Soon, most Americans will have to buy health insurance or pay a fine. This sounds like a marketer's dream: Captive shoppers directed by the government to buy your product. But when the product you're selling is health insurance, there are some pitfalls. Your customers may not love you. In fact, they may despise you.
"I think it may be too little too late for health insurance companies to now come out, like, 'Hey,we were just kidding the last 50 years!,'" says James Percelay, co-founder of the viral marketing firm ThinkModo in New York.
It's been five and a half years since the recession started, and four years since the recovery began. It's been a brutal time for the U.S. job market (obviously), and the picture is still pretty bleak.
But when you look at individual industries, you see a more nuanced picture. Many industries have lost jobs, but others are employing more people than ever.
To see how the jobs picture has changed since the start of the recession, we created the graph below. Here's how it works:
The size of the circle represents the number of jobs in each industry today.
The latest in The Guardian's seriesof reports on secret U.S. electronic surveillance efforts claims to detail the extent of Microsoft's cooperation with the National Security Agency, with the tech giant reportedly allowing agents to circumvent its own encryption system to spy on email and chats, as well as its cloud-based storage service.
Stocks surged Thursday after the chief of the Federal Reserve sent signals that the central bank wasn't in a hurry to stop helping the economy. When the markets closed, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index was at a record high. Other U.S. indexes were also up, including the Dow Jones Industrial Average, which rose nearly 170 points to a record 15,460.92.
Update at 5 p.m. ET: We've updated some figures in this post to reflect the markets' closing.
It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.
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And I'm David Greene. Good morning. Pork was on the menu on Capitol Hill yesterday, but not the kind Congress produces. Lawmakers on the Senate Agriculture Committee were focused on the takeover of Smithfield Foods by a big Chinese company.
In Chinese culture, filial piety is the virtual of respect for one's elders. In fact, a new Chinese law requires adults to provide financial and emotional support to their elderly relatives, which brings us to today's last word in business: outsourcing tender loving care.
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That's right. This new law is giving entrepreneurs a business opportunity. The Wall Street Journal reports that China's version of eBay now has listings that offer services like running errands or standing in line.
Wal-Mart is changing its plans for the nation's capital. The company says it won't be building stores in Washington, D.C., after the city council passed a law requiring big-box retailers to pay what's known as a living wage.
Patrick Madden of member station WAMU has the story.
PATRICK MADDEN, BYLINE: Before the vote, Wal-Mart issued city lawmakers an ultimatum: kill the living wage bill, or it would pull the plug on three stores it has planned to build in the nation's capital.
This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Robert Siegel.
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Some of the country's biggest retailers have unveiled an initiative they say will improve conditions for workers on the other side of the world. The move by Wal-Mart, Target, and others is intended to boost safety in Bangladesh garment factories.
NPR's Jim Zarroli reports the plan is a response to the devastating building collapse that killed more than 1,100 people in April.
Originally published on Fri July 12, 2013 10:56 am
We have to confess: When we heard that Twinkies will have nearly double the shelf life, 45 days, when they return to stores next week, our first reaction was — days? Not years?
Urban legend has long deemed Twinkies the cockroaches of the snack food world, a treat that can survive for decades, what humanity would have left to eat come the apocalypse. The true shelf life — which used to be 26 days — seems somewhat less impressive by comparison.
You're listening to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News.
Members of the Senate Agriculture Committee had a lot of questions today about the takeover of Smithfield Foods. That's because a Chinese company has offered to buy America's largest pork processor. Both Democratic and Republican senators have expressed concerns about the $4.7 billion deal and its potential effects on U.S. food safety and security.
NPR's John Ydstie has been following the testimony today and joins us now. Hi, John.
The Federal Reserve must ensure the U.S. job market is in full health before it begins to ease its aggressive bond-purchasing program, its top officials said at the Fed's latest policy meeting. This afternoon, the central bank released the minutes of the Federal Open Market Committee meeting of June 18 and 19.
In that session, the officials cited a moderate pace of economic expansion, but said it was coupled with an unemployment rate that remains high.
Americans will get the same ham slabs and bacon slices they have enjoyed for generations, even after Smithfield Foods becomes a Chinese subsidiary, Smithfield CEO Larry Pope told Congress on Wednesday.
Utah's oldest Internet service provider, XMission, has refused to give up customer information to law enforcement, reports The Salt Lake Tribune.Specifically, the company says it won't comply with administrative subpoenas.
NPR's business news begins with China's grim trade outlook.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
GREENE: Numbers from the month of June offered more evidence that the world's second-biggest economy might be losing steam. Exports from China fell by more than 3 percent from a year earlier. Imports were down, as well, by almost a percent.
Egypt's political future will largely depend on its economy, and its economic future will largely depend on help from other countries. To talk more about this, we reached Mohsin Khan. He's a senior fellow at the Rafik Hariri Center on the Middle East at the Atlantic Council. He's also the former Director of the Middle East Department at the International Monetary Fund. Good morning.
MOHSIN KHAN: Good morning.
MONTAGNE: What are Egypt's most immediate economic needs?
Investigators are continuing to examine the training and experience of the cockpit crew of the Asiana flight that crashed Saturday in San Francisco. The pilot at the controls had nearly 10,000 hours of experience flying large jets, but only 43 hours in that particular plane, a Boeing 777. Saturday was also the pilot's first 777 landing at San Francisco International.
Pilots transition from flying one airplane model to another all the time; it's a regular part of the job as airlines add new aircraft and pilots fly new routes or get promotions to piloting bigger jets.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.
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On Wall Street, many things are bought and sold, including, occasionally, interest rates. That happened today. The owner of the New York Stock Exchange bought LIBOR, a hugely influential benchmark rate that is set in London. LIBOR is used to set many other interest rates, from credit cards to derivatives contracts.
And now for our regular primer on global economics, no student loan required. Remember the European economic crisis? Just months ago, there was near panic that the euro zone would collapse, bringing down with it the entire international economy, again. So, how is Europe doing now and what is the overall state of the global economy? Well, one place economists look for answers to those questions is in the exchange rate between dollars and euros.
In a merger of grocery chains, Kroger Co. is buying Harris Teeter Supermarkets Inc., the companies announced Tuesday. The move expands the reach of Kroger, already the nation's largest grocery chain, into the Mid-Atlantic region. The buyout values Harris Teeter at $49.38 per share, a premium of more than 33 percent over its share price earlier this year.
When it comes to sensitive health information, government-run websites appear to do a better job protecting your privacy than many news and commercial sites.
A brief survey published online by JAMA Internal Medicine looked at how 20 health-related websites track visitors. They ranged from the sites of the National Institutes of Health to the health news section of The New York Times online.