Let's focus on the state of the housing market next, where there have been mixed signals lately. It's been reported that we've had a rip-roaring recovery in real estate accompanied by a long stretch of record-low mortgage interest rates. Housing prices are up and new home supply seems tight across the map. But on the other hand, analysts say this isn't all good news for would-be homeowners. Joining us to talk about what's going on in housing Roben Farzad, contributor to Bloomsburg BusinessWeek. Welcome, Roben.
Let's begin NPR's business news starts with Amazon Sundays.
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GREENE: The U.S. Postal Service is breaking new ground, teaming up with the online retail giant Amazon in an exclusive deal to deliver Amazon packages on Sundays. Residents of Los Angeles and New York can now take advantage of the additional delivery day at no extra charge. The Sunday service is expected to expand to more cities next year.
AMC's The Walking Dead has key ratings better than network dramas. The show gets desirable young viewers by not skimping on explicit action, gore or storytelling. So why haven't the networks tried to imitate the show? Blame the FCC, which cracks down on explicit network broadcast content but overlooks cable.
Shopping anywhere could take a hit if 3D printing really takes off, by allowing users to print products at home.
DAVID GREENE, HOST:
Yes, products like disposable underwear. It's the brain-child of an Israeli couple, whose 3D technology also enables them to print items like bandages or sportswear. Currently, the fabric printers run about $3 million, so maybe too steep for home use just now.
The Greek government is pushing stores to open on Sundays, just like the tourist shops around the Acropolis. But mom-and-pop shops that are participating in a pilot program to open seven Sundays a year, say they lost money last weekend — the first Sunday the program was effect.
In a pre-Christmas offensive to lower prices, the Venezuelan government has taken over a nationwide chain of electronics and appliance stores that it accuses of price gouging. That's led to huge lines outside the stores as shoppers snap up cut-rate refrigerators and computers. As Venezuela's socialist government combats surging inflation, it's warning that more takeovers are ahead.
Ronald Heifetz has been a professor of public leadership at Harvard's Kennedy School for three decades, teaching classes that have included aspiring business leaders and budding heads of state. Each year, he says, the students start his course thinking they'll learn the answer to one question:
As leaders, how can they get others to follow them?
The U.S. economy gained 204,000 jobs in October, nearly twice what most economists predicted. The unemployment rate figure went up, but that number was distorted because the Labor Department did its sampling during the federal government shutdown.
Originally published on Fri November 8, 2013 5:51 pm
There comes a time, it seems, when even parodies must face reality. And for The Onion, that time will come in December, when the satirical news source will stop publishing print editions and shift to being all-digital.
CBS News has retracted a key segment of a "60 Minutes" report that aired in late October. The story chronicled the deadly attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya. As NPR's media correspondent David Folkenflik reports, CBS had defended its stories - its story for days. This was despite growing doubts about the credibility of a source, a British security contractor.
From NPR News this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block in Washington.
AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:
And I'm Audie Cornish at NPR West in Culver City, California. This morning many economists were bracing for disappointing numbers from the Labor Department. But in fact, October hiring beat the estimates. Businesses seemed to shrug off last month's government shutdown, although the unemployment rate did tick up slightly to 7.3 percent. NPR's Yuki Noguchi explains.
Graphic designer Tom Sadowski, 65, works from home in Sterling, Va., in October. Many experts believe the economy is becoming too complicated for the Bureau of Labor Statistics to measure accurately using current methods.
Originally published on Mon November 11, 2013 2:29 pm
With holiday travel right around the corner, many Americans will have to decide whether to carry on or to check their baggage. Each decision comes with its own hassles.
By 2014, airlines are hoping to make you sweat less when you decide to check your bags. They will introduce an electronic tag system that allows you to track your suitcase's exact location on your smartphone during your travels.
Employers added 204,000 jobs to payrolls in October. The jobless rate edged up a bit, but that was likely a temporary phenomenon caused by the partial shutdown of the federal government. For more, Renee Montagne talks with NPR's John Ydstie.
Office workers walk past China Dream propaganda boards, showing messages pushed by current Chinese President Xi Jinping's administration, on display near a construction site in Beijing on Oct. 8. The country's leaders are meeting this weekend to chart China's economic course.
Credit Jianan Yu / Reuters /Landov
An employee works inside a factory manufacturing clothes for export, in Wuhu, Anhui province, on Nov. 5.
Credit Andy Wong / AP
Migrant workers rest during their lunch break near newly built residential apartment buildings in Xi'an, in central China's Shaanxi province, on Nov. 6.
How do you keep the world's longest economic win streak alive?
That's the question China's leaders face at a meeting that opens Saturday in Beijing. The meeting, known as the Third Plenary Session of the 18th Communist Party of China Central Committee, is the most important of its kind in years, and for the planet's second-largest economy, a lot hangs in the balance.
In decades past, meetings like this have been game changers. Consider the one in 1978, when Deng Xiaoping officially shut the door on the chaotic Mao era.
Despite all the problems with HealthCare.gov, a few dozen Alaskans have managed to enroll in a health plan through the marketplace. Lara Imler is one of them.
Imler, a 37-year-old hair stylist in Anchorage, ditched her office job as an accountant in 2004. She says she loves making people feel better about themselves and is a lot happier cutting hair than she was sitting in front of a computer. But she does miss one big thing about her old job: "I had health insurance, and it was wonderful."
On arguably the biggest day in Twitter's history, we wanted to look back to find out just how it all started, because like many Silicon Valley companies, its origin story is fraught.
That's the subject of Nick Bilton's new book, Hatching Twitter: A True Story of Money, Power, Friendship, and Betrayal. On Thursday, he chatted with All Things Considered host Audie Cornish about the 140-character service's complicated history, how Twitter made his book reporting easier and the forgotten founder of Thursday's stock darling.
Originally published on Thu November 7, 2013 4:09 pm
As eyes turned to the markets on Twitter's first day of trading, NPR wondered how some other tech stocks have performed since their IPOs. (Twitter closed at $44.90 Thursday, about 73 percent above its IPO price of $26 a share.)
Some of these stocks have soared. Others have stumbled.
But the really big business news is that "the European Central Bank startled investors Thursday with a surprise cut in its benchmark interest rate." As The Associated Press adds, "The bank lowered the benchmark refinancing rate to a record low 0.25 percent from 0.5 percent."
Originally published on Thu November 7, 2013 9:04 am
Eight months after the company he founded had a big public relations problem because too much of some women's backsides could be seen through its yoga pants, Lululemon founder Chip Wilson has put the story back in the news.
"Quite frankly, some women's bodies just actually don't work" in Lululemon's pants, Wilson said this week on Bloomberg Television's Street Smart.
"It's about the rubbing through the thighs," he added, and "how much pressure is there."