Business

Environment
3:26 am
Thu November 6, 2014

Republican Sweep Highlights Climate Change Politics In Alaska

Oil, carried here by the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, is fundamental to the state's economy. But Alaskans also face the effects of climate change in their daily lives.
Al Grillo AP

Originally published on Thu November 6, 2014 11:15 am

On election night in a hotel ballroom in Anchorage, Alaska, Sen. Lisa Murkowski picked up a chair and waved it over her head.

"I am the chairmaaaaaaaaaaan!" she shouted.

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American Made: The New Manufacturing Landscape
3:24 am
Thu November 6, 2014

In South Carolina, A Program That Makes Apprenticeships Work

John Harris makes a weld for a test during a welding class at Spartanburg Community College in Spartanburg, S.C., on Oct. 22.
Mike Belleme for NPR

Originally published on Thu November 6, 2014 6:41 pm

Several years ago, South Carolina had a problem: a shortage of skilled workers and no good way to train young people for the workforce. So at a time when apprenticeship programs were in decline in the U.S., the state started a program called Apprenticeship Carolina.

"We were really, really squarely well-positioned at the bottom," says Brad Neese, the program's director.

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Business
12:00 pm
Wed November 5, 2014

Thumbs Up For Higher Minimum Wages, And For Marijuana Industry

Fast-food workers and activists demonstrate outside a Chicago McDonald's in July in favor of a higher minimum wage. Illinois voters on Tuesday called on the state Legislature to approve a $10 minimum wage.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Originally published on Wed November 5, 2014 3:44 pm

Besides electing lawmakers Tuesday, voters settled ballot initiatives affecting everything from soda-pop taxes to fracking to marijuana sales.

The outcomes varied, but there was one economic issue that united voters. Overwhelmingly, they approved raises for minimum-wage workers.

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Energy
3:28 am
Wed November 5, 2014

New England Electricity Prices Spike As Gas Pipelines Lag

One proposed solution for New England's energy price spike problem: Importing more liquefied natural gas and feeding it into the pipeline network on the other side of the region's bottleneck.
Sam Evans-Brown New Hampshire Public Radio

Originally published on Wed November 5, 2014 11:58 am

When Don Sage of Concord, N.H., learned his electric bill could rise by as much as $40 a month he got flustered. He and his wife make do on a bit less than $30,000 a year in Social Security payments, and they pay close attention to their electric bills.

"When the invoice comes in the mail to get paid, I have a target amount that we can fluctuate up or down, based on our fixed budget," Sage says. "They don't need my permission to hike up their rates, but the fact is we're the ones that are paying these increases."

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Business
6:32 pm
Tue November 4, 2014

It's Still Too Early For Tanking Oil Prices To Curb U.S. Drilling

Ray Gerrish repairs a drilling rig near Watford City, N.D. Oil industry analysts predict that oil prices will have to remain low for at least several months before having a significant effect on U.S. production.
Jim Gehrz MCT/Landov

Oil prices fell again Tuesday, to just below $76 a barrel before recovering slightly — one day after Saudi Arabia cut prices for the crude it sells in the U.S. market.

During most of the last quarter-century, that would have been viewed as a very positive development for the U.S. economy. But oil production here has increased so quickly in the past several years, the continuing price drops pose a potential threat to U.S. oil producers.

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Business
3:23 am
Tue November 4, 2014

Falling Oil Prices Make Fracking Less Lucrative

Pumpjacks at the Inglewood oil fields in California in March. Some of the most controversial methods of oil extraction, like fracking, oil sands production and Arctic drilling, are also expensive. That's made them less profitable as the price of oil continues to fall.
Richard Vogel AP

Originally published on Tue November 4, 2014 12:35 pm

Oil prices are down than more than 25 percent since June and are staying low for now. Drivers may appreciate that, but for oil companies, it's making some of the most controversial methods of producing oil less profitable — and in a few cases, unprofitable.

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Book News & Features
8:00 am
Mon November 3, 2014

After 'Fifty Shades,' Could This Be The Next Big Online Hit?

Charles Sykes /AP

Originally published on Mon November 3, 2014 5:23 pm

Much like Fifty Shades of Grey, After is an epic, erotic fan fiction that's being repackaged by a major publishing house. But where Fifty Shades was inspired by the Twilight books, After is loosely based on real people: The British boy band One Direction. And the first volume of After has just hit stores — but let's rewind a little, to those words, "fan fiction." I know, you're probably making a face right now, but bear with me.

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Economy
7:46 am
Sun November 2, 2014

Recovery Or Not, Some Still Feel Economic Pain

Originally published on Sun November 2, 2014 10:04 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Economy
8:11 am
Sat November 1, 2014

Plugging The 'Leaky Pipe' For Women, Minorities In Economics

Originally published on Sat November 1, 2014 2:25 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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Your Money
5:21 am
Sat November 1, 2014

5 Reasons Why Your Financial Outlook Just Got Better

Gas prices below $3 per gallon add up to big savings for consumers.
Rich Pedroncelli AP

Originally published on Fri November 7, 2014 6:49 pm

Look at your paycheck.

Chances are good you won't see much more there than you did in the summer of 2008 — just before the financial crisis hit. Average private-sector earnings are $24.53 an hour now, unchanged from 2008, after adjusting for inflation.

So most likely, you haven't felt yourself moving up for years.

Now, that may be changing.

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This Week's Must Read
6:34 pm
Fri October 31, 2014

A 19th Century Novel Explains Quantitative Easing

Originally published on Sun November 2, 2014 6:36 pm

Anthony Trollope was one of England's, and maybe the world's, greatest 19th century novelists. I say that even though I'm not especially a fan. Trollope's prose is determinedly, insistently flat and neutral. Reading him you sometimes get the impression that if he came upon a particularly brilliant phrase or image, he would take it out, on the basis that it distracted from the story.

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Parallels
4:57 am
Fri October 31, 2014

Why Deflation Is Such A Big Worry For Europe

A farmer protesting falling prices dumps cauliflower in front of the prefecture building of Saint-Brieuc in northwestern France as police look on Sept. 24.
Fred Tanneau AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri October 31, 2014 10:46 am

Growth is slowing all over the world right now, and that's especially true in Europe. Much of the continent is on the brink of another recession, and even the German economy is sputtering to a halt.

Some of the weakest countries, such as Spain and Italy, are actually experiencing deflation — a broad drop in incomes and asset values. It's a painful process that can be hard to reverse once it starts.

Europe's long, slow economic downturn has taken its toll on Javier Oroz Rodriguez, who owns a butcher shop in downtown Madrid.

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The Two-Way
12:15 pm
Thu October 30, 2014

GDP Posts Strong 3.5 Percent Growth Rate In 3rd Quarter

Originally published on Thu October 30, 2014 7:18 pm

The U.S. economy grew at the solid pace of 3.5 percent for the third quarter, helped along by gains in business investment, exports and a big jump in military spending, the Commerce Department says.

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All Tech Considered
4:46 am
Thu October 30, 2014

EU's New Competition Chief Could Shake Up Google Antitrust Case

Nearly 20 companies have filed antitrust complaints against Google in Europe since 2009.
Francois Lenoir Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Fri October 31, 2014 1:22 pm

In Europe, Google has avoided the prospect of steep fines in a long-running antitrust case over several of the company's business practices, but a new commissioner will soon take over the case, and that has many wondering what Google could face next.

Nearly 20 companies have filed antitrust complaints against Google in Europe since 2009. The biggest of those by far is Microsoft, which has its own competing search engine, Bing.

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Around the Nation
4:46 am
Thu October 30, 2014

Keep On Drillin'? Santa Barbara Prepares To Vote On Oil Future

A cow walks near oil pump jacks in Santa Maria, Calif. Oil production has long been a part of Santa Barbara County, but a new ballot measure could effectively shut down all new drilling operations there.
Jae C. Hong AP

Originally published on Thu October 30, 2014 2:25 pm

Think of California's Santa Barbara County and you might picture the area's famous beaches or resorts and wineries. But in the northern reaches of the vast county, oil production has been a major contributor to the economy for almost a century.

So it's no surprise that the oil industry there is feverishly organizing to fight a local ballot initiative — Measure P — that would ban controversial drilling methods such as hydraulic fracturing. What is turning heads, however, is the sheer volume of money flooding into this local race, mainly from large oil companies.

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Economy
5:24 pm
Wed October 29, 2014

Janet Yellen Brings A Different Leadership Style To The Fed

Originally published on Wed October 29, 2014 6:16 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Economy
4:30 pm
Wed October 29, 2014

Federal Reserve Votes To End Quantitative Easing

Originally published on Wed October 29, 2014 6:16 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Politics
4:30 pm
Wed October 29, 2014

Stagnant Wages Could Drive Voters At The Polls Next Week

Originally published on Wed October 29, 2014 6:16 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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The Two-Way
2:15 pm
Wed October 29, 2014

Federal Reserve Stays The Course, Ends Most Recent Stimulus Program

Originally published on Wed October 29, 2014 7:35 pm

When the Great Recession kicked off in 2008, the Federal Reserve announced a stimulus program that bought up bonds by the trillions.

In a symbolic move that underlines the confidence the Fed has in the U.S. economy, today the Federal Open Market Committee said it was staying the course and ending the third round of economic stimulus, known as quantitative easing.

In a statement the FOMC explained:

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All Tech Considered
6:36 am
Wed October 29, 2014

Behind The Scenes, Storyful Exposes Viral Hoaxes For News Outlets

Storyful is making a business out of verifying material on social media for journalists and news organizations.
Storyful

Originally published on Mon November 3, 2014 10:45 am

At most news organizations, journalists celebrate when they get a story in print, on air or online.

At Storyful, editors high-five when they knock a story down.

"We like to think about [Storyful] as the first social news agency," said Mark Little, the company's buoyant CEO. A former television news anchor and correspondent in his native Ireland, Little conceived the company in 2009 after watching the documentation of mounting protests in Iran posted to Flickr and YouTube.

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Economy
5:00 am
Tue October 28, 2014

What Is Quantitative Easing And Why Is It Likely To End?

Originally published on Tue October 28, 2014 1:17 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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Business
4:39 am
Tue October 28, 2014

Behold The Entrenched — And Reviled — Annual Review

Nearly 90 percent of companies do formal evaluations at least once a year, according to the Society for Human Resource Management.
Zack Blanton iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed October 29, 2014 10:24 pm

Performance review season is nearing, and if that makes you break out into a cold sweat, you're not alone. Studies show between 60 percent and 90 percent of employees, including managers, dislike the performance evaluation.

Some companies are starting to look at alternatives, but the performance review is pretty entrenched.

"They're fraudulent, bogus and dishonest," says Samuel Culbert, a management professor at UCLA who does research in dysfunctional management practice. "And second, they're indicative of and they support bad management."

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The Two-Way
2:28 pm
Mon October 27, 2014

CVS Pulls Apple Pay, And Many See A Fight Over Mobile Wallets

Originally published on Mon October 27, 2014 3:25 pm

One week after Apple's new mobile payment system, Apple Pay, debuted in CVS stores, CVS has backtracked and barred its use. Rite Aid took the same step, leading many observers to note that the two companies are part of a group of retailers that's developing its own payment system, called CurrentC. Partners include Wal-Mart, Best Buy and 7-Eleven.

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The Two-Way
11:29 am
Mon October 27, 2014

Chiquita Fruit Company Is Bought By Two Brazilian Firms

Chiquita, whose bananas are found in markets around the U.S., has agreed to sell itself to a coalition of two Brazilian companies.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Mon October 27, 2014 2:47 pm

Chiquita Brands International, the banana and produce firm whose trademark blue stickers have been ubiquitous in American kitchens for decades, is being sold to two Brazilian companies in a deal valued at around $1.3 billion. The Charlotte-based company traces its roots to the 1870s, when American entrepreneurs brought bananas to U.S. consumers from the Caribbean.

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Shots - Health News
4:36 am
Mon October 27, 2014

In The Hospital, A Bad Translation Can Destroy A Life

Dr. Angela Alday talks with Isidro Hernandes, via a Spanish-speaking interpreter, Armando Jimenez. Both patient and doctor say they much prefer an in-person interpreter to one on the phone.
Jeff Schilling Courtesy of Tuality Healthcare

Originally published on Tue October 28, 2014 8:58 am

Translating from one language to another is a tricky business, and when it comes to interpreting between a doctor and patient, the stakes are even higher.

Consider the story of 18-year-old baseball player Willie Ramirez.

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The Two-Way
9:20 am
Sun October 26, 2014

EU Stress Test Finds 25 Banks Need To Shore Up Reserves

Originally published on Sun October 26, 2014 2:37 pm

After a comprehensive review of banks in the eurozone, regulators say that 25 banks out of 130 had a capital shortfall that would expose them to severe problems in an economic crisis.

The European Central Bank released the results of its yearlong study Sunday, putting banks on notice to boost their reserves within 9 months. Officials say many banks have begun that process — and some of them have already made up the shortfall that's based on a snapshot of data taken last December.

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Business
7:03 am
Fri October 24, 2014

Tobacco Farmers Lose Longtime Safety Net

Marvin Eaton owns a farm in Belew's Creek, N.C., where he grows 200 acres of tobacco. He bought the farm from his grandfather and plans to pass it down to his son.
Emily McCord WFDD

Originally published on Fri October 24, 2014 2:31 pm

Tobacco growers are about to face a completely free market. This month, they'll receive their last checks from a government program meant to ease them out of a Depression-era tobacco-price-fixing system.

That has left Stanley Smith, who grows about 60 acres of tobacco on his farm not far from Winston-Salem, N.C., feeling a little unsettled.

"I've farmed all my life," Smith says. "I think the best way to sum it up is our safety net now is gone."

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Economy
10:52 am
Thu October 23, 2014

You're Enjoying Low Gas Prices, But Is It Really A Good Sign?

Macy Gould shared this photo from Lexington, Ky., where the gas prices are under $3.
Macy Gould Instagram

Originally published on Thu October 23, 2014 2:40 pm

All around the country, gasoline prices have been falling for weeks, down to an average of about $3 a gallon. Those lower prices are helping restrain inflation across the board.

On Wednesday, the Labor Department said its consumer price index barely inched up 0.1 percent last month. Over the past 12 months, the CPI has risen by 1.7 percent, roughly half of its historical average rate of increase.

That sounds great for consumers.

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Business
5:58 am
Thu October 23, 2014

What The New Factory Worker Should Know

Originally published on Thu October 23, 2014 8:15 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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Business
5:53 am
Wed October 22, 2014

Halloween-Thanksgiving-Hanukkah-Christmas-New-Year Buying Begins

Candice Nelson fits her daughter Arya Kubesh with a Halloween hat at a store at Galleria Mall in Edina, Minn. Retailers are hoping Halloween will give them a good bounce into the peak spending time of the year.
Elizabeth Flores MCT/Landov

Originally published on Thu October 23, 2014 8:58 am

At any big-box store, you can find the annual holiday mash-up now on garish display: Halloween costumes are stacked next to the decorative turkey napkins and pre-lit Christmas trees.

It's time to celebrate the Halloween-Thanksgiving-Hanukkah-Christmas-New-Year season!

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