Business/Economy

Business and economic news

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Kim Adams

New guidance memos out from the Department of Homeland Security call for more agents, more detention capacity and more deportations as part of President Donald Trump's plans to crack down on illegal immigration.

Uber has a PR crisis on its hands, and this one has nothing to do with the CEO advising President Donald Trump or alleged strike-breaking in New York. This scandal is related to a former Uber employee's allegations of sexual harassment at the company and of an inadequate response. Uber has promised an urgent investigation and is hiring former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to lead it. For a firm that can be boycotted by just deleting a phone app, reputation is key. 

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Elly Yu

Scott Malone unlocks a gate at the front of a dirt path in LaGrange, Georgia, about an hour southwest of Atlanta. Malone is the president of the Development Authority of LaGrange, and standing at the top of a hill on a site where the land has been cleared, he looks out at what will become a factory for Chinese tire company Sentury Tire.

“Everything you see out there will be plant,” Malone said. “So it’s a huge, huge site, no question.”

What challenges does McMaster face as Trump’s national security adviser?

12 hours ago
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Kai Ryssdal and Robert Garrova

President Donald Trump has named Lt. Gen. Herbert Raymond McMaster as his national security adviser. What challenges does McMaster face and how prepared is he to manage them? Marketplace host Kai Ryssdal talked with Erin Simpson, national security consultant and co-host of the "Bombshell" podcast. Below is an edited transcript of their conversation.

Economists outraged by Trump plan to 'cook the books'

12 hours ago
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Nancy Marshall-Genzer

The Trump administration is causing an uproar among economists because the White House is said to be considering changes to the way the trade deficit and economic growth are calculated. Economists generally aren’t a very excitable bunch, but mess with numbers and they get upset.

"It is cooking the books," said Don Boudreaux, who teaches economics at George Mason University. "It verges on fraud."

Coal miners from two generations betting on Trump

13 hours ago
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Marketplace staff

In the Appalachian region of West Virginia, people are holding on to President Donald Trump’s promise to bring back coal mining jobs. For the last year, our collaborative series with "Frontline" and "PBS NewsHour" called “How the Deck is Stacked” has examined the issues that Americans in different parts of the country find most important to them.

5: Reputation in the age of the protest economy

15 hours ago

Reputation matters. Whether it's U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis in Iraq, or Vice President Mike Pence in Brussels, Belgium or Travis Kalanick, CEO of Uber. And that's just the stuff that happened this weekend!

Uber has hired a former U.S. attorney general to investigate allegations of sexual harassment within the company. We'll look at how other companies have handled similar cases. Next, we'll compare the market values of the top U.S. banks with their European rivals, and then look at Seattle's efforts to reform campaign finance. 

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Bobby Allyn

Alex Capano is a nurse practitioner in Philadelphia. Not too long ago, she was filling out a job application and was asked about her current salary. She answered reluctantly.

“Do they check up on this?" she wondered. "How honest do I have to be? Am I setting myself up for a low-ball offer?"

She got that job offer, but the salary seemed low, so she turned it down.

Some 20 million people are at risk of starvation in the next six months. This warning comes from the U.N.’s World Food Programme as it asks world governments for the highest level of humanitarian aid ever. 

Click the above audio player to hear the full story.

Home Depot has benefited from a strong housing market and demand from both professional contractors and do-it-yourself types. The company brought in an estimated $90 billion in revenue last year — without building a lot of new stores. 

Click the above audio player to hear the full story.

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Marketplace

About 20 million people are at risk of starvation within the next six months. We'll look at the four different food crises that are all happening at once. Next, we'll talk about Home Depot's earnings growth, despite a lack of new stores, and a Philadelphia law that prevents companies from asking job applicants about past salaries.

02/21/17: The electric-car economy

22 hours ago
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Marketplace

A Volkswagen subsidiary will invest about $2 billion in electric cars over the next decade, as part of VW's settlement in the emissions cheating case.  We'll look at the challenges that an electric-car ecosystem faces. Next, attorney Jenny Afia will join us to talk about her role in rewriting apps' privacy policy for the British government.

 

 

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Joe Diaz

Kimberly Spires donates breast milk to mothers and babies who need it. It’s not always an easy thing to do when she’s on the job as a captain in the Texas National Guard. 

"I mean, I've had to pump in Humvees," said Spires. "That was the big one." 

Dressed in her fatigues, Spires said she donates her surplus milk for free because she has assisted in too many disasters and seen other moms lose their entire milk supply. But keeping her milk coming isn't always easy.

Walmart releases its quarterly results tomorrow, and they should be interesting. The world's largest brick-and-mortar retailer has been scrambling to take on another retail titan -- Amazon. Walmart recently lowered the minimum purchase amount for free two-day shipping to $35. And if you're willing to pick up your online order at the local Walmart store, there's no shipping charge at all. Will free two-day shipping be enough to take on Amazon?

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Sam Harnett

You have probably come across the phrase "wage hike" a lot lately, especially since 19 states increased the minimum wage in January.

It's used by journalists everywhere, and that's no surprise to Katherine Connor Martin, head of U.S. dictionaries at Oxford University Press, publishers of the Oxford English Dictionary. “‘Hike’ is a typical journalist word because it makes its copy punchier, it helps avoid redundancy, and it fits better in a headline,” she said.

02/20/17: An economics linguistic lesson

Feb 20, 2017
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Sam Harnett

When you read a story about minimum wage or hear a story about it on air, chances are we use the word "hike." It's short, it's punchy, but it also has some negative connotations attached to it. We take a look at the linguistics behind the word shaping our conversations about minimum wage. Also on today's show: New Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt takes control of the agency this week. What will his EPA look like?

President Donald Trump picked his new National Security Adviser today. Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster will replace Michael Flynn, who resigned after withholding information about a call with Russia's ambassador. Tomorrow, Scott Pruitt -- another high-profile appointee -- will take his job as the head of the Environmental Protection Agency.  Pruitt has a complicated past with his new agency. He sued the EPA 14 times when he the was Attorney General of Oklahoma. The Trump administration has said it wants to move quickly to dismantle some of the Obama administration's regulation.

Canada increases immigration to build its workforce

Feb 20, 2017

Two years ago, Canada passed a troubling milestone. The number of people age 65 and over surpassed those age 14 and under.  To bolster its workforce, the country is increasingly relying on immigrants and has brought in more than 800,000 over the past five years. But with a twist. More than half of those immigrants came in through a system that awards points for things like age, education and language fluency.

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How an old shipyard became a home for hardware startups

Feb 20, 2017
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Stephanie Hughes and Bruce Johnson

New York City is known for lots of things, but having plenty of space isn’t one of them. And space is what you need when you’re creating hardware--the actual stuff that makes our technology work.

New Lab is a new facility located in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, a massive building that was once used to build ships. Now, New Lab is receiving a tax credit to house companies that are building new hardware. But if those companies are successful, will they able to remain in New York City?

Unilever has shot down Kraft Heinz's $143 billion proposal to merge the two companies. We'll explore why it may have to do with an election in the Netherlands. Afterwards, we'll look at the reason mattresses are being heavily promoted today; Canada's reliance on immigrants to bolster its workforce; and an architectural design aimed at making your home ideal for Airbnb-like pursuits.

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FRANK MARTIN

Home sharing through websites like Airbnb has become increasingly popular and can give hosts some cash on the side. In Houston, Lydia Afeman has come up with an architectural design for her townhome that takes the concept further: It aims to make her house easier to divide, so that sharing can become a steady source of income.

It’s a two-story building that looks pretty plain from the outside — it’s a white rectangle without many windows. But it’s what’s inside that makes this home special.

E-commerce giant Amazon is one of seven retailers entering a pilot program allowing some food stamp users to order groceries online. The first states to participate with Amazon starting this summer are New York, New Jersey and Maryland, though other states are working with different participating companies. Last year, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program provided food assistance to about 44 million low-income Americans. What’s the business incentive for Amazon to do this?

Click the above audio player to hear the full story.

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Greg Presto

The comic book character Ikoyo is a warrior from the Jangwa nation. And he carries a big stick. He swings hard and crack — whacks his enemies in the ear.

“The spear he has some magical runes on it that make them extend. It’s some form of enchanted wood,” said Morietz Muthui. He’s the artist behind Ikoyo’s battle scene. It’s part of a comic book called "The Continent" printed on glossy paper and sold here in Kenya for 200 shillings, about $2.

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Marketplace

Unilever has turned down Kraft Heinz's $143 billion proposal, a move that lowered its stock. What went wrong? Next, we'll look at a pilot program that will allow some food stamp users to purchase groceries online, and then explore the market for locally produced comics in Africa.

02/20/17: Not exactly IKEA furniture

Feb 20, 2017
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Marketplace

While many might be thinking about the next big thing in software, one Brooklyn facility is focused on hardware. We'll talk about the history and future of New Lab, a building that has several companies sharing its space to build new products. Joining us on today's show: David Belt, its cofounder; Sean Petterson, the cofounder of Strong Arm, which makes exoskeletons for industrial workers; and Jessica Banks from Rock Paper Robot, a kinetic furniture company (think levitating tables). 

The No. 1 challenge of retirement

Feb 17, 2017

Working Americans who save for retirement spend a lot of time and energy making decisions on how to save. It’s confusing, it’s hard. But you know what? It doesn’t get any easier when you hit retirement. One of the biggest stresses is trying to organize your finances when you don’t know how long you’re going to be around to need them. Economists have a favorite method for dealing with this anxiety: It’s called an income annuity, but it’s not quite a household name yet.  

NASA is the government’s space agency, but not all of what NASA does is linked to space. A good portion of its work is more inward looking and has to do with our own planet — things like weather and climate change. Some Republicans are talking about rebalancing NASA's priorities and moving away from that research and refocusing on space exploration. But what potential impacts could that rebalancing have? 

What was missing from Facebook’s 5,000-word manifesto

Feb 17, 2017
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Kai Ryssdal and Molly Wood

Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg shared some deep thoughts this week in a long essay about where he sees humanity going online. Marketplace host Kai Ryssdal spoke with senior tech correspondent Molly Wood about what the nearly 5,000-word treatise had to say. Below is an edited transcript of their conversation. 

Kai Ryssdal: So here it is, 5,700-something words from Mark Zuckerberg. Yes, 1.9 billion people use Facebook, but it seemed to me there was no "there there" in this thing. There was no action coming out of this.

U.S. food company Kraft Heinz offered $143 billion for the British-Dutch consumer goods conglomerate Unilever. Unilever rejected the proposal, but Kraft Heinz said it looks forward to reaching an agreement on the terms of a transaction. If the deal does eventually go ahead, it would be one of the largest acquisitions on record. It's just a year since Heinz and Kraft Foods merged, but these big-time mergers are nothing new for the industry.

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