Business and economic news

Rich Kellman

You've probably heard the old adage that if something looks too good to be true, it probably is. That was the case in a business deal that led to a bubble that hurt thousands of families, including some here in Western New York. It was a deal that involved, of all things, alpacas.

Delaware North welcomes Westin to downtown landscape

Sep 22, 2016
courtesy Delaware North Companies

The building that has been home to Delaware North Companies since last fall has welcomed an upscale hotel into the 12-story structure. A formal ribbon cutting ceremony was held inside the new Westin Buffalo at Delaware and Chippewa Thursday.

An Italian cheese producer, founded 124 years ago, is opening its first plant on U.S. soil in Chautauqua County, saving an existing workforce and a critical source of business for dozens of local dairy providers.

The surprise move by a local franchisee to close more than a dozen Western New York Dunkin’ Donuts locations may indicate financial challenges, and may also offer opportunity for other local businesses.

In a surprise move, a local franchisee is closing half of its Dunkin' Donuts stores in Western New York, effective immediately.

No more blue light specials for Cheektowaga Kmart

Sep 20, 2016

The Kmart on Walden Avenue is Cheektowaga is on a list of 64 Kmarts closing in 28 states across the United States.

Kai Ryssdal

A quick sidebar to the bombings in New York and New Jersey over the weekend.

A lot New Yorkers got an emergency alert on their phones this morning, telling them to be on the lookout for Amhad Rahami.

The folks at Quartz did some digging, turns out there are three different kinds of alerts transmitted through what's called the Wireless Emergency Alerts system.

Adam Allington

The population of seniors in the U.S. is forecast to nearly double over the next three decades, growing from 48 million to 88 million by 2050.

An aging workforce is typically considered to be a negative for an economy, but the implications might not be as scary as we’re led to believe.

The U.S. population is getting older, on average, but compared to our main economic partners in Europe and Asia, we’re getting older, less quickly. 

Mainly because we have more babies, and more immigrants.

A boring segment of the stock market is on fire

Sep 19, 2016
Mark Garrison

Utility and consumer companies are not flashy, but they’re having quite a year in the stock market, for now. Operating power lines or selling paper towels aren’t activities that attract media hype and interest the way young tech companies do. But these stable, solid businesses do allow these companies to pay steady and consistent dividends to investors. Right now, those stocks are much in demand.

The Emmys and how Jeff Bezos changed the world

Sep 19, 2016
Nancy Marshall-Genzer

The TV networks were an afterthought at last night’s Emmy Awards. Top honors went to series airing on HBO, FX, Netflix and Amazon. More proof that these new kids on the block are shaking up Hollywood.  

Exhibit A?  The Amazon show Transparent. About a family and what happens after their father comes out as transgender. Show creator Jill Soloway won an Emmy last night. In her acceptance speech?  She didn’t thank her agent. Or her family.  She gave a shout-out to the CEO of Amazon, Jeff Bezos. 

How do dollar stores buck inflation?

Sep 19, 2016
Mitchell Hartman

Marketplace listener Doray Sitko, of Austin, Texas, sent us this question: “How can the dollar store still be the dollar store? A lot of the products that I was purchasing for a dollar years ago, I’m still purchasing for a dollar today. And I wonder how they can maintain that dollar price-point—seemingly indifferent to inflation or cost of living?”

First, some definitions.

Chinese investors are buying up French farmland

Sep 19, 2016
John Laurenson

Driving down a country lane through what the poet Péguy, writing about this part of France, described as "oceans of wheat", the farmer and local farmers’ union leader Hervé Coupeau points right and left.

"From here, everything you can see belongs to the Chinese," he said.

French farms are very often farmed by the same families for generations. But in the Berry, the heart of French cereal farming in the center of the country, Chinese buyers have been purchasing farmland in order to assure food supplies for their growing population.

How Japan's economy can influence the Fed

Sep 19, 2016

On today's show, we'll talk about the Bank of Japan's impact on the Fed; the S&P 500's new real estate sector; and why one Baton Rouge organization is relying on gift cards to help flood victims. 

Lane Wallace

Today Citigroup is out with its latest national election forecast, and it has upped the Republican candidate’s chances of winning from 35 percent to 40 percent since last month.

Noah Feldman

The recent flooding in and around Baton Rouge, Louisiana displaced over 120,000 people from their homes. Many people ended up crashing with family or friends, not staying in shelters. But relief organizations still direct supplies and donations to those shelters. So a group called Together Baton Rouge had another idea that would get people what they need, when they need it, and help disaster relief keep up with the times.

Patti Clement lost her car, her house, and almost everything inside it during the August flooding.

S&P 500 gives real estate a sector all its own

Sep 19, 2016
Gigi Douban

As of today, there’s a new kid on the block in the world of S&P 500 sectors: real estate. Until now,  the S&P Dow Jones Indices had lumped real estate in with the financial sector. This makes real estate the 11th sector in the S&P 500, which rarely adds categories. But experts say it was time.  

Imagine the S&P is like that grandmother who pinches your cheeks and tells you how big you’ve gotten. Also, you’re the homecoming queen. Everyone wants a piece of you. Grandma, or the S&P, talks your parents into giving you your very own room.

D Gorenstein

California hopes to become the first state to allow undocumented immigrants to buy insurance on the Obamacare exchanges.

California officials are finalizing an application, asking the Obama administration for permission to do it.

Under the plan, undocumented immigrants wouldn’t get federal or state subsidies.

But State Senator Ricardo Lara said what more than half a million people could get is insurance.

JaeRan Kim

Green iguanas have inundated the largest of the Cayman Islands and are gobbling up landscaped environments as well as native flora as they multiply largely unchecked.

An expert familiar with the invasion on Grand Cayman said the population could seriously damage the island’s native habitat.


On today's show, we'll talk about what Citigroup's new election forecast says about the presidential candidates' odds; California's efforts to allow undocumented immigrants to purchase health insurance; and the growing market for iguana meat.

Oyler falls short on new school report cards

Sep 16, 2016
Amy Scott

Ohio’s latest school report cards are out, and the results for Cincinnati’s Oyler School aren’t pretty.

Kai Ryssdal

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump held a press conference at his new hotel in Washington, D.C. today.

There was the birther thing and there were veterans onstage offering their endorsements. But c'mon, we know what it really was, right? Here's what we heard:

Presidential debates get social media help

Sep 16, 2016
Mitchell Hartman

The nonpartisan Commission on Presidential Debates has a new media partner — social media.

Trump's economic plan? A tough challenge.

Sep 16, 2016
Nancy Marshall-Genzer

Right now our economy is growing at about 2 percent a year. Donald Trump said he would rev up growth to as much as 4 percent a year. And he said that would create as many as 25 million new jobs over the next decade.

“It’ll be very hard to get to 25 million jobs,” said Douglas Holtz-Eakin, a Republican economist who served as economic adviser in John McCain's presidential campaign.

Can Chicago’s recent plague of violence be cured?

Sep 16, 2016

Over Labor Day Weekend, Chicago’s death toll hit 500, making 2016 one of the most violent years in decades. That’s more homicides than Los Angeles and New York combined. It hasn’t been this bad since the crack cocaine-fueled gang wars of the 1990s. But focusing on the numbers alone doesn’t do justice to what’s actually happening, and more importantly, how we can end the violence. Natalie Moore, a Chicago native and longtime WBEZ Southside reporter, joined Marketplace Weekend to discuss the role economic inequality plays in urban violence today.

Sasha Aslanian

Last year, Luke Hillman began meeting with a group of sex buyers. They were guys he met online.

“Looking at them in a bar, you would have no idea,” Hillman said. ”They’re just normal guys.”

The men worked for some of the region’s most prominent employers: Microsoft, Boeing, Amazon. One was a radiologist. Another was a dentist.  

During their meetups in local bars, the men would discuss their “hobby” — hiring Korean prostitutes.

Marketplace Weekend Staff

What have you always wanted to understand better about money, but were afraid to ask? Confused about retirement? Credit cards? Opening a high-interest savings account? Investing in stocks or bonds? 

Let us know what's on your mind when your mind is on money.

Give us a call at 1-800-648-5114, send us a message on Facebook or tweet at us. We're@MarketplaceWKND

The pipeline to become a pilot

Sep 16, 2016

On today's show, we'll talk about Unilever's possible purchase of the Honest Company, a startup owned by Jessica Alba; two American Airlines subsidiaries that are pushing for more pilots by offering more pay; and the ancestral home of Donald Trump's grandparents: Kallstadt, Germany.

Unilever might buy Jessica Alba's Honest Company

Sep 16, 2016
Lane Wallace

The Honest Company, a natural home products startup, could be getting snapped up by a big buyer.

The Wall Street Journal is reporting Unilever is “in talks” with the five-year-old company founded by actress Jessica Alba, and could offer more than $1 billion in the deal.

Desperately need pilots? Try paying them more

Sep 16, 2016
Gigi Douban

Two American Airlines subsidiaries announced plans to boost the starting pay for regional pilots, in some cases increasing pay by 56 percent. On top of that, the regional carriers, PSA Airlines and Envoy Air, will offer bigger sign-on and retention bonuses, all in the hopes the move will ease a pilot shortage. 

Why the shortage? It’s way harder than it used to be to become a regional pilot. And the pay is terrible. 

The rise of Trump tourism in Kallstadt, Germany

Sep 16, 2016
John Laurenson

People come a long way for stuffed sow’s stomach, as you can imagine. This and the locally produced white wine. So, said Kallstadt mayor Thomas Jaworek, this village of just 1,200 inhabitants already has 300 beds in its hotels and 1800 places in its restaurants.

"Trump tourism?" I ask him.

"Very little."

But the fact that Donald Trump’s grandparents came from this tiny village not far from the River Rhine is starting to rival the sow’s stomach as Kallstadt’s claim to fame.