Facebook is redesigning its front page. The News Feed — which is what Facebook's roughly 1 billion users see when they log on to the site — will be rolling out a radical new look over the coming months.
The changes are meant to increase user engagement on the site, make it easier to navigate on mobile phones and provide even more highly targeted advertising.
Some other news. The country's biggest banks are in much better shape than before the financial crisis, at least according to the Federal Reserve's third round of so-called stress tests.
NPR's Dan Bobkoff reports.
DAN BOBKOFF, BYLINE: The tests simulate a nightmare scenario: How would the banks fare if unemployment topped 12 percent, stock prices were cut in half and housing values fell 20 percent? We all know what happened five years ago when a crisis was more than hypothetical.
And today's last word in business is this: Lego becomes Legd'oh!
The Wall Street Journal says the Danish company Lego is interested in licensing "The Simpsons." In the long-running cartoon series, a remarkably similar toy company called Blocko makes an appearance in a couple of episodes.
(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "THE SIMPSONS")
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YEARDLEY SMITH: (as Lisa Simpson) I kind of want to create my own thing. Do you sell any just plain sets?
NPR's business news starts with the shuffle on the top for Pandora.
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INSKEEP: Pandora is the popular music streaming service. And the company's CEO announced, yesterday, he's stepping down. Joseph Kennedy's announcement came as a surprise to many people. The company just reported better-than-expected quarterly earnings. But Kennedy says after nine years on the job he needs to get to a recharging station. He speaking metaphorically, of course, but who knows, someday people may actually do that.
It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep. Good morning on this Friday. Let's talk a little more deeply about the surprisingly strong jobs report that came out today. NPR's Yuki Noguchi is here with the numbers. Hi, Yuki.
YUKI NOGUCHI, BYLINE: Good morning.
INSKEEP: OK. So what does the Labor Department say happened in the labor market in February?
Boeing's Dreamliner 787s remain grounded. And neither investigators nor Boeing can say exactly what caused a battery fire on a Japan Airlines jet. Nevertheless, Boeing thinks it has a fix, and while the Federal Aviation Administration is poised to allow Boeing to begin proving the redesign will be effective, the planes won't be back in service anytime soon.
It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Audie Cornish.
MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
And I'm Melissa Block. The city of Plainview, Texas has been a center of the cattle industry for decades. But a few weeks ago, after more than 40 years in operation, Plainview's beef processing plant shut its doors. Plant owners blame years of drought and the dwindling supply of cattle. As Mose Buchele reports from member station KUT, the closure could be a preview of things to come for the Texas plains.
Originally published on Fri March 8, 2013 10:18 am
One of the defining graphs of our time (yes, there are defining graphs of our time) comes from the blog Calculated Risk. It tracks the job market in every U.S. recession and recovery since WWII — and it shows just how brutal the the past few years have been.
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Lynn Neary, in Washington. Neal Conan is away. It's an American story as old as Horatio Alger: Hard work, determination and presto, you can change your station in life. But increasingly many Americans find themselves stuck where they are on the economic ladder, that American dream just out of reach.
Originally published on Thu March 7, 2013 12:19 pm
China's citizens do not report as much as $2.34 trillion of what they make every year, hiding "gray income" that would represent nearly 20 percent of the country's GDP, Chinese economics scholar Wang Xiaolu says, in a report from the news site Global Voices.
Originally published on Thu March 7, 2013 12:13 pm
Rising consumer demand for local foods has changed the job description for ranchers like Doniga Markegard.
Markegard, co-owner of Markegard Family Grass-Fed in San Gregorio, Calif., loves working with cattle, but she's not fond of the hours of phone calls and emails it can take to sell directly to a customer.
As we await Friday's much-anticipated report about the February unemployment rate and how many jobs were added to employers' payrolls last month, there are these new bits of economic data to chew over:
-- The Employment and Training Administration says there were 340,000 first-time claims for unemployment insurance last week. That's down from 7,000 the previous week. Claims continue at a pace that's the lowest since first-quarter 2008.
NPR's business news starts with a Time Warner split.
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INSKEEP: You may recall when Time Inc. merged with Warner Brothers, huge, huge media merger. And now it's time for a little entropy. Last night, Time Warner announced its spinning off its magazine unit. That includes publications like, "Time Magazine," "Sports Illustrated" and "People."
Budget-cutting from the government sequester that began March 1 could affect U.S. exports and imports, including what we eat.
Customs and Border Protection officers regulate trade at the nation's 329 ports of entry, in harbors, airports and on land.
One by one, drivers approach booths with Customs and Border Protection officers at the Mariposa Port of Entry in Nogales, Ariz. More winter produce enters here than at any other place in the U.S. Semis filled with tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers headed to grocery stores around the country.
Two months ago, the popular political blogger Andrew Sullivan left the comfortable world of big media and struck out on his own. His bold new plan: Ask readers to pay $19.99 a year or more to subscribe to his blog.
"It was either quit blogging, or suck it up and become a businessman," he told me.
The usual way bloggers make money (if they make money at all) is to sell advertising. But Sullivan figured he could get his devoted reader base to pay. Within the first week, he'd raised half a million dollars. By the end of about two months, the total had crept up to $625,000.
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke testifies before the Senate Banking Committee in Washington last month. Some analysts wonder if he and other policymakers have kept interest rates too low for too long.
The stock market's long climb from its recession bottom has some people concerned it may be a bubble about to burst — a bubble artificially pumped up by the Federal Reserve's easy-money policy. That's led to calls — even from within the Fed — for an end to the central bank's extraordinary efforts to keep interest rates low.
Every year, the South By Southwest music, film and interactive festival gets larger, and navigating the blur of panels, parties and shows gets more daunting. The girth of it all is enough to keep many SXSW old-timers away from Austin this year.
Look around your kitchen table and you'll see the work of Ambassador Ron Kirk. He's the United States Trade Representative, which is a cabinet-level position, and he's negotiated trade deals all around the world. Host Michel Martin talks to him about why he's choosing to step down from his post and the importance of U.S. trade.
What it means to own something in the digital age is being re-negotiated.
Few of us own the music we listen to or the movies we watch in exactly the same way we did a decade ago. And today if you buy a smartphone from a cellphone company, what you can legally do with it — how and where you can use it — may be proscribed even if that phone is fully bought and paid for.
I keep a lot of music on my phone. I have the Stones, Janis Joplin and OK Go.
There were 198,000 jobs added to private employers' payrolls in February, according to the latest ADP National Employment Report — a privately produced snapshot of the employment picture that's sometimes a signal of what the Bureau of Labor Statistics will say when it releases its data from the same month.