Business

Business
4:38 pm
Thu January 1, 2015

More States Raise Minimum Wage, But Debate Continues

Protesters march in New York City on Dec. 4 to demand an increase in the minimum wage to $15 per hour. New York state's minimum wage rose to $8.75 on Wednesday.
Andrew Burton Getty Images

Originally published on Thu January 1, 2015 10:34 pm

The minimum wage went up in 20 states Thursday, a day after the state of New York boosted its minimum, which means a majority of states now have a minimum wage higher than the federal government's, which is set at $7.25. The state with the highest minimum wage is now Washington state, at $9.47 an hour.

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Planet Money
7:07 am
Thu January 1, 2015

Why Cutting A CEO's Pay Can Be Very Difficult

Originally published on Thu January 1, 2015 7:48 am

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Plenty of people complain about the huge compensation collected by corporate CEOs. But as this story from our Planet Money team shows, actually cutting a CEO's pay turns out to be difficult. Here are David Kestenbaum and Jacob Goldstein.

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Parallels
3:22 am
Wed December 31, 2014

Sanctions Intensify Russia's Free Fall Into Economic Crisis

President Vladimir Putin speaks in Moscow on Dec. 23. Russia's current economic crisis stems from Western sanctions and diving oil prices.
Maxim Shipenkov AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 31, 2014 11:39 am

A year ago, Russia's economy was riding high. Today, the country is widely thought to be entering a recession, if it's not already there.

The plunge in oil prices has been the main culprit, but Russia's economy has had trouble regaining its footing because of sanctions imposed by the West after the annexation of Crimea. President Obama and other Western leaders were quick to condemn Russia when it annexed the Crimean Peninsula last March, and they struggled to find a way to show their outrage.

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Planet Money
6:36 pm
Tue December 30, 2014

Why We Sign Up For Gym Memberships But Never Go To The Gym

Gerry Broome AP

Originally published on Thu January 15, 2015 3:23 pm

  • Gyms have built their business model around us not showing up. Gyms have way more members than they can actually accommodate. Low-priced gyms are the most extreme example of this. Planet Fitness, which charges between $10 and $20 per month, has, on average, 6,500 members per gym. Most of its gyms can hold around 300 people. Planet Fitness can do this because it knows that members won't show up. After all, if everyone who had a gym membership showed up at the gym, it would be Thunderdome.
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Business
4:49 pm
Tue December 30, 2014

Comcast-Time Warner Deal Tops A Year Of Corporate Mergers

There were $3 trillion worth of corporate mergers in 2014. Comcast's proposed acquisition of fellow cable company Time Warner was the largest at $45 billion.
Gene J. Puskar AP

Originally published on Tue December 30, 2014 7:05 pm

This year saw some very large corporate mergers and takeovers. Comcast and Time Warner's proposed deal topped the list.

Globally, there were $3 trillion worth of deals announced this year — the biggest year for mergers and acquisitions since the financial crisis. And the trend is expected to continue next year.

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Europe
5:30 am
Tue December 30, 2014

Political Crisis Hammers Greece's Financial Markets

Originally published on Tue December 30, 2014 12:17 pm

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

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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Business
10:02 am
Mon December 29, 2014

Looking To 2015, Economists See 5 Reasons To Celebrate

Target shoppers Kelly Foley (from left), Debbie Winslow and Ann Rich use a smartphone to look at a competitor's prices while shopping shortly after midnight on Black Friday, in South Portland, Maine.
Robert F. Bukaty AP

Originally published on Mon December 29, 2014 10:39 am

Each December, economists make predictions. And each new year, they get hit by unexpected events that make them look more clueless than prescient.

This year's bolt out of the blue was the plunge in oil's price, which no one saw coming.

Still, top economists' forecasts did get a lot right for 2014. One year ago, most were predicting healthy growth, tame inflation, low interest rates, rising stock prices and declining unemployment — and that's just what we got.

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Business
5:29 am
Mon December 29, 2014

Nevada's Tesla Battery Factory Triggers Wave Of Follow-Up Business

Originally published on Mon December 29, 2014 9:11 am

Copyright 2014 KUNR-FM. To see more, visit http://www.kunr.org/.

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Book News & Features
5:06 am
Mon December 29, 2014

Nonprofit Fights Illiteracy By Getting Books To Kids Who Need Them

First Book President and CEO Kyle Zimmer reads to children during a book distribution event.
Courtesy of First Book

Originally published on Fri February 6, 2015 3:09 pm

When it comes to learning to read, educators agree: the younger, the better. Children can be exposed to books even before they can talk, but for that a family has to have books, which isn't always the case.

There are neighborhoods in this country with plenty of books; and then there are neighborhoods where books are harder to find. Almost 15 years ago, Susan Neuman, now a professor at New York University, focused on that discrepancy, in a study that looked at just how many books were available in Philadelphia's low-income neighborhoods. The results were startling.

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Economy
7:39 am
Sun December 28, 2014

Economist: This Recovery Is Broad-Based And Stable

Originally published on Sun December 28, 2014 11:05 am

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

Around the Nation
7:50 am
Sat December 27, 2014

High Electric Bills Gobble Up Savings From Cheap Oil In New England

Originally published on Sat December 27, 2014 11:10 am

Falling oil prices are perhaps nowhere more welcome than in northern New England, where most homes burn heating oil in their furnaces and high electricity prices are going up.

This story originally aired on Morning Edition on Dec. 22, 2014.

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Code Switch
6:50 am
Sat December 27, 2014

ICYMI 2014: Soccer Field Standoff Highlights Gentrification Tension

Screenshot via YouTube

Originally published on Fri January 9, 2015 11:22 am

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All Tech Considered
3:31 am
Fri December 26, 2014

As Uber Expands, It Asks Cities For Forgiveness Instead Of Permission

The app-based car service Uber has had a big year for business --€” and controversy.
Ariel Zambelich NPR

Originally published on Wed December 31, 2014 12:18 pm

Perhaps no single company has stirred so many emotions this year — across so many continents — as Uber.

In 2014 Uber became more — much more — than a car service: The Silicon Valley startup became a symbol for capitalism itself.

The company's value soared from under a billion to about $40 billion, making it one of the most valuable private companies on Earth. But it also has become mired in turf wars, legal battles and scandal.

Hypergrowth And Backlash

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Economy
4:18 pm
Thu December 25, 2014

Low Gas Prices Predicted For 2015 And Beyond

Originally published on Mon December 29, 2014 12:13 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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Economy
4:18 pm
Thu December 25, 2014

Economy Weathers A Bad Winter And Other Storms To Finish 2014 Strong

A New York Stock Exchange trader works on the floor on Dec. 17. Stocks rose nearly 300 points after the Federal Reserve announced it plans to begin raising interest rates next year.
Andrew Burton Getty Images

Originally published on Tue February 17, 2015 1:09 pm

The economy was floored by the polar vortex early on in 2014 — plus, businesses and consumers were still a little dazed by a government shutdown and debt ceiling fight late in 2013.

Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Analytics, says it all produced an anxious start to the year. "Yeah, a lot of worry, particularly because we had misstepped a few other times during the recovery," he says. "We had these false dawns when we really thought the economy was going to kick into gear and then we kind of fell back into the morass."

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Around the Nation
3:26 am
Thu December 25, 2014

Pittsburgh Tries To Attract Enterprising Immigrants And Refugees

The city of Pittsburgh is hoping that drawing more skilled immigrants will give it an entrepreneurial boost.
Gene J. Puskar AP

Originally published on Thu December 25, 2014 3:54 pm

When Ammar Nsaif was 8, in Iraq, he often thought about his future wife and kids, about the car and house and business he'd own. As an adult, he became an electrical engineer and made his 8-year-old self proud.

"Before the war, I did many things," Nsaif says. "My cousins, my friends, my neighbors, they know Ammar. He's working, making business. I did very well."

But he lost everything when he fled Bagdad suddenly, in 2006. Nsaif, 39, says he received a death threat from terrorists over his work with an American company. They already had killed one of his older brothers.

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Economy
5:02 am
Wed December 24, 2014

Despite Some Clouds, U.S. Economic Forecast Looks Sunny

Originally published on Wed December 24, 2014 3:25 pm

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

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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Economy
5:02 am
Wed December 24, 2014

Lower Gas Prices Add Fuel To U.S. Economic Recovery

Originally published on Wed December 24, 2014 3:21 pm

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

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Europe
5:02 am
Wed December 24, 2014

Lower Oil Prices Drain Value Of Russians' Money

Originally published on Wed December 24, 2014 8:02 am

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

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Around the Nation
3:20 am
Wed December 24, 2014

The Year In Air Travel: Packed Planes And More Perks — For A Price

Originally published on Wed December 24, 2014 10:37 am

It's been a good year for commercial airlines.

With the economy recovering, more people are getting on planes and flying for both business and pleasure. And the cost of fuel, one of the airlines' biggest expenses, is dropping.

But as anyone traveling for the holidays can tell you, airfares remain high. And many frequent fliers at Chicago O'Hare International Airport say they wouldn't give the airlines perfect grades this year.

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Economy
7:03 pm
Tue December 23, 2014

A Backlash Brews Against Low Pay On The Factory Floor

Nissan workers at a plant in Canton, Miss. The auto company received financial incentives, including tax relief, from the state for the factory.
Rogelio V. Solis AP

Originally published on Sun January 4, 2015 3:53 pm

Forty years ago, a manufacturing job was often a ticket into the middle class. That's not the case today. Wages for manufacturing jobs are plummeting, and some states are questioning whether competing for those jobs is still worth it.

For Cynthia Hunter, a $9-per-hour manufacturing job offer meant she could stay in the workforce after taking a buyout from her management job at Exxon Mobil in 2012.

"I was scared to stay out of the marketplace," says Hunter, 58. "I mean, I have worked all these years, and I never in my life collected unemployment — ever."

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The Two-Way
4:22 pm
Tue December 23, 2014

Number Of Cars Earning Top Safety Awards Nearly Doubles

The 2015 Subaru Outback was one of the carmaker's seven models that won the highest safety ratings from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
Eric Thayer Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 24, 2014 8:32 am

If you're looking for a new car or SUV, it should be easier to find a safe one from the current models: The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety says the number of vehicles winning its two safety awards jumped from 39 to 71 for the 2015 model year.

The rise came despite tougher standards for current models to earn the IIHS's best ratings.

The winners range from the Chevrolet Spark and Volvo S60 to the Honda Odyssey. You can see a full list, broken down by market segment, at the IIHS website.

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Economy
4:21 pm
Tue December 23, 2014

GDP Growth At Highest Level Since 2003

Originally published on Tue December 23, 2014 7:03 pm

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

The Two-Way
9:21 am
Tue December 23, 2014

U.S. Economy Grew At A 5 Percent Rate; Dow Surpasses 18,000

Originally published on Tue December 23, 2014 2:55 pm

The U.S. economy grew at a surprisingly fast 5 percent annual rate in the third quarter of 2014, up sharply from the 3.9 percent of the last revision. The figure blew past the consensus estimate of 4.3 percent put forth by economists surveyed by Bloomberg News.

It's the fastest the U.S. economy has grown in one quarter in more than a decade: The GDP grew at a 6.9 percent pace in the third quarter of 2003.

Update at 10:30 a.m. ET: Dow Tops 18,000 For First Time

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Europe
6:11 am
Tue December 23, 2014

We Go Underground To Tour London's Crossrail Project

Originally published on Tue December 23, 2014 7:28 am

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

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Business
5:05 am
Tue December 23, 2014

A Year Later, Delivery Services Up Their Holiday Game

Originally published on Tue December 23, 2014 5:12 pm

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

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Well, here's an idea for a lampooning December movie - it's the holidays and shipping companies can't get their act together. They disappoint millions of customers because they can't deliver gifts on time.

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All Tech Considered
5:50 pm
Mon December 22, 2014

What You Need To Know About Subprime Lending For Smartphones

Startup Better Finance is offering lease-to-own programs for high-end smartphones. But some customers say that retail stores, such as MetroPCS, aren't always clear about the lease terms up front.
Larry W. Smith EPA/Landov

Originally published on Mon December 29, 2014 6:29 pm

If you visit a local strip mall or downtown shopping street, it's not hard to find a store where customers can lease-to-own. That is, you can pay over time and eventually, after some chunky fees, a flat screen TV or living room set is yours.

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Business
8:35 am
Mon December 22, 2014

The 5 Business Stories That Made 2014 A Memorable Year

James Franco (left) and Seth Rogen, stars of The Interview, arrive for the film's Los Angeles premiere on Dec. 11. The comedy about a CIA plot to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was pulled from theaters after a cyberattack on Sony Pictures, the studio behind the film. The FBI said the attack was traced to the North Korean government.
Jim Ruymen UPI/Landov

Originally published on Mon December 22, 2014 8:47 am

As the year's end approaches, economists are looking back and assessing the news stories that shaped 2014.

Though their lists may vary, most analysts are pointing to five developments that had very big impacts on the U.S. economy. These were the biggies for 2014:

Oil Prices Plunge

No one saw this one coming. When 2014 began, a barrel of crude oil was selling for about $110. It hovered there until late spring, when the price ticked up to nearly $115.

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Movies
5:37 am
Mon December 22, 2014

For Updated 'Annie', The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow

Originally published on Mon December 22, 2014 7:37 am

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

Politics
5:05 am
Mon December 22, 2014

Treasury Nomination Sparks Fight Among Democrats

Originally published on Mon December 22, 2014 7:37 am

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

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