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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.

Episodios

Seizing the yachts of Russian oligarchs was the easy part

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Then comes the upkeep. Authorities have confiscated roughly a dozen vessels with connections to the Kremlin, but to keep just one superyacht moored and maintained can cost tens of millions, and the arresting government has to foot the bill. Plus, retailers are stuck with too much inventory, farmers encounter a delayed planting season and classic cars are being electrified.

Let’s put Wall Street’s bad day in context

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A thousand-point drop from the Dow is scary, but it wasn’t entirely unexpected either. Inflation cut into retailers’ earnings, spurring a huge market sell-off. The Federal Reserve wants the economy to cool, and the stock market may be taking the hint. We’ll talk about it all on today’s show. Plus: signs of a normalizing housing market, the legacy of California’s board diversity laws and more from our interview with former Fed Chair Ben Bernanke.

Former Fed Chair Ben Bernanke on the inflationary lessons of the past

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What’s the best way for the Federal Reserve to tackle decades-high inflation? For former Fed Chair Ben Bernanke, the answer’s in the past. Today, Bernanke discusses what previous Fed chairs got wrong, why the Fed’s credibility is critical and how the central bank can manage inflation expectations. Plus, understanding the strength of the dollar, the extension of the public health emergency and the state of U.S. coal production.

Building affordable housing is hard, but so is changing minds about where to build it

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Today, the Joe Biden administration released a plan to tackle the shortage of starter homes. The move incentivizes high-density housing and manufactured or mobile homes. But there’s a hurdle for lower-cost housing developments: the communities that don’t want them there. Also on the program: looking at a new tool for mapping wildfire risks, grappling with higher utility bills and trading in a gig at Home Depot for one in a glassmaking studio.

The view of this economy from the White House

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We’ve got Cecilia Rouse, the chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, on the show today to hash out President Joe Biden’s remarks on the economy this week, the past year or so in government relief and who’s ultimately responsible for driving inflation. Before that, we’ll do some postgame analysis of our exclusive interview with Fed Chair Jerome Powell. We’ll also catch you up on the crypto crash and the baby formula shortage.

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Exclusive: Jerome Powell on inflation, soft landings and the Federal Reserve

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The Senate confirmed Jerome Powell for a second term as chair of the Federal Reserve today. Last week, the Fed announced the biggest interest rate hike in 22 years and its plans for reducing the central bank’s nearly $9 trillion balance sheet, all in an effort to get torrid inflation under control. We sat down with Powell for a long interview about what the Fed can do to engineer a “soft landing” for this economy — and what it can’t.

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Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky on the pandemic and work-from-anywhere

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At the start of the pandemic, Airbnb lost 80% of its business in about eight weeks. CEO Brian Chesky calls it a near-death experience for his company. On today’s show, we’ll talk with Chesky about where his business is going and why he believes “work from anywhere” is the future. Plus: how consumers are responding to (barely) slowing inflation, what Treasury bond yields have to do with student loans and why the Oakland A’s are playing ball for tiny crowds.

The inflation rate might go down, but prices might not

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We’ll get an update on the consumer price index from the government tomorrow. Even if the inflation rate has slowed from its recent 40-year high, don’t expect prices to go down anytime soon. We’ll get you caught up with the economic fundamentals on today’s show. Plus: the trouble with tax holidays, management issues amid peak TV and why wildland firefighters haven’t seen a cent of their raise from last year.

China’s COVID lockdowns are rippling through the global economy

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In the early days of the pandemic, China’s “zero-COVID” policy served the country pretty well. But in the omicron era, it’s putting strain on employment, supply chains and the global economy overall. On today’s show, we’ll look into it. Plus: Shein’s ultrafast fashion, Texas’ rolling blackouts and one couple’s money fight that ended up being about so much more.

The labor market is slowing down, and that’s OK

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The U.S. economy added 428,000 jobs in April, but there are signs the labor market slowing down a bit. Some economists say that might not be such a bad thing, counterintuitive as it might seem. On today’s show, we’ll explain and break down the rest of this big week in business and economic news. Plus: the start of the WNBA season and a look at the Gathering of Nations powwow.

What it means when productivity is way down

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Productivity fell 7.5% in the first quarter, the steepest drop since 1947. On today’s show, we’ll look at what that tells us about the economy as a whole. Plus, the future of medication abortion if Roe v. Wade is overturned. Later in the show, we’ll talk with the president of a community bank about responding to the Fed’s rate hikes.

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A look at the Fed’s long road ahead

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The Federal Reserve announced a half-percentage-point interest rate hike today. It’s also shrinking its balance sheet in an effort to tame inflation. But supply chain hiccups, inflationary expectations and a potential wage-price spiral complicate the central bank’s job. Today, we dig in. Also on the program: why the Fed might not mind a dip in the stock market, and how overturning Roe v. Wade would ripple out into the economy.

Abortion access as an employee benefit?

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If the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, about half the states in the U.S. are expected to ban abortions entirely. It’s a human and political story, but it has economic implications too. Today, we’ll take a look at the companies moving to help their employees access abortion care and who those policies impact most. Plus, an in-depth conversation with U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai on tariffs, trade and globalization.

What’s left of Russia’s economy?

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Since Russia launched its war in Ukraine, the nation has been pummeled by sanctions, the freezing of assets and the exodus of multinational companies. Inflation is hitting ordinary Russians hard too. Now, with its role as Europe’s energy supplier in question, we do the numbers on Russia’s economy. (Hint: They aren’t pretty.) Plus, companies rethink their borrowing sprees amid rising interest rates and manufacturers look to set up shop in Mexico.

Oil producers’ megaprofits stir up calls for windfall tax

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Exxon Mobil reported quarterly profits of $5.5 billion today, riding the wave of high oil prices prompted by the war in Ukraine, among other factors. The company, a leader in a shareholder-friendly industry, plans to use many of its billions on stock buybacks. Now, environmentalists are pressuring Congress to tax these windfall profits. Plus: Employees see higher pay but less buying power, and we’ll talk recession fears and GDP in the Weekly Wrap.

That fall in GDP may not be as bad as it seems

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U.S. gross domestic product shrank by 1.4% last quarter, but just because the economy’s shrinking doesn’t mean it’s hurting. Today we dive into two big factors — slowed inventory growth and a surge in imports — sinking that calculation. Also on the program: How the NFL draft incentivizes “tanking,” and why the energy crisis could be an opportunity for the energy transition.

Just how likely is a “soft landing”?

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We’ve talked about the Federal Reserve’s tricky balancing act: raise interest rates enough to quell inflation without spurring a recession. That’s often called a “soft landing.” Thing is, it’s hard to do. The Fed’s tried it nine times since 1961 and has succeeded only once. Today, we’ll discuss how soft (or bumpy) the landing may be this time around. Plus: Russia cuts off some gas exports and retirement planning may now include crypto.

Demand for mortgages slumps, but it may be a while before prices do the same

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Home prices? Up. Mortgage rates? Also up. Demand for mortgages? Not so much. Today, we check in with a Los Angeles-based mortgage broker for a deep dive into the cooling of the housing market. Also on the program: Demand for coal sees a (likely temporary) boost, April wildfires underscore the growing costs of the climate crisis and the Pell Grant program is expanded for incarcerated students.

What does Elon Musk see in Twitter?

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Mere days after announcing he wanted to purchase the social network, Elon Musk has reached a deal with Twitter ⁠— a $44 billion buyout. Musk, the world’s wealthiest man, wants to take the company private and change how it moderates content. Is there more to this deal than free speech? We’ll dig in. Plus: Why rising prices impact everyone differently and how companies came to serve shareholders first.

The economic fallout of France’s presidential election

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French voters hit the polls Sunday to decide between incumbent President Emmanuel Macron and hard-right rival Marine Le Pen — known for her pro-Russia, anti-NATO and anti-European Union sentiments. Though Macron leads in the polls, Le Pen has working-class appeal. Today, we’ll get you caught up on the election and its economic consequences. Plus: It’s Earth Day, but supply chains and trade wars are holding the renewables industry back. But first: We’ll hash out tariffs and rate hikes in the Weekly Wrap.

The difference 2 years makes

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Two years ago, 4.2 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits. Last week, that number was 184,000. Nowadays, job seekers can be picky while employers bend over backward to attract and retain workers. Today, we look at the historic strength of this job market. Plus: What’s behind the surge in natural gas prices, what Shanghai’s lockdown feels like nearly four weeks on and how flight attendants in the ’60s helped working women’s rights take off.

Power to the … homeowners association?

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Homeowners associations aren’t just making rules about lawn ornaments and holiday decorations. HOAs are increasingly leveraging their authority to restrict investors from buying up houses to rent. Today, we’ll dive into what that means for wannabe buyers and renters. Also on the program: Consumers stick with pricier brands (for now), inflation complicates infrastructure spending and student debt cancellation could narrow the racial wealth gap.

Uncertainty is the only certainty in economic forecasting right now

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The International Monetary Fund slashed its prediction for global economic growth in 2022. Some big reasons: the war in Ukraine, fallout from sanctions on Russia, and the pandemic. Those factors are complicating the jobs of economic forecasters everywhere. Today, we dig into it. We’ll also revisit those Trump-era tariffs, examine the market for digital voices and check in on the evolving economics of streaming platforms.

Get ready for clogged supply chains when China’s COVID lockdowns end

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China’s strict zero-COVID-19 policy has left workers stuck at home and goods stuck at docks or warehouses. When those measures are lifted, a tidal wave of consumer goods could flood back into American ports, and the burdened supply chain could become congested yet again. We’ll talk about it. Plus: Oil drilling on federal lands provides political drama but little relief, and regulators voice anxiety about stablecoins.

Twitter uses a poison pill to fend off Elon Musk

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Elon Musk has a 9% stake in Twitter and offered to buy the company Thursday. Now, Twitter has countered by activating a “poison pill,” a move that gives other shareholders the opportunity to buy more shares and dilute Musk’s power. We’ll also chat about whether we’ve reached peak inflation in the Weekly Wrap. And while China’s COVID-19 restrictions disrupt global supply chains, trucking capacity in the U.S. begins to loosen.

The she-cession meets she-flation

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The pandemic sidelined millions of working women. Now, women — who often earn less than their male counterparts, yet spend more for similar products — are feeling the sting of inflation more acutely too. That could further slow their return to the workforce. Plus: Spending at the pump goes up, college students could get nice tax returns and cryptocurrency is having a moment … at kids’ summer camp.

How high will interest rates go?

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There’s a monetary policy principle that says for every percentage point of inflation,  interest rates should rise a percentage point or more. But could rates north of 8% actually be in the cards for the Federal Reserve? Today, we’ll do the numbers. Plus: What JPMorgan’s earnings report hints about the economy’s future, why student enrollment dips complicate school budgets and how Russian retaliatory sanctions are affecting jam sessions.

Inflation, inflation everywhere …

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… and not a drop of relief, at least for a while. Inflation clocked in at 8.5% year over year in March, but the economic cooling effects of the Federal Reserve’s interest rate hikes could take a year or more. Meanwhile, small businesses and consumers alike are trying to stretch their dollars further. We’ll also take an inside look at Shanghai’s indefinite COVID-19 lockdown and interrogate Germany’s “change through trade” approach to autocratic countries.

Russia may be forced to default on its debt

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According to Standard & Poor’s, Russia is in “selective default,” or default on specific debt payments. The country has plenty of money, but Western sanctions could make it unable to pay. Meanwhile, some investors may spot an opportunity to scoop up Russian debt at low prices. Plus, spring flight cancellations could spill into the summer, and inflation comes to the school cafeteria.

War-fueled inflation is felt more keenly in developing countries

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Prices were already on the rise before the war in Ukraine, but the United Nations finds that global food prices have reached an all-time high. Now, people in developing countries, who spend proportionately more on food, are at increased risk of hunger as their governments seek alternative suppliers. Plus, a look at Russia’s profits from natural gas sales to Europe, the home health care crisis and the ripple effects of the Federal Reserve’s interest rate hikes.

The economy is already responding to higher interest rates

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The goal of Federal Reserve’s interest rate hikes is to cool demand and curb inflation, and it turns out they’re already working. Mortgage applications and refinancing of home loans dropped last month. Meanwhile, initial jobless claims are now at their lowest point in 50 years. Is there such a thing an unemployment rate that’s too low? We dig in. And for the opening day of Major League Baseball, a breakdown of the labor dispute between players and team owners that threatened the season.

The Fed’s plan to shrink its balance sheet

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Today, the Federal Reserve released its March meeting minutes. While many Fed officials are keen on half a percentage point interest rate hikes going forward, the central bank is also planning to shed $95 billion worth of bonds per month. We’ll dig into its plans to turn down the temperature of the economy. Plus: Why economists care about the Case-Shiller home indexes and what temporary protection status means for Ukrainians and Afghans.

How the ruble rebounded

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The value of the ruble tanked under international sanctions after Russia invaded Ukraine. It’s since recovered, at least on paper. Today, we look into how the Kremlin manipulated supply and demand for its currency to keep it stable. Plus: The European Union proposes a Russian coal ban, the war in Ukraine boosts beer prices and the Great Resignation may actually be kinda normal.

To tackle inflation, it helps to know what’s causing it

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Why are prices rising so quickly? The pandemic, supply chain snarls and war in Ukraine are obvious culprits. But, c’mon, what about corporations padding their profit margins? Or just-in-time supply chains? Today, we try to piece together the inflationary puzzle. Plus: The U.S. is maintaining its global financial clout — for now, the trucking industry grapples with wait times at ports and warehouses, and stock buybacks make a comeback.

Job market recovery continues apace

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Employers are on hiring sprees and they’re offering higher wages. Workers are coming off the sidelines in in-person, professional and business services. At the current rate of job growth, the economy could return to pre-pandemic employment levels this year — once inflation, COVID-19 and the war in Ukraine don’t stand in the way. It’s a red-hot jobs market, and today we’re digging in. Plus, how wildfire building codes have helped protect newer California homes.

In Texas, parents of trans kids face a costly choice: stay or go?

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Texas Gov. Greg Abbott recently ordered state agencies to investigate families that provide gender-affirming medical care to transgender kids for child abuse. Some parents are now looking to move to states with stronger LGBTQ protections — but that can be an expensive and disruptive solution. Today, we hear from some of those families. Plus, we’ll do the numbers on business costs, durable goods and shrinking consumer purchasing power.

Let’s talk about energy

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The war in Ukraine has threatened the global supply of all sorts of commodities. Today, we’re zooming in on three key parts of the global energy industry: Russia’s role in nuclear power, how Europe’s shift from Russian to American natural gas could play out and why OPEC+ likely won’t boost oil supplies. Plus: The changing conversation around standardized tests and potential planting on protected lands.

The view from the ground in Poland and Shanghai

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We have two stories today of what it’s like getting by when a global crisis is playing out around you: First, our China reporter tells us about life in locked-down Shanghai. Then, a 75-year-old Ukrainian refugee finds shelter in Poland. Stateside, we’ll take a closer look at the Federal Reserve’s toolkit, examine new data on the gender wage gap and explain what an inverted yield curve is.

Suspending state gas taxes may not do much for pain at the pump

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A handful of lawmakers have or are looking to suspend state gas taxes. While there’s little else they can control in terms of gas prices, those taxes make up less than 10% of prices at the pump — and it’s not the only place where consumers are feeling the pinch of inflation. Plus: A win for streaming platforms at the Oscars and a look at the CARES Act’s historic investment in tribal infrastructure.

It’ll take time and money to get American natural gas to Europe

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As Europe tries to wean itself off Russian natural gas, it’s moving toward imports from the United States and renewable energy sources. The U.S. produces a lot of natural gas, but liquefying it to make it shippable is a roadblock, and significantly upping production could take years and cost billions. Also on today’s show, the number of multigenerational households soars. Plus: Interrogating a potential 0.5% interest rate hike and the end of globalization in the Weekly Wrap.

Gas prices are just the tip of the iceberg

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Brent crude topped $119 a barrel Thursday. High oil prices don’t just drive up gas prices, they also boost the cost of plastics, used in everyday goods and products important to the energy transition. Today: What those rising prices mean for consumers and a cleaner future. Plus: Companies lack cybersecurity experts at the top, student loan payments may restart soon and the Fed keeps a close eye on real interest rates.

Is this the end of globalization?

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The global economy has felt the ripple effects of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine for nearly a month now. Today, we chat with Adam Posen, president of the Peterson Institute for International Economics, who argues that the war could erode the “global” part of this economy. Plus: A look at who benefits from new trade deals, why governments and aid organizations claim credit for humanitarian assistance and how housing support programs create stability for recipients.

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Another day, another Russian cybersecurity threat

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While President Joe Biden warned the private sector about potential Russian cyberattacks earlier this week, cybersecurity experts have been sounding the alarm for years. Today, we’ll preview what the threat to critical infrastructure looks like. Plus, the war in Ukraine spikes the cost of a metal used in catalytic converters, and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission mulls new regulations for cryptocurrency.

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Pharma’s tough exit strategy in Russia

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Hundreds of businesses have pulled out of Russia following its invasion of Ukraine, but the decision is more complicated for pharmaceutical companies. Today, we dig into the ethical and economic considerations they’re facing. Plus: We talk with a former Ukrainian finance minister, track the nickel market’s wild ride and take stock of the tough job ahead for the Federal Reserve.

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What will China do about Russia?

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On a two-hour call with Chinese President Xi Jinping today, President Joe Biden warned of “consequences” if China helps Russia avoid the effects of Western sanctions. Today, we’ll look at how China could backfill the hollowed-out Russian economy. Plus: Government money for COVID boosters is running out, and a Texas town is going all in on crypto. We’ll kick off the show with our panel of experts, breaking down the what and the why behind the Federal Reserve’s interest rate hike.

Can the Fed stick the landing?

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The stock market isn’t alerting us to a potential recession, and Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell doesn’t think one is likely in the next few years either. But as the Fed raises interest rates, economists’ forecasts are a little muddier. Today, we asked experts to paint a picture of our economic outlook. Plus, the war in Ukraine disrupts global auto production and Iranians reflect on the drawbacks of sanctions.

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A small number with a huge impact

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In an attempt to cool down decades-high inflation, the Federal Reserve announced a 0.25% interest rate hike today, likely the beginning of a series. The Fed has its work cut out for it: Fostering sustainable economic growth while tamping down price growth can be a delicate balancing act. And all this amid global supply chain issues, a war raging in Europe and a pandemic that’s not over. On today’s show, we’ll dig into how that balancing act could play out. Plus, how the war in Ukraine is complicating global trade in grain and affecting shipping between China and Europe.

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Oil prices fell. The price of gas? Not so much.

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West Texas Intermediate is back below $100 per barrel. Average gasoline prices in the U.S. are down too, from $4.33 a gallon to … $4.32. So what gives? Today, we’ll dig into the disconnect between crude oil and gasoline and why the price spike hasn’t juiced electric vehicle sales. Plus: How global markets could respond to a Russian debt default and what the life of Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh teaches us about happiness and success.

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China’s COVID cases are felt throughout the supply chain

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China’s omicron surge is small by American standards. But the same zero-COVID policy that allowed its factories to churn out goods during the pandemic is now slowing down electronics manufacturing and restricting activity in major cities. We’ll bring you the view on the ground in Shanghai. Plus: Advocates say the U.S. should do more for Ukrainian refugees, in-person shopping gets a lift as mask mandates fall away and new demand for aluminum cans is leaving craft brewers behind.

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How do you do the numbers in times like these?

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The stock market is often used as a predictor of risk — financial, sure, but also geopolitical and global. The major indexes closed out a volatile week down slightly, but not far from where they were two weeks ago. What to make of that? We asked some experts. Also on today’s program: War complicates the Federal Reserve’s moves on inflation, and crypto miners seek cheap energy in upstate New York. 

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The origin story of Russian oligarchs

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Palaces, private jets and superyachts — these are among the prized possessions of Russian oligarchs who have been singled out and sanctioned by the United States, the United Kingdom, the European Union and others. Today, we’ll examine the history of oligarchs, the relationship between them and Russian President Vladimir Putin and the iffy impact sanctions on these superrich types might have. Plus: Wages struggle to keep up with inflation, humanitarian organizations rediscover the “cash is king” approach to aid and the war in Ukraine threatens to worsen global food insecurity.

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Russia’s economic future could be in its past

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When McDonald’s opened its Moscow location in the early ’90s, it signaled Russia’s transition to a market economy. But now corporations are pulling out over the war in Ukraine, and the Russian economy has been hollowed out by Western sanctions. Could the country be reverting to Soviet-era government interference? We’ll talk about it with the author of “Putinomics.” Later in the show: Why a federal gas tax holiday won’t ease much pain at the pump, and why ramping up U.S. oil production wouldn’t be an overnight fix either.

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An oil shock? In this economy?

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President Joe Biden announced a ban on Russian oil imports today, warning American consumers they’ll pay more at the pump. Historically, oil shocks have preceded recessions, but the pandemic may have equipped this economy to better withstand the price jumps. Later, we’ll examine why businesses are closing up shop in Russia and the country’s economic ties to China. Plus: How Americans can make sure their donations to Ukraine count.

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How the war in Ukraine is fueling sky-high gas prices

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The average price for a gallon of gas in the United States is now more than $4. A lot of that price jump has to do with the surging cost of crude oil. With the U.S. and its allies discussing sanctions on Russian energy, we take a look at what it would mean to restrict one of the “last economic lifelines” for Russia’s economy and why the U.S. imports so much oil in the first place. Plus, the toll of war on Ukrainian students and a visit to San Francisco’s “Little Russia.”

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Let’s make crypto a little less cryptic

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Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are relatively new, but they’re already changing the global economy. Ukraine is using cryptocurrency to fund its war efforts. We’re going to spend this month explaining how the crypto economy operates and answering all of the questions you might have been too afraid to ask. First, we’ll dig into the blockchain and bitcoin mining — no hard hat required. Plus: a great jobs report, the “London laundromat” and why the West still isn’t sanctioning Russian oil.

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Tech companies scramble to aid their Ukrainian workers

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Ukraine has become a hub for outsourced technology services over the past few years. That means the major tech companies that employ workers there are activating contingency plans to help keep those workers safe. Today, we’ll take a look at how some companies are responding when a part of their workforce is threatened by war. Also on today’s program: The job market appears to bounce back from omicron, investors flock to the security of the government bond market and Russian businesses in the U.S. struggle to retain patrons.

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Divesting from Russia is easier said than done

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A growing number of giant global businesses — including Apple, Shell, Ford and BP — are opting to divest from Russia in the wake of its invasion of Ukraine. That list also includes ExxonMobil, which manages and has a major stake in a Russian oil and gas project. Terminating those commitments will take time, cost billions and likely not change Vladimir Putin’s stance on Ukraine. We’ll also look at where OPEC+ oil is flowing, how a ban on Russian airlines will affect global aviation and what it means that the ruble is a free-floating currency. Plus: Federal Reserve chief Jerome Powell confirms the upcoming interest rate hike we’ve been expecting.

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Cryptocurrency is aiding Ukraine — and potentially Russian oligarchs

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Ukraine’s official Twitter account solicited donations in bitcoin and other online currency this weekend and reportedly received $20 million worth. Russians have also turned to cryptocurrency as an alternative to the plummeting ruble — and, potentially, a way for oligarchs to protect their wealth from sanctions. Plus: A look at the businesses that are divesting from Russia, and we delve into social media deplatforming Russia’s state media.

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To prop up the ruble, Russia beefed up its reserves. Now they’re inaccessible.

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The invasion of Ukraine and economic sanctions on Russia caused the ruble to tank on Monday, and everyday Russians are already starting to feel the pinch. The Russian Central Bank had already grown a rainy day fund of more than $600 billion in securities and reserves in foreign countries as a hedge against future sanctions. But the U.S. and its allies have frozen Russian assets and made them near-impossible to access. Also on today’s program, a look at why Russia’s valuable energy sector is evading sanctions, zooming in on Ukraine’s role in the global economy and explaining SWIFT, the global interbank messaging service.

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How sanctions against Russian oligarchs work

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With Russia’s invasion of Ukraine came a new fleet of American sanctions against the oligarchs close to President Vladimir Putin. Cutting these barons of industry off from their billions involves untangling the web of shell companies and legal tricks they use to hide their wealth. Today, we look at the forensic accountants on the frontlines of U.S. sanctions. Plus, a look at Putin’s vast currency reserves and the quiet dread gripping New York City’s Little Ukraine.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine comes at a global cost

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The Russian invasion of Ukraine throws global trade, financial markets and domestic economies into great uncertainty. On today’s show, we consider the history that led to this moment and examine the upshot of the newest U.S. sanctions against Russia. Who ultimately bears that burden? And what might war in Europe mean for a global economy still grappling with damage done by the pandemic?

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With eyes focused on Ukraine, another crisis unfolds in Afghanistan

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We’ve talked quite a bit the past couple of days about the Ukraine conflict, sanctions against Russia and their impacts on the global economy. But it’s been six months since President Joe Biden withdrew troops from Afghanistan. American sanctions on the Taliban government are wreaking havoc, international aid has dried up and food insecurity is growing. Today, we check in on the state of humanitarian and economic crises currently playing out there. Also on the program: how home improvement stores are benefitting from the aging housing stock, and why more economic data doesn’t necessarily mean better economic forecasts.

The “first tranche” of sanctions against Russia is here. Now what?

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Today, President Joe Biden announced that the U.S. would join the European Union in sanctioning Russia for its military actions in Ukraine. The restrictions are targeted but could push up grain prices and are stirring anxiety about global energy prices. Economic blowback, along with COVID-19, inflation and supply chain issues, amount to a “central banker’s ultimate nightmare.” We’ll explain. Plus: Why some apparel wholesalers are waiting to sell their inventory and how rising prices are affecting the service sector.

How effective would U.S. sanctions against Russia be?

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The United States has threatened Russia with “swift” and “severe” economic sanctions if the country further invades Ukraine. The unprecedented sanctions would target Russian financial institutions and potentially affect any company or individual with links to the Kremlin. Today, we’re joined by Marketplace’s London bureau chief, Stephen Beard, to hear about the global economic ripple effects — from inflation to an energy crisis — that trade restrictions on Russia could have. We’ll also look at the precarious existence of pandemic-era museums and hear how poachers are pushing some West Texas cactuses to extinction.

The state of the Presidents Day sale

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Bargain hunters be warned: It’s rough out there. Consumers are sensitive to inflation and searching for deals right now. But supply chain issues are producing scarcity and a willingness to pay a little more. Today, we look at the deals consumers can expect as companies aim to benefit from rising prices and increased retail sales. We also parse corporate performance metrics and break down the week’s biggest economic news with our panel of experts.

In a tight job market, maybe it’s time to rethink degree requirements

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The economic gap between Americans with college degrees and those without has been growing for decades. That’s been driven in part by “degree inflation,” which puts millions with military, community college or on-the-job experience at a disadvantage, even in a tight labor market. Today, we hear from the nonprofits, companies and individuals trying to shrink that gap and prioritize skills over formal education. Plus: Permits point to a much-needed bump in home construction, the economy appears to be coping with COVID and a Brooklyn-based toymaker envisions the new Lego.

Your word of the day: “boomflation”

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January’s retail numbers show that Americans are buying a lot. They’re purchasing furniture to make themselves more comfortable at home and are switching up that business-casual wardrobe for something more “business comfortable.” Even when accounting for inflation, there’s a boom in spending and demand — something the Federal Reserve is likely making note of as it eyes interest rate hikes. We’ll also examine the tiff over U.S.-China flights and why more students aren’t filling out the federal financial aid application.

What will the post-COVID world look like?

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It’s easy to remember the “before times,” but it’s a lot more challenging to envision the “after times.” Even if COVID-19 sticks with us forever, that doesn’t mean we’ll always be living in a pandemic. Today, we’ll dig into how exactly we can tell when the pandemic is behind us and what our norms, our economy and our lives might look like. Plus: Inflation hits oil and lumber, and the Great Resignation hits inflation.

 

When it comes to inflation, it’s the thought that counts

por Marketplace

The highest inflation in years comes with the lowest consumer sentiment in a decade. Or is it the other way around? With low morale due to inflation, wages increase to compensate, prices escalate to address higher wages … and worries of the inflation-sentiment spiral continue. But these mind games won’t last forever. Also on today’s episode, we look into what’s happening with the racial discrimination lawsuit against the NFL; how the Russia-Ukraine conflict is driving up oil prices; and how the demolition of weekly motels in Reno, Nevada, has shed new light on the city’s housing crisis.

Tom Brady’s back at the Super Bowl, endorsing crypto

por Marketplace

Rams or Bengals? Buffalo sauce or barbecue? Cash, credit or crypto? Tune in to the Super Bowl this Sunday, and you’ll notice that cryptocurrency exchange companies are investing millions for screen time during commercial breaks. The industry sees a lot of potential among sports fans, and on today’s show we’ll talk you through the strategy. We’ll also talk about MoviePass, which is staging a comeback in a changed industry. But first: Just how hawkish will the Federal Reserve get?

What’s driving meat prices up?

por Marketplace

This morning’s inflation numbers tell a story: Prices are going up faster than they have in 40 years, cutting into profits. But Tyson Foods saw its profits soar by double digits last quarter. Aren’t companies like Tyson feeling supply chain disruptions and inflation the same as the folks who are buying meat at the grocery store? Plus: The holdover law from the 1970s stopping universal access to fentanyl tests and a $5 billion plan to get electric vehicles road trip-ready.

Canadian protests could wreak havoc for the auto industry

por Marketplace

The Ambassador Bridge, which connects Ontario to Detroit, carries more than a quarter of all goods traded between the U.S. and Canada. For three days now, truckers protesting Canada’s vaccine mandates and COVID-19 restrictions have blocked the bridge, interrupting a trade link critical to American automakers and Canadian parts manufacturers. It’s the latest in a long line of supply chain disruptions for the industry. Also on today’s show: A small-business love story from Draper, Utah, and a close look at how inflation is disproportionately affecting rural America.

A road map of inflation

por Marketplace

Inflation clocked in at a decades-high 7% in December. But inflation varies depending on where you’re located. Today, we’ll take a look at what inflation feels like for businesses and consumers in Atlanta, Detroit and San Francisco, as well as the sectors in which prices may be higher for longer. We’ll also travel to Istanbul to hear how Turkey’s staggering 36% inflation rate is fueling a tourism boom for visitors eyeing luxury living at low cost. Buckle up — it could be a steep and bumpy ride.

 

What Spotify’s response to Joe Rogan scandals tells us about the labor market

por Marketplace

Joe Rogan’s podcast will remain on Spotify following controversies over COVID misinformation and his past use of a racial slur. Still, the company’s CEO issued an apology to staffers this weekend. In a competitive industry with a tight labor market — and at a time when workers prioritize company values — the streaming platform may be less worried about keeping subscribers than it is about retaining employees. Plus: An inside look at China’s zero-COVID policy and supply chain management programs see a boom in student interest.

Quirky, bizarre, unusual — and strong

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Whatever your adjective of choice, the January jobs report was — to say the least — surprising. Despite gloomy forecasts, employers added 467,000 jobs last month. Pay and labor force participation were up, too. Today, we’ll dig into the data and tackle more of this week’s economic news in the Weekly Wrap. Plus, the little perks just aren’t cutting it anymore to retain workers, and finding a home in a family-friendly neighborhood is easier said than done.

It’s a hot job market, but not for everyone

por Marketplace

We’ve said before that now is a good time to be a job seeker. But more people are unemployed now than before the pandemic. On today’s show, we hear from a few folks who are looking for work and the barriers that stand in their way. Plus: Tech stocks take a tumble (with big ripple effects), and small businesses weigh the best ways to deal with inflation in the coming year.

 

The difference paid medical leave made for one family

por Marketplace

Only 10 states have some version of paid family medical leave. Today we hear from a family who’s experienced two major medical events in two states, one that has paid family medical leave and one that does not. We examine how the policy has affected their financial and mental well-being. Plus, how omicron may mess with the numbers in January’s jobs report, and how being crafty has helped one microbusiness navigate the pandemic.

The “data desert” in monthly jobs reports

por Marketplace

The pandemic has taken its toll on Indigenous workers, but take a look at the monthly jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and you wouldn’t be able to tell. That’s because the report omits American Indians and Alaska Natives. Today, we’ll take a look at what employment looks like in a few tribal communities and examine the difficulties of implementing policy without meaningful data. Plus, we’ll hear how businesses are grappling with inventory surpluses and look at what the deployment of Russian troops means for Ukraine’s economy.

Schools are struggling to spend COVID-19 stimulus money quickly enough

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The American Rescue Plan gave public schools $122 billion to update facilities and help students through the pandemic, but they’ll have to return whatever they don’t spend by September 2024. Today, we look into the pressures of working in a bureaucracy and why schools may need more time. Plus: Why our obsession with older homes might not be so charming and how economists are predicting Fed interest rate hikes will play out.

Add “climate-proof” to the house-hunting wishlist?

por Marketplace

Working from home has opened up where people choose to reside, and data shows that climate change is increasingly factoring in, too. Today, we take a trip to Duluth, Minnesota, to hear from a few climate migrants who moved to the city, in part because they felt it safer from the impacts of the climate crisis. Plus: Inflation is still rising and consumers are still bummed about it.

On the up and up again

por Marketplace

Spending and inflation? Up. GDP? Also up. Interest rates? Soon to be up. After the economic nosedive that was 2020 and the huge rebound of 2021, we dig into when the Federal Reserve’s tentative rate hike is likely to ripple out to the rest of the economy. We’ll also take a look at why it’s so hard to pass climate legislation in the U.S. and hear from a venture capital fund investing in Black-founded health startups.

The Fed’s gonna do what the Fed’s gonna do

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… Which is a lot of considering and a lot of signaling. On today’s show, we’ll look into when the Federal Reserve might raise interest rates, what a digital dollar could look like and how the Fed gauges wage inflation. Plus, a chat with the owner of a Hawaiian boat tour company about rebuilding following the Tonga tsunami.

December’s jobs report is a head-scratcher

por Marketplace

Unemployment fell in December close to a pre-pandemic low. But the economy added far fewer jobs than economists expected. So what gives? It has to do with the two different surveys that make up the monthly jobs report and how they define “employment.” Plus: App-based payments come out from “under the table,” higher fees come for second homes and people shift how they do their ‘dos in the pandemic.

What happens to our economy if we’re not a democracy?

por Marketplace

One year ago, supporters of Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol in a violent and deadly attempt to overturn the results of the 2020 election. Today, we revisit the economic ripples of the Jan. 6 insurrection and examine how political instability continues to hamper the economic recovery. We’ll also hear how utility infrastructure plays into wildfire prevention, what a festival cancellation means for surrounding businesses and why consumers have a gloomier outlook than the economy does.

Brexit’s impact, one year on

por Marketplace

Though the United Kingdom formally ended its European Union membership at the start of 2020, last week marked the one-year anniversary of the U.K. severing remaining ties with the EU. Today, we hear about the hopes, frustrations and economic outlooks of five small U.K.-based companies 12 months on. Plus: hints of an easing supply chain, a growing industry to manage office downsizing and a high-tech tractor that could curb a shortage of agriculture workers.

Corporate boards are finally starting to keep their diversity promises

por Marketplace

While a group of GOP-led states is currently pushing against NASDAQ board diversity requirements, some corporations have already ramped up their diversification efforts. The number of directors from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups jumped by 25% in 2021, and women now make up almost 30% of directors among Russell 3000 Index companies. The shift, while slow, hints at the changing values of companies and their investors. We’ll also hear from recruiters experiencing a boom in business, head to Albuquerque as it pilots a zero-fare bus program and check in with small retailers catching a breath after holiday shopping.

A look at Sacramento’s “right to housing” proposal

por Marketplace

California is home to nearly one-quarter of the country’s homeless population, a count that has likely grown during the pandemic. Last year, the mayor of Sacramento — home to 11,000 people without homes — proposed a radical solution to the city’s homelessness crisis: treat housing as a legal right. Housing advocates largely support the proposal, except for a controversial part requiring homeless residents to move to a temporary shelter or be removed from their current locations. Also on today’s program, big banks delay their back-to-office plans, the strategies behind some brands’ familiar chimes and why energy companies are racing to liquefy natural gas.

New year, same pandemic

por Marketplace

Even if it may not feel like it amid spiking COVID-19 cases, we are in a very different world — and economy — than the one we were in a year ago. Today, we’re taking a look back at 12 months of inflation, supply chain headaches and child care issues. We’ll also look at what interest rates and consumer spending might be like as we continue to redefine “going back to normal” in 2022. Plus: an argument for ethical AI, examining a piece of “must-pass” legislation and the reflections of a parade organizer.

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While renters face eviction, a Texas county returns unspent relief aid

por Marketplace

In late November, commissioners in Montgomery County — located north of Houston — voted to return $7 million in unused federal rent relief. But some renters there are still facing eviction, and many have found it difficult to access county- and state-level COVID relief funds. As the federal government works to reallocate rent relief, we pay a visit to Montgomery County to see how officials, activists and renters are responding. But first, a look at what 2022 might bring for the job market, how restaurants and bars are planning for a second New Year’s Eve with COVID and why a big-ticket bailout for the U.K.’s hospitality industry still might only be a drop in the bucket.

How pandemic grief is rippling into the economy

por Marketplace

A little over a year ago, the first American received a COVID-19 vaccine. Now, we’re averaging more than 250,000 positive COVID cases per day. This year has been … a lot. Consumers and workers are more resilient but are tired or burned out. Counselors and clinicians are overwhelmed with the scale of grief they’ve been tasked with addressing. Today, we’ll talk about the psychological toll the pandemic has taken, how to grieve the lives we once knew and how to live with this continued uncertainty. Plus: The huge price tag of returning those unwanted holiday gifts, a new holistic approach to preventive care coming to California and a look at Japan’s hydrogen-focused plan to reach net-zero emissions by 2050.

In California, a blueprint for addressing the opioid crisis

por Marketplace

The pandemic has exacerbated the country’s opioid crisis. More than 100,000 people in the United States died from drug overdoses last year in the highest one-year death toll on record. Today, we take a look at a recently expanded program in California, one that utilizes medically assisted treatment in emergency rooms and is becoming a model for other programs around the nation. We’ll also hear about the questions Moderna’s shareholders are raising regarding global vaccine equity, take a look at the future of streaming services and examine Brexit’s impact on the United Kingdom’s role as a hub for plundered antiquities.

Will shorter CDC isolation guidelines help COVID staffing issues?

por Marketplace

On Monday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reduced the recommended isolation period for people who get COVID-19 from 10 days to five. Still, COVID cases are surging with the spread of the omicron variant. Now airline, health care and service industries are facing yet another wave of staffing disruptions without the government support they had at the beginning of the pandemic. Also on today’s show: How the pandemic has shifted the gaming console industry, an early look at holiday shopping stats and identifying the impact of the next Great Migration.

A 2022 New Year’s gift for many workers? An increased minimum wage

por Marketplace

At the start of 2022, more than 50 jurisdictions are slated to raise their minimum wage rates, many to $15 an hour or more. Despite widespread support for increased minimum wages and years-long activism, efforts to boost the minimum wage at the federal level have largely stalled. But even as many employers independently raise pay amid a tight labor market, inflation continues to chip away at the gains made by many workers. Also on today’s program: A look back at the week, what consumer spending looks like amid the arrival of omicron, how the surge in electric vehicle demand impacts the Democratic Republic of the Congo and a festive take on The Numbers.

COVID-19 mitigations are straining school nurses

por Marketplace

Before the pandemic, roughly a quarter of schools in the United States didn’t employ a school nurse at all, and less than half employed nurses full time. Now, many of those nurses are adding contract tracing and COVID-19 testing to their already lengthy list of duties to keep kids healthy. These stressors are pushing some school nurses to their breaking point and highlight the issue of understaffing, which can be detrimental in communities where the school nurse’s office may be the only access to health care some students have. Also on today’s program: Americans are returning to their pre-COVID saving habits, airlines are pushing for reduced CDC quarantine guidelines and some indie musicians are turning to indie revenue streams.

Why being single is costly in the U.S.

por Marketplace

It won’t appear as an additional tax or fee on a receipt, but if you’re single in the U.S., you’re paying more than your married peers. That’s because policies and programs, from Social Security to the tax code, were written when it was assumed that Americans would get and stay married. Today, we’ll hear from journalist Anne Helen Petersen about how your relationship status can dictate your economic outlook and whether policies are likely to change with the changing population. Plus: Consumer confidence creeps up despite omicron, a historically Black college gives students a generous gift with no strings attached, and how hard-to-find COVID tests illustrate the challenges of relying on a private industry during a public health crisis.

In tourist communities, short-term rentals are pricing out locals

por Marketplace

When you head to an outdoorsy town or resort community to get away from it all, it can be easy to forget the people who live and work there full time, ensuring that the place runs smoothly. The tourism that many of those towns rely on can also produce housing pressures. Marketplace’s Amanda Peacher takes us to Joshua Tree, California, where short-term vacation rentals make up more than one-quarter of the housing stock. As she points out, the affordable-housing shortage is becoming more common around the Western U.S. Also: What the holiday spending habits of four families tell us about the economy, what hurdles await President Joe Biden’s plan for distributing at-home COVID tests and what 20% inflation looks like in Turkey.

What Manchin’s derailing of Build Back Better could mean for the economy

por Marketplace

How much pull on the economy can one man have? Quite a bit, it turns out. On Sunday, Sen. Joe Manchin, a Democrat, announced that he would not be supporting the Build Back Better Act, citing inflation concerns. The bill, a foundational part of President Joe Biden’s agenda, has billions slated for social spending programs and addressing the climate crisis. Today, we’ll see where that leaves climate scientists and take a closer look at the impact government spending has on inflation. Plus, we’ll hear about a new lender for native farmers and ranchers, see what loan payment pauses have meant for students and look at the art and imperfect science of economic forecasting.

Omicron on the mind

por Marketplace

Remember just a few weeks back, when we didn’t know whether this new COVID-19 variant was pronounced ah-micron or oh-micron? However you say it, it’s at the doorstep and ready to barge into the economy. Today, we’ll tackle omicron in the Weekly Wrap, hear how businesses are reacting to it with little new guidance and see why the hottest item this holiday season — a rapid COVID test — is becoming hard to find. Also: Why private equity investments are booming and how a Nashville record store is trying to survive a scorching real estate market.

COVID-19 has made inflation a global problem

por Marketplace

In case you haven’t heard … prices? They’re higher these days. That’s not terribly surprising, given the global supply chain debacle, but it turns out a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic has an impact, too. Dozens of countries have experienced inflation since the onset of the pandemic, and the United States has one highest rates. Today, we look at how the U.S. approach to addressing inflation differs from other countries around the globe. We’ll also take a trip to a warehouse to see its role in the global supply chain, hear how the Great Resignation isn’t necessarily benefitting everyone and celebrate jobless claims that haven’t been this low since the Beatles were together.

The child tax credit has given stability to many families. Today’s payment could be the last.

por Marketplace

As part of a COVID-19 relief package last spring, Congress expanded the federal child tax credit and started sending it out in monthly installments. For many families, the extra couple of hundred dollars each month has provided a cushion for emergencies or has been spent on essentials, like rent and utilities. But the expansion is temporary, and unless Congress passes President Joe Biden’s social spending plan, the decline in childhood poverty we’ve seen could be temporary, too. Inflation is also on today’s agenda, including how it was discussed at today’s Fed meeting, where it might linger in the economy and whether wage growth will be able to keep up with it.

So what can the Fed actually do about inflation?

por Marketplace

The producer price index came out today and — no surprise — inflation is hitting the folks who make the products we buy, too. The Federal Reserve is meeting today, but what exactly can it do to address rising prices? Though the central bank can taper bond buying, raise interest rates and communicate its plans more, it still has little control over issues dominating the economy right now, like COVID-19 and supply chain woes. Plus: How the pandemic reinvigorated DIY home renovations, why buying a new car is likely to remain troublesome for a while, and why officials are concerned that there might not be enough water to go around in rural West Texas.

How the Kentucky tornadoes are compounding an existing housing crisis

por Marketplace

After devastating tornadoes swept through Kentucky last week, killing dozens and destroying thousands of homes, displaced residents are left wondering where to go. Kentucky already had a shortage of affordable housing, with 30% of the state’s renters at or below the poverty line. On today’s show, we hear from Adrienne Bush, executive director of the Homeless & Housing Coalition of Kentucky, about the need for investment and policy changes to ensure short- and long-term recoveries. We’ll also hear how American consumer demand is adding to supply chain disruptions, why holiday shipping is on a smoother track than last year and what a mistletoe auction in small-town Britain tells us about the U.K.’s economic recovery.

More than just a number

por Marketplace

Odds are, you’ve heard the figure by now: 6.8%. That’s what the consumer price index clocked for year-over-year inflation today. Those rising prices, especially for essentials like food and housing, are squeezing folks on low or fixed incomes. Though the federal government uses the CPI to adjust things like food aid and Social Security, economists are increasingly concerned that additional changes may be needed so benefits can keep up with inflation. But first, the Weekly Wrap, followed by a look at FEMA’s climate resilience plans and a dive into how a classic ballet performance is becoming more inclusive.

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Where will this economy be in December 2022?

por Marketplace

While both chewing on the lowest number of initial unemployment claims since the late 1960s and bracing for tomorrow’s inflation data for November, we decided to cast our minds ahead to December 2022. What’s the labor market going to look like in 365 days? Can we expect inflation to continue roaring ahead? We asked some experts to peer into the crystal ball. Also: Sabri Ben-Achour reports on China’s state-sponsored industrial espionage and an explainer on the significance of waning worker productivity.

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For some small businesses, the wonky supply chain is an opportunity

por Marketplace

If you’ve set foot inside any chain or big-box store in the past couple of months, odds are you’ve spotted an empty shelf or two. While it’s been difficult for lots of major retailers to get the products and supplies they’ve ordered, smaller businesses have found themselves nimble enough to fill those gaps. Today, we’ll hear from three small businesses about how they’ve been able to maneuver and flourish. Plus: the Great Resignation is still in full swing; COVID gives rise to a more lively freelance economy; and why inflation can benefit borrowers (complete with a history lesson).

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How this investor became the “slumdoge millionaire”

por Marketplace

In February, Glauber Contessoto invested his life savings in dogecoin, a cryptocurrency that started as a joke. But his gains are for real. He now owns more than $800,000 in dogecoin. Marketplace’s Matt Levin chats with Contessoto about the HODL — or “hold on for dear life” — mentality that keeps him and other investors in the crypto game despite incredible volatility. Also on today’s program: Why exports surged in October, what’s behind the battle for speedy grocery deliveries and the transition away from fossil fuels takes center stage at the World Petroleum Congress.

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A jobs report full of mixed signals

por Marketplace

If the U.S. economy had a Facebook profile, its relationship status with jobs would be set to … well … “It’s complicated.” The Bureau of Labor Statistics released a muddled job report last week, with a little over 200,000 jobs added to the economy. Data from other sources also shows a tumultuous recovery: Wages are up, though they’re not keeping up with inflation; upper-income professionals feel strong job security, but the service sector tells a different story. We’ll also hear how restaurants are prepping for a winter with omicron, see how hybrid and remote work could hold women back, and discuss why home equity lines of credit could be making a return.

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How the gas boom transformed a small town in Louisiana

por Marketplace

Natural gas prices have skyrocketed in recent months thanks to strong global demand. Today, Marketplace’s Andy Uhler takes us to a village in northwest Louisiana where many landowners signed away their mineral rights to drillers. The resulting infusion of cash revived the local economy but has come at an environmental cost for some in the area. We’ll also digest a muddled jobs report in the Weekly Wrap, discuss whether job growth in the warehouse sector is here to stay and tackle the frustrations of on-and-off return-to-office plans.

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Omicron could keep older workers on the sidelines

por Marketplace

Workers over 65 were the fastest-growing segment of the labor force before the pandemic. But as the pandemic persists and new coronavirus variants spread, older adults have been slow to return to the workforce, and many have simply retired early. In a tight labor market, that shrunken labor pool could persist for years to come. We’ll also hear how bond buying could translate into higher mortgage rates, how omicron could further complicate the global supply chain and how stock images play a role in reinforcing whiteness.

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Shipping logjams are polluting portside communities

por Marketplace

California’s portside neighborhoods, which are home to many low-income residents and communities of color, have long suffered from polluted air. But supply chain bottlenecks have worsened that pollution, which has been linked to cancer, heart disease and asthma. Though community advocates have pushed for emissions reductions, demand for goods that filter through the port is still at a record high. Also on the show today: A chat with Visa’s CEO about the future of digital payments; economists weigh in on how omicron could affect the market; and why it can be hard to find a public bathroom.

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Food banks are being squeezed by inflation too

por Marketplace

Food banks saw increased demand at the height of the pandemic. Now, as inflation limits what your buck can buy at grocery stores, demand is rising yet again. But food banks are dealing with those higher costs too, as well as supply chain issues that mean longer wait times for their orders and fewer donations. Also on today’s program, how Substack has changed the media landscape, what the omicron variant might mean for consumer confidence and why the U.K. aspires to be a green hydrogen powerhouse.

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In case you forgot: COVID still runs this economy

por Marketplace

The coronavirus omicron variant caused stock market jitters on Friday. While the strain’s impact on global health remains to be seen, if omicron is similar to the delta wave, we can expect travel and consumer spending to take a big hit. How it might affect inflation is unclear. Plus: Black Friday spending is up but still below pre-pandemic levels; millennials are sidelined in the homebuying market; and schools prepare to use federal pandemic relief.

Next-day delivery is so pre-pandemic. Cue ultra-fast delivery.

por Marketplace

Whereas next- or same-day delivery services transformed the way people shopped at the height of the pandemic, there’s a new kid in town: companies that will deliver an order in under 20 minutes. While the services have made it to densely populated urban areas in the United States, the market is particularly booming in the United Kingdom. Victoria Craig takes us to London, where — for super-fast delivery apps — competition is fierce, investment is booming and pathways to long-lasting profit are uncertain. Plus: The Weekly Wrap, a sky-high battle for 5G and a Black Friday look at consumer spending.

Bemidji, Minnesota has paid teleworkers to move there. How is it playing out?

por Marketplace

At the height of the pandemic, dozens of small communities saw an opportunity to recruit people who could work from anywhere — by paying them to move. Today, Dan Kraker takes us to Bemidji, Minnesota, where a program offers people $2,500 to telework there. The solution has proved mutually beneficial, offering newcomers a slower, more budget-friendly pace of life while helping a smaller town grow. Plus: The glass bottle shortage comes to a liquor store near you, the 30th anniversary of a major economic database and the young engineer behind an operations-friendly headscarf.

Inflation and unemployment stats tell a complicated story

por Marketplace

We got a feast of economic figures the day before Thanksgiving: First-time unemployment claims are at a 52-year low. But a key index shows inflation is at a 31-year high. Consumer spending is up too, yet consumer sentiment is at its lowest point in a decade. What the heck is going on? On today’s show, we’ll tell you how the economic recovery can look anything but linear. We’ll also hear about the big number of small-scale labor actions, the infrastructure bill’s potential impact on holiday travel routes and a new initiative by the Department of Labor aimed at assisting home care workers.

Biden’s release of oil reserves is unlikely to ease gas prices

por Marketplace

Gas prices are high ahead of holiday travel. To address oil costs, President Joe Biden announced Tuesday that he would tap into oil reserves and release 50 million barrels. But energy analysts say consumers likely won’t feel relief at the pump. Also on today’s show: Luxury stores keep malls afloat; how the shipping container came to be; and residents of Boquillas, Mexico, get creative to survive pandemic border closures.

What Jerome Powell’s renomination means for Fed policy

por Marketplace

President Joe Biden announced today that he will nominate Jerome Powell for a second term as Federal Reserve chair. Progressive Democrats were hoping Biden would nominate board member Lael Brainard, whom he instead picked for vice chair. The decision indicates a “business as usual” stance amid the economic recovery and spiking inflation. Also: We examine why Target’s nearly 2,000 stores will no longer stay open on Thanksgiving Day, unpack the Deere strike and its impact on farmers and look at businesses filling the void in China’s mental health care sector.

Postponing a blockbuster comes at a hefty cost

por Marketplace

As COVID-19 shuttered movie theaters across the country, production companies had few options: release films directly to streaming platforms or hold off on movie releases until the pandemic dust settles. But pressing the pause button can mean multibillion-dollar losses. In today’s episode, we hear from Vulture reporter Chris Lee about how even blockbuster films that are delayed may struggle to break even. Also: The Weekly Wrap; pharmacy chains eye the primary health care market; and even small retailers are getting a head start on holiday shopping.

Korean pop culture has taken the world by storm. And not by accident.

por Marketplace

The success of releases like “Squid Game,” “Parasite” and the boom of K-pop is no coincidence. It’s the result of South Korea’s decades-long investment in film, television and music. Today, Marketplace’s Kristin Schwab takes a look at how Korean entertainment has become a $10 billion economic powerhouse. Plus: A chat with Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic about expectations and reality in economic recovery; why recent employment numbers are subject to so much revision; and surprising Census stats show relocations at an historic low.

Small businesses attempt a new balancing act

por Marketplace

Big-box retailers like Home Depot, Target and Walmart are well stocked and ready to go for the holiday season. But for smaller retailers and businesses, inflation and supply chain issues are packing a real double whammy. Many are having to balance price increases that won’t alienate customers with creative solutions in order to protect their bottom line. They’re doing things like slimming down selections, cutting hours or adding storage space. We’ll also hear about the Forest Service’s plans for prescribed burns, what needs to happen to meet President Joe Biden’s EV charging infrastructure goals, and how Netflix is showing off its streaming-service might.

Inflation sure hasn’t stopped consumer spending

por Marketplace

The Commerce Department released figures on October retail spending today, and ka-ching! Retail sales jumped 1.7% from September, but inflation accounted for about half of that gain. Still, spending was up for electronics, groceries and gas as consumers tried to get a jump on holiday shopping. Later in the show: China has a long way to go in fulfilling U.S. purchasing agreements; workers are returning to offices, but not necessarily in downtown settings; and what the study of wait lines can teach us about supply chain issues.

When working from anywhere means working in luxury

por Marketplace

After 19 months of working amid the chaos of kids and dogs and laundry, many employees are craving at least some office time. Yet the return to downtown high-rises has been slow. So, some companies are nixing fluorescent-lit cubicles in favor of nontraditional co-working spaces — ones located in department stores or hotels or that offer amenities like garden offices and Michelin-starred restaurants. Also: Companies consider how to confess that they’ve raised prices, what it would take to electrify everything, and health and economics on stage at the Tribal Nations Summit.

How employer vaccine mandates are playing out in a tribal border town

por Marketplace

Indigenous Americans are vaccinated at a higher rate than any other racial or ethnic group, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But vaccination rates are much lower in communities that surround many tribal nations. Marketplace reporter Savannah Maher explores how tribal employer vaccination requirements are complicating economic relationships for one Wyoming reservation. Plus: the Weekly Wrap, a gloomy consumer sentiment report and why corporate splits seem to be all the rage.

Inflation, inflation, inflation

por Marketplace

We talked about it yesterday and we’ll talk about it again: according to the Consumer Price Index, inflation is up 6.2% in the past year, the biggest surge in three decades. Today, we’ll take a look at some of inflation’s far reaches, from dramatic increases in rents, to its impact on tax brackets, to what it’s doing to the price of fertilizer. Also on today’s program: why Congressional Budget Office scores matter; a look at the surprising economics of outdoor recreation; and a California law that’s transformative for garment workers and manufacturers.

How a group of determined Black women are saving a block in West Baltimore

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Just a few years ago, 78-year-old Poinsetta McKnight was the last homeowner living on the 1900 block of Etting Street in Baltimore. The street bore the scars of redlining, but with the help of the nonprofit Black Women Build – Baltimore, the block has come back to life. More than half a dozen homes have or are being renovated by and sold to Black women at affordable prices, with plans for further development and community building in the works. Plus: Unpacking today’s inflation numbers; supply chain issues come to a bookstore near you; and two young nurses on why burnout in health care is so severe right now.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen talks infrastructure, inflation and the debt ceiling

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Kai Ryssdal often liked to play a game on the show he would call What’s Janet Yellen Thinking? Well, today he took a trip to Washington, D.C., to ask just that. The two chatted about the potential impact of the Build Back Better bill, why Yellen thinks the current inflation is transitory and why raising the federal debt limit is “simply a must.” Also on today’s show, we’ll chat about General Electric’s big breakup announcement, revisit teen employment and hear from a couple in Brooklyn, New York, who are still reeling from the aftermath of Hurricane Ida.

Unpacking the $1 trillion infrastructure bill

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Over the weekend, Congress passed the trillion-dollar, bipartisan infrastructure bill. There’s a lot of money in it to tackle a lot of issues: roads and bridges, electric vehicles and charging stations, broadband access and much more. In today’s episode, we dig into some of those investments, their impacts and timelines. Plus: Workers who were fired for refusing vaccination face different unemployment benefits policies in different states; retailers are rethinking the value of delayed and costly imports; and corporations want to plant trees to offset their carbon emissions … but there might not be enough global real estate.

Wages are up. Buying power? Not so much.

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Friday’s jobs report was full of good news: More than half a million jobs were added in October. Wages rose again — especially in low-paying sectors — and are now up 4.9% year over year. But inflation is chipping away at those gains, and workers may lose leverage as more people enter the workforce. Also in today’s episode: The Weekly Wrap, what it means when a company is “water-positive” and gyms see gains as more people decide to work out outside home.

What does the failure of Zillow’s flipping business mean for other ibuyers?

por Marketplace

Zillow announced this week that it’s winding down its house-flipping business. As an ibuyer, Zillow’s real estate technology made instant offers on houses, then the company fixed them up and resold them. But Zillow underestimated the rapid rise in home prices and failed to anticipate that those gains would moderate — resulting in a $400 million loss last quarter and offering a cautionary tale to other ibuying companies. Also on the show today: California’s farmers get supply chain headaches, the complicated relationship a young woman has with her family’s wealth and why some in the U.K. are camping out in churches.

China skipped COP26, but it still has emission-reduction goals to meet

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Despite its noted absence by global leaders at the COP26 conference in Glasgow, Scotland, China is still aiming to curb emissions and become carbon neutral by 2060 — a decade later than targets set by the United States and European Union. But that’s no easy feat for the world’s second-largest economy and biggest polluter. Marketplace’s Jennifer Pak visits the city of Luoyang in central China to explore the hurdles, opportunities and importance of achieving that goal. Plus: Leisure travel makes a comeback; Senate Democrats reach to cap prescription costs for older Americans; and let the tapering begin.

For better or worse, NFTs are transforming the music business

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The Grammy Awards announced this week that a series of nonfungible tokens will be issued to celebrate next year’s awards. The decision is in step with the industry; artists like DJ Steve Aoki and singer-songwriter Zola Jesus turned to NFTs — popular for their scarcity — when touring dried up because of the pandemic. The shift changes how music is valued and monetized. Also on today’s program: a brief history of the debt ceiling; the EPA announces new methane emission limits; and the U.S. and G7 appear to get serious about countering China’s Belt and Road infrastructure initiative.

The labor market and consumer confidence are diverging

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Usually, people’s feelings about the labor market and the larger economy mirror one another. Recent surveys show that’s no longer the case. Why? Experts are pointing fingers at inflation and the uncertainty wrought by the pandemic. Later on in the show, we’ll also explore how minimizing economic inequality could better prepare the country for the next pandemic, hear how “dirty steel” plays into the U.S.-China trade war and see why England’s Stratford-upon-Avon is hosting a “mop fair.”

Why the U.S. doesn’t have a carbon tax

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A carbon tax will be among the topics discussed at the upcoming COP26 Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, Scotland. While more than 20 other jurisdictions around the world have implemented carbon taxes, a new tax is a hard sell to the U.S. public — and then there’s the powerful fossil fuel lobby. Also on today’s show: Why some economists are anxious about increasing prices and wages; rural Americans brace for higher propane prices as winter approaches; and a new delivery fee for Whole Foods groceries.

In this Great Resignation, good jobs are getting more competitive

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Despite a decreasing number of layoffs, employees are quitting their jobs at record rates. Many are leaving essential jobs in favor of ones in information technology, communications and administration that offer higher pay, better benefits and predictable schedules. That’s boosting competition so much that, statistically, it’s now more difficult to become a receptionist than it is to get into Harvard, per data from ZipRecruiter. Later in the show: Two small business owners discuss how they’re faring amid supply chain headaches; the climate crisis ups insurance bills; and in the search for zero-emission travels, hydrogen-powered passenger planes are likely to stay grounded for a while.

One kink in the supply chain: not enough parking

por Marketplace

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: There are issues in the global supply chain. One hiccup in the supply chain is a lack of truck drivers in the United States. Despite hiring bonuses of up to $10,000, fewer truck drivers are finding the stressful work and long hours worth it. And one of their biggest complaints? Difficulty finding a place to park and rest. We’ll also look at why the most iconic brand in the U.S. doubled its marketing budget this year, hear from San Francisco taxi drivers shouldering mountains of debt, and take a trip to a shipping container storage depot.

If U.S. workers had 4 weeks of paid family leave, would they use it?

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As congressional Democrats trim down the social-spending bill, a proposal for paid family leave may be cut from 12 to four weeks. The U.S. is one of only a handful of countries that don’t guarantee some paid family leave, and even at four weeks, would still be behind nearly every other country in the world. While such a policy could be vital to working parents, American reluctance to take time off could get in the way. We’ll also discuss corporations’ green pledges, why some companies are hiring leaders to manage remote and hybrid work, and hear about a horror author’s scary house hunt.

Will New Mexico chile crop weather labor shortage and climate change?

por Marketplace

In the early ’90s, New Mexico had 34,000 acres devoted to the production of chiles, the pepper seen on menus across the state. But that number has dwindled, with some 8,000 acres set aside for chile production in recent years, according to the New Mexico Chile Association. The decline in chile production — largely the result of climate change and a labor shortage — may be a threat to businesses and the culture of the region. Also on today’s show: Housing advocates vie for their slice of the reconciliation pie; examining just how ethical ESG investments are; and a festival sign writer crafts a pandemic side hustle.

“Clean slate” laws could soften the labor crisis

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One in three American adults has a criminal record. Amid a labor shortage and a historically high quit rate among the American workforce, there’s growing advocacy to pass “clean slate” laws, which call for modernizing court databases and creating algorithms to automatically clear records for minor criminal offenses. While such legislation expands candidate pools for businesses, it also opens the door to higher-quality jobs for those with a criminal record. Also on the show today: The Weekly Wrap; talking turkey about holiday food prices; and why some are calling plastic the “new coal.”

Were COVID relief funds fairly distributed to tribal governments?

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In March, the American Rescue Plan set aside $20 billion for tribal governments, an unprecedented federal investment in Indian Country. While close to 600 tribal entities got portions of the relief funds, more than half of the money went to just 30. That’s because the Treasury Department divvied up funds based on population and the number of people each tribe employs — not poverty levels or COVID infection rates. Also on the show today: The Federal Reserve overhauls investing rules for policymakers, why it’s so hard to determine what makes a “high-quality” carbon offset and examining the real-life horrors the film “Candyman” spotlights.

Inflation comes to a freezer aisle near you

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When it comes to checkout time at your local grocery store, the total at the bottom of your receipt might just raise your eyebrows. That’s because prices for essentials have increased by 4.5% year over year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Nearly half of all price increases have come from just three meats: beef, pork and poultry — meaning you may think twice before adding that steak or pork loin to your shopping cart. Later on in the program, we’ll hear about some of the career shifts occurring in the Great Resignation, what California’s drought could mean for the rest of the country and why Citigroup is nixing work lunches.

Can mediation hold off a wave of evictions?

por Marketplace

Philadelphia’s Eviction Diversion Program, launched last year, allows landlords and renters late on payments to avoid court through mediation. Since, the program has conducted more than 2,000 mediations, with more than 90% ending in agreement or continued negotiation. The program has also helped distribute millions of dollars in federal emergency rental assistance. Plus: A trip to a new government stockpile of medication ingredients; a Bitcoin fund debuts on the New York Stock Exchange; and what actually happens when you return an online order.

Zillow puts the brakes on controversial house flipping

por Marketplace

Zillow has been using algorithms to evaluate, buy, then resell houses — until recently. The company announced that it would pause purchases for the rest of the year, citing a lack of workers for renovations. The decision comes at a time when the real estate market is cooling off and may hint at the future actions of other “ibuyers.” Also on today’s show: China’s economic growth weakens, an honest conversation about mental health with a macro-social worker and a breezy trip to the world’s largest offshore wind farm.

The unemployed are often locked out of low-rate refi market

por Marketplace

Mortgage interest rates have been historically low for the past year — at or below 3%. However, many banks have kept in place Great Recession-era proof of employment requirements. This means that those who lost their jobs during the pandemic and could benefit the most from refinancing are often unable to. Plus: The Weekly Wrap, breaking down what the Fed’s board of governors does, and foreclosures begin to creep back up.

Gentrification meets Texas barbecue

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Historically, barbecue has been a cheap and delicious way to cook meat — principally by Black pitmasters who lived in poverty. Now, ‘cue joints win prestigious awards and can charge top dollar. But a lot of media attention has centered on white cooks, who make up a fraction of pitmasters. Marketplace’s Andy Uhler visited a few Texas barbecue restaurants to look at what some are calling the gentrification of barbecue. We’ll also tackle last week’s jobless claims, hear how the John Deere strike is affecting rural America and examine how climate change is likely to reshape migration.

A look at the child care crisis

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The child care industry was struggling even before the pandemic. Costs are high for parents who need the service to enable them to work, yet employee wages rank low among professions. Now, some 80% of day care centers are short-staffed. Experts say the $39 billion in relief outlined in the American Rescue Plan may only be a crutch for the problems that plague the field. Also on the program: Consumers are adapting to inflation, what the bump in Social Security payments means for recipients and we hear from a Black entrepreneur who’s operating a brewery and building community.

Americans are quitting their jobs in record numbers

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Though unemployment levels are dipping, some 4.3 million people left their jobs in August, according to a new Bureau of Labor Statistics report. The “quits rate” is up to 2.9% — the highest it’s been since the BLS started tracking it. This employee exodus is partially fueling the worker shortage in industries like food services, health care, manufacturing and public education. We’ll also discuss how China’s tutoring regulations have impacted some Americans who teach English as a second language, how index funds revolutionized investing, and what Wendy’s and Google’s partnership could mean for a drive-thru near you.

Why so many products are “temporarily unavailable”

por Marketplace

If you’ve tried to buy much of anything lately, there’s a decent chance some of the products you’ve been scouring aisles for have been out of stock. On today’s show, we air the first segment in our new collection, “Temporarily Unavailable,” which explores how stuff moves around the world … or doesn’t. Host Kai Ryssdal gives us an inside look at the Marine Exchange of Southern California in the largest port complex in the U.S. And later: how former “Survivor” contestants are profiting from their reality-star status; companies eye tariff relief under Biden; and new merch is coming your way, courtesy of a new Walmart and Netflix partnership.

How “Squid Game” took over fall TV

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People fall into one of two TV camps right now: You’ve either seen “Squid Game” or you haven’t. But odds are you’ve heard of the dystopian South Korean drama, which is  on track to be Netflix’s most-watched show yet. The series’ production values and exploration of class have helped it become a global hit, and the show’s success bodes well for streaming services that are making investments abroad and courting international subscribers. Also on today’s program: the Weekly Wrap, an uptick in wages and a preview of Marketplace’s newest series, “How We Survive.”

The Fed has a chance to diversify its leadership. Will it?

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After controversy over ethics and stock trading arose, two regional Federal Reserve presidents announced their resignations late last month. Their departures leave two senior leadership positions open and a chance for the Fed to regain trust. Fed Chair Jerome Powell has expressed support for diversifying the regional banks, but the final selection process remains opaque. Later in the show: Coal production struggles to keep up with demand, Germany’s small to mid-size businesses voice their hopes for a new government and the Catch-22 of climate-impact rules and infrastructure updates.

COVID-19 ignited a virtual mental health care revolution

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Mental health professionals have had virtual tools for decades, but the pandemic catalyzed the field to offer more telehealth services. It’s a change that experts say is here to stay and one that makes care more accessible. The shift has also incited an investment boom in mental health startups and apps that topped $1 billion last year. Also on today’s show: Workers can be choosy in the current job market; why this winter’s gas bill might give you sticker shock; and a chat with San Francisco Fed President Mary Daly.

When WhatsApp goes down, global communication stops

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Monday’s outage of Facebook and Instagram was annoying, sure. But the outage of communication platform WhatsApp highlighted how vital the app is to chat with friends and family or even do business in some parts of the world. Many emerging markets have access to technologies like smartphones but lack broadband infrastructure, making WhatsApp one of the most popular, inexpensive communication platforms available. Later, we’ll hear why some Hollywood workers are going on strike, whom a four-day workweek would serve and what an unused lot in Austin, Texas, tells us about the difficulties of creating affordable housing.

How the U.S. became a tax haven for the globe’s wealthy and elite

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Over the weekend, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists broke news about leaked financial documents called the Pandora Papers, which highlighted how the global elite shield their wealth. Dominic Rushe, U.S. business editor at The Guardian, spoke with us about how the documents reveal that some states, principally South Dakota, offer greater protections for offshore money than places like Switzerland or the Cayman Islands. Also on today’s program: A look at the Fed’s debt ceiling playbook, Molly Wood on the Facebook and Instagram outage and ride-hailing apps face competition from an old rival: taxis.

Could this be the start of a new labor movement?

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The pandemic has helped shift power in the economy from employers to workers. Public support for unions is among the highest its been in recent years. On today’s show, Liz Shuler, president of the AFL-CIO, discusses what she sees as the beginning stages of a modern labor movement that can grow and change with the needs of working people. But first: The Weekly Wrap, consumer pessimism grows and what budget constraints will mean for federal agencies.

Nursing schools are attracting more students, but not enough

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Hospitals and intensive care units have seen a wave of nurses leave the field, prompted by the stressors of COVID-19. Enrollment has picked up in many nursing programs, but schools project that there won’t be enough graduates to fill the gap. Also on today’s program: Supply chain-induced inflation may be with us for a while, an Iowa farmer recounts her difficult growing season, and need proof of vaccination? There are apps for that.

The families the child tax credit has left behind

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Some families that include undocumented immigrants are reporting that, despite being eligible, they’ve yet to receive the child tax credit. Chabeli Carrazana, an economy reporter at The 19th, tells us about how those who need it most face barriers to accessing the federal aid. Plus: How a fleet of British satellites could help combat climate change, what New York City’s congestion pricing may mean for residents and supply chain issues come to a paint store near you.

The past and future of unionizing restaurant workers

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The food-and-beverage industry has one of the lowest unionization rates among the U.S. workforce, but that wasn’t always the case. Now, organizing momentum is building. And public support for unions coupled with the stresses of COVID-19 could provide a boost to those efforts. We’ll also examine the rise in Treasury bond yields, see how a neighborhood loan program is benefiting Chicago’s northwest side and hear from former PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi on work-family balance.

What happens if we blow past the debt limit?

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If the debt ceiling is reached without being suspended or raised by Congress, the Treasury will have to choose between paying its bills and repaying money already borrowed. Results could be catastrophic. Also on the program: Facebook pauses the development of a “child-friendly” Instagram; a video game company tackles racism and sexism in its industry; and perks make it a great time to be a new hire.

A rodeo returns with fanfare and few masks

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For many towns in the West and Midwest, rodeos are a boon to the local economy. Despite the delta variant’s surge, many rodeos have made a return in 2021. Marketplace’s Mitchell Hartman takes us to Oregon’s Pendleton Round-Up and chats with locals, tourists and health officials about mask enforcement, a boost to business and the return of a rural tradition. Also on today’s program: The Weekly Wrap, the impact ridesharing has on our climate and a shipping-related holiday gift to discount stores.

The Fed is cautiously optimistic on recovery

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The economy is growing strongly as it recovers from its pandemic-induced downturns — so strongly that the Fed has signaled it will start tapering bond purchases soon and may raise interest rates next year. That optimism for economists comes with an asterisk, however, as COVID-19, supply chain issues and inflation threaten to stand in the way of full economic recovery. Also: Afghanistan’s informal money exchange market, New York City’s new protections for food-delivery app workers and Evergrande’s shockwaves in China.

Are developed countries pulling their weight in the climate crisis?

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The United Nations General Assembly is meeting this week, and climate change is high on the docket. More than a decade ago, the U.S. and other developed countries pledged to gather $100 billion annually by 2020 to assist in climate adaptation and resilience for developing countries. Despite bearing most of the responsibility for emissions and having the most resources to adapt, pledge countries are falling short of their promised amounts. Also on today’s program, we’ll examine London’s financial services post-Brexit, how disaster aid became coupled with budget bills and why you should care about the Fed’s tapering of bond-buying.

How one massive Chinese company rattled the U.S. stock market

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Anxiety over Evergrande, a behemoth property developer in China, and its $300 billion debt sent stock markets around the globe tumbling on Monday. The situation is spotlighting precarity in China’s real estate sector and the country’s economy as a whole; some fear a Lehman Brothers-style crisis. The uncertain future of Evergrande, coupled with supply chain and inflation woes, could continue to stoke market jitters. Plus: Location-based setbacks for new houses, high-frequency data hints about the labor market and mixed business is dished up for New York’s lunch spots.

How vaccines for younger children could boost economic recovery

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Pfizer announced today that a smaller dose of its COVID-19 vaccine is proving safe and effective for children ages 5 to 11. If FDA emergency approval goes as planned, kids could be getting their shots by Halloween. This could, among other things, help moms get back to work. And later: how the weather affects what we buy; an Afghan American humanitarian reflects on the recent upheaval; and a look at what corporate pledges actually accomplish.

What can the Fed do about climate change?

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Progressive Democrats are pushing President Joe Biden to appoint a Federal Reserve chair who will be more proactive about climate change than Jerome Powell. Before the Fed could act more rigorously, however, Congress would need to direct it to. Claudia Sahm, a former Federal Reserve economist, joins us to discuss. Plus: The Weekly Wrap, some background on that pesky computer chip shortage and the building buzz around drive-thru coffee shops.

Could the housing market maybe be going back to normal?

por Marketplace

Competition for homebuyers is finally easing up a bit. There are more new listings, houses are staying on the market longer and there are fewer bidding wars. Though buyers may revel in a return to seasonal expectations for the housing market, real estate experts still think a return to “normal” may be a ways off. Later in the show, we’ll look also into the rise of Portland’s “placeless” restaurants, how Lebanon’s economic crisis came to be and why homeowners insurance doesn’t cover flood damage.

America’s child care system is failing families. Just ask the Treasury Department.

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The Treasury Department decided not to mince words about the state of child care in the U.S. in a new report, calling it “unworkable” and in a state of market failure. As the Biden administration continues to push for investment in human infrastructure and the care economy, the report makes the case for universal preschool and extended tax credits for parents. Plus: how Germany may struggle with its green ambitions, what import and export prices can tell us about inflation and a chat about continued shipping container consternation.

Poverty dipped in 2020 as the government boosted aid

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The U.S. Census Bureau released poverty rates for 2020 today. While the official poverty rate went up slightly, the supplemental poverty rate — which experts say gives a more accurate picture — went down to its lowest in census measurement because of expanded pandemic relief for millions. But with many of those government programs expired or ending in a pandemic economy, the future of the American poverty rate looks uncertain. Also on today’s show: Small businesses look to up prices amid supply chain woes, a look back at the Occupy movement 10 years on and the creators of “South Park” hope to revive the wonderland-meets-restaurant, Casa Bonita.

For restaurants, fall 2021 brings with it a strong sense of deja vu

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Indoor dining is closed in some places, restaurants are requesting federal aid and, for many businesses, fall 2021 is already looking a lot like fall 2020. On today’s show, we’ll look at where things stand. Plus: GDP growth, retail spending in China and the history behind power grid problems in Texas.

Uncertainty is the economic legacy of 9/11

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It’s been 20 years Saturday since the Sept. 11 attacks on New York, Washington and the crash of United Airlines Flight 93 in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. It was the first of many, many “uncertainty shocks” this country and this economy have seen. On today’s show, we’ll take some time to reflect on that legacy. But first, we’ll get the view on the ground in New Orleans, examine how OSHA makes its rules and recap the week in economic news.

A hot labor market won’t close the gaps in this economy

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First-time jobless claims dropped to their lowest point since March of last year. But with many industries still seeing labor shortages, what do the numbers really say about the state of the economic recovery? And how can we build back a more equitable labor market, closing racial unemployment gaps? That’s where we’re starting off on today’s show. Plus: Airline earnings, Biden’s vaccine mandates and a legacy of 9/11 at work you probably don’t even notice.

How will New York City enforce its vaccine mandate?

por Marketplace

Starting next week, New York City will begin enforcing a requirement of at least one COVID-19 vaccine shot for entrance to businesses like restaurants, bars, museums, theaters and gyms. That’s easier said than done, however, as customers struggle to navigate apps and business owners attempt to verify vaccine statuses and enforce the mandate. Plus: Record-number job openings are met with a “meh” number of hires, how North Dakota is aiming to distribute rent relief and more Americans look to retire at a younger age.

Traveling nurses and short-staffed hospitals are in a vicious cycle

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Traveling nurses have always earned more than their full-time counterparts at hospitals. With high demand for nurses in intensive care units, especially in the undervaccinated South, traveling nurses can now earn more than $10,000 per week. Eyeing the higher pay, some regularly employed nurses are leaving their jobs to travel — which further exacerbates staffing challenges and pushes up costs. Also on today’s program: how eco-friendly products are causing aluminum prices to soar, retailers struggle to stock up for holiday shopping and how working women can apply Machiavelli’s teachings.

As pandemic benefits end, unemployment for Black workers is on the rise

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Though the unemployment rate dipped in August, it rose for a single racial or ethnic group: Black workers. Job growth has been slow to rebound in industries like child care and leisure and hospitality — all of which are major employers of Black women. The employment rate for Black workers is trending in the wrong direction as the federal unemployment benefits that extended relief for millions of Americans expired on Monday. Later on in the show: rural vaccination rates are on the rise, what it means when Bansky takes a “spray-cation” and labor shortages hit school cafeterias.

Not a great jobs report. Should we have seen it coming?

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“There was a lot of gasping going on,” was how Heather Long of The Washington Post described the reception this morning to August’s disappointing, very-big-miss jobs report. Given that the delta variant is still very much at large, have economists and labor market analysts been too optimistic about job creation? Also on today’s show: the costly steps to securing a more resilient New York subway system and some background on why Apple is relaxing its app store rules.

When the effects of the climate crisis hit home

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The devastation inflicted on parts of the East Coast by the remnants of Hurricane Ida tells us that climate change is well and truly here — and that much of America’s housing stock is nowhere near up to weathering its effects. Also on today’s show: In the aftermath of OnlyFans’ reversal of its decision to ban sexually explicit content, sex workers and their allies are continuing to protest what they consider business discrimination against legal sex work. And we’ll hear about fierce competition for the stock ticker MEME (among others).

Power shifts to workers

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In anticipation of the holiday season, Walmart plans to hire 20,000 distribution and fulfillment center workers. Getting to that number might be a long shot. According to a recent survey of major retailers by the consulting firm Korn Ferry, 97% said they were having “moderate” or “significant” challenges hiring such workers. Also on today’s show: Could the loss of power on the Gulf Coast have been prevented? And we’ll hear from a Pakistan-based macroeconomist about how the Taliban might run the Afghan economy.

What next for the housing market?

por Marketplace

Today we received record-shattering house price numbers. Although major metro housing market conditions right now are sharply reminiscent of the bubble of 2005, economists consider this a very different category of boom. Also on today’s show, how Louisianans without power or water are surviving in the late-summer heat, a stark report on racial and ethnic disparity in receiving specialty health care and a look at the businesses — 6% of borrowers — that have been asked to pay back portions of their Paycheck Protection Program loans.

Infrastructure investment put to the test in Louisiana

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Although about a million people in Louisiana are without power due to the destruction caused by Hurricane Ida, the investment of billions of dollars in a robust levee system means things are a lot better than they would have been. It’s a real-life examination of return on infrastructure investment. Also: Economist Mohamed A. El-Erian on why he —  still — disagrees with the policy approach taken by the Federal Reserve, how Ikea hopes to stop you from sending its wares to landfills and a marketing professor’s take on the Taliban’s association with Toyota.

An eviction crisis all over again

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The Supreme Court blocked the Biden administration’s most recent eviction moratorium yesterday. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had extended the ban to buy more time for state and local governments to distribute aid to tenants and landlords. Though some 8 million adults in America are behind on rent, the Treasury Department said that just 11% of relief money had been paid out by the end of July. Now, housing advocates worry about a wave of evictions. Also on today’s show: the health care costs of wildfires, the economic outlook for companies that have flourished in the pandemic and examining the silver screen relationship between China and Hollywood.

What will it take to diversify manufacturing?

por Marketplace

A new report from The Century Foundation shows that the manufacturing sector will need 2 million new workers over the coming decade, as the predominately white, predominately male workforce ages into retirement. But manufacturers are struggling to recruit younger employees — and to correct racial and gender divides. Also on the program: the convenience and efficiency of curbside pickup, what a drought declaration could mean for states out West and why cybercrime groups are taking aim at supply chains.

Biden looks to fill half a million cybersecurity jobs

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On Wednesday, the White House held a cybersecurity summit with leaders in tech, finance and energy, calling for private industries to help bolster cyber defenses. The Commerce Department estimates that there are roughly 500,000 unfilled cybersecurity jobs across the country, and that number will continue to grow — and increasingly pose a threat — unless nontraditional education pathways can be explored. Also: where wind energy stands in the U.S., a strong and steady durable goods report and a look inside the growing on-demand warehouse industry.

Inequality is on the Fed’s agenda at Jackson Hole

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The theme for this year’s Federal Reserve Jackson Hole Symposium is “Macroeconomic Policy in an Uneven Economy.” Wrapped up in that title is a long-running debate over the extent to which the Fed can and should play an active role in closing racial disparity in wealth, wages and unemployment rates. And later: what’s behind Walmart’s new delivery service, a shipping behemoth invests in carbon neutrality and a look at the failed U.S. effort to suppress opium in Afghanistan.

Full FDA approval of Pfizer vaccine clears way for employer mandates

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On Monday, the Food and Drug Administration granted full approval to the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for Americans 16 and older. With the first COVID-19 vaccine graduating from emergency use authorization, more companies may join the growing cohort that requires worker vaccinations, but the labor shortage may deter some employers from adopting such mandates. Later in today’s show: what General Motors’ recall of the Chevy Bolt means for the electric vehicle industry; Liverpool, England, contends with the revocation of its World Heritage designation; and a look at how the Environmental Protection Agency measures methane emissions.

Aid groups are bracing for thousands of Afghan refugees

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The Joe Biden administration authorized an extra $500 million for Special Immigrant Visas and other programs for those fleeing Taliban-controlled Afghanistan. On today’s show, we’ll look at what happens to refugees once they arrive stateside and the organizations trying to secure housing for them. Plus: Toys R Us is back from the dead, what copper can tell us about the economy and a look at how companies are struggling to fully embrace empathy.

Goodbye Zoom calls, hello VR meetings

por Marketplace

The pandemic has been incredibly difficult for industries like food service, hospitality and travel. But some fields have blossomed. Among them: remote-work consulting. With COVID cases surging in the U.S. and remote work looking like it could be here to stay for many white-collar workers, companies that provide personality quizzes, feng shui consultations and virtual reality meeting rooms have enjoyed a boom. But first: The clock is ticking on pandemic unemployment benefits, entrepreneurial enthusiasm is up and the Federal Reserve moves toward tapering its bond buying.

Why are credits cards taking so long to modernize?

por Marketplace

A swipe of the credit card and a quickly scribbled signature is a familiar gesture for many American shoppers. But Mastercard recently announced that it will phase out magnetic stripes by 2033 in favor of chips and touchless taps. Though other countries have more quickly adopted credit card technology, in the United States, back-end processing, cost and consumer muscle memory have stood in the way of progress. Plus: indicators of a summer slowdown in economic recovery, the delta variant hits Hawaii’s tourism industry and a local food delivery service competes with food delivery giants.

For hospitals, COVID surges mean staff and bed shortages yet again

por Marketplace

Hospital workers may be having a painful case of déjà vu. A growing number of hospitals across the country are running out of intensive care unit beds, dealing with staffing shortages and struggling with retention amid worker burnout. This is prolonging wait times for emergency room visits and ambulances and — in some cases — causing delays of nonessential surgeries. Plus: We’ll look at how global economies might respond to the Taliban retaking power, the reasons behind the dip in July’s retail spending and what the future might hold for vacant downtown business districts.

The new reality of Afghanistan’s economy

por Marketplace

Following the withdrawal of U.S. troops, Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan, fell to the Taliban on Sunday. On today’s program, we take a look at the economic facets of that story, including how the Taliban is funded, how military contractors made billions in the nearly 20-year war and how humanitarian aid is responding. Plus: a crackdown on the tutoring industry in China and some California farmers shift their business models amid droughts.

COVID’s resurgence slashes at consumer sentiment, especially among the vaccinated

por Marketplace

The University of Michigan released its consumer sentiment survey on Friday, and, from the consumer’s point of view, things look bleak. Sentiment dipped 13.5% in early August to a reading below its April 2020 level. Economists say the decline has to do with inflation, unemployment and surging COVID cases and that vaccinated people are feeling more anxious than the unvaccinated. Later in the show, we’ll look at city growth in the U.S., why service workers face abuse from customers and the NCAA’s waning power.

With census data comes redistricting fights — and lots of spending

por Marketplace

The U.S. Census Bureau released numbers today many have been waiting for to draw the borders of congressional districts. Political groups are already geared up for the fight, and many have been spending money trying to shape state legislatures and educate voters about the data. Also on today’s program, we’ll dig into the president’s appeal to OPEC, the link between public health and the economy, and an entrepreneurial child’s flower business.

Pandemic-induced surpluses boost school-supply drives

por Marketplace

Back-to-school supply drives are a staple of late summer. This year, however, those events are seeing two key impacts from the pandemic: an uptick in demand for donated items and an increase in those donations from retailers looking to get rid of unsold inventory. One nonprofit has seen seven times the typical volume of donations so far in 2021. Plus: Brexit is impacting enrollment at universities in the U.K., how the bipartisan infrastructure bill aims to take on climate change and why the term “expiration date” on food labels isn’t quite accurate.

Following infrastructure bill victory, Senate Dems look to universal pre-K

por Marketplace

After the passing of the bipartisan infrastructure bill today, Senate Democrats are eyeing their next political battle: a $3.5 trillion dollar spending proposal that includes a big expansion of safety net programs, including federally funded universal prekindergarten. Despite a hefty price tag, locally funded preschool programs have shown positive impacts for enrolled children. On today’s show, we’ll also discuss wildfire prevention, a dip in optimism among small-business owners and Los Angeles’ struggle to distribute rent relief.

Public transit can help with climate change — if there’s buy-in

por Marketplace

A report released by the U.N. Monday sent a stark warning about how advanced the climate crisis is — and outlined where the world is going without urgent and dramatic reforms. In the U.S., transportation is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions. While the latest infrastructure bill would invest $39 billion in public transit, experts say it will require more than that to change the country’s car-centric culture. Later on in the show, we’ll talk about a commercial real estate and shared workspace partnership, the significance of the pause in federal student loan payments and look at racial discrimination in home appraisals.

When working from home means getting left behind

por Marketplace

Though many early and mid-career workers have enjoyed the work-from-home model, the same can’t be said for all managers. Research shows that those who work at the office are more likely to be promoted. This out-of-sight, out-of-mind mentality when it comes to promotions can further inhibit career climbing for parents, women and people color. But first on the show: examining July’s unchanged labor force participation, a boon for secondary markets and how homeownership can bring out the worst in people.

The DL on Biden’s ambitious EV goal

por Marketplace

President Joe Biden signed an executive order Thursday calling for half of new cars sold in the U.S. to be electric by 2030. It’s a lofty goal, given that EVs make up 2% to 3% of all cars on the road. Though carmakers seem to be on board, a lot of necessary infrastructure, like charging stations, would need to be built first. Also on today’s show: California textile mills face drought-induced setbacks, lobbyists want a slice of the infrastructure bill pie and how raising kids can be like running a small business.

Is the economy on track? Freight trains might clue us in.

por Marketplace

When searching for economic indicators, some economists look to rail traffic. Intermodal train traffic, when products travel in containers from ships or trucks onto trains, is doing especially well this year as consumers demand imported goods. But congestion in U.S. ports and surges in COVID-19 could cut freight rail traffic — and complicate economic growth. Plus, New York City’s restaurant industry responds to vaccine mandates, the drop in flood insurance and the complex legacy Enron leaves behind.

Beverage companies are racing to find the next “it” drink

por Marketplace

PepsiCo is preparing to sell Tropicana and other juices to a private equity firm for $3.3 billion. Molson Coors is going to phase out 11 of its “economy” brands. Increasingly, beverage companies are looking for the next trendy drink of choice — which means ditching investments in sugary drinks and frat party favorites in favor of seltzer, kombucha and prebiotic soda. We also discuss the very slow recovery of business travel, how California’s drought could translate into higher costs for tomato products and how businesses decide to increase prices.

The infrastructure bill could create tons of jobs. But who will do them?

por Marketplace

The $1 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, if passed, could create anywhere from 650,000 to 1 million new jobs, economists predict. Though the bill has substantial bipartisan support, the U.S. labor force is short on construction workers, and the government may have to invest in citizen training or issue more visas for temporary, foreign workers to fill the positions. Later in the show, we’ll also examine the business of journalism, discuss how “buy now pay later” platforms work and talk about the implications of Walmart’s (partial) employee vaccine mandate.

With surge of delta variant, will downtowns become ghost towns again?

por Marketplace

With infections by the delta coronavirus on the rise, companies including Google, Lyft, Indeed and Apple are delaying their back-to-the-office plans. That worries commercial real estate pros and businesses that depend on office workers. Also on today’s show: consumer sensitivity to price hikes, long lines in Cape Cod and how chaos in the shipping business impacts a customs broker.

Why some builders are intentionally constructing fewer homes

por Marketplace

Prices are high, inventory is low — if you’re in the market for a new home, you know this has been the reality for a while now. Something else to add to house hunters’ chagrin? According to the research firm Zonda, 85% of homebuilders are purposely building fewer houses, given shortages of land, materials and workers. But first: the year of lost GDP. Later in the show: Bars grapple with the booze supply chain, and the Crocs CEO talks about the shoe many love to hate.

Millions could face eviction with the moratorium ending

por Marketplace

More than 15 million people live in households that are behind on their rent, according to a new report from the Aspen Institute. And while Congress allocated $46 billion in federal assistance for renters during the pandemic, access to technology, language barriers and lack of information are proving to be hurdles for tenants behind on their rents. Also on today’s show: How London’s financial center is faring after Brexit, hints at a potential American hunger crisis and a resurgence in Alaska’s salmon industry.

Wall Street’s Sallie Krawcheck on the pandemic and the gender wealth gap

por Marketplace

Sallie Krawcheck, CEO and co-founder of Ellevest, a digital financial company for women, discusses how COVID-19 exacerbated existing inequities between men and women. She also talks about why money causes stress and the future of her company. Also on today’s show: the continuing struggles of the travel industry, shifting language in home appraisals and what washing machine sales can teach us about consumer confidence.

Why some towns might pay you to move there

por Marketplace

Towns like Augusta, Maine; Bemidji, Minnesota; and Savannah, Georgia, are among the more than 40 communities in the U.S. incentivizing people to move there. They dangle perks like housing assistance, camping equipment or up to $20,000 in cash. The incentives are aimed at convincing remote workers to make a move, which can boost the economies of struggling locales. Also on the show: shipping bottlenecks in Chicago, the good some economists think inflation can bring and engineering restaurant menus for a QR code-friendly world.

Businesses are reopening across the U.S., especially where vaccine rates are higher

por Marketplace

Over 60,000 businesses reopened during the second quarter, which is the highest volume of reopenings in the last year, according to data from Yelp. But there’s a distinct correlation between consumer interest and vaccination rates, meaning more Yelp searches, pictures and reviews for places like Maine, Vermont, Connecticut and New York than Arizona, Alabama and Mississippi. Also on the show: when masks are on the back-to-school shopping list, one chocolate store’s hiring struggles and why parking spots may continue to be hard to find.

When fast-fashion becomes real-time fashion

por Marketplace

Though it may not be instantaneous, China-based online clothing brand Shein makes it pretty darn close. They’ve cut the clothing design and production process down to as little as a few days. In today’s show, we talk about one of the fastest-growing e-commerce companies in the world revolutionizing fashion and apparel. But first: rental bidding wars, California’s power-sharing predicament and why we believe economists’ predictions when they seem to get it oh-so-wrong.

Shanghai’s newsstands are disappearing. Why?

por Marketplace

Red news booths used to dot Shanghai’s cityscape. Now, finding a newspaper in China’s financial capital is a difficult task. Newspaper circulation in China dropped by 37% between 2010 and 2019, according to government statistics. So, what does that mean for the few remaining newsstands that some say have outlived their use? Also on the show today: environmental justice guidance from the White House, hopes for Broadway’s reopening and fewer financial aid applicants.

The pandemic recession … is over?

por Marketplace

The recent pandemic-induced recession only lasted only two months and ended in April 2020, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research’s Business Cycle Dating Committee. On today’s show, we’ll dig into why that is and why it feels like the recession is far from over for some Americans. Then, how manufacturers and retailers sneakily hide the fact that food prices are going up. Plus, what equitable infrastructure looks like for communities of color, low maintenance costs for electric vehicles and selling homemade bread straight from Grandma’s recipe box.

Teens to the (job market) rescue

por Marketplace

The number of 16- to 19-year-olds who work jumped to nearly 32% in June, meaning teens are helping ease the economy’s worker shortage. On today’s show, we’ll hear from two teenagers about what they’re doing to earn money. Plus, the European Union’s controversial carbon tariff, the red-hot homebuilding market and the Biden administration plays a cyberattack blame game.

Return of the mask

por Marketplace

Los Angeles County is reinstituting an indoor mask mandate starting this weekend. This might not be a shock to some, but it could have impacts on local businesses. We also talk about how the surge in leisure travel has spurred a growing need to retrain airline staffers, Canada reopening its border to nonessential visitors from the U.S. and the marketing power of TikTok.

Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo drops in to talk infrastructure, chips and the care economy

por Marketplace

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo covered a variety of topics in today’s interview, which is the first half of our show today. Plus: Foreclosures, stadium litter and the state of the Chinese economy. Later, we check in with the post-Brexit European Union. Is Brussels trying to punish British film and TV?

Low wages are burning out federal firefighters

por Marketplace

Firefighters working for the federal government are often the first line of defense, but near the end of the line when it comes to pay, especially compared to their peers on the state and local level. That’s led to a boiling point for many, who leave for higher-paying jobs. Also, we look at all the elements that go into a flight, examine the advertising impact of the Olympics being a no-fan zone and check in on an upcoming food hall in California.

Child tax credit payments are coming. How will Americans use them?

por Marketplace

More than 30 million families will start receiving a new monthly payment from the government this week. On today’s show, we’ll look at how working parents might spend the money. Also, we examine a new report’s findings on clean energy, ask you to imagine a lake (it’ll make sense later) and explain what a “point” is on the Dow, Nasdaq and S&P.

Optimism soars at the prospect of a bounce-back earnings season

por Marketplace

Analysts are projecting epic earnings growth, especially when compared to the pandemic-ravaged second quarter of 2020. We take a look at what that could mean for companies going forward. Also, some coffee (prices) talk, the movement of the Bureau of Land Management headquarters and a look at where we stand on inflation.

Will the hearing aid market pick up Biden’s message on monopolies?

por Marketplace

The president signed an executive order today that targets anti-competitive practices. One of the items the order covers? Hearing aids, an industry where four companies control 84% of the market. Also, we discuss states’ cutoff of unemployment benefits, electric vehicles and a light pollution saga in Texas.

Workforce-ready women face down COVID-19 gap on resumes

por Marketplace

The labor participation rate for women is now lower than it’s been in 30 years, meaning more gaps in resumes. On today’s show, we’ll spend some time talking with women and employers about how they’re approaching that challenge. Plus, a look at what separates the states that have hit pre-pandemic unemployment levels from the ones that haven’t. Later on, we’ll look at the changing credit card industry and new laws that give renters legal counsel. We wrap up today’s show with a look at the cultural and economic fallout from a much (much) older pandemic.

We’ve reached a record high in job openings. But who’s hiring?

por Marketplace

The U.S. had a record 9.21 million job openings in May, but mix-and-matching those jobs with the millions of Americans who are out of work isn’t easy. We’ll talk about whether all those openings signal a recovering economy or a struggle to hire. Plus, grocery supply chains, stockpiling and why America can’t quit coal.

The latest forecast in the streaming wars? Dueling weather channels.

por Marketplace

The company behind the Weather Channel announced a $5-a-month streaming service, Weather Channel Plus, and Rupert Murdoch is launching his own Fox Weather later this year. Is this what peak streaming looks like? We’ll talk about it, plus: Iceland’s short workweek and the short-term training industry. But first: Is OPEC+’s crisis an opportunity for American shale?

Is commercial space flight going where no regulation has gone before?

por Marketplace

Jeff Bezos is stepping down as Amazon’s longtime CEO to focus on other projects, like his Blue Origin space venture. We look at how commercial space flight is still wide open when it comes to rules for passengers. We also talk about how colleges in Maine are witnessing an influx of out-of-state students, the world’s oldest sweet shop adapting to modern times and how business travel is still shaking off the impact of the pandemic.

What happens when a whole company takes summer vacation

por Marketplace

Burnout is rampant in this workforce, and the quit rate is accelerating. Some firms are taking companywide summer vacations, but do they actually help? Today, we look into it, plus the housing shortage and China’s solar ascendancy. But first, a deep dive into this morning’s jobs report and the “last mile” of economic recovery.

When work from home isn’t really “home”

por Marketplace

More companies are making decisions about how and if their workers will return to offices. According to one survey, more than 70% of workers want to keep the option to work remotely, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they want to spend all their time working from home. As people take a break from their apartments and roommates and look to other spaces to park their laptops, it’s creating a business opportunity for others. Today: the evolution of WFH. Also, the Weekly Wrap, the extension of the eviction moratorium and the shift in how we shop for clothes.

Go home, economy, you’re being weird

por Marketplace

The economy is growing, with GDP up 6.4% in the first quarter. But that’s cold comfort to the unemployed. The Labor Department says first-time jobless claims are still much higher than pre-pandemic levels. We look into what’s going on and sift through some of the more confusing facts. We also examine the concept of the four-day workweek, the challenges businesses face training legions of new employees and whether Congress is poised to regulate Big Tech.

Airports are about to get an $8B boost. Where’s that money going?

por Marketplace

The FAA’s $8 billion in grants is designed to help airports recover from the lingering effects of the pandemic. Will it? Also, we talk about heading back to the theaters as summer movie season gets underway, prognostications about GDP growth and how even house flippers are being priced out of the market.

Why is joblessness higher among Black and Hispanic workers?

por Marketplace

Joblessness is not falling on all people equally, Fed Chair Jerome Powell reminded House lawmakers today. We look into the factors contributing to higher unemployment rates for workers of color. And we speak with Julie Uhrman, president of Angel City Football Club, about its mission to become a global brand that fights for equality. Also: changes coming to the meatpacking industry, logistical challenges to vaccination and … pandemic houseplants.

How Prime (spending) Day shines a light on quirks of the global supply chain

por Marketplace

By the time you read this, there’s a chance someone you know has already mentioned Amazon’s Prime Day. Perhaps they even wished you a “happy” Prime Day. Amazon’s signature day of sales has transformed into its own kind of epic spending event, much like Black Friday. However, what does this retail surge mean for supply chains already bearing the burden of booming consumer demand? Also in this episode, we explore supply chain shortages even further, the factors involved in a racial disparity in access to unemployment benefits, a picture of the coffee business in China and low vaccination rates among autoworkers in some parts of the United States.

The cost of hygiene theater

por Marketplace

We know now that it’s pretty rare for COVID-19 to spread through surfaces, and most Americans are at least partly vaccinated anyway, but that hasn’t stopped businesses from cleaning like they were last March. On today’s show, we’ll look at what that level of hygiene costs businesses — and why they’re still doing it. Plus, more on inflation and wages, along with a live wrap-up of the biggest news of the week.

Consumers aren’t worried about inflation … yet

por Marketplace

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said yesterday that the Fed is seeing some inflation — but it’s likely transitory inflation caused by, in part, the uneven reopening of the economy. But if you’ve been tuned in to the news lately, you know inflation is a big story. So what do consumers make of prices shooting up but the Fed taking no action? On today’s show: How consumers are making sense of all this inflation talk. Also on the program: One study says automation is to blame for stagnating wages, how it works when a company’s CEO is also chairman of the board and how a Los Angeles taqueria pivoted to survive the pandemic.

The psychological toll of long-term unemployment

por Marketplace

We’ve spent every month since the start of this pandemic picking apart jobs numbers and unemployment claims. But there’s a lot happening in the labor force that isn’t captured in that data — like the toll long-term unemployment can take on those looking for work. A recent Pew survey says about half of unemployed adults in the U.S. are pessimistic about future employment and more than half have experienced mental health issues like anxiety or depression. On today’s show: We look at how these factors can create a less predictable back-to-work economy. Also on the program: What’s driving the housing shortage, how New Yorkers feel about COVID-19 restrictions lifting, and how the pandemic changed economic forecasting.

How the balance of power in the labor market is shifting

por Marketplace

Businesses have been having a hard time finding people to hire, even though millions of Americans are still out of work. It seems like quite the conundrum. But that’s because half the story is left out, said Barry Ritholtz, chairman of Ritholtz Wealth Management. “Whenever I hear people say, ‘We can’t hire people,’ they’re leaving out half of the question, which is ‘at these wages,'” he said. On today’s show: How the pandemic changed the labor market. Also on the program: why retail sales are down, about that U.S.-EU truce on airplane subsidies and what lowering the Medicare eligibility age would mean for American health care.

Why inflation can be a self-fulfilling prophecy

por Marketplace

Federal Reserve officials have some new inflation data to chew on before they head into a two-day meeting on interest rates tomorrow. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York released a consumer survey today that says consumers are expecting inflation above the Fed’s target of 2% over the next several years. On the show today: How inflation can be a self-fulfilling prophecy and why that makes it hard to set policy around it. Also on the program: Why restaurants say they need more financial aid, more companies are investing in cyber insurance, and Canada’s agricultural worker program is under scrutiny amid the pandemic.

How consumer behavior is affecting the economic recovery

por Marketplace

The University of Michigan’s preliminary June consumer sentiment numbers came out today, and although Americans are a little more confident in the economy and the recovery than they were in May, they’re still worried about inflation and the rising prices of things like cars and homes. Does that change how people spend their money? We also take a look at how consumer demand changes when products are scarce due to supply chain shortages. Also on the show today: Some British executives are getting bonuses for good behavior, and whether the pandemic could change Americans’ attitudes when it comes to taking vacations.

Why people are worried about inflation

por Marketplace

Consumer prices rose a little over half a percent in May. Over the last year, prices are up 5% — the biggest 12-month increase since August of 2008. It’s unclear so far whether the price hikes we’re seeing are a short-term story or a long one. On today’s show, we look at what makes inflation so worrying. Also on the program: Why 5 million Americans are still receiving extended federal unemployment benefits, a look at the economic challenges of ramping up wind energy production, and a conversation about the Biden administration’s debt relief for Black farmers.

About those wine and cheese tariffs

por Marketplace

President Joe Biden arrived in Europe on Wednesday, kicking off a week of meetings. One item high on his agenda: trade, especially the tariffs levied by the U.S. and European Union. Yes, those are still a thing, and U.S. consumers are still paying for them. If you’re fond of provolone or a fan of Bordeaux, you’ve felt their sting. On today’s show: What’s next for U.S.-EU tariffs. Also, the Senate is allocating $250 billion to technology R&D, a study finds work requirements for SNAP benefits don’t lead to more people working and Chinese families are stressed by the demands of extracurricular classes.

The racial gap in appraisals devalues homes owned by people of color

por Marketplace

Explicit racial language was removed from the process of determining home values in the late 1970s, but a recent study found that a racial lens on appraisals still harms Black communities. On today’s show: How that gap is contributing to racial inequality. Also on the program: The Joe Biden administration announces a strategy to strengthen supply chains, labor and supply shortages are raising costs for consumers and Las Vegas is hosting its first major business convention since the pandemic.

What will it actually take to achieve global tax reform?

por Marketplace

Representatives from G-7 countries agreed over the weekend to back a minimum corporate tax rate of 15%. A global minimum tax rate has a long way to go to get from theory to reality. But behind that theory is hundreds of billions in potential revenue from multinational corporations. On today’s show: What it would take to get to a global minimum tax. Also on the program: Why some states are dealing with a tax revenue surplus, the SelectUSA trade show is trying to bring foreign investors back to the U.S., and Mohamed El-Erian on inflation and the economic recovery.

Jobs are up, but the labor force participation rate is down

por Marketplace

The U.S. economy added 559,000 jobs in May as the recovery from the pandemic recession continues. But there remain millions of Americans unemployed, and some have stopped looking for work entirely. This means the labor force participation rate has dropped to its lowest level since the late 1970s. On the show today: Why Americans aren’t reentering the workforce. Also on the program: Why Facebook decided to suspend former President Donald Trump for two years, why used car prices are surging, and what one teen worker is looking for in a job this summer.

The long-term challenges of long-term unemployment

por Marketplace

Although the U.S. labor market has recovered dramatically from the peak of pandemic unemployment, millions of workers remain on the sidelines. Forty-three percent of jobless workers are long-term unemployed, and economists warn that elevated long-term unemployment may persist for years after this recession is behind us. Also on today’s show: How the airline industry sees the future; Ally Bank’s decision to permanently end overdraft fees; and we check back in with a pasta restaurant owner in New York City.

The jobs available aren’t necessarily the ones people want

por Marketplace

The big economics story recently has been about why businesses are having trouble hiring workers when there are still millions of Americans who are unemployed. Employers are getting desperate while workers are in no hurry to go back to jobs with lousy compensation or bad work environments. At the same time, states are trying to push folks back into the workforce by cutting unemployment benefits and by requiring people to prove they’re actively looking for work. “There’s a big mismatch between what job seekers are looking for and what’s really available,” one expert said. On today’s show: the employer-employee mismatch. Also on the show: how one small business is dealing with supply chain issues, and how the role of videoconferencing could change in the post-pandemic workplace.

What’s going on with the American workforce?

por Marketplace

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce said in a report released today that we are in a workforce crisis. There’s an all-time high of 8.1 million job openings — and there are not enough available workers able, or willing, to take those jobs. At the same time, teenagers are now employed at levels that haven’t been seen in more than a decade, and signs point to an even bigger teen job boom this summer. On today’s show, we take the labor market’s temperature. Also on the show: President Joe Biden is trying to tackle racial inequality in home appraisals, lumber shortages are making the reclaimed wood market hot, and how tough pandemic decisions are paying off for some restaurants.

Tourist destinations are bracing for post-pandemic summer crowds

por Marketplace

This weekend traditionally marks the beginning of summer vacation season. It’s the moment when a lot of tourist destinations in the U.S. start to see crowds. And when folks who work at tourist attractions — and hotels and restaurants near them — start getting busy. On today’s show, we check in with businesses in South Dakota preparing for a busy summer season. Also on the show today: Restaurants are still struggling to attract workers, how rent relief efforts are going in Houston and a conversation about inclusivity in economics.

More than a year into the pandemic, rent relief is finally reaching those who need it

por Marketplace

Come Tuesday, rent is due for millions of Americans. After more than a year of the pandemic, a lot of renters have fallen behind and are struggling to pay their rent. Congress appropriated $50 billion to help renters in the last two COVID-19 relief packages. So where is it? On today’s show: That money is just starting to make its way to tenants and landlords. Also, what’s in store for consumer spending this summer, alcohol-to-go will still be on the post-pandemic menu in some states and a small British theater company makes its way back to the stage.

What’s driving rental car prices so high?

por Marketplace

Planning on renting a car this Memorial Day weekend? It’s going to cost you. A lot of people have been unpleasantly surprised lately when trying to book rental cars, with average rates now topping out around $134 a day. On today’s show: Three reasons why rental car prices are surging. Also on the show: Nearly half of U.S. states are cutting federal jobless benefits short, what corporate governance has to do with climate change, and we take a tour of a “ghost kitchen.”

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Women are bearing substantial burdens from long-term unemployment

por Marketplace

It’s clear now that the pandemic has disproportionately affected women when it comes to employment. About 2.8 million women have left the labor force since COVID-19 hit in March 2020, compared to 2.4 million men. And there are a lot of obstacles preventing women from returning to work. On today’s show, we hear about one woman’s struggle to overcome long-term unemployment. Also on the show: Amazon is buying MGM Studios for $8.45 billion, how the role of chief sustainability officer is changing, and a look at the history of the Dow Jones Industrial Average on its 125th birthday.

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Why Black entrepreneurship surged during the pandemic

por Marketplace

New-business formation exploded during the first year of the pandemic. But a paper  from the National Bureau of Economic Research finds that those new businesses were concentrated in Black neighborhoods and that Black Americans were more likely than white Americans to take steps toward entrepreneurship during lockdown. Also on the show today: overcoming fear as a first-time homebuyer, how the pandemic changed city streets and a new company is enabling anyone to buy and lock up pollution permits.

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Have businesses kept their promises for racial justice?

por Marketplace

Tomorrow marks one year since George Floyd was murdered in Minneapolis. Protesters across the country demanded racial justice, and a lot of big companies said they were committed to racial equity. Banks, tech companies and major retailers pledged monetary investments, retail shelf space and increased diversity in many ways. One year later: Have those companies kept their promises? Also on the show: Memorial Day weekend could be a test for the movie industry, how the COVID-19 vaccine is affecting consumer spending, and the return of the power lunch in London.

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The Federal Reserve is thinking about a digital dollar

por Marketplace

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said Thursday that the Fed will publish a report on central bank digital currency this summer. A central bank digital currency is kind of like Bitcoin, minus the chaos and volatility. So how would that work in the U.S.? Also on the show today: What shoe sales are telling us about the economic recovery, President Joe Biden is asking federal agencies to gauge the financial risk of climate change and the cash-free model might be here to stay.

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Why long-term unemployment starts at 27 weeks

por Marketplace

Another 444,000 Americans filed first time unemployment claims last week, reaching the lowest level since March 2020. At the opposite end of the unemployment spectrum, 4.2 million Americans are long-term unemployed, meaning they’ve been jobless for 27 weeks or more. On today’s show: The history of long-term unemployment in the U.S. Also, businesses are now the most trusted institution in the world, expanding Medicaid could produce more than 1 million new jobs in 2022, and the U.S. and China clash over international tech standards.

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How disaggregated data leads to better policy

por Marketplace

Economic policy doesn’t always tell the whole story. That’s why economists like Rhonda Vonshay Sharpe, president of the Women’s Institute for Science, Equity and Race, are pushing government agencies to disaggregate data by breaking it down into categories like race, gender and education level. On today’s show: How that data can create more equitable policy. Also, the semiconductor chip shortage is affecting household staples, a coalition of 200 businesses is trying to get women back into the workforce, and the rise of social trading apps.

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“We don’t have a day to lose”

por Marketplace

The International Energy Agency released a report saying if the world wants to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, we’ll need to change a lot and change it fast. But is it doable? On today’s show: What needs to happen to reach net-zero carbon emissions. Also: Zoom happy hour has mixed reviews, housing starts were down in April, and one entrepreneur has made the best of the pandemic by following her passion and writing children’s books about Asian culture.

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Pipeline companies are trying to avoid regulation, despite major hack

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More than 11,000 gas stations are still out of gas, including over half those in North Carolina and nearly 70% of the stations in Washington, D.C. This comes five days after the Colonial Pipeline resumed operations after a ransomware hack forced a shutdown. Congress will begin pushing forward a pipeline-security bill Tuesday to prevent future outages, but some say it lacks adequate safeguards. And pipeline companies aren’t exactly on board. Also on today’s show: AT&T is merging media operations with Discovery, public-transit systems try to lure riders back and a conversation about internet access with the acting chair of the Federal Communications Commission.

Donations from listeners power our nonprofit news. Your gift will support the journalism that keeps you and thousands of others informed every day. Become a Marketplace Investor: marketplace.org/donate

What inflation, retail sales and relief payments are telling us about the economic recovery

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We got some inflation news this week, with consumer prices up 4.2% year over year. Retail sales in April were flat: 0% growth. And the latest $1,400 round of stimulus checks boosted Americans’ bank accounts. On today’s show: What all that means for economic recovery. Also, how retail workers are navigating new mask guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, how Biden’s global tax plan will affect his beloved Ireland, and why a northern Michigan retailer is banking on a summer with lots of foot traffic.

Donations from listeners power our nonprofit news. Your gift will support the journalism that keeps you and thousands of others informed every day. Become a Marketplace Investor: marketplace.org/donate

Labor shortage + desperate employers = rising wages

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“They are desperate,” said one labor market expert. “They” being businesses struggling to find workers — despite the 10 million unemployed Americans — as the economy continues to open back up. So some businesses are offering higher wages, including Chipotle and McDonald’s. But the thing about raising wages: You can’t really “unraise” them. Also on the show today: Congressional earmarks are back, what love letters have to do with buying a house, and we check in with students who had their student loans paid off by a billionaire.

Donations from listeners power our nonprofit news. Your gift will support the journalism that keeps you and thousands of others informed every day. Become a Marketplace Investor: marketplace.org/donate

Consumer prices jumped higher than expected

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Consumer prices are up 4.2% year over year. That’s the highest yearly jump since the Great Recession. A lot of prices increased more than expected, including those in communications and apparel. But travel-related prices are on fire. Compared to March, the cost of renting a car went up 16%, airfare is up 10%, lodging is up almost 8% and used cars prices are up 10% — in one month. Also on the show today: Governments are trying to incentivize vaccination, retirements increased during the pandemic, and we take a trip to the mall with a fashion business expert.

Donations from listeners power our nonprofit news. Your gift will support the journalism that keeps you and thousands of others informed every day. Become a Marketplace Investor: marketplace.org/donate

Small-business owners aren’t feeling great about the future

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Make no mistake, there are a lot of positives in this economy — vaccinations continue, shops and attractions are reopening, consumer spending is strong. The Small Business Optimism Index from the National Federation of Independent Business had a small uptick in April, but it’s still at a pretty depressed level compared to pre-pandemic times. On today’s show: Why small-business owners’ outlook is “surprisingly glum.” Plus, Simon Property Group is betting on its tenants, Broadway is coming back and food commodities are getting pricier.

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States are starting to drop out of federal pandemic unemployment programs

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Arkansas, Montana and South Carolina are pulling out of federal unemployment programs related to the pandemic. The Republican governors of the three states are saying the same thing: The benefits are too generous, and they’re preventing people from wanting to go back to work. But the U.S. economy is still down more than 8 million jobs since the pandemic arrived. On today’s show: Why states are pulling out of the programs and what it means for workers. Also: A pipeline hack reveals critical infrastructure vulnerabilities in the U.S., farmers in Texas are still reeling from the February freeze and how COVID-19 might change packaging for good.

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Making sense of a disappointing jobs report

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Most economists expected something like 1 million new jobs in April. Instead, there were 266,000 added — which isn’t going to make much of a dent in recovering the 8 million jobs we’re still down. The hiring slowdown is happening in an economy that has a lot tilted in its favor, including trillions of dollars in relief for individuals, small businesses and local government. On today’s show, we make sense of April’s jobs numbers and ask what it’s going to take to juice the jobs market. Plus: why the Federal Reserve is pointing to risks in the current economy; how restaurants in Texas are finding it hard to attract staff; and a look at the water crisis in a rural Maryland community.

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The story about infrastructure in this episode contained an error that has been corrected. For more information, visit the episode page at marketplace.org.

What’s driving the labor shortage?

por Marketplace

We got some signs that the job market is improving: Initial claims for state unemployment benefits last week fell under half a million for the first time since the pandemic began. Continuing claims also fell sharply. But employers and trade groups are increasingly saying they can’t find workers to hire. On today’s show: Why this labor shortage is unusual. Also, the Biden administration is backing a temporary waiver on COVID-19 vaccine patents, what a flexible work future looks like, and why QR codes are the future of hospitality.

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Who has leverage in the labor market?

por Marketplace

Friday’s jobs report marks one year since the release of one of the worst jobs reports in U.S. history; the economy had lost 20 million jobs in a single month. One year later, there are still millions of people unemployed, but data from payroll processors and online job search sites point to continuing job growth. Chris Hyams, CEO of Indeed, joined “Marketplace” host Kai Ryssdal to talk about how the labor market is recovering from the pandemic. Also on today’s show: Small businesses that closed at the beginning of the pandemic may never reopen, a new report warns that critical minerals for green energy might become scarce, and the European Union is raising the drawbridge on companies that get foreign subsidies.

Now this is a good investment: Give $5 a month or more to support Marketplace’s public service journalism and get (almost) any thank you gift: marketplace.org/donate

 

“I think I really began to question what is living”

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The pandemic prompted a lot of people to think about their values and identities, and that includes what they do for a living. According to Prudential’s Pulse of the American Worker Survey, 1 in 5 workers changed their line of work over the last year. On today’s show: a look at the many Americans drastically changing their career paths. Plus, manufacturers are having difficulty filling job vacancies, rental car companies are having difficulty finding used cars, and church real estate is up.

The low-hanging fruit on Biden’s climate agenda

por Marketplace

President Joe Biden has made dealing with climate change a top priority of his administration. While Congress and the White House hammer out the way that shows up in the big infrastructure package, there are relatively easy fixes that have bipartisan support. For example, phasing out the use of hydrofluorocarbons. HFCs are chemical refrigerants found in products we use every day — that do a lot of damage to the climate. Also on today’s show: More homeowners are paying their mortgage bills again, Verizon is selling Yahoo and AOL for $5 billion and how “green hydrogen” could be used to produce energy and steel with zero emissions.

It could take quite a while for the labor market to recover from COVID

por Marketplace

The economic recovery is showing up in a big way: GDP is nearly back to pre-pandemic levels, and consumer confidence is improving as more Americans are vaccinated. There’s been a surge in consumer spending, driven by record-setting personal income — pumped by relief checks and more Americans getting back to work. About that “getting back to work” part. We’ll see the April jobs report next week, and it’s expected to be very strong. Still, the number of jobs in the U.S. economy is nowhere near pre-pandemic levels, and it could take a while to get there. Also on today’s show: how New York businesses are getting ready to reopen, more companies are incentivizing vaccination and how the U.S. is trying to reclaim its rare-earth mantle.

Do we really want to get back to a pre-pandemic economy?

por Marketplace

The Commerce Department announced Thursday that in the first quarter of 2021 gross domestic product grew at an annualized rate of 6.4%. That’s within 1% of pre-pandemic GDP. It’s easy to look back at the pre-pandemic economy all starry eyed; unemployment was low and pay for low-wage workers was rising. But it wasn’t exactly a golden era for workers. On today’s show: Do we even want to go back to a pre-pandemic economy? Also: a look at the child care industry issues weighing on workers and parents, how reparations will help women build houses in Baltimore, and how a variable minimum wage could work.

Pent-up demand for a vacation

por Marketplace

In a recent survey from the U.S. Travel Association, almost two-thirds of Americans said they “desperately” needed a vacation after the last year, and with vaccinations and accumulated paid time off, many of them just might get one. Employers prepare for the coming surge of employees using their PTO. On today’s show: how pent-up demand for a break might shape up. Plus, voting rights legislation prompts a flurry of political fundraising, live venues are finally able to tap into federal funding and what Friday’s consumer spending numbers could mean.

Why a Baltimore church is pledging half a million dollars in reparations

por Marketplace

In 2018, Natalie Conway was assigned to Memorial Episcopal Church as a deacon. Conway, now 73, grew up in segregated west Baltimore, and she and her brother had been researching their genealogy. Not long after she arrived at Memorial, she discovered that her ancestors had been enslaved by Rev. Charles Ridgely Howard — the founding rector of the church she now serves. On today’s show: How that Baltimore church is grappling with its racist past. Plus, shipping containers are increasingly getting lost at sea, what slowing population growth means for the economy, and we check in with an Iowa farmer about surging prices for crops ahead of the planting season.

Investing in children and families is also infrastructure

por Marketplace

President Joe Biden is expected to roll out the next part of his big infrastructure initiative this week, the American Families Plan. The plan calls for major additional investment in education and child care — part of the Biden administration’s argument that this support is necessary in a functioning economy. Also today’s show: Apple’s plan to spend more than $1 billion to build a new campus in North Carolina; what happens when a doctor doesn’t “match” with a residency; and why older single women are buying camper vans.

The stock market is … an idiot

por Marketplace

That’s the conclusion of “Marketplace” host Kai Ryssdal after a market freakout yesterday. What spooked it? News that the Biden administration wants to jack up the capital gains tax rate. “Have traders heard of the United States Senate?” our host wondered. All that and more on today’s Weekly Wrap. Also on the show: Homebuyers are waiving contingencies in this hot housing market, Olympic gymnast Simone Biles is leaving Nike for a smaller athletic brand and the president says tackling climate change will create jobs.

U.S. trade rep: “We don’t exist in a vacuum”

por Marketplace

Ambassador Katherine Tai, the United States trade representative, said the world economy needs to evolve in order to solve global problems like climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic. In an interview with “Marketplace” host Kai Ryssdal, Tai said we need to reimagine incentives to stop the “race to the bottom.” “We don’t exist in a vacuum,” Tai said. “These are collective challenges, and we only get through them if we can get through it collectively.” Also on today’s show: President Joe Biden said a “whole of government” approach is needed to fight climate change, why home construction costs exploded in the last year, and the USDA is extending its free lunch program.

How control over the pandemic will affect the stay-home economy

por Marketplace

While we were stuck at home, sales of paint, furniture, exercise equipment and groceries went through the roof. But as vaccination continues and things open back up, we’re more likely to take a trip than to redo our floors. On today’s show: How the stay-home economy will change when the pandemic ends. Plus, how the plan for that new European soccer league was kicked to the curb; about that semiconductor shortage; and an interview with the CEO of Chipotle.

 

About China’s “poverty alleviation slow trains”

por Marketplace

The Biden administration’s push to upgrade American infrastructure is partly motivated by seeing China’s sleek infrastructure, including bullet trains that go more than 185 mph. These speedy trains have gradually replaced the slower, green-colored carriages. However, in recent years, the Chinese government has designated 81 routes remaining from the Mao era for the poor. On today’s show: A look inside those trains. Plus, commercial construction faces a rocky year, Apple bets that users will opt in to be tracked and how a food business tied to the hotel industry is recovering from COVID-19.

Not having paid time off can be a barrier to getting vaccinated

por Marketplace

As of today, all adults are eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine in the United States. The vaccine is free to the public, regardless of insurance. About half of all adults have received at least one dose in the U.S., and more than 200 million shots have been administered. But there are still challenges to getting more people vaccinated, including workers getting paid time off to make an appointment or deal with vaccine side effects. Also on today’s show: how businesses that have made it this far in the pandemic are doing, why lumber prices are skyrocketing and why there’s little affordable housing in wealthy Chicago neighborhoods.

Community pharmacists face challenges in vaccine rollout

por Marketplace

Across the country, pharmacies are struggling with insufficient staffing and endless phone calls from people trying to make appointments. They run into other problems, too, like patients who think one dose of a two-dose vaccine is enough. Health care workers are feeling pressure to get this right — to make sure the vaccines are stored correctly, that no one is having an allergic reaction and that everyone’s questions are answered. On today’s show: We hear from three community pharmacists about their experience giving out COVID-19 vaccines. Plus, commercial landlords are looking to grocery stores to fill vacant space, Americans are really ready to travel again and historians weigh in on whether we’re in for another Roaring ’20s.

 

How walk-in clinics could help achieve vaccination equity

por Marketplace

More than 123 million people have now received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and around 3 million doses are being administered every day. Four months into the vaccination campaign, however, there are still significant disparities by race and ethnicity. In nearly every state that’s reporting data, white residents are being vaccinated at higher rates than Black and Hispanic residents. On today’s show: In Philadelphia, there’s evidence walk-in clinics can help reduce those disparities. Plus, new data points to a strong economic recovery this year, President Joe Biden is imposing economic sanctions against Russia in response to December’s hacking attack, and the challenges of moving to a hybrid work model.

Will company culture come back after the pandemic?

por Marketplace

The concept of “company culture” is saddled with certain imagery in the imaginations of Americans: The trust exercises of decades gone by, the freewheeling indoor playground layout of Google offices, the oppressive pressure to produce at any given law firm. A company’s culture is intangible — and often privately derided as an invention of PR — but it is very real. Has that survived a year of Zoom and Slack communication? Also on today’s show: Retailers are trying to hire tens of thousands of workers, why some companies didn’t sign a statement pushing back against a restrictive Georgia voting law, and boat builders are struggling to meet soaring demand.

Welcome to Zoom Town, USA

por Marketplace

Over the past pandemic year, small, rural towns across the U.S. have been inundated with remote workers seeking beautiful landscapes and bigger houses. So common is the trend, the towns in question are being referred to as “Zoom towns.” On today’s show, we visit what may well be the Zoom town capital of California. Plus, why inflation numbers are gonna be wonky for a while, what’s behind the recent surge in retail investors and what happened to America’s public toilets.

The jobs recovery might be running out of gas

por Marketplace

We got private-sector payroll numbers from the processing firm ADP today showing 170,000 new jobs — well below expectations and another indicator that this recovery may be sputtering. Which is, of course, why Congress is working on the next COVID-19 relief bill at this very moment. On today’s show: a look at the pandemic labor market. Plus, Texas is reopening, a check-in with people rebuilding after a deadly Tennessee tornado and why people are spending big bucks on “nonfungible tokens.”

A seat at the table for workers

por Marketplace

The Biden administration released its trade policy agenda today, and it’s hefty, with goals including the advancement of racial equity, fighting against climate change and taking on what it calls China’s “coercive and unfair economic trade practices.” At the center of it all, though? A more worker-centric approach to trade. On today’s show: What does it mean for workers to have a seat at the table when it comes to trade policy? Plus, schools need funding to reopen safely, and which GameStop movie will be the first to hit screens?

The pandemic is affecting states unequally, too

por Marketplace

The story of the coronavirus economy has been one of inequality — for people, businesses and even states. Many state governments have been taking in less tax revenue ever since the pandemic closed businesses and schools, and millions lost their jobs. But in 22 states, tax revenue has actually increased during the pandemic. On today’s show: How high-income taxpayers are helping some states make it through the COVID-19 pandemic. Plus, Texas’ largest electricity co-op is filing for bankruptcy, and rental relief is taking a while to get to those who need it.

A return to the service economy?

por Marketplace

Stuck at home during the pandemic and unable to spend on restaurants or travel, Americans have been trying fulfill emotional needs by buying stuff. But you can only buy so many backyard trampolines, and economists are predicting a big shift back to spending on services as COVID-19 cases decline. That’s good news for the United States’ service economy. Also on today’s show: Some credit card limits are going up and a look at challenges health care disruptors face.

Ready to release some pent-up demand

por Marketplace

The unemployment rate is still high at 10%, and the economic recovery from COVID-19 is going to take a while. But as coronavirus cases begin to trend downward and vaccine distribution continues, people are getting ready for things to open up. On today’ show: Some economists think there will be a whole lot of pent-up demand let loose as things start to look up. Plus, New York’s plans for reopening, the challenges in winterizing Texas’ power grid and an update on how pandemic learning pods are working nearly one year into the pandemic.

The future of this country’s competitive edge

por Marketplace

President Joe Biden signed an executive order today designed to make U.S. supply chains more resilient and secure. The pandemic exposed problems with the current system, including shortages of personal protective equipment and semiconductors. But the order is about more than face masks and electronics; it’s about the future of U.S. competitiveness. Also on today’s show: what it might take to get back to full employment, the child tax credit proposal explained and a conversation with actor-director Regina King about her directorial debut.

How new PPP eligibility requirements are hurting some small businesses

por Marketplace

The second round of the Paycheck Protection Program started about a month ago. It’s supposed to help small businesses survive the COVID-19 pandemic, but this round has stricter eligibility requirements, including that businesses can only apply if revenue dropped by at least 25%. On today’s show: Those restrictions are barring some small businesses that could really use the support. Plus, what the bond market is signaling about recovery, an update on the vaccine supply chain and how small businesses in Texas are dealing with the winter storm fallout.

How making federal jobless benefits automatic would work

por Marketplace

Lawmakers are taking up President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID relief plan this week, and this third round of support is expected to face hurdles. But what if additional federal unemployment benefits didn’t need congressional approval? On today’s show: Some policymakers want to make benefits an “automatic stabilizer,” meaning they would be tied to economic data, similar to how your tax rate is tied to your income. Plus, the impact of a $15 hourly minimum wage, mortgage rates creep up with talk of inflation and how your fitness tracker could detect COVID-19 before a test.

Where did hazard pay go?

por Marketplace

 

At the beginning of the pandemic, essential workers like those in grocery and retail stores were receiving hazard pay for toiling under hazardous conditions, aka the pandemic. Since then, for many workers, it has quietly disappeared. Today, we’ll look at how efforts to grant or replace hazard pay have been going. Plus: inflation in energy, shelter and food, Chinese students are reconsidering coming to the U.S. for college and Joe Biden makes his first international appearance as U.S. president at the G-7 summit.

What you need to know about Biden’s immigration bill

por Marketplace

The Biden administration is unveiling a sweeping immigration bill, which includes a path to citizenship that could grant legal status to an estimated 11 million undocumented people. Today, we’ll look at what joining the formal labor force could mean for them and the economy. Plus: the proposed $350 billion aid package for state and local governments, mom and pop landlords facing a COVID crunch and why looks matter in economics.

How short selling works (and what it does to the economy)

por Marketplace

The House Financial Services Committee will meet Thursday about the market volatility caused by the short selling of stocks like GameStop. Today, we’ll catch you up on what you need to know. Plus, more fallout from the freeze in Texas, Puerto Rico’s coffee industry and the latest in our ongoing series “United States of Work.”

Why Texas’ power grids couldn’t meet demand

por Marketplace

Thousands of people in the South are without power as electric grids strain to keep up with heating needs. Today, we’ll look at why power grids weren’t up to the task and how it’s affecting people trying to work from home. Plus: Life in North Dakota’s oil fields, “Young Rock” and this thing we used to call “employment.”

Biden administration reopens ACA exchange

por Marketplace

The federally run Obamacare exchange reopened Monday for a three-month special enrollment period. President Joe Biden ordered the move to get more people signed up for health care during the pandemic, especially those who have lost jobs and health insurance. The administration is planning to spend $50 million on a marketing campaign to get more people to sign up for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act. Plus, LGBTQ people are now protected under the Fair Housing Act and how racism led to the closing of public pools across the U.S.

The especially stressful tax season ahead

por Marketplace

Today is the delayed start of the tax-filing season, and it’s likely to be an especially stressful one for IRS employees and filers alike. Processing two rounds of COVID-19 relief has put a strain on the already short-staffed tax agency. And a lot of filers might not realize they have to pay taxes on unemployment benefits. On today’s show: how to manage the crazy tax season ahead. Plus, Maryland is set to become the first state to tax digital ad revenue, online alcohol sales are way up during the pandemic and we check in with U.S. companies trying to break into the Chinese market.

Making a career change in the middle of a pandemic

por Marketplace

Another 793,000 Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week, and more than 20 million are currently claiming unemployment benefits. A new Pew Research study shows that 66% of unemployed adults in the U.S. have seriously considered changing their occupation or field of work. On today’s show: We hear from people who are trying to make that switch. Plus, how COVID-19 is affecting Mardi Gras in New Orleans, new federal guidance on workers’ right to refuse work that isn’t safe and checking in on America’s data infrastructure.

The plan to close the output gap

por Marketplace

This week’s big news is happening in the Senate, but the what-happens-next-with-this-economy? news is happening over in the House, where committees are hammering out details of President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan. The goal is to close the gap between the current state of the economy and its condition if there hadn’t been a pandemic. On today’s show: Where the economy might be when the relief money starts getting out. Plus, how mothers are particularly penalized in the workplace, what a jobs recovery might look like as the pandemic fades and what happens when you’re vaccinated, but your partner isn’t?

Why Biden’s economic team would rather go “too big” on COVID relief

por Marketplace

“The issue is that if you do too little, that means that people are going to go hungry,” Bharat Ramamurti, deputy director of the National Economic Council, told “Marketplace” today. We got him on the phone after President Joe Biden and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen met with top business executives to get support for Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill. Also on today’s show: How the end of slavery led to two different minimum wages, a new study on fossil fuels causing premature deaths and small business optimism is at an eight-month low.

How “pooled testing” can help keep schools open

por Marketplace

Several schools are currently trying out “pooled testing,” which occurs when multiple swabs are tested collectively. This approach lets schools monitor many students and teachers who may be asymptomatic carriers of the coronavirus while preserving scarce testing supplies. The economic argument for pooling is that it can keep schools open and enable more parents to get back to work. But there are drawbacks, too. On today’s show: how one school is implementing pooled testing. Plus, the risk of inflation from COVID-19 financial relief, House Democrats’ plan to ease child care burdens and a conversation with the writer-director of “Miss Juneteenth.”

The story in this episode about testing in schools has been updated. For more information, visit the episode page at marketplace.org.

The most important 4-letter word in this economy: jobs

por Marketplace

Today’s show is all about jobs — or lack thereof. There are 10 million fewer jobs in the U.S. economy than there were a year ago, and people in the hardest-hit sectors are especially suffering. With 40% of unemployed Americans out of work for at least six months, long-term unemployment is a growing concern. Plus, what counts as a small business, unspent money from the last COVID-19 relief bill and one job counselor’s story of job hunting.

Even consumer confidence is partisan now

por Marketplace

Like most things these days, consumer sentiment is a partisan issue. The 2020 election, and the election-related disinformation and unrest that followed, have led to a stark reversal in consumer confidence by party affiliation. Democrats’ confidence has soared since the election, while Republicans’ formerly buoyant sentiment has plummeted, according to Morning Consult. On today’s show: Even the economy is becoming politically polarized. Plus, how Democrats plan to take on tech megafirms, Big Oil’s big losses and making investing boring again.

What is an “executive chair,” and how is it different from a CEO?

por Marketplace

Jeff Bezos announced this week he’ll be stepping down from his role as CEO of Amazon. Andy Jassy, the head of Amazon’s cloud computing division, will take over later this year. But Bezos isn’t leaving Amazon. In fact, he’ll become executive chairman. On today’s show: What’s the difference? Plus, the U.S. isn’t as innovative as it used to be — according to a Bloomberg ranking — and how one florist is prepping for Valentine’s Day this year.

Getting back to the pre-pandemic economy

por Marketplace

A new report from the Congressional Budget Office predicts gross domestic product could return to pre-pandemic levels as early as mid-2021. But, as one expert puts it, “GDP growth does not translate into equal growth of earnings and employment.” And the labor market will take much longer to get back to the low unemployment rates we had before the pandemic. On today’s show: Even if the numbers return to where they were before COVID-19, the economy is probably going to look a lot different. Plus, a look at China’s manufacturing rise and a California goat ranch hit hard by the pandemic and wildfire.

Caught in the unemployment benefits gap

por Marketplace

It’s been more than a month since Congress passed the second round of COVID-19 relief — which extended unemployment benefits for millions — but many Americans are still waiting for the money to arrive. That’s partly because most state unemployment computer systems are antiquated, and partly because the relief package changed some of the rules for federal unemployment programs. On today’s show: the Americans who fell into the unemployment benefits gap. Plus: Silver is not the next GameStop and the “afterlife” of mass incarceration.

We’ve had a little bit of everything this week

por Marketplace

A lot happened this week. We had some Fed Chair Jerome Powell, a little bit of Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and, of course, the whole GameStop-Reddit-Wall-Street story. On today’s show: We’re looking back at the week and trying to make sense of it. Plus, unprecedented congestion at America’s ports and how the pandemic has changed bartending.

It’s time for better face masks

por Marketplace

Several new viral variants of the coronavirus are spreading across the globe, and experts are urging the public to start wearing better masks. Disposable N95 masks are still better reserved for health care workers, since they’re in limited supply, but there are smart alternatives to just cloth. “Any mask is better than no mask,” one expert said. “But there’s a hierarchy of different solutions.” On today’s show: the call for more effective face masks. Plus, more on the bonkers GameStop stock situation and regrettable pandemic-inspired home renovations.

What exactly is going on with GameStop?

por Marketplace

GameStop — yes, the video game store disappearing from shopping malls across the country — is making big news these days. The company’s stock has jumped 1,700% since the beginning of the year, due almost entirely to a forum on Reddit called r/WallStreetBets. On today’s show: We got Emily Stewart, business and politics reporter at Vox, to explain what is going on. Plus, a new study on the deadliest jobs during the pandemic and how government policies can lead to economic discrimination.

Letting the economy run hot

por Marketplace

Running the economy hot means everyone who wants a job has a job. And the people who benefit most are those at the low end of wage distribution. The concern, though, is that a hot economy can cause a whole lot of inflation. But that’s just not happening. On today’s show: What we’ve learned in the past decade about letting an economy run hot. Plus, 71% of parents who work full time have kids who are attending school in person and a look at the shoe economy almost a year into the pandemic.

The presidential promise to “buy American”

por Marketplace

President Joe Biden signed an executive order Monday promising that federal dollars will be used to purchase American-made products. The Trump administration basically promised the same, and there have been laws requiring such action for decades. But the Biden administration argues this time will be different. On today’s show: Why is it so hard to keep that promise? Plus, the difference that extra $300 in federal unemployment benefits made and why some brands are sitting out Super Bowl ads this year.

The challenges of a short-staffed bureaucracy

por Marketplace

If you closely read the directives coming out of the Biden administration, you’ll see that they’re mostly instructions for various federal agencies to do things — a bureaucratic to-do list, if you will. The problem is there are roughly 4,000 political appointments to be made in the federal government at the start of a new administration, 1,300 of which require Senate confirmation. On today’s show: the strange way we hand over control of the government. Plus, Biden moves to raise  federal workers’ minimum wage to $15 and the complications of getting vaccines into Americans’ arms.

“It only took a couple centuries, the first female secretary of the treasury”

por Marketplace

When then-President-elect Joe Biden announced his intent to nominate Janet Yellen for secretary of the treasury, he joked that “Hamilton” creator Lin-Manuel Miranda should write a musical about her. Naturally, we asked someone to write it. On today’s show: Indie rapper Dessa and her collaborators share “Who’s Yellen Now?” — a “Hamilton”-esque track about the economic icon. Plus, how a new president can undo his predecessor’s policies and how China is using COVID-19 vaccines as diplomacy.

 

President Biden’s first order of business

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As we recorded this episode, the inauguration festivities were winding down at the Capitol and President Joe Biden was getting down to business. Today we’ll talk about some of his first steps: a sweeping new immigration bill, his $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief plan, extended unemployment benefits and an executive order on workplace discrimination. Later, we’ll head across the pond to get a whiff of history.

3 states, 3 economies. What can they tell us?

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We take a look at the unemployment pictures in Hawaii, Nebraska and South Florida. We also discuss what kind of economic challenges await the incoming Biden administration. Treasury nominee Janet Yellen sheds light on how the U.S. should approach its debt, and a French oil giant pivots to solar.

Will rent relief come soon enough?

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More than 14 million people are behind on rent in the United States, and the only thing keeping them in their homes is the CDC’s eviction moratorium — which is set to expire at the end of the month. $25 billion in emergency rental assistance is on the way from the latest Congressional relief package, and President-elect Joe Biden has proposed an additional $25 billion in assistance on top of that. But with the eviction moratorium set to expire, will the money come soon enough? Plus, the business of backyard ice rinks and challenges in COVID-19 vaccine distribution.

Biden’s $1.9 trillion plan for the economy

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We’re pretty much at the tipping point between the Trump and Biden economies. President-elect Joe Biden, set to officially take office Wednesday of next week, released his “American Rescue Plan” Thursday night. The $1.9 trillion proposal calls for ramped-up COVID-19 vaccine distribution and aid for Americans still struggling during the pandemic-caused recession. On today’s show: how the plan could impact the economic recovery. Plus, big banks are doing well and a conversation with outgoing FCC Chairman Ajit Pai.

Economic recovery: one step forward, several steps back

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In positive economic news, President-elect Joe Biden announced his “American Rescue Plan” Thursday — a $1.9 trillion proposal to stabilize the economy and get COVID-19 under control. But pandemic unemployment continues to be a tale of two economies. The unemployment rate among the highest-paid workers is around 5%, while the rate among low-wage employees is as high as 20%. Sustained unemployment could lead to increased homelessness, with one study predicting homelessness could be twice as high as it was after the Great Recession. On today’s show: Economic recovery depends on your wage bracket. Plus, the economic significance of last week’s insurrection and a look at China one year after the first COVID-19 lockdown.

How those $600 checks are being spent

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It’s been a few weeks since the second round of COVID-19 relief started going out. Americans are spending those $600 checks on everything from tattoos and nice dinners to paying rent and electricity bills. The checks were meant to stimulate the economy, but also to provide economic relief to those seriously hurting during the pandemic. On today’s show: We check in with how a few people are using the money. Plus, how baby bonds could help close the racial wealth gap and why Netflix plans to release a new movie every week this year.

Businesses big and small aren’t feeling great about the state of things

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The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the biggest American business lobbying group and a typically reliable supporter of conservative and Republican politicians, said Tuesday that President Donald Trump “undermined our democratic institutions and ideals” last week. A chamber leader also said some members of Congress “will have forfeited the support of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Period. Full stop.” Small business owners aren’t feeling great about things either, with optimism at a seven-month low. On today’s show: the business world outlook. Plus, a look at systemic racism in farming and the pandemic’s continued impact on working mothers.

Corporate America is standing up to Trump

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Following last week’s armed insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, corporations are starting to pull financial support from President Donald Trump and certain Republicans. JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs are suspending political donations in general for at least six months. Blue Cross Blue Shield Association and Marriott are suspending donations specifically to Republicans who objected to the certification of the presidential election. And PGA of America pulled a championship tournament from a Trump golf course. On today’s show: the continuing economic fallout of a failed insurrection. Plus, how economic recovery might look now that COVID-19 vaccines are rolling out and the success of TV reboots.

Jobs, jobs, jobs

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The U.S. economy lost jobs for the first time since April, shedding 140,000 positions, the December jobs report showed. And long-term unemployment ticked up to 37% — quadruple what it was before the pandemic. It’s unclear if businesses will start hiring again anytime soon, as the COVID-19 rages across the United States. On today’s show: The worsening pandemic will continue to slow jobs recovery. Plus, how the vaccine rollout is going in rural America, and restaurant workers in Washington, D.C., can get vaccinated starting Feb. 1.

A series of disconnects

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The stock market is not the economy; this we know. But the market seems completely disconnected from events happening in the United States. After Wednesday’s pro-Trump insurrection, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at a record high. And again Thursday, after 787,000 Americans filed first-time unemployment claims, markets closed at record highs. On today’s show: A look at the disconnects between the markets, the economy and our democracy. Plus, social media platforms are putting greater restrictions on the president, and parents are still navigating working from home with their kids.

The ramifications of Trump supporters storming the U.S. Capitol

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Extreme supporters of President Donald Trump gathered for protests at the U.S. Capitol Wednesday, which turned violent as hoards of people broke into the U.S. Capitol Building. Lawmakers, in session to certify the 2020 presidential election, were forced into hiding and tear gas was deployed in the Capitol Rotunda. On today’s show: What this unprecedented day means for the U.S. economy going forward. Plus, more PPP loans are on the way and colleges are slow to reopen.

Small businesses are figuring out the year ahead

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As we enter the second calendar year of COVID-19 life, small businesses are taking stock and adjusting their pandemic plans. The economic crisis brought on by the pandemic has shuttered more than 160,000 small businesses. And a December survey found that 1 in 4 small business owners might have to close permanently in the next six months if economic conditions don’t improve. On today’s show: How the pandemic has altered small business owners’ plans — and lives. Plus, health care is a hard system to change, Biden’s plans for COVID testing and who gets to decide what feminism looks like?

Pandemic wage gains were just a fluke

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Wages have been rising during the COVID-19 pandemic, but economists say it’s just a fluke. While most higher-paid professionals have been able to work from home, millions of lower-paid service workers lost their jobs and income. And the gap between the haves and have-nots will widen even further as the economy recovers. On today’s show: Economists predict wages are likely to stagnate for returning service workers. Plus, Google’s employees unionize, and we check in on small business owners after the holiday retail bump.

What we might see in the new year

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Relief is finally on the way in the form of $600 checks to Americans who qualify. But that might be too little, too late for those hurting the most during this economic crisis. On today’s show: A look at how more relief might play out with a new Congress and a new administration in the White House. Plus, Texas food banks say they could be short millions of pounds of food and Congress lets paid sick, family and medical leave mandate expire.

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Looking to 2021

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2020 is finally coming to a close. This year has been historic: the COVID-19 pandemic, a summer of long overdue racial reckoning, the 2020 election and the ongoing economic crisis. We’ll begin the new year with millions of Americans out of work. The highly anticipated Jan. 5 runoffs in Georgia will decide control of the Senate. And, like always, the fate of the U.S. economy rests in consumers’ hands — and wallets. On today’s show: We look back at the year that was, and how the problems of 2020 will continue in 2021.

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Relief checks are starting to arrive

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The Treasury Department is starting to distribute the $600 relief checks Congress agreed to in the latest COVID-19 relief package, and the IRS said it began making direct deposits into bank accounts Tuesday. For those who don’t have an account on file with the agency, paper checks or prepaid debit cards will be sent out. On today’s show: Those prepaid cards have advantages and drawbacks. Plus, Congress finally bans surprise medical bills and how 2020 became the year of the hobby.

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How those $600 checks are likely to be spent

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blocked an effort Tuesday by Democrats to raise the next round of relief checks to $2,000. So Americans will be getting $600 checks this time around. In the spring, people spent only about a third of the relief money. But nine months into the pandemic, millions of Americans are still out of work and unemployment benefits are dwindling; it might not be so easy to hold on to the money now. On today’s show: Americans are likely to spend their stimulus on necessities right away. Plus, public transit is getting $14 billion in aid and the beef industry is still feeling the effects of COVID-19.

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Trump finally signs the relief bill, but the delay is causing confusion

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President Donald Trump finally signed the COVID-19 relief bill Sunday, nearly a week after Congress passed the package. But two key federal unemployment programs lapsed during the delay, and that’s leading to some confusion around unemployment benefits. Now it’s unclear if people will end up receiving crucial unemployment benefit payments this week. Also, a look back at this year’s “she-cession,” what the relief package has to do with climate change and holiday sales were better than expected.

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Working from home? Take a break … if you can

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With the COVID-19 relief bill still in limbo, we talk about how people working from home are attempting to take care of their mental health. It hasn’t been easy. Also, the travel industry is hurting, even during the holidays. Then we look at how a Black-owned puzzle company has managed to piece together success as a small business during the pandemic.

Still in limbo

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While Congress did finally pass a $900 billion COVID-19 relief package this week, President Donald Trump is refusing to sign it. Millions of Americans hold their breath as the programs keeping them afloat are about to expire; meanwhile, the president has gone to Florida. On today’s show: States are now fighting over which should receive workers’ income taxes as state and local budgets crumble due to the coronavirus. Plus, churches are filling gaps in the social safety net even more during the pandemic, and the shipping crunch is hurting small businesses.