Marketplace from American Public Media is the premier business news show on public radio. Host Kai Ryssdal and the Marketplace team deliver news that matters, from your wallet to Wall Street. Online at Marketplace.org.
Updated: 5 hours 25 min ago
Reynolds and Lorillard, two big cigarette companies, are merging. You might think that with all the bans on smoking in bars, restaurants and public spaces, the cig business would be pretty small these days. But the fact is cigarettes are still huge, including in the US. We look at what this kind of merger means for smokes. Also, the White House is announcing a program to get companies to pay their small-business suppliers faster. Apple, Honda and Coca-Cola are among the 26 companies that have agreed to pay small businesses they contract with for parts and services faster – ideally within 15 days. We ask a small business owner how much of a difference does it make if they get paid a few days or a few weeks sooner. Plus, Eileen Ford, who created the Ford Agency, and along with it the modeling business as we know it—including the Supermodel--died yesterday. We look at how she made modeling an industry. And finally, an an itsy-bitsy, teeny-weeny new installment to our "Summer Brought To You By" series.
News that Chinese hackers broke into databases holding personal information on government employees is confirmation that your information is not safe, whether it be in a bank or a government vault. Now it’s all up to the private sector to protect our information, and that’s creating huge opportunities for data security businesses. Plus, Europe’s troubled economies are in deeper trouble still. Today’s bleak news? Portugal is possibly heading for another banking crisis while manufacturing numbers from France and Italy are simply disappointing. Deflation, contraction, recession. As Europe struggles on, we compare and contrast and ask about the impact, if any, on the U.S. Also, Boeing forecasts an even rosier future for airliner sales, spurred by economic growth in developing countries that it predicts will double the number of annual fliers in 20 years. Most growth will be in Asia. As developing countries become wealthier, the growth in air travel also shows how expanding transportation will add to global carbon emissions. We investigate.
Citigroup is close to reaching a $7 billion settlement with the Department of Justice over allegations that it sold shoddy mortgages. The J.P. Morgan Chase settlement back in November was $13 billion, which raises the question: How does the Justice department come up with sich a number? Plus, Alcoa, a mega producer of aluminum, is trying to go the route that other founding U.S. corporations have gone by getting out of the commodity business it was built on and moving into more specialized products with less competition and higher profit margins. Also, the Bureau of Labor Statistics says employers are advertising more jobs. But that doesn’t mean they’re actually doing the hiring for those positions.
After a blaze of success that propelled it into going public, the Crumbs cupcake company is going out of business. We look at the object lessons that other one-product businesses might take from the Crumbs saga. Plus, a new report looks at grads who came out in the early days of the recession and concludes they’ve done just fine. They have, but only because they got in before things really hit the fan. We look behind the numbers. Also, seems Silicon Valley interns get paid a lot of money. Like, six grand a month, in some cases. What do they do to make that kind of cash, and why would any company want to pay an intern that much? We report.
Banks needing cash temporarily pawn off treasuries to get it – usually just for a day or two. The system is under strain because the Fed has bought so many bonds and also because regulations require many financial institutions to hold bonds as collateral for deals. This is causing deals to fail at unprecedented rates. Plus, Archer Daniels Midland, a major US food processor has agreed to buy a company called Wild Flavors, which specializes in natural flavorings for food products. We pull back the curtain on the business of flavor, and along the way find out about what’s in, what’s out, and the tastes that are trending. Also, some foods are at recent highs, others are cheaper than they’ve been, but overall, the USDA reports, Americans spend far less on food than people in most countries – an average of 6.6 percent of income. Even poor Americans don’t spend appreciably more of their income. We look at what makes food in the U.S. so inexpensive.
Ready to watch some fireworks this Independence Day? Even if they're banned in your neighborhood, you'll probably still see and hear a few. According to the American Pyrotechnics Association, most states have restrictions on large types of firework. So how come there are still so many things that go bang in the night? Youth Radio takes us into the black market of fireworks. And, July 4th is one of the top weekends for American beer brands. But as Marketplace's Mitchell Hartman reports shifting habits among beer drinkers may mean that won't be true for too much longer. Also, in the next installment of the series "I've always wondered", Golda Arthur looks into what it's like to be a day trader on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
The latest jobs figures from the Department of Labor show the unemployment rate fell to 6.1 percent last month. That's the lowest since 2008, when the Great Recession kicked in. We explore how the jobs landscape has changed since then and what people are saying about having - or not having - a job. Plus, President Obama says immigration reform, if passed, could lead to $1.4 trillion in additional growth – we unpack, fact-check and explain this figure.
A wide-ranging interview about the economy with President Barack Obama.
Target is following other national chains in asking gun owners not to bring their guns shopping, including states where open-carry is legal. Target has been a target of both open-carry demonstrators in Texas, and anti-gun groups protesting people carrying rifles into Target stores, where 80 percent of the shoppers are women and children. We look at the cost to retailers following in Wyatt Earp’s footsteps. Plus, LAUSD is backing away from its iPad for every kid policy and is opening up its classrooms to several other devices made by Google, Microsoft, etc. With hundreds of millions of education-tech dollars being spent by school districts, what does LA’s move mean for the competition to own the classroom, here and elsewhere. Also, Apple bought Beats, then Amazon added music to its Prime service, and now Google is buying the music streaming site Songza, which selects songs for users based on their activities and the time of day. It's been a busy few weeks for music streaming— already a crowded space. Why does everyone want to be in the music business? Or is it less about being in the music business and more about being in the everything business? We investigate.
Several government agencies are making worried noises about the number of HELOCs that will come due in the next two years. These balloon payments that result from “end of the draw”, when a line of credit matures, could put a great deal of stress on the economy. We explain what end of the draw is, and why it could be a problem for the US. Also, Yahoo is saving the cult sitcom "Community", by announcing it will pay for the show's sixth season. We look at how "Community" fits in to Yahoo's plans to be a content provider and its ability to compete in this area.
The Supreme Court rules the ACA’s contraception provisions violate a federal law protecting religious freedom in the case of two challenging corporations. The court restricts the idea of religious liberty to corporations of a certain kind: closely held corporations, the vast majority of which are individuals or small family businesses. Some, though, are large: Hobby Lobby, one of today’s plaintiffs, is family owned and employs nearly 20,000 people. Also, the revelation that Facebook has been manipulating the feelings of its users revealed the existence of its data science division. We look at what the division does, why it’s so important to Facebook, and why knowing so much about your feelings is key to Facebook’s success. Plus, President Obama today nominates Bob McDonald, the former chief executive of Procter and Gamble, as the new chief of Veterans Affairs. McDonald will inherit a department riddled with deep-rooted problems. So what does the appointment of an outsider from the private sector say about the future of the VA?