Business and economic news

American Immigration Center

Congress is expected to vote Friday on extending a program that provides a pathway to citizenship for wealthy foreigners. The program is important because it's helping fuel some of the new growth in Buffalo and across the nation.

Federal funding bill sets the table for Trump

23 hours ago
Adam Allington
Michael Solomon

The second you hop into Mark Lopes’ truck, you know he works in the cane fields. His dashboard is covered in a layer of brown dust and the windshield is splattered with red dirt. He drives to field 704, where crews set a cane fire in the early hours of the morning. By noon, much of the sugar is cleared. Lopes watches as large haul trucks get ready to head back to the mill to unload. “He’ll drive right up to the windrow and load the hauler,” Lopes explained. “The truck will pull out, go back...

Scott Tong

Saturday the world’s oil market will focus on Vienna. OPEC has already agreed on a joint supply cut, to push up prices. This next meeting is bring non-OPEC producers into the deal, including the world’s largest producer right now — Russia. The meeting will amount to a very public pledge to not drill, but OPEC would do well to trust but verify. Because there's a very relevant history of energy market cheating.

Labor Secretary pick opposes many current regulations

Dec 9, 2016

President-elect Donald Trump has has tapped fast food executive Andy Puzder as his nominee Secretary of Labor. Puzder is Chief Executive of CKE Restaurants Holdings-that's the parent of Carl's Jr. and Hardee's. The fast-food conglomerate has 75,000 employees when you include franchises and more than $4 billion in worldwide sales. Puzder has a track record of supporting pro-business labor policies, and opposition to measures President Barack Obama has taken over the last eight years to tighten...

Reema Khrais

In Los Angeles’s garment district, bolts of fabric spill out of the stores and bins of cloth line the sidewalks. At Ben Textiles, owner Shawn Yasharpour says velvet sales have taken off this year. “We can’t keep up with the orders. It’s more than tripled for us in the past four, five, six months,” he said, while juggling a cellphone and a camouflaged walkie-talkie. When it comes to the holidays, there’s probably no fabric more closely associated with the season than velvet. That's when “we...

A steelworker's economy

Dec 9, 2016
Kai Ryssdal, Andrea Seabrook and Kim Adams

On today's show, we hear from St. Louis, Missouri and Granite City, Illinois — two cities, separated by one river, with drastically different views on Trump. Plus, is it time for a new political vocabulary? Are you a liberal, conservative, populist, or something else? Tell us the terms you use to identify yourself, we're @marketplace, @KaiRyssdal, and @RadioBabe.

Coca-Cola CEO Muhtar Kent to resign next year

Dec 9, 2016
Marketplace staff

Coca-Cola announced today that CEO Muhtar Kent will resign next year, with COO James Quincey taking over the position. The company's sales have been on the decline for the past three years, as consumers gravitate toward less sugary options. Quincey was involved in the company's decision to sell soda in 7.5 ounce "mini cans" and cut sugar content across the board, reported the Wall Street Journal. Rivals like Pepsi also moved to reduce the amount of sugar in their drinks. Kent, who will remain...

New York State Governor's Office

Western New York is getting $62 million for approved projects in the latest round of state spending from the regional economic development councils. The projects benefiting range from rebuilding a section of Niagara Street to a culinary arts training program in Cattaraugus County.

Rio Vista Golf Course

A historic golf course in Fort Erie may soon be replaced by a massive mixed-use housing development with nearly 800 housing units, from single homes to apartment buildings.

On today's show, we'll take a look at how the markets are doing post-election; OPEC's agreement to cut production for the first time in eight years; how UPS gets ready to deliver packages over the holidays; and Trump's affiliation with Celebrity Apprentice.

Trump orders fast food exec as Labor Secretary

Dec 9, 2016
Andy Uhler

President-elect Donald Trump continues to fill out his cabinet appointees (though, remember, these candidates have to be approved by the Senate). Yesterday, Trump announced the CEO of Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr., Andrew Puzder, as his nominee to lead the Labor Department. The appointment would be consistent with recent Trump nominees. Puzder has long been an outspoken proponent of a conservative agenda, including opposing a hike to the minimum wage and an expansion of overtime eligibility....

D Gorenstein

A new report out this morning has some surprises about some of the sickest and most vulnerable patients in the country. The Commonwealth Fund survey finds as many as 95 percent of these people have consistent access to care. But many are socially isolated — which means access isn’t enough to improve their conditions. Click the above audio player to hear the full story.


On today's show, we'll talk about Trump's choice for Labor Secretary; the difficulties of treating patients who are socially isolated; Italy's struggles to rescue its third-largest bank, Monte dei Paschi di Siena; and a new paper that found just over half of 30-year-olds earn more than their parents did at a similar age — down from 90 percent in 1970.

Lane Wallace

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries agreed this week to cut production for the first time in eight years. That could mean oil prices will go up. But that depends on whether OPEC can convince a bunch of other non-cartel countries to agree to the cut. The cartel has invited 14 other countries to a meeting to discuss cuts this weekend in Vienna. So far, a handful have agreed to meet, including the big one, Russia. Click the above audio player to hear the full story.

Italy looks to EU to help oldest bank

Dec 9, 2016
Sam Beard

Italy is demanding that the European Union give it more time to rescue the country’s third-largest bank, Monte dei Paschi di Siena. The rescue was thrown into last-minute confusion after a national referendum on constitutional reform went against the government and triggered the resignation of Prime Minister Matteo Renzi. Founded in the 15th century, Monte dei Paschi is the world’s oldest bank, but not the most venerable. It is Italy’s most dangerously indebted lender and could pose a...

Marketplace Tech for Friday, December 9, 2016

Dec 9, 2016

On today's show, we'll talk about a new report from Ford showing that trust is increasingly important for users and that people care less than ever about owning stuff; play this week's Silicon Tally with Benjamin Ahr Harrison, co-host of "The Greatest Generation" (a podcast about "Star Trek: The Next Generation"); and look at surveillance cameras that are used on...sharks.

Dan Kraker

Long-time mine workers on Minnesota's Iron Range often say they're used to the ups and downs, the booms and the busts of the notoriously cyclical mining industry. "I've been laid off seven times from KeeTac in 17 years," said Tony Drazenovich, 47, referring to the mine where he works, Keewatin Taconite, one of two Minnesota mines owned by U.S. Steel. "That's a lot of layoffs." But most of those layoffs were short, he said. And that's what he anticipated for this one, too, when he was laid off...

Kai Ryssdal

President-elect Donald Trump issued a series of tweets last night which went after Chuck Jones, a leader of the local steelworkers union in Indianapolis who has been critical of the deal Trump brokered with Carrier. We spoke with James Briggs of the Indianapolis Star to see how the city was reacting to the news. How the state of Indiana feels about Chuck Jones: Yeah, well I think Chuck Jones has a lot of support in Indianapolis, regardless of what people think of his politics. He's had a big...

New surgeon general report says vaping is a threat to kids

Dec 8, 2016
Nancy Marshall-Genzer

The surgeon general issued a report today on kids, and e-cigarettes. The report calls e-cigarettes an emerging threat to the health of our youth. And they’re getting more popular by the day, with more high school students than adults using e-cigarettes. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy says e-cigs hurt developing brains by affecting the capacity for attention and learning.

There is an award for the prettiest money

Dec 8, 2016
Kai Ryssdal and Crystal Castle

As the year comes to a close, there are some awards to be given out. Naturally, we all are familiar with the big ones for movies and music, but how about for money? Starting in 2004, the International Bank Note Society has handed out the award for “Bank Note of the Year”. Past winners have included Canada, Trinidad & Tobago, and a three year run for Kazakhstan. The United States has only scored a single nomination. James Tarmy is a reporter at Bloomberg whose most recent piece is titled “...

What can an oil industry ally do to the EPA?

Dec 8, 2016
Scott Tong

President-elect Trump made it official this morning: he’s picked an oil industry ally from Oklahoma to lead the Environmental Protection Agency. Scott Pruitt is attorney general in Oklahoma, where he sued the EPA to challenge regulations on power plan emissions and oil and gas industry leaks of methane, a greenhouse gas. An oil CEO headed his re-election campaign. And Pruitt let a drilling company draft his correspondence to Washington. But where are market forces leading the energy industry,...

UPS is betting big on software this holiday season

Dec 8, 2016
Marielle Segarra

When Nafis Muhammad first started driving for UPS in New Jersey, he had a hard time keeping up. Like all UPS drivers, he had a lot on his plate. In the morning, he would get his packages, plus their addresses and promised delivery times, and he’d have to plan a route that got him back to the delivery center in a standard eight-and-a-half hour work day. “If you don’t know your area, you’re not doing it in eight-and-half hours — you’re doing it in ten. And they’re like, ‘ let’s go, step it up,’...

Sears' sales are down for the 20th quarter in a row

Dec 8, 2016

On today's show, we'll talk to Starbucks' incoming CEO Kevin Johnson about the company's tech deals and his transition into the role. We'll also look at the European Central Bank's decision to scale back some of its economic stimulus; why many U.S. manufacturers are holding back on tech investment; and what Sears plans to do amid another sales drop.

U.S. manufacturers aren’t investing in new technology

Dec 8, 2016
Marielle Segarra

A lot of U.S. manufacturers are holding back on investing in the latest technology. That’s according to a new report from the Boston Consulting Group. Companies are coming up short on investments in what’s called Industry 4.0 — an umbrella term for advanced robotics, augmented reality, big data and analytics, and other tech. This lack of investment has long-term implications for the competitiveness of U.S. manufacturers. Click the above audio player to hear the full story.

Do you consider pizza a commodity?

Dec 8, 2016
Marketplace staff

You can't compare coffee to pizza, according to Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz. In a recent Marketplace interview, he discussed his company's forthcoming line of higher-end cafes, comparing them to options offered by a luxury car brand. When we suggested that coffee is more like pizza — which ranges from pricey artisanal pies to cheap and greasy slices — Schultz disagreed: I mean, I wouldn’t use pizza because I think it’s too much of a commodity, but I understand the analogy. I think, it’s not...

David Brancaccio

What happens when a guy with a tech background gets put on the coffee beat? Starbucks President and COO Kevin Johnson — who worked at Microsoft for 16 years — will now become its CEO, with founder Howard Schultz stepping out of the role. Johnson joined us to talk about Starbucks' recent tech deals, uncertainty in the economy, and how he and Schultz will handle the leadership changes. On Starbucks' new deal with Tencent and the message service WeChat, which will enable users to give Starbucks...

Amy Scott

Sears Holdings is expected to report its latest quarterly earnings before the markets open on Thursday. And expectations are low. The owner of Sears and Kmart stores has lost more than $8 billion in the last five years , as it has struggled to compete with the likes of Amazon and Wal-Mart. Sears has lost two of its top executives in the past few weeks, along with board member Steven Mnuchin, the incoming Trump Administration’s nominee for Treasury Secretary. Retail strategist Robin Lewis,...

David Brancaccio

One of the world's most recognizable of brands is currently in transition. Starbucks founder Howard Schultz is stepping down as CEO and will give the reins to his right hand, Kevin Johnson — the president and chief operating officer at Starbucks. Schultz, who will stay on as executive chairman, joined us to talk about the shift in power and his new focus at the company: rolling out a line of what you might call the Porsche, Lexus, or Mercedes of cafes, where a single cup might run $12. On...


Trump has chosen Oklahoma's attorney general, Scott Pruitt, as the new director of the Environmental Protection Agency. Pruitt is a friend of the fossil fuel industry and a skeptic about human-caused climate change. We take a look at his background in Oklahoma. Plus, we'll interview Starbucks' outgoing CEO, Howard Schultz, about the company's shift in power and its pursuit of the high-end coffee market.