Business

Education
3:37 am
Wed June 4, 2014

As Banks Open In Schools, A Chance For Students To Learn To Save

At a student-run Union Bank branch located inside Lincoln High School in Los Angeles, Calif., students can build credit and learn about finances with their real money.
Alexandra Schmidt NPR

Originally published on Wed June 4, 2014 11:20 am

Wearing a red Union Bank polo shirt, high school senior Jerry Liu politely helps a peer with a bank deposit. With a waiting area and even a decorative plant on the table, this could be any bank branch — but right outside this island of adulthood are the hallways of Lincoln High School in Los Angeles.

This is one of three student-run Union Bank branches in California. They're all located in low-income, immigrant-heavy neighborhoods. You can only bank here if you're a student, teacher or parent, but these are real accounts handling real money.

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The Two-Way
3:09 pm
Tue June 3, 2014

Minimum Wage Hikes Popular, But May Not Spread Everywhere

Seattle waitress Wendy Harrison picks up a lunch order on Monday. She stands to be affected by a $15 minimum wage approved by the Seattle City Council.
Ted S. Warren AP

Originally published on Tue June 3, 2014 4:12 pm

No political idea is being as heavily test-marketed these days as the minimum wage.

The Seattle City Council voted Monday to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour — more than double the federal rate of $7.25 and almost 50 percent more than the $10.10 per hour figure favored by President Obama.

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Money Coach
1:09 pm
Tue June 3, 2014

Layoff 101: Don't Blame Yourself

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN: I'm Michel Martin, and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Now it's time for our weekly conversation about personal finance - one of our money coach conversations. We've been hearing that the economy is slowly but surely picking up, which means that finally people are getting hired again. But in some industries, people are still getting laid off. And unfortunately, we know a little bit about that ourselves.

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Business
7:57 am
Tue June 3, 2014

GOP Demonizes Once Favored Cap-And-Trade Policy

The Homer City Generating Station in Homer City, Pa. Republicans say the Environmental Protection Agency will kill jobs and raise electricity prices with new carbon emissions limits.
Keith Srakocic AP

Originally published on Wed June 4, 2014 6:04 pm

Republicans say the Environmental Protection Agency will kill jobs and raise electricity prices with new carbon emissions limits. But their tactics in fighting the proposed rules are targeting a policy that their own party championed during GOP presidencies.

Republicans are touting a letter signed by 41 GOP senators asking President Obama to withdraw what they call his "cap-and-trade rule."

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NPR Story
5:00 am
Tue June 3, 2014

Seattle Ordinance Gradually Increases Minimum Wage To $15

Originally published on Tue June 3, 2014 10:01 am

The city council has approved a measure raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour. The wage will be phased in over a number of years. The measure takes effect on April 1, 2015.

Environment
5:00 am
Tue June 3, 2014

Pa. Coal Area Worries Emission Rules Will Cost Economy Jobs

Originally published on Tue June 3, 2014 7:57 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

All right, as we just heard, there is concern these new rules may hit coal communities hard. And let's spend some time in coal country now to listen to the reaction. Greene County, Pennsylvania, is in the southwest corner of the Keystone state - south of Pittsburgh, hugging the West Virginia border. One out of every five jobs there is linked to coal, but it's really part of the culture for everyone. Reid Frazier has this report, introducing us to the people of Greene County.

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Business
5:16 am
Mon June 2, 2014

Commodities Traders: 'The Secret Club That Runs That World'

Originally published on Mon June 2, 2014 9:42 am

David Greene talks to reporter Kate Kelly about her new book, The Secret Club that Runs the World: Inside the Fraternity of Commodity Traders. The commodities market is a high-stakes place to invest.

Business
1:22 pm
Sat May 31, 2014

Regulators And Airlines Fight Over Fares, Fees And Fairness

The government wants airlines to be more up front with passengers about the total cost of tickets.
Karen Bleier AFP/Getty Images

This week, the Department of Transportation hit Southwest Airlines with a $200,000 fine for touting a fare that did not exist. The carrier had said in a TV ad that customers in Atlanta could fly to New York, Chicago or Los Angeles for just $59. But the bargain fare turned out to be too good to be true.

Southwest, which paid a fine for a similar problem last year, says the ad was a mistake. The airline pulled it as soon as the error was discovered.

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All Tech Considered
10:23 am
Sat May 31, 2014

With Beats, Apple Buys A Quick Start On Smart Headphones

Richard Sherman of the Seattle Seahawks wears Beats headphones before a preseason football game last August.
John Froschauer AP

Originally published on Mon June 2, 2014 3:39 pm

Apple's purchase of headphone maker Beats By Dre for $3 billion is a big payday for Beats founders Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre. But what's in it for Apple?

Beats By Dre headphones are flashy, cool, a fashion statement. One critic called them the Air Jordans of headwear. Most reviewers, however, say Beats headphones aren't actually that good.

"Every time I've listened to them, I think, 'Oh, right, I really don't like these,' " says Whitson Gordon, editor-in-chief of Lifehacker.com.

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The Salt
4:06 pm
Fri May 30, 2014

Oklahoma's Extreme Drought Has Wheat Farmers Bracing For Worst

Fred and Wayne Schmedt say the drought has withered their wheat plants down from an average height of 24 to 30 inches to just 6 to 8 inches.
Joe Wertz StateImpact Oaklahoma

Originally published on Fri May 30, 2014 7:27 pm

Rainfall totals in southwest Oklahoma are more than 3 inches below normal. And that means that the wheat crop grown in brothers Fred and Wayne Schmedt's farm is several inches shorter than normal as well.

Laughter is key to surviving as a farmer here. Fred Schmedt looks out on his field, then down at his legs and laughs at how short the wheat stalks are.

"What would you call that, high-shoe-top high?" he says. "In a normal year — a really good year — it'd be thigh-high. So we're looking at plants that are 6 to 8 inches tall versus 24 to 30 inches tall."

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Business
5:27 am
Fri May 30, 2014

IMF Predicts Europe's Economic Growth Will Continue To Be Weak

Originally published on Fri May 30, 2014 12:36 pm

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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The Salt
5:30 pm
Thu May 29, 2014

Economic Upswing Has Fewer Americans Receiving Food Stamps

A woman and her daughter shop at a Greenmarket in New York City using Electronic Benefits Transfer, or food stamps. Government data show that fewer people were receiving the benefits in February 2014 than at the peak in December 2012.
Andrew Burton Getty Images

Originally published on Thu May 29, 2014 7:11 pm

Critics of the food stamp program have been alarmed in recent years by its rapid growth. Last year, about 1 in 7 people in the U.S. received food stamps, or SNAP benefits, as they're called. That's almost 48 million people, a record high.

But the numbers have started to drop. In February, the last month for which figures were available, 1.6 million fewer people received food stamps than at the peak in December 2012, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which runs the program.

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Economy
4:28 pm
Thu May 29, 2014

The Economy Takes A Dip, But Analysts Look For It To Snap Back

Auto sales rebounded in March and consumer spending remains strong, signs that the economy won't stay down for long, analysts say.
Jonathan Ernst Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Thu May 29, 2014 4:58 pm

The Commerce Department on Thursday said the U.S. economy shriveled during the icy winter, contracting at a 1 percent pace.

So does that news leave you feeling chilled with disappointment, or revved up for a summer rebound?

How consumers and business owners answer may determine the direction of jobs and economic growth for the back half of 2014.

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Environment
4:27 pm
Thu May 29, 2014

Conservatives, Environmentalists Found Common Ground In Cap And Trade

Originally published on Thu May 29, 2014 7:11 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, BYLINE: Now more about the history of cap and trade and how conservatives and environmentalists came together to establish that approach to reducing emissions. To tell us that story, joining us is C. Boyden Gray who assist in the formulation of the policy during the administration of President George H. W. Bush. He was later U.S. ambassador to the European Union. Ambassador Gray, welcome to the program.

C. BOYDEN GRAY: Thank you very much.

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Economy
4:27 pm
Thu May 29, 2014

Germany's Economy Is Doing Well — And That's Bad For The Eurozone

Originally published on Thu May 29, 2014 7:11 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, BYLINE: Germany's economy is having a pretty good year so far. Manufacturing is high, unemployment is low. The economy is expanding, and yet the strangest report has recently come out of Europe. It says all of that success is actually a problem for the rest of the Eurozone. Zoe Chase of our Planet Money team wondered why Germany's success isn't considered a good thing.

ZOE CHASE, BYLINE: Germany's got a thing about making stuff the world wants.

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The Two-Way
9:40 am
Thu May 29, 2014

U.S. GDP Fell 1 Percent; First Drop In 3 Years

Originally published on Thu May 29, 2014 1:39 pm

Revising its early numbers for the first quarter of 2014, the Commerce Department says the U.S. economy shrank by 1 percent at an annualized rate. Last month, estimates of the quarter's gross domestic product had shown a small gain of 0.1 percent.

Government analysts blame the slump on "a significant decline in inventory investment," especially among car dealerships. They also say U.S. exports declined along with spending on housing and government programs.

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Business
5:24 am
Thu May 29, 2014

For $3 Billion, Apple Buys Dr. Dre's Beats Electronics

Originally published on Thu May 29, 2014 7:33 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Apple is moving to the beat. The company's made it official. It's buying Beats Electronics, which streams music and makes the popular Beats headphones. Rumors of this deal leaked earlier this month. All told, Beats came with a $3 billion price tag - the largest acquisition in Apple's history. As NPR's Laura Sydell reports, it's a deal that has some analysts scratching their heads.

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NPR Story
5:11 am
Thu May 29, 2014

Lifting Ban On Crude Oil Exports Would Boost U.S. Economy

Originally published on Thu May 29, 2014 7:33 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

NPR's Business News starts with something a little crude. A new study is recommending the United States end its four-decade ban on crude oil exports. The report by the energy branch of the global consulting firm IHS says ending the ban would lower gasoline prices, create jobs and boost government revenues. NPR's John Ydstie has more.

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NPR Ed
7:49 am
Wed May 28, 2014

When College Isn't Worth It

Save up your pennies ... but shop wisely.
Doram iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed May 28, 2014 10:45 am

The New York Times highlighted new data yesterday that once again beats the drum: Despite skyrocketing costs, a college degree is a good investment. In fact, MIT economist David Autor writes in the journal Science that the value of a degree is rising. College grads made almost twice as much per hour in 2013 as workers without a four-year degree. And the lifetime value of a diploma is now around a half-million dollars, even after you factor in tuition.

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Food
6:45 am
Wed May 28, 2014

Reverse Food Truck Caters To Hunger Relief Programs

Originally published on Wed May 28, 2014 12:57 pm

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Food trucks are becoming increasingly popular in cities across this country, as people line up on sidewalks for everything from tacos to barbecue to sushi. This summer in Minnesota's Twin Cities, a new kind of food truck is on the streets. It's the brainchild of entrepreneurs who were aiming to satisfy a different kind of hunger. From Minneapolis, Jess Mador reports.

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Deceptive Cadence
5:35 pm
Tue May 27, 2014

How Do You Get Latino Kids Into Classical Music? Bring The Parents

The 85 musicians in the Santa Cecilia Orchestra are paid professionals who play with other symphonies and in Hollywood studios.
Courtesy of the Santa Cecilia Orchestra

Originally published on Tue May 27, 2014 8:37 pm

Outside the concert hall at Occidental College, in Los Angeles' Eagle Rock neighborhood, children are invited to test out the instruments the Santa Cecilia Orchestra will play later. Alexa Media Rodriguez, 8, says she and her family have never before been to an orchestra concert. She heard about the orchestra when some of the musicians visited her school.

"I brought my dad, my stepmom," she says, "my sister, my brother and my sister's cousin ..."

That's the thing about this orchestra, says conductor Sonia Marie De Leon De Vega: The children are bringing the parents.

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Economy
4:17 pm
Tue May 27, 2014

'Financial Times' Picks Apart Picketty, Sparking An Argument

Originally published on Tue May 27, 2014 7:58 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

The feeling among the super-rich that capitalism is under siege may be heightened by the release of the book "Capital In The Twenty-First Century." It's by the French economist, Thomas Piketty. The book, which deals with growing inequality, has been a publishing phenomenon. It currently tops many non-fiction best seller lists. But late last week, The Financial Times published a story citing errors in the book and suggesting that some of its conclusions are mistaken. NPR's John Ydstie reports.

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Books
2:54 pm
Tue May 27, 2014

China Turns To Africa For Resources, Jobs And Future Customers

Over the next few years China will build a multi-billion dollar railway linking the Kenyan port of Mombasa to Nairobi (shown here), based on an agreement signed earlier this month by East African and Chinese officials. It's one of many examples of China's increasing economic engagement with African countries.
Tony Karumba AFP/Getty Images

China's economic engagement in Africa can be measured in dollars — for instance, the $71 million airport expansion contract in Mali, funded by American foreign aid, that went to a Chinese construction firm.

More remarkably, it can be measured in people: More than a million Chinese citizens have permanently moved to Africa, buying land, starting businesses and settling among local populations.

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Commentary
2:54 pm
Tue May 27, 2014

150 Years After Marx, 'Capital' Still Can't Shake Loose Of 'Das Kapital'

A lot of things had to come together to turn Thomas Piketty's controversial Capital in the Twenty-First Century into the tome of the season. There's its timeliness, its surprising accessibility and the audacity of its thesis, that capitalism inevitably leads to greater concentrations of wealth at the very top.

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Parallels
2:38 pm
Tue May 27, 2014

World's Richest People Meet, Muse On How To Spread The Wealth

Prince Charles talks to Lynn Forester de Rothschild (left), organizer of the Conference on Inclusive Capitalism, and Christine Lagarde, head of the International Monetary Fund, before Tuesday's conference. The 250 corporate and financial leaders who attended control some $30 trillion, about a third of the world's investable assets.
WPA Pool Getty Images

Originally published on Tue May 27, 2014 8:17 pm

Talk of economic mobility and the wealth gap is hardly new. From the Occupy movement to President Obama's re-election campaign, income inequality has been in the spotlight for years.

Even so, the "inclusive capitalism" conference in London on Tuesday broke new ground. Not because of the conversation, but because of the people having it.

The 250 people from around the world invited to attend this one-day conference do not represent "the 99 percent," or even the 1 percent. It's more like a tiny fraction of the 1 percent.

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The Two-Way
1:21 pm
Tue May 27, 2014

Median CEO Pay Tops $10 Million For The First Time

Are you getting rich off the rising stock market? America's CEOs are.

Median compensation for the chief executive of a Standard & Poor's 500 company was $10.8 million last year, according to a study by The Associated Press.

That represents an 8.8 percent increase over 2012 and marks the first time that median compensation crossed the eight-figure mark.

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Shots - Health News
3:27 am
Tue May 27, 2014

Frustrated By The Affordable Care Act, One Family Opts Out

Nick and Rachel Robinson welcome their son Cash, who was born in a midwife's birthing pool.
Jessica Hooten Courtesy of Nick Robinson

Originally published on Tue May 27, 2014 3:21 pm

The Robinson family of Dallas started out pretty excited about their new insurance plan under the Affordable Care Act.

Nick Robinson had turned to Obamacare after he lost his job last summer. He had been working as a youth pastor, and the job included benefits that covered him, his two young daughters, and his wife, Rachel, a wedding photographer.

Nick says he wasn't too nervous at first, because everyone was healthy. Then, he recalls, they found out Rachel was pregnant.

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Business
3:23 am
Tue May 27, 2014

States Consider Bills To Crack Down On Workplace Bullies

Workplace bullying even happens at the NFL. Investigators concluded that Miami Dolphins lineman Jonathan Martin was harassed by other teammates.
John Minchillo AP

Originally published on Mon June 2, 2014 4:44 pm

Bullying is a behavioral problem often associated with children in grade school, but according to a recent Zogby poll commissioned by the Workplace Bullying Institute more than a quarter of American workers say they've experienced abusive conduct at work.

Now, many states are considering laws that would give workers legal protections against workplace abuse.

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U.S.
3:23 am
Tue May 27, 2014

Lack Of Affordable Housing Puts The Squeeze On Poor Families

Toni Smart points to the oven that she uses to heat her one-bedroom apartment, which has no heat. Smart says she and her kids stayed in homeless shelters a few years ago. She says she'd rather be without heat than in the shelter.
Pam Fessler NPR

Originally published on Wed May 28, 2014 5:02 pm

The U.S. is in the midst of what Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan calls the "worst rental affordability crisis" ever. Poor families are being hit the hardest: An overwhelming majority spend more than half of their incomes on rent. Others live in substandard housing, or are homeless.

The problem is especially acute in Washington, D.C., in a bustling neighborhood just a few blocks from the Capitol Building.

A Tale Of Two Cities

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All Tech Considered
11:49 am
Mon May 26, 2014

Wash And Deliver: Startups Aim To Solve First World Problems

Washio offers on-demand laundry pickup and delivery for $1.60 a pound.
Courtesy of Washio

Sick of doing the laundry? The latest hot Silicon Valley startup, Washio — the subject of a new profile in New York Magazine — lets you press a button on your phone and someone will come and pick up your laundry, or your dry cleaning.

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