Business/Economy | KERA News


After Hurricane Maria, some good news for Puerto Rico

19 hours ago

Six months ago, Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico. According to the official death toll, 64 people lost their lives, but other counts put the total closer to 1,000. The storm also knocked out power and destroyed homes. Thousands of people left the island but others stayed. Michelle Rodriguez is one of them. She's the executive director of Niños De Nueva Esperanza in the neighborhood of Sabana Seca, 15 miles outside San Juan. Marketplace Weekend's Lizzie O'Leary met with Rodriguez during a reporting trip to the island in November.

The CEO of the last company in the U.S. making beer kegs out of American steel says new steel tariffs may come with unintended consequences for his business.

Health care in the United States costs a lot of money. In fact, we, as a country, spend twice as much as other wealthy nations. And we're collectively less healthy than many others. But why is it like this? Conventional wisdom says that Americans use more health care — more tests, scans, screenings and prescriptions. But a group of researchers has some new information that doesn't fit into the old theories. Dr.

Ten years ago, Bear Stearns went under as the financial crisis was breaking. Ana Swanson of The New York Times and Sheelah Kolhatkar from The New Yorker share their most vivid memories of that time with us. We also get a taste of Kai Ryssdal's interview with Tim Geithner, Henry Paulson and Ben Bernanke, airing on the show starting Monday. "We were using duct tape and string to try to hold the thing together," Geithner said of the economy. It's part of our Divided Decade project.

The International Monetary Fund has warned that a trade war could be triggered by President Donald Trump’s planned tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum and could trash the global economic recovery. The tariffs are due to come into effect next week. The European Union has reacted angrily to the U.S. move, threatening to slap its own tariffs on a wide range of American products.   

03/16/2018: What minty fresh hell is this?

23 hours ago

If the legal machinations of giant corporate mergers are your thing, next week is gonna be a good one for you. The U.S. v. AT&T and Time Warner heads to Federal court Monday. The Justice Department is trying to block the $85 billion deal, and the companies are fighting back. The case has a lot to do with the changing media landscape, of course, but it also says a lot about big mergers in the Trump era. First though, we have to deal with the week that was: Trade, sanctions and toys. Plus, why do we associate mint flavor with cleanliness? You've always wondered.

This is just one of the stories from our "I've Always Wondered" series, where we tackle all of your questions about the world of business, no matter how big or small. Ever wondered if recycling is worth it? Or how store brands stack up against name brands? What do you wonder?

03/16/2018: What a difference 10 years make

Mar 16, 2018

High U.S. health care costs, a Bear Stearns love story and an insider’s guide on how to be a toymaker all feature in the show this week. Plus, a look at the gender wage gap and, in honor of St. Patrick’s Day, a conversation about the only company making kegs from American steel.

(Markets Edition) New housing construction fell 7 percent last month and retail sales aren't looking the strongest. We'll talk to Chris Low, chief economist at FTN Financial, about how turmoil in Washington can trickle down to businesses. Afterwards, we'll look at how real estate agents are experimenting with new ways to find clients in an increasingly competitive field. Plus: A new report that says Trump's team is getting ready to punish China for stealing U.S. intellectual property.

Bonus: Make Me Smart is back

Mar 16, 2018

Your regularly scheduled episode of Marketplace is landing in your feed later today, but for now we have something special. Make Me Smart with Kai and Molly is back with brand-new weekly episodes, wading into the big topics we want to get smart about. This week we're looking at the fall of Wall Street bank Bear Stearns, exactly 10 years ago. Plus, Kai and Molly talk with Ai-jen Poo, an advocate for domestic workers who accompanied Meryl Streep to the Golden Globes this year. She's using her Hollywood moment to make sure #MeToo is working for everyone.

Iran deal may be imperiled

Mar 16, 2018

President Donald Trump’s choice to replace Rex Tillerson as secretary of state could spell trouble for the nuclear deal with Iran. Trump’s nominee, Mike Pompeo, shares the president’s disdain for the agreement. The international commission implementing the Iran deal will try to hammer out a compromise at a meeting in Vienna today.  

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

Russia will hold presidential vote as economy struggles

Mar 16, 2018

Russia holds a presidential election this Sunday. Observers say incumbent Vladimir Putin is almost certain to win. Putin has been keen to sell his people a narrative of a strong, resurgent Russia, but many are disappointed by the state of the nation’s economy.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

(U.S. Edition) Russia is holding its presidential election this weekend, and the winner will likely be Vladimir Putin. But as he cruises toward a third term, he'll continue presiding over a sluggish economy. On today's show, we'll take a look at some of the economic issues the country is facing. Plus: While the U.S. has inched toward easing economic sanctions on Iran, that may changed now that CIA Director Mike Pompeo has taken over the role of Secretary of State from Rex Tillerson. We'll discuss what could happen if the U.S. decides to pull out of the Iran deal.

Strong home sales in recent years have drawn a wave of people into the real estate business. Case in point: membership in the National Association of Realtors has jumped 25 percent in the past four years.

(Global Edition) From the BBC World Service … Finance ministers from G-20 nations, the world's major economies, will meet in Argentina this weekend, against a backdrop of increasing talk of a global trade war. Chris Watling, chief executive of Longview Economics, tells us President Trump's view on trade relations with China is too simplistic. Also: On World Sleep Day, we hear that while a lack of sleep might be damaging to our health, the cost to economies could stretch into billions of dollars. Dr. Marco Hafner, senior economist at Rand Europe, explains the findings.

With the advances in technology that we’re seeing, many people are worried about a coming robopocalypse.

Half of today’s work activities could be automated by 2055, according to a report from McKinsey Global Institute released last year. And we’re already seeing some of the consequences in areas like the manufacturing industry, where about 5 million jobs have been lost since 2000.

Why the biggest tech deal ever got squashed

Mar 16, 2018

This week President Donald Trump signed an executive order that put a halt on a merger between two giants in the microchip-making business. Singapore-based Broadcom was attempting to buy California-based Qualcomm. The president cited national security concerns in his order to block the merger. At issue was Qualcomm’s role in developing next-generation wireless connectivity, or 5G. Marketplace Tech host Molly Wood spoke with Roger Cheng, executive editor at CNET, about why 5G is so important to U.S. interests. The following is an edited transcript of their conversation. 

03/16/2018: Is 5G really a national security issue?

Mar 16, 2018

This week President Donald Trump signed an executive order that put a halt on a merger between two giants in the microchip-making business. Singapore-based Broadcom was attempting to buy California-based Qualcomm. The president cited national security concerns in his order to block the merger. At issue was Qualcomm’s role in developing next-generation wireless connectivity, or 5G. Marketplace Tech host Molly Wood spoke with Roger Cheng, executive editor at CNET, about why 5G is so important to U.S. interests.         

U.K. and Russia at odds over spy poisoning

Mar 15, 2018

The White House has issued a joint statement along with the leaders of Germany, France and Britain condemning the nerve agent attack on British soil. The statement deplored the first offensive use of a nerve agent in Europe since the Second World War.

Let's do the numbers: St. Patrick's Day edition

Mar 15, 2018

St. Patrick’s Day lands on a Saturday this year, so go on that pub crawl since, generally speaking, you’ll have all of Sunday for recovery, right?

Maybe with some Pedialyte?

Can tariffs bring back Big Steel?

Mar 15, 2018

When Ed Schuty was 19, he walked into a steel mill and walked out with a job. It was 1978, and steel was still a sure thing in Pittsburgh. But within a few years, he and thousands of other workers in Southwestern Pennsylvania were scrambling for work. Schuty moved through jobs at factories and in retail. He even tended bar for a while, because steel, he said, “I didn't think any of that was going up back up.”

How to be a toymaker

Mar 15, 2018

Everyone has a dream job growing up: doctor, vet, ice cream taste tester. But how do you actually get the gig? Marketplace Weekend is looking into how, with the occasional series, How to be a ...

Melissa Bernstein of Melissa & Doug always used art and creativity as an outlet, but started her career as an investment banker at Morgan Stanley. Here's how she makes toys with her husband, Doug:

A match made at Bear Stearns

Mar 15, 2018

Justin Brannan was a punk. Professionally, that is. In his teens and twenties, he played guitar in the hardcore bands Indecision and Most Precious Blood. But touring got old, and after 10 years on the road he was ready for something more stable. This was 2006, when Wall Street banks, leveraged to the hilt, were raking in record profits. Through a temp agency, he landed an interview for an entry-level job at Bear Stearns Asset Management.

03/15/2018: A match made at Bear Stearns

Mar 15, 2018

Yesterday we examined the financials that lead to the fall of Bear Stearns, and now we're going to look at the human side: A couple of unlikely Wall Street workers who met and eventually got married at Bear's headquarters. We'll trace their relationship through the bank's collapse and catch up with what's happened since. First though, we'll talk about the latest Russian sanctions here and abroad. Plus: A closer look at the National Rifle Association's scorecard, a powerful grading system that candidates run on — or run from.

Walmart steps up its online grocery delivery service

Mar 15, 2018

Walmart said Wednesday it would expand its six-city pilot program to 100 markets by the end of the year. The move will put Walmart in direct competition with Amazon to grab a bigger share of the rapidly growing online grocery delivery market.  

How one shady employee can poison the workplace

Mar 15, 2018

You might have heard the saying, "one bad apple spoils the barrel." Apparently, it's true for misbehaving employees too.

A new study  looked at the finance industry and what happens when you introduce a bad employee — someone who's committed some kind of misconduct — to a new team. It turns out that bad behavior can spread. 

(Markets Edition) The Senate has voted to relax the regulations put on banks after the financial crisis (also known as Dodd-Frank), which critics like Sen. Elizabeth Warren are calling "The Bank Lobbying Act." We'll look at how lax, exactly, these rules will become for the banking industry. Afterwards, we'll talk to economist Diane Swonk about what she thinks some of Dodd-Frank's limitations are, and then we'll head to Virginia to find out why the felony threshold for property theft is so low.

Updated 1:04 p.m. ET

The "substantial doubt" that iHeartMedia's corporate leaders expressed around the company's likelihood of surviving another year, mentioned in its quarterly financial report last November, has been put to rest.

The Trump administration on Thursday imposed sanctions on 19 Russians for alleged interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, including 13 indicted by special counsel Robert Mueller as part of his Russia-related investigation.

Also targeted were five Russian companies, including the Internet Research Agency, which is accused of orchestrating a mass online disinformation campaign to affect the election that Republican Donald Trump won over Democrat Hillary Clinton.

President Trump has tapped CNBC commentator Lawrence Kudlow to head the National Economic Council. So where does Kudlow stand on tax cuts, protectionist tariffs, and government regulation? What kind of adviser will he be to the president on economic issues?

Click the audio player above to hear the full story.