Weekdays at 6:30pm
  • Hosted by Kai Ryssdal

Business, the economy, and events that influence them. Presented by American Public Media.

(Markets Edition) Teens these days are taking longer to get driver's licenses, jobs and go on dates, according to a recent study. We'll look at some of the reasons for rising youth unemployment and the potential consequences. Afterwards, we'll look at why German and Italian workers at Amazon are going on strike against the company, and then discuss the political corruption happening in Guatemala, which may affect the country's abilities to obtain loans

Teens are taking longer to grow up

6 hours ago

A major study of teenagers and their activities has found that adolescents are growing up more slowly than previous generations. We look at one aspect in particular: they’re less likely to have paying jobs (the number of eighth graders who work for pay has been cut in half). How does that affect them now, and later in life?

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Sears’ strategy: Everything on sale, all month

8 hours ago

The holiday season is here, and for Americans, it’s all about sales. One company in particular has an unusual strategy this year. Sears Holdings began sales on Nov. 1, and it’s offering discounts on everything in its Sears and Kmart stores.

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 Great deals, lines outside the store and stampedes when the doors open  — sounds like a typical Black Friday. Except, in this case, we are talking about Black Friday in United Kingdom.

How did a country that does not celebrate Thanksgiving — and therefore does not get the day after off — end up importing one of the biggest shopping holidays?


Guatemala's economy depends on international loans and investment, and those loans are typically tied to progress against corruption. A U.N.-backed commission, the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala, known by its Spanish acronym CICIG, is working to stem entrenched corruption in Guatemala.

The reason not to yell at Siri and Alexa

9 hours ago

Alexa, Echo and home assistants that use artificial intelligence are becoming more and more common. EMarketer estimates the number of people using virtual assistants at least will grow nearly 25 percent this year .

11/24/2017: Black Friday becomes Black November

9 hours ago

(U.S. Edition) Black Friday sales are now here, but Sears decided to get a headstart by offering discounts on Nov. 1. We'll discuss why the company has been so aggressive with sales and how it might fare in the future. Afterwards, we'll take a look at one popular toy item that families may be clamoring to find this holiday season: the new Women of NASA Lego set. Shoppers won't just be competing with other parents, but collectors and resellers. Plus: We explore Los Angeles' push to create a city bank, and what it would take to get one set up.


Customers in Southern California already have plenty of banking options, such as Wells Fargo, Bank of America and Chase. If one local politician has his way, Angelenos may one day also be able to stash their money with a municipal bank, funded by the city.

(Global Edition) From the BBC World Service ... In Zimbabwe, Emmerson Mnangagwa has been sworn in as the new president. It's hoped he'll usher in economic changes after 37 years of mismanagement of Robert Mugabe, but what role will China – the country's biggest financial backer – play? Afterwards, in Germany and Italy, workers at big Amazon warehouses are striking on Black Friday to protest pay and conditions.  Then, three weeks after Saudi elites were put in detention in the Ritz Carlton hotel in Riyadh, we have an exclusive look inside the "gilded prison."

Digital home assistants like the Amazon Echo and Google are becoming more common. eMarketer estimates the number of people using virtual assistants will grow nearly 25 percent this year. With all these new talking machines around, does it matter how we speak to it?  Do we need to be polite? Does it matter if we’re mean? We pose those questions to Michael Littman, a professor of computer science at Brown University, who has thought a lot about how we treat artificial intelligence.

Macy's flagship store in New York’s Herald Square now requires an online reservation for visits with Santa. "Santa's a popular guy," goes the explanation. Some 250,000 visitors come to Macy's "Santaland" each year, according to the company. Santa visits are a big draw and can translate into big sales for retailers.

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It is now officially holiday shopping season. According to a recent survey, 91 percent of people who said they'd be shopping this holiday weekend are going to do at least some of it online. However, shopping online doesn't mean you can skip all the crowds, online traffic is proving to be an issue for popular retail websites. If you are one of those people that will still go to the mall this holiday season, chances are you will see a line of people waiting to take their picture with Santa Claus. Santa visits are a big draw and can translate into big sales for retailers.

According to the latest holiday shopping survey from Deloitte, 91 percent of the people who said they'd be shopping this holiday weekend are going to do at least some of it online. These online shoppers skip the crowds at the brick-mortar stores, but they still experience delays and frustration when the online retail sites can’t handle the volume of traffic. So, if online retailers know traffic is going to be crazy at  this time of year, why don’t they do more to beef up their sites?

Growing up in "Cartoon County"

Nov 23, 2017

What's the best part about reading the newspaper? The comics. But weekly comics have fallen out of favor along with the decline in print readership. For Cullen Murphy, these comics represent more than the jokes they contain. They represent his childhood. Cullen's father, John Murphy, was a popular cartoonist during the heyday of the form.

Some 13 million coastal Americans are projected to be displaced by sea level rise by the century's end. As a peninsula, Florida is particularly vulnerable, but one city, Satellite Beach, is taking steps to plan ahead.

Where do I start?

Nov 23, 2017

One of my favorite parts of producing Make Me Smart is talking with our listeners via email and on Twitter. One question I get a lot is some version of:

“I just found Make Me Smart, should I listen to all of the episodes from the beginning?”

(Markets Edition) With all this talk about overhauling America's tax system, there's something that may have fallen by the wayside. Namely, the country's budget. Lawmakers have until Dec. 9 to finalize government spending for next year. Stan Collender, executive vice president of Qorvis MSL Group, joined us to explain why it's been put on the back burner and the likelihood that we're headed toward a government shutdown.

Italy is one of the largest growers and exporters of fruits and vegetables in Europe. According to the European Commission, the Mediterranean country exported 38 billion euros worth of agricultural products – or about $44 billion – in 2016. But the Italian agricultural sector has a dark past – a history of exploiting its workers, who are mostly immigrants. And academics studying labor exploitation say workers’ wages are getting even lower.

How the Jones Act complicates offshore wind power

Nov 23, 2017

Specialized European ships are designed specifically to install wind turbines out in the ocean, but they can’t dock in any U.S. waters to get the parts for the turbines. That’s due to the Jones Act, and it makes installing offshore wind power more expensive for the foreseeable future.

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Arnold Cortez would love to spend Thanksgiving with his family eating his favorite dishes — sweet potatoes and stuffing — as well as the various pies that his wife bakes every year. However, just like the years before, he will be spending the holiday at work, stocking shelves at Walmart throughout the evening of Thanksgiving. The only Thanksgiving meal he will get to enjoy that Thursday evening is the one that the company usually orders from a nearby Golden Corral.

(U.S. Edition) Millions of Americans over the age of 60 are skipping meals, shrinking their food portions, or just going without. And many others begin to face the same issue as they reach this age group. On today's show, we'll look at some of the possible reasons for this problem (which include high rent costs) and some of the possible solutions. Plus: With Thanksgiving underway, we'll look at one of Americans' favorite foods: cranberries. We'll consume about 80 million pounds of the stuff this holiday. But there was one year when federal regulations almost kept them off our tables.

(Global Edition) From the BBC World Service … Foxconn, a main supplier for Apple's iPhone, says it's stopped student interns doing illegal overtime at one of its Chinese factories. Afterwards, why cooking with fat on Thanksgiving could help cool the environment, according to new research from the University of Reading. Then, we hear the arguments for and against using AI to police internet content.

How cranberries get from the bog to your Thanksgiving table

Nov 23, 2017

Whether you prefer your cranberry sauce made from scratch or straight from the can, cranberries are an essential part of the traditional Thanksgiving meal. Americans consume about 400 million pounds of the fruit a year. And 20 percent of that is consumed during Thanksgiving alone. 

Americans eat and drink about 400 million pounds of cranberries each year. Twenty percent of that is during Thanksgiving. The technology that goes into growing, harvesting, and selecting cranberries has changed significantly in the last handful of years. Marketplace’s Adriene Hill talks with Hilary Sandler, director of the Cranberry Station, a research center at UMass Amherst, about how cranberry farming has changed.

President Donald Trump has a new trade decision on his plate: whether to impose tariffs on imported washing machines. The International Trade Commission has recommended a 50 percent tax on some foreign manufacturers. This is the type of case with huge political leeway for the president, and other industries seeking protection are watching closely. 

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You might have to eat a few veggies before feasting on carbs and butter and sweets, but we're going to try and serve up a good show for you. We promise. In this case, the vegetables are federal regulations, which might seem super boring but actually affect your life every single day. Case in point: Net neutrality. Federal Communications Commission Chair Ajit Pai is on his way to rolling back virtually all the net neutrality rules his agency put in place just a couple years ago. But before rules become official, there's supposed to be a comment period.

Is it worth commenting on a federal rule?

Nov 22, 2017

The Federal Communications Commission is planning to repeal rules on net neutrality that say internet providers can’t choose to load some websites faster than others. But before the agency could make that announcement, it had to go through what’s called a comment period to release its proposal to the public and then give people a chance to say what think. The agency received a record 22 million comments — some for, some against, some allegedly created by bots. In the end, the agency’s moving ahead with what it initially planned. So why do federal agencies offer comment periods?

News has broken that last year, hackers downloaded the personal information of 57 million Uber riders and drivers from a third-party server. In response, the ride-hailing company paid those attackers $100,000 to delete their copy of the data, and then reportedly tracked them down to get them to sign non-disclosure agreements to keep the breach quiet. While that may have kept Uber out of another PR nightmare — at least for a time — it's definitely not the course of action companies like Uber are supposed to take when something like this goes down.

5 things you need to know about net neutrality

Nov 22, 2017

The Federal Communications Commission announced this week that it has a plan to repeal net neutrality — the idea that all data transmitted over the internet be treated equally, and internet service providers can't slow down or charge different rates for different kinds of data. It affects everything that everyone does online. Marketplace Weekend spoke with Ashley Esqueda, senior editor at CNET TV, about the five things everyone should know about net neutrality. Here's the lowdown:

The car and home insurance business isn't exactly known for breakneck innovation, but for Tom Wilson, the CEO of Allstate, the industry is full of change. The company's had to grapple with more severe weather in the past decade, like Hurricane Harvey, than in years past. Then there are self-driving cars — will the automakers be the ones liable if an automated vehicle gets into an accident? Wilson talks to host Kai Ryssdal about that and about the economy, tax reform and why he set Allstate's minimum wage at $15 an hour.