We've written before about the wealth gap between whites and people of color — a divide that's only grown wider over the past half decade. And since so much of Americans' household wealth is wrapped up in homes, a significant amount of that wealth gap has been chalked up to an array of barriers to homeownership for people of color.
Originally published on Mon June 17, 2013 10:13 am
If economists were cheerleaders, their favorite shout-out might be: "What do we want? Growth! When do we want it? Now!"
They won't actually shout those words, but they may be thinking them as global leaders meet this week for a G-8 summit. Economists are hoping that at the gathering in Northern Ireland, leaders of eight major economies will discuss expanding global trade and investment to spur job creation.
Boring TV is such a hit in the Scandinavian nation of Norway that broadcasters are scrambling to produce even more shows to satisfy the appetites of viewers. One idea being considered is a live show with knitting experts, according to The Wall Street Journal.
OK, Scott just made clear economic issues have some competition for top billing at the G 8 Summit in Northern Ireland. We do, though, want to drill down into one economic question this morning, and that's why interest rates here at home are going up. The bond market has pushed them to the highest levels in 15 months, and that includes mortgage rates.
Let's turn, as we often do, to David Wessel. He's economics editor of The Wall Street Journal. David, good morning.
Let's look now at another change in health care, and this one has to do with paperwork. Hospitals and clinics are slowly replacing paper files with sophisticated electronic health records. But with a variety of systems in use, they often can't easily share medical information with each other, and this can be a pretty serious problem in the case of an emergency.
As Elizabeth Stawicki reports, smartphones might be one way to bridge this electronic gap.
NPR's business news starts with an acquisition for Lowe's.
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GREENE: The home-improvement retailer Lowe's has reportedly agreed to buy Orchard Supply Hardware Stores. The sale price is expected to top $200 million. Now, Orchard is a California-based hardware and garden chain. It was once owned by Sears, and it's now about $230 million in debt.
More than 40,000 scientists in Spain have signed a petition calling on the government to end cuts to their budget. They're blaming austerity for an exodus of the country's best and brightest researchers.
Lauren Frayer has more from Madrid.
UNIDENTIFIED GROUP: (Spanish spoken)
LAUREN FRAYER, BYLINE: Hundreds of lab-coated scientists delivered their petition to Spain's Economy Ministry. They marched there last week because the Science Ministry, itself, was closed in budget cuts.
Landing a job at a summer camp or at an amusement park is a rite of passage for many young Americans. Those jobs also appeal to foreigners participating in a cultural exchange using J-1 visas. But with U.S. youth unemployment at 25 percent, Congress is now taking a close look at the J-1 visa exchange program.
Google has launched — quite literally — a new idea to bring the Internet to some of the world's remotest places.
The tech giant's engineering hothouse, Google X, is testing the use of 12-mile-high helium balloons to get coverage in areas where it's impractical to put in conventional infrastructure.
Google said Saturday that it has 30 of the balloons, or "high-altitude platforms" (HAPS), flying over New Zealand as part of something called Project Loon. They will hover at about twice the altitude of a passenger jet.
Originally published on Sat June 15, 2013 12:08 pm
Facebook and Microsoft Corp. say the government has given them permission to reveal orders they've received to hand over user data, but that they are still prevented from giving anything other than very broad figures.
Facebook says it received 9,000 to 10,000 requests during the last six months of 2012, while Microsoft says it got 6,000 to 7,000 requests, affecting as many as 32,000 accounts.
This week, the Internet radio broadcaster Pandora made what seems like a backward move — technologically speaking. Pandora purchased a local radio station in Rapid City, S.D. The company says it's aiming to get the more favorable royalty rates given to terrestrial broadcasters, but the move has songwriters and composers up in arms.
White House economic adviser Alan Krueger took some ribbing from his boss this week. President Obama noted that Krueger will soon be leaving Washington to go back to his old job, teaching economics at Princeton.
"And now that Alan has some free time, he can return to another burning passion of his: 'Rockanomics,' the economics of rock and roll," the president said. "This is something that Alan actually cares about."
Miguelo Rada doesn't seem like the kind of guy who'd have extra cash. He just spent 32 years in prison, he lives in a halfway house in West Harlem, and his current income comes only from public assistance.
He uses food stamps for food, wears hand-me-down clothes and buys almost nothing. He is also an unofficial bank.
"If somebody asks me, 'Can I borrow $20?' If I have it I'll say, 'Here!' " he says.
This kind of borrowing is one way people do what economists call "consumption smoothing" – basically making spending more regular, even when income is not.
Originally published on Fri June 14, 2013 12:35 pm
In recent years, programs that double the value of food stamp dollars spent at farmers markets have generated a lot of attention. The basic idea: Spend, say, $10 in food stamps and get an extra $10 credit for purchases at the market.
Kevyn Orr will ask unions, retirees and banks to take big losses on debt the city just can't afford to pay. But Orr is walking a fine line trying to convince those parties to accept a bankruptcy-style settlement, without actually going to bankruptcy court — at least, not yet.
NPR's business news starts with a man, a plan, a canal.
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MONTAGNE: Not Panama this time. This canal is in Nicaragua. Yesterday, the Nicaraguan congress granted a Chinese tycoon the exclusive right to develop a multi-billion dollar rival to the Panama Canal. The bill grants the investor 50 years of control over the potential shipping route - pending a study of its viability. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
"Oh, I checked every place in town, and they were outrageous," says Shannon Kelly. "It would be anywhere from $4 to $500, and I just don't have that right now."
Kelly had just walked into Rent N Roll, a rent-to-own tire store in Ocala, Fla. She was looking to rent a set of tires for her truck. Tire rental stores like this one have been around for a while, but until recently, most of their customers rented fancy rims. These days, it's becoming more common for the stores to rent simple tires to people who don't have the cash to buy tires outright.
Captain Sunshine wears a yellow yarmulke, yellow T-shirt and a bright-yellow cape held around his shoulders with a silky red ribbon. At a recent rally of about 200 electric-car owners in Israel, he called out questions to the crowd.
"We're saying to the government and to the army," he shouted through a squawky mic, "20 percent of your fleets should be electric cars. Do you agree?"
Unmanned drones aren't just a tool for governments anymore. By as early as this year, the Federal Aviation Administration expects to propose regulations opening up the use of small, unmanned airborne vehicles — or drones — for commercial use.
Tens of thousands of these little, civilian drones are sold and piloted by hobbyists in the United States every year. Right now these drones are flown almost exclusively for non-commercial uses by enthusiast like Pablo Lema. Lema spends weekends flying his quardracopter around the San Francisco Bay.
What if you could know tomorrow's news before anybody else? And if your first thought is, hey, I could get really, really rich, then we have a job for you. You are probably a good candidate for one of the many trading firms that have found a way to do just that. They pay money to get an advanced peek at crucial economic data before anybody else does.
If you thought your coach-class seat lacked legroom now, American Airlines has some bad news: It's probably going to get worse.
American plans to add seats to its Boeing 737s and McDonnell Douglas MD-80s, which account for about two-thirds of the airline's entire fleet of jetliners. The move was disclosed in a regulatory filing on Wednesday.
Here's American vice president of flight service Laurie Curtis quoted in the Airline Biz Blog.
More women are getting into farming, according to a recent analysis from the U.S Department of Agriculture.
The agency crunched numbers from the Agriculture Census and found that the number of U.S. farms operated by women nearly tripled over the past three decades, from 5 percent in 1978 to 14 percent by 2007.
Cellphone thefts are now the single biggest source of property crime in many American cities. A recent study found that lost and stolen phones cost consumers close to $30 billion a year. And 10 percent of smartphone owners say they've had a phone stolen.
Almost everyone has a story about losing their phone; even tech reporters are not immune.
NPR's Laura Sydell lost her phone and spent over three hours skulking around San Francisco using an app and an iPad to track her phone thief.
Just three weeks ago, Japanese stocks were at a multi-year high — raising hopes for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's efforts to revitalize the world's third-largest economy. Since then, the market has dropped more than 20 percent.
In 1965, sociologist Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who would later become a U.S. senator from New York, authored a controversial report. It concluded the decline of the black nuclear family was a major component to black poverty. Nearly 50 years later, the Urban Institute has released a follow-up to Moynihan's study that looks at the current barriers poor black families continue to face, and compares those findings to the country's other ethnic groups.