Business

Superstorm Sandy: Before, During And Beyond
1:25 am
Mon December 10, 2012

Everyone Chip In, Please: Crowdfunding Sandy

Jenny Adams in the Wayland Bar in Alphabet City, where she stored piles of relief supplies to distribute. Adams raised $10,000 through a crowdfunding website to help her neighbors affected by Hurricane Sandy.
Alex Goldmark NPR

Originally published on Mon December 10, 2012 5:40 pm

Big-hearted Americans always rush to give money after a disaster. Just how much and how fast is often determined by technology. After the earthquake in Haiti, texting small donations, for example, became a new standard practice.

This time around, Hurricane Sandy has shown crowdfunding websites are a simple tool for quick-response giving. Anyone can go on these sites and ask for money to rebuild or to help their neighbors rebuild. Friends, family and strangers chip in.

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Media
1:22 am
Mon December 10, 2012

'Orange County Register' Presses Hum With Optimism

Ken Brusic, senior vice president for content, works in his office overlooking the 5 Freeway. In the past few weeks, Brusic has hired some two-dozen newsroom positions.
Grant Slater KPCC

Originally published on Mon December 10, 2012 1:01 pm

The Orange Country Register in suburban Los Angeles is expanding its newsroom. Not only that — the owners are emphasizing print, not digital.

In the past few weeks, longtime Register editor Ken Brusic has hired some two-dozen positions: critics to review food, TV and cars, a society columnist and investigative reporters. He's still looking for a movie critic, a magazine writer and many more reporters.

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Your Money
3:09 am
Sun December 9, 2012

Fiscal Cliff Leaves Accountants Hanging, Too

With major tax changes still undecided, accountants and other financial professionals must advise their clients on various possible scenarios.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Sun December 9, 2012 12:53 pm

The expiration of Bush-era tax cuts. A patch to the alternative minimum tax. An increase in capital gains taxes.

As the "fiscal cliff" approaches, all of these are possible, but none certain. That uncertainty solicits many questions from anxious taxpayers. But, for accountants and financial planners, there are a few definitive answers.

Financial professionals who spoke with NPR say they are not strangers to uncertainty. When the Bush tax cuts were up for expiration two years ago, for instance, the feeling was similar.

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World
3:06 am
Sun December 9, 2012

Spain's Economic Woes Take A Toll On The Media

El Pais journalists demonstrate outside the newspaper's headquarters in Madrid last month.
Dominique Faget AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon December 10, 2012 8:53 am

Three years of euro-zone recession have badly hurt Spain's media sector, where some 8,500 journalists have lost their jobs. Dozens of newspapers have closed and the remaining publications are sharply cutting back as ads plummet.

That's led to warnings from journalists, who see a threat to press freedom at a time when Spaniards want to understand why their financial stability is unraveling.

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Business
3:04 pm
Sat December 8, 2012

Hoodie Company Put U.S. Manufacturing In Style

Originally published on Sat December 8, 2012 4:51 pm

Transcript

GUY RAZ, HOST:

It's WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Guy Raz.

We're talking about the small but significant trend called insourcing, manufacturing things here in the U.S. Earlier this year, Bayard Winthrop opened up a sweatshirt and hoodie business in San Francisco, and he called it American Giant. He's got 10 people in the front office and up to 150 workers in a factory where his entire line, soup to nuts, is made in America.

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U.S.
10:35 am
Sat December 8, 2012

Sign Of The Times: Labor Strikes May Make Comeback

An empty container ship waited near the Port of Los Angeles during the eight-day strike by members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union. The stoppage put a halt to most of the work at the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports.
Kevork Djansezian Getty Images

Originally published on Tue December 11, 2012 1:04 pm

When clerical workers at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach reached an impasse in talks with management over job security last week, they took what has become something of a rare step: They went on strike.

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The Two-Way
12:28 pm
Fri December 7, 2012

Mystery On Fifth Avenue: A Constant Line Outside Abercrombie & Fitch

A model at the front entrance to the Abercrombie & Fitch flagship store in New York City.
Mario Tama Getty Images

Originally published on Tue December 11, 2012 7:34 pm

Every day I walk down Fifth Avenue on my way to work. I pass glittering holiday store windows, the Salvation Army ringing its bells and the sparkling tree at Rockefeller Center.

But for months I've noticed a mystery: Only one store has huge lines outside before it opens: Abercrombie & Fitch.

Perhaps 90 people stand on line every day before opening, rain or shine. It's been going on for years and not just during this season.

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All Tech Considered
12:27 pm
Fri December 7, 2012

Big Brother Is In Your Pocket (But You Get A Discount)

Care To Share? Wireless carriers are launching programs allowing customers to receive rewards based on information their smartphones share — such as their location, app usage and Web surfing data.
AFP AFP/Getty Images

Customer loyalty programs have been around for years. You think nothing of giving the supermarket or pet supply store your personal information. In exchange you get a card or a key ring tag that you present at checkout to get a discount.

Now wireless carriers are taking it a step further, raising alerts from privacy advocates.

Verizon and AT&T recently launched programs allowing customers to receive rewards based on information their smartphones share with the carriers.

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Shots - Health News
11:30 am
Fri December 7, 2012

How Miscommunication And A Simple Mistake Led To A Toxic Accident

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the accidental release of chlorine gas at a Tyson Food plant could have been prevented with better communication.
April L Brown AP

A year and a half ago, a mix-up at a Tyson Foods chicken processing plant landed more than 150 workers in the hospital. Five required intensive care.

The problem: Somebody poured a solution of sodium hypochlorite (think industrial strength bleach) into a 55-gallon drum that had contained an antimicrobial solution identified as FreshFx.

That stuff was acidic, according to investigators. Mix bleach and acid, and you can make a lot of chlorine gas in a hurry.

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Economy
10:15 am
Fri December 7, 2012

Crunching The Job Numbers

Originally published on Fri December 7, 2012 12:52 pm

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. Later in the program we'll crack open the mail bag to hear what you have to say about stories we covered this week. That's Backtalk and it's coming up. But first, we want to talk about the latest unemployment numbers which are now out. The Department of Labor says that unemployment is down to its lowest level since December 2008.

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Economy
10:02 am
Fri December 7, 2012

A Good Jobs Report Might Be Bad For The Jobless

Judy Smith, of Dalton, Ga., looks over paperwork as she files for unemployment benefits in August after being laid off from a catering job. More than 2 million people who get extended benefits may lose them if Congress doesn't act soon.
David Goldman AP

Originally published on Fri December 7, 2012 11:49 am

The Labor Department's glad tidings Friday about the uptick in job creation last month might morph into bad news next month for many of the long-term unemployed.

That's because the boost in November hiring, with employers adding 146,000 jobs, might make it more difficult for Democrats to argue in favor of having Congress renew the extension of benefits for people out of work more than six months.

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Economy
8:43 am
Fri December 7, 2012

Why A 'Fiscal Cliff' Failure Could Help The Economy

If President Obama and Congress fail to reach a deal on tax and spending changes, the nation would feel a lot of fiscal pain. But it also may benefit from the long-term fiscal restraint that would come from keeping tax hikes and spending cuts in place.
Getty Creative Images

Originally published on Fri December 7, 2012 10:11 am

It wouldn't be the worst thing that could happen to the country.

If President Obama and Congress can't come to agreement on new tax and spending policies by the end of year, the U.S. could slip into recession, defense and domestic programs will see damaging cuts, and the American people may become convinced that Washington can't govern the nation.

On the other hand, the lack of a deal would do a lot to help erase the federal deficit.

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The Two-Way
6:43 am
Fri December 7, 2012

Unemployment Rate Drops To 7.7 percent, As Economy Adds 146,000 Jobs

Originally published on Fri December 7, 2012 9:44 am

The unemployment rate dropped to 7.7 percent in November, the Bureau of Labor Statistics says. That's a four-year low.

The economy added 146,000 jobs, beating expectations. Surprisingly the BLS said that Hurricane Sandy "did not substantively impact the national employment and unemployment estimates for November."

The BLS adds that employment increased "in retail trade, professional and business services, and health care."

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Around the Nation
2:55 am
Fri December 7, 2012

Amtrak's Empire Builder Line

Originally published on Fri December 7, 2012 4:41 am

Oil development in North Dakota and Montana has caused ridership to increase dramatically on the only Amtrak line running through those states. Nationally, the railroad company costs the federal government more than $400 million every year, so rail enthusiasts thought the oil boom might turn around the losing rail proposition in certain regions. But the Empire Builder Line is still not making money.

Economy
2:55 am
Fri December 7, 2012

Superstorm Sandy Could Hurt November's Job Report

Originally published on Fri December 7, 2012 9:51 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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Around the Nation
2:55 am
Fri December 7, 2012

Michigan Likely To Become A Right-To-Work State

Originally published on Fri December 7, 2012 3:42 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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Business
2:55 am
Fri December 7, 2012

The Last Word In Business

Originally published on Fri December 7, 2012 5:08 am

Ever wonder why you have to turn off your e-reader or tablet before a plane takes off and lands? The Hill newspaper obtained a letter written by the head of the Federal Communications Commission to the Federal Aviation Administration. Julius Genachowski has asked for the FAA to loosen the rules on those devices.

Planet Money
12:54 am
Fri December 7, 2012

Why The Falling Birthrate Is Bad News For My 2-Year-Old Son

Please don't make me pay for your retirement.
Alex Blumberg NPR

Originally published on Fri December 7, 2012 5:26 am

The U.S. birthrate just fell to its lowest point since we've been keeping track. Here's why that may be a problem for my 2-year-old son.

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The Salt
12:50 am
Fri December 7, 2012

In Farmers Market, A Free Market Rises In Cuba

Cuba has relaxed some business rules, allowing street vendors to sell produce and a large wholesale produce market to open at night on the edge of Havana.
Greg Kahn Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 7, 2012 6:30 pm

Cuba has no shortage of fertile farmland, but the country spends $1.5 billion a year importing about 70 percent of its food.

The communist government's chronic struggle to get farmers to produce more is forcing authorities to grudgingly accept a greater role for market principles and the profit motive.

Now authorities seem willing to go another step further, tolerating the rise of what might be described as Cuba's "free-est" market.

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Economy
2:54 pm
Thu December 6, 2012

Businesses, Not Consumers, Sour On Economy

Shoppers carry bags during Black Friday sales at the South Shore Plaza in Braintree, Mass. Right now, consumers are feeling positive, but the mood among businesses is at recession levels.
Allison Joyce Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 6, 2012 4:40 pm

When it comes to the economy, consumers and business owners have very different takes right now. Consumers are feeling positive, but the mood among businesses is at recession levels.

In a word, business owners are bummed.

"What we've found is that a lot of that optimism is not there right now," says Dennis Jacobe, chief economist for Gallup, which polled these small-business types just after the election.

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The Two-Way
6:52 am
Thu December 6, 2012

Jobless Claims Fell Last Week; But Job Growth Was Likely Weak Last Month

Looking for work: There was a long line last month as job seekers waited to get into an employment fair at Kennedy-King College in Chicago.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 6, 2012 11:55 am

There were 370,000 first-time claims for unemployment insurance last week, down 25,000 from the week before, the Employment and Training Administration says.

The drop is another sign that after several weeks of spikes because many people were thrown out of work due to damage related to late October's Superstorm Sandy, claims have now settled back into the range where they've been for most of the past year.

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Around the Nation
3:12 am
Thu December 6, 2012

Post Sandy: Atlantic City Wants Its Tourists Back

Atlantic City's boardwalk, with its shops, restaurants, casinos and hotels, was mostly protected during Hurricane Sandy by a dune restoration project. But TV images of one small section that was damaged gave the impression that the whole thing was destroyed.
David Schaper/NPR

Originally published on Thu December 6, 2012 2:24 pm

A month after Hurricane Sandy pounded the New Jersey Shore, Atlantic City is back in business. Even though most of the casinos and restaurants sustained very little damage in the storm, they're now suffering from a lack of visitors. But the city has launched an effort to change that.

As three young boys roll their skateboards down the "World Famous Atlantic City Boardwalk," it's proof that it is still here, fully in tact, and that rumors of its demise were greatly exaggerated.

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Business
3:12 am
Thu December 6, 2012

The Last Word In Business

Originally published on Mon December 10, 2012 3:41 pm

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And our last word in business today is Trump versus Forbes. The Forbes we're talking about is a Scotsman named Michael Forbes. He has the misfortune of living right next to Donald Trump's new golf course in Scotland. Forbes has refused to sell his property to Trump; and what has ensued is the war of words that you probably would expect between the property magnet, and anyone who gets in his way.

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Business
3:12 am
Thu December 6, 2012

Business News

Originally published on Thu December 6, 2012 4:55 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

We begin NPR's business news with possible bank settlements.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

GREENE: One of Britain's largest banks, Standard Chartered, says it expects to pay around $330 million to the United States. This would settle a case with regulators here who accused the bank of failing to comply with sanctions against Iran. Standard Chartered has already paid out $340 million to the state of New York on the same claims.

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Business
3:12 am
Thu December 6, 2012

U.S. Becomes Less Dependent On Foreign Oil

Originally published on Thu December 6, 2012 3:22 am

The Department of Energy projects domestic oil production in the U.S. will grow faster than consumption in coming years. That means the country needs to import much less oil in the future.

Business
3:12 am
Thu December 6, 2012

Citigroup To Cut 11,000 Jobs

Banks have been under increasing pressure to cut costs and eliminate redundancies. The cuts will eliminate about 4 percent of Citi's workforce.

Shots - Health News
1:32 am
Thu December 6, 2012

Why It's Easier To Scam The Elderly

Fraud victims are more likely to have opened official-looking sweepstakes notices and other mailings. A new study says the elderly are more susceptible than the young to being swindled.
Allen Breed AP

Originally published on Thu December 6, 2012 2:23 pm

Lots of scams come by phone or by mail, but when the scam artist is right in front of you, researchers say the clues are in the face.

"A smile that is in the mouth but doesn't go up to the eyes, an averted gaze, a backward lean" are some of the ways deception may present itself, says Shelley Taylor, a psychologist at UCLA.

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Economy
1:31 am
Thu December 6, 2012

What Should The U.S. Learn From Europe's Woes?

French President Francois Hollande (left) and German Chancellor Angela Merkel take part in a bilateral meeting at the EU headquarters in Brussels on Nov. 22 as part of a European budget summit.
Bertrand Langlois AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 6, 2012 2:21 pm

As President Obama and Capitol Hill lawmakers assess the need for spending cuts and tax increases against the risk of triggering a new recession, they might look across the Atlantic for insights from those who have already grappled with those budgetary questions.

The problem of excessive government debt has swamped economies across Europe and forced countries to take severe measures to cut their deficits. The first lesson from their "fiscal consolidation" experiences: It will hurt.

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It's All Politics
4:00 pm
Wed December 5, 2012

Obama And House GOP Engage In Fiscal Cliff Talks, Only Briefly With Each Other

President Obama is introduced to the Business Roundtable by Boeing CEO Jim McNerney in Washington on Wednesday.
Charles Dharapak AP

Originally published on Wed December 5, 2012 4:30 pm

The president and House Republicans continued to snipe at each other Wednesday over the impending set of automatic tax hikes and spending cuts known as the fiscal cliff. They traded accusations and blame during another day with plenty of talk, but — until late in the day, at least — no negotiations.

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It's All Politics
3:52 pm
Wed December 5, 2012

Looming Spending Cuts Would Hit Hard All Over

Alan Krueger, chairman of the president's Council of Economic Advisers, warns that consumer spending will drop if Congress and the White House fail to reach a deal on spending cuts and tax increases.
Jewel Samad AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 5, 2012 4:09 pm

Tax increases are only a part of what lies ahead if Congress can't come to an agreement to avert the fiscal cliff by the new year. Massive spending cuts will also kick in — and those cuts will be felt throughout the economy.

The current stalemate got under way two years ago when Congress, locked in a bitter partisan battle over whether to extend the George W. Bush-era tax cuts, passed what was known as the Budget Control Act of 2011.

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