Business

Business
6:11 am
Tue March 11, 2014

Will Stocks' 5-Year Trajectory Keep Going Higher?

Originally published on Tue March 11, 2014 10:28 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And I'm David Greene. Good morning.

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Business
3:02 am
Tue March 11, 2014

Customer Surveys Are Here To Stay. Suggestions For Improvement?

Washington Post advice columnist Judith Martin compares surveys to an insecure friend: " 'Are you sure you like me? Really? Do you like me?' And after a while you want to say, 'No! Go away!' "
iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue March 11, 2014 4:58 pm

Call the cable company, and an automated voice wants to ask you about the experience. Buy a taco at a fast-food chain, and the receipt says there's a chance to win $500 if you answer a few questions.

Customer surveys seem to be everywhere — something Judith Martin addressed in her Miss Manners column in January: "They are violating the first rule of business: Don't annoy the customer."

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The Salt
5:43 pm
Mon March 10, 2014

What Pepsi Can Teach Us About Soft (Drink) Power In Russia

Pepsi was the first American consumer product to be manufactured and sold in the former Soviet Union. In 1991, Russians could buy the soda for 20 kopeks, about 10 cents.
Peter Dejong AP

Originally published on Mon March 10, 2014 9:09 pm

The United States has threatened economic sanctions against Moscow, but America is light on financial leverage in Russia: The country represents less than 1 percent of U.S. trade, and few major U.S. companies have significant investments there.

But one company with a long history in Russia is Pepsi.

So how did the American soft drink giant get its foot in the door to build a major market in Russia?

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Children's Health
4:22 pm
Mon March 10, 2014

Casinos, Sites Of Excess, Might Actually Help Families Slim Down

Originally published on Mon March 10, 2014 7:59 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

When you think about casinos, you probably think about excess: smoke-filled rooms, too much alcohol, and endless buffets filled with piles of high-fat and high sugar foods.

But as NPR's Patti Neighmond reports, a new study suggests casinos may actually have a health benefit for children who live in nearby communities.

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Politics
4:22 pm
Mon March 10, 2014

Hedge Fund Turns To Lobbying To Back Up Its Billion-Dollar Bet

Originally published on Mon March 10, 2014 7:59 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Short selling a stock - betting that it will go down instead of up - is common on Wall Street. But what about placing a bet against a company and then trying to get the government to do things that would drive down the company's share price?

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Your Money
4:22 pm
Mon March 10, 2014

Groups Use Cash Prizes To Encourage Saving

Maya Gaines, of the Baltimore CASH Campaign, tries to encourage people to put aside some of their tax refunds into savings. She rings bells, cheers and dances every time someone decides to do that.
Pam Fessler NPR

Originally published on Mon March 10, 2014 7:59 pm

When it comes to getting ahead in the world, a lack of savings can be a big hurdle, especially for low-income families. Most don't have enough money set aside for emergencies, let alone for college or a house. Some people think the answer is to make savings more fun, like the lottery, with the chance to win big prizes.

It's called prize-linked savings, something that's been available in Great Britain for decades. Now, it's starting to catch on in the United States.

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Business
5:03 am
Mon March 10, 2014

Identity Theft Tops Dirty Dozen List Compiled By IRS

Originally published on Mon March 10, 2014 9:59 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

The "Dirty Dozen" is not just the name of an action film from the 1960s. It's also the name of the list the IRS puts out each year documenting the most common tax scams. For the past two years, identity theft has topped the list. That's when thieves first steal someone's identity and then steal their tax refund by filing a fraudulent return.

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Economy
4:57 am
Mon March 10, 2014

Signs Point To A Slowing U.S. Housing Market

Originally published on Mon March 10, 2014 9:59 am

After rising sharply in 2013, home prices in many areas are leveling off. An interesting and worrisome development for most Americans because their home is often their most valuable asset.

Business
2:58 am
Mon March 10, 2014

Big Investors Boosting Home Prices, And Not Everyone's Pleased

ReBOUND Residential in Florida has bought multiple properties like this one, a formerly bank-owned home in Sunrise, Fla., as investment properties. The houses are now bringing steady returns as rentals.
Greg Allen NPR

Originally published on Mon March 10, 2014 10:20 am

It's taken several years, but in many parts of the country, home prices are nearly back to where they were at the peak. In places like Florida, where the housing recession hit hard, home prices rose last year by one-fifth or more.

A major factor in the price rise is hedge funds, private equity firms and other large investors. They've moved aggressively into the residential market over the past two years, buying tens of thousands of distressed properties, often at bargain prices.

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The Sunday Conversation
9:52 am
Sun March 9, 2014

Rebuilding A Life And A City After Years On Detroit's Streets

Isaac Lott has been working in deconstruction for four years. He's one of several Reclaim Detroit employees who have spent time in prison and are now starting a new life with the company.
Marvin Shaouni for NPR

Originally published on Sun March 9, 2014 12:00 pm

Each week, Weekend Edition Sunday host Rachel Martin brings listeners an unexpected side of the news by talking with someone personally affected by the stories making headlines.

After years of selling drugs and serving prison time in Detroit, 54-year-old Isaac Lott is now a site supervisor with the organization Reclaim Detroit. The group deconstructs abandoned homes to reclaim materials from them.

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Economy
10:52 am
Sat March 8, 2014

What Germans Know Could Help Bridge U.S. Workers' Skill Gap

President Barack Obama promotes job training at General Electric's Waukesha, Wis., gas engine plant in January.
Jeffrey Phelps AP

Originally published on Sat March 8, 2014 11:31 am

Job training programs are failing to turn out enough skilled workers to fill job openings in the U.S., a phenomenon that puzzles some European companies that expand into the U.S.

President Obama freely admits that America needs to improve the way it trains workers. In a speech at a General Electric manufacturing plant in Wisconsin earlier this year, he said, "We gotta move away from what my labor secretary, Tom Perez, calls 'train and pray.' You train workers first and then you hope they get a job."

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Music News
7:53 am
Sat March 8, 2014

Coming Up: Detroit Symphony Returns From The Brink

Originally published on Sat March 8, 2014 11:31 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Just a few years ago, Detroit Symphony Orchestra was in bad shape. An auditor predicted they'd be shuttered in months.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: His famous line was we had no business being in business.

SIMON: Tomorrow on WEEKEND EDITION, how after a financial crisis, a bitter contract dispute, and a musicians' strike, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra still plays on. This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Business
5:20 am
Sat March 8, 2014

Don't Run Out For Caviar Yet, But Wages Are Heading Higher

Construction companies added 15,000 jobs even though the weather was horrible in much of the country in February.
Sarah Glenn Getty Images

Originally published on Sat March 8, 2014 12:40 pm

  • Freezing Weather Put A Chill On Economy, Housing Market?

Friday's monthly employment report was encouraging — but not just for job seekers. People who already have work could find something to celebrate too: Hourly wages rose at a decent pace.

That's a welcome change for employees who have seen only very, very modest raises in this economic recovery.

The Labor Department said average hourly wages rose by 9 cents an hour in February, up to $24.31. With that bump, workers are now making 2.2 percent more per hour than they were a year ago.

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Economy
4:09 pm
Fri March 7, 2014

February Jobs Numbers Give Some Economists Reason To Smile

Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 7:29 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block. There was some positive economic news today. Job growth in February was stronger than expected. The government monthly employment report showed 175,000 jobs were added to the economy last month. There were also upward revisions for December and January. As NPR's John Ydstie reports, that improvement comes despite evidence that stormy winter weather may have restrained job growth.

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Media
4:09 pm
Fri March 7, 2014

After Newsweek 'Outs' Purported Bitcoin Founder, Questions Follow

Originally published on Fri April 4, 2014 5:02 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block. The past 36 hours have brought us a splashy cover story claiming to have found the figure behind a shadowy multi-billion dollar enterprise, also a media circus replete with an OJ Simpson-like car chase through the streets of Los Angeles and an army of online debunkers intent on proving the article false.

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Europe
4:09 pm
Fri March 7, 2014

Behind Ukraine's Political Strife: One Big Utility Bill

Cossacks stand guard at the entrance to the Crimean Parliament building on Friday in Simferopol, Ukraine. Russian Cossacks, some heavily armed, have taken up guard duties at road checkpoints, border crossings and other key facilities that were previously guarded by local, pro-Russian militants across Crimea in recent days.
Sean Gallup Getty Images

Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 7:29 pm

One way to understand the situation between Ukraine and Russia right now: Look at the gas bill of an ordinary Ukrainian.

Valentina Olachenka, for example, pays $19 a month for gas to heat her house and run her stove. The average American who uses natural gas, by contrast, spends more than $100 a month.

Gas is cheap for Ukrainians because the government is paying most of the bill — 87 cents of every dollar, according to the IMF.

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Code Switch
2:50 pm
Fri March 7, 2014

A Native American Tribe Hopes Digital Currency Boosts Its Sovereignty

Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 4:35 pm

There's a lot of talk about virtual currencies lately — how they work, economic implications and whether they're safe. But now a Native American tribe is using a bitcoin-like currency to help strengthen its sovereignty.

In South Dakota, the Oglala Lakota Nation has become the first Native American tribe to launch its own form of virtual currency. Payu Harris, its creator, calls it mazacoin.

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The Two-Way
12:37 pm
Fri March 7, 2014

MasterCard, Visa Team Up To Improve Payment Security

Visa and MasterCard have formed an industry-wide group to improve payment security.
Damien Meyer AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 2:48 pm

Credit-card rivals Visa and MasterCard said Friday they have formed an industry-wide group aimed at improving payment security in the wake of a number of breaches that compromised customers' data.

"The recent high-profile breaches have served as a catalyst for much needed collaboration between the retail and financial services industry on the issue of payment security," Visa President Ryan McInerney said in the statement.

According to Reuters:

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All Tech Considered
12:28 pm
Fri March 7, 2014

Why All This Fuss Over Satoshi Nakamoto Is A Boost For Bitcoin

Is this Satoshi Nakamoto, the mysterious founder of Bitcoin? He says no.
Nick Ut AP

Originally published on Mon March 10, 2014 12:15 am

On Thursday, Newsweek's Leah McGrath Goodman reported that she had found the founder of the crypto-currency Bitcoin — the elusive Satoshi Nakamoto, a person or group of people whose true identity has been unknown.

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Economy
12:05 pm
Fri March 7, 2014

Freezing Weather Put A Chill On Economy, Housing Market?

Spring is a big season for buying and selling homes, but the housing market has a lot of hurdles ahead. NPR's Senior Business Editor Marilyn Geewax talks about them and the latest job numbers.

Economy
11:39 am
Fri March 7, 2014

February Job Growth Beats Expectations; Jobless Rate Ticks Up

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

It was pretty clear that the recent bout of winter weather that many of us have seen was going to have an effect on job growth in February. The question was how much. And it turns out less than expected. That's the message from the government's monthly employment report that's out today. It found that U.S. employers added 175,000 jobs to their payrolls last month. As NPR's John Ydstie reports, it's more than expected.

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The Two-Way
8:34 am
Fri March 7, 2014

Jobless Rate Ticks Up, But Job Growth Is Better Than Expected

The scene at a job fair for veterans earlier this year in Washington, D.C.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 11:14 am

This post has been updated.

The nation's unemployment rate edged up to 6.7 percent in February from 6.6 percent the month before, but employers added more jobs than expected, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said Friday.

According to BLS, the number of jobs on public and private payrolls grew by 175,000 last month — about 25,000 more than economists had expected.

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Around the Nation
5:02 am
Fri March 7, 2014

Weather Expected To Effect February Jobs Report

Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 11:39 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

The recent bout of winter weather that many of us have felt has hit the U.S. economy. Winter storms cooled job growth in February. The only question is by how much. Economists, investors and job seekers are looking to today's employment report from the government for an answer. NPR's John Ydstie says their predictions have been dampened by the weather too.

JOHN YDSTIE, BYLINE: John Sylvia is the top economist for Wells Fargo. His forecast for job growth in February has been pounded down by the weather.

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Economy
4:56 am
Fri March 7, 2014

Ukraine's Economy Was In Trouble Before Its Crisis With Russia

Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 11:39 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

On a Friday, this is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm David Greene.

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

And I'm Linda Wertheimer.

President Obama and Russian President Putin have had another long telephone conversation about how to end the crisis in Ukraine. The White House says President Obama stressed that a diplomatic solution is possible, but Russian soldiers have to leave their current positions in Crimea and return to their base in the region.

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The Salt
3:14 am
Fri March 7, 2014

States Fight California's Chicken Cage Law. But It's Really About Bacon

Free-range chickens lay eggs for Sauder's Quality Eggs in Pennsylvania.
Dan Charles NPR

Originally published on Mon March 10, 2014 12:55 pm

By most measures, David Kesten's hens are living the good life.

"They can act like chickens, they can run around," says Kesten, who's raising hens in an old wooden shed in the open countryside near Concordia, Mo. "They can go out and catch bugs, they can dig in the ground."

But most U.S. hens live crammed into very close quarters, according to Joe Maxwell, with the Humane Society of the U.S. And he says that's just wrong.

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The Two-Way
6:43 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

Grocery Chains Safeway And Albertson's Announce Merger Deal

Private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management has offered to buy Safeway, Inc., the nation's second-largest grocery chain, for a reported $9.4 billion. Cerberus plans to merge Safeway with another grocer, Albertson's.

"Safeway has been focused on better meeting shoppers' diverse needs through local, relevant assortment, an improved price/value proposition and a great shopping experience that has driven improved sales trends," Safeway CEO Robert Edwards said in a statement. "We are excited about continuing this momentum as a combined organization."

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Planet Money
5:41 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

Does Raising The Minimum Wage Kill Jobs?

Kenzo Tribouillard AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu March 6, 2014 7:50 pm

President Obama has called for increasing the minimum wage, saying it will help some of the poorest Americans. Opponents argue that a higher minimum wage will lead employers to cut jobs.

Figuring out the effect of raising the minimum wage is tough. Ideally you'd like to compare one universe where the minimum was raised against an alternate universe where it remained fixed.

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Planet Money
3:30 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

Beyond Job Titles: What Do You Really Do?

---
hairbycamas via Instagram

Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 1:57 pm

The big monthly jobs report that came out Friday has tons of numbers describing the American labor force. The numbers are helpful as far as they go, but they skip over a whole dimension of work: What it's really like.

So, over the past few weeks, we asked people over Twitter and Instagram to send us pictures of themselves at work, and to tell us: What's your job title? And what do you really do? What follows are some of the answers.

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Politics
5:01 am
Thu March 6, 2014

New England Governors Back Obama's Minimum Wage Hike Plan

Originally published on Thu March 6, 2014 8:39 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

President Obama is hoping lawmakers will raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour. Many Republicans call that a potential job killer, and they're blocking the president's efforts in Congress. So as NPR's Tamara Keith reports, the president took his pitch to a place with a more receptive audience.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: It is good to be back in Connecticut.

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Around the Nation
3:01 am
Thu March 6, 2014

Growing An Urban Neighborhood, One Store At A Time

Communications store owner Donny Seto (right) says other business owners shouldn't be so hesitant to set up in the Congress Heights neighborhood of Washington, D.C.
Leah Binkovitz NPR

Originally published on Thu March 6, 2014 11:30 am

Across the country, communities stranded in food and retail deserts are asking how they can enjoy the bounty afforded to other urban centers. One Washington, D.C., community thinks it might have an answer.

Just a 10-minute drive south of the U.S. Capitol, across the Anacostia River, sits Congress Heights. The Southeast D.C. neighborhood is less than 2 miles long and home to more than 8,000 people, many in single-family houses. But if you're looking for a sit-down meal, options are scarce.

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