times writes this morning.

The ECB joins "a global chorus of central bankers pledging support ahead of Sunday's elections," the FT adds.

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Economy
8:44 am
Fri June 15, 2012

Three Frightening Phrases You Should Understand

German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks during a press conference in Brussels.
John Thys AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed June 20, 2012 11:42 am

The economy has so much going for it: low inflation, low interest rates, affordable homes, falling gasoline prices and 27 straight months of job growth. Good times, no?

No.

The economy is slowing, but not because of current conditions. The slowdown reflects the fear of what may be coming next. Economists say employers and investors are paralyzed by the uncertainty surrounding three huge problems: one in the United States, another in Europe and the third in China.

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Economy
6:51 am
Fri June 15, 2012

Markets Encouraged By Plans To Calm Eurozone Panic

Originally published on Fri June 15, 2012 10:56 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And coming to the end of a tumultuous week of global economic news, we're seeing rising shares Asia, plus the euro coming close to a three-week high.

As NPR's Philip Reeves reports, markets are encouraged by reports that the world's central banks have come up with a plan to try to calm panic in the eurozone.

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Asia
4:44 am
Fri June 15, 2012

China's Economy Cools, Perhaps More Than Planned

A Chinese worker operates a machine at a factory in Binzhou in northeast China's Shandong province. China's exports and imports shot up in May year-on-year, the customs agency said on June 10, defying expectations amid a slowdown in the world's second largest economy.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri June 15, 2012 11:14 am

In recent months, economic growth in China has not only slowed — it's slowed faster than most people expected. Last week, for the first time since the depths of the global financial crisis, the government actually cut lending rates to try to spur growth. All of this has people wondering: Where is the world's star economy headed?

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Planet Money
4:43 am
Fri June 15, 2012

Can Lincoln Be Cool Again?

An ad for the 1965 Lincoln Continental.
courtesy Lincoln

Originally published on Fri June 15, 2012 10:56 am

In the car business, Lincoln once stood as the pinnacle of luxury. Frank Sinatra drove a Lincoln. So did the Shah of Iran. In the U.S., the presidential limo was a Lincoln.

The brand peaked with the 1961 Lincoln Continental, a beautiful, innovative car that stood for style, individuality and sophistication.

But after the '60s, Lincoln started on a long, slow decline that mirrored the slide of the American auto industry.

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Economy
5:39 pm
Thu June 14, 2012

New Schedules Push Graveyard Shift Off The Clock

A worker builds cars on the assembly line at Ford's Chicago Assembly plant, which has adopted the "three crew" work schedule. The new third shift can increase efficiency in factories, but it can also wreak havoc on sleep needs and home lives.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Originally published on Thu June 14, 2012 10:54 pm

As car companies struggle to meet growing demand, the third shift is making a comeback. But many factories running on three shifts are doing it differently from in the past. And that new "three crew" shift pattern could make what's normally a hard job even harder.

At Ford's Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, employees work 10-hour shifts four days a week. The so-called A crew gets days, while the B crew gets afternoons. But the C crew shift rotates its start time every week. On Fridays and Saturdays, workers start at 6:00 a.m. On Mondays and Tuesdays, they start at 4:30 p.m.

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American Dreams: Then And Now
5:39 pm
Thu June 14, 2012

Nailing The American Dream, With Polish

A model shows off an ABC student's work. Most of the students are studying manicuring.
Courtesy of Advance Beauty College

Originally published on Thu June 14, 2012 8:25 pm

If you've had a manicure in California, odds are the person at the other end of the emery board was of Vietnamese heritage.

Vietnamese immigrants now dominate California's nail-care industry — and make up a significant percentage of all manicurists nationwide.

The story began with a hurried immigration after the fall of Saigon almost four decades ago.

Sparked by the interest of a group of refugees and the help of a Hollywood star, the demand for affordable manicures quickly became the foundation of the American dream for many Vietnamese newcomers.

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Europe
4:50 pm
Thu June 14, 2012

Growing Economic Fractures Threaten Eurozone

Originally published on Thu June 14, 2012 5:39 pm

Europe's debt crisis seems to grow more dire every day as borrowing coasts for Spain and Italy soar. Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel holds the purse strings, and says that although saving the single European currency will be a Herculean task, it must be done.

The Two-Way
1:32 pm
Thu June 14, 2012

Romney, Obama Squaring Off On Economy

Originally published on Fri June 15, 2012 12:18 pm

President Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney delivered speeches that framed their visions for the United States moving forward.

While the appearences — both delivered in Ohio; Obama in Cleaveland, Romney in Cincinatti — were billed as dueling speeches scheduled for roughly the same time slot, the campaigns moved things around and the president delivered a much longer address right after Romney finished speaking.

In his address, Romney took shots at Obama for not delivering a recovery. He painted the president as being the "enemy" of business.

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The Two-Way
8:52 am
Thu June 14, 2012

Jobless Claims Rose Last Week; Consumer Prices Fell In May

The number of unemployed Americans who filed first-time claims for jobless benefits rose by 6,000 last week from the week before, the Employment and Training Administration reported this morning.

It says there were 386,000 first-time filings, up from a revised 380,000 (earlier, the agency had estimated there were 377,000 first-time clams in the week ended June 2).

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Media
5:43 am
Thu June 14, 2012

'A Morning Ritual': New Orleans Fights For Its Paper

A New Orleans newspaper stand holds copies of Wednesday's Times-Picayune, which announced layoffs for 200 employees.
Debbie Elliott NPR

Originally published on Thu June 14, 2012 7:07 am

What happens when a media company wants to take away your daily newspaper? In New Orleans, you take to the streets.

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Crisis In The Housing Market
4:30 am
Thu June 14, 2012

Will Credit Be The Spoiler In Housing Recovery?

The housing market is finally showing signs of a comeback, according to an annual study from Harvard. But, though mortgage interest rates are at record lows, banks are often too cautious to lend.
Seth Perlman AP

Originally published on Thu June 14, 2012 11:04 am

Amid all the economic uncertainty over the credit crisis in Europe and slow job growth in the U.S., one sector may be looking up. The U.S. housing market is finally showing more signs of recovery, according to a report being released Thursday by Harvard University.

Harvard comes out with this study once a year, and this time around, it's painting a much brighter picture.

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It's All Politics
2:09 pm
Wed June 13, 2012

Obama Team: Household Net Actually Rose, Not Fell, During His Presidency

Obama administration officials pointed to the 56 percent rise in the Dow Jones Industrial Average since January 2009, and rising 401(k) values as evidence that the personal balance sheets of many Americans have improved during his presidency.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

Originally published on Wed June 13, 2012 3:12 pm

The nearly 40 percent drop in median household net worth between 2007 and 2010 the Federal Reserve reported earlier this week was unarguably an arresting statistic. It confirmed for millions what they already knew, that the Great Recession and its aftermath have been a financial setback with few parallels.

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The Two-Way
8:51 am
Wed June 13, 2012

Sharp Drop In Gas Prices Puts Brakes On Inflation

Wholesale prices fell 1 percent in May from April thanks to an 8.9 percent plunge in the price of gasoline, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports. The overall decrease is the largest in one month since July 2009.

Excluding the energy and sectors, prices at the wholesale level ticked up 0.2 percent.

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Planet Money
5:03 am
Wed June 13, 2012

Spain's Bank Matchmaker On What Went Wrong

Angel Borges, matchmaker.
Chana Joffe-Walt NPR

Originally published on Mon July 9, 2012 8:55 pm

A couple years ago, Spain hatched a plan to help its small, regional banks. The banks, called cajas, had made lots of bad loans during Spain's real estate bubble.

The plan: Merge the bad cajas with the good ones, in order to make the losses more manageable and bring down overhead.

The government brought in Angel Borges, a banking consultant from Madrid, as a sort of yenta — a matchmaker who was supposed to help the cajas get together.

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The Salt
4:29 am
Wed June 13, 2012

Farmers Split Over Subsidies As Senate Farm Bill Debate Begins

Larry Sailer on his corn and soybean farm, just north of Iowa Falls, Iowa.
Jonathan Ahl for NPR

Originally published on Wed June 13, 2012 8:48 am

The latest proposal for the farm bill — the law governing everything from food stamps to rural development grants — is being considered by the U.S. Senate this week. It's designed to save more than $23 billion over the next 10 years, in part by getting rid of direct payments to farmers. The direct payment program alone costs taxpayers $5 billion per year.

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Your Money
7:07 pm
Tue June 12, 2012

Credit Card Debt Cut: The Reason May Surprise You

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue June 12, 2012 7:17 pm

A Federal Reserve study showing that Americans lost wealth in the Great Recession turned up another, perhaps more surprising, result: Credit card debt fell sharply.

"The percentage of families using credit cards for borrowing dropped over the period; the median balance on their accounts fell 16.1 percent" between 2007 and 2010, the report concluded.

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Planet Money
1:47 pm
Tue June 12, 2012

How Much Money Should You Save For A Rainy Day?

Lam Thuy Vo / NPR

Originally published on Wed June 13, 2012 11:09 am

The most important reason Americans save money: To have something salted away for a rainy day.

When researchers asked people the most important reason they save money, building an emergency fund finished slightly ahead of retirement and way ahead of everything else.

This raises a second question: How much do you need in a rainy day fund?

Lucky for us, the researchers asked this question as well. Not surprisingly, people with higher incomes said they needed a bigger emergency fund.

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NPR Story
1:44 pm
Tue June 12, 2012

Improving The Lives Of Single Moms And Their Kids

Originally published on Tue June 12, 2012 2:39 pm

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. In a recent op-ed in the Washington Post, Isabel Sawhill argued that then-Vice President Dan Quayle was right 20 years ago when he criticized television character Murphy Brown's decision to become a single mom. Sawhill cited statistics that show children in a two-parent family do better at school, then later in life.

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The Two-Way
12:15 pm
Tue June 12, 2012

Verizon Introduces 'Groundbreaking' Pricing Scheme, But Is It Really Different?

Verizon's new plan is the biggest revamp in wireless pricing in years, and one that's likely to be copied by other carriers.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Tue June 12, 2012 1:54 pm

Verizon Wireless announced on Tuesday what it is calling a "groundbreaking" pricing scheme that will "forever change the way customers purchase wireless services."

Essentially what the new plans — dubbed "Share Everything" by the company — are aiming for is to allow customers to use one bucket of data access to power up to 10 of their devices. The pricing starts at $90 a month, which allows for one smartphone with unlimited voice and text and access to 1 gigabyte of data.

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The Two-Way
12:06 pm
Tue June 12, 2012

Employers Could Fill Jobs If They Trained More, Complained Less, Prof Says

At any gathering of business owners, you're likely to hear about how hard it is to fill jobs because of a "skills gap."

Lots of employers say they want to hire welders, software engineers, nurses, oil-field workers and so many others, but can't find applicants with the right talents and education.

But Peter Cappelli, a professor of management at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School and director of its Center for Human Resources, says these complaints are largely bunk.

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Business
11:34 am
Tue June 12, 2012

Why More Men Are Choosing 'Pink Collar Jobs'

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Throughout the program today, we've talked a lot about tough times for college students and jobseekers, but now we want to turn it around and talk about people who are finding job satisfaction in what might be unexpected places.

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Business
11:34 am
Tue June 12, 2012

Trouble Finding Jobs? It Might Be The Software

Many job hunters are downright frustrated. But one expert says it's not you, it's the employers and a flawed electronic application process that may be preventing qualified people from finding work. Host Michel Martin speaks with University of Pennsylvania's Peter Capelli. He's the author of Why Good People Can't Get Jobs.

Business
11:34 am
Tue June 12, 2012

Dropping Out With Debt

Student loan debt in the U.S. adds up to more than a trillion dollars, putting a major strain on graduates. But the weight of debt is even heavier for those who leave school without receiving a degree. Host Michel Martin speaks with Anthony Carnevale, who heads the Center on Education and the Workforce at Georgetown University.

The Two-Way
11:04 am
Tue June 12, 2012

Elinor Ostrom, First Woman To Win Nobel In Economics, Dies

Elinor Ostrom in January 2011.
Raveendran AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue June 12, 2012 3:10 pm

  • Elinor Ostrom, speaking with Michele Norris

Elinor Ostrom, the first woman to win a Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences, died this morning at Indiana University's Health Bloomington Hospital.

The university says that the 78-year-old distinguished professor succumbed to cancer.

Ostrom shared the 2009 Nobel. As the prize committee said at the time:

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Economy
9:55 am
Tue June 12, 2012

The Fed's Tough Job Gets Harder In Election Year

Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke hasn't said whether the central bank will act to further stimulate the economy.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Americans who fear the economy is losing steam would like to see the Federal Reserve turn up the heat.

That might happen when the central bank holds its next meeting June 19-20. The Fed could take steps to drive interest rates even lower, or create fresh piles of cash to stimulate growth.

But with the election season gearing up, the Fed's ability to act boldly may be restrained. That's because the monetary policymakers want to preserve the Fed's credibility as a nonpartisan entity.

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Economy
5:53 am
Tue June 12, 2012

Americans' Net Worth Has Plummeted, Report Shows

Originally published on Tue June 12, 2012 8:18 am

Personal wealth was decimated across America by the housing collapse and the financial crisis, according to a new report by the Federal Reserve. Incomes declined for almost all demographic groups, and net worth plummeted to levels not seen in a generation.

Business
5:09 am
Tue June 12, 2012

Starbucks Order Gives Ohio Mug Maker A Jolt

Bob Davis hand-dips mugs before they go into the kiln at American Mug and Stein in East Liverpool, Ohio. Most overseas companies have machines that can do this much faster.
Amanda Rabinowitz WKSU

Originally published on Tue June 12, 2012 1:03 pm

For decades, when you slid into a booth at a diner or a local coffee shop, the waitress probably arrived with a standard-issue, off-white mug. More than likely that mug came from the Ohio River town of East Liverpool, which calls itself "The Pottery Capital of the Nation."

A lot of that city's pottery business is long gone. Now, one of the few remaining pottery factories in the battered town is pinning its survival on a major corporation.

To step inside American Mug and Stein in East Liverpool is to step into another era.

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Planet Money
6:52 pm
Mon June 11, 2012

A Lost Decade For American Families

NPR

Originally published on Mon June 11, 2012 8:17 pm

American families got poorer in the first decade of the 21st century.

The wealth of the median U.S. household — the family at the middle of the middle class — fell from $106,000 in 2001 to $77,000 in 2010.

The fall was driven, not surprisingly, by the housing bust. Homes are the single largest asset for many families, and they represent a particularly large share of wealth for the middle class.

What's more, homes tend to be highly leveraged. People borrow lots of money to buy them. That means huge gains when prices rise — and massive losses when they fall.

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