National/International

New York is a city of 8.5 million people, and that many people produce a lot of trash. The city spends plenty of money getting its garbage into landfill, and it would very much like to change that. New Yorkers pay for garbage disposal through their taxes, so they don’t really see the cost spelled out in so many figures the way a lot of other Americans do.

But that may be about to change.

Fighting terrorism online

Aug 4, 2017

YouTube wants to make certain videos harder to find — ones that don’t clearly violate its policies on extremism and terrorism, but that do contain inflammatory religious content. It’ll no longer allow comments, endorsements, or ads on videos that meet that standard. The company also said it’s increasing redirection.

Lyft horror stories: our listeners respond

Aug 4, 2017

As listeners of this week's Make Me Smart podcast (and Twitter followers) may have heard, I had a couple of scary experiences with Lyft rides while I was visiting Los Angeles for work last week.

In one case, the driver showed up in a different vehicle than the app displayed — the ability to see what car a driver is in, and check the license plate against the app's display, is a crucial safety check.

This story was last updated at 7:50 a.m. CT.

WASHINGTON (AP) —U.S. employers added 209,000 jobs in July, a second straight month of robust gains that underscore the economy's vitality as it enters a ninth year of expansion.

The Labor Department said Friday that the unemployment rate slipped to 4.3 percent, matching a 16-year low first reached in May.

08/04/2017: The Fed's next course of action

Aug 4, 2017

Last month's jobs report is officially in: the U.S. economy added 209,000 jobs in July, with the unemployment rate ticking down to 4.3 percent. Christopher Low, chief economist at FTN Financial, joined us to put the numbers into context and share how he thinks Janet Yellen and co. might react to the report. Afterwards, we'll discuss the U.S. Virgin Islands' economic woes, which it's trying to help solve by imposing $25-a-day timeshare fees.

The U.S. Virgin Islands in the Caribbean has turquoise waves that lap sandy beaches, musical tree frogs that fill the air with song  and $2 billion in bond debt.

The territorial government faces persistent budget holes because of borrowing and deficit spending. Its bonds continually get low ratings, it is having trouble borrowing, and some say it’s on the road to a Puerto Rico-style fiscal crisis. So, its leaders are finding new ways to plug those holes and reassure the bond market.

Amazon announced this week that it’s going to apply its hassle-free returns policy to all items purchased on the website from October. That’s good news for consumers, but it’s a new burden for some third-party Amazon sellers, who, until now, could have policies of their own. 

Click the audio player above to hear the full story.

As unemployment continues to fall and employers scramble to find the workers they need, demographic groups that traditionally lag economically are benefiting. The unemployment rate for African-Americans fell to 7.1 percent in June, just shy of the all-time low of 7 percent hit in April 2000. Unemployment rates for young people and those with a high school education or less are also now at or near pre-recession lows.

The government is releasing the July jobs report this morning, and economists expect to see about 180,000 more people on payrolls. We'll take a look a look at how the labor market is giving a boost to demographic groups that may have had trouble finding work in the past. Afterwards, we'll look at Amazon's plans to apply a hassle-free returns policy to all items purchased on the website, and then chat with Wall Street Journal columnist Jason Zweig about the decline of individual stock picking.

America's Test Kitchen equipment review: portion scoops

Aug 4, 2017

Our friends at America’s Test Kitchen are constantly on the search for the latest and greatest in kitchen gadgets. However, sometimes the most impressive culinary tools are something we may already own, but haven’t yet realized all the ways we can use it. Case in point: portion scoops. Or as most of us think of them: ice cream scoops. Lisa McManus is in charge of equipment testing at America’s Test Kitchen. Managing producer Sally Swift talked with her about this nifty time-saving tool that brings uniform beauty to your kitchen and table.

After Arpaio guilty verdict, immigrant advocates want his legacy dismantled

Aug 3, 2017

News that former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio was found guilty of criminal contempt of court spread quickly through Phoenix’s immigrant community on Monday. That evening, a dozen women — most of them of Mexican descent — stood in front of a giant balloon effigy of Arpaio wearing a striped prison uniform, and cheered.

Ya cayó, ya cayó, Arpaio ya cayó,” they chanted in Spanish, which roughly translates to “Arpaio has fallen.”

Here's a riddle for you. 

There's a man with roots in Sierra Leone, but who was born and raised in the US. If he creates music that has roots in the sounds of Sierra Leone, is it cultural appropriation? And what if a legendary Sierra Leonean roots musician gladly collaborates with him?

Ex-Im Bank sparks fight over its role and leader

Aug 3, 2017

There’s a sharp division in the Republican Party between libertarians, who believe in free markets without government interference, and more mainline, pro-business Republicans, who want the government to intervene in markets to help U.S. businesses. The latest example of this? The Export-Import Bank, which provides loans to foreign businesses or governments so they can buy U.S. products. The man President Trump has chosen to lead the bank also wants to kill it off. His nomination has been called the latest front in the Republican Party's civil war.

President Trump threw his weight behind a massive change to U.S. immigration policy this week, supporting a proposal that would cut legal immigration to the U.S. in half during the next decade. The bill would limit the ability of legal residents and American citizens to bring family members to the country in favor of highly skilled workers. But the plan is being touted at the same time the economy looks to be pretty near full employment and as the Trump administration tries to spur overall economic growth.

The weather outside may be sweltering, so it might seem an odd time to be thinking about the holiday season, but that's exactly what shippers are doing. Today FedEx announced it won't be adding holiday surcharges to regular packages it delivers over that period. That’s significant, because in June, UPS announced it will add an extra 27 cents to all of its ground-transported packages. How is FedEx able to do this?

Click the audio player above to hear the full story.

Congress needs to pass tax reform. Or else.

Aug 3, 2017

Leaders in both houses of Congress seem bound and determined to put the health care debate behind them and move on to tax reform. Various and sundry interest groups have made it clear that's what they want to do too, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Marketplace host Kai Ryssdal spoke to Neil Bradley, the senior vice president and chief policy officer at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, about tax reform and how it impacts growth in our economy. The following is an edited transcript of their conversation. 

Eurozone hopes PIIGS may fly

Aug 3, 2017

At the start of the Eurozone debt crisis, in 2010, British financial traders caused deep offense by labeling the five weakest countries in the currency bloc, Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece and Spain, with the insulting acronym “PIIGS.”

Today those countries have their revenge.

They’ve apparently defied the negative stereotype and are clocking up a healthy economic performance. The PIIGS might not be flying yet, but they certainly seem to be taking off:

 It’s safe to say the last thing anyone wants when they’re headed into a courtroom is a lawyer who’s never tried a case before representing them.  

President Donald Trump came to office with a pledge to ratchet up immigration enforcement. So far, it's still unclear if his administration plans to make workplace immigration raids part of its strategy.

Such raids were a hallmark of President George W. Bush’s second term. Tiny Postville, Iowa, population 2,000, was home to one of largest in history.

On May 12, 2008, kids at school in Postville heard helicopters circling overhead. Pedro Lopez Vega, a seventh grader at the time, gathered with friends at the window out school and mused about what was going on.

The economy in Bend, Oregon, is booming. Population has increased by 20 percent since 2010, driven by an influx of technology and service workers, and retirees, according to economist Damon Runberg at the Oregon Employment Department. This small city in the foothills east of the Cascades Mountains is also a prime tourist destination for skiers, kayakers, mountain bikers and microbrew enthusiasts.

08/03/2017: The labor market is traveling back in time

Aug 3, 2017

Sure, the U.S. economy is creating jobs, but wages have stagnated. Is the job market feeling a little familiar these days? It might, if you lived through the '90s. Diane Swonk from DS Economics shares some parallels between our current labor market, and how it was doing a couple of decades ago. Afterwards, we'll look at Trump's support of a new proposal that would dramatically scale back immigration, and then talk about a shortage in trial lawyers. 

At the end of February, Johnny C. Taylor Jr. found himself listening to the CEO of a global security company who was struggling to fill 400 internship spots. Both men were attending an event in Washington, D.C., aimed at bringing together employers and leaders from historically black colleges and universities, commonly referred to as HBCUs.

Philip Kirby says he first used heroin during a stint in a halfway house a few years ago, when he was 21 years old. He quickly formed a habit.

"You can't really dabble in it," he says.

Late last year, Kirby was driving with drugs and a syringe in his car when he got pulled over. He went to jail for a few months on a separate charge before entering a drug court program in Hamilton County, Ind., north of Indianapolis. But before Kirby started, he says the court pressured him to get a shot of a drug called Vivitrol.

President Donald Trump is getting behind a legislative proposal that would dramatically scale back legal immigration to the U.S. According to projection models cited by the bill's sponsors, Republican Sens. David Perdue of Georgia and Tom Cotton of Arkansas, immigration would be slashed 41 percent in the first year. The plan would prioritize merit and skills over family ties in the process for obtaining legal permanent residency.

Click the above audio player to hear the full story.

Toymaker Mattel wants to get kids’ attention, and it’s going online to do it. The company announced this week it will spend at least $10 million on advertising this year on Google’s YouTube Kids platform. It’s the company’s biggest ad buy online to date.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story.

Kraft's profits may be a victim of price wars

Aug 3, 2017

Kraft-Heinz will release second quarter earnings after the markets close on Thursday. Those profits may be squeezed by an ongoing price war between Amazon and Walmart. Suppliers like Kraft have found themselves caught in the crossfire as the two giant retailers pressure them for lower prices.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story.

08/03/2017: A faster way of shopping

Aug 3, 2017

Facebook may be trying to get into the hardware game (again). Unconfirmed reports say the social media giant is preparing to launch a smart speaker like Amazon Echo and a video chat device. Business Insider reporter Alex Heath joined us to explain why Facebook is pursuing these two products and whether the company can succeed. Afterwards, we'll discuss the potential of using Radio Frequency Identification in retail, which could mean things like getting to walk out of the store without actually having to check out your items.

08/03/2017: How come we're not getting raises?

Aug 3, 2017

Economists say the unemployment rate will drop even further in the July jobs report, but even with that good news, the typical paycheck doesn't seem to be going anywhere. Marketplace contributor Chris Farrell stopped by to talk with us about the economy's issue with compensation. Afterwards, we'll look at how Kraft-Heinz is being affected by the ongoing Amazon–Walmart price war, and then discuss Mattel's plans to spend big bucks on online advertising. 

There were Indian troops at Dunkirk, too

Aug 2, 2017

"Dunkirk" has been the surprise box office hit of the summer. It recounts the tale of how the beaten British army escaped the Germans at the beginning of World War II, from a beach at Dunkirk, in northern France.

It’s a surprise hit in the US considering the fact that there's not a single American character in it. America wouldn't even be fighting in northwest Europe for another four years.

But it’s not the absence of an American angle that has caused a minor stink. Commentators in Britain and India are complaining that no Indian soldiers are portrayed in the movie.

As the complicated and messy fight over immigration policy drags on, immigration detention centers are costing American taxpayers billions.

Last year, Immigration and Customs Enforcement spent more than $3 billion dealing with immigrants facing deportation. But that figure doesn’t tell the whole story.

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