Minimum wage workers in 13 states will see a bump in their paychecks this year. Host Michel Martin talks about the possible ripple effects of raising minimum wages. She's joined by Bloomberg Businessweek contributor Roben Farzad and NPR Senior Business Editor Marilyn Geewax.
Recreational marijuana has been on sale in Colorado for a couple days now. And pot shops there have been surprised by the long lines of customers. Many people have been coming in from out of state hoping to be among the first to buy recreational pot legally.
But as Colorado Public Radio's Ben Markus reports, tourists are finding there are few legal places to smoke it.
Originally published on Fri January 3, 2014 10:09 am
Cost overruns are threatening to shut down a multibillion-dollar expansion of the Panama Canal aimed at allowing the world's largest ships to pass through the short cut between the Caribbean and the Pacific Ocean.
A European consortium funding the project says it won't continue the work until Panama coughs up the extra cash — which amounts to $1.6 billion over and above an original $3.2 billion bid to build a third set of locks.
When members of Congress return to work next week, at the top of the "to-do" list is whether to renew emergency unemployment benefits. An extension of the benefits expired at the end of 2013, which means 1.3 million out-of-work Americans are no longer getting unemployment checks.
The widening gap between the rich and poor in the U.S. has become a central touch point for economists, pundits and politicians across the U.S. New York City's newly sworn-in mayor, Bill deBlasio, was elected after campaigning against a city divided between the haves and have-nots. President Obama has called tackling inequality the defining challenge of our time, saying that growing inequality and a lack of upward mobility jeopardizes the American dream. But what, exactly, is income inequality?
Retail sales of recreational marijuana are now legal in Colorado. Host Michel Martin looks at the highs, and possible lows of the new law with Dana Coffield of The Denver Post, and The Sacramento Bee's Peter Hecht, author of Weed Land.
A Harvard economist finds there are psychological connections between the bad financial planning of many poor people and the poor time management of busy professionals. In both cases, he finds the experience of scarcity causes biases in the mind that exacerbate problems.
And even as things are looking up for the auto industry, many Americans still feel the sting of the 2008 recession. In the years since, many banks have been hit with large fines, but no major Wall Street executive has been convicted of criminal charges for their role in the financial crisis. That's not always how it went. A few years ago, a series of corporate scandals generated outrage and some stiff prison sentences.
This famous bet — between a biologist and an economist — was over population growth. It started three decades ago, but it helped set the tone for environmental debates that are still happening today.
The biologist at the heart of this bet was Paul Ehrlich at Stanford. He wrote a best-selling book in 1968 called The Population Bomb. It was so popular he appeared on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.
Originally published on Wed January 1, 2014 9:29 am
As the new year begins, most economists' annual forecasts are brimming with good cheer.
"The economic news remains broadly encouraging," the Goldman Sachs forecasters write in their 2014 outlook.
And the brighter prospects are not limited to this country. "The global economy is likely to emerge in 2014 with modest growth of 3.3 percent compared with 2.5 percent this year," according to Nariman Behravesh, chief economist at the forecasting firm IHS Global Insight.
Villages in the Lower Shire valley of Malawi, like this one named Jasi, rely heavily on subsistence farming and steady rainfall, and are struggling to produce steady harvests.
Credit Jennifer Ludden/NPR
Saiton Ngalou lays hay over his corn field to help retain moisture and keep his harvest healthy. He also staggers beans along the rows of maize, to cut down on soil erosion from heavy downpours.
Credit Jennifer Ludden/NPR
Jasi's farmers now track rainfall with a water gauge installed by Eagles Relief and Development. Last year, when it hit 26.7 millimeters on Dec. 18, they put up signs at the local church and school informing people that they could plant millet, since the soil was moist enough for it to germinate. The trigger for planting corn was 35.6 millimeters.
Credit Jennifer Ludden/NPR
Victor Mughogho (left) is the executive director of Eagles Relief and Development, a nonprofit organization that's helping farmers adapt to climate change. He talks with villagers in Jasi, where his group has also donated goats so that people can sell the offspring if their harvest falls short.
Rain is so important in Malawi's agriculture-based economy that there are names for different kinds of it, from the brief bursts of early fall to heavier downpours called mvula yodzalira, literally "planting rain." For generations, rainfall patterns here in the southeast part of Africa have been predictable, reliable. But not now.
In the village of Jasi, in the hot, flat valley of Malawi's Lower Shire, farmer Pensulo Melo says 2010 was a disaster.
There's a drive-thru ATM in Charlotte, N.C., that looks pretty standard, but it has an extra function: a button that says "speak with teller."
The face of a woman wearing a headset sitting in front of a plain blue background flashes onto the ATM screen. "Good afternoon," she says. "Welcome to Bank of America. My name is Carolina. How are you today?"
She's one of a cadre of Bank of America employees in Florida and Delaware call centers, where they remotely control ATMs across the country. I ask for $26.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.
AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:
And I'm Audie Cornish.
2013 was a so-so time for the U.S. economy, but it was a banner year for the stock market. Investors poured money into stocks, driving up prices to record highs. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished the year up 26 percent. The S&P 500 did even better. NPR's Jim Zarroli looks at how the market defied expectations.
It's the last night of the year, a big night for party-hopping and, of course, some bubbly. And that also means it's the biggest night of the year for cab companies. The surge in demand starts right after the clock strikes 12 and quickly outstrips supply. That mismatch can send prices soaring, depending on who's doing the driving. NPR's Yuki Noguchi reports several ride services have come up with some solutions to try to manage the crunch.
On the very first Monday of 2013, Boeing got some bad news: There was a catastrophic battery fire on a 787 parked at Boston's Logan International Airport. Less than two weeks later, a second battery meltdown on another 787 prompted an emergency landing in Japan.
Government regulators responded quickly. The Federal Aviation Administration ordered the entire fleet of 787s grounded indefinitely.
OK. We're seeing more signs of recovery in the housing market. Last month, foreclosure filings dropped to their lowest levels since the housing crisis hit in 2007. And overall home prices are up nationwide. But recovery is not the narrative everywhere. In some states like Connecticut, foreclosures in 2013 have been up significantly over the year before.
Reporter Kaomi Goetz of member station WSHU has the story.
Twitter made its debut on the New York Stock Exchange in November. Both the social media giant and the relative newcomer Snapchat are valued in the billions, but neither company has yet turned a profit.
Zero. That's the total amount of revenue created by Snapchat in 2013. It's the total profit collected by Twitter. And it's roughly how much Apple's stock price has increased between early last December and now.
Which makes you wonder: With all these zeros piling up, how are so many people in Silicon Valley making so much money from technology?
Industry officials say they are on course to boost production to as many as 4 million autos annually. That's good news for Mexico but has many in the U.S. worried, especially as Audi gets ready to build a new luxury line plant in Mexico and not in the U.S.
The W.K. Kellogg Foundation released a study in 2012 showing that African-Americans give a larger share of their income to charities than any other group. Tracey Webb, founder of The Black Benefactors and BlackGivesBack.com, talks to host Michel Martin about African-American philanthropy.
Millions of people are turning their thoughts to self-improvement and New Year's resolutions this week. And one of the most common resolutions, after promises to lose weight or get in better shape, is to be better about money.
A handful of entrepreneurs in the Bay Area have taken note — and they believe the time has come for you to try a different way of managing your money.
The giant retailer Target continues to feel the fallout from a massive security breach at its stores. The latest revelation: Hackers who stole credit and debit card numbers this holiday season also collected encrypted personal identification numbers.
But Brigitte Clark had no worries as she left a Target in Los Angeles on Saturday morning, her cart full of groceries.
This month, NPR's been looking at some of the numbers that bring 2013 into focus. Today, the number 10. That's how many cities and states have passed laws guaranteeing access to some kind of family leave this year, according to the National Partnership for Women and Families. That group's long championed such leave policies. And joining us now to talk about such trends is Vicki Shabo, the partnership's director of work and family programs. Welcome.
VICKI SHABO: Thank you, Jennifer. It's so great to be here.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Linda Wertheimer. I hope that most of the people listening to us today have been with their families and friends during this holiday season. We've all had nice dinners and nice talks, but maybe there is one more talk we ought to have and the subject maybe won't sound quite right for the holidays.
The end of the stimulus has not rattled the markets. In fact, the stock market has rocketed to record highs this year. To hear more about why the market has been surging and what it says about the economy, and what it might mean for the year ahead, we're joined by Jeremy Siegel. He is a professor of finance at the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. He joins us from member station WHYY in Philadelphia.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Linda Wertheimer. Scott Simon is away. Long-term unemployment benefits expire today for more than a million Americans. In the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, Congress repeatedly extended the length of time laid-off workers could receive unemployment checks, but in the latest budget deal, lawmakers fail to approve another extension of those benefits.