Business

Asia
4:37 am
Mon June 11, 2012

In India, A Different Kind Of Austerity

Facing economic woes, India is looking to trim spending - but cutting government services is extremely unpopular. Instead, politicians are targeting foreign travel and meetings at lavish hotels like the Oberoi in Mumbai.
Sajjad Hussain AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue June 12, 2012 7:44 pm

In Europe, the concept of austerity has meant deep, painful cuts to government spending. In India, however, austerity looks a little different.

India's government has started by reeling in departmental spending on things like hotel space and foreign travel. It may seem like window dressing, but it can be difficult to make deep spending cuts in that country. Many voters see government largesse as a right and usually applaud pork-barrel spending.

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Politics
4:51 pm
Sat June 9, 2012

Could 'Taxmageddon' Crisis Create Compromise?

Originally published on Sat June 9, 2012 6:35 pm

On Jan. 1, trillions of dollars in spending cuts and tax increases — called Taxmageddon — will take effect unless Congress and the White House can agree on a new plan. Many economists say the country will fall back into a recession if it happens. Former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin says Congress may actually be "forced to make a decision that affects taxes and spending."

The Two-Way
3:06 pm
Sat June 9, 2012

Spain, Euro Zone Agree To 'Financial Support'

"The Spanish government states its intention to request European financing for the recapitalization of banks that need it," Spanish Economy Minister Luis de Guindos said at a press conference on Saturday.
Pedro Armestre AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon June 11, 2012 6:37 am

Spain will ask, and European finance ministers will agree, to offer up financial aid for the country's struggling banks.

Spanish and eurozone officials announced their intentions after a three-hour emergency conference call on Saturday. If they make good on it, Spain will be the fourth – and largest — member of the 17-nation eurozone to receive outside help as Europe's debt crisis marches on.

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Economy
5:09 pm
Fri June 8, 2012

As Economic Headwinds Pick Up, Employers Lie Low

Srinivas Konanki and his wife own a small laboratory device company near Boston. Concerns about the economy have left them wary of hiring new employees.
Chris Arnold NPR

Originally published on Fri June 8, 2012 6:59 pm

After adding a robust 275,000 new jobs back in January, job growth appears to be slowing. The Labor Department reports that the economy added only 69,000 jobs in May.

Meanwhile, despite the worst recession in generations, there are still countless small business owners plugging away around the country, seeking to expand and hire more employees.

"This year we hired two more technicians, and we hope to hire one more," says Srinivas Konanki, who employs 20 people at Pipette Calibration Services, a laboratory equipment company he owns with his wife.

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Economy
4:19 pm
Fri June 8, 2012

Obama Warns Eurozone Crisis Could Drag Down U.S.

Originally published on Fri June 8, 2012 6:59 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish. What's scarier than a government that can't get anything done?

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Imagine dealing with 17 Congresses instead of just one. That makes things more challenging.

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Planet Money
3:38 pm
Fri June 8, 2012

What America Spends On Groceries

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu November 1, 2012 7:13 pm

See related posts from this series, including What America Buys and What America Does For Work.

We spend less of our money on groceries than we did 30 years ago.

The way we spend our grocery money has also changed.

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NPR Story
11:54 am
Fri June 8, 2012

Obama Urges Congress To Take Action On Economy

Originally published on Mon June 11, 2012 3:03 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

One thing about the economic pain Spain, and other EU countries, are now experiencing - it's offering something of a break to President Obama in this campaign season, where he's trying to fend off Republican attacks on his handling of the sluggish American economy. In a White House press conference this morning, the president was able to point to Europe's financial woes as a drag on the economy here in the U.S.

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The Two-Way
9:46 am
Fri June 8, 2012

Obama: Congress Needs To Do More Than Talk About Jobs

President Obama during this morning's news conference at the White House.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Fri June 8, 2012 12:58 pm

President Obama used the White House press briefing room this morning to again make the case that Congress — and in particular the Republican-controlled House — needs to take up more of his ideas about how to boost job growth.

He also said it's "offensive" to suggest "my White House" may have leaked some secrets to gain political advantage.

We updated with highlights, so hit your "refresh" button to be sure you're seeing our latest.

Update at 12:15 p.m. ET. Romney Says Obama Is 'Out Of Touch':

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The Two-Way
7:53 am
Fri June 8, 2012

Reports Swirl That Spain Will Seek Bailout

The Banco de Espana (Bank of Spain) in Madrid.
Dominique Faget AFP/Getty Images

One day after seeing its sovereign debt downgraded to just above junk status, Spain is dealing with reports that it's about to ask the other eurozone nations for help in bailing out its beleaguered banks.

As The Guardian writes:

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Business
5:19 am
Fri June 8, 2012

New Products Unveiled At Electronic Entertainment Expo

Originally published on Mon June 11, 2012 3:03 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Here in Los Angeles this week, the video game industry gathered for its annual convention, the Electronic Entertainment Expo or E3. Companies like Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo unveiled new products and games.

For some highlights, we're joined by Harold Goldberg. He's a video game critic who was at the convention all week. Good morning.

HAROLD GOLDBERG: Good morning, Renee.

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Business
5:19 am
Fri June 8, 2012

Demands Outweighs Supply Of Spain's Bonds

Originally published on Mon June 11, 2012 3:03 pm

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with Spain's banking crisis.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

GREENE: What a roller coaster week it has been for Spain. There are fears that Spain lacks the money to rescue its own troubled banks and may need Europe's help.

Madrid did hold a successful bond auction Thursday and markets responded, but only until the Fitch ratings agency downgraded Spain's debt rating several hours later.

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Business
3:03 am
Fri June 8, 2012

Despite Low Rates, Investors Rely On Treasurys

Originally published on Mon June 11, 2012 3:03 pm

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke told a congressional committee Thursday that the U.S. economy faces some significant risks, and Fed officials are still deciding what to do about it.

His remarks disappointed a lot of investors who want the Fed to do something to revive growth. Bernanke spoke at a time when interest rates on government debt are hitting lows not seen since the Great Depression.

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Election 2012
3:02 am
Fri June 8, 2012

Will Economy Push Washington To Make A Deal?

President Obama speaks with House Speaker John Boehner during a meeting at the White House in 2011. A slowdown in job growth and a looming tax deadline could force the president to try to revive his "grand bargain" with Republicans.
Jewel Samad AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon June 11, 2012 3:03 pm

The Obama administration is searching for a "sweet spot" in economic policy: measures that could increase job growth right now without worsening the federal deficit. That task gained new urgency this month when the Labor Department reported a sharp slowdown in job growth in May.

The challenge could force the president to try to revive his "grand bargain" with Republicans.

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Around the Nation
5:39 pm
Thu June 7, 2012

Calif. Governor: 'Pension Reform Is Imperative'

Originally published on Thu June 7, 2012 5:54 pm

The public employee unions that unsuccessfully opposed the recall of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker suffered two other defeats on Tuesday. Voters in San Diego and San Jose, Calif., approved measures to curb city pensions. Firefighters in those cities vow to take the matter to court but public support for the cutbacks was overwhelming.

Economy
5:38 pm
Thu June 7, 2012

Federal Reserve Predicts Moderate Economic Growth

Originally published on Thu June 7, 2012 5:54 pm

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke appeared before the Joint Economic Committee on Thursday. Bernanke said the economy is facing some "headwinds," but that he expects it to continue growing at a moderate pace.

Economy
12:55 pm
Thu June 7, 2012

Generation Rent: Slamming Door Of Homeownership

Neal Coleman and his wife, Rachel, are both in their mid-20s and attend graduate school at Indiana University in Bloomington, Ind. They say renting makes more sense for them and their young daughter until their family is a bit more settled.
Courtesy of Neal Coleman

Originally published on Thu June 7, 2012 2:07 pm

Kristi Taylor can pinpoint the precise moment she let go of the dream of homeownership. It was a few months ago, as she and her husband and infant son were driving through a neighborhood of homes near their apartment in Athens, Ga.

"As we were passing through, I realized that I don't really look at houses like I used to, when we would point out homes and say, 'That can be ours someday,' " says Taylor, who is 28. Now, she says, "the idea of homeownership is so vague, it doesn't even strike me as something that's in our future."

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The Two-Way
10:28 am
Thu June 7, 2012

Economy Is Poised For More Growth, But 'Fiscal Cliff' Looms, Bernanke Says

A word cloud of Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's prepared testimony to the congressional Joint Economic Committee.
wordle.net

Originally published on Thu June 7, 2012 12:37 pm

"Economic growth appears poised to continue at a moderate pace over coming quarters," Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke is telling Congress this hour, and will be supported in part by additional "accommodative monetary policy" from the central bank.

While there's been a slowing in job growth, Bernanke says that Fed policymakers believe household spending has been "relatively well sustained" and are encouraged by "consumer spentiment [that is] ... up noticeably from its levels late last year."

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The Two-Way
10:04 am
Thu June 7, 2012

Greek Unemployment Hits Record High, Is Nearly Double Eurozone Average

An elderly man walked by riot policemen guarding the Interior Ministry in Athens on Wednesday.
Kostas Tsironis AP

Originally published on Thu June 7, 2012 3:14 pm

  • Joanna Kakissis, reporting for NPR

(From Athens, correspondent Joanna Kakissis tells us about the latest news regarding the troubled Greek economy.)

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The Two-Way
8:42 am
Thu June 7, 2012

Jobless Claims Dipped Last Week

There were 377,000 first-time claims for unemployment insurance last week, down 12,000 from the week before, the Employment and Training Administration reports.

But in yet another mixed signal about how the economy's doing, that welcome dip is tempered by the fact that the "4-week moving average was 377,750, an increase of 1,750 from the previous week's revised average of 376,000." Economists watch that average because it offers a slightly larger look at the trend.

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The Two-Way
8:17 am
Thu June 7, 2012

After Big Gain, Markets Look To Rise Again; All Eyes On Bernanke

Originally published on Thu June 7, 2012 10:21 am

Following up on one of the best rallies in months on Wednesday, stock index futures are pointing to a higher start today on Wall Street, Dow Jones Newswires says.

The Associated Press says there are "hopes that Europe is preparing to take action to tackle the region's financial crisis and that the Federal Reserve will consider additional support for the U.S. economy."

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Business
5:18 am
Thu June 7, 2012

Big Data May Create Thousands Of Industry Jobs

Originally published on Thu June 7, 2012 6:24 am

The need to store digital information is growing. Tens of thousands of new jobs are expected to be created over the next six years to take full advantage of that ocean of information known as big data.

Education
5:18 am
Thu June 7, 2012

How The Housing Industry Affects Students' Future

Originally published on Thu June 7, 2012 6:37 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

We're going to hear now about some surprising consequences of the weak housing market in this country. It turns out that the value - even on a paper - of a home can affect the college choices that a family makes.

NPR science correspondent Shankar Vedantam regularly joins us to discuss social science research. He's here this morning to talk about those new findings. And good morning.

SHANKAR VEDANTAM, BYLINE: Hi, Renee.

MONTAGNE: This new research, describe it for us.

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Economy
4:48 pm
Wed June 6, 2012

Young Adults Without Degrees Struggle To Find Work

Columbia High School graduates walk to their commencement ceremony in Nampa, Idaho. A new Rutgers University study says nearly half of recent high school graduates are still looking for full-time work.
Charlie Litchfield AP

Originally published on Mon June 11, 2012 4:41 pm

The job market is still bleak for young people with only high school diplomas. Nearly half of high school graduates are still looking for full-time work, according to a new report by Rutgers University's John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development.

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The Two-Way
2:11 pm
Wed June 6, 2012

Economy Grew At 'Moderate Pace' In April And May, Federal Reserve Says

Anecdotal reports from across the nation "suggest overall economic activity expanded at a moderate pace" from early April through late May, the Federal Reserve just reported.

In its "beige book" review of conditions around the country, the Fed said the only one of its 12 bank districts to report slower growth was Philadelphia.

The report also adds that:

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Economy
11:54 am
Wed June 6, 2012

Can Extending Retirement Age Help Social Security?

Originally published on Wed June 6, 2012 1:54 pm

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Switching gears now, we'd like to talk about a question that is both political and personal. It's when to retire. On a personal level, this can be an emotional and complicated question, but on a policy level, it is, too. And the questions before us, in part, because in April, trustees of the Social Security system reported that, if economic trends hold, the system would exhaust its funds in the year 2033.

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The Two-Way
9:50 am
Wed June 6, 2012

Drop In Productivity Paints 'Mixed Picture'

The Associated Press takes a traditional view of the news that American workers' productivity fell more than first thought in the first quarter.

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The Two-Way
8:18 am
Wed June 6, 2012

'Little Worry' At Federal Reserve About Another Recession, 'WSJ' Says

Job seekers lined up at a jobs fair in Portland, Ore., earlier this year.
Rick Bowmer AP

Originally published on Wed June 6, 2012 8:39 am

Midway through a Wall Street Journal story today about whether the Federal Reserve will do something in coming weeks to give the economy a boost is this eye-catching line:

"There is little worry at the Fed of a new recession."

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NPR Story
4:29 am
Wed June 6, 2012

States End Extended Benefits Despite Dismal Economic Outlook

Originally published on Thu June 14, 2012 12:07 pm

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

So far this year, 25 states have ended the Extended Benefits program. That program made sure people out of work for long periods of time continued receiving financial assistance. But there was a catch: if a state's unemployment rate improved, the money would stop flowing. The fact that some states are seeing lower unemployment may seem like a good sign for the economy. It's no comfort to the people who are still out of work.

Susie An from WBEZ in Chicago has that story.

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Economy
4:29 am
Wed June 6, 2012

Europe's Debt Crisis Contributes To Lower U.S. Exports

Originally published on Thu June 14, 2012 12:07 pm

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And let's turn to the issue that is front and center this election year - the economy. Austerity measures aimed at curing Europe's debt crisis have thrown a number of eurozone countries into recession. The threat of defaults in Greece and even larger countries like Spain have rattled U.S. financial markets, and President Obama recently said that Europe's troubles are casting a shadow over the U.S. economy.

To better understand what the president is talking about, we brought in NPR economics correspondent John Ydstie.

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Planet Money
2:56 am
Wed June 6, 2012

Why Does The Mortgage-Interest Tax Deduction Still Exist?

Alex Brandon AP

Originally published on Thu June 14, 2012 12:07 pm

This is the latest story in our series on money in politics.

If you have a mortgage on your home, you can deduct the interest from your taxes. It's a popular, well-entrenched policy. But according to one policy adviser to a U.S. senator, "the mortgage-interest deduction, from a purely policy perspective ... makes no sense."

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