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Marketplace

English, Finance, 1 season, 386 episodes, 11 hours, 1 minute
About
Every weekday, host Kai Ryssdal helps you make sense of the day’s business and economic news — no econ degree or finance background required. “Marketplace” takes you beyond the numbers, bringing you context. Our team of reporters all over the world speak with CEOs, policymakers and regular people just trying to get by.
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Talking the (workplace) talk

“Act your wage,” “coffee badging,” “ghost jobs” — the internet is always vomiting up new workplace phrases. You may even use some of them to describe the bizarre job market of the past few years. So when popular work slang shifts from silly — “lazy girl jobs” — to grim — “quiet cutting” — are there hints about where the labor market is headed? Also in this episode: Tech firms ditch user counts, car sales motor on despite high costs and educators get educated about jobs at the Port of Baltimore.
7/23/202427 minutes, 32 seconds
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Does the bond market care about Biden’s election exit?

In the face of major news, some say the bond market can signal what comes next economically. But so far, bond yields don’t seem to be reacting to Biden’s dropping out of the presidential race. In this episode, what the crystal ball of the economy does care about in regard to elections. Plus, business investments outpace GDP gains, Nvidia employees cash in on the chipmaker’s hockey stick-shaped earnings growth and Friday’s CrowdStrike crash reveals a common cybersecurity weakness.
7/22/202427 minutes, 28 seconds
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The blue screen of death

Nearly every economic sector relies on secure technology networks: retailers, airlines, hospitals and more. After a faulty software update by cybersecurity giant CrowdStrike, businesses across the globe came screeching to a halt, dragging customers with them. In this episode, the tech firm behind today’s maddening “blue screen of death.” Plus: why the Federal Reserve plans communication blackouts, a former delivery driver remembers using chickens to mark her routes, and industry upheaval threatens an Alaskan fishing community.
7/19/202427 minutes, 23 seconds
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What do rising unemployment claims mean for the economy?

The number of people filing for jobless benefits in each of the last two weeks rose. That means it’s taking job seekers longer to find employment. It’s also offers mild support to those who want to see lower interest rates. Also: Who’s spending and who isn’t? And what AI means for authors and publishers.
7/18/202425 minutes, 4 seconds
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It’s homebuying season

Now’s the time of year when many families look for a new home. But it’s a seemingly impossible market for first-time buyers: high prices, high mortgage rates, high insurance, low inventory. We’ll explain how some are pulling it off and why some experts believe lower home prices and rents are in sight. Also: State and local governments have been on a hiring spree, and business inventories are up.
7/17/202425 minutes, 50 seconds
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Consumers are still consuming

Retail sales numbers released today show spending was flat last month. But if you look a little deeper, you’ll see Americans spent more in June than May. What does this mean for the Federal Reserve as it considers lowering interest rates? Also: Homebuilders are feeling a little less confident, and AI is trying to read emotions. Plus, the nocturnal sprint at UPS’ one-day-shipping hub.
7/16/202426 minutes, 21 seconds
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That lurking recession never showed up

The economy seems to be coming in for a soft landing, and that’s a big reason banks are doing so well. Markets are up, emboldening companies to make merger deals, which they pay investment banks to execute. JPMorgan Chase just posted the highest quarterly net income for a bank in U.S. history — $18.1 billion. Also: On the eve of Amazon Prime Day, how a shipping hub handles quick turnarounds. Plus, another decline in China’s GDP, and a DJ looks back at her analog life spinning vinyl.
7/15/202425 minutes, 40 seconds
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America’s got a power grid problem

Nearly a million Texans are without power after Hurricane Beryl damaged an already fragile energy grid. As they wait for the lights come back on, we’ll explain why pretty much the whole country needs costly energy grid updates, especially as climate change makes weather more extreme. Also in this episode: Students who attended for-profit colleges are drowning in debt, and legal experts break down what might happen to federal regulatory agencies without the Chevron deference.
7/12/202426 minutes, 15 seconds
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Is the Fed getting closer?

Inflation cooled for the third straight month in June, and borrowers hope rate cuts come soon. But will enough “good data” show up to ease the risks of a flare-up in prices? We break down the Fed’s decision-making process — and explain why shelter prices are one thing holding the central bank back. Also in this episode: Workers at the Port of Baltimore are full steam ahead as the region recovers from the Key Bridge collapse, and a SCOTUS decision opens the door to changes in tribal nation health care management.
7/11/202426 minutes, 50 seconds
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How fast would the economy feel an interest rate cut?

Inquiring minds want to know: When will the Federal Reserve cut interest rates? Fed Chair Jay Powell isn’t ready to answer that question. But when rates are cut, there’s gonna be a lag before the Americans feels it. Also in this episode: Egg-freezing rates skyrocket as more employer benefits cover the procedure, the U.S. is less trade-oriented than other countries, and nearly half of Gen Xers aren’t financially on track to retire, a new study says.
7/10/202426 minutes, 46 seconds
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Health care is still hot in the job market

The job market has cooled in recent months. The days of two openings per available worker may be over, but some sectors still have to struggle to find employees. One industry on a hot streak is health care, thanks in part to the continued workforce disruptions caused by COVID. Also in this episode: Small-business optimism rises despite cost concerns, tweens concoct potentially harmful “skin care smoothies” and steel prices sag as demand drops.
7/9/202427 minutes, 24 seconds
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How to succeed in streaming

Paramount just announced a merger with Skydance, a film production company. The hope is that adding Skydance’s offerings to its streaming platforms will boost subscriptions. But streaming is a finicky business, where you have to be a top-tier service to thrive. Also in this episode: Dynamic pricing technology could be profitable for retailers, some Chinese families seek gentler school environments and Americans visit South Korea as skin care tourists.
7/8/202428 minutes, 21 seconds
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How many Native people live in the U.S.? Good question.

Federal surveys aren’t great at collecting data on Native Americans. One reason? As many as 60% of people who check the American Indian/Alaska Native box on forms also check another race box, the Brookings Institution found. In this episode, we’ll explain how undercounting impacts the federal government’s fulfillment of its obligations to Native nations. Plus, we’ll take a trip down the Houston Ship Channel and dissect the latest jobs report.
7/5/202427 minutes, 21 seconds
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The wages vs. inflation horse race

The May jobs report said wages had risen about 4% over 12 months, while inflation was 3.3% over the same period. Good news, right? Then why did consumer sentiment hit a 7-month low in June? In this episode, other wages-related measurements that might explain that economic pessimism. Plus, a Yale legislation-scoring group focuses on outcomes, and precision agriculture technology adoption is slow.
7/4/202426 minutes, 47 seconds
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The Federal Reserve’s fork in the road

The Federal Reserve has a decision to make: cut interest rates to help the slackening job market and risk the progress it’s made in cooling inflation, or keep rates high — which could push unemployment up. In this episode, we’ll explain the economic inflection point and why interest rates don’t have the relationship to the labor market they once had. Plus, the presidential debate bumped up bond yields, the “beer industry” encompasses all types of drinks and customers nowadays, and one woman recalls her first 9-to-5.
7/3/202428 minutes, 11 seconds
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That snooze-fest jobs report is probably a good thing

Tuesday’s jobs report showed 200,000 more openings in May than the previous month — pretty yawn-worthy compared to the labor market roller coaster of the past few years. But don’t fret! All that boring data is actually a sign of stability. Also in this episode: Why organic produce is expensive to grow, what it’s going to take for global power sector emissions to fall, and which type of construction is dragging sector spending down.
7/2/202426 minutes, 1 second
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A rigged version of Monopoly

Lawrence Brown created “Urban Cipher,” a Monopoly-like game, to illustrate the consequences of neighborhood redlining. We’ll join Baltimore city educators at a professional development session led by Brown and hear how redlining continues to affect families today. Also in this episode: Lumber prices fall while housing remains expensive, Toys R Us dips its toe into AI-generated advertising and a landscape designer tells us about his job before the arrival of drafting software.
7/1/202428 minutes, 5 seconds
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Homelessness criminalized as home sales fall and prices rise

Today we learned that the conservative majority on the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a local law in Oregon that criminalizes sleeping in public places, authorizing punishment for homelessness. We’ll get into how this connects to the stalled housing market. Plus, SCOTUS curtails the powers of government agencies and national work-from-home rates reach a new normal.
6/28/202427 minutes, 21 seconds
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SCOTUS curbs regulatory agencies’ powers. Again.

The Supreme Court has decided a case involving internal tribunals the SEC uses to enforce fraud rules. In this episode, we’ll hear from a legal scholar about the ruling’s implications for all sorts of federal regulatory bodies. The short of it? It will be harder for agencies to enforce laws and easier for people and companies to get away with breaking them. Plus: what “final sales” means in the Federal Reserve’s analysis of GDP and why continuing jobless claims are climbing.
6/27/202428 minutes, 21 seconds
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How about those new tariffs?

Over the past few months, the Biden administration has announced new tariffs — on top of existing Trump-era ones. The period for public comment on them is nearly over, so we’ll hear business owners’ views on the levies’ likely impact on sales. Also in this episode: An all-female fire crew burns barriers, Google phases out infinite scroll and the U.S. semiconductor industry sorta relies on a hard-to-win visa lottery.
6/26/202427 minutes, 48 seconds
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Why so miserable?

Data shows that the U.S. has a strong, thriving economy. Layoffs are at a multidecade low and wages have risen faster than prices. Despite all that and more, many Americans are feeling economic pain. What gives? Also in this episode, third-generation tuna fishermen rethink their livelihood as waters warm. We’ll also explain why most countries buy oil in U.S. dollars and whether the federal minimum wage matters anymore.
6/25/202428 minutes, 4 seconds
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Breaking Ground: Red Lake Nation’s solar-powered future

Red Lake Nation’s chairman, Darrell G. Seki Sr., wants to make energy free for all his nation’s citizens. Inflation Reduction Act funding could enable that by subsidizing the installation of more solar panels throughout their northern Minnesota reservation. In this episode, “Marketplace” host Kai Ryssdal visits Red Lake and hears from residents about their solar-powered goals and how clean energy connects to cultural values around environmental stewardship.
6/24/202430 minutes, 7 seconds
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Last resort

Florida-based Citizens Property Insurance Corp. wants to raise rates an average of 14%. But Citizens is the Sunshine State’s insurer of last resort — it’s backed by the state and tasked with covering homeowners who have no other options as private insurers pull out. What will Floridians do? Also in this episode: Environmentalists advocate more composting, a cyberattack forces thousands of car dealerships to go analog and oceanographers map the world’s seafloor.
6/21/202426 minutes, 57 seconds
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Bill Gates goes nuclear, turning a small coal town upside down

Three years ago, a town of 2,500 formed an unlikely relationship with multibillionaire Bill Gates. He had new nuclear technology and Kemmerer, Wyoming, had a declining coal industry. This week, Gates broke ground on a first-of-its-kind power plant. Will it revive a struggling local economy or upheave the small community’s way of life? Also in this episode: Summer gasoline use is down, Nvidia dominates AI chipmaking and apartment buildings aren’t being built — despite high demand for more housing.
6/20/202427 minutes, 39 seconds
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Credit card debt data reveals “two different Americas”

Credit card delinquencies are up overall in the past year — but that’s not the whole debt picture. Wealthier consumers can pay off their debt right now, driving up the nation’s average credit score. It’s a tale of two Americas. Also in this episode: Federal data reveals that nearly 1 in 4 Black prospective homeowners are denied a mortgage, and we catch up with a couple whose gift-giving journey was featured on “This Is Uncomfortable.”
6/19/202426 minutes, 27 seconds
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Will mortgage rates follow bond yields down?

With bond yields dropping, lower mortgage interest rates may be on the horizon. That’s great for people who’ve put off buying a home because they felt priced out. But will rates fall enough to make homeowners with older, cheaper mortgages consider selling? Also in this episode: Buy now, pay later attracts vulnerable consumers, electric vehicle sales growth slows and product designers chase down copycat products.
6/18/202427 minutes, 41 seconds
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The economy doesn’t love the heat, either

A stretch of the U.S. is under a heat advisory this week — but summer starts Thursday. When we talk about a “hot” economy, it’s usually a good thing, but in real life, extreme heat sends economic productivity downhill. We’ll get into why. Also in this episode: Retailers launch copycat sales to compete with Amazon Prime Day, Baltimore longshoremen are finally back to work and the bond market is booming.
6/17/202427 minutes, 53 seconds
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Will I ever own a home?

Housing affordability is on everyone’s mind — a new survey shows it’s a “somewhat to very important issue” for the majority of voters, especially younger ones. We’ll discuss whether housing has historically determined elections and get realistic about what a president can do about housing prices. We’ll also look at how the government measures housing costs for homeowners, even if their mortgages are paid off. Plus: The history of all-you-can-eat deals.
6/14/202428 minutes, 55 seconds
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What’s good for the economy might not be good for job seekers

The job market is weakening, according to recent data. Higher unemployment is a good sign — if you’re the Federal Reserve and want to cut interest rates. It’s bad, of course, if you’re a job seeker. We tackle this paradox in today’s episode. Plus: Cities adjust their tech-hub dreams, improved hurricane forecasting saves billions in damage, and Black workers pay a high price in the clean energy transition.
6/13/202429 minutes, 14 seconds
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Powell holds off on rate cuts

Well, the Federal Reserve decided to stand pat on interest rates for now — and said it may make just one cut this year. In this episode, we break down the Fed’s latest move and look at which sectors are feeling the “lag effect” of rate hikes. Plus: Daycares are likely to raise prices as federal pandemic funding runs dry, and Fannie Mae’s chief climate officer says we should prepare for climate risk to become a bigger factor in the housing market.
6/12/202427 minutes, 15 seconds
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One meeellion dollars!

Remember in “Austin Powers” when Dr. Evil conspires to hold the world hostage for $1 million? Not much cash, right? Well, it was a lot back in the 1960s — the last time Dr. Evil was conscious. In this episode, Dr. Evil teaches us how to adjust for inflation. Plus: Grocery stores want to be community meeting places, AI-fueled ad spending rockets up, and small-business owners aren’t sure what the future holds.
6/11/202427 minutes, 51 seconds
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The clean energy boom can’t come fast enough

As the Southwest prepares for 100-plus-degree days this week, we’ll look at where energy grids are prepared for a hot summer. A key factor? Whether grids have new electricity generators, like wind or solar plants. We’ll visit eastern Colorado, where clean energy jobs have been a boon for rural residents. Plus: More first-time homeowners enlist their parents as mortgage cosigners, and brands back away from trans representation, instead angling to keep both LGBTQ and transphobic customers.
6/10/202428 minutes, 29 seconds
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Better-than-expected job growth

May brought a surge of 272,000 new jobs, exceeding forecasts. Of those, 42,000 were in leisure and hospitality, benefitting from the summer travel season and increased wages. Also in this episode: a thousand options and nothing to watch. Netflix is getting a makeover for the first time in a decade, all with the goal of keeping subscribers hooked for longer.
6/7/202428 minutes, 39 seconds
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What do interest rate cuts in Europe mean for the U.S.?

The European Central Bank delivered on its promise of June interest rate cuts, its first since 2019. The U.S. Federal Reserve is still deciding whether to do the same this year. But what the ECB does won’t affect the Fed’s decision, since European interest rates don’t impact U.S. job growth or prices. Also in this episode, the history of the federal jobs report, the cost of congestion pricing and the future of tourism on the Rio Grande.
6/6/202429 minutes, 32 seconds
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Lone Star stock exchange

A Texas group is planning to open a Dallas-based stock exchange, it announced today. In an era when most stock trading is online, why does it matter that the exchange will be in Texas instead of New York? Also in this episode: Economists disagree on the power of the “wealth effect,” the co-working space industry tries to reinvent itself, and nanobubbles fight toxic algae in a Southern California lake.
6/5/202428 minutes, 6 seconds
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The “great stay”?

An April labor report released today shows that hiring, quitting and layoffs didn’t change much from the month before. In this episode, why no news is a sign we’re headed toward a pretty strong (as opposed to a once-in-a-lifetime) labor market. Plus, a traffic report of sorts: “supercommuter” rates rise, e-cargo bikes race ahead in popularity, and air travel isn’t luxurious anymore.
6/4/202428 minutes, 58 seconds
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Who benefits from mortgage interest tax breaks?

A tax break that started out as a way for the government to incentivize homebuying has primarily benefited the wealthy, research shows, while costing the U.S. government $30 billion a year in tax revenue. That amount may more than double in 2026. Also in this episode: OSHA works on new heat guidelines for the workplace, construction spending falls, and the Federal Reserve wants interest rates to be “neutral.”
6/3/202428 minutes, 47 seconds
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Slowly, but surely, the economy is cooling 

The economy is cooling, based on the latest inflation report, in part because American consumers are pulling back on spending. That’s good news for the Federal Reserve and its 2% inflation target. Also in this episode: GM says goodbye to the Malibu, OPEC+ members to talk about production quotas, and teen boys flock to luxury perfume counters.
5/31/202429 minutes, 22 seconds
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Revised 1st-quarter GDP shows slower growth

Revised gross domestic product for the first quarter shows even slower growth than the original estimate. With U.S. GDP representing nearly a quarter of global output, what happens here can affect other economies. Also in this episode: why companies opt for machines over people, how cyberattacks affect small businesses, and what one South Gate, California, business owner thinks of prices.
5/30/202430 minutes, 40 seconds
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Breaking Ground: Change isn’t coming — it’s here

A small neighborhood in the Phoenix area, full of farm animals and dirt roads, is in turmoil: A huge TSMC semiconductor plant, now under construction, is bringing with it a wave of commercial development and new residents. Champions of the project say the jobs and housing are sorely needed, but locals feel the transformation threatens their way of life. In this episode, we’ll visit the so-called Golden Triangle and meet stakeholders who include longtime residents, small-business owners, a city councilwoman and a real estate developer.
5/29/202429 minutes, 15 seconds
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What could happen if Israel severs banking ties with the Palestinian economy

Commercial Israeli banks process transactions with Palestinian banks — about $10 billion in trade per year, plus and paychecks for tens of thousands of Palestinians with jobs in Israel. Normally, the government protects them legally if any funding finds its way into terrorists’ hands. Israeli finance minister Bezalel Smotrich recently threatened to end these waivers. In this episode, what could happen to the Palestinian economy if he follows through? Plus, what’s included in “cost of living” indexes, why consumer confidence is rising, and are we in a climate change housing bubble?
5/28/202429 minutes, 17 seconds
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Why’s my coffee so expensive?

Nearly two-thirds of Americans drink coffee every day, according to the National Coffee Association. If you’re part of that 63%, you may have noticed coffee getting more expensive. Some of it has to do with the cost of the raw crop, which is at a 45-year high, partly due to climate change reducing yields. And it doesn’t help that global demand is growing. Also in this episode: Mexico City is in a water crisis, Zoom cashiers usher in a new wave of digital offshoring and machinery and other things-that-make-things purchases were up last month.
5/27/202428 minutes, 54 seconds
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For female workers, an ailing feeling about financial health 

Per Bank of America’s annual workplace benefits report, more full-time workers are feeling secure in their jobs compared to last year. But there’s a catch: Those upbeat responses came from men, while the percentage of women who feel financially stable dipped slightly. Plus, the Federal Reserve’s inflation frustration, the SEC’s near-approval of spot ether ETFs and the federal tax code’s post-election future. Our fundraiser ends Friday, and we need your help to reach our goal. Give today and help fund public service journalism for all!
5/24/202428 minutes, 25 seconds
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Bad housing news comes in threes

This week, we got some gloomy news on the housing market: In April, new homes sales fell 4.7% and existing home sales dropped about 2% from the month before, and in May, homebuilder confidence took a dive. The most likely culprit? High mortgage rates. Also in this episode: Why DuPont is splitting its company into three, what Olympic and Paralympic athletes are doing to raise funds for Paris, and how business is going for a maker of custom cowboy boots in Virginia. Our May fundraiser ends Friday, and we need your help to reach our goal. Give today and help fund public service journalism for all!  
5/23/202429 minutes, 31 seconds
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Accommodations for long COVID

About 7% of U.S. adults have long COVID, according to a new survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Many of those nearly 18 million people say their symptoms affect their ability to work. Disability accommodations could be the answer. Also in this episode, competitors work on catching up to AI chipmaker Nvidia, companies offer 401(k) matching of student loan payments and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau starts regulating buy now, pay later platforms.
5/22/202429 minutes, 44 seconds
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The complexity of succession planning 

On Monday, JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon hinted at retiring soon after running the banking powerhouse for 18 years. But finding replacements for veteran CEOs can be a tricky business. Also in this episode: New research finds that Native households are more financially stressed. Plus: Lowe’s invests in professional contractors, and Chicago vendors scramble after grocery stores shutter. Our May fundraiser ends Friday, and we need your help to reach our goal. Give today and help fund public service journalism for all!
5/21/202428 minutes, 34 seconds
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The future of dining

Fast-casual sit-down restaurant chains have a lot on their plates right now. They’re unpopular with Gen Z customers, struggling to maintain reasonable prices and can’t compete with made-to-DoorDash options like Chipotle. Meanwhile, at the other end of the restaurant spectrum, reservations at trendy spots are hot tickets in resale markets. Also in this episode: The Port of Baltimore hopes for a return to normalcy, Texans gear up for a sweltering summer and homeowners in extreme weather-prone areas turn to state governments for insurance.
5/20/202429 minutes, 36 seconds
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“The granddaddy of all stock indices”

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed above 40,000 for the first time on Friday. As we say regularly on this show, the stock market is not the economy. But it can still be a good indicator of how some folks are feeling about the state of the economy. Also in this episode: Competition for small-business spending heats up, EV sales take a dip, and purchasing power for all income levels rises. Marketplace is behind for this budget year — that means listeners like you can make a critical difference by investing in our journalism today.
5/17/202430 minutes, 3 seconds
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Walmart, Wayfair and . . . wool?

Staying ahead is tough if you run a business — especially in this odd economic moment, where even affluent shoppers are picking low-cost alternatives. Whether you’re selling furniture, home goods or sheep’s wool, sometimes you have to adapt by targeting new markets. In this episode, three businesses doing just that. Plus, what a dip in weekly jobless claims might signal, why currency carry trades are risky, and how the bees made a comeback. Marketplace is behind target for this budget year — that means listeners like you can make a critical difference by investing in our journalism today.
5/16/202428 minutes, 44 seconds
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The inflation cooldown we’ve been waiting for?

Looking at fresh economic data, retail sales were flat and some categories of food dropped in price from March to April. That indicates both falling inflation and a consumer spending pullback — good things if you’re the Federal Reserve. We’ll dig into the consumer price index and hear from Chicago Fed President Austan Goolsbee about the stickiest part of inflation right now. Plus, more women are employed than ever. Could that change as pandemic support programs expire? The next $50,000 in donations to Marketplace will be matched, thanks to a generous gift from Dr. Joe Rush of Florida. Give now and double your impact.
5/15/202428 minutes, 27 seconds
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Biden hits Chinese goods with new tariffs

President Joe Biden announced a slate of new tariffs on $18 billion worth of Chinese goods today, including electric vehicles, semiconductors, steel and aluminum. We’ll look at how the tariffs compare to those implemented under the Donald Trump administration and what they mean to business owners. Plus, the latest on salvage efforts in the Port of Baltimore, and a new federal rule encourages more long-distance power lines. The next $50,000 in donations to Marketplace will be matched, thanks to a generous gift from Dr. Joe Rush of Florida. Give now and double your impact.
5/14/202427 minutes, 18 seconds
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Consumer sentiment slumps

Americans are feeling worse about the economy. And that’s partly to do with fears about lasting inflation. According to the latest data, consumers expect inflation to rise three-tenths of a percentage point a year from now. Also in this episode: Why people are eating less fast food, how employers are helping workers with addiction recovery and what lower demand for second homes means for the general housing market.
5/13/202429 minutes, 41 seconds
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Is the U.S. ready to be a chipmaking superpower?

Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo wants to position the U.S. to become a leader in semiconductor manufacturing. After all, the U.S. invented the industry not so long ago. The Biden administration has invested $30 billion in new factories, and companies have thrown in 10 times that sum. In this episode, Raimondo tells “Marketplace” host Kai Ryssdal where she hopes U.S. chip production will be by 2030. Plus, her broadband expansion plan and how she views our trade relationship with China.   Support our nonprofit newsroom today and pick up a fun thank-you gift like our new Shrinkflation mini tote bag or the fan favorite KaiPA pint glass!
5/10/202428 minutes, 24 seconds
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Democracy is critical to prosperity, Treasury secretary says 

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen sat down with “Marketplace” host Kai Ryssdal to discuss inflation, economic growth, U.S.-China relations and why having a strong democracy matters for our economy. She also highlighted federal investments in clean energy, concerns about Chinese overproduction and more. Support our nonprofit newsroom today and pick up a fun thank-you gift like our new Shrinkflation mini tote bag or the fan favorite KaiPA pint glass!
5/9/202428 minutes, 50 seconds
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Rents outpace wages in big cities across the U.S.

Over the past five years, rents in nearly every major U.S. city have risen faster than wages. In New York City, rent surged seven times faster than wages last year. But this spike isn’t confined to the Big Apple. Later in this episode: GE’s three-way split is the end of an era. Also: the WNBA pay gap, and the rebranding of an iconic Midwestern frozen-food delivery service.
5/8/202427 minutes, 29 seconds
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A little more time for Social Security and Medicare funds

The good news: The forecasted date at which the Social Security and Medicare trust fund can’t pay full benefits for everyone was pushed back a few years in a report issued Monday. Bad news: That day is still coming, unless Congress acts. Also: aging in place or stuck in place? The challenges of homeownership later in life. Later in the episode: Reddit’s revenue and union organizing efforts in the South. 
5/7/202428 minutes, 5 seconds
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Do you like your job?

Workers are more satisfied with their jobs than they’ve been in nearly 40 years, according to a report from The Conference Board. But dig a little deeper and there are signs of rising dissatisfaction. In this episode, why workplace happiness might be plateauing. Plus, the property insurance industry faces growing climate risk, and a recreation center becomes a burden for a former boom town.
5/6/202428 minutes, 41 seconds
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Why government benefits are likely to stick around

The U.S. spends about half of its $6 trillion budget on three government entitlements: Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare. When it comes to the national debt, cutting these benefits is often part of the cost-cutting conversation. In this episode, we hear how these entitlements grew to be so costly and why reducing them has been so difficult historically. Plus, the layoff that allowed one woman to focus on her small business, and the economic impact of university divestment.
5/3/202427 minutes, 23 seconds
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Breaking Ground: Where are all the jobs?

Phoenix is on track to become a national hub for semiconductor production. The city has had lots of help: billions in funding from the Biden administration and buy-in from major chipmakers like TSMC and Intel. One thing they still need, though, is workers — 70,000 nationwide. Training programs are already preparing folks for entry-level chip technician positions. But where are all those promised jobs?
5/2/202429 minutes, 5 seconds
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Breaking Ground: The plants were there first

In the latest installment from their trip to Phoenix, “Marketplace” host Kai Ryssdal and Washington Post columnist Heather Long visit Native Resources — a plant relocation, nursery and landscape company — that sits at the intersection of conservation and development amid a semiconductor boom. Plus, takeaways from the Federal Reserve’s policy-setting meeting, a check-in with business owners about wages and an update on a Mississippi barge business.
5/1/202427 minutes, 48 seconds
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A visit to the “Silicon Desert”

Phoenix has been in the semiconductor business for a while now, but the Biden administration is taking it to another level by sending a major infusion of cash to tech companies in the desert city to expand chip-making capabilities. In this episode, “Marketplace” host Kai Ryssdal visits Phoenix with Washington Post columnist Heather Long. They dig into the challenges of rebuilding the country’s semiconductor industry.
4/30/202424 minutes, 44 seconds
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Keep on truckin’

Warehouses and cargo-moving companies spent a few weeks in limbo after the Baltimore bridge collapse. Now, they’re working hard to reroute goods that usually went through the city’s port, with some truckers driving far and wide to pick up freight redirected to other cities. In this episode, how one cargo transportation company is adjusting. Plus, who will hurt the most from a cap on credit card fees, what economic data the Fed is keeping an eye on this week, and why desk phones are disappearing.
4/29/202426 minutes, 44 seconds
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A looming deadline for student loan forgiveness

People with certain federal student loans have until Tuesday to consolidate them and qualify for debt cancellation. The Department of Education is reviewing over 40 million loan accounts and issuing credit for past payments that previously didn’t count toward forgiveness. Also in this episode: a look at the latest inflation reading, Americans’ savings habits and pop-up coworking spaces.
4/26/202426 minutes, 2 seconds
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GDP grows more slowly than expected

Gross domestic product grew by 1.6% in the first quarter, slower than expected after the six-quarter steak of 2% growth or more. How will the Federal Reserve respond to this data when making its next interest rate decision? Also in this episode: The new deep-water channel helping cargo ships leave the Port of Baltimore, protecting trade secrets with noncompete agreements, and the struggling pneumatic tube business gets a boost from the cannabis industry.
4/25/202427 minutes, 58 seconds
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Clock starts on TikTok ban

Today, President Joe Biden took a decisive step by signing a bill that could ban TikTok in the U.S. unless its Chinese owner, ByteDance, divests from the company within nine months. This move echoes a long history of limiting foreign ownership of communications companies, dating back to the founding of this country. Also in this episode: Boeing’s financial woes, the NBA’s media bidding war and New England’s free college frenzy.
4/24/202429 minutes, 2 seconds
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The business cycle is getting less cyclical

Expand, slow down, contract and recover. Businesses tend to make decisions based on what stage of the business cycle the economy’s in. The problem is, that doesn’t work so well anymore. We’ll get into it. Also: The hot U.S. dollar causes trouble overseas, college grad unemployment is up, and what other food programs can learn from WIC.
4/23/202429 minutes, 1 second
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A new spin on the yard sale

Many states are making it easier for homeowners to subdivide their single-family lots. But those with space to spare may not know how to develop it. Now, new companies are offering cash for the land. Also: Profits are up, but probably not because of “greedflation,” and federal grants aim to get solar panels on low-income families’ roofs.
4/22/202429 minutes, 43 seconds
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It’s a good time to be an asset owner

Thanks to a strong stock market and record home prices, asset owners are feeling richer, even if it’s only on paper. Today, we get into the “wealth effect” and how it may play out in the presidential election. Also: Higher prices slow Procter & Gamble sales, the “catastrophic” halt to a Baltimore port business, and why companies change the metrics they report to investors.
4/19/202425 minutes, 45 seconds
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Will AI be the dot-com bubble all over again?

In the 1990s, companies that hoped to change the world using newfangled computer technology took off. Wall Street invested in some of them big time, and their stock market valuations ballooned before they showed evidence of delivering on their promises. Sound familiar? In this episode, a cautionary tale for the era of AI. Plus, film jobs leave L.A. and New York, Netflix doubles down on video game investments and small businesses’ pricing power is kinda lumpy.
4/18/202426 minutes, 39 seconds
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Steel tariffs déjà vu 

Today, President Joe Biden called for tariffs to be tripled on certain Chinese steel and aluminum products. These tariffs, first implemented by then-President Donald Trump in 2018, are now the latest move in the ongoing U.S.-China trade war. Plus, sky-high car insurance premiums, the government’s latest energy-efficiency standards and China’s shrinking wine market. 
4/17/202427 minutes, 30 seconds
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Slow and steady global growth

The International Monetary Fund reported today that the global economy has shown “remarkable resilience” and that growth is expected to hold steady at 3.2% this year. But that’s low by historical standards. Plus, why there’s weaker demand for Treasurys, how restaurant chains scout locations and why Warner Bros. is shelving “Coyote vs. Acme.” Beep beep!
4/16/202428 minutes, 16 seconds
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Playing an economic guessing game

The economy has historically been a major factor in election forecasting. But right now, the economy is kinda all over the place. In this episode, how some experts are adjusting their models to account for increased polarization and others are throwing in the towel. Plus, more guessing games: Will BYD crush Tesla? Should firms make big deals before inflation cools? And wait — when am I scheduled to work?
4/15/202426 minutes, 7 seconds
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The subminimum wage for tipped workers is on the table

As more cities and states debate abolishing subminimum wages for tipped workers, we’re keeping an eye on Washington, D.C., where the tip credit system is being phased out. Though food service staff shrunk last year, some current servers say their paychecks are much more stable. Plus, corporate defaults climb and the cost of Asian imports falls as the cost of goods from Mexico increases.
4/12/202427 minutes, 44 seconds
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The ECB could beat the Fed to rate cuts 

Like a choreographed dance, central banks usually move together in managing interest rates. But with a high U.S. inflation reading in March, other banks might cut rates before the Fed. The European Central Bank is closer to its target and has signaled a cut in June. Plus, West Texas natural gas extractors are paying to get rid of their excess, colleges are hiring managers to help athletes get name, image and likeness deals, and a complicated insurance tactic is raising patients’ out-of-pocket costs.
4/11/202426 minutes, 36 seconds
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Hear that? That’s the sound of millions of Americans dusting off their ACs.

Inflation is hotter than anticipated, according to today’s consumer price index. Electricity, for instance, cost 5% more year over year. And in the coming months, demand for electricity is expected to grow — scientists predict this summer is gonna be a hot one. In this episode, an air conditioning price forecast. Plus, the lone busy cargo facility in Baltimore, country music’s Black influences and an economic fortuneteller that’s always changing its mind.
4/10/202426 minutes, 25 seconds
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Copper prices are climbing

Curious about which way the global economy’s headed? Take a look at copper prices. Demand for the metal is soaring, and copper futures are now at the highest levels in almost two years. Also in this episode: $10 billion. That’s how much Blackstone’s paying to acquire luxury apartment owner AIR Communities. Plus, the impact of a federal shutdown on tribal nations and the latest for a seller of records and comics in Jackson, Mississippi.
4/9/202428 minutes, 48 seconds
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Messaging matters

There have been mixed messages on interest rate cuts, and that uncertainty is weighing on consumers. As the Federal Reserve continues its effort to bring inflation down to 2%, economists watch how consumers interpret that kind of messaging and what their expectations are. Also in this episode: Black unemployment spikes, the impact of cyberattacks on small businesses and the growing use of psychometric assessments for job seekers.
4/8/202427 minutes, 57 seconds
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Cool your jets! Hold your horses! Slow your (manufacturing) roll!

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen is back in China, less than a year since her last visit. In 2023, she was focused on gently reopening communication channels. This time she has a clear message: You’re making too much stuff. In this episode, why the U.S., Japan and some European countries are pressuring China to slow its manufacturing sector. Plus, we’ll hear from cargo ship workers stranded in Baltimore and learn about the welder shortage.
4/5/202426 minutes, 18 seconds
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The right to disconnect

The legal right to ignore an after-hours call from your boss might seem appealing but unlikely. A California lawmaker, though, hopes to follow the lead of a dozen countries that have laws against it. Allowing employees to disconnect could be a plus for overall health and happiness, but not everyone supports the bill. Plus, women suffer a setback in the C-suite, economic data feels sorta choose-your-own-adventure right now, and denim is eternal.
4/4/202427 minutes, 41 seconds
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A rough time for startups 

Venture investments fell in the first quarter of 2024 to a near five-year low, PitchBook says. Funds started falling when the Federal Reserve first raised interest rates, and large exits have slowed in the past couple of years. Plus, “another test for the community”: Where Baltimore port workers and nearby businesses stand. Also, how campaign ads shape voters’ economic views and what the Realtors settlement means for buyers and sellers.
4/3/202426 minutes, 59 seconds
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“This is the time to be a saver”

Interest rates on savings accounts have climbed in recent years. And high rates are great if you have money to squirrel away. With the Federal Reserve signaling it’s likely to cut rates, people can expect their banks to do the same. In this episode: how Fed rate cuts would impact high-yield savings and CDs. Plus, February job openings data, the cost of the Key Bridge collapse and the problem for TikTok-dependent beauty brands.
4/2/202427 minutes, 26 seconds
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Ultimately, the joke’s on Gmail rivals

Twenty years ago, Google launched Gmail. Users thought the promise of 1 gigabyte of free storage was an April Fools’ joke. It wasn’t. In this episode, how Gmail came to dominate the email space — and everything connected to it. Plus, legislators rush to help workers affected by the Baltimore bridge collapse, small businesses prep for next week’s eclipse, and some states might cut funding for parent caregivers of disabled kids.
4/1/202429 minutes, 8 seconds
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“Hard to say” where interest rates will settle, Fed chair says

Federal Reserve Chair Jay Powell sat down with “Marketplace” host Kai Ryssdal to discuss inflation expectations, the central bank’s political independence, and humility in the face of national crises. The chairman also talked about how he consults with members of the rate-setting Federal Open Market Committee, why he worries when interest rates are covered like a “horse race,” and more.
3/29/202428 minutes, 50 seconds
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Feelings versus facts

Americans often vote based on economic conditions, but how voters feel about the economy doesn’t always align with the data. That disconnect can cost candidates an election — it might have happened in 1992 and it might happen in 2024. Also in this episode: Resume-spamming bots speed up job applications, the Federal Reserve hunts for “good data” and Home Depot bets on big construction projects as the DIY craze dies down and infrastructure funding kicks in.
3/28/202426 minutes, 32 seconds
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Immigrants fill high-risk jobs that U.S.-born workers don’t

Among the missing workers from yesterday’s bridge collapse are men from El Salvador, Mexico and Guatemala. According to the Labor Department, Latin American immigrants are among the workers most likely to die on the job. Plus, ever heard of “search funds”? Business school grads are using them as a fast track to the CEO seat. Also: The yen is at a 30-year low, and secondhand desks helped kickstart one business owner’s journey.
3/27/202427 minutes, 42 seconds
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Baltimore bridge collapse a jolt to commerce

The Port of Baltimore is an important link in the U.S. supply chain. For one, it’s the nation’s busiest port for car shipments. But after the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapsed early Tuesday morning, the disruption could be prolonged. Plus, is 67 too young? Why some think the U.S. should raise its retirement age. Plus, how new construction impacts Houston’s housing market and what CHIPS Act funding means for a 1950s-era manufacturing plant in Vermont. 
3/26/202427 minutes, 23 seconds
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All in on clean energy

The Biden administration, through legislation like the Inflation Reduction Act, has its sights set on facilitating the transition to clean energy. But can the federal government control clean energy supply and demand? Is decarbonizing the industrial sector even possible? We’ll dig in. Also in this episode: Boeing’s CEO plans to step down, homes remain unaffordable despite new supply and mobile home residents come together to secure stable housing.
3/25/202428 minutes, 53 seconds
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Bring on the drama, Jay Powell

At first, Federal Reserve Chair Jay Powell’s speeches may seem yawn-inspiring. But economists, stock brokers and business folks around the globe pick over his every word, hoping for hints about the economy to come. In this episode, Fed chair speech theatrics: You just have to know what to listen for. Plus, Walmart starts selling luxury goods, affordable electric vehicles may be on their way and an economic indicator that’s been signaling “recession to come” for two years has finally turned around.
3/22/202428 minutes, 45 seconds
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Weekly jobless claims fall 

Initial unemployment claims dropped more than expected last week, down 2,000 from the week before. And that stat continues inching toward historic lows. Also in this episode: Oh, to live in the Big Apple! Why cargo bike deliveries are taking off, what the city’s new trash management plan looks like and how climate change causes home insurance headaches across the country. 
3/21/202426 minutes, 21 seconds
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The Fed’s evolving data diet 

“More good data” is what the Fed wants to see before it declares victory over inflation and cuts interest rates. The central bank looks at a lot of data from different sources.  And as the economy changes, so do the Fed’s preferences regarding the facts and figures that inform its decisions. Plus, Intel secures $8.5 billion in CHIPS Act funding, Alaska faces looming gas shortages and e-waste holds troves of scarce resources.
3/20/202427 minutes, 37 seconds
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Food, glorious food!

Food plays a big role in this economy, and we’ll dig in to some industry niches in today’s episode. First up: Unilever is cutting ties with its ice cream brands, including Ben & Jerry’s and Breyers. We’ll also chew on Trader Joe’s recalls and chocolate bunny inflation. Plus: geothermal energy on Chicago’s South Side and NCAA women’s basketball.
3/19/202428 minutes, 11 seconds
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Who pays real estate agents?

To buy a house, you’ll probably need a real estate agent. Traditionally, sellers pay both agents a commission, a cost baked into the buyer’s closing fees. But a lawsuit settlement last week means buyers could start paying their agents directly or on an hourly basis. Also in this episode: global central banks meet this week, new tech may help bring down methane emissions, and avian flu is killing chickens across California.
3/18/202428 minutes, 2 seconds
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A labor market paradox

The U.S. economy has been on a job creation spree in the last few years. But wage inflation has eased and unemployment even ticked up recently. What gives? Also in this episode: Infrastructure grants aid communities of color, e-commerce changes the way we shop and crawfish farmers struggle with the impact of record heat.
3/15/202426 minutes, 35 seconds
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Spring is coming, and so are higher gas prices

We keep a close eye on the price of oil because it feeds so many industries and hints at what’s coming for the global economy. And right now, the price of crude is going up along with gas at the pump. One reason is that OPEC is holding back on supply. Another: Spring is coming. We’ll explain. Also in this episode: The state of American steel, the rise of the AI training industry, and the Taiwanese roots of bubble tea.  
3/14/202428 minutes, 39 seconds
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Betting on mother nature

Catastrophe bonds are a risky bet to make. But they offered returns of nearly 20% last year, Bloomberg reported. In this episode, we’ll cover why climate change makes these bonds more popular — and more lucrative. Plus: sporting brands have an overstock problem, large group reservations are hard to come by and ads on e-commerce sites make up a $50 billion industry
3/13/202427 minutes, 14 seconds
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A higher-than-expected CPI 

The February consumer price index is out — inflation was 3.2% year over year. That’s just a smidge higher than January. Still, prices in some sectors are down from a year ago. We’ll dig into the data, from price drops in furniture to still waters in apparel. Plus: the state of banking one year after the SVB fiasco and the future of addiction treatment in Oregon. 
3/12/202428 minutes, 54 seconds
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Not too hot, not too cold

The Federal Reserve decided that our inflation goal is 2% annually. It hasn’t hit that level, but prices are relatively stable and the economy’s going strong, with a hot labor market and a growing GDP. In this episode, is the landing we have soft enough? Plus, inventory stories: Retailers have recovered from that early COVID supply backlog and more vehicles on dealers’ lots mean a different sales pitch.
3/11/202429 minutes, 54 seconds
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Spacial awareness

When supply chains were backed up early in the pandemic, some businesses bulked up on warehouse space. Now that inventory is no longer a problem, what to do with the excess? And in the art world, some nonprofits are trying to buy real estate, which comes with benefits and financial hurdles. Also in this episode: COVID habits shape restaurant hiring and a bakery deals with rising costs.
3/8/202428 minutes, 9 seconds
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The EU cracks down on Big Tech

A big antitrust law goes into effect today in the European Union. The Digital Markets Act is an effort to regulate Big Tech companies like Apple and Google. It’s designed to make the internet more competitive, but enforcement may prove tricky. Also in this episode: new retail subscriptions, the latest Beige Book insights, and a cowboy-skier-friendly sport.
3/7/202426 minutes, 20 seconds
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The Federal Reserve’s political independence matters

One of many differences between President Joe Biden and and former President Donald Trump? How they talk about the Federal Reserve. While the central bank is supposed to be nonpartisan, that hasn’t stopped politicians from trying to influence it. In this episode, the Fed’s delicate political independence. Also in this episode: the cooling — but not cold — job market, an end of an era for middle-class retail, and a review of the IRS’ Direct File tax-filing system.
3/6/202429 minutes, 54 seconds
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Record oil output with fewer rigs

The U.S. produces more crude oil than any other country, but the number of active oil rigs has fallen by nearly 70% since 2014, the Energy Information Administration reports. How can that be? The answer is a combination of innovation and financial pressure. Plus, the non-alcoholic beverage market booms, the U.S. Patent Office decides AI can’t be credited as an inventor and household debt burdens are on the rise.
3/5/202427 minutes, 25 seconds
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Who’s gonna win an Oscar this year?

From “Oppenheimer” to “Poor Things,” 2023 boasted a bevy of Oscar-buzzworthy films. The ceremony isn’t till Sunday, but today  we asked New York Times critic at large Wesley Morris for his best actor, actress and picture picks. He also talked about the life of a critic and how he goes about preparing to review a movie. Plus, testing is becoming more common in hiring.
3/4/202426 minutes, 33 seconds
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Who can afford to buy a home these days?

The monthly mortgage payment on a typical U.S. home has nearly doubled since 2020, a Zillow report found. With mortgage rates hovering around 7%, that isn’t likely to improve much in the near future. Plus: Bitcoin investors finally see a thaw, new guidelines encourage the federal government to hire military spouses and a Chinese coffee chain’s apparent recovery from an earnings report scandal.
3/2/202425 minutes, 43 seconds
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Personal incomes rose in January

January’s personal consumption expenditures report showed that prices were up 2.4% from the same time last year, suggesting that  inflation remains in a cooling trend. The report also found that incomes jumped 1% last month — the biggest monthly gain in three years. Plus, why some customers with high-yield savings accounts aren’t getting promised rates, what Chinese electric vehicle tech could mean for national security and how Florida farmworkers are enforcing heat protection standards.
2/29/202427 minutes, 28 seconds
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GDP keeps climbing

U.S. gross domestic product grew at a 3.2% annual rate in the fourth quarter of last year, demonstrating the persistent strength of the economy. America is an outlier — at least for now — among world economies that have hiked interest rates to quell inflation. Plus: Some New York office towers are being repurposed and repopulated as apartment buildings, airlines are expanding routes between smaller cities and analysts say consolidation could settle the streaming wars.
2/29/202429 minutes, 33 seconds
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Do modern-day starter homes exist?

The U.S. saw a boom in “entry level” homes for young couples post-World War II. Today’s housing market, and first-time homeownership, may be unrecognizable from the vantage point of the 1950s. In this episode, a look at the origins of starter homes and how sales agents are reframing the homebuying timeline. Plus, Macy’s announces a major pivot, CEO turnover cranks up and durable goods orders reveal where businesses stand on expansion.
2/27/202428 minutes, 10 seconds
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Credit card fee feud

Every time you swipe — or, these days, tap — your credit card, the merchant has to pay a fee. Some fed-up retailers are petitioning for more card fee regulation, but banks say consumers have plenty of choice as it is. Also in this episode: consumers’ moods versus economic data and pandemic purchases that buyers regret.
2/26/202429 minutes, 44 seconds
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A not-so-happy anniversary to Silicon Valley Bank

The failures of Silicon Valley Bank and several other institutions rank among the largest bank collapses in U.S. history. Almost a year later, small banks still face aftershocks. Also in this episode, traditional sports journalism is disappearing. Will accountability in the sports industry follow? And one couple finds financial freedom with an unusual real estate purchase.
2/23/202427 minutes, 38 seconds
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Biden hopes sustainable aviation fuel production could take flight soon

Sustainable aviation fuel — an alternative to conventional petroleum — aims to decarbonize a carbon-heavy sector. Right now, it accounts for less than 1% of global jet fuel. Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act incentivizes aviation’s transition to SAF, but manufacturers still face big roadblocks. Plus, not all SAFs are created equal. This episode is part of our series “Breaking Ground,” where we look at how federal infrastructure spending might change the economy.
2/22/202426 minutes, 36 seconds
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Neel Kashkari and the Fed’s inflation fears

Overall, inflation has plummeted since June 2022, shortly after the Federal Reserve began hiking interest rates, and the Fed is getting closer to its 2% target. But consumer prices are still high. So why is it taking so long for the Fed to cut interest rates? “The Federal Reserve has been faked out before, where we thought inflation was licked, and then it flared back up again,” Neel Kashkari, president of the Minneapolis Fed, told us on today’s show. “That’s what we want to avoid.” Also: What to expect when Amazon replaces Walgreens on the Dow, how congressional budget fights threaten federal firefighters’ pay, and why the U.S. is selling its helium reserve.
2/22/202426 minutes, 26 seconds
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What’s in your wallet?

If a $35 billion deal goes through, Capital One will purchase Discover and become the nation’s largest credit card issuer. But the bank isn’t in it for credit debt — it’s in it for Discover’s payments system. Also in this episode: why Walmart had strong sales last quarter and how states are preparing for a potentially contentious Election Day. Also, is the post-lockdown travel boom still on?
2/21/202426 minutes, 10 seconds
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Can we break out of the mortgage lock-in effect?

It’s a tough time to be a first-time buyer in the housing market. But it’s also tricky if you own a home and are looking to buy a new one, because your mortgage rate could roughly double. That “lock-in effect” is keeping housing inventory low and pushing prices higher. Then, we’ll examine why shipping costs are falling despite global disruptions and hear how steakhouses are trying to rebrand themselves.
2/19/202428 minutes, 19 seconds
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Vacant office buildings are making city budgets vulnerable

2/16/202426 minutes, 20 seconds
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Why so many layoffs in a hot labor market?

Cisco, the communications infrastructure giant, is planning to cut lots of jobs. It’s the latest high-profile company to do so. Meanwhile, we keep getting positive indicators about the labor market, like today’s data on falling jobless claims. We’ll explain the disconnect on today’s show. Also: What rising import prices mean, tracking shipments on freight trains and why a bank created to integrate emancipated Black Americans into the economy matters today.
2/15/202426 minutes, 15 seconds
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Walmart wants Vizio, but not for the TVs

Walmart is looking to buy TV manufacturer Vizio, according to The Wall Street Journal, even though it sells its own brand of TVs. That’s because these days, a TV’s worth is tied to its streaming platform, and acquiring Vizio’s SmartCast could help the big-box retailer grow into another kind of company. Plus, split surveys on small business optimism, a map of all the country’s zoning laws, and the falling number of small farmers.
2/15/202427 minutes, 5 seconds
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A so-so CPI

The January consumer price index just came out and inflation was up 3.1% year over year. That’s not awesome. But it’s not awful either. We’ll dig into the data, from lagging shelter costs to a still-hot labor market. Plus, monetary policy goes up against fiscal policy, the romance novel market flourishes, and rising prices for “inelastic” goods mean some consumers are gonna suffer.
2/13/202427 minutes, 30 seconds
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Cons-oil-idation

Diamondback Energy said today it will buy Endeavor Energy Resources, continuing the consolidation trend in the oil industry. In this episode, why oil and natural gas companies keep merging, especially in the Permian Basin region of Texas. Plus, robotaxi vandalization may represent resentment of Big Tech, lavish quinceañeras spawn a booming industry and some streaming services struggle to provide lag-free viewing.
2/12/202429 minutes, 41 seconds
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A modest wish for the Year of the Dragon

China celebrates the Lunar New Year tomorrow. With many in the country struggling financially, they’re hoping the Year of the Dragon brings a healthier economy. Also: Foreign investors are cooling on U.S. commercial real estate, Americans are looking for snack food bargains and volunteers are repairing broken appliances at pop-up Fixit Clinics.
2/9/202428 minutes, 8 seconds
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A turning point for Stewart Avenue

Today, a story about one street in one neighborhood in one of America’s highest-profile cities, and the $23.9 million grant meant to transform it. It’s a 4-mile stretch of Stewart Avenue in East Las Vegas, where more than a quarter of the residents live below the poverty line. But upgrades — like improving bus stops, adding bike lanes and planting trees — could have big implications for the community. It’s part of our series “Breaking Ground,” where we look at how federal  infrastructure spending might change the economy.
2/8/202427 minutes, 42 seconds
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Could AI be the next HR?

Artificial intelligence is still in its early stages, and most Americans don’t use it at work — yet. But a new survey shows 70% of workers are “very” or “somewhat” concerned about employers using AI in human resources decision-making, like hiring, firing and promotions. In this episode, we’ll dig into some AI job fears. Plus, New York Community Bank stock takes a wild ride after Moody’s dings its credit rating, and Ford’s electric vehicle sales are down, but its savings on emissions fines are up.
2/7/202427 minutes, 36 seconds
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Are you my mortgage servicer?

When banks let you take out a mortgage, the money they lend you might come from their reserves. But more often than not, banks turn around and sell your loan to an investor — and make an instant profit. In this episode, all about the secondary market for mortgages. Plus, JPMorgan Chase invests in its brick-and-mortar presence, household debt ticks up, and why China’s stock market is struggling.
2/6/202427 minutes, 7 seconds
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AI-tested, artist-approved poisoning tools

To train generative artificial intelligence models, many companies use images they find online without paying the artists. We’ll hear about two tools that help creators protect their work from being scraped for data. Also in this episode: Recruiting and staffing jobs are on the rebound, streaming services struggle to turn a profit and unregulated space pollution poses a threat to Earth’s atmosphere.
2/6/202430 minutes, 6 seconds
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Hiring or hunting, this job market is tough

The tight labor market means employers are competing for workers, sometimes strenuously. But it isn’t all smooth sailing for job searchers either — prolonged interviewing and companies’ recession fears mean scoring a job can be tough. In this episode, what’s worse: trying to hire or get hired? Plus, a website that uses “Seinfeld” to explain legal policy, a look at how immigration stabilizes our economy and a tour of zero-carbon homes in coastal California.
2/2/202427 minutes, 21 seconds
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Silence isn’t golden if you’re a TikTok creator

Universal Music Group pulled its songs from TikTok after the video platform’s license expired Wednesday. Now, creators will have to avoid using some of today’s biggest hits. Also in this episode: what it means when the BLS says productivity is up, why it matters that wage gains are slowing down and how popular food brands are connected to prison labor.  
2/1/202428 minutes, 5 seconds
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Forever renters

For some Americans, buying a home feels like an impossible goal — especially in this market. Maybe that’s why more renters than ever say they’re likely to be renters for life. In this episode: Homeownership is out of reach for some and just not a priority for others. Plus, the Federal Reserve hints at when we might see interest rates cut, and AI training methods raise ethical questions about “fair use.”
2/1/202426 minutes, 40 seconds
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Wait … how big is our debt?

At $34 trillion, U.S. federal debt is at a record level. And economists say we’re entering uncharted waters with a 120% debt-to-GDP ratio. So, when should we start to worry? Also in this episode: Consumer confidence reaches a two-year high, activity heats up in the corporate bond market and beef Wellington takes center stage at Shanghai restaurants.
1/31/202427 minutes, 11 seconds
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The office support jobs’ sluggish comeback

Jobs in office support (think custodians, security guards) grew just 2.6% in 2023, according to a  Bureau of Labor Statistics report tracking employment in different sectors. That may reflect a sluggish return to in-person work more than growth in the sector. In this episode, the office support ecosystem. Plus, Baltimore will use blockchain tech to battle vacant homes, teen employment hits a 14-year high and importers struggle with price spikes.
1/30/202428 minutes, 2 seconds
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If the economy’s so good, what’s with all the layoffs?

The U.S. economy has had a sunny start to 2024 — so why is corporate America laying on the layoffs? Plus, the effects of “digital redlining” in the rural South; the Biden administration takes a closer look at liquefied natural gas exports; and apparel brands recruit the help of “mid-size” influencers to more effectively court consumers.
1/26/202426 minutes, 33 seconds
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Cha-ching! Can you hear the economy growing?

The latest reading on the U.S. economy shows unexpected growth, led by spending on hotels, dining out and video games. We check in with some businesses that are feeling the consumer love. So that’s how the economy is doing. But how are people feeling about it? Split, according to a new poll that shows a growing divide between what high- and low-income earners think. Also: Profits from home sales fell but are still more than double what they were five years ago. And a doctor talks about her book on racism in medicine.
1/26/202425 minutes, 37 seconds
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The New Deal’s legacy

When FDR’s administration created the New Deal, the relationship between the government and the economy changed forever. In some ways, Biden is trying to make a similar impact with more than $1 trillion authorized by legislation like the CHIPS Act and the Inflation Reduction Act. In our new series, “Breaking Ground,” we’ll be visiting communities across the country to see how the infusion of cash might change the economy. Today, we dive into what was accomplished with the New Deal and how it changed American society.
1/25/202425 minutes, 50 seconds
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How much do you spend on sports?

The next big thing in streaming is undoubtedly live sports. The NFL’s first streaming-only game smashed records recently. The next big thing in sports, though? Gambling, which is becoming more accessible and more addictive. In this episode, fans spend on streaming and spend bigger on gambling platforms. Plus, New York City retail rents stay soft, organic certification comes at a price and middle managers have the worst time at work.
1/24/202428 minutes, 27 seconds
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The honk-shoo-mimimi economy

Sleep aids and supplements, sleep tech and regular old mattresses make up a $100 billion global market combined. Which makes sense, since two-thirds of Americans don’t regularly get deep z’s. In this episode: How much would you pay for a good night’s sleep? Plus, Nordstrom’s challenge to straddle two retail worlds, AI might not take your job after all, and activist shareholders cause a stir at Exxon.
1/23/202427 minutes, 20 seconds
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What does an “almost” government shutdown cost?

Congress narrowly avoided yet another government shutdown today, keeping thousands of federal employees in their jobs by basically extending last year’s budget for the short term. But being buzzer beaters comes at a price: Pushing back the budget deadline can cost federal departments precious time and representatives the trust of their constituents. Also in this episode, the New Deal history of Los Angeles freeways and the North American fruit you won’t find at most grocery stores.
1/20/202426 minutes, 26 seconds
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“Treasury is used to doing what Treasury wants to do”

Though the IRS doesn’t collect racial data, it is significantly more likely to audit Black earned income tax credit filers than those of any other race. Dorothy Brown, a scholar of tax law and race, is part of a Treasury advisory committee on racial equity, and so far, she said, Secretary Janet Yellen hasn’t embraced the group’s recommendations as a priority. In this episode, the slow-going fight to fix racial disparities caused by the tax system. Plus, what hiring managers mean when they label candidates “overqualified.”
1/19/202426 minutes, 46 seconds
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In this economy, we’re focusing on the little things

Discretionary spending has had a good run recently, and the purchases aren’t skewing practical. Furniture retailers, for example, had a lousy 2023 — splurgy shoppers were more focused on Swift tickets than sofas. And looking to 2024, consumers plan to steer clear of big-ticket items and instead buy affordable luxuries like cosmetics. In this episode: Americans are in their “joy spending” era. Plus, financial planners are wary of the new spot bitcoin exchange-traded funds and everything seems to always be on sale.
1/18/202426 minutes, 18 seconds
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Does your business need a loan? Banks aren’t your only option.

Increasingly, small and medium businesses are taking out loans with hedge funds or investment firms, which can have fewer restrictions than banks and might be more flexible on loan amounts. In this episode, the pros and cons of private credit. Plus, office downsizing could ramp up this year, Kroger and Albertsons want to merge, and U.S. agricultural imports will likely exceed exports this year.
1/17/202426 minutes, 45 seconds
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ACA insurance sees record sign-ups

About 20 million Americans enrolled in Affordable Care Act health insurance plans this go-round — the most since ACA marketplaces started enrolling people in 2013. Open enrollment for 2024 coverage ends tomorrow for most Americans. In this episode, the pandemic policies that boosted sign-ups. Plus, corporations are already fighting for opioid settlement money, minority small business owners face barriers to borrowing and a tiny Georgia town’s port could be the future of U.S. auto shipping.
1/15/202427 minutes, 51 seconds
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Gretchen! Stop trying to make recycled IP happen!

“Mean Girls” — a movie based on a musical based on a 2003 movie — comes out today. It’s not the first or the last time Hollywood has recycled a beloved plot and characters for a “new” audience. What makes movie remakes so grool? (Great plus cool, duh.) Also in this episode: tackling the question of the NFL’s future and young voters in Taiwan are focused on inflation and fear of war with China.
1/12/202426 minutes, 38 seconds
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Not so fast, CPI!

The last consumer price index came out today. In short? Prices ticked up a bit more than expected. We’ll dig into two major line items: the cost of shelter (and why it’s a lagging indicator when it comes to the CPI) and grocery prices — for that, we’ll hear from shoppers themselves. Also in this episode, restaurants may be the new frontier for dynamic pricing, and farmers lacking child care options could get some help from the next farm bill.
1/11/202426 minutes, 25 seconds
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What Alan Greenspan got right and wrong at the Fed

Alan Greenspan served as chair of the Federal Reserve for 18 years, cooling inflation in the 1990s and demonstrating that the Fed was independent from politicians. But he also made mistakes that helped lead to the financial crisis of 2008. In this episode, biographer Sebastian Mallaby dives into Greenspan’s complicated legacy. Plus, why beef and other animal product prices haven’t fallen to pre-pandemic levels, and what wholesale inventory numbers signal about the economy.
1/11/202426 minutes, 34 seconds
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What are we gonna do with all this empty space?

Nearly 20% of office spaces across the U.S. are vacant, new data shows. Many companies solidified their back-to-office policies in the past year, so why are buildings emptier than ever? And in Shanghai, retail vacancies remain higher than pre-pandemic levels — yet small-business owners are struggling to find affordable storefronts to lease. Also in this episode: The Biden administration passed a new rule that could classify millions more gig workers as employees, and economists aren’t concerned about the U.S. trade deficit.
1/10/202426 minutes, 36 seconds
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According to my Magic 8 Ball …

It’s a new year, and that means experts — and nonexperts — have lots of guesses about what 2024 may hold. In this episode, we’ll talk about some of those predictions. Will inflation hit to 3%? Will consumer credit keep ticking up? Will gas prices drop below $3 a gallon? Signs point to yes. Plus, Houston has been nationally recognized for its successful Housing First approach to homelessness. But keeping up those programs will mean more funding, especially as housing costs rise.
1/9/202427 minutes, 51 seconds
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In? Ice cream. Out? Cookies.

In/out lists are, like, so “in” right now. On social media, they’re a way to forecast what trends people will and won’t be fans of in the new year. So for this episode, we asked economists to predict what will be in and out for the 2024 economy. Plus, some sweet stories: an ice cream entrepreneur settles into a long-needed production facility, and Google Chrome begins phasing out third-party cookies. (But that doesn’t mean no more targeted ads.)
1/5/202426 minutes, 26 seconds
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This isn’t the old normal

Nearly four years since the pandemic began, the labor market seems to be returning to pre-COVID trends. But just because the numbers look similar doesn’t mean the landscape of work hasn’t evolved. In this episode, how and where Americans work now. Plus, mobile shopping surpassed other online shopping modes this holiday season, firms might have shifted the timing of layoffs to protect their brands and Microsoft updated its desktop keyboard for the first time in 30 years.
1/4/202426 minutes, 31 seconds
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After incarceration, inclusion matters

Nearly half of all Americans have a family member who’s spent time in jail or prison — the economic effects of which are far-reaching. In this episode, we’ll hear from sociologist Reuben Jonathan Miller, who studies what he calls the “afterlife” of incarceration, about how we can better support formerly incarcerated individuals and why he’s focusing on those charged with violent crimes. Plus, it’s getting harder to identify ghost jobs, and “little change” is good news for the job market.
1/3/202426 minutes, 52 seconds
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How will the markets fare in 2024?

2023 was full of uncertainty. What will 2024 bring? We asked some experts how the year could go, economically speaking. Spoiler alert: There wasn’t much consensus. In this episode, how geopolitical tension may affect financial markets in the new year. Plus, artificial intelligence tools give people with disabilities new avenues for communication, manufacturers weigh borrowing decisions ahead of potential rate cuts and a decline in temporary employment spells good news for the labor market.
1/3/202426 minutes, 47 seconds
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New year, new minimum wage

Almost 10 million Americans just got a raise. More than 20 states are ringing in the new year with a higher minimum wage than they left 2023 with. In this episode, who will benefit most and how far we still have to go for a living wage to be the norm. Plus, the Permian Basin region attracts resource-rich oil investors, and landlords report rent payments to credit bureaus with mixed consequences for tenants.
1/1/202426 minutes, 44 seconds
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Medicare’s New Year’s resolution? Bring down drug prices.

One in seven Medicare beneficiaries surveyed reported not filling a prescription due to high cost. The Inflation Reduction Act was meant to change this by allowing Medicare to negotiate the prices of 10 medications beginning in 2024. It’ll be a balancing act — bring prices down enough that they’re affordable, but not so low that drug companies exit the Medicare market. Also in this episode: French wineries suffer as red wine consumption drops, and new OSHA rules bring more transparency to on-the-job accidents at 50,000 workplaces.
12/29/202327 minutes, 29 seconds
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The very hungry web crawler

The New York Times has sued OpenAI and Microsoft for allegedly using the newspaper’s content to train ChatGPT, the artificial intelligence chatbot. The outcome may answer some pressing questions about copyright law and the fair use doctrine. In this episode, we’ll break down data scraping — the content-copying practice at the heart of lawsuits like this one. Plus, credit unions profit big time from overdraft fees, Black Americans move south in a reverse Great Migration to flee pollution, and student loan borrowers aren’t back in the swing of things months after repayment restarted.
12/28/202327 minutes, 4 seconds
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The 2024 election cycle is gonna be a pricey one

A new report predicts that the 2023-24 U.S. election cycle will be the most expensive ever, with more than $10 billion spent across platforms. We’ll dig into who’s providing those funds and how the financial race might unfold. Plus, a word of caution for retailers that hope to extend the holiday shopping season and New Year’s predictions for streaming services. Plus, will the housing market get slightly less terrible in 2024?
12/27/202328 minutes, 23 seconds
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The inflation blame game

After the past couple of inflationary years, some consumers have come to accept that things cost more these days. But now that the inflation rate has come down, when will everything stop being inflation’s fault? In this episode, how still-high prices affect consumers psychologically. Plus, China’s property market impacts iron ore prices globally, families drown in toy clutter and next year, the car market could just chill out.
12/26/202327 minutes, 12 seconds
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Eating out is gonna cost you

Though overall food inflation has slowed, the latest consumer price index shows the inflation rate for food away from home is higher than that of purchases from the grocery store. What mainly accounts for the gap is the cost of staff. We’ll talk to restaurant owners about rising wages and how they find a middle ground between bumping up prices and keeping customers happy. Also in this episode, more food stories: How the myth of the American diner came to be, who designs restaurant menus and why your candy canes might have cost more this year.
12/25/202329 minutes, 33 seconds
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Extra to spend, extra to save

Some good news out of today’s personal consumption expenditures report, which tracked consumer spending in November. Disposable personal income rose, as did the personal savings rate. And some prices fell for the first time since spring 2020. Will consumer sentiment finally catch up to the improving inflation situation? Also in this episode: the wild ride NFTs have taken over the past few years and a debate between affordable housing and wetland restoration in one San Francisco Bay Area town.
12/22/202327 minutes, 5 seconds
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All I want for Christmas is same-day shipping

With Christmas Day falling on a Monday, online shoppers are cutting it close if they haven’t ordered all their gifts yet. As consumers grow accustomed to same-day or next-day shipping from Amazon, Target and Walmart are trying to catch up. But a nationwide network of fulfillment centers isn’t built in a day. Also in this episode, the state of hunger in the U.S., the rise and fall of rentable e-scooters, and Buc-ee’s: an embodiment of American excess and efficiency.
12/21/202327 minutes, 3 seconds
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All aboard the Marketplace time machine

The beleaguered housing market is showing signs of improvement, but how will things look in 2024? We decided to step into the Marketplace time machine with a few industry experts and report back from this time next year to see how the housing market is shaping up. Plus, McDonald’s takes on the beverage market, inflation comes for holiday tamale makers, Apple watches and the long history of U.S. patent wars, and political campaigns base their pitches on your personal data.
12/20/202327 minutes, 56 seconds
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Sending money home

When workers send money to their home countries, it can have a huge impact on local and national economies. Remittances to low and middle-income countries were up this year, and the U.S. was the biggest source. In this episode, we’ll get into why migrants and immigrants have been able to send more cash than they used to. Plus, alternative investments take a wild ride during the pandemic, Canada breaks into EV battery production  and 2022 unemployment hit a record low, new data shows.
12/19/202327 minutes, 30 seconds
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Allow us to explain

When it comes to economic talk, inflation is a major topic these days. But the word for “getting inflation to slow down a bit” isn’t as well known. In this episode, we’ll talk to economists who tell us what the difference is between “disinflation” and “deflation” and why the Federal Reserve is aiming for the former. Plus, we’ll explain why stock indexes just shuffled their membership, how board games raise money and what the deal is with movie franchises flopping in theaters.
12/18/202327 minutes, 22 seconds
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On the road to 2%, stay “patient, cautious and resolute”

As 2023 comes to a close, some economists would say we’re ending the year in a better place than they would have predicted in January — inflation has come down quite a bit and the economy is chugging along. But getting all the way back to 2% annual inflation will take persistence. In this episode, Raphael Bostic, president of the Atlanta Federal Reserve Bank, reflects on the economic year we’ve had. Plus, the psychology behind incremental mortgage rate drops and why the online gift guide business has exploded.
12/16/202327 minutes, 45 seconds
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Can we ever get good news?

In the last week, we’ve seen some solid labor and retail data. Unemployment is low, job availability is high and consumers are spending more than they did last year. But in an economy that’s hyperfocused on tamping down inflation, what’s good for workers might not be good for prices. In this episode, what news is good news right now? Plus, flood history disclosure laws catch on, online shopping drives retail growth and developing countries can’t keep up with their debt.
12/15/202327 minutes, 19 seconds
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What’s the Fed’s word of the year?

The Oxford English Dictionary’s word of 2023 is “rizz” — as in charming, skilled at wooing, cha-rizz-matic. Not a concept most people would apply to monetary policy. In this episode, economists weigh in on how the past 12 months have gone for the Federal Reserve’s mission, in just one word. Plus, car insurance costs more than it used to, solar and wind power may surpass the use of coal in the U.S. next year and a California startup fixes EV charging stations.
12/13/202326 minutes, 50 seconds
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How’s everyone feeling?

Tracking how folks feel about the economy is always tricky. Recently, consumer sentiment hasn’t lined up with the mostly positive data on inflation. And while small-business owners are anxious about sales, they’re spending on equipment anyway. In this episode, we’ll look at where those mixed signals might be coming from. Plus, a small-town newspaper makes a big-time change, major retailers pull back on self-checkout and the real estate sales commission model could get thrown out in court.
12/12/202327 minutes, 35 seconds
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Climate-friendly food is a global issue

Food chain resiliency is a central topic at COP28 — the U.N.’s global climate conference. So far, countries have pledged $3 billion to address the issue. In this episode, why agricultural sustainability is in the spotlight and what makes it, in some ways, more complicated than energy decarbonization. Plus, Amazon packages incite chaos in a rural post office, Wyoming has an EV charging station problem and we do some holiday retail check-ins.
12/11/202328 minutes, 6 seconds
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Choo-choo!

The Biden administration announced it’s putting $8 billion toward expanding the U.S. rail system. Travel by train is climate-friendlier than flying or driving, and in parts of Europe and Asia, it’s commonplace. So why has the U.S. been slower to build high-speed rail? Also in this episode: Amazon Fresh delivery tries out subscriptions, part-time workers find full-time employment and it’s tricky to predict labor demand for the holiday season.
12/8/202328 minutes, 4 seconds
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Higher ed got its credit report card, and it’s not straight A’s

Fitch Ratings issued a warning this week that U.S. colleges and universities are likely to encounter economic headwinds — bond investors beware. Declining enrollment, higher wages for faculty and staff and 2008 recession-era debt are all at play. In this episode, why some colleges may be affected more than others. Plus, artificial intelligence is already behind the scenes in Hollywood, rent-free housing comes with a cost and an electronic music store bides its time.
12/7/202327 minutes, 28 seconds
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How the podcast bubble burst

Podcasting took off in a big way in 2015. But just eight years later, waves of layoffs and cancellations have made the future of the medium uncertain. In this episode, we’ll explore why podcasts are tricky to monetize, what the future of the industry could look like and how public radio fits into the whole thing — with help from “On the Media” correspondent Micah Loewinger. Plus, restaurants shed jobs, the gender gap in science and tech persists and supply chain logistics are stabilizing.
12/6/202329 minutes, 27 seconds
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The ghosts of debt ceilings past

Despite all the angst over the national debt limit, extensions and last-minute compromises aren’t unusual — since 1960, Congress has fought over the debt ceiling 78 times. Although the U.S. has never defaulted, there have been consequences. In this episode, why debt ceiling battles haunt the nation’s credit rating. Plus, the financial strain on regional theaters across the country, as told by Danny Feldman, head of the Pasadena Playhouse.
12/5/202328 minutes, 44 seconds
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Whaddya mean capital got “more expensive”?

Seventeen percent of Spotify employees were laid off today in the company’s third round of layoffs this year. CEO Daniel Ek says a major reason for staff cuts is that capital has “become more expensive.” But how can money suddenly cost more? In this episode, why companies that grew by borrowing a bunch are scaling back in a high-interest-rate environment. Plus, gold isn’t the stable investment some think it is, 3D-printed houses could aid the affordable housing crisis and going splitsies on dinner is now en vogue.
12/4/202329 minutes, 32 seconds
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Just keep it

Over half of major retailers now have a “return-less” refund policy — aka, they’ll pay you to keep not-quite-right items — according to a goTRG report. Returns cost retailers a lot, so why take stuff back? In this episode, big-box stores are adopting this practice (but not necessarily advertising it). Plus, the “endless shrimp” offer tanks Red Lobster profit, farmers try to monetize carbon-trapping agricultural methods and the manufacturing sector shrinks.
12/1/202328 minutes, 16 seconds
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The urban-rural wage gap

People in cities have, on average, made more money than people in rural parts of America for decades. Now, that disparity seems to be widening. In 2023, urban dwellers are making 23% more than rural ones, compared to 20% more before the pandemic. In this episode, why inflation, telework and higher education all play into the urban-rural wage gap. Plus, more older Americans are still paying off their mortgages, ESG investing goes under the microscope and global markets don’t quite believe OPEC+.
11/30/202329 minutes, 44 seconds
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An oil exec hosting COP28? Surprise!

The United Nations’ climate change conference kicks off tomorrow in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, where tens of thousands of global leaders, experts and activists will discuss how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. However, the host country’s main export is fossil fuels and the host of the event is CEO of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. In this episode, could conflicting interests stall progress in the transition to renewable energy? Plus, hybrid and electric vehicle sales ramped up while overall consumer spending slowed down in Q3.
11/29/202329 minutes, 2 seconds
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Are we there yet? How about now?

We’ve been talking about making an economic “soft landing” for over a year — but how will the Federal Reserve know we’re there? In this episode, Chicago Fed President Austan Goolsbee tells us what indicators he looks at to gauge inflation trends and why cooling the economy is sorta like cooking a turkey. Plus, we’ll answer some business world questions: How is the chemicals sector doing after a pandemic boom? Why are corporate profits trending down? What does a board of directors do?
11/28/202328 minutes, 50 seconds
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Global trade may be back on track

After a yearlong slump, the World Trade Organization said the volume of global trade in goods is set to rebound in the coming year. Leading the charge will be auto parts and electronic components, the WTO said, particularly because demand for electric vehicles is high. In this episode, what it’ll take for global trade to return to pre-pandemic levels. Plus, retailers need those holiday discounts to draw customers, utility companies test out geothermal networks and newly built homes drive the homebuying market.
11/27/202330 minutes, 28 seconds
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Shoppers love easy returns. But retailers aren’t sold on ’em.

Americans will drop $37 billion online this long holiday shopping weekend, according to Adobe Analytics. A lot of those consumers are counting on free, easy returns if their items don’t work out, but retailers are unhappy with how much that process costs. In this Black Friday episode, whether stores will ever shrink that return window or go back to charging you for changing your mind. Plus, noisy workplaces, the cookie decoration business and Queen Nefertiti, the original beauty influencer.
11/24/202327 minutes, 23 seconds
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It’s all about that holiday spending

It’s not just you: The holiday shopping season really did start sooner this year. Retailers are competing for consumer dollars with sales and discounts, early and often. Plus, tomorrow is one of retailers’ favorite holidays: Black Friday. But the lines between in-store and online shopping are blurring. Later, we hear about post-breakup splurges and healthier habits for night shift workers.
11/23/202327 minutes, 49 seconds
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Grocery prices are a little less stuffed this Thanksgiving

The Farm Bureau says Thanksgiving meals will cost a bit less than they did in 2022. But everyone experiences the economy differently. So we talked to last-minute grocery shoppers in Houston about the prices of holiday essentials, from turkey wings to mac and cheese ingredients. Also in this episode: Google makes a business out of CAPTCHA puzzle data, the FCC wants to ban cable cord-cutting fees and OPEC+ delays a key meeting.
11/22/202328 minutes, 2 seconds
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Happy birthday, ChatGPT!

Next week marks one year since ChatGPT debuted, kicking off a surge in generative artificial intelligence products. In just a year, AI has gone from a futuristic concept to a tool tons of companies have incorporated into their workflows. In this episode, the growth in AI use and why some people still don’t trust it. Plus, homebuyers are getting older, migrants who lack work permits are desperate to find jobs and more Americans are pulling cash out of their retirement accounts.
11/21/202326 minutes, 50 seconds
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What’s next for the artificial intelligence industry?

OpenAI, the company behind ChatGPT, ousted its CEO Sam Altman last week. Chaos ensued. Now, although Altman has already scored a job at Microsoft, most of OpenAI’s employees are threatening to quit if he isn’t reinstated. In this episode, we’ll talk about what could be next, from an employment shakeup to more regulations. Plus, SNAP approval in some states takes months, Argentina’s president-elect wants to swap the peso for the U.S. dollar, and applications to borrow money are down.
11/20/202329 minutes, 48 seconds
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Capitol Hill doesn’t love this crop insurance program. Some farmers say they need it.

There is a provision in the newly passed farm bill extension has enemies across the political spectrum: the Federal Crop Insurance Program. Left-leaning groups believe it doesn’t reach a breadth of farmers, and conservative ones think it encourages unnecessary risk. But some farmers rely on the program and say without it, food prices would skyrocket. Also in this episode, Apple plans to make it easier for iPhone and Android users to connect, and Utah is on top when it comes to labor force participation.
11/18/202329 minutes
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The calm after the employment storm

At last, the labor market is showing signs that it’s finding a happy medium: New unemployment claims are inching up while overall unemployment is still at a historic low. While this isn’t the gangbusters labor market of summer 2022, it’s also not the COVID shutdown, with sky-high furloughs and layoffs. In this episode, why slowed hiring is a good sign. Also, retail stories, big and small: big-box stores cut costs where they can, street vendors scrape by and Toyota sticks to hybrids.
11/16/202327 minutes, 35 seconds
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Milton Friedman’s impact

Like it or not, economist Milton Friedman had lots of ideas that still affect economic policy and programs. In her new book, “Milton Friedman: The Last Conservative,” Jennifer Burns writes about Friedman’s complicated position as a contrarian among economists of his time and as an adviser to members of the Republican Party. We’ll hear from her about Friedman’s life and economic beliefs. Also in this episode: international student enrollment and discretionary spending.
11/15/202329 minutes, 48 seconds
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Climate change could heat up long-term inflation

Climate change may have us spending more on food, health care, home repairs and more, according to the Fifth National Climate Assessment, published by the federal government. The fact is, climate change is already impacting many aspects of our daily lives. In this episode, we’ll talk about how it’ll also impact our wallets. Plus, ESPN launches its sports betting platform, travel should be a little cheaper this holiday season and a leading U.S. port gets updated infrastructure.
11/14/202327 minutes, 30 seconds
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Once again, a shutdown looms

Congress is facing yet another government shutdown deadline at the end of this week. If a deal isn’t reached by Friday at midnight, hundreds of thousands of federal workers will stop getting paid, which may have broader economic ramifications. In this episode, we look at what might happen in the event of a shutdown, from airports to the nation’s global reputation. Plus, a shift in how medical spending is calculated for the CPI, a monetary vs. fiscal policy refresher and a war over groundwater in the Southwest.
11/13/202329 minutes, 40 seconds
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Consumers are feeling Scrooge-y about the economy. Will they spend less for the holidays?

Consumer sentiment just dropped to a new six-month low, according to the University of Michigan’s consumer survey. But in this post-2020 world, how folks feel about the economy doesn’t always line up with how they spend. In this episode, we’ll dig into that disconnect and how it might affect holiday retail outcomes. Plus, the farm bill expires soon, community college students have trouble transferring credits to four-year institutions and not even the Federal Reserve knows exactly why long-term bond yields are so high.
11/10/202327 minutes, 40 seconds
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More Americans than ever are enrolled in ACA coverage

More than 16 million people signed up for health care coverage last year through federal or state marketplaces, which were made possible by the Affordable Care Act. One reason that number is so high? Subsidies for ACA plans were more generous in 2021 as part of a pandemic relief program. In this episode, we’ll check in on the program’s success. Plus, the creator economy goes untracked by the U.S. government, Albuquerque makes free public transit permanent, and “hot desking” irks workers.
11/9/202330 minutes, 5 seconds
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A “laddered” continuing resolution, explained

House Republicans are floating a new idea for staving off a government shutdown: staggered funding deadlines for different parts of the government, or, as they’re calling it, a laddered continuing resolution. In this episode, we’ll talk to political experts about what this type of CR could look like and if it would work. Plus, small businesses crank out content, commercial airlines offer experienced pilots huge bonuses and while more Americans are behind on their debt, fewer are in collections.
11/8/202327 minutes, 36 seconds
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Why China may be selling its U.S. debt

China is the second-biggest foreign holder of U.S. debt, but its total holdings recently hit a low not seen since 2009. In this episode, we’ll talk through a few theories on why China appears to be offloading U.S. Treasurys. Could it be trying to pump up the value of the yuan? Or has China just hidden a bunch of Treasurys? Plus, big-box retailers renovate to draw in shoppers, the repossession industry faces a repo man shortage, and corporate earnings reports go better than expected.
11/8/202327 minutes, 13 seconds
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Undergrad workers unionize

From Harvard to the University of Oregon, a growing number of undergraduate students are forming labor unions. In this episode, we’ll talk to students involved in labor organizing efforts and hear what they’re hoping to accomplish. Plus, we’ll check in on loan delinquencies, bust the myth of the Great Wealth Transfer and assess whether the latest nationwide job numbers point to a coming recession.
11/6/202329 minutes, 35 seconds
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Does the Fed control the economy?

When it comes to the Federal Reserve’s powers, raising or lowering interest rates is pretty cool. But there are a ton of economic factors the Fed doesn’t get a say in — gas price fluctuation, stock market trends, long-term bond yields, to name a few. Sure, the Fed might love to totally control financial conditions — but reality often gets in the way. Also in this episode, wage growth slows, schools turn to tech in response to bus driver shortages and paper companies adapt to paperless billing.
11/3/202329 minutes, 10 seconds
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Is there a downside to economic resilience?

In his statement after the Federal Reserve’s rate-setting meeting yesterday, Chair Jerome Powell said, basically, that a too-resilient economy could put inflation-cooling measures at risk. But isn’t resilience a good thing? In this episode, economists get into what the Fed chief’s comment means and whether it’s a sign of more interest rate hikes to come. Plus, pharmacists walk out of their jobs, citing burnout and understaffing, and California consumers have issues with electric vehicles.
11/2/202327 minutes, 33 seconds
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No change at the Fed, but what about the bond market?

The Federal Reserve opted to keep interest rates unchanged at its policymaking meeting today, but there’s Treasury news that has interest rate implications. In this episode, we’ll get into the Treasury market and why the Fed isn’t buying bonds but hedge funds are. Plus, tribal nations are fighting for a role in river management decisions, WeWork is on the brink of filing for bankruptcy and remote workers are at their wits’ end with digital communication tools.
11/1/202329 minutes, 58 seconds
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Why the Federal Reserve fears wage spikes

Recent data shows that while labor costs are still rising, they aren’t growing crazy fast. That’s good news for the Federal Reserve, which wouldn’t want to see a wage-price spiral nightmare this Halloween. In this episode, we’ll look at why the Fed is spooked by too-fast wage growth and where labor costs might be headed. Plus, an Iowa corn and soybean farmer reports a record harvest, Japan eases up on its bond yield controls and California child care workers unionize for better pay and benefits.
10/31/202329 minutes, 17 seconds
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Americans are giving the economy mixed reviews

In a recent Harris poll, 44% of respondents said they’re stressed economically. But in the same poll, 34% said they’re optimistic. What gives? In this episode, how the American middle class is experiencing the current economy. Higher costs and lower personal savings are two big components affecting that economic vibe. Plus, how is New York City dealing with subway flooding, which parts of artificial intelligence can the Biden administration regulate and what the heck is the employment cost index?
10/30/202326 minutes, 53 seconds
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Examining health care inflation

Health care costs contributed big to September’s inflation reading, though the sector’s price increases have lagged other industries for most of the last year. But lately, consumers and insurers are shelling out more for medication, nursing homes and hospitals. In this episode, we’ll diagnose the root cause of high health care spending, which is expected to make up a fifth of the U.S. economy by 2030. Plus, why the cost of corporate debt is on the rise and haunted houses’ frightening finances.
10/27/202326 minutes, 10 seconds
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Hear that boom? It’s the economy.

Gross domestic product expanded at a 4.9% rate in the third quarter, driven by a consumer who couldn’t pass up high-priced concert tickets and big-ticket durable goods. But is that torrid pace sustainable? We’ll also examine why companies are holding on tight to their workers and how Buy American rules can complicate infrastructure buildouts.
10/26/202329 minutes, 41 seconds
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Is there a cure for the nurse shortage?

As America gets older, its people need nursing homes, and nursing homes need nurses. There’s not enough of them, and even government mandates may not fix the problem. We delve into the gap. Also, GM slows down its electric vehicle program, and Microsoft has the momentum in its long rivalry with Google.
10/25/202327 minutes, 24 seconds
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Part of the deficit: Federal Reserve interest costs

As the federal budget deficit widens, we’ll take a look at one contributing factor: the Federal Reserve’s obligation to pay interest to banks. It’s outpacing income the Fed makes from the securities it bought as part of its quantitative easing strategy. Also in this episode, women who’ve started their own businesses weigh in on the pros and cons compared to traditional jobs. Hydropower dams struggle in the face of changing weather patterns, and the H-1B visa application process may get some updates.
10/24/202327 minutes, 45 seconds
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Why do we stick to the default option?

Do users actually like Google’s search engine best, or does its role as default option seal the deal? That’s the question at the center of the Justice Department’s antitrust trial against Google — whose parent company, Alphabet, spends billions to be the default on all sorts of devices. In this episode, we examine the psychology of defaults and why they wield serious power. Plus, we’ll investigate the revenue side of the budget deficit and get your bond yield questions answered.
10/23/202327 minutes, 35 seconds
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Maybe night work isn’t looking so bad

In the most recent Beige Book, the Philadelphia Fed reported a staffing firm said it’s having an easier time filling night and weekend shifts. Could this mean the labor market is loosening up? We’ll talk to some folks around the country who are picking up jobs at odd hours. Also in this episode: rental car agencies pile on fees, China restricts graphite exports, and class barriers break down at … Applebee’s?
10/20/202326 minutes, 29 seconds
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A closer look at unemployment and wealth gap data

Initial jobless claims dropped last week, according to the Labor Department, but continuing claims ticked up. That could mean companies are hanging on to employees, but aren’t hiring new ones, an economist told us. We’ll talk about that at the top of the show. Later, Black and Hispanic household wealth grew faster than other households from 2019 to 2022. But that growth is a bit of an illusion. In this episode, two data stories with lots of nuance. Plus, the U.S.-to-Mexico gun pipeline and revenge spending.
10/19/202327 minutes, 46 seconds
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How water moves — or stalls — the economy

A fast-growing city in the Arizona desert wants to spend millions buying extra land just to access the water beneath it. Drought in the Panama Canal is causing headaches for a Pennsylvania customs broker. And in Texas, a shrinking water management workforce means utilities companies are recruiting high schoolers to join the trade. In this episode, we’ll dive into why water matters in this economy. Plus, small businesses navigate growing insurance premiums and teens try out LinkedIn.
10/18/202328 minutes, 38 seconds
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As COVID vigilance dwindles, medical companies ail

Many medical businesses thrived early in the pandemic. But now, domestic producers of personal protective equipment are struggling, COVID test makers have shuttered and vaccine developer Pfizer cut its revenue forecast for the year by $9 billion. In this episode, what might be next for the COVID economy. Plus, we’ll meet a writer who followed a meal literally from farm to table and visit two states that offer very different opportunities for remote work.
10/17/202326 minutes, 5 seconds
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What does global trade policy have to do with the climate crisis?

High tariffs usually mean high prices, which can do bad things to economies and consumers. But what if tariffs were strategically used to encourage climate-friendly purchases? Take steel, for example. In this episode, we examine how trade policies could incentivize the use of recycled steel over steel made from scratch. Plus, why Rite Aid filed for bankruptcy, how natural gas prices could keep heating bills low this winter and what’s driving Tesla’s price-cutting strategy?
10/16/202327 minutes, 46 seconds
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A $7 billion boost for the clean hydrogen effort

The Biden administration allocated $7 billion to hydrogen hubs across the country to boost production of low-cost, clean hydrogen. It’s part of a focus on clean energy and limiting greenhouse gas emissions. We’ll get into what Biden hopes the hydrogen hubs will accomplish and some of the scientific challenges they might face. Also in this episode: Big banks thrive while regional banks remain on the mend, and Microsoft closes its deal with Activision.
10/13/202328 minutes, 16 seconds
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The endless hamster wheel of inflation

According to the most recent consumer price index, inflation didn’t go up in September. But it also didn’t go down. To fight inflation, does the economy have to run in place, like a hamster on a wheel? We’ll ask a few economists. Also in this episode, Exxon shells out $60 billion to expand operations in West Texas, used car prices go down but remain out of reach for some buyers, and demand for “premium economy” seats drives up airline earnings.
10/12/202327 minutes, 7 seconds
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EV subsidies are about to get simpler

Thinking about buying an electric vehicle? If you can wait till January, you can apply the $7,500 EV tax credit upfront to a car purchase. In this episode, more about why getting that cash at the dealership — rather than from the IRS — could get more EVs on the road. Plus, we’ll dig into what defines Native American art, hear about employers that remain resistant to pay transparency laws and try on the Birkenstock IPO for size.
10/11/202327 minutes, 54 seconds
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Maybe don’t take a stand

The number of Americans who want brands to take a stance on political issues is trending down, according to a Bentley-Gallup poll. While a company’s public position on current events may have been on point over the last few years, consumers may see such statements as a ploy to make a buck. Still, there are some issues Americans want companies to speak up about, like climate change and labor conditions. Also in this episode: optimism ahead of corporate earnings reports, the problem with fixing AI bias, and a visit to a mushroom farm.
10/10/202327 minutes, 19 seconds
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How much is your paycheck really worth?

Real wages — what’s left in your paycheck after accounting for inflation — have been rising for the last several months. So how does the “what’s coming in” column in your finances spreadsheet compare to the “what’s going out” column? In this episode, we get into the nitty gritty of spending power and what it means for the economy. Plus, the green energy transition needs more workers, the lending business is sour thanks to high interest rates, and the Nobel Prize in economics goes to a gender wage gap expert.
10/9/202329 minutes, 5 seconds
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What’s up with falling gas prices?

Last month, OPEC+ said it would cut oil production to raise prices. Simple economics, right? It worked for a few weeks, but now the price of oil is falling fast. In this episode, we’ll talk about why the oil cartel’s plan isn’t working out — it has a lot to do with low demand for gas across the globe. Plus, how the climate crisis shapes consumer demand and why the WTO lowered its 2023 global trade growth forecast.
10/6/202329 minutes, 52 seconds
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Buying a home is a bleak quest right now

The average monthly payment on new mortgages rose 46% in 2022, according to a new report from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Combine steep home prices with climbing mortgage rates, and it’s a rough time to be a buyer. We’ll dig into how we got here and when things might cool off. Also in this episode, why demand for temp workers might not be the strongest economic indicator and how the recovery is going for Texas cities’ downtown cores.
10/5/202329 minutes, 3 seconds
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Movin’ out

Nearly half of young adults in the U.S. are living with family — the highest rate since the 1940s, according to a Bloomberg survey. In this episode, we’ll talk to some of them about the hurdles they’re facing, from high rents to cutthroat competition. Plus, Americans are spending less at restaurants and the EU is investigating China’s electric vehicle subsidies. We’ll also hear from Politico’s Sudeep Reddy about whether the bond market could jeopardize the chances for a soft landing.
10/4/202329 minutes, 3 seconds
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A high T-note yield could affect your wallet

The yield on 10-year Treasury notes hit the highest level since 2007 — not the best era to bring back, economically speaking. This is bad news for the government’s ability to borrow money, and it’s also not great for everyday Americans who plan to take out a mortgage or pay off their car. We’ll dig into why. Plus, attendance climbs at MLB games, the latest federal JOLTS report shows unexpected strength in the labor market and former Yellow truck drivers struggle to find jobs.
10/3/202328 minutes, 6 seconds
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Millions owe student loan payments, again

After a three-year pause, student loan payments are resuming and interest is accruing. That means millions of Americans must once again put hundreds of dollars a month toward loan debt — money they’ve been spending freely since March 2020. We’ll ask a few experts about the effect this could have on the economy. Plus, SCOTUS will hear a case about the role federal agencies play in clarifying laws, and supply chains are looking scary this Halloween.
10/2/202326 minutes, 53 seconds
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Plunging U.S. crop exports, explained

The latest Commerce Department report is kind of a yawn, except for the fact that U.S. food exports — mostly soybeans, corn and wheat — plunged 20% compared to August last year. In this episode, why we’re selling fewer grains. (Hint: It has to do with rain and Ukraine.) Plus, the apprenticeship comeback, industrial-scale ticket scalpers and streaming viewership data.
9/29/202329 minutes, 48 seconds
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$2 trillion in savings, spent

Americans saved a lot during the first few years of the pandemic. But some economists say those excess savings are running low or even have been entirely depleted. Where did all the extra cash go? Also in this episode: Unemployment falls to fantastic lows in three states, a government shutdown would bring financial stress to Native nations and the majority of millennials now own homes.
9/28/202328 minutes, 5 seconds
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Feeling the oil-flation?

Oil keeps the gears of the American economy running, from transportation to manufacturing. But the cost is creeping up — crude may well reach $100 a barrel soon. In this episode, we’ll trace how high oil prices ripple through our lives. Plus, college cost transparency, aircraft order volatility and federal firefighter pay cuts.
9/27/202327 minutes, 19 seconds
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Housing market role play

The July Case-Shiller home price index came out today, and it hit an all-time high. But mortgage rates, at 7%, are also high. We’ll demonstrate what this unusual pairing means for the housing market with some buyer-seller role play. Also in this episode: Staving off climate change will cost trillions, the pumpkin spice latte turns 20 and gas prices fuel consumer sentiment.
9/26/202327 minutes, 6 seconds
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The business of getting offices back in business

How do I make non-Zoom eye contact? What should I share about my personal life? Is my lunch stinky? Work etiquette experts are helping companies ease the back-to-office transition. Also in this episode: UAW strike strategies, the economics of recycling plastic, a hops farm check-in and domestic worker contracts.
9/25/202328 minutes, 14 seconds
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The early bird gets the worm

Diners are digging in earlier than ever across the U.S. It’s an adjustment for the restaurant industry, but it might be better for workers and eaters alike. Plus, a flood of new apartment buildings should ease rent inflation, but it won’t solve the housing crisis. We’ll also analyze the week’s economic happenings with The New York Times’ Jeanna Smialek and Politico’s Sudeep Reddy.
9/22/202326 minutes, 56 seconds
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50 years after the oil embargo, the U.S. is playing catch-up

The idea of energy “conservation” was new to Americans in 1973. Experiencing a first-of-its-kind gasoline shortage, the U.S. began to encourage fuel efficiency in cars and homes. If President Ronald Reagan hadn’t reversed such commitments, would renewable energy be ubiquitous today? Plus, doing without: manufacturing without temp workers, the Fed without government economic data and NYC without Airbnb.
9/21/202328 minutes, 39 seconds
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Do you advertise en Español?

About three-quarters of Latinos in the U.S. speak at least some Spanish. Marketing experts have caught on. We’ll talk to a few about how they strike an English-Spanish balance in ads geared toward the growing demographic. Plus, Amazon is already aggressively hiring for the holidays, Japan might prop up the yen again, and the Federal Reserve didn’t raise rates — this time.
9/20/202327 minutes, 18 seconds
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The facial recognition software cops are raving about

Clearview AI, widely used by U.S. law enforcement, can find a face anywhere on the internet thanks to a database of billions of scraped photos. Journalist Kashmir Hill, who recently published a book about Clearview, will tell us what it was like to investigate a company that’s always watching. Plus, the viability of a four-day workweek for blue-collar jobs and an electrical transformer shortage.
9/19/202326 minutes, 17 seconds
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Would you take a job that might make you work for free?

With government shutdowns becoming more frequent — we could have another one at the end of the month — taking a government job isn’t all that appealing. Why worry about the uncertainty of a furlough when plenty of other companies are hiring? We’ll also tackle the environmental impacts of barge shipping, hard-to-find auto parts in the U.S. and members-only shopping in China.
9/18/202327 minutes, 56 seconds
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Is it time to question the economic vibe?

Consumer spending is key to this economy, but Americans are running through their cash just as student loan repayments are coming due. Could that be the straw that breaks the consumer’s back? We’ll discuss it on the Weekly Wrap. Plus, how car dealers are reacting to the UAW strike, why immigration is important to the AI race and why gross domestic product and gross domestic income often don’t match up, even though they should.
9/15/202326 minutes, 1 second
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How to price an IPO so it “pops”

9/15/202326 minutes, 57 seconds
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What will inflation look like in 6 months?

Though inflation ticked up a bit in August, it looks like price increases are losing steam. Today, we ask what inflation could look like next year and what wild cards might be in play. We also investigate where all the G-rated movies went and why fish tacos are still about a buck at a San Diego restaurant chain.
9/13/202326 minutes, 41 seconds
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Poverty rose last year. Inflation’s only part of the story.

New data released by the U.S. Census Bureau shows that median income fell last year while poverty spiked, as pandemic-era government benefits ended. Today, we do the numbers and discuss who’s been most affected. We also explore the impact of tech regulation in the European Union and look at why businesses are so glum. Plus: You’ve probably infringed several patents today.
9/12/202327 minutes, 8 seconds
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When a 10-day strike could cost $5 billion

Members of the United Auto Workers union could go on strike this week if contracts aren’t signed with Ford, GM and Stellantis. If no deal is struck, the Upper Midwest in particular could suffer major losses. Today, we’ll chart the potential impacts. We’ll also look at consumer expectations, fear of automation and the panic over retail theft.
9/11/202329 minutes, 40 seconds
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What rising corporate bankruptcies tell us about the economy

Corporate bankruptcies have been on the rise for more than a year now, and the trend can have wide-ranging ripple effects. We dig into it. We also unpack the cooling labor market in the Weekly Wrap and look at the future of sustainable energy from the American home of oil and gas.
9/8/202326 minutes, 47 seconds
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The Chicago Fed president on the path forward for interest rates

The Federal Reserve’s Open Market Committee meets in two weeks to determine if interest rates should change. Today, we hear from Chicago Fed CEO Austan Goolsbee on the odds of a soft landing for the economy and the data used to guide rate decisions. Plus, the inverted yield curve is an indicator of a coming recession. Could it be wrong this time? And later: Speed-dating makes a comeback.
9/7/202328 minutes, 22 seconds
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A strong dollar spells trouble for other economies

Ever since the Federal Reserve began hiking interest rates, the value of the U.S. dollar has surged. For many other countries, that means debt has become costlier and it can be harder to prevent capital flight. So what are the options for central banks abroad? We also take the pulse of community banking six months after SVB’s failure and examine the fan fiction economy.
9/6/202326 minutes, 14 seconds
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Why oil prices jumped today

Saudi Arabia and Russia said they’ll stick with oil production cuts through the end of the year. The two countries are trying to prop up prices for their lucrative resource, and those prices surged after the announcement. We dig into the decision. Plus: More than 800,000 people are benefiting from student loan forgiveness. Then, the rise of “girl math” and other ways people justify their enthusiastic spending.
9/5/202325 minutes, 47 seconds
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Tracing the roots of Labor Day

This has been a hot summer for labor organizing, and strikes — along with narrowly averted ones — have made headlines. This Labor Day, we chart the holiday’s history and examine the parallels between worker activism of more than a century ago and worker activism today. We’ll also do the numbers on labor, including women’s workforce participation and how hotels are hiring in a tight market. Later: the big business of wacky holidays.
9/4/202325 minutes, 34 seconds
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GDP doesn’t care how you feel

Gross domestic product has been a global standard for measuring economic growth since 1944. But there’s a new push to measure economic welfare and well-being. Today, we’ll explore the history of GDP, all the things it can measure and all the things it can’t. We’ll also take a closer look at rebounding labor force participation and hear how small businesses are grappling with hiring hurdles.
9/1/202327 minutes, 49 seconds
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Get used to these labor shortages

The pandemic accelerated baby boomer retirement, and multiple sectors are struggling to find enough workers. Those challenges may persist for years to come. Today, we take a closer look at what some are calling an economywide labor shortage and what can be done to remedy it. We also hear from a White House economist who wants businesses to “step up and make investments” in the United States.
8/31/202328 minutes, 8 seconds
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Give yourself a pat on the back

While U.S. gross domestic product didn’t grow as fast in the second quarter as initially thought, there are underlying signs of strength in the economy. And a lot of it is due to the American consumer, who keeps on spending. Good job! Plus, a view of China’s tourism recovery from the vantage point of a seafood market. Then, would you pay $500 a month for bigger, better Tinder?
8/30/202328 minutes, 20 seconds
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A labor market that’s cooling, but not cool

Today, we learned that job openings fell in July. While it’s an indication that supply and demand in the job market are balancing out, there’s still a ways to go before that sought-after “soft landing” is achieved. Then, we turn to the housing market, looking at some homeowners who bypass high mortgage rates and others who bypass insurance. Later: the return of awkward business lunches.
8/29/202329 minutes, 13 seconds
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A brake tap on wage gains

It’s a big week for job data, including reports on the quits rate, private payrolls, layoff announcements and employment numbers. The Federal Reserve will be keeping a close eye on wage growth, and today we see indications that pay gains might be cooling. Then, the Texas power grid is strained by rising temps and growing cities, and companies invest in passenger rail.
8/28/202329 minutes, 9 seconds
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Remember the $5 footlong? Thank behavioral economics.

How much should a sandwich cost? How about a fast food drink? A gallon of gas? Turns out, behavioral economics shapes how much we think something should cost and explains why it’s hard to adjust those prices for inflation. We also dissect Fed Chair Jerome Powell’s Jackson Hole Symposium speech and hear why squashing the last bit of inflation is so tricky.
8/25/202328 minutes, 57 seconds
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Manufacturing is down in the dumps, but things may be looking up

Nearly every business had to pivot during the pandemic. But domestic manufacturing has been weak for a while now. On today’s show, we hear how businesses in the sector are looking to pivot yet again. Plus: the challenges faced by schools as pandemic funding ends, and the risks around chipmaker Nvidia’s dominance of a very concentrated market. Later: Wordle, but make it global trade.
8/24/202328 minutes, 43 seconds
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The things that keep economists up at night

The theme of this year’s Federal Reserve symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, is “Structural Shifts in the Global Economy.” Today, we ask a handful of economists who aren’t sitting around the campfire with Jay Powell to weigh in. Then: Just half of CEOs see climate change as a threat to their business. And later: Could teaching more women poker narrow the boardroom gender gap?
8/23/202327 minutes, 11 seconds
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Real wages rebound, while low-income earners play catch-up

Inflation is cooling and real wages are improving, which is good news. But after losing ground to rising prices for so long, low-income households are struggling to catch up financially, leaving them vulnerable to an economic slowdown. Plus, the U.S. dollar weakens as other countries hike interest rates, and the real estate refrain “you can always refinance” stages a comeback.
8/22/202327 minutes, 3 seconds
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A barometer for the AI economy

Wall Street is zooming in on Nvidia, which reports quarterly earnings this week. The  chipmaker’s components power many of the generative artificial intelligence models that have surged in popularity, and its financial results will provide clues about the strength of the industry that runs on its technology. Also on the show: diminishing appetite for U.S. bonds, life in a fire lookout tower and vanishing tattoo ink.
8/21/202327 minutes, 13 seconds
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Houston’s heat wave is taking its toll

It’s been a summer of record-breaking heat. Today, we’ll head to Houston to hear how a sizzling heat wave is impacting the health of its most vulnerable workers. Also on the show: The 10-year Treasury yield is climbing, as are 401(k) balances. Plus, are American tourists ready for a museum about the economy?
8/18/202328 minutes, 17 seconds
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The most predicted recession … if it happens at all

Leading economic indicators are stubbornly pointing to a recession that hasn’t shown up. They’re normally a strong signal that a downturn is on the horizon. Could they be wrong this time around? Then, why child care is likely to get even more expensive, how AI summaries could transform product reviews and how subsidized employment programs could fight racial inequity.
8/17/202328 minutes, 1 second
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Say we achieve a soft landing. Then what?

If the Federal Reserve chills inflation without tipping the economy into a recession — known as the elusive “soft landing” — what will that look like and what happens when we get there? We dig into the ideal outcomes. We also take a bite out of three slices of our economy: retail inventories, Fed decision-making and investors’ aversion to risk.
8/16/202327 minutes, 50 seconds
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When will the Federal Reserve start cutting interest rates?

Economists at Goldman Sachs predict that the Federal Reserve could begin to pare back interest rates by the middle of next year. So what kind of economic conditions would warrant such a change after a historic series of hikes? We’ll examine. We also look at the state of the restaurant biz and what happens when you can’t afford to own a car but can’t afford not to.
8/15/202327 minutes, 40 seconds
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Life’s bananas. Let’s buy something!

American consumers keep on spending month after month — even as inflation and rising interest rates chip away at family finances and credit card debt mounts. But after several years of hardship and unpredictability, there’s still a lot to stress about. And it’s got us feeling spendy. Then, how Gen Z and millennials feel about investing and how waste plants pick through unsorted recyclables.
8/14/202328 minutes, 37 seconds
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Don’t lose sleep over the uptick in producer prices

The cost of services helped push up the producer price index in July. But that increase likely isn’t a lasting one. Today, we’ll unpack the uptick. We’ll also dig into new home sales and oil demand. Plus, in the Weekly Wrap, what will it take to get consumers to feel better about the economy?
8/11/202327 minutes, 15 seconds
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Would you trust AI for financial advice?

Many finance-focused artificial intelligence tools seem designed to make the jobs of human financial advisers easier, not replace them. At least for now. Today, we’ll map out how likely it is that AI will manage our money and pick our stocks. We’ll also dig deeper into inflation data for shelter and gas, then examine how aging populations could shake up the global economy.
8/10/202327 minutes, 3 seconds
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Political economics, zero-COVID and China’s slowing recovery

China’s economic miracle isn’t going so well. Exports fell in July, and there are now fears of deflation. Could China’s political economy and the implementation of its zero-COVID policies be to blame for its current woes? We’ll also look at what WeWork’s continuing downward spiral means for co-working companies, and what it might take to convert office spaces to affordable housing.
8/10/202327 minutes, 34 seconds
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The “slow burn” phase of the banking crisis

It’s been nearly five months since the collapses of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank sparked upheaval in the banking industry. But this week, Moody’s cut the credit ratings of several regional banks, citing problems related to rising interest rates and troubled loan portfolios. We’ll dive in. Plus, California trucking companies go electric, and a decline in China’s exports hints at a global spending slowdown.
8/8/202327 minutes, 19 seconds
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Why China’s economic rebound has fallen short of expectations

After China lifted its zero-COVID policy, economists expected the economy to come roaring back. That hasn’t quite happened. Today, we zoom in on the reasons, including a pullback in consumer spending after a burst housing bubble. Then, why the UAW is asking for a 40% raise, why Black farmers feel left behind by the Agriculture Department and why car repairs are so darn expensive these days.
8/7/202326 minutes, 39 seconds
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Can we let the economic good news be good news?

Is that a productivity boom we see on the horizon? It’s too early to tell if that’s the case, but the economic mood has clearly improved. Our Weekly Wrap panel parses the changes. Also, labor shortages in home health care, a dip in domestic travel and the cultural and economic impact of hip-hop.
8/4/202328 minutes, 6 seconds
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Bitcoin, election anxiety and second passports

Instead of buying another Porsche, some of the mega-rich are dropping $100,000 on new citizenship. These citizenship by investment programs have gained popularity since the 2020 election and pandemic, especially among bitcoin investors. Today, we delve into “the ultimate hedge” for wealthy Americans. Plus, why an uptick in productivity is good news for the inflation fight, and what to make of a slowdown in manufacturing.
8/3/202327 minutes, 39 seconds
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An economic vibe shift?

The economy seems pretty strong right now: Inflation is moderating and consumer sentiment is up. In other words, the vibes are good. So is it possible we’ve skirted a recession? Or that the “vibecession” is over? Also on today’s program: claims of a superconductor breakthrough, AI’s impact on voice assistants and calls to end “scholarship displacement.”
8/2/202327 minutes, 50 seconds
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Is the current job market music to the Fed’s ears?

According to the Job Openings and Labor Turnover survey for June, fewer workers are quitting their jobs and employers are hiring less. But is it all rock ‘n’ roll for the Federal Reserve’s inflation fight, or will it just end up rocky, with a recession? Turns out, the economic anthem of the moment depends on how you read the data. Then: freight shipping woes, Uber’s first-time profit and a blame game over Britain’s cost-of-living crisis.
8/1/202327 minutes, 13 seconds
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The country’s newest test case for nuclear power

While extreme heat bakes much of the country, the first new nuclear reactor to be built from scratch in decades just came online in Georgia. But the project took much longer and cost much more than planned. As the planet continues to scorch, will nuclear power catch on? Then, the perks of being a legacy student and a boom in spam texts.
7/31/202328 minutes, 26 seconds
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Inside the Deadhead economy

It’s the final tour of Dead & Company, the Grateful Dead’s offshoot band. But what’s to come of the vendors and Deadheads who’ve followed the band for decades? Today, we hear about what a long, strange trip it’s been and what happens now that the show’s over. We’ll also examine the double-edged sword of consumer spending and unpack whether inflation might threaten brand loyalty.
7/28/202328 minutes, 43 seconds
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What’s behind those annoying customer service hold times?

Call a customer service line and odds are you’ll hear that “unusually high call volume” is making you wait. But automated messages and long wait times seem to have become the norm. We won’t put you on hold to find out why. Plus, the economy just keeps on growing and businesses stock up on inventory again.
7/27/202327 minutes, 45 seconds
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Interest rates are high, but consumer confidence is up

Sure, today the Federal Reserve hiked its key interest rate to the highest level since 2001. But consumers are feeling much rosier about the economy lately, thanks to cooling inflation and a strong labor market. Plus, higher interest rates spell trouble for businesses, and a lack of investment in women’s soccer has debilitating physical consequences.
7/26/202327 minutes, 43 seconds
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A view of the post-peak housing market

The CoreLogic Case-Shiller index of existing home prices, which came out today, shows that values are down from the year before, but the price trends vary across the country. Today, we trace their rise and fall. Then, what’s a fair price for artificial intelligence? And what Milton Friedman’s “long and variable lag” means in 2023.
7/25/202328 minutes, 17 seconds
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The origin story of Friedman’s “long and variable lag”

Popularized by Milton Friedman in the 1960s, the phrase “long and variable lag” refers to the idea that it takes time for monetary policy to be felt in the economy, and the Federal Reserve uses it a lot. How did it go from concept to conventional wisdom? Today, part one of our answer. We’ll also outline a big week ahead for the world’s central banks and the ripple effects of a potential UPS strike.
7/24/202327 minutes, 4 seconds
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Your move, Federal Reserve

We got retail sales and housing data this week, and there’s some optimistic news. Are these signs of a “soft landing”? The Federal Reserve hasn’t said — nobody wants to jinx it. We’ll examine the data and what it means for a potential Fed rate hike next week. Also on the program: a trip to a winery in southwest Germany and a famous pony ranch on Virginia’s Chincoteague Island.
7/21/202328 minutes, 24 seconds
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Fragmented medical records are a danger to our health

Accessing medical records isn’t always easy for doctors, and the gaps and disorganization that result can pose serious risks for patients. Today, we hear what fragmentation means for our health care and what we can do to fix it. We’ll also examine whether the monthly Leading Economic Index is still a good recession predictor, and do the numbers on the Women’s World Cup.
7/20/202327 minutes, 49 seconds
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Stay cool out there

Air conditioners are cranked and grids are straining as much of the country grapples with a heat wave. This is also the first summer Americans are eligible for expanded home weatherization tax credits, and we’ve got everything you need to know. Later, we’ll learn why Chipotle is expanding to small-town America and what worries legal pros about the spread of AI-powered tools.
7/19/202325 minutes, 58 seconds
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Confused by the economy right now? So are economists.

We talk with experts every day about this chaotic economy, up to and including today’s new retail sales data. But years of mixed signals mean economists are sometimes just as confused as we are. On today’s show, we’ll get a bit meta and talk with them about it. Plus: What those retail sales numbers and a recent surge in loan rejections mean (or don’t?) for the economy at large. Later, we’ll talk with economics BA, former teen idol and new author Ben McKenzie about why Hollywood fell hard for crypto.
7/18/202325 minutes, 33 seconds
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How China does the numbers

The world’s second-largest economy missed expectations this quarter. China’s gross domestic product grew 6.3% from the same quarter last year, and an anemic 0.8% since Q1. But what’s the right way to measure China’s economy? Today our Shanghai correspondent looks into it. But first, we’ll look at uneven inflation around the world and how Federal Reserve officials craft their public statements between market-moving meetings. Later, a check-in on the electric vehicle market as Ford slashes $10,000 off the price of an F-150 Lightning.
7/17/202326 minutes, 57 seconds
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Regulate crypto? Sure. But how?

Yesterday’s landmark Ripple Labs ruling has both regulators and crypto boosters declaring victory. On today’s show, we’ll untangle the case and what it means for the government’s crypto crackdown. But first, is the soft landing finally here? We’ll recap a big week in economic news with our panel. Later, the culture wars holding up defense funding and a visit to Kai Ryssdal’s favorite Beijing vegetable stand.
7/14/202327 minutes, 59 seconds
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Why you should pay attention to bank earnings

Big banks start reporting earnings tomorrow, covering the first full quarter since the wave of failures in the spring. These reports can help you take the economy’s temperature, and we’ll tell you what to look for. Plus: After a year of disinflation, which price hikes were transitory and which are proving stubborn? Later, we’ll examine the modest debut of Major League Cricket and talk with a yacht broker about how much money she makes. (It’s less than you think.)
7/13/202327 minutes, 24 seconds
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Wages are outpacing inflation again, but don’t get too excited

The consumer price index beat expectations for June, with prices rising just 3% annually. We’ll look at how the Federal Reserve will make its push for 2%. Then: Wage growth beat inflation in May and June for the first time in years, but economists say two months do not a trend make. Later, we’ll take stock of the recent seismic changes in markets and dig into a new food trend.
7/12/202325 minutes, 53 seconds
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Meet the employees secretly “working from home” overseas

Remote work policies give employees flexibility to get the job done anywhere — usually anywhere within U.S. borders. Some workers are risking secret moves abroad to make their dollars go further — we’ll talk to a few, including one who got fired when his IT department caught on. But first, we’ll check in with small business owners and the ongoing accountant shortage. Plus: Have Major League Baseball’s new rules bolstered the brand?
7/11/202326 minutes, 27 seconds
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Janet Yellen recaps a “constructive” trip to China

“I believe there is a desire on both sides to stabilize the relationship” between the U.S. and China, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told us at the end of her first trip to Beijing. Kai Ryssdal sat down with Yellen at the American embassy to recap the trip, discuss the balance between national security and economic concerns, and examine her new role as economist-turned-diplomat. Later, we’ll meet up with China correspondent Jennifer Pak about how the country has changed in the past few years, and why state media frames America as in decline.
7/10/202326 minutes, 27 seconds
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On the ground with Janet Yellen in China

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen met with the Chinese premier today. Kai Ryssdal is traveling alongside Yellen and gave us the view from Beijing. But first, we’ll talk with our panel of experts about this morning’s jobs numbers and examine the cyclical market for semiconductors.
7/7/202327 minutes, 57 seconds
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How to read all the new jobs data coming in

A lot of people are anxiously waiting for tomorrow’s June jobs report. Especially the Federal Reserve. But today we got a lot of confounding, contradictory indicators moving up and down and all around this tight labor market. We’ll tell you everything you need to know. Plus: A look at the state of the car market, and a conversation with an artist who took a job in the Alberta oil sands to pay off her student debt fast.
7/6/202328 minutes, 16 seconds
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Man, it’s a hot one!

Global temperatures were the highest ever recorded Monday … until yesterday, which was even hotter. More “hottest days ever” are coming, so today we’ll look at their economic impact. But first, we’ll examine the warning signs in commercial real estate and manufacturing. Plus: Meta’s audience gives its rival to Twitter an edge over the rest of the pack.
7/5/202328 minutes, 23 seconds
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Happy 247th birthday, USA! How’s that economy holding up?

We know it sounds strange, but the Federal Reserve wants to see higher unemployment in Friday’s jobs report to show that its fight against inflation is working. Then, climate change isn’t making hurricanes more frequent, but it is making them more severe. What to expect from this year’s season. Plus, how a formerly enslaved man helped Black families build generational wealth. And later, feral cats for hire!
7/4/202328 minutes, 18 seconds
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Becoming an American citizen is expensive

Thousands will become U.S. citizens tomorrow at special celebrations across the country. But high application fees make naturalized citizenship unattainable for some of the more than 9 million immigrants who are eligible. Plus, what to expect from Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen’s trip to China and this fall’s student loan repayment restart. Later: Christmas shopping? Already?
7/3/202327 minutes, 56 seconds
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A pulse check of inflation across the globe

While the pace of price increases is slowing at home, today we’ll map out where inflation is fading, where it still hurts and where it’s actually welcome news. Also on the show: wading into the economic impact of the recent Supreme Court decisions in the Weekly Wrap and examining the FAA’s funding ahead of Fourth of July travels.
6/30/202328 minutes, 39 seconds
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The business impact of today’s affirmative action ruling

The Supreme Court decision to strike down race-based college admissions didn’t come as a surprise to many. Today, we examine the economic ripple effects the decision could have, shrinking the talent pipeline for businesses and making U.S. companies less competitive internationally. Plus, the Federal Reserve could use an infrastructure upgrade and what the Barbie Dreamhouse reveals about American culture and real estate.
6/29/202328 minutes, 32 seconds
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“Bidenomics,” explained

President Joe Biden on Wednesday pitched his economic plan, which he’s branded “Bidenomics.” Remind anyone of “Reaganomics”? The association between the terms— and contrasts between the philosophies — may just be the point. Also on the program: a surge in labor action, electric grids at risk, discord within OPEC+ and racial bias in home appraisals.
6/28/202329 minutes, 15 seconds
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A housing market recovery … kinda

New Case-Shiller data suggests that home prices are rebounding after a moderate dip, and that’s in the face of high mortgage rates. Still, the story is different in different regions. We’ll also examine Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen’s planned trip to Beijing, dig into the business of getting kids to school and look at a new law that aims to better protect pregnant workers.
6/27/202328 minutes, 12 seconds
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How much trouble is in store for office real estate?

American workers are stubbornly resistant to giving up working from home. That’s a huge problem for commercial real estate owners and the regional banks that finance them. So what happens when office buildings become ghost towns? Plus, China encourages young workers to move to the countryside, local governments look to employ gig workers and states attempt to modernize unemployment insurance services.
6/26/202329 minutes, 2 seconds
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Economic forecasters are saying, “TGIF!”

New data indicates that American manufacturing is shrinking. The index of leading economic indicators has been signaling recession for more than a year. But what about consumer spending? Or the tight labor market? We called up some forecasters to sift through this pile of data and talk about the challenges of predicting where the economy is going right now. Plus: We meet the AI chatbots that lawyers are already using and take a closer look at how the economic boom in Houston is leaving the working class behind. But first, our panel of experts recaps a big week for the Federal Reserve.
6/23/202327 minutes, 47 seconds
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Decision time

Today we’ve got stories about big decisions, from your local mom-and-pop to massive central banks. First, we’ll explore how the Federal Reserve takes cues from its counterparts around the globe on monetary policy and vice versa. Then, we’ll examine how small businesses raise their prices without access to reams of customer data. Plus: Amazon’s “dark patterns” and checking the obits for a new home.
6/22/202329 minutes, 15 seconds
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Translating all that Fedspeak

At his biannual congressional testimony today, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell stuck to his script on whether more interest rate increases are coming. Thing is, that script still has a cliffhanger ending. Today, we’ll try to parse Powell’s words. Plus, inflation hits a Brooklyn bakery and fears of industrial espionage plague the startup world.
6/21/202327 minutes, 53 seconds
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With other countries in recession, will the U.S. follow suit?

Will the United States tip into a recession? That’s an open question. But it’s already happened to New Zealand, Germany and likely China. All of that economic trouble abroad could spell trouble at home. Then, why the housing that’s being built isn’t all that affordable, and how workwear went from functional to fashionable.
6/20/202328 minutes, 14 seconds
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What high mortgage rates means for Black homeownership

Black homeownership climbed early in the pandemic, with mortgage rates near historic lows. But the current prolonged period of higher rates has some economists worried about Black Americans’ prospects for wealth building. We’ll also examine what’s fueling homebuilders’ optimism, why water contamination is pervasive in Black communities and how the climate crisis is changing your morning cup of Joe.
6/19/202328 minutes, 23 seconds
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Regional banks aren’t out of the woods yet

It’s been about three months since the failure of Silicon Valley Bank sparked turmoil among regional banks. While the dust is somewhat settled, regional banks still have significant unrealized losses. Today, we’ll check in with some of those still standing. We’ll also discuss the road ahead for the Federal Reserve and examine the backlash against corporate backpedaling on LGBTQ support.
6/16/202328 minutes, 9 seconds
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The American consumer just won’t quit

With persistent inflation and high interest rates, Americans have good reason to feel rather glum about the economy. Yet through it all, consumers have kept on spending, further evidenced by May retail sales. What gives? Also, why health insurance might get pricier and how streaming deals for live sports are changing the political ad game.
6/15/202328 minutes, 17 seconds
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The Fed presses pause on interest rate hikes

The Federal Reserve has signaled that it’s not done raising interest rates, but it pressed the pause button today. We’ll unpack the motives for Chair Jerome Powell and company and see whether existing economic data points toward an elusive “soft landing.” Plus, a contradiction in the mortgage market, a tale of two cities’ rising prices and a deeply personal exploration of the Black working class.
6/14/202329 minutes, 27 seconds
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We’re in the stubborn phase of inflation cooling

Inflation ticked down to 4% in May from a year earlier. While that’s well below its peak last June, it’s still double the Federal Reserve’s target of 2%. On today’s show, why the last leg of the Fed’s inflation battle might just be the trickiest. Also: persistently high used car prices, the shrinking U.S. money supply and the big business of cowboy art.
6/13/202327 minutes, 24 seconds
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Should the Fed raise its 2% inflation target?

The Federal Reserve is expected to pause its program of interest rate hikes this week as it tries to whittle inflation down to 2%. But with annual price gains hovering at around 5%, economists are divided on whether 2% is the right goal anymore. Today, we delve into the debate. We’ll also look at jobs created by the Inflation Reduction Act and the child care hurdles posed by unpredictable work hours.
6/12/202328 minutes, 46 seconds
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Americans have a record amount of credit card debt

American consumers have racked up an eye-popping $990 billion in credit card debt, according to Federal Reserve data. That number is climbing alongside interest rates. Why are so many people reaching for plastic right now? We’ll also mull the likelihood of a Fed rate hike skip or pause and learn about the educational hurdles that worsen the nursing shortage.
6/9/202329 minutes, 16 seconds
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General Motors’ goal? All electric, all the time

General Motors, the largest U.S. automaker by sales, also wants to be the country’s leading electric vehicle company. On today’s program, we’ll hear from GM CEO Mary Barra about EV batteries, charging infrastructure and how the company plans to get America to drive electric. We’ll also learn why imports from China have slumped and why Texas is investing in battery capacity for renewable energy.
6/8/202328 minutes, 14 seconds
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A “considerable slowdown” in wage growth

The Federal Reserve has tons of data to pore over before deciding whether to raise interest rates next week. Here’s one more: Research from employment website Indeed — a Marketplace underwriter — shows that wage gains are slowing and job postings are falling. We’ll discuss the impacts. Plus, why retailers rarely come back from bankruptcy and why we care about what CEOs think about the economy.
6/7/202328 minutes, 56 seconds
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What’s behind the SEC’s crypto lawsuits?

The Securities and Exchange Commission has sued two crypto exchanges, Coinbase and Binance. The cases pose an existential question: Are cryptocurrencies like securities, commodities or something else? The answer would dictate how crypto is regulated and could have far-reaching ripple effects. Also on the program: the closed IPO window, accolades for Indigenous cuisine and the entrepreneurial drive among immigrant women.
6/6/202328 minutes, 41 seconds
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Saudi Arabia’s oil cuts may not mean higher gas prices

Saudi Arabia is cutting oil production by nearly a million barrels a day in hopes of boosting prices. Thing is, plenty of supply and weaker global demand could derail its effort. Plus, construction spending is a bright spot in U.S. manufacturing, office space owners reel from remote work, and Make-A-Wish plays catch-up on a backlog of Disney wishes.
6/5/202329 minutes, 2 seconds
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Women’s labor force participation rate hits an all-time high

The labor force participation rate for “prime working age” women has peaked. That’s a pretty big deal after a dramatic drop of working women — particularly mothers — during the pandemic. Today, we’ll look at what brought women back to the workforce so quickly. We’ll also outline what happens now that we’ve reached a debt limit deal and tally the costs of catalytic converter thefts.
6/2/202327 minutes, 34 seconds
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When the government has to play catch-up in the bond market

Once Congress finalizes a debt limit deal, we’re in the clear, right? Well, the Treasury Department will have to raise roughly $1 trillion in the next three to six months by selling bonds to replenish its accounts and pay for the “extraordinary measures” it’s been taking. So what’s that mean for the economy? Also, a potential end to the “great resignation” and a conversation about tipping robots.
6/1/202327 minutes, 11 seconds
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Would the debt deal’s cuts draw blood?

The debt limit deal brokered in Washington would reduce government spending by about $1.5 trillion over the next 10 years, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. It may sound like a lot of money, but the effects will be pretty limited, economists say. We’ll also take a look inside what is billed as the world’s largest bitcoin convention. Plus, wage-price spiral … what wage-price spiral?
5/31/202328 minutes, 2 seconds
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Businesses are flocking to suburbia

New business formation is still higher than before the start of the pandemic. But instead of ensconcing themselves in downtowns or central business hubs, many companies are popping up in surrounding neighborhoods. Today, we’ll take a bite out of growing, donut-shaped business developments. Also on the program: why consumer confidence has slipped, why international tourism is down and what’s behind the historically low Black unemployment rate.
5/30/202328 minutes, 29 seconds
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How the debt ceiling deal got done

President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy finally reached an agreement on raising the federal debt ceiling. But will it pass Congress? We’ll discuss and dig into the nitty-gritty of the deal. Plus, it’s a hot job market for prime-age workers. Then, a look at the complications of egg donations, courtesy of Marketplace’s “This Is Uncomfortable.”
5/29/202327 minutes, 56 seconds
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If faith is lost in our full faith and credit

The $24 trillion market for U.S. Treasurys — i.e., federal government debt — is the deepest and most liquid bond market in the world. It’s a linchpin of the global financial system and impacts consumer credit too. It also happens to be what’s at risk in the unfolding debt limit debacle. Plus, cities anticipate big Memorial Day crowds and the mermaiding industry preps for a wave of business.
5/26/202328 minutes, 11 seconds
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Why don’t we know when the U.S. will run out of money?

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen says that a government debt default could happen “potentially as early as June 1.” Kinda wishy-washy, huh? Today, we’ll examine why the variability in government spending and revenue makes it hard to calculate an exact default date. We’ll also look at what goes into credit ratings and how the writers strike is impacting an Atlanta-based costume coordinator.
5/25/202327 minutes, 50 seconds
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Atlanta Fed CEO on the debt limit debacle and curbing inflation

On today’s show, we’re joined by Raphael Bostic, president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, to discuss tightening credit conditions, the necessity of raising the debt limit, and why “we’re right at the beginning of the hard part” in the fight to tame inflation. Plus, AI is reshaping the computer chip industry and millions stand to lose Medicaid coverage.
5/24/202327 minutes, 53 seconds
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What you miss when you miss watercooler conversations

Remote work has its benefits — no commute, no awkward elevator chitchat, no frigid office temperatures. But that also means no socializing at the office, and many young people who entered the workforce during COVID-19 are missing out on building the personal and professional relationships at work. Also on the program: a trip to an LA cheese shop and the disconnect between how consumers feel about their personal economies and the larger economy.
5/23/202327 minutes, 48 seconds
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What’s really at the heart of the debt limit debate?

Federal officials are running out of time to reach a deal on the debt ceiling. But at the heart of that debate, there’s a fundamental truth about money itself. In this special episode, we’ll hear from a businessperson, a political scientist and a legal theorist about what’s at stake in the fight over the debt ceiling and what it reveals about the nature of money.
5/22/202327 minutes, 19 seconds
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Companies go on a borrowing spree

It’s been a busy month in the corporate bond market. And while you may think companies would hold off on borrowing right now given how much interest rates have risen, big mergers and the looming debt ceiling deadline could be among the reasons. Plus, an examination of the welfare-to-temp-work pipeline and a move by ESPN that could shake up cable.
5/19/202327 minutes, 42 seconds
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Call 2023 the year of bankruptcies

2023 is on track to be the biggest year for Chapter 11 bankruptcy filings in over a decade. Some churn is always normal, but what’s behind this year’s bankruptcy boom? Also on the show, we look at how a debt default would play out in Texas, how social media ads get us to click “buy,” and how climate change is hitting one pistachio farm.
5/18/202326 minutes, 20 seconds
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Your next home might just be a new home

Housing starts have ticked up recently. New homes have also been gobbling up an increasing share of the overall market, as current homeowners opt to stick with their  low mortgage rates. Today, we examine the demand for new homes. We’ll also explore the expansion of retailer discounts, a new measurement of the U.K.’s debt and a roommate-matching site for aging boomers.
5/17/202328 minutes, 22 seconds
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Maybe reconsider those “normal” economic indicators

April retail sales numbers are making an already confusing economy even more confusing. Folks are putting off purchasing big-ticket items, yet are still splurging on services. The economy hasn’t returned to normal, but maybe “normal” is different now. We’ll also look at whether Congress can regulate artificial intelligence and who gets a leg up from welfare reform and work requirements, courtesy of Marketplace’s podcast “The Uncertain Hour.”
5/16/202328 minutes, 17 seconds
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Disappointed this tax season? So is the federal government.

So far this fiscal year, the IRS has brought in about $2.7 trillion in tax revenue — $250 billion less than anticipated. That shortfall is part of what makes this week’s debt limit talks so urgent. Today, we sort through the tax receipts. Plus, why clawing back unspent COVID funds will hardly dent the deficit and why the banking bust may fuel the rise of “shadow banks.”
5/15/202328 minutes, 24 seconds
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The FDIC is asking big banks to pay up

When the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. stepped in to make depositors whole after recent bank failures, the agency’s insurance fund took a $15.8 billion hit. So who’s on the hook to replenish it? If the FDIC has its way, it’ll be the nation’s largest banks. Also on the program: smaller tax refunds, an alternative solution to bank runs and a potential boon to private prisons.
5/12/202327 minutes, 5 seconds
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When a strong economy fuels strong migration

As the pandemic-era border policy Title 42 draws to a close today, an increasing number of migrants have arrived at the U.S.-Mexico border. Whatever their reasons for leaving their home countries, immigrants are drawn in part to the United States because of the strong economy. Also on the program: what producer prices can tell us about where consumer prices are headed, and what to make of rising jobless claims.
5/11/202327 minutes, 18 seconds
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The death of revenge spending

Inflation is wearing consumers down, and it’s starting to show. We’re saving less, putting more on plastic and seeking out discounts. On today’s show, we dissect consumer fatigue. Then, we’ll hear what it’s like working at a rural hospital during a health care staffing shortage and examine how lenders that serve Native Americans are responding to proposed federal certification updates.
5/10/202326 minutes, 41 seconds
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When are markets gonna react to the debt limit drama?

Unless officials in Washington strike an agreement to raise the limit, the U.S. could default on its debt as soon as June 1. Wall Street has been taking all this in stride, but will that change, and when? Also on the program: regional variations in inflation, a wet winter in the Corn Belt and the staying power of remote mental health care.
5/9/202327 minutes, 19 seconds
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“I worry that people don’t think it can happen here”

Last year, Marketplace met families of transgender children in Texas who were weighing their options when the state moved to restrict gender-affirming care. As more states target LGBTQ rights, we check back in with two families — one who moved and one who stayed — and tally the costs of both. Also, airlines go on hiring sprees, shipping companies reroute goods and high interest rates squeeze smaller hospitals.
5/8/202328 minutes, 28 seconds
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Meet the folks prepping for an AI economic revolution

Some aren’t saving for retirement, while others aren’t saving for or staying in college. Today we’ll hear from a handful of artificial intelligence true believers who think a revolution is inevitable and are preparing for a future — and economy — that looks radically different than the one we now live in. We’ll also examine why the U.S. has so many banks and why insurers are going on hiring sprees.
5/5/202327 minutes, 56 seconds
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Rough time to be a regional bank, amirite?

The shares of multiple regional banks slid today amid new tremors in the industry following the collapse of First Republic. But bank failures and consolidation are actually somewhat normal. So what’s a regional bank to do? And what are investors and depositors to make of all this? Then, how JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon became a banking industry heavyweight and why a bump in Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. coverage seems unlikely right now.
5/4/202326 minutes, 45 seconds
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Why 2008 financial crisis rules didn’t stop recent bank failures

So many regulations came out of the 2008 financial crisis, and for a good while they seemed to work. Yet here we are with three bank failures in less than two months. What gives? Plus, we unpack what Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell did (and didn’t) say about today’s rate hike and find out what happens to all the things people throw into recycle bins.
5/3/202326 minutes, 34 seconds
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When the dust settles, banking will look a bit different

After three major bank failures, regulators and industry leaders are hoping all this turmoil fades in the rearview mirror. But there’s still likely to be curves on the road ahead: new regulation, industry consolidation, branch closures and loan scarcity. Today, we’ll map it out. Then, how brands like Victoria’s Secret stage comebacks and an exploration of work requirements for welfare, courtesy of the Marketplace podcast “The Uncertain Hour.”
5/2/202326 minutes, 38 seconds
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What JPMorgan is getting out of the First Republic deal

Banking giant JPMorgan Chase is taking over the failed First Republic Bank, but not without some guarantees. Turns out the deal was sweetened by the FDIC agreeing to be responsible for certain First Republic losses. Plus, what small banks are making of the turmoil. Then, FTC Chair Lina Khan on AI regulation and taking on powerful companies.
5/1/202327 minutes, 33 seconds
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Short sellers have made bank betting on First Republic’s free fall

First Republic Bank stock is down 97% in 2023, and this afternoon a takeover by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. looked imminent. Thing is, short sellers have made more than $1 billion betting that First Republic would fall. Is that good for financial stability? Plus, we’ll look into the “We buy ugly houses” business and discuss how new economic data will influence the Federal Reserve’s next move.
4/28/202325 minutes, 39 seconds
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How much longer can consumers save the day?

That’s the trillion-dollar question right now. Gross domestic product expanded by 1.1% in the first quarter, continuing a downward trend. Consumers are still driving growth, but inflation is wearing on them. So where does the American economy go from here? And later, private equity’s outsize impact on the economy and the vital role of seasonal foreign workers in landscaping.
4/27/202328 minutes, 7 seconds
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Lael Brainard: The debt limit is not a tool for “extortion”

On today’s show, Lael Brainard — the former vice chair of the Federal Reserve and current head of the National Economic Council — sits down with us to chat about fiscal policy, inflation, banking regulation and the looming debt ceiling crisis. We’ll also tackle durable goods spending, a blocked tech merger and the school superintendent pipeline.
4/26/202326 minutes, 52 seconds
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Commerce Secretary Raimondo on chips, China and women in the workforce

Congress passed billions in funding for semiconductor manufacturing last year. Today, we’re joined by Gina Raimondo — the woman in charge of distributing those funds — to dig into what is at stake. And later: Treasury proposes new regulations on nonbanks, leisure travel roars back and more strikes loom in the U.K.
4/25/202328 minutes, 9 seconds
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All that space Bed Bath & Beyond will leave behind

Sales of high-thread-count sheets and countertop appliances weren’t enough to save Bed Bath & Beyond, which filed for bankruptcy this weekend. What’s to become of all those soon-to-be-empty strip mall storefronts? Plus, why the dollar is dragging, what happened to Alibaba’s Jack Ma and lessons in college credit card debt courtesy of Yanely Espinal, host of Marketplace’s new financial literacy podcast, “Financially Inclined.”
4/24/202328 minutes, 14 seconds
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As some retailers retreat, others pounce

It’s a weird time for retailers. Some have announced layoffs and closures, while others are looking to expand their footprint. So what gives? Turns out, some stores are hoping to use this shaky economic moment to come out ahead during either a downturn or a recovery. Plus, politics and markets meet in the Weekly Wrap, and Indigenous creatives carve out space for Native perspectives in gaming and cosplay.
4/21/202328 minutes, 5 seconds
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What it would take to address the nation’s debt

Political squabbling about raising the debt limit is well underway. But to meaningfully address federal debts and yearly deficits would require big actions. Elected officials could raise taxes and chip away at things like defense spending, Social Security and Medicare — but doing so isn’t popular. We’ll also dig into coal’s decline, investment in technical training and Britain’s new trade deal.
4/20/202328 minutes, 19 seconds
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Chicago Fed president on waiting for other “credit shoes to drop”

The intensity of a possible economic slowdown will depend on how much banks tighten credit conditions, said Austan Goolsbee, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, in an interview with Marketplace today. We’ll ask about data he’s watching closely and the central bank’s messaging challenges ahead of its rate decision. Later, Reddit rethinks data access and California utility companies rethink how they charge for power.
4/19/202327 minutes, 34 seconds
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Call it a sticky situation

After this year’s banking crisis, some lenders have bumped up interest rates on savings accounts to lure new depositors. But if the hassle of switching banks makes you go, “ugh,” blame it on what economists call “deposit stickiness.” What would it take to get customers unstuck? Plus, Netflix’s failed foray into live-streaming, and the origin of the modern welfare system, courtesy of the Marketplace podcast “The Uncertain Hour.”
4/18/202327 minutes, 35 seconds
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The price tag of those debt limit debates

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said today that “defaulting on our debt is not an option,” but neither he nor the White House shows signs of compromising. The last debt limit stalemates drove up the cost of government borrowing — and that’s happening again. Plus, what if you paid your taxes in cash, and what’s behind layoffs at Walmart and Best Buy?
4/17/202327 minutes, 46 seconds
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A choose-your-own-economy adventure

We got seriously mixed signals from the consumer economy today. Retail sales dipped in March, while consumer sentiment ticked up. Is this economy headed for a soft landing or a cliff? Today, we parse the good, the bad and the downright confusing. We’ll also take the pulse of bank borrowing and check in on seasonal hiring ahead of higher-temps season.
4/14/202327 minutes, 29 seconds
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The origin story of “too big to fail”

The phrase “too big to fail” conjures images of the 2007-08 financial crisis. But the notion that the collapse of certain financial institutions could torpedo the larger economy goes back much further. On today’s show, we’ll trace the roots and evolution of “too big to fail.” Plus: earnings reports from TBTF banks, new car prices and the rebranding of milk.
4/13/202327 minutes, 52 seconds
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You take the good, you take the bad …

You take them both and you get the March inflation report. The consumer price index rose 5% year over year. That’s a decent “headline” number, but dig deeper and the story gets a little more complicated. Later: military recruitment, grocery bills and long-term career prospects for workers who have struggled with depression.
4/12/202325 minutes, 40 seconds
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How high mortgage rates impact the cost of rent

You know what a lot of people do when mortgage rates are too high to buy? They stay renters. And despite slowing rent inflation, that additional demand for apartments can increase competition and boost rent prices. Today, we delve into the connection between rates and rents. Also on the program: potholes, pickleball and the love of background TV shows.
4/12/202327 minutes, 41 seconds
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When “add to cart” actually costs you less

There’s some welcome news on the inflation front: Prices for online goods are falling, according to Adobe Analytics. While it’s a bit of relief for consumers, higher prices for things like services may be here to stay. Plus, how algorithms are used to pay ride-hailing drivers less, what an immigration uptick means for the labor market and a look at how COVID-19 transformed business in downtown Boston.
4/10/202328 minutes, 4 seconds
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A food fight in the school cafeteria

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is mulling new nutritional standards for school meals, and everyone’s got opinions — from the manufacturers who say the changes will make food pricier to the schools that would absorb the costs. Then there’s the students, who have to stomach it all. We’ll also delve into the Gen Z divide in labor participation and the pandemic’s macroeconomic curveballs.
4/7/202327 minutes, 36 seconds
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A month after SVB, are banks lending?

It’s been nearly a month since banking turmoil hit the headlines. While the government’s response has largely focused on insuring depositor funds, we’re starting to see signs that banks are pulling back on making loans. Plus, slowing wage gains, rising car prices and hurdles to tribal broadband access.
4/6/202328 minutes, 8 seconds
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Your tax refund may shrink this year

The countdown is on till Tax Day, which falls on April 18 this year. But many Americans will be in for an unpleasant surprise: a slimmer tax return resulting from expired pandemic tax credits. We’ll also examine why money market funds are popular right now, what “due diligence” means, and what ingredients go into TikTok’s favorite Starbucks order: the Barbie drink.
4/5/202327 minutes, 42 seconds
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The labor market’s rebalancing act

Job openings dropped in February, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. While that’s normally not great news, it could be a hint that the Federal Reserve’s interest rate hikes are beginning to take effect, cooling job growth and bringing the economy back into balance. Plus, the pushback against remote work, a return to just-in-time inventory and waning trust in Argentina’s financial institutions.
4/4/202327 minutes, 44 seconds
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What a production subtraction by OPEC+ means

The OPEC+ cartel surprised markets this weekend with plans to cut oil production by more than 1 million barrels per day. This classic story of supply and demand has already pushed up the oil price, and it could have major ripple effects across the global economy. Plus, hot job markets in Sunbelt cities, a merger in the world of wrestling and the origin story of “bootstrapping.”
4/4/202328 minutes, 16 seconds
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The view from the Fed’s discount window

Banks borrowed less from the Federal Reserve’s emergency lending programs this week than the week before, a sign that the threat of additional bank runs could be waning. One of those programs is called the discount window, and banks really try to avoid it. We explain why. Plus, a big change in the oil world, and an exploration of the welfare-to-work industrial complex from the latest season of Marketplace’s “The Uncertain Hour.”
3/31/202327 minutes, 34 seconds
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A labor shortage may stall the clean energy transition

The Inflation Reduction Act channels hundreds of billions of dollars into clean energy projects. But “electrifying America” could be short-circuited by the nationwide shortage of electricians. Today, we’ll hear from the companies and programs hoping to draw a new cohort of electricians to the field. Also, a preview of tomorrow’s economic data dump, a short-lived urban exodus and five child care workers on the industry’s joys and challenges.
3/30/202328 minutes, 23 seconds
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A bumpy ride for mortgage rates means bumpy home sales

Spring is when flowers, and For Sale signs, tend to start popping up. Today we learned that pending home sales rose for the third straight month in February, which seems puzzling given climbing interest rates. Could it signal a thawing housing market? Plus, a look at the debate about public funds for home-schooling and how a tight labor market benefits the poorest workers.
3/29/202328 minutes, 19 seconds
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Personal economies are the whole shebang

On this program, we’ve discussed a somewhat confusing dynamic: Consumers are sour on the economy despite a job market that’s historically strong. Today, we’re joined by Washington Post columnist Catherine Rampell to help piece the puzzle together and tally inflation’s mental and financial tolls. Plus, why recent banking turmoil may slow nonresidential construction and what one reporter learned walking from Washington, D.C., to New York.
3/28/202328 minutes, 32 seconds
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Let’s talk about (banking) trust issues

Bank regulators will be heading to Capitol Hill this week, where they’re likely to be grilled by lawmakers over the recent banking turmoil. But they also have to reassure markets and the public that everything’s going to be all right — because if depositor fears escalate, that could spawn yet another crisis. Plus, it’s boom time for certificates of deposit, and anxiety about commercial real estate loans looms over regional banks.
3/27/202329 minutes, 56 seconds
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Attention turns to bank examiners in SVB fallout

The Federal Reserve will release a report by May 1 on what happened at Silicon Valley Bank. A key part will be how bank examiners, the government employees who monitor a bank’s safety and soundness, supervised SVB. Today, we’ll look at what a bank examiner does — and doesn’t. We’ll also map new home sales and head back to college with some midlife students.
3/24/202328 minutes, 50 seconds
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Happy rate hike-iversary!

Long gone are the good ol’ days when inflation was described as “transitory.” This month marks one year since the Federal Reserve started raising interest rates to curb inflation, and we chart the relationship between rates and prices, and take stock of where we are. Plus, why some central banks follow the Fed’s lead and how small businesses are responding to banking turmoil.
3/23/202328 minutes, 47 seconds
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The Fed’s stress testing is put to the test

One way the Federal Reserve oversees the banking system is through “stress tests,” which help determine whether banks can withstand economic disasters. But only the biggest banks are required to undergo these tests. Could Silicon Valley Bank’s collapse change that? We’ll also unpack Fed Chair Jerome Powell’s rate hike remarks, check to see who’s currently hiring and gauge reactions to anticipated charges for COVID-19 vaccines.
3/22/202329 minutes, 26 seconds
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Why bond prices fall as interest rates go up

A simple economic phenomenon — that rising interest rates push bond values down — is part of what has weighed on financial companies like Silicon Valley Bank. We’ll take a closer look at the relationship and examine how the Federal Reserve’s rate hikes may have contributed to the current banking drama. Then, we’ll hear why the lowest rents are rising the fastest and what the end of additional SNAP benefits means for one mother.
3/21/202329 minutes, 12 seconds
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Let the bank failure blame game begin

The debacles that engulfed Silicon Valley Bank and other precarious financial institutions have sparked debates over who dropped the ball. Was it a regulatory failure, a supervisory failure, or both? On today’s show, we’ll parse out the answer. We’ll also explore what comes next for Swiss banking, what a Supreme Court case means for Navajo water rights and what small banks are doing to address liquidity concerns.
3/20/202329 minutes, 58 seconds
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When group chats help fuel bank runs

Back in the ’30s, news of bank collapses traveled slowly. But in the early hours of Silicon Valley Bank’s collapse, the news spread like wildfire through startup messaging chains on WhatsApp, Slack, Signal and Telegram. Today, how rumors and anxiety contributed to SVB’s downfall. Plus, grocery bills bum consumers out more than banking meltdowns and China’s population decline has far-reaching repercussions.
3/17/202328 minutes, 39 seconds
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The forecast calls for tightening financial conditions

“Financial conditions” influence the cost of money, and they’re being made much more complicated by recent bank collapses. Today, we’ll delve into how tightening financial conditions influence the Federal Reserve’s next moves and could make it harder for small businesses and consumers to get loans. Plus, why COVID may have fundamentally reshaped how we spend and what the Silicon Valley Bank collapse means for venture capital.
3/16/202329 minutes, 24 seconds
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Credit Suisse turmoil stokes financial contagion fears

Following the meltdowns of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank, Europe’s Credit Suisse is now in trouble. Though the Swiss bank’s problems predate the recent U.S. bank failures, some economists are asking whether the malady at Credit Suisse can or will infect the rest of global finance. We’ll also take a closer look at the role of regional banks and the communication tactics some are using to quell customer anxieties.
3/15/202328 minutes, 10 seconds
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Where does banking oversight go from here?

As we follow the implosion of Silicon Valley Bank, we’ll examine the parties involved in regulating finance — both state and federal — and what changes may emerge from the meltdown. We’ll also check in with a former Federal Reserve official who oversaw reforms and ask him to chart a path forward for Washington. Plus, shelter costs continue to drive inflation and cowhides help predict the economic future.
3/14/202329 minutes, 8 seconds
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Silicon Valley Bank collapsed … now what?

Add the spectacular collapses of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank to the lengthy list of consumer concerns. Bank failures like these don’t just rattle their depositors, they stoke anxiety in everyone who hears about them. Today, we’ll feature special coverage of SVB’s demise — how Washington is responding, the ripple effects on other banks and what it all means for average consumers.
3/13/202328 minutes, 23 seconds
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How Silicon Valley Bank failed

Silicon Valley Bank, where many startups got their funding, is now in the hands of the FDIC after a collapse. On today’s program, we’ll take a closer look at the factors that spelled disaster for the bank and if other financial institutions are at risk. Also on the program: demystifying Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell’s congressional testimony in the Weekly Wrap and a silver lining in an unemployment uptick.
3/10/202328 minutes, 41 seconds
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What if the Fed just can’t get the job done?

The Federal Reserve has unleashed eight interest rate hikes in the past year, yet the economy doesn’t seem to be taking the hint. With unemployment at historic lows and consumer spending still robust, is monetary policy able to slow the economy any longer? And if not, what more can the Fed do? Plus, U.S. exports reached record highs in January and customers seeking retribution take to Yelp.
3/9/202329 minutes, 4 seconds
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“A baby step in the right direction”

That’s how one economist described today’s job openings report. The number of available jobs remains high but is on the decline, as is the number of people who’ve quit their gigs. It indicates that the Federal Reserve’s efforts to cool the economy are working — at least in certain industries. Plus, converting office buildings to apartments, parsing the importance of seasonally adjusted data and gaming our way to a balanced federal budget.
3/8/202329 minutes, 20 seconds
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For companies, it could come down to people versus profits

Can we rein in inflation without unemployment surging? Though it’s an open question, one route to avoiding layoffs is for companies to accept lower profit margins and absorb additional costs. But whether they will is a whole ‘nother question. We’ll also unpack Day 1 of Fed Chair Jerome Powell’s Capitol Hill testimony, look at the workforce gap left by pandemic-era retirements and visit one of Los Angeles’ newest lesbian bars.
3/7/202328 minutes, 30 seconds
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Tallying the steep costs of gender inequality

A new study finds that gender inequality costs the global economy $7 trillion per year. Today, we’ll take a closer look at the roadblocks that persist for women and how addressing them could benefit everyone. We’ll also hear what’s on the docket for the economic week ahead, examine the demographic shifts in trucking and see whether the gas stove debate will heat up the induction market.
3/6/202328 minutes, 47 seconds
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The battle for the Dungeons & Dragons economy

A special game license allowed Dungeons & Dragons fans to create additional storylines and characters — and make money off of them. But when parent company Hasbro looked to change D&D’s license to get a cut of third-party profits, fans fought to protect the role-playing game community and economy. Plus, in the Weekly Wrap, the specter of layoffs and legislation aimed at boosting teacher pay.
3/4/202327 minutes, 31 seconds
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Treasury Secretary Yellen on Ukraine, inflation and the debt ceiling

This week, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen visited Kyiv to underscore U.S. support for Ukraine. Today, Yellen joined “Marketplace” host Kai Ryssdal to chat about her trip, the “moral obligation” to aid Ukraine and the impact of sanctions on Russia, as well as domestic economic concerns — from the politicization of the debt ceiling to cooling the labor market. Plus, what an inverted yield curve foretells and where consumers are cutting back.
3/2/202329 minutes, 31 seconds
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Where’s the sweet spot for wage growth?

There’s a running assumption that a strong labor market and wage growth will make it harder to slow rising prices. But how much does wage growth need to slow to get us to normal levels of inflation? Today, we’ll do the numbers on what economists say is ideal wage growth. Also on the program: rising loan balances, growing hurricane risks and the sound of a $10 million violin.
3/2/202327 minutes, 50 seconds
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Restaurant tabs … as an economic indicator?

The average consumer is hungry — to go out, that is. Sales at restaurants and bars are up nearly 25% since last January, but that spending surge coincides with dimming consumer confidence. What can all that going out tell us about the economy more broadly? Also on the show: bans on American investments in China, TikTok’s numbered days on government devices and Tubi’s CEO on ad-supported streaming.
2/28/202326 minutes, 23 seconds
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The Federal Reserve is an institution in transition

The Federal Reserve’s original job was to help the U.S. avert financial meltdowns. But propping up the pandemic economy forced the central bank to do some “soul searching.” Today, we’re joined by The New York Times’ Jeanna Smialek to examine the Fed’s history and its shifting role in the modern economy. Also, recession predictions are all over the map, and low housing inventory fuels new home construction.
2/27/202327 minutes, 23 seconds
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Funding the Ukrainian cultural resistance

The United States and European nations have committed billions of dollars in military and humanitarian aid to Ukraine since Russia’s invasion one year ago. But there’s also a cultural dimension to the conflict. Today, we’ll hear from Ukrainian artists at home and abroad who are fighting to preserve their cultural identity. Plus, the Federal Reserve has more work ahead to reel in inflation, and consumers kept squirreling away savings in January.
2/24/202325 minutes, 54 seconds
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The civil rights movement was an economic movement too

The American civil rights movement was about more than attitudes around racism. It also fought to expand workers’ rights and access to housing and good jobs. We’ll chart the economic agenda the movement outlined decades ago, which is sometimes left out of the conversation today. Plus, a look at how gross domestic product figures get revised and what a drop in unemployment claims says about the job market.
2/23/202326 minutes, 21 seconds
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Why the bond market is an economic crystal ball

Interest rates on government debts are set by where the market thinks the economy is headed. Fed rate hikes and a disappointing inflation report have pushed bond yields higher. Today, we’ll look at what they’re telling us about the future of the economy. Plus, more stores accept SNAP for online groceries, more school principals are quitting or retiring, and a Los Angeles distillery bets on more nonalcoholic spirits sales.
2/23/202326 minutes, 51 seconds
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How retailers are prepping for the unpredictable

Economists have been placing bets on how bad a recession might be — if there is one. But retailers have to decide what to buy and how much based on where they think the economy is headed. How are sellers coping with the unknown? Also, what the Supreme Court case involving Google could mean for Big Tech, and why online shopping led to the death of the “smart shopper.”
2/21/202329 minutes, 38 seconds
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Credit card debt is at a record high. How worried should we be?

American consumers are spending lots — and putting it on plastic. Credit card debt has climbed to a record of $986 billion, according to the New York Fed. Is this a return to pre-pandemic, “normal” spending habits or a worrying sign about the economy? Or both? We’ll also check in on Presidents Day shopping, examine a new carbon capture technology and hear how the climate crisis is threatening Europe’s ski industry.
2/20/202326 minutes, 55 seconds
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Meet the American consumer: anxious yet spend-happy

Surveys show that Americans are concerned about the economy and inflation, yet retail sales remain strong. What’s behind the mismatch between what people are saying and how they’re spending? We, like the American consumer, try to make sense of it all. We’ll also interrogate how “bumpy” the road to disinflation is, see which home renovations are worthwhile and check in on the Valentine’s Day chocolate rush.
2/18/202326 minutes, 47 seconds
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The federal budget is not the same as a household budget

The debt ceiling dance is well underway in Washington and the Treasury is taking “extraordinary measures” to avoid a default. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has compared the federal budget to a household’s credit limit, but that’s like comparing apples and oranges, or maybe apples and the Pentagon. Today, we’ll outline why. Plus, what wholesale prices indicate for consumers, who’s hiring amid a slew of layoffs and what’s at stake in the upcoming farm bill.
2/16/202327 minutes, 21 seconds
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Why “eat the rich” storylines are everywhere now

“Succession,” “The Menu,” “The White Lotus” — Hollywood is producing plenty of films and shows that let viewers watch rich people suffer. America has always been obsessed with wealth, but those portrayals are changing. Why? We’ll also do the numbers on January retail sales, hear why all-cash home offers are on the rise and see why Tesla is expanding use of its charging network.
2/15/202327 minutes, 39 seconds
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What’s in a number?

What’s in your shopping basket may not be the same as what’s in the metaphorical basket of goods used to calculate the consumer price index. But the Bureau of Labor Statistics is updating its formula to more accurately capture changing prices. Today, we’ll look into the math. We’ll also parse the difference between fiscal and monetary policy and revisit the personal economies of Ukrainian refugees.
2/14/202326 minutes, 36 seconds
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An extra-important inflation report

We’ll get the consumer price index for January tomorrow. Though inflation appeared to ease at the end of last year, the report comes at a “really critical time” for the Federal Reserve, the markets and consumer expectations. Will inflation continue to lose steam? Plus, sanctions complicate remittances to Syria, Europe enjoys a sunnier economic forecast and we look at how accusations and family drama rocked CBS and Viacom.
2/14/202327 minutes, 15 seconds
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Unpacking the mixed bag of consumer sentiment

Surveys of Americans’ economic outlooks are coming up with contradictory conclusions. Some consumers report being worse off than they were a year ago, while others are feeling optimistic. What’s behind the split? We’ll also break down the prospects for a soft landing in the Weekly Wrap, consider what 2023 may look like for initial public stock offerings and delve into why Black communities are frequently targeted by predatory financial products.
2/10/202326 minutes, 54 seconds
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A healthier wellness industry

Wellness has became an even bigger concern during the pandemic, as well as a bigger business. The last couple of years have been good for sales of vitamins, supplements and apps to help us sleep, stick to our diets and be more mindful. With hype reaching new levels, the Federal Trade Commission has decided to address the industry’s marketing ills. We’ll perform an examination.  Plus, Disney rethinks its content and cost-management strategies, and fresh unemployment claims data underscores the strength of the job market.  
2/9/202327 minutes, 40 seconds
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When the economy changes, so do our jobs

The American labor market has been on a roller coaster in the past few years. While what we do for work looks different today from pre-COVID times, it’s not done changing. We’ll do the numbers on the industries that saw the biggest job gains in 2022 and the ones still lagging. Plus, what it would take to reach a balanced budget and why consumer debt is growing but slowing.
2/8/202327 minutes, 52 seconds
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ChatGPT comes for digital advertisers and publishers

Today, Microsoft unveiled how it will incorporate ChatGPT’s generative AI tech into its search engine, Bing. That could spell trouble for publishers and content creators, as well as the advertisers that rely on searches and page views. We’ll examine some of the potential impacts and pitfalls. Also on the program: A strong dollar spurs imports, accounting has a personnel problem and the class of NASA astronauts that diversified space travel. Need some Econ 101? Sign up for our Marketplace Crash Course and get weekly lessons to complete at your own pace!
2/7/202327 minutes, 27 seconds
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The global economy may not be so bad off after all

Despite the Federal Reserve’s interest rate hikes, the U.S. economy hasn’t soured as much as many forecasters expected. And with falling energy prices, slowing inflation and the waning economic impact of COVID, the global economy’s outlook may be getting sunnier too. Plus, what the Census of Agriculture can tell us, the power of solar and why shows are disappearing from streaming platforms. Need some Econ 101? Sign up for our Marketplace Crash Course and get weekly lessons to complete at your own pace!
2/6/202327 minutes, 32 seconds
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Why crypto has drawn so many Black investors

Last year was hard on cryptocurrency, with scandals and plummeting prices rocking the industry. Those losses were particularly keen for Black Americans, who are more likely to get into crypto than their white peers. Today, we’ll explore how targeted marketing and exclusion from traditional investment opportunities helped boost crypto’s appeal for Black investors. Also, the major takeaways from today’s strong jobs report and its impact on bond yields. Need some Econ 101? Sign up for our Marketplace Crash Course and get weekly lessons to complete at your own pace!
2/4/202327 minutes, 9 seconds
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Back to the office … kinda

Last week, office occupancy rates in major cities hit a milestone, reaching half of their pre-pandemic levels. While most places feel just as crowded as they did before, offices are an exception. Today, a closer look at the sluggish return to office buildings. Plus, the house behind the pitchfork in “American Gothic” and how homebuyers are feeling about higher mortgage rates. Need some Econ 101? Sign up for our Marketplace Crash Course and get weekly lessons to complete at your own pace!
2/2/202326 minutes, 58 seconds
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Job churn may finally be leveling off

We’ve frequently discussed the “great resignation” on this program over the past year as people have sought new jobs with better pay and benefits. But as recession worries loom and wage growth moderates, quitting and hiring rates have begun to decline. Also on the program: The Federal Reserve hikes interest rates for the eighth time, retailers follow consumers to the ‘burbs and Bed Bath & Beyond hints at bankruptcy. Need some Econ 101? Sign up for our Marketplace Crash Course and get weekly lessons to complete at your own pace!
2/2/202327 minutes, 30 seconds
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When slowing wage growth isn’t so bad

New Labor Department data shows that wage growth slowed to 1% last quarter. That may not sound too rosy for workers, but it’s welcome news to Federal Reserve officials, who are mulling additional interest rate hikes as they try to deflate wage growth and keep unemployment under control at the same time. Also, the continuing pull of cookbooks, the billions in unclaimed college financial aid and the impacts of rising prices on wedding planning. Need some Econ 101? Sign up for our Marketplace Crash Course and get weekly lessons to complete at your own pace!
2/1/202327 minutes, 13 seconds