National/International

Global economic recovery eats through oil glut

Apr 20, 2018

This morning President Donald Trump turned his ire on OPEC: “OPEC is at it again,” he tweeted. “Oil prices are artificially Very High!” Sure, it’s convenient to blame someone for high gas prices. But the broader story — beyond the 280 characters that Twitter allows — is that something bigger is happening in the world oil market.

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Looking for a luxury apartment? Try Pittsburgh

Apr 20, 2018

There's plenty to see in Pittsburgh's East End. Carnegie Mellon is based here. So is the University of Pittsburgh. And the hip neighborhood, Lawrenceville. Another thing you can find: plenty of construction, mostly apartment buildings with signs touting amenities – pools, gyms, rooftop decks.

It's time to get your financial life in order

Apr 20, 2018

Tax season may be over, but that doesn't mean you should stop thinking about your finances. That's one conclusion from John Schwartz of the New York Times, who decided that after many decades of keeping his nose to the grind and ignoring his letters from Vanguard, he should take a step back and look at how his financial life was really doing.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has issued its first penalty under the leadership of Mick Mulvaney. Wells Fargo will pay a total of $1 billion to the CFPB and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency as part of a settlement over charges tied to the company's mortgage and auto lending business. 

Wells Fargo will pay the federal government a billion dollars to settle charges of misconduct in its car and home loans. That's a lot, but only a small percentage of the banks' recent profits. It's also the biggest bank fine imposed by the Trump administration and the first by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau under the direction of Mick Mulvaney. He's no fan of the agency he's now in charge of, and he's still Trump's budget guy, so we had him on today to talk about all of it.

Wells Fargo will pay $1 billion to federal regulators to settle charges tied to its mortgage and auto lending business, the latest chapter in years-long, wide-ranging scandal at the banking giant. However, it appears that none of the $1 billion will go directly to the victims of Wells Fargo’s abuses.

In a settlement announced Friday, Wells will pay $500 million to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, its main national bank regulator, as well as a net $500 million to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

The town of Santa María del Mar, Mexico, hasn’t had electricity for more than three years. At night a generator hums in the town plaza, powering a few pale streetlights. 

Santa María, population 800, rests at the end of a skinny peninsula sandwiched between the Pacific Ocean and a shallow lagoon that locals call the Dead Sea. Most days tempestuous winds drawn off the hot plains of Mexico’s Oaxaca state billow across the peninsula out toward the cool Pacific. 

(Markets Edition) When it comes to the market, traders look at three influential figures: the chair of the Fed, its vice chair, and the president of the New York Fed. We'll talk to Chris Low, chief economist at FTN Financial, about why some were "disturbed" by what John Williams, the next NY Fed president, recently had to say at a press conference in Madrid. Afterwards, we'll look at one major domestic appliance company that could come out ahead amid all this tariff talk. Whirlpool may have an advantage thanks to a protective tariff on foreign washing machines. 

Critics of President Donald Trump's steel and aluminum tariffs say the policies hurt U.S. manufacturers that use a lot of those materials. And one industry likely to feel the pinch of higher production costs: home appliance manufacturers. Still, at least one major domestic appliance company, Whirlpool Corp., may come out ahead, thanks to another protective tariff — on foreign washing machines.

Ideastream's Adrian Ma is with the Marketplace Hub in Cleveland.

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The Conference Board’s Leading Economic Index, which was up 0.3 percent in March, indicates the economy looks pretty good heading into summer and fall. The index crunches forward-looking measures like building permits, factory orders and unemployment claims to predict where the economy will be six months from now. And it looks as if the economy is growing at a fairly strong rate. But there are potential clouds on the horizon: President Donald Trump’s threatened tariffs and potential retaliation by China, which could lead to price spikes, industry contraction and layoffs.

04/20/2018: The cannabis brand wars

Apr 20, 2018

(U.S. Edition) There are reports that Wells Fargo is close to a $1 billion settlement with federal regulators after charging customers for car insurance they didn't need. On today's show, we'll recap the controversy. Afterwards, we'll talk to Drake Sutton-Shearer, CEO of PROHBTD Media, about how quality cannabis brands could start emerging within the next decade, Wall Street's valuation of the industry, and his push to change the "stoner" stereotypes surrounding the product. Plus: A look at the financial struggles General Electric is facing. 

We're still waiting to see which company will become the Grey Goose of marijuana.

Right now, there isn't a whole lot of brand awareness about specific cannabis companies. But with marijuana legalization on the rise, that could all change within the next decade. 

(Global Edition) From the BBC World Service … The head of one of Australia’s largest financial institutions has resigned after revelations the company lied to regulators for a decade about customer charges. Then, a tiny Philippines' tourist hot spot is facing a sudden six-month closure for infrastructure upgrades. But it’s not a popular decision among the island’s residents whose livelihoods depend on the $1 billion in tourism revenue they see each year.

04/20/2018: Feeling "privacy fatigue" yet?

Apr 20, 2018

This week, Facebook revealed more about the way it collects data on just about everyone. The company disclosed how much data it collects when users aren’t logged in to Facebook and are just surfing the web. The company even tracks people who don’t have a Facebook account. To put the deluge of privacy news into perspective, Marketplace Tech host Molly Wood spoke with Tom Merritt, host of the "Daily Tech News Show" podcast, about whether this is all just a Facebook problem.   

Tight labor market, tight … jeans?

Apr 19, 2018

It’s a tight labor market out there – so in a quest to attract workers, Walmart is trying out something new – allowing workers on the stores’ floors to wear jeans and solid shirts in any color. The new policy is being tested in less than two dozen stores. 

 

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Seven months after Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico is still recovering

Apr 19, 2018

It's been seven months since Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico, and the island is still facing some serious problems. This week, an islandwide power outrage left most of Puerto Rico in the dark. And teachers along with parents have been protesting the Education Department's plan to close 283 schools. Host Kai Ryssdal checks in with Marketplace reporter Lizzie O'Leary on the latest news of Puerto Rico's recovery. The following is an edited transcript of their conversation.

The rent is too damn high, according to a new Pew report

Apr 19, 2018

In 2015, 38 percent of renter households spent more than 30 percent of their gross income on housing, according to a new report released today by Pew Charitable Trusts. The Pew report said high rates of families living in such a precarious financial state threatens the long-term economic mobility of American families, and has implications for the economy as a whole.

Maria Walkenbach lives in Detroit with her four dogs, just around the corner from the construction site for the Gordie Howe International Bridge, being built across the Detroit River to Canada. Walkenbach’s been here, in the home she inherited from her mother-in-law, for almost 20 years.

“My husband actually passed away in this home. So, there's a lot of memories in this home. And now that I'm looking to retire in another year or two, I want to start fresh,” Walkenbach said.

On May 19, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will marry. The couple will wed in St. George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle — a royal residence in the small town of Windsor some 22 miles west of central London.

The bells of St. George’s will chime to mark the happy event, but the cash tills are already ringing. 

Tourism is by far Windsor’s biggest industry. Thanks to the royals, 7 million visitors flock to the town every year, and an extra 100,000 are expected on the wedding day, boosting the local economy.

(Markets Edition) The International Monetary Fund — which gets called to the rescue when economies melt down — meets in Washington. We'll talk to Diane Swonk, chief economist at the firm Grant Thornton, about one especially big worry that's looming: world debt. And the leader of that happens to be the U.S. Afterwards, we'll look at why rivals Amazon and Best Buy are partnering to sell televisions, and then we'll explore how a rise in trawlers off the coast of Senegal is causing local fishermen to lose their livelihoods.

Amazon and Best Buy are partnering to sell televisions. As part of the deal, Best Buy will sell Amazon smart TVs in their stores and on Amazon as a third-party merchant. What’s bringing two apparent rivals together to sell expensive gadgets to consumers?

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With the weekly jobless claims out Thursday, we look at whether the tight labor market is creating opportunities for younger workers. Are employers more willing to look at — and train — younger workers? And are young workers prepared for the jobs that are available?

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(U.S. Edition) Central bankers and finance ministers from around the world are in Washington this week for the International Monetary Fund and World Bank's annual spring meeting. We'll look at some of the major concerns likely to be addressed, which include government debt.

The beach in Dakar, Senegal is empty except for a group of singing fishermen, pushing their colorful wooden boat back to shore. The windy weather has kept many on land today – including Mamadou Mbaye, head of Senegal’s fishermen union. He says the sea is depleted of fish because of foreign trawlers, and fishermen often work three straight months in order to make just under $20 a day – half of which goes to expenses like gasoline. And here’s no guarantee they’ll catch something. The fish, he adds, started to go away about ten years ago.

(Global Edition) From the BBC World Service … New leadership in Zimbabwe hasn’t brought a new economic reality. This week, thousands of nurses went on strike and they’re threatening legal action if they aren’t reinstated. Then, a changing of the guard in Cuba and the first time in decades a Castro won’t be at the nation’s helm. But what does it mean for the country’s citizens and economic well-being? 

Many Americans rely on a cable provider to connect them to broadband internet, and streaming and other tech trends are changing the way we watch television. Marketplace Tech host Molly Wood spoke with Amanda Lotz about her new book, "We Now Disrupt This Broadcast," on the role of cable and the internet in transforming the way we are entertained.    

 

Why cutting the cord isn't so easy in the U.S.

Apr 19, 2018

TV is changing all around us. Just last week, ESPN, a pillar of cable subscription bundles, launched its own streaming service, ESPN Plus. It’s just part of how streaming and other tech trends are changing the way we watch television. Old-fashioned cable subscriptions meanwhile seem like something out of "Land of the Lost." Given all that, it’s easy to forget that just a few years ago, the big disruptor in the TV industry was cable.

You may think of Dubai as the most wildly opulent place in the world, a city in the desert with both indoor tropical rainforests and ski slopes. But there’s a fascinating and important other side to it - Old Dubai, where migrants and refugees from all over the Middle East and beyond have come for safety or opportunity. Arva Ahmed was raised there by parents who came from India, and is passionate about leading food tours in her hometown as a way to tell stories while making you salivate.

When food lovers travel it's often to find and enjoy a very specific food, dine at a well-known restaurant, shop at a popular market, or discover the origin point for a certain cuisine. But have you ever wondered about the lasting effect that our food-centric travels have on the people and economy of the places we visit? Dr. Lucy Long not only thinks about, she researches the results as part of her work with Bowling Green State University and the Center for Food and Culture (CFC).

Recently, we had a guest named Jorge Gaviria, who is a corn tortilla evangelist. Francis Lam talked with him about corn tortillas, and it got us more excited about corn tortillas than we'd ever felt before. Since then, we realized that flour tortillas have lost a lot of love. So, we wanted to give them equal time in the Great Tortilla Debate.

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