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Marketplace

Marketplace

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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 t

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Episodes


For female workers, an ailing feeling about financial health 

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

For female workers, an ailing feeling about financial health 

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

28:25

24 May 24

Bad housing news comes in threes

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

Bad housing news comes in threes

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

29:31

23 May 24

Accommodations for long COVID

About 7% of U.S. adults have long COVID, according to a new survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Many of those nearly 18 million people say their symptoms affect their ability to work. Disability accommodations could be the answer. Also in this episode, competitors work on catching up to AI chipmaker Nvidia, companies offer 401(k) matching of student loan payments and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau starts regulating buy now, pay later platforms. Our May fundraiser ends Friday, and we need your help to reach our goal. Give today and help fund public service journalism for all!

Accommodations for long COVID

About 7% of U.S. adults have long COVID, according to a new survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Many of those nearly 18 million people say their symptoms affect their ability to work. Disability accommodations could be the answer. Also in this episode, competitors work on catching up to AI chipmaker Nvidia, companies offer 401(k) matching of student loan payments and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau starts regulating buy now, pay later platforms. Our May fundraiser ends Friday, and we need your help to reach our goal. Give today and help fund public service journalism for all!

29:44

22 May 24

The complexity of succession planning 

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

The complexity of succession planning 

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

28:34

21 May 24

The future of dining

Fast-casual sit-down restaurant chains have a lot on their plates right now. They’re unpopular with Gen Z customers, struggling to maintain reasonable prices and can’t compete with made-to-DoorDash options like Chipotle. Meanwhile, at the other end of the restaurant spectrum, reservations at trendy spots are hot tickets in resale markets. Also in this episode: The Port of Baltimore hopes for a return to normalcy, Texans gear up for a sweltering summer and homeowners in extreme weather-prone areas turn to state governments for insurance. It’s your last chance to double your impact during our May fundraiser — the Investors Challenge Fund is matching donations up to $25,000 today! Give right now.

The future of dining

Fast-casual sit-down restaurant chains have a lot on their plates right now. They’re unpopular with Gen Z customers, struggling to maintain reasonable prices and can’t compete with made-to-DoorDash options like Chipotle. Meanwhile, at the other end of the restaurant spectrum, reservations at trendy spots are hot tickets in resale markets. Also in this episode: The Port of Baltimore hopes for a return to normalcy, Texans gear up for a sweltering summer and homeowners in extreme weather-prone areas turn to state governments for insurance. It’s your last chance to double your impact during our May fundraiser — the Investors Challenge Fund is matching donations up to $25,000 today! Give right now.

29:36

20 May 24

“The granddaddy of all stock indices”

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

“The granddaddy of all stock indices”

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

30:03

17 May 24

Walmart, Wayfair and . . . wool?

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

Walmart, Wayfair and . . . wool?

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

28:44

16 May 24

The inflation cooldown we’ve been waiting for?

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

The inflation cooldown we’ve been waiting for?

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

28:27

15 May 24

Biden hits Chinese goods with new tariffs

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

Biden hits Chinese goods with new tariffs

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

27:18

14 May 24

Consumer sentiment slumps

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

Consumer sentiment slumps

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

29:41

13 May 24

Is the U.S. ready to be a chipmaking superpower?

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

Is the U.S. ready to be a chipmaking superpower?

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

28:24

10 May 24

Democracy is critical to prosperity, Treasury secretary says 

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

Democracy is critical to prosperity, Treasury secretary says 

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

28:50

9 May 24

Rents outpace wages in big cities across the U.S.

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

Rents outpace wages in big cities across the U.S.

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

27:29

8 May 24

A little more time for Social Security and Medicare funds

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

A little more time for Social Security and Medicare funds

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

28:05

7 May 24

Do you like your job?

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

Do you like your job?

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

28:41

6 May 24

Why government benefits are likely to stick around

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

Why government benefits are likely to stick around

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

27:23

3 May 24

Breaking Ground: Where are all the jobs?

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

Breaking Ground: Where are all the jobs?

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

29:05

2 May 24

Breaking Ground: The plants were there first

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

Breaking Ground: The plants were there first

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

27:48

1 May 24

Breaking Ground: A visit to the “Silicon Desert”

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

Breaking Ground: A visit to the “Silicon Desert”

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

24:44

30 Apr 24

Keep on truckin’

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

Keep on truckin’

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

26:44

29 Apr 24

A looming deadline for student loan forgiveness

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

A looming deadline for student loan forgiveness

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

26:02

26 Apr 24

GDP grows more slowly than expected

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

GDP grows more slowly than expected

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

27:58

25 Apr 24

Clock starts on TikTok ban

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

Clock starts on TikTok ban

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

29:02

24 Apr 24

The business cycle is getting less cyclical

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

The business cycle is getting less cyclical

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

29:01

23 Apr 24

A new spin on the yard sale

Many states are making it easier for homeowners to subdivide their single-family lots. But those with space to spare may not know how to develop it. Now, new companies are offering cash for the land. Also: Profits are up, but probably not because of “greedflation,” and federal grants aim to get solar panels on low-income families’ roofs.

A new spin on the yard sale

Many states are making it easier for homeowners to subdivide their single-family lots. But those with space to spare may not know how to develop it. Now, new companies are offering cash for the land. Also: Profits are up, but probably not because of “greedflation,” and federal grants aim to get solar panels on low-income families’ roofs.

29:43

22 Apr 24

It’s a good time to be an asset owner

Thanks to a strong stock market and record home prices, asset owners are feeling richer, even if it’s only on paper. Today, we get into the “wealth effect” and how it may play out in the presidential election. Also: Higher prices slow Procter & Gamble sales, the “catastrophic” halt to a Baltimore port business, and why companies change the metrics they report to investors.

It’s a good time to be an asset owner

Thanks to a strong stock market and record home prices, asset owners are feeling richer, even if it’s only on paper. Today, we get into the “wealth effect” and how it may play out in the presidential election. Also: Higher prices slow Procter & Gamble sales, the “catastrophic” halt to a Baltimore port business, and why companies change the metrics they report to investors.

25:45

19 Apr 24

Will AI be the dot-com bubble all over again?

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

Will AI be the dot-com bubble all over again?

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

26:39

18 Apr 24

Steel tariffs déjà vu 

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

Steel tariffs déjà vu 

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

27:30

17 Apr 24

Slow and steady global growth

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

Slow and steady global growth

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

28:16

16 Apr 24

Playing an economic guessing game

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

Playing an economic guessing game

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

26:07

15 Apr 24

The subminimum wage for tipped workers is on the table

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

The subminimum wage for tipped workers is on the table

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

27:44

12 Apr 24

The ECB could beat the Fed to rate cuts 

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

The ECB could beat the Fed to rate cuts 

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

26:36

11 Apr 24

Hear that? That’s the sound of millions of Americans dusting off their ACs.

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

Hear that? That’s the sound of millions of Americans dusting off their ACs.

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

26:25

10 Apr 24

Copper prices are climbing

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

Copper prices are climbing

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

28:48

9 Apr 24

Messaging matters

There have been mixed messages on interest rate cuts, and that uncertainty is weighing on consumers. As the Federal Reserve continues its effort to bring inflation down to 2%, economists watch how consumers interpret that kind of messaging and what their expectations are. Also in this episode: Black unemployment spikes, the impact of cyberattacks on small businesses and the growing use of psychometric assessments for job seekers.

Messaging matters

There have been mixed messages on interest rate cuts, and that uncertainty is weighing on consumers. As the Federal Reserve continues its effort to bring inflation down to 2%, economists watch how consumers interpret that kind of messaging and what their expectations are. Also in this episode: Black unemployment spikes, the impact of cyberattacks on small businesses and the growing use of psychometric assessments for job seekers.

27:57

8 Apr 24

Cool your jets! Hold your horses! Slow your (manufacturing) roll!

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

Cool your jets! Hold your horses! Slow your (manufacturing) roll!

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

26:18

5 Apr 24

The right to disconnect

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

The right to disconnect

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

27:41

4 Apr 24

A rough time for startups 

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

A rough time for startups 

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

26:59

3 Apr 24

“This is the time to be a saver”

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

“This is the time to be a saver”

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

27:26

2 Apr 24

Ultimately, the joke’s on Gmail rivals

Twenty years ago, Google launched Gmail. Users thought the promise of 1 gigabyte of free storage was an April Fools’ joke. It wasn’t. In this episode, how Gmail came to dominate the email space — and everything connected to it. Plus, legislators rush to help workers affected by the Baltimore bridge collapse, small businesses prep for next week’s eclipse, and some states might cut funding for parent caregivers of disabled kids.

Ultimately, the joke’s on Gmail rivals

Twenty years ago, Google launched Gmail. Users thought the promise of 1 gigabyte of free storage was an April Fools’ joke. It wasn’t. In this episode, how Gmail came to dominate the email space — and everything connected to it. Plus, legislators rush to help workers affected by the Baltimore bridge collapse, small businesses prep for next week’s eclipse, and some states might cut funding for parent caregivers of disabled kids.

29:08

1 Apr 24

“Hard to say” where interest rates will settle, Fed chair says

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

“Hard to say” where interest rates will settle, Fed chair says

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

28:50

29 Mar 24

Feelings versus facts

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

Feelings versus facts

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

26:32

28 Mar 24

Immigrants fill high-risk jobs that U.S.-born workers don’t

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

Immigrants fill high-risk jobs that U.S.-born workers don’t

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

27:42

27 Mar 24

Baltimore bridge collapse a jolt to commerce

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

Baltimore bridge collapse a jolt to commerce

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

27:23

26 Mar 24

All in on clean energy

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

All in on clean energy

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

28:53

25 Mar 24

Bring on the drama, Jay Powell

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

Bring on the drama, Jay Powell

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

28:45

22 Mar 24

Weekly jobless claims fall 

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

Weekly jobless claims fall 

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

26:21

21 Mar 24

The Fed’s evolving data diet 

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

The Fed’s evolving data diet 

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

27:37

20 Mar 24

Food, glorious food!

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

Food, glorious food!

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

28:11

19 Mar 24

Who pays real estate agents?

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

Who pays real estate agents?

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

28:02

18 Mar 24

A labor market paradox

The U.S. economy has been on a job creation spree in the last few years. But wage inflation has eased and unemployment even ticked up recently. What gives? Also in this episode: Infrastructure grants aid communities of color, e-commerce changes the way we shop and crawfish farmers struggle with the impact of record heat.

A labor market paradox

The U.S. economy has been on a job creation spree in the last few years. But wage inflation has eased and unemployment even ticked up recently. What gives? Also in this episode: Infrastructure grants aid communities of color, e-commerce changes the way we shop and crawfish farmers struggle with the impact of record heat.

26:35

15 Mar 24

Spring is coming, and so are higher gas prices

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

Spring is coming, and so are higher gas prices

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

28:39

14 Mar 24

Breaking Ground: Betting on mother nature

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

Breaking Ground: Betting on mother nature

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

27:14

13 Mar 24

A higher-than-expected CPI 

The February consumer price index is out — inflation was 3.2% year over year. That’s just a smidge higher than January. Still, prices in some sectors are down from a year ago. We’ll dig into the data, from price drops in furniture to still waters in apparel. Plus: the state of banking one year after the SVB fiasco and the future of addiction treatment in Oregon. 

A higher-than-expected CPI 

The February consumer price index is out — inflation was 3.2% year over year. That’s just a smidge higher than January. Still, prices in some sectors are down from a year ago. We’ll dig into the data, from price drops in furniture to still waters in apparel. Plus: the state of banking one year after the SVB fiasco and the future of addiction treatment in Oregon. 

28:54

12 Mar 24

Not too hot, not too cold

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

Not too hot, not too cold

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

29:54

11 Mar 24

Spacial awareness

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

Spacial awareness

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

28:09

8 Mar 24

The EU cracks down on Big Tech

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

The EU cracks down on Big Tech

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

26:20

7 Mar 24

The Federal Reserve’s political independence matters

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

The Federal Reserve’s political independence matters

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

29:54

6 Mar 24

Record oil output with fewer rigs

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

Record oil output with fewer rigs

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

27:25

5 Mar 24

Who’s gonna win an Oscar this year?

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

Who’s gonna win an Oscar this year?

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

26:33

4 Mar 24

Who can afford to buy a home these days?

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

Who can afford to buy a home these days?

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

25:43

2 Mar 24

Personal incomes rose in January

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

Personal incomes rose in January

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

27:28

29 Feb 24

GDP keeps climbing

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

GDP keeps climbing

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

29:33

29 Feb 24

Do modern-day starter homes exist?

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

Do modern-day starter homes exist?

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

28:10

27 Feb 24

Credit card fee feud

Every time you swipe — or, these days, tap — your credit card, the merchant has to pay a fee. Some fed-up retailers are petitioning for more card fee regulation, but banks say consumers have plenty of choice as it is. Also in this episode: consumers’ moods versus economic data and pandemic purchases that buyers regret.

Credit card fee feud

Every time you swipe — or, these days, tap — your credit card, the merchant has to pay a fee. Some fed-up retailers are petitioning for more card fee regulation, but banks say consumers have plenty of choice as it is. Also in this episode: consumers’ moods versus economic data and pandemic purchases that buyers regret.

29:44

26 Feb 24

A not-so-happy anniversary to Silicon Valley Bank

The failures of Silicon Valley Bank and several other institutions rank among the largest bank collapses in U.S. history. Almost a year later, small banks still face aftershocks. Also in this episode, traditional sports journalism is disappearing. Will accountability in the sports industry follow? And one couple finds financial freedom with an unusual real estate purchase.

A not-so-happy anniversary to Silicon Valley Bank

The failures of Silicon Valley Bank and several other institutions rank among the largest bank collapses in U.S. history. Almost a year later, small banks still face aftershocks. Also in this episode, traditional sports journalism is disappearing. Will accountability in the sports industry follow? And one couple finds financial freedom with an unusual real estate purchase.

27:38

23 Feb 24

Breaking Ground: Biden hopes sustainable aviation fuel production could take flight soon

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

Breaking Ground: Biden hopes sustainable aviation fuel production could take flight soon

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

26:36

22 Feb 24

Neel Kashkari and the Fed’s inflation fears

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

Neel Kashkari and the Fed’s inflation fears

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

26:26

22 Feb 24

What’s in your wallet?

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

What’s in your wallet?

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

26:10

21 Feb 24

Can we break out of the mortgage lock-in effect?

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

Can we break out of the mortgage lock-in effect?

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

28:19

19 Feb 24

Vacant office buildings are making city budgets vulnerable

Vacant offices have been tough on the commercial real estate industry, and more recently lenders that have built a big business on those property loans. But the biggest losers are cities that depend on commercial property taxes. In this episode, some municipalities face big revenue shortfalls. Also: another blow to ESG investing, the cost of big-name credit cards and our excess stuff is feeding the booming storage space industry.

Vacant office buildings are making city budgets vulnerable

Vacant offices have been tough on the commercial real estate industry, and more recently lenders that have built a big business on those property loans. But the biggest losers are cities that depend on commercial property taxes. In this episode, some municipalities face big revenue shortfalls. Also: another blow to ESG investing, the cost of big-name credit cards and our excess stuff is feeding the booming storage space industry.

26:20

16 Feb 24

Why so many layoffs in a hot labor market?

Cisco, the communications infrastructure giant, is planning to cut lots of jobs. It’s the latest high-profile company to do so. Meanwhile, we keep getting positive indicators about the labor market, like today’s data on falling jobless claims. We’ll explain the disconnect on today’s show. Also: What rising import prices mean, tracking shipments on freight trains and why a bank created to integrate emancipated Black Americans into the economy matters today.

Why so many layoffs in a hot labor market?

Cisco, the communications infrastructure giant, is planning to cut lots of jobs. It’s the latest high-profile company to do so. Meanwhile, we keep getting positive indicators about the labor market, like today’s data on falling jobless claims. We’ll explain the disconnect on today’s show. Also: What rising import prices mean, tracking shipments on freight trains and why a bank created to integrate emancipated Black Americans into the economy matters today.

26:15

15 Feb 24

Walmart wants Vizio, but not for the TVs

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

Walmart wants Vizio, but not for the TVs

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

27:05

15 Feb 24

A so-so CPI

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

A so-so CPI

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

27:30

13 Feb 24

Cons-oil-idation

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

Cons-oil-idation

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

29:41

12 Feb 24

A modest wish for the Year of the Dragon

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

A modest wish for the Year of the Dragon

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

28:08

9 Feb 24

A turning point for Stewart Avenue

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

A turning point for Stewart Avenue

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

27:42

8 Feb 24

Could AI be the next HR?

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

Could AI be the next HR?

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

27:36

7 Feb 24

Are you my mortgage servicer?

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

Are you my mortgage servicer?

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

27:07

6 Feb 24

AI-tested, artist-approved poisoning tools

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

AI-tested, artist-approved poisoning tools

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

30:06

6 Feb 24

Hiring or hunting, this job market is tough

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

Hiring or hunting, this job market is tough

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

27:21

2 Feb 24

Silence isn’t golden if you’re a TikTok creator

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

Silence isn’t golden if you’re a TikTok creator

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

28:05

1 Feb 24

Forever renters

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

Forever renters

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

26:40

1 Feb 24

Wait … how big is our debt?

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

Wait … how big is our debt?

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

27:11

31 Jan 24

The office support jobs’ sluggish comeback

Jobs in office support (think custodians, security guards) grew just 2.6% in 2023, according to a  Bureau of Labor Statistics report tracking employment in different sectors. That may reflect a sluggish return to in-person work more than growth in the sector. In this episode, the office support ecosystem. Plus, Baltimore will use blockchain tech to battle vacant homes, teen employment hits a 14-year high and importers struggle with price spikes.

The office support jobs’ sluggish comeback

Jobs in office support (think custodians, security guards) grew just 2.6% in 2023, according to a  Bureau of Labor Statistics report tracking employment in different sectors. That may reflect a sluggish return to in-person work more than growth in the sector. In this episode, the office support ecosystem. Plus, Baltimore will use blockchain tech to battle vacant homes, teen employment hits a 14-year high and importers struggle with price spikes.

28:02

30 Jan 24

If the economy’s so good, what’s with all the layoffs?

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

If the economy’s so good, what’s with all the layoffs?

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

26:33

26 Jan 24

Cha-ching! Can you hear the economy growing?

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

Cha-ching! Can you hear the economy growing?

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

25:37

26 Jan 24

The New Deal’s legacy

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

The New Deal’s legacy

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

25:50

25 Jan 24

How much do you spend on sports?

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

How much do you spend on sports?

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

28:27

24 Jan 24

The honk-shoo-mimimi economy

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

The honk-shoo-mimimi economy

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

27:20

23 Jan 24

What does an “almost” government shutdown cost?

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

What does an “almost” government shutdown cost?

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

26:26

20 Jan 24

“Treasury is used to doing what Treasury wants to do”

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

“Treasury is used to doing what Treasury wants to do”

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

26:46

19 Jan 24

In this economy, we’re focusing on the little things

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

In this economy, we’re focusing on the little things

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

26:18

18 Jan 24

Does your business need a loan? Banks aren’t your only option.

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

Does your business need a loan? Banks aren’t your only option.

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

26:45

17 Jan 24

ACA insurance sees record sign-ups

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

ACA insurance sees record sign-ups

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

27:51

15 Jan 24

Gretchen! Stop trying to make recycled IP happen!

“Mean Girls” — a movie based on a musical based on a 2004 movie — comes out today. It’s not the first or the last time Hollywood has recycled a beloved plot and characters for a “new” audience. What makes movie remakes so grool? (Great plus cool, duh.) Also in this episode: tackling the question of the NFL’s future and young voters in Taiwan are focused on inflation and fear of war with China.

Gretchen! Stop trying to make recycled IP happen!

“Mean Girls” — a movie based on a musical based on a 2004 movie — comes out today. It’s not the first or the last time Hollywood has recycled a beloved plot and characters for a “new” audience. What makes movie remakes so grool? (Great plus cool, duh.) Also in this episode: tackling the question of the NFL’s future and young voters in Taiwan are focused on inflation and fear of war with China.

26:38

12 Jan 24

Not so fast, CPI!

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

Not so fast, CPI!

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

26:25

11 Jan 24

What Alan Greenspan got right and wrong at the Fed

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

What Alan Greenspan got right and wrong at the Fed

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

26:34

11 Jan 24

What are we gonna do with all this empty space?

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

What are we gonna do with all this empty space?

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

26:36

10 Jan 24

According to my Magic 8 Ball …

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

According to my Magic 8 Ball …

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

27:51

9 Jan 24

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