From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish. A strike has been averted at many of the nation's busiest shipping ports, at least temporarily. The union representing longshoremen at ports along the East Coast and the Gulf of Mexico have threatened to walk off the job starting Sunday. But as we hear from NPR's Jim Zarroli, port operators and the union have reached agreement on one of their most contentious issues.
Originally published on Fri December 28, 2012 2:46 pm
Longshoremen and East Coast and Gulf Coast port operators have agreed to an extension on labor negotiations, a federal mediator said Friday, averting a potentially crippling strike that would have halted container traffic at many of the nation's largest seaports.
Update at 4:45 p.m. ET: The temporary deal extends the contract to Feb. 6.
Originally published on Fri December 28, 2012 4:50 am
The tortuous negotiations involved in the "fiscal cliff" talks are like a chess game. The opponents follow rules and techniques. Negotiating is part science, part art, and everyone does it in their daily lives.
GREENE: Apple hit a big milestone this year when it became the most highly valued public company in history. So it may be a surprise to hear that Apple's CEO, Tim Cook, saw a big dip in salary - like, a 99 percent dip.
And our last word in business has the Second City coming in first, but I have a feeling this will not be a source of pride. In 2013, Chicago will have the most expensive parking meters in North America.
Originally published on Fri December 28, 2012 4:48 am
So far there are no signs of a breakthrough in talks between Democrats and Republicans in Washington to stave off the tax hikes and spending cuts set to take effect on New Year's Day. President Obama has summoned top congressional leaders for talks at the White House on Friday.
Events in the new year could include the biggest airline merger ever. For months, a deal between American Airlines and U.S. Airways has been talked about. The new year is also likely to bring slightly higher domestic ticket prices and some new planes.
Also last month, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency joked to an environmental law conference: Everyone who wants my job, stand up. Yesterday, Lisa Jackson turned serious and made it official: She's leaving the EPA next month.
As NPR's Selena Simmons-Duffin reports, there are mixed feelings about Jackson's departure.
Originally published on Thu December 27, 2012 7:40 pm
With negotiations to avoid the "fiscal cliff" uncertain at best, the Obama administration is trying to tamp down anxiety in the federal workforce.
The administration's message to various federal agencies is that there will be little immediate effect on public employees from the budget cuts scheduled to take effect next week if a deal is not reached. Treasury Department employees, for instance, were told not to expect "day to day operations to change dramatically on or immediately after January 2."
The agency adds that "the 4-week moving average," which tends to smooth out some of the volatility that comes with the weekly figures, "was 356,750, a decrease of 11,250 from the previous week's revised average of 368,000."
Now, if you have BlackBerry at the bottom of the drawer, it turns out it's also at the bottom of the 2012 list of smartphone makers.
Our last word in business is: Bad Call.
The company that makes BlackBerry, Research in Motion, had only 5 percent of the global smartphone market in 2012. That was down from 11 percent the year before. That's according to the market research firm iSuppli. Also in the 5 percent club: Nokia and HTC.
That's the business news on MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm David Greene.
Originally published on Thu December 27, 2012 3:06 am
President Obama returns to Washington Thursday as do members of the U.S. Senate. They're cutting holiday plans short in hopes of coming up with a deal to avoid the tax hikes and budget cuts set to take effect on Jan. 1.
Originally published on Thu December 27, 2012 3:07 am
What do you keep in your desk drawer at work? Financial Times columnist Lucy Kellaway recently investigated what was in her colleagues' desk drawers, and wrote a column about her findings. She talks to Renee Montagne about some of the items people have, and why they hold on to them.
Owners of Toyota vehicles that experienced sudden and unintended acceleration have reached a settlement requiring the carmaker to pay as much as $1.4 billion in claims. A judge will review the proposal Friday.
For the first time in five years, the U.S. housing sector contributed to economic growth in 2012. The foreclosure crisis is evolving and working its way through the system, although there are still lingering concerns.
Originally published on Wed December 26, 2012 5:24 pm
A plaintiffs' attorney says Toyota Motor Corp. has reached a settlement exceeding $1 billion in a class-action lawsuit involving complaints of unintended acceleration in its vehicles. Robert Siegel talks with NPR's Sonari Glinton about the deal, which still needs a judge's approval.
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke speaks during a news conference in Washington on Dec. 12. Some economists worry the Fed has set the stage for inflation as well as stock and housing bubbles by keeping interest rates low.
The Federal Reserve continued to keep its foot on the accelerator in 2012, using unusual tactics to try to boost economic growth. But there's disagreement among economists about whether the Fed's policies were effective or whether the risks to the economy outweighed the rewards.
Originally published on Thu December 27, 2012 5:27 am
Owners of Toyota vehicles that experienced sudden and unintended acceleration have reached a settlement that could require the carmaker to pay as much as $1.4 billion in claims, according to the auto maker and the law firm representing Toyota customers.
U.S. District Court Judge James Selna, at whose direction the many lawsuits over the "runaway car" fears were consolidated in 2010, will review the proposed settlement Friday.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.
7.7 percent, that's the current unemployment rate. It's a full percentage point lower than this time last year. That sounds like progress, a modest number of new jobs are being added every month. But labor force participation, a measure of both people who are working and those who are actively looking for work, is at its lowest point in three decades.
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Ari Shapiro in Washington. Neal Conan is away. This week, many of us are making year-end charitable donations. There are countless needy people and worthy causes competing for our dollars. So many philanthropists today want proof that an organization actually succeeds at its mission.
Originally published on Wed December 26, 2012 4:46 am
In the East Bay area outside of San Francisco, a community has turned against its firefighters. The Contra Costa Fire Department is set to close four firehouses after voters failed to pass a tax to keep them open. Some say they want to see changes to firefighter pensions before they give the department more money. The firefighters say they feel like they are under attack.
Originally published on Wed December 26, 2012 5:23 am
Holiday Sales rose by less than 1 percent from the year before, according to MasterCard's SpendingPulse unit. That's the slowest growth in spending since the 2008 recession. Even online sales — which posted double digit gains over the past few years — were lackluster this year.
Originally published on Wed December 26, 2012 4:53 am
David Greene talks to Sydney Finkelstein, who teaches management at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth, about his list of the worst CEOs of 2012. Of interest is not just who made the list this year, but who didn't.
Raj Rajaratnam, center, billionaire co-founder of Galleon Group, is surrounded by photographers as leaves Manhattan federal court May 11 after being convicted of insider trading charges.
Credit Mary Altaffer / AP
Patrick Carroll (left) and David Chaves head white collar crime and securities fraud units at the FBI's New York office. Their team pursued insider trading with some of the same tactics used on organized crime and drug cartels.
It was another busy year for federal authorities pursuing insider trading cases. Seventy-five people have now been charged in the last three years, and investigators say that success comes largely from their decision to attack insider trading the way they take down the Mafia and drug cartels — with tools such as wiretaps, informants and cooperators.
The story behind how the government decided to go after insider trading as hard as it goes after the mob is really just a story about dead ends.
Those of us trying to lose some pounds after overindulging this holiday season can get help from a slew of smartphone apps that count steps climbed and calories burned. Self-tracking has also become a way for companies to make money using your fitness data. And some experts worry that the data collected could be used against users in the long run.
At a recent Quantified Self Meetup in downtown San Francisco, technology lovers are testing homemade do-it-yourself devices on people eager to measure their mind and body.
Originally published on Wed December 26, 2012 12:46 am
In the United States, popular holiday gifts come and go from year to year. But in Iceland, the best Christmas gift is a book — and it has been that way for decades.
Iceland publishes more books per capita than any other country in the world, with five titles published for every 1,000 Icelanders. But what's really unusual is the timing: Historically, a majority of books in Iceland are sold from late September to early November. It's a national tradition, and it has a name: Jolabokaflod, or the "Christmas Book Flood."