I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Now to matters of personal finance as we get close to Valentine's Day, which is Friday. And don't say I didn't remind you. Romance is in the air, and you might be looking for ways to touch your beloved's heart. But some scammers are thinking about ways to touch your wallet.
Since every word that the head of the Federal Reserve utters is closely watched by those in the financial markets, it's worth noting that in her first appearance before Congress since being confirmed Fed Chair Janet Yellen plans to say Tuesday that:
"I expect a great deal of continuity in the FOMC's approach to monetary policy."
The U.S. Treasury is now in its fourth day of resorting to what it calls extraordinary measures to ensure all the nation's bills get paid. Officials estimate they can keep doing that for only 16 more days without risking a default on the debt. But the House of Representatives has only six working days left to raise the debt ceiling, and this morning, House Republicans were back behind closed doors, gauging support for a plan to do that. NPR's David Welna as at the capital, and he joins us know with the latest.
This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. We'd like to start the program today by talking about Friday's jobs report which was once again disappointing. The report also shared bad news for people who are working that wages remain stagnant.
There was good news, though, for employers. Worker productivity has gone up. We wanted to talk more about what productivity means and what this whole issue means for the economy, so we've called once again on NPR's senior business editor Marilyn Geewax. Welcome back, Marilyn.
In January, Lenovo struck deals with two American companies. In a span of one week, the company spent roughly $5 billion to purchase both IBM's low-end server business and Google's Motorola mobile phone business. The moves help establish Lenovo as a global player.
When Congress reached a bipartisan budget deal last December, there was much fanfare about the compromises made by both parties. And immediately afterwards, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle began working to reverse one of the spending cuts - a small reduction in military pensions. One plan to restore those pensions is up for a vote today in the Senate. As NPR's Ailsa Chang reports, resistance against the small cut is calling into question whether Congress has the political will to reduce the long-term debt.
Wayne Warren shakes wet dirt out of a plastic bucket and into a metal chute, tossing aside bigger rocks. For him, California's drought is golden.
Yes, golden. Warren is knee-deep in the San Gabriel River, an hour outside of Los Angeles. That chute next to him is a sluice box. The water washes away the dirt in a muddy cloud, and he leans over the box. Out of the creek, he taps his findings into a green, plastic gold pan and gives it a few swirls. What's left ...
In an open dump, in a village outside of Tacloban in the central Philippines, we're sloshing through rainwater and leachate — that's the goo that comes out of rotting trash — while Tim Walsh surveys the site.
"Just walk on the dry bit," he says. "I've got used to the smell over the years and you get immune to it. But for most people the smell of decaying rubbish is not really very pleasant."
We wondered if some of the numbers in recent jobs reports might reflect a finding in a Department of Education study that came out in January about a group of high school students they began to study 12 years ago. That group of students is now pushing 30, and 23 percent are living with their parents. A Pew national study puts the percentage of that generation called millenials who live with their parents even higher.
The U.S. added just 113,000 jobs in January, instead of the 180,000 analysts had predicted. Despite the anemic gains, the unemployment rate inched down to 6.6 percent, the lowest level since October 2008.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.
AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:
And I'm Audie Cornish. And we'll begin the hour with the latest snapshot of the American economy. Once again, the news is mostly disappointing. Employers added a scant 113,000 jobs to payrolls last month. That's the second straight month where hiring fell far below expectations. On the other hand, the unemployment rate fell slightly and a good number of people who've been out of work for a long time found jobs.
This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. If you've ever been pulled over for speeding or a busted taillight, you know that what comes next can be annoying and expensive - a ticket, possibly a court date. Now if you can pay, you pay and you go on about your business. But what if you can't? Well, you could end up on probation, and that's what we want to talk about today. Across the country, probation services are being privatized meaning that for-profit companies are running them, and they can tack on all sorts of fees.
On a Friday this is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm David Greene.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
And I'm Renee Montagne. There's lots of anticipation about the government's monthly jobs report that will be released later this morning. Last month's job creation numbers were very disappointing - just 74,000 jobs added to the payroll - far below the recent monthly averages. NPR's John Ydstie joined us to talk about job creation and what it's telling us about the economy. Good morning.
And let's hear now from the CEO who says Obamacare forced his hand when it comes to employee benefits. Tim Armstrong, the CEO of tech giant AOL, said the company had to change the way it matches the deposits employees make to their retirement accounts.
NPR's Richard Gonzales has more.
RICHARD GONZALES, BYLINE: Armstrong told CNBC that company costs due to Obamacare left him with a tough decision.
As the U.S. Postal Service continues to lose money each year, a new report suggests a way to add to its bottom line: offer banklike services, such as a check cashing card that would allow holders to make purchases and pay bills online or even take out small loans. The idea is to provide services that are now unavailable in many communities.
On Friday, President Obama is scheduled to sign a new farm bill into law. It contains a provision that allows all dairy farms to be part of a safety net. The point is to offset risk when milk prices are too low or feed costs too high. But Abbie Fentress Swanson reports that even in good times, smaller dairy farms in traditional milk producing states are now giving up.
The Congressional Budget Office earlier this week said this year's deficit is likely to be about one-third the size it was in 2009, when the Great Recession bottomed out. A recovering economy is the main reason for the deficit's improvement, but moderating health care costs have also contributed.
Harvard economist and health policy specialist David Cutler says getting the federal government's finances under control is all about health care.
On Tuesday, economists with the Congressional Budget Office announced findings that indicated the new health care law may result in hundreds of thousands leaving the workforce. The findings spurred new debate on the merits of the law and its economic impact. NPR's Scott Horsley has more on the reactions to the report.
Microsoft's new CEO Satya Nadella is part of a wave of highly educated Indian immigrants who came to America a generation ago with expectations back home that they would succeed. Nadella has done just that and more, taking the reins of one of the world's top companies.
A top executive at the retail chain Target went to Capitol Hill today to try to explain the massive security breach that hit the company in December. Hackers stole personal information of tens of millions of Target customers during the holiday shopping season. The incident has underscored the increasing sophistication of cyber criminals and the vulnerability of big retailers. NPR's Jim Zarroli has more on the hearing.