Business news

Rise in cigarette sales linked to cheaper gas prices

Nov 9, 2015
Sally Herships

Cigarette sales have been declining for years. If you look at a graph of smokers going from the 1960’s to just a few years ago, it looks a steep downhill ski slope. But this year cigarette sales are up. Analysts say there are many reasons — an improving economy, the federal excise tax on cigarettes staying flat since 2009, and also, oddly, what’s happening at the gas pump.

The red-hot global market for U.S. television

Nov 9, 2015
Adrienne Hill

The entertainment company Lionsgate will release earnings Monday. Last quarter, one of the bright spots for the company was revenue it made by licensing the TV show "Orange Is the New Black" to international markets.

And Lionsgate isn’t the only studio profiting from those international television deals.

More big brands team up with non-profits

Nov 9, 2015
Andy Uhler

Marathon Kids is a non-profit that started 20 years ago in Austin, Texas, and quickly spread statewide. The idea was to get kids to be more active through running. The company has just partnered with Nike to try to expand internationally. 

The business of resettling refugees

Nov 8, 2015
Caitlin Esch

October kicked off the new fiscal year for refugee settlement in the United States. This year, the U.S. has increased the number of refugee visas from 70,000 to 85,000. 

The government spends more than $1 billion a year resettling refugees. It's a complicated process that can take years. On a recent weekday afternoon, Arpeneh Chobanian climbed into a rental car and set the GPS for Los Angeles International Airport. She was going to greet a young refugee couple; newlyweds from Iraq.

Sean Connery leads Bonds in time spent dressed up

Nov 6, 2015
Kai Ryssdal

This final note on the way out, in which we take our martinis shaken, not stirred.

Spectre, the new James Bond film, is out Friday. And just because they could, I guess, the folks at Bloomberg did a little data journalism to mark the occasion.

There have been, over the past 53 years, 24 films totaling 51 hours. Of those 51 hours, 18 hours have Bond in a suit or a tuxedo.

Sean Connery is the Bond who's spent the most time dressed up — and shirtless. 

Jobs jolt higher in October

Nov 6, 2015
Mitchell Hartman

The U.S. Department of Labor reported that the U.S. economy added 271,000 jobs in October, a substantial improvement from August (153,000) and September (137,000). The consensus among economists was for a rise in jobs below 200,000 for October.

The unemployment rate fell 0.1 percent to 5 percent. Average hourly earnings rose 0.4 percent in October, pushing annual wage inflation up to 2.5 percent.

Kai Ryssdal

Joining us to talk about the week's business and economic news are the Wall Street Journal's John Carney and Linette Lopez from Business Insider. The big topics this week: October's jobs report, inflation, and another round of "What is Janet Yellen thinking?" 

Marketplace for Friday, November 6, 2015

Nov 6, 2015

How one pipeline project became more political than economic; why networks have been reluctant to ax struggling shows; and a look at October's jobs numbers. 

Exxon target of climate change probe

Nov 6, 2015
Sabri Ben-Achour

The New York Attorney General’s office is waiting to hear back from Exxon Mobil. The oil and gas company was served with a subpoena earlier this week requesting information and documents related to climate change – what the company has said to shareholders, internal research on climate change, projections of the impact on profits and business, as well as marketing materials and records of funding for outside groups active on climate-change issues.

The underlying question is whether Exxon Mobil misrepresented what it knew about climate change to the public and to shareholders.

Politics ran through the Keystone pipeline

Nov 6, 2015
Nancy Marshall-Genzer

From the Marketplace Desk of We All Knew This One Was Coming, the White House said Friday it will reject the Keystone XL Pipeline, which would have brought crude from the Canadian Oil Sands down through the U.S.

The review of the project, proposed by Trans-Canada, had been going on for seven years, plenty of time for the issue to become more political then economic.

Environmentalists said the Keystone pipeline would be a climate disaster. Pipeline supporters said it would create tens of thousands of jobs. But actually?  Both sides exaggerated.

Marketplace Weekend Staff

What do you teach your kids about money? Or maybe, your parents? 

Tell us the most important lesson you want to pass on about money. We want to hear from you! Call and leave a message at (800) 648-5114 or reach us on Twitter, @MarketplaceWKND.

Why struggling shows are still on the air

Nov 6, 2015
Adrienne Hill

Usually, by this point in the fall television season, at least one new network show has been cancelled. 

"Manhattan Love Story" was the first casualty of last year's fall season, with ABC dumping it four episodes in.  In 2013, "Lucky 7" was yanked after only two episodes. And in 2012, CBS dumped "Made In Jersey" after only two airings.

So, history tells us a show should have gotten the ax by now. Critics do too; they've written some joyfully scathing reviews of the season's new shows. 

But networks are showing a little patience.

Neko Case takes the Marketplace Quiz

Nov 6, 2015
Raghu Manavalan

You might have heard of the "Proust Questionnaire." It's a set of questions about values and dreams improperly attributed to French writer Marcel Proust. (He actually answered it a few times, but didn't come up with it himself.) We came up with our own version, because what we do for a living, spend our money on and why usually reveals more about our personalities than we'd expect.

Marketplace Tech for Friday, November 6, 2015

Nov 6, 2015

Airing on Friday, November 6, 2015: On today's show, we'll talk about what the Sony deal means for the value of traditional cable packages; how Airbnb got so powerful and where things are headed; and CNN Money’s Hope King joins us to play this week's Silicon Tally.

New content for Playstation

Nov 6, 2015
David Brancaccio

On today's show, we'll talk about the jobs number for October; a report from the NY Fed that looks at income versus rent; and Sony's partnership that brings much more than just games to the Playstation.

Tobin Low

So far, the race for the presidency has already provided a good amount of must-see television (“Your damn emails,” for example). But the most controversial event may be ahead, as Donald Trump hosts Saturday Night Live this weekend. The announcement has been met with resistance from many people, including groups who take issue with Trump’s stance on immigration.

Airing on Friday, November 6, 2015: On today's show, we'll talk about if Exxon Mobil knew about the risk of global warming; and we'll talk more about the U.S. Department of Labor deciding to shift its stance from disapproving to approving for private industry pension plans when it comes to environmental, social and governance investing

Neighborhood competition in the health care market

Nov 6, 2015
Melanie Sevcenko

Health care systems are competing in the market around both price and quality. Nonprofit health co-ops are struggling to provide affordable insurance coverage, while for-profits are also trying to keep business afloat under new federal laws.

The vast inequality of rental inflation

Nov 6, 2015
Sabri Ben-Achour

Rent increases are something the average renter needs like a hole in the head. But according to analysis released by the New York Federal reserve, it looks like rent increases have been highest for those least able to pay.   

For the highest rents in the U.S., rents didn’t change much between 2011 and 2013.

Large companies stoke the fires in Indonesia’s peatlands

Nov 5, 2015
Kai Ryssdal and Robert Garrova

Some parts of Indonesia are looking a little bit post-apocalyptic right now. There’s a haze that’s settled over Southeast Asia — it’s so big you can even see it from space.

It’s all because of several massive fires, some of which were started intentionally in order to clear vegetation for farming. It’s a practice that’s common in Indonesia, but this year the fires have gotten out of control.

Some schools and airports have shut down in what some are predicting will be the worst fires on record for the region.  

A glimpse at the nitty-gritty of the giant trade deal

Nov 5, 2015
Tracey Samuelson

A month to the day after negotiations concluded for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the Obama Administration has released the full text of the agreement — 30 chapters, spanning topics like labor and environmental standards and intellectual property protections.

The administration also notified Congress of the president’s intention to enter into the agreement, which he is required to do 90 days before he signs the agreement. It then goes to Congress for its approval.

The text released Thursday also includes details on tariffs on a slew of incredibly specific goods.

Marketplace for Thursday, November 5, 2015

Nov 5, 2015

Pickier job hunters during the holiday season; the full text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership; and our trip to Tuscaloosa, Alabama — a city powered by manufacturing.  

Why you probably won't be audited by the IRS

Nov 5, 2015
Nancy Marshall-Genzer

The IRS says years of budget cuts have pushed taxpayers' likelihood of being audited lower than it's been in more than a decade.

Experts say that if you’re really rich or really poor, you’re more likely to hear from the IRS.

Low-income households shying away from mortgages

Nov 5, 2015
Dina Gachman

There are still major hurdles for low-income people trying to get a mortgage after the recession — and many potential first-time home buyers are opting to keep on paying those monthly rent checks.

At the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s Economic Press Briefing this week, New York Fed President Bill Dudley said that 12 percent of low-income people credit applicants are so-called “discouraged borrowers”  — those who needed credit but "were discouraged to apply since they believed they wouldn’t be approved," according to the Fed's Survey of Consumer Expectations. 

Retailers are competing — for holiday workers

Nov 5, 2015
Andy Uhler

Unemployment is at a seven-year low and the number of people working part-time shrank by 1 million since last September, according to the Labor Department. As the holidays approach, retailers hope people who need seasonal work are still out there. But for temporary employees, those jobs might not be filled with wrapping paper and tinsel, but instead cardboard and forklifts. 

Blake Farmer

Some cities just become magnetic. New York and L.A. are the kind of places people move even without a job lined up. Portland, Oregon, Austin and Denver are in that league at the moment. Another city joining the ranks: Nashville.

Airing on Thursday, November 5, 2015: On today's show, we'll talk about the bull market in China; why food banks fear they won’t be able to buy as many turkeys as they need for Thanksgiving; and why even though you might be paying a higher premium, your current doctor or hospital may also no longer be covered.

Marketplace Tech for Thursday, November 5, 2015

Nov 5, 2015

Airing on Thursday, November 5, 2015: On today's show, we'll talk about Facebook’s mobile dominance; what happens when you leave a bunch of USBs around major cities; and Marketplace’s Adriene Hill talks about how big data is influencing entertainment.

Annie Baxter

Bird flu cost producers about 8 million turkeys this past spring. The diminished supplies are now resulting in wholesale prices 30 percent higher than they were two years ago. 

“Not only are the prices higher on wholesale turkeys and turkey breast meat than at any time in recorded history, but the available supplies are at their lowest,” said Russell Whitman with the commodity market reporting firm Urner Barry.

Whitman said there should be enough birds to meet consumer demand at Thanksgiving. How much retailers will raise prices is unclear.