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After weeks of wondering what would happen, Americans now know:

1. Congress missed the midnight funding deadline for the new fiscal year, triggering disruptions in government operations.

2. That will slow economic growth, at least in the short term.

But just how far the damage will go is far from clear. Economists say they can't refine their predictions because they have no idea how long the shutdown might last or how many federal workers may be furloughed.

In the three years since President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law, it has survived more than 50 votes in Congress to defund or repeal it, a Supreme Court challenge, a presidential election and, as of Tuesday morning, a government shutdown. Much of the spending for the law is mandatory and won't be cut off.

But now, it must survive its own implementation.

Tuesday is the day that Obamacare goes operational. Americans can begin signing up for health insurance on online marketplaces known as exchanges.

Study: Fast Food Has Gotten A Bit Slower

Oct 1, 2013

Fast food, it turns out, isn't quite as fast as it used to be.

A new study finds that McDonald's posted its slowest drive-through times since this survey was first conducted 15 years ago.

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Now, even as a partial shutdown begins, a bigger fight looms. A default on federal debt obligations could have global effects. Federal borrowing authority expires in the middle of this month. House Republicans have said they will not extend the debt ceiling unless President Obama accepts a long list of their agenda items. And that was on the president's mind when we sat by the Oval Office fireplace yesterday.

The Sweden-based company plans to roll out solar panels in 17 British stores over the next 10 months. The company does say the solar panels will look like flat screen televisions on your roof. Basic solar packages will be sold for more than $9,000.

Financial markets across the world took a hit on Monday. They closed lower — waiting to see if there was a partial government shutdown in the U.S. Shortly before midnight, the White House ordered agencies to begin shutting down.

Amazon has announced that it's looking to hire 70,000 full-time temporary employees for the holiday season. That's a 40 percent increase in hires from last year. The world's largest online retailer says it hopes to convert thousands of these seasonal jobs into permanent positions after the holiday rush.

Widening Income Gap 'Concerns' Obama

Oct 1, 2013

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In our talk yesterday with President Obama, he said he will not make concessions to Republicans who quote, "threatened to burn down the house." We are hearing parts of the interview throughout today's program.

Amid the latest political crisis, our economy keeps evolving. And so we used part of our conversation in the Oval Office to ask the president about the longer term trends.

It's news many airline passengers have waited to hear: The Federal Aviation Administration may allow smartphones, tablets and other personal electronic devices to be used throughout an entire flight — including takeoff and landing.

Frequent flier Barbara Reilly, a health care consultant from Atlanta, is like many airline passengers: She boards her flights with a laptop, an iPad and a cellphone, and "I used them all ... continuously, until the very moment I had to turn them off. And the second I could turn them back on, they were all back on," she says.

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There's no guarantee that a shutdown, if it happens, will be short. The mere possibility of a longer stalemate was enough to push down markets here and abroad today.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

If there is a shutdown, about 800,000 federal workers will be furloughed, although many will still be required to show up for work.

CORNISH: Social Security checks will still go out and the postal service will still deliver the mail.

As the federal government lurches toward a shutdown, there's one thing a lot of people in Congress actually agree on.

Months after federal agents raided its Knoxville, Tenn., headquarters over charges that it withheld millions in diesel fuel rebates from customers at its truck stops, Pilot Flying J says it is paying the companies that were cheated.

From Nashville, Blake Farmer of member station WPLN filed this report for our Newscast unit:

Ikea Corp., the Swedish housewares giant, says it will begin selling solar panels to its customers in Britain as it aims to tap into a growing market for renewable energy fueled partly by the U.K.'s solar subsidies.

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This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. Good morning. I'm David Greene.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep.

The brinksmanship is familiar, but nobody quite knows how the fight over a government shutdown will end.

GREENE: Congress has to pass a bill by midnight to keep the government in full operation. House Republicans demanded that all funds be denied to Obamacare in exchange for keeping the government running 45 days. The Senate overwhelmingly said no.

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And our last word in business today is the last word in "Breaking Bad."

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

That's right. Millions of viewers tuned in last night to the dramatic series finale on AMC. No spoilers here, for the record.

GREENE: The numbers are not out yet, but viewership for the very last episode of "Breaking Bad" was expected to top eight million last night. Thirty-second ad slots reportedly sold for $250,000, and a promise to buy more ads on other shows.

The satellite TV operator has signed a $40 million deal with independent film studio A24 Inc. to help finance new movies. In return, DirecTV gets exclusive rights to air the indie films on-demand for 30 days before they hit theaters.

The Affordable Care Act has been through two years of legislative wrangling, a presidential election and a Supreme Court test that took it to the brink.

Now, after yet another round of debate and argument, major pieces of the federal health law are expected to kick in Tuesday.

If all goes as planned, people who don't have insurance or who buy it on their own will be able to shop online or at various locations in their communities for coverage that will take effect Jan. 1.

Tuesday is a big day for Obamacare. The online marketplaces where people can shop for health insurance are supposed to open for business.

No one really knows who is going to sign up — not the Obama administration, not the insurance industry, not the president's critics. Yet the success of the law hangs on this question: Will the right mix of people sign up? In particular, will healthy people buy health insurance?

The General Motors Building in Manhattan is a majestic 50-story, white marble structure that takes up one full city block. This is prime New York City real estate. A flagship Apple store sits on the ground floor, across the street is the Plaza Hotel, and on another corner is an entrance to Central Park.

The GM building is considered one of the most valuable office towers in the U.S. In May, a large piece of it was purchased by a Chinese real estate developer.

Drawn-out fights over spending bills are nothing new for Congress. But that's where the fights used to stay: in Congress. The rest of the country didn't have to pay much attention to countdown clocks and all this drama.

"In the '60s and '70s down until 1980, it was not taken that seriously at all," says Charles Tiefer, a former legal adviser to the House of Representatives, who now teaches at the University of Baltimore Law School. In the old days, he says, when lawmakers reached a budget stalemate, the federal workforce just went about its business.

Close to 19 million passengers come through Chicago's Midway Airport each year, and many will spend a lot of cash here — on food, drinks, books, gum, parking and rental cars — not to mention the landing fees and gate fees paid by airlines.

There are a lot of opportunities to make money in a bustling hub airport like this, and the city was hoping to cash in.

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ARUN RATH, HOST:

Once again, thanks for listening. This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR West. I'm Arun Rath.

Today is the last day of Major League Baseball's regular season. The playoffs start Tuesday. And among the teams still vying for a spot in the World Series is the club with the fourth lowest payroll in the game.

(SOUNDBITE OF CHEERING)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: The American League's Western Division title belongs to the Oakland Athletics.

JPMorgan In Talks To Avoid Criminal Charges

Sep 28, 2013

The financial giant is also facing civil charges and fines that could cost it $11 billion. JPMorgan is negotiating with the Justice Department over the company's handling of mortgage-backed securities leading up to the housing crisis. Host Scott Simon talks with New York Times columnist Joe Nocera about the significance of the talks.

Americans have a longstanding love affair with maple syrup. According to the USDA, production of the sticky stuff in the United States totaled 3.25 million gallons this year. However, it isn't the only tree syrup that's available to drizzle on your short stack or sweeten your latte.

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From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel. There was once a time when naming a new Federal Reserve chairman was a non-event. Well, not this time. The competition between supporters for former Treasury secretary Larry Summers and the current vice chairman of the Fed, Janet Yellen has been a highly public affair.

As NPR's John Ydstie reports, there's concern that the high profile discussion could politicize the Fed succession in a way that could ultimately hurt the economy.

In Florida, Louisiana, New York and other coastal states, many homeowners are in shock at new flood insurance rates that are rapidly approaching. After Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy left the National Flood Insurance Program $24 billion in the red, Congress revamped the program--phasing out subsidies. One group especially upset are new homeowners--people who bought a property and are now seeing their flood insurance costs skyrocket, making the property no longer affordable.

A Danish shipping company announced Friday the first-ever voyage of a large commercial freighter through the Northwest Passage — a journey made possible by the disappearance of Arctic ice due to global warming.

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

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A Trip Down Government Shutdown Lane

Sep 27, 2013
Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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This week the Department of Health and Human Services released a ton of information about how insurance sold in 36 states under the Affordable Care Act will work.

Most of it came in the form of data showing the number of carriers and their premium prices in hundreds of regions.

Until now we've seen information on subsidized policies to be sold through online marketplaces released in trickles by states that are creating their own online portals.

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