08/01/2017: The evolution of denim

Aug 1, 2017

The rate at which the U.S. approves H-1B visas for skilled foreign talent has dropped by almost 30 percent since last year. But as America gets stricter with its visa program, Canada isn't. On today's show, we'll talk about the efforts Canada is making to capitalize on its neighbor's stricter stance on immigration. Afterwards, we'll discuss the ongoing investigation of British American Tobacco for allegedly bribing regulators, and then look at how denim makers are opting to make their jeans stretchier.

In Canada, the tech scene is strong and growing, especially in Ontario. Competition for talent is tough with Silicon Valley in the picture, but with the U.S.’s stricter stance on immigration, Canada has been trying to capitalize on the uncertainty. It’s making it easier for tech workers around the world to move there. 

Click the audio player above to hear the full story.

The roots of Zoe's Ghana Kitchen

Aug 1, 2017

In an extended interview with host Francis Lam, chef Zoe Adjonyoh recalls her childhood fascination with the food from her father's home country - Ghana. She and Francis also discuss her personal travels to the West African nation in search of more experience with the methods and unique ingredients used in Ghanaian cuisine, and how it all comes together in her debut cookbook Zoe's Ghana Kitchen.

Earnings season is well underway, and so far corporate profits for the second quarter have been pretty good. Surprisingly good, actually. Of the companies in the S&P 500 index that have reported results so far, most have exceeded analysts' expectations. Plenty of earnings news is still to come, including reports tomorrow from biggies like Apple, Archer Daniels Midland and Allstate. What can corporate health tell us about the strength of the economy?

Click the audio player above to hear the full story.

First there was "The Emoji Movie." Is Fruit Ninja next?

Jul 31, 2017

No. 1 at the box office this weekend was Christopher Nolan's World War II film "Dunkirk." Right behind it at No. 2 was "The Emoji Movie." That's right, a movie about those little pictures you use when you're texting. It's yet another in release in a developing trend in Hollywood of making films from sometimes thin pre-existing ideas or intellectual property. The shift to basing films on stories and products the public is already familiar with makes sense to a degree; you have a built-in audience who's already excited about the idea behind your movie.

Two cases of illegal payments and bribery came to light recently. One is against the oil services company Halliburton in Angola. The other involves a mining subsidiary of Glencore doing business in the Democratic Republic of Congo. With government heavily involved and centralizing many so-called extractive industries, drilling and mining are more prone to corruption than, say, farming. And the U.S., for one, is not increasing transparency requirements for oil and gas company operations doing business abroad under President Trump.

Many popular internet sites are blocked for users of the state network in China — Google, YouTube and more. Some users, many of them business users, employ a VPN, a virtual personal network, to get around that “Great Firewall.” In a crackdown on unregistered VPNs, China has persuaded Apple to pull all major VPN services from its Chinese app store. Then, there’s news Russia has passed a law that bans VPNs as well. Limiting access to an open internet has major implications for businesses trying to work overseas.

Tax reform is the next battleground

Jul 31, 2017

With the drama around health care refusing to die, legislators already have begun the next big policy effort on the Hill: tax reform. Congressional Republican leaders last week laid out what they want — permanent tax reductions is what it boils down to. And conservative organizations and grassroots groups are getting ready to blast Congress into action through tens of millions of dollars' worth of ads and lobbying efforts. Here’s what they might get for their money.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story.

Discovering tax withholding is its own sort of rite of passage.

There's that first job. And then, that first paycheck. Seventeen-year-old Leonel Tiscareno had his first job last summer as as an intern in the engineering department at the Port of Long Beach. He was getting paid $10.10 an hour. He worked 60 hours in the pay period. He was expecting $606.

But after federal income tax withholding, along with Medicare, state withholding, and Social Security, his first paycheck totaled $492.96.

How airports are failing senior travelers

Jul 31, 2017

A lot of us will spend some time at an airport this summer. You may have noticed airports are getting bigger, with ever longer distances to traipse, not to mention longer lines to stand in. And that can be a challenge for older flyers – a group that is growing fast.

Midge Offel is one of them. She’s 87 and traveling alone from Los Angeles back home to San Francisco. She doesn’t fly much these days, but still enjoys it when she does, though she doesn't enjoy the hanging around. 

The federal budget, explained

Jul 31, 2017

Households and businesses do budgets all the time. So why can’t Congress manage to make one without drama? Marketplace Senior Reporter Kimberly Adams breaks down the overly-complicated process for creating the federal budget.

07/31/2017: What to expect from the next iPhone

Jul 31, 2017

Discovery Communications is reportedly buying Scripps Networks in a $14.6 billion deal. The two parties think this will become must-see television, especially for women. On today's show, we'll discuss whether this merger has what it takes to succeed. Next, as we wrap up the month, we'll talk about the state of the economy with economist Julia Coronado from Macropolicy Perspectives. Plus: A look at what features the next-generation iPhone might have —and how much it might cost.

Tomorrow , the Senate subcommittee that oversees the EPA's Superfund program is scheduled to hold a hearing on the program's work. That's the initiative, begun in 1980, that cleans up sites contaminated with hazardous materials. Under EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, the agency is refocusing its attention toward environmental cleanups. But that doesn’t necessarily mean many more cleanups will get done.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story.

In early July, Illinois did something it hadn’t managed in two years: it enacted a budget, which allowed it to narrowly escape having its credit rating downgraded to junk status.

However, it’s too early for Illinois to start celebrating.

“The sobering note is really the amount of unpaid bills that the state is waking up with,” said Laurence Msall, president of the Civic Federation, a local nonprofit watchdog on city and state finance.

Laura Icken showed off her shoe shopping haul outside a Nordstrom Rack in Burbank, California. She picked up sandals for herself and Nikes for sons, Wesley and Andrew.

Icken said she used to be a department store customer, but these days she buys primarily from off-price stores. “I just think it’s a bigger bang for the buck,” she said.

Shoppers like Icken now expect to pay less than full retail, explained Rob Greenspan, a consultant in the Los Angeles apparel industry

CBS' new "Star Trek" series will also stream on Netflix

Jul 31, 2017

"Star Trek" fans held up their hands in a Vulcan salute when they heard that CBS was developing the new series "Star Trek: Discovery." The show will premiere on Sept. 24 in two places — neither of them on broadcast nor cable television. If you want to watch, you will either have to subscribe to CBS All Access or Netflix. (Only those outside of the U.S. will be able to watch it on Netflix.)

07/31/2017: Facebook as a tool for spy agencies

Jul 31, 2017

The U.S. presidential election wasn't the only race that may have faced Russian interference. Reports say that Russia may have also attempted to sway the recent French presidential election toward far-right nationalist candidate Marine Le Pen. We'll chat with Joseph Menn, an investigative reporter with Reuters, about Facebook's role in all of this, and what these recent events say about Russia's political operations. Afterwards, we'll look at the business model behind the launch of CBS' new Star Trek series, "Discovery." 


The Creator’s game. That's what the Haudenosaunee Nation, which straddles the US and Canada, calls lacrosse.

And they should know — they invented the game.

This month, the women's national team went to England to compete in the Lacrosse World Cup, and they were able to travel on their tribal passports.

Rebuilding your financial life in the U.S. as a refugee

Jul 28, 2017

The U.S. is home to almost 2 million refugees, according to numbers from the Center for Immigration Studies, with around 75 thousand refugees welcomed into the country last year. Resettlement costs are close to $65,000 per person; much of the money is used for housing, language services, trauma counseling and food. 

Union City, Pennsylvania, is a rural town, with one elementary school and one middle and high school. Every spring there’s a drive-your-tractor-to-school day. In teacher Martha Blair’s arts and crafts class, students learn to weave saddle blankets and gun straps.

“They’re all learning how to use the looms, but they’re making something that’s useful for them,” Blair said, showing off the students’ work during the spring semester.

What next for health care in the United States?

Jul 28, 2017

Efforts to repeal Obamacare have come to an end — for now. The Affordable Care Act, which was signed into law in 2010, remains in place, while House and Senate Republicans consider other options. 

So, what does all of this mean for consumers? Marketplace's senior health reporter Dan Gorenstein explains.

O'Leary: What's next for people who buy insurance on the individual market? Let's start with people who qualify for subsidies under the ACA.

Ahead of the controversial election, the scene in Venezuela is chaotic

Jul 28, 2017

There's an election in Venezuela this Sunday that's bringing the years of political and economic crisis to a head. Venezuela has suffered through general strikes and economic downturn, with skyrocketing inflation rates. And more than 100 people have been killed in violence related to political protests since April. Now President Nicolas Maduro wants to elect a new national assembly to re-write the Constitution. Opponents say this would weaken the country's democracy.

A big bank bets on sustainability

Jul 28, 2017

JPMorgan Chase announced today a $200 billion commitment to financing clean energy. On top of that, divisions across the firm, from retail to real estate, are working to switch all Chase properties around the world to 100 percent renewable power by the year 2020. That’s more than 5,000 properties in some 60 countries. Here’s why the biggest bank in the country is betting big on wind and solar.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

How close are we to tax reform?

Jul 28, 2017

David Gura of Bloomberg and Rachel Abrams of the New York Times join us to discuss the week's business and economic news. Yes, there is health care to talk about, but there's also the Federal Reserve, economic growth and tax reform. We discuss the latest developments out of the Fed and what the recent gross domestic product numbers mean. Plus, we look at how close the Trump administration is to focusing on tax reform and whether the GOP and the White House are really on the same page on the issue. 

He built the beach cruiser and sold a lifestyle

Jul 28, 2017

In our series Brought to You by, we dive into the stories behind ordinary seasonal items: that grill you fire up for the Fourth of July or the fruitcake that you dig into (or regift) over the holidays. Where did they come from, and why did they become so popular?

As the workforce ages, companies rethink retirement

Jul 28, 2017

As the U.S. population ages, some older Americans need to stay in the workforce longer.

“People are living longer and as a result they have to finance a longer period of retirement years,” said Lori Trewinsky, with the AARP Public Policy Institute.

The 80 and over demographic is the fastest-growing group in the country, according to the AARP, with those that are 100 years old or older following closely behind. “So as a result of this, employers are going to face shortages of knowledge and skills,” Trewinsky said.

On Friday, the Senate ended up voting down the Republican measure to repeal Obamacare. But the battle over this health care law isn't quite over yet. On today's show, we'll take a look at the ways Trump could still gut Obamacare. Afterwards, we'll discuss news that the economy grew at a faster pace than the previous quarter, and then chat with economist Heidi Shierholz about why the automation of jobs may be a distraction from other pressing economic issues.

Venezuela votes on new constitutional body

Jul 28, 2017

Venezuelans head to the polls on Sunday to elect members for a "constituent assembly" that would rewrite the country's 18-year-old constitution. This week, the United States imposed new sanctions on top officials in President Nicolas Maduro's government to try to stop the rewrite. 

Click the audio player above to hear the full story.

In a moment of unexpected high drama, Republicans were stymied once again in their effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act — and they have John McCain to thank for it.

In the early morning hours Friday, the senator showed why he earned the nickname "Maverick" over his long tenure.