Originally published on Fri October 5, 2012 1:22 pm
With a new report showing the nation's unemployment rate fell to 7.8 percent last month, the Obama administration got good news Friday: Jobs are indeed growing. But, as Republicans noted, the pace remains well below the level needed to provide paychecks for the 12.1 million people seeking them.
The truth is, each party could find evidence to support either a positive or negative spin on the labor market, which is recovering — yet weak.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Starting route to Empire State Building: Head northwest on West 43rd Street.
FLATOW: That's the voice of Apple's maps app for iOS 6. She sounds confident enough, but how do you know she'll actually lead you to the correct destination? Because as users all over the world have figured out, Apple's maps and their driving directions have some serious problems. Apple has even apologized for it.
This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. Coming up, the sweeping move to modernize the Catholic church known as Vatican II turns 50. We'll talk about that in Faith Matters in just a few minutes.
But, first, it's still all about the economy. The economy is still center stage this election season. This morning's jobs numbers are providing fresh material for the ongoing contest between the candidates and their philosophies and records.
For the first time since President Obama took office, the unemployment rate is back at 7.8 percent, the Labor Department reported Friday. It's been above 8 percent for nearly four years. The number of new jobs added was in line with expectations — 114,000.
We are going to rip the lid off the pork panic at NPR's business news.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
INSKEEP: This called for serious investigation. A group of British pork producers sent fear into the hearts of bacon lovers worldwide by predicting an impending pork shortage. They say drought will make pork too expensive to produce, so farmers will sell off their herds.
But Boise State Public Radio's Scott Graf reports that here in the United States, experts say the notion of a bacon shortage is hogwash.
Oh my gosh, today's last word in business is the most compelling report about our food supply since a few minutes ago, when we exploded the way that the bacon shortage was hyped. This story seems to be true.
Beekeepers in eastern France were upset, recently, to find that their bees were producing honey in unusual shades of blue and green.
A new study from the Kauffman Foundation shows that the number of immigrant entrepreneurs in the United States has fallen slightly. But according to Vivek Wadhwa, an author of the study, the drop is especially steep in Silicon Valley, long a magnet for the brightest and most ambitious minds from around the world.
How much extra would you pay for local food? It's a familiar question. We face it practically every time we shop for groceries, either at the store or at the farmers market. But what about food that can save the lives of severely malnourished children?
The bottom line: This doesn't mark any significant change in the jobs market, especially considering the "4-week moving average was 375,000, unchanged from the previous week's revised average." That figure is a better measure of labor market trends.
If you want to gain a good insight into Pakistan's economic situation, just look at a few of the country's newspaper headlines on any given day. The language says it all: prices soar, stocks plunge, budget deficit swells, foreign investment evaporates — and the list goes on.
Now, analysts are increasingly worried that the faltering economy could join Pakistan's pervasive insurgency and repeated political upheavals as another serious threat to the country's stability.
Nicole Kotovos was searching for a way to start a new life when the idea struck her: She would go to her ancestral homeland of Greece and open an American-style bakery cafe. She would bring the cupcake fad to Athens.
What she didn't figure on was the historic downturn in the Greek economy.
The former New York TV producer arrived in 2008, just as the country's debt-mired economy was falling into a deep recession it still hasn't emerged from.
If buying a local wine just isn't local enough for you, then you might consider joining the growing ranks of people making homemade wine this fall.
Some home winemakers make wine with friends for fun, some make wine with family for tradition; some make it "old school," adding nothing, and drink it by Christmas; others do it "new school," adding preservatives, and wait a year or more to bottle.
Originally published on Wed October 3, 2012 4:07 pm
It's harvest time in the heartland, but not just for apples and squash. In small, back-lot ponds on farms across the Midwest, a different crop has been growing all summer. They're substantial, slightly sweet and a revelation to the land-locked palate, not to mention worth top dollar. Yep, it's shrimp season in Ohio.
But don't ask for any Midwestern shrimp at your local fishmonger. There aren't enough yet to make it to the store.
Originally published on Wed October 3, 2012 6:56 am
In their first debate Wednesday night, the two presidential candidates will explain their plans for fixing the U.S. economy.
The problems are complicated and long-standing, so the solutions may not be easy to spell out in the two minutes allowed for each answer under the debate rules.
But President Obama, the Democratic incumbent, and former Gov. Mitt Romney, his Republican challenger, will try, and about 60 million people are expected to tune in. This first debate will focus on domestic issues, with the economy topping the list of homefront problems.
There's a neighborhood in New York City that has always been a mystery to us. Smack dab in the middle of Manhattan, around 29th street, is the wholesale district. There you can find rows of narrow storefronts packed to the ceiling with trinkets. Racks and racks of fake gold chains. Acres of souvenir lighters and walls of belt buckles. Plastic, plastic, plastic toys.
NPR's business news starts with good news for automakers.
U.S. auto sales last month were the best they've been in four and a half years. That's according to numbers compiled by the research firm Auto Data. Experts give credit the boost in sales to cheap financing for car loans and growing consumer confidence. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
And today's last word in business is: unidentified.
Apple has been much criticized for new iPhone software. It erases the Google Maps function that a lot of people like and replaces it with Apple's own maps of the world, which have been criticized for leaving out seemingly vital information - like roads, entire towns, things that were on the map when Apple still used Google.
Some other news. Women who work for Wal-Mart - the world's largest retail chain - continue to make claims they get paid less and are not promoted as often as men. Current and former Wal-Mart employees have now filed a court case in Tennessee.
As Blake Farmer of member station WPLN reports.
BLAKE FARMER, BYLINE: Three women are named. Attorney Scott Tift says each has a first-hand account of discrimination.
We're following up this morning on the collapse of Iran's rial, it's currency which is leading to major developments today. Over the past week, Iran's currency has lost about 40 percent of its value or more, falling to an all-time low against the U.S. dollar, this as a result of U.S. and other sanctions against Iran. And that has led to protests and violence in the streets of Tehran today.
We're going to catch up now with Thomas Erdbrink. He's Tehran bureau chief for the New York Times. Welcome back to the program.
Google's self-driving robotic cars have been on the roads in California for two years, but they have been operating in a legal limbo. These cars were not explicitly forbidden, but laws governing self-driving vehicles didn't exist.
In western Michigan, there aren't enough apples to pick because bad weather decimated 85 to 90 percent of the crop. But Washington state has the opposite problem — there's an abundance of apples, but not enough pickers.
This should be the happiest, busiest time of year in Washington apple orchards. But now — just as the peak of apple harvest is coming on — Broetje Orchards manager Roger Bairstow is wincing.
I'm Celeste Headlee and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Coming up, style maven Stacy London tells us about the psychology of fashion and what messages you're sending with your choice of clothing. That's in a few minutes.
Originally published on Thu October 11, 2012 8:34 am
When French peasants stormed the Bastille on July 14, 1789, they weren't just revolting against the monarchy's policies. They were also hungry.
From the French Revolution to the Arab Spring, high food prices have been cited as a factor behind mass protest movements. But can food prices actually help predict when social unrest is likely to break out?