We begin NPR's business news starts some mobile browsing.
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GREENE: Millions of consumers - maybe including you - went online yesterday searching for deals on Cyber Monday. This is the biggest e-commerce shopping day. Online sales for the day hit $2 billion. That's up nearly 20 percent over last year.
Its open enrollment season at many work places, which means opportunities to make changes in your retirement savings plans. The investment company Charles Schwab has found that many American workers lack the confidence to effectively manage their retirement savings.
In search of advice, we called up The Washington Post's financial columnist Michelle Singletary. Glad to have you back.
MICHELLE SINGLETARY: Oh, it's my pleasure to be here.
NPR's Planet Money team has manufactured a T-shirt. All this week we're following its journey around the globe. Today, the T-shirt makes a detour in the Pacific Ocean. Cotton from America gets shipped to a factory in Indonesia where it gets transformed into yarn.
Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.
Workers process applications for Oregon's health exchange program. The state paid tech giant Oracle to build its online exchange, but with the site still not functional, people shopping for insurance have been forced to apply on paper.
Oregon has spent more than $40 million to build its own online health care exchange. It gave that money to a Silicon Valley titan, Oracle, but the result has been a disaster of missed deadlines, a nonworking website and a state forced to process thousands of insurance applications on paper.
Some Oregon officials were sounding alarms about the tech company's work on the state's online health care exchange as early as last spring. Oracle was behind schedule and, worse, didn't seem able to offer an estimate of what it would take to get the state's online exchange up and running.
More than 1 million people will see their extended unemployment benefits immediately cut off at the end of the month if Congress doesn't act.
An emergency federal benefit program was put in place during the recession to help those who are unemployed longer than six months. That allowed them to get as much as a year and a half of help while they searched for work, even after state benefits ran out.
We're standing at the Port of Miami, where Sacco works for U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Our ship, the Hansa Kirkenes, left Cartagena, Colombia, about a week earlier carrying all 6,078 of the Planet Money women's T-shirts.
Workers pull merchandise as it arrives at the Amazon.com's 1.2 million square foot fulfillment center in Phoenix on Nov. 26. Americans clicked away on their computers and smartphones for deals on Cyber Monday, which is expected to be the biggest online shopping day in history.
Originally published on Mon December 2, 2013 12:50 pm
The term Cyber Monday wasn't established until 2005, but online shopping was popular even in the early days of the Internet.
Analysts questioned how business models would have to change. Retail stores came up with new partnerships to help lure buyers into an online shopping world. A little company called Amazon helped us feel comfortable buying items online. And the simple perk of "free shipping" tried to make a dent in holiday sales.
This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. Coming up, we want to know how the federal health care website is working today after the Obama administration's self-imposed deadline to get HealthCare.gov running smoothly. We'll check in later. But first, Americans are heading online today for another reason. It is Cyber Monday and retailers are offering bargains to kick off the holiday shopping season or so they tell us.
"Every measure of well-being and opportunity, the foundation is where you live...cancer rates, asthma rates, infant mortality, unemployment, education, access to fresh food, access to parks, whether or not the city repairs the roads in your neighborhood," ProPublica's Nikole Hannah-Jones said.
Originally published on Mon December 2, 2013 3:08 pm
It's not something we think about a lot or something that gets reported on often, but once you start digging around some, it's hard not to see the consequences of our country's long, sordid history of housing discrimination everywhere racial disparities manifest. The giant wealth gap between black and Latino Americans and white folks. Shorter life expectancies. Worse educational outcomes. Mass incarceration.
Originally published on Mon December 2, 2013 10:07 am
Tambra Momi has been eagerly awaiting the promise of guaranteed health insurance.
Since 2011, she has battled Dercum's disease, a rare and painful condition in which noncancerous tumors sprout throughout her body, pressing against nerves.
Jobless and in a wheelchair, Momi needs nine different drugs, including one costing $380 a month, to control the pain and side effects. No insurer has been willing to cover her, she says, except a few that have taken her money and then refused to pay for her medications.
Originally published on Mon December 2, 2013 10:21 am
Amazon is looking at drastically reducing its delivery times — to 30 minutes or less — as it plans a new service called Prime Air that it says could debut in a few years. In an interview on CBS' 60 Minutes, CEO Jeff Bezos said the giant online retailer plans to use semi-autonomous drones to carry purchases to customers.
That's got tech experts buzzing about whether the idea will fly.
Our Planet Money team is making a T-shirt and following the shirt around the world as it gets manufactured — from the farms where the cotton is grown to the factories where the shirts are sewn together. All this week on Morning Edition and All Things Considered we'll be hearing stories about the fascinating world behind that T-shirt.
NPR's business news starts with fracking leftovers.
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INSKEEP: Fracking, I said fracking. The controversial process used to extract natural gas produces millions of gallons of wastewater. Now to cut costs, energy companies want to transport that leftover water on barges. But, the U.S. Coast Guard has concerns.
Longtime General Electric CEO and management icon Jack Welch popularized a management style in the 1980s that critics dubbed "rank and yank." The system ranks employees — with under-performers getting yanked from their jobs or the company. This old practice is in the news again. Microsoft recently did away with it. But other companies are embracing it.
In just a couple of months, the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi will host the Winter Olympics. Russia is reportedly spending nearly $50 billion on those games, which would be an Olympic record. To finance venues and housing, one of Russia's state-owned banks lent about $7.5 billion to an elite group of industrialists who are helping bankroll the games. Now, those investors are getting a little nervous.
Starting Monday, same-sex marriage is legal in Hawaii. The state has long been a destination for weddings and honeymoons. And now state officials, as well as hotels and restaurants, are hoping the latest marriage-equality law will spur a new market for wedding tourism.
Wedding planner Keane Akao is showing off a secluded beach wedding site, one of several on the Hawaiian island of Oahu.
"You can use the beach for pictures," he tells a couple, "and this is actually called Secret Beach."
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin. Earlier this year, NPR's Planet Money team decided to make a T-shirt for their fans.
ZOE CHANCE, BYLINE: What does it say?
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Let meput it on. Planet Money. Wow.
MARTIN: But this bit of public radio garb was different. This shirt would come with an autobiography. The Planet Money team set out to understand how the T-shirt was made and just who made it - from cotton field to final stitch. Alex Blumberg of Planet Money explains.
It doesn't matter if you're a surgeon, a banker or a fisherman — if you're a woman in the United States, you're probably paid less than a man. That hasn't changed with federal laws or the feminist movement.
But now, Boston thinks it has a solution to completely erase the gender wage gap.
Back in September, poet and novelist Sherman Alexie wrote an open letter to a group of people whom he called the "gorgeous book nerds" of the world, asking them to become "superheroes" for independent bookstores.
Feeling extra American this week? Wanna keep that post-turkey glow going? Well, how about a very American beverage: cider?
We're not talking about the hot mulled stuff that steams up your kitchen, or the sweet pub draft in a pint glass. This cider is more like sparkling wine.
"This is a phenomenally funky, sour, even mildly smoky cider that has to be tasted to be believed," says Greg Engert, one of the owners of a bar in Washington called ChurchKey. He's pouring cider from a tall champagne-style bottle that retails for around $15.