Business

All Tech Considered
11:01 am
Fri March 8, 2013

In Open Source Rocket Competition, Collaboration Takes Off

A screenshot shows how a team would track changes to its rocket project on a Sunglass platform.
Sunglass

Here's the challenge: Build a rocket engine. Don't worry, you don't need much.

At the SXSW festival in Austin on Saturday, startup companies DIYRockets and Sunglass are launching a competition to create 3-D-printed rocket engines with open source (read: free) technology.

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The Salt
9:59 am
Fri March 8, 2013

Nation's Biggest Honey Packer Admits 'Laundering' Chinese Honey

A Chinese farmer tends to bees producing honey to supplement her income at a farm in China's Anhui province.
AFP AFP/Getty Images

There was bombshell news from the world of honey two weeks ago, and somehow we missed it. Two big honey packers, including one of the largest in the country — Groeb Farms of Onsted, Mich. — admitted buying millions of dollars worth of honey that was falsely labeled.

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The Two-Way
6:55 am
Fri March 8, 2013

Pleasant Surprises: 236,000 Jobs Added; Jobless Rate Dips To 7.7 Percent

The scene at a job fair in Manhattan earlier this month.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

Originally published on Fri March 8, 2013 7:54 am

There were 236,000 jobs added to payrolls in February — many more than expected — and the jobless rate unexpectedly dropped by two-tenths of a point, to 7.7 percent, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday.

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The Two-Way
5:20 am
Fri March 8, 2013

February Jobs And Unemployment News Likely To Be 'More of The Same'

Hoping to see more of these: A "now hiring" sign in the window of a bank in San Rafael, Calif., in January.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Fri March 8, 2013 6:37 am

  • From 'Morning Edition': Yuki Noguchi and Steve Inskeep preview the jobs report

Update at 8:35 a.m. ET. Things Were Better Than Expected:

"Pleasant Surprises: 236,000 Jobs Added; Jobless Rate Dips To 7.7 Percent."

Our original post:

Slow job growth and little change in the unemployment rate.

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All Tech Considered
5:12 am
Fri March 8, 2013

The Life Cycle Of A Social Network: Keeping Friends In Times Of Change

The new look of Facebook's News Feed.
Facebook

Originally published on Fri March 8, 2013 10:32 am

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.

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Business
2:48 am
Fri March 8, 2013

Ally Financial Only Big Bank To Fail Fed's Test

Originally published on Fri March 8, 2013 9:50 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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.

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Business
2:39 am
Fri March 8, 2013

Business News

Originally published on Fri March 8, 2013 9:50 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with the shuffle on the top for Pandora.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

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.

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Economy
2:39 am
Fri March 8, 2013

Employment Data Expected To Show Modest Improvement

Originally published on Fri March 8, 2013 1:43 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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?

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Business
2:39 am
Fri March 8, 2013

The Last Word In Business

Originally published on Fri March 8, 2013 9:50 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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")

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

YEARDLEY SMITH: (as Lisa Simpson) I kind of want to create my own thing. Do you sell any just plain sets?

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Planet Money
12:17 am
Fri March 8, 2013

If A Driverless Car Crashes, Who's Liable?

Who's on the hook?
Eric Risberg AP

Originally published on Fri March 8, 2013 10:25 am

Some number of years from now, the technology may exist for cars to drive themselves. This could save thousands of lives a year (90 percent of fatal car accidents involve human error).

But getting the technology right won't be enough. Governments and courts will have to figure out lots of new legal and regulatory issues. One key question: If a driverless car crashes, who's liable?

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Business
2:59 pm
Thu March 7, 2013

787 Batteries May Be Fixable, But Planes Won't Get Off The Ground Anytime Soon

Originally published on Thu March 7, 2013 4:13 pm

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.

Around the Nation
2:57 pm
Thu March 7, 2013

Shuttered Meat Packing Plant Could Be A Sign Of Things To Come In Texas

Originally published on Thu March 7, 2013 4:13 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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.

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Planet Money
1:54 pm
Thu March 7, 2013

The Scariest Jobs Chart Ever Isn't Scary Enough

Calculated Risk

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.

Business Insider calls this the Scariest Jobs Chart Ever. But the Scariest Jobs Chart Ever isn't quite scary enough.

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Economy
12:00 pm
Thu March 7, 2013

Social Mobility: Is The American Dream Slipping Away?

Originally published on Thu March 7, 2013 12:34 pm

Transcript

LYNN NEARY, HOST:

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.

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The Two-Way
10:59 am
Thu March 7, 2013

China's Citizens Hide As Much As $2.34 Trillion In Income, Researcher Says

As much as $2.34 trillion in yearly income goes unreported in China, an economics scholar says. Here, an imported car passes a shopping mall in Beijing.
Vincent Yu AP

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.

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The Salt
10:31 am
Thu March 7, 2013

Startup Wants To Redefine How Local Foods Get To Your Door

Employees of Good Eggs deliver produce, meat and other local foods from producers in the Bay Area of California.
Courtesy of Good Eggs

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.

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The Two-Way
6:42 am
Thu March 7, 2013

Mixed Signals: Jobless Claims Dip; Layoff Plans Rise

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.

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Business
2:48 am
Thu March 7, 2013

Time Warner To Spin Off Magazine Unit

Originally published on Thu March 7, 2013 5:20 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with a Time Warner split.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

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Business
2:48 am
Thu March 7, 2013

Pizza Hut To Test Social Media Manager Applicants

Originally published on Thu March 7, 2013 5:35 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Today's last word in business is - well, never mind. There's no time, Steve.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

No, no, no. Wait. Wait. You got time. You got time. You've got almost 140 seconds here.

MONTAGNE: I'm not so sure. I think it's a little less than that. But, OK. The pressure is on. Come on, Steve, what can you say about how wonderful you are in that little bit of time.

INSKEEP: How wonderful I am?

MONTAGNE: How wonderful you are.

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Energy
1:07 am
Thu March 7, 2013

BP Bows Out Of Solar, But Industry Outlook Still Sunny

As BP leaves the solar industry, Asian countries such as China are taking a lead role in production.
Xinhua News Agency AP

Originally published on Thu March 7, 2013 10:50 am

The solar energy business is growing quickly, but future growth will not include oil giant BP.

At the IHS CERAWeek energy conference in Houston, BP's CEO made it clear the company is done with solar.

"We have thrown in the towel on solar," Bob Dudley said after delivering a wide-ranging speech Wednesday.

"Not that solar energy isn't a viable energy source, but we worked at it for 35 years, and we really never made money," he added.

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The Sequester: Cuts And Consequences
1:02 am
Thu March 7, 2013

With Budget Cuts For Ports, Produce May Perish

Border security agents stop a truck at a checkpoint on the way to Nogales, Ariz. More winter produce enters the U.S. at the border crossing than at any other point of entry in the country.
Qi Heng Xinhua/Landov

Originally published on Thu March 7, 2013 11:48 am

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.

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Planet Money
1:01 am
Thu March 7, 2013

Andrew Sullivan Is Doing Fine

Andrew H. Walker Getty Images

Originally published on Thu March 7, 2013 5:24 am

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.

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Economy
3:58 pm
Wed March 6, 2013

Time For The Fed To Take Away The Punch Bowl?

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.
Carolyn Kaster AP

Originally published on Thu March 7, 2013 9:49 am

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.

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Planet Money
3:15 pm
Wed March 6, 2013

If The Catholic Church Were A Business, How Would You Fix It?

Now that Pope Benedict XVI has officially gone into retirement, the next leader of the Catholic Church has a lot to consider, including finances.
Oli Scarff Getty Images

Originally published on Thu March 7, 2013 9:49 am

The next pope will be the spiritual leader of the world's Catholics. He will also be leading a multibillion-dollar financial empire. And from a business perspective, the Catholic Church is struggling.

We talked to several people who study the business of the church. Here are a few of the issues they pointed out.

1. Globally, the church's employees are in the wrong place.

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Business
2:30 pm
Wed March 6, 2013

Dow's 'Record Highs' Misleading Without Including Inflation

Originally published on Thu March 7, 2013 9:49 am

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News . I'm Melissa Block.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish.

And a record close. That's what we've been hearing both today and yesterday as the Dow Jones industrial average climbs upwards.

BLOCK: That may be an ear-grabbing headline after a recession and years of unimpressive growth. But we begin this hour with a different take from Adam Davidson of NPR's Planet Money. Hey, Adam.

ADAM DAVIDSON, BYLINE: Hey, Melissa.

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Television
2:30 pm
Wed March 6, 2013

Online TV Shows A Treasure Trove For Data-Mining Viewer Habits

Originally published on Thu March 7, 2013 9:49 am

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish.

Here are some of the new original shows hitting your small screen later this year.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "HEMLOCK GROVE")

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: (as character) There are things that look like you and me. (Unintelligible) beating heart, these things are only (unintelligible) hiding the creature beneath.

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The Salt
2:29 pm
Wed March 6, 2013

Can Milk Sweetened With Aspartame Still Be Called Milk?

Morgan Barnett, 7, drinks from containers of 1 percent milk and chocolate milk during lunch at a school in St. Paul, Minn., in 2006.
Eric Miller AP

Originally published on Fri March 8, 2013 8:45 am

The dairy industry has a problem. Despite studies demonstrating milk's nutritional benefits, people are drinking less and less of it.

Even children are increasingly opting for water or other low-cal options — including diet soda and artificially sweetened sports drinks.

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The Two-Way
12:56 pm
Wed March 6, 2013

Economy Growing At 'Modest To Moderate Pace,' Fed Says

There was "modest to moderate" economic growth across the nation as the year began, the Federal Reserve says in its latest "beige book" review of conditions around the nation.

According to the central bank, five of its 12 districts "reported that economic growth was moderate in January and early February." Those five: Dallas, New York, Minneapolis, Richmond and St. Louis.

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All Tech Considered
12:26 pm
Wed March 6, 2013

Spring Break For Geeks: SXSW Interactive Starts Friday

At SXSW 2012, the app "Highlight" was touted but failed to break out like Foursquare or Twitter in years prior.
Jack Plunkett AP

Originally published on Wed March 6, 2013 1:01 pm

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.

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The Two-Way
10:29 am
Wed March 6, 2013

Europe Hits Microsoft With $731 Million Fine Over Browser Options

Microsoft Corp CEO Steve Ballmer speaks during a keynote address at the 2013 International CES in January.
David Becker Getty Images

Originally published on Wed March 6, 2013 10:37 am

Some sloppy coding on an update to Microsoft's Windows 7 two years ago has cost the computer giant a $731 million fine to the European Commission.

Microsoft said Wednesday it would not contest the fine, imposed for what the commission said was the company's abuse of its market dominance to stifle competitors' Web browsers.

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