Business

Economy
3:01 am
Mon July 8, 2013

IMF Warns Of Global Slowdown

Originally published on Mon July 8, 2013 3:20 am

International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde on Sunday singled out the U.S. Congress for failing to avert across-the-board spending cuts that slow down potential for growth. She called U.S. deficit reduction in 2013 excessively rapid and ill-designed.

Energy
3:01 am
Mon July 8, 2013

'Gasland' Helped Add Fracking To U.S. Lexicon, Now There's A Sequal

Originally published on Mon July 8, 2013 6:12 am

The documentary Gasland inspired legions of "fracktivists" to oppose natural gas drilling booms across the country. Now the film has a sequel. Gasland Part II by director Josh Fox begins airing on HBO Monday night.

Business
3:01 am
Mon July 8, 2013

Emotions, Fees Play Major Roles For Individual Investors

Originally published on Mon July 8, 2013 3:17 am

In recent weeks, NPR's Uri Berliner took money from his personal savings account that was losing value to inflation and sought out various investments. What did he learn?

NPR Story
2:40 am
Mon July 8, 2013

Congress Called On To Reverse Student Loan Rate Increase

Originally published on Mon July 8, 2013 12:02 pm

Rates on federally subsidized Stafford loans, which help low and middle-income college students, doubled on July 1. There is now pressure for a deal to undo the increase. NPR's David Greene talks to Matthew Chingos, a fellow at the Brookings Institution's Brown Center on Education Policy.

Parallels
1:52 am
Mon July 8, 2013

EU-U.S. Trade: A Tale Of Two Farms

Farmer Richard Wilkins, a firm believer in genetically modified crops, examines the corn crop at his farm in Greenwood, Del. U.S. and EU officials begin talks Monday on an ambitious free-trade agreement. One stumbling block is agriculture. Unlike the U.S., the EU bans the cultivation of genetically modified crops.
Jackie Northam/NPR

Originally published on Mon July 8, 2013 12:12 pm

U.S. and EU officials begin talks Monday on an ambitious free-trade agreement aimed at generating billions of dollars of new trade. But negotiators must overcome barriers created by cultural and philosophical differences over sectors like agriculture. In Europe, the cultivation of genetically modified crops is banned, while in the U.S., they are a central part of food production. NPR's Jackie Northam visited a farm in Delaware and NPR's Eleanor Beardsley visited one in Burgundy, France, to look at those deep-seated differences. We hear from Jackie first.

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Parallels
1:41 am
Mon July 8, 2013

Call Centers Call On Multilingual Portuguese

New employees train for call center work at Teleperformance Portugal, an outsourcing company in Lisbon. The outsourcing industry is adding thousands of jobs while other Portuguese industries shed them.
Jose Faria Courtesy of Teleperformance Portugal

Originally published on Mon July 8, 2013 11:04 am

Filipa Neves speaks five languages but still couldn't find steady work in her native Portugal. So she was about to move to Angola, a former Portuguese colony in Africa, where the economy is booming.

But she sent off one last resumé — to a call center. It was sort of a last resort. She'd heard the stereotype.

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U.S.
12:53 am
Sun July 7, 2013

Despite Hefty Payouts, Fire Insurance Costs Hold Steady

Firefighter Brandie Smith walks by the remains of a structure destroyed in the Black Forest wildfire north of Colorado Springs last month. More than 500 homes have been lost to wildfire in the state this year.
Ed Andrieski AP

Originally published on Sun July 7, 2013 12:46 pm

Wildfires have already destroyed hundreds of homes in the American West this year. The insurance industry is once again poised to pay out hundreds of millions of dollars to cover those losses, as it already has for homeowners who lost their houses during last year's fire season.

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National Security
7:54 am
Sat July 6, 2013

Defense Contractors See Their Futures In Developing World

A mannequin in night-vision goggles is part of a display at a border-security expo in Pheonix last year. Defense companies are seeking growth in markets in the developing world, or in homeland and cybersecurity.
Amanda Meyers AP

Originally published on Sat July 6, 2013 3:12 pm

Defense manufacturers worldwide are facing tough times ahead, as tight budgets force Western governments to cut spending. But while the West is cutting back, developing countries around the world are spending more on defense — a lot more.

Last fall, defense contractors warned of massive layoffs if the U.S. government enacted the automatic budget cuts known as sequestration. Now, sequestration is in effect, but job losses are limited, in part because many Pentagon contracts were already in place and will keep assembly lines rolling for much of this year.

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Economy
7:54 am
Sat July 6, 2013

June Job Numbers Perk Up Optimists

Transcript

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Linda Wertheimer.

The economy added 195,000 jobs in June. That was a surprise and a delight to both economists and Wall Street. But the unemployment rate was stuck at 7.6 percent.

NPR's Sonari Glinton reports that the economic recovery continues at a slow but steady pace.

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Around the Nation
4:24 am
Sat July 6, 2013

With Bullets Scarce, More Shooters Make Their Own

Since the Newtown school shooting in December, gun stores nationwide have had difficulty keeping ammunition, like these .223-caliber rifle bullets, in stock.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Sat July 6, 2013 7:05 pm

Gun stores around the country have had difficulty keeping up with demand for ammunition in recent months. Fears of government tightening of gun and ammunition controls have meant that retailers, from Wal-Mart to mom-and-pop gun shops, haven't been able to keep bullets on the shelves.

Cliff Poser's gun shop, Cliff's Guns, Safes and Reloading in Boise, Idaho, is one of them. Business has been so crazy lately that he has to keep a special stash of ammunition, just so customers who buy guns from him can also buy bullets.

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Economy
3:00 pm
Fri July 5, 2013

Jobs Keep Growing. How Soon Should The Fed Stop Helping?

Many economists are encouraged by the latest jobs report because the stronger growth doesn't appear to be just a one-month blip.
Kevork Djansezian Getty Images

Originally published on Tue July 9, 2013 10:37 am

The latest employment report is encouraging to many economists because the stronger job growth doesn't appear to be just a one-month blip. But some worry that it's so strong the Federal Reserve may pull back efforts to boost the economy.

The Labor Department's newest data released Friday shows the U.S. added 195,000 jobs in June. The prior two months were also revised upward — above 190,000 for both April and May.

That's three months of more-robust job growth.

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Social Entrepreneurs: Taking On World Problems
2:25 pm
Fri July 5, 2013

At Cambodia Hotel, The Workers Are The Boss

Traffic passes in front of the Soria Moria Boutique Hotel in Siem Reap, Cambodia.
Will Baxter for NPR

Originally published on Tue July 9, 2013 10:37 am

This story is part of NPR's ongoing series about social entrepreneurs — people around the world who are dreaming up innovative ways to develop communities and solve social problems.

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Planet Money
1:05 pm
Fri July 5, 2013

How To Spend $442 On A 15-Minute Cab Ride

Don Emmert AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue July 9, 2013 10:37 am

Say you're in Midtown Manhattan at rush hour. You need to go a mile uptown, and you can't find a cab. A pedicab, a taxi-bicycle hybrid (like the one in the picture) may not be a bad option.

Riding through the middle of Manhattan on the back of a bike, dodging buses and cabs, feels like the Wild West of transportation options. The pricing feels that way too: Unlike buses or cabs, pedicabs don't charge a set fee. It's whatever the rider and the driver agree to. And, like in the Wild West, innocents often get fleeced.

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Business
10:37 am
Fri July 5, 2013

June Jobs Report Exceeds Expectations, But Concerns Remain

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with the jobs report.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

All Tech Considered
7:20 am
Fri July 5, 2013

At Tech-Free Camps, People Pay Hundreds To Unplug

Camp Grounded is located in Northern California.
Courtesy of Scott Sporleder

Originally published on Fri July 5, 2013 10:17 am

The overwhelming and endless stream of electronic alerts and messages on our computers, phones and tablets is driving demand for a new kind of summer camp for adults. "Technology-free" camps that force their campers to surrender their gadgets, wallets and that nagging "fear of missing out" — FOMO — are booking up fast.

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The Two-Way
6:50 am
Fri July 5, 2013

Better Than Expected Job Growth In June

At a job fair in Los Angeles last month, job seekers filled out applications.
Kevork Djansezian Getty Images

Originally published on Fri July 5, 2013 8:48 am

More jobs were created last month than economists had expected, but the unemployment rate held steady.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday that employers added 195,000 jobs to public and private payrolls. That's better than the gain of 165,000 that forecasters had predicted.

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Economy
2:51 am
Fri July 5, 2013

June Jobless Rate Expected To Hover Around 7.6 Percent

Originally published on Fri July 5, 2013 8:14 am

The Labor Department reported Friday that the nation's unemployment rate held steady at 7.6 percent in June, as employers added 195,000 jobs, and more people started to look for work.

Business
2:51 am
Fri July 5, 2013

The Last Word In Business

Originally published on Fri July 5, 2013 4:59 am

Former girlfriend Chrissie Shrimpton, who dated Jagger before he was a superstar, sold the hair. It went for about $6,000, which is more than four times what someone once paid for Rolling Stone bandmate Keith Richard's hair.

Business
2:51 am
Fri July 5, 2013

Business News

Originally published on Fri July 5, 2013 4:53 am

The Bay Area Rapid Transit agency and its two largest unions have reached an agreement — sort of. The unions are ending the five-day strike that halted commuter-rail service throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. BART and the unions agreed to extend their contracts for a month while negotiations continue.

Europe
1:34 am
Fri July 5, 2013

Are Things Too Cozy In London's 'City' Within A City?

Skyscrapers in the City of London, the heart of the financial district, are reshaping the skyline.
Dan Bobkoff NPR

Originally published on Fri July 5, 2013 12:33 pm

For at least a millennium, the heart of Britain's commercial and financial industries has been the City of London.

The City is not the large metropolis we know as London. It's much older and smaller. Many call it the Square Mile, though it's not square and a bit bigger than a mile. It's the home to big banks, medieval alleyways and St. Paul's Cathedral. And, for all those centuries, the area has had the same local government with an unusual name: The City of London Corporation.

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Planet Money
8:03 pm
Thu July 4, 2013

Why Doesn't Everybody Buy Cheap, Generic Headache Medicine?

Same pills. Lower price.
Paul Sancya AP

Originally published on Fri July 5, 2013 7:03 pm

Why does anyone buy Bayer aspirin — or Tylenol, or Advil — when, almost always, there's a bottle of cheaper generic pills, with the same active ingredient, sitting right next to the brand-name pills?

Matthew Gentzkow, an economist at the University of Chicago's Booth school, recently tried to answer this question. Along with a few colleagues, Gentzkow set out to test a hypothesis: Maybe people buy the brand-name pills because they just don't know that the generic version is basically the same thing.

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Business
3:03 am
Thu July 4, 2013

SoftBank Moves Closer To 78 Percent Stake In Sprint

Originally published on Thu July 4, 2013 7:48 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And the Federal Communications Commission has apparently approved a deal giving the Japanese telecom giant SoftBank a controlling stake in SprintNextel, which is the third-largest wireless operator in the U.S. Experts say SoftBank's industry clout should help Sprint become a more robust competitor. NPR's Wendy Kaufman reports.

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Movies
3:03 am
Thu July 4, 2013

Movie Studios Hope We Celebrate July 4 At Theaters

Originally published on Thu July 4, 2013 7:48 am

The long holiday weekend follows on the heels of a record-setting May and June at the box office. This month begins with the return of the lucrative family-friendly franchise: Despicable Me 2.

Business
3:03 am
Thu July 4, 2013

The Last Word In Business

Originally published on Thu July 4, 2013 7:48 am

Some people feel awkward about eating alone in restaurants but a new eatery in Amsterdam has only small tables with single chairs. It requires customers come solo. The restaurant is part culinary endeavor, part social experiment. As its creator says, she wanted to give people "food for thought."

Business
3:03 am
Thu July 4, 2013

Business News

Originally published on Thu July 4, 2013 7:48 am

Unlike Facebook and Google, Twitter will allow its users to opt out if they are concerned about privacy. The company is projecting ad revenues of $500 million this year, and double that in 2014.

Remembrances
2:01 am
Thu July 4, 2013

Douglas Engelbart Dies At 88, Invented Computer Mouse

Originally published on Thu July 4, 2013 7:48 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And a remembrance, now. The, a computer visionary best known for inventing the mouse has died. As NPR's Laura Sydell reports, the mouse was just one small piece of what Douglas Engelbart contributed to the development of personal computers.

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Shots - Health News
12:44 pm
Wed July 3, 2013

Delay For Insurance Mandate Pleases Businesses

President Obama talked up the Affordable Care Act in San Jose, Calif., in June. Now, the administration has said a key provision affecting businesses won't take effect until 2015.
Evan Vucci AP

Originally published on Wed July 3, 2013 2:07 pm

The Obama administration's decision late Tuesday to postpone the requirement for employers with 50 or more workers to offer health coverage or risk fines has satisfied some key members of the coalition that supported the law.

But the one-year reprieve also raises new questions about the administration's ability to get the huge health law up and running in an orderly fashion. The deadline for the new health exchanges to begin enrolling individuals is Oct. 1.

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Business
9:57 am
Wed July 3, 2013

Four Years Into Recovery, Are We Well Yet?

Jeff Caldwell checks a vehicle on the assembly line at the Chrysler Jefferson North Assembly plant in Detroit in May. U.S. auto sales rose last month to their fastest pace since 2007.
Paul Sancya AP

Originally published on Wed July 3, 2013 1:30 pm

The next couple of days will bring fireworks, hot dogs — and a new unemployment report.

At least the first two will be fun.

As for Friday's job-market assessment, the Labor Department report likely will show little or no change in the 7.6 percent unemployment rate. "There is still a general weakness in the labor market," says Daniel North, economist with Euler Hermes, a credit insurance company.

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Code Switch
7:26 am
Wed July 3, 2013

Chinatown 'Blessing Scams' Target Elderly Women

More than 50 people have reported being victims to the "blessing scams" in San Francisco over the last year. Their losses topped $1.5 million.
San Francisco district attorney's office

Originally published on Thu July 11, 2013 10:13 am

In Chinatowns around the country — in San Francisco, Boston, Chicago, New York — a peculiar financial scam is targeting elderly Chinese women.

This so-called "blessing scam" isn't much of a blessing. By asking lots of personal questions, the scammers convince their targets that they face terrible tragedy that they can only avoid if they place their valuables in a bag — and then pray over it. Usually, the victims place their jewelry and money in a bag that the thieves swap out for an identical one. And then the thieves tell the women not to open the bag for days.

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The Salt
6:03 am
Wed July 3, 2013

Coke Changed Caramel Color To Avoid Cancer Warning; Pepsi In Transition

Pepsi says it plans to reformulate all its colas sold in the U.S. by February 2014 to eliminate 4-MEI, a chemical listed as a carcinogen by the state of California.
PR Newswire

In 2011, the state of California created a problem for the soda industry.

The caramel color that Coke and Pepsi used to give colas that distinctive brown hue contained a chemical, 4-methylimidazole — 4-MEI — that is listed as a carcinogen by the state.

And in accordance with California's Proposition 65 law, the levels of 4-MEI found in sodas would have warranted a cancer warning label on every can sold in the state.

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