Weekdays at 6:30pm
  • Hosted by Kai Ryssdal

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

Credit card delinquency rates inching upwards

8 hours ago

Credit card delinquencies have inched up this year, as a rising number of Americans are falling behind on their card payments. We look at why this is significant, and what are the factors behind this increase.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story.

Texans start getting USDA disaster food aid

9 hours ago

After disasters like Harvey, the USDA offers D-SNAP, a temporary version of the program commonly called food stamps. The program offers two months of benefits to people who may not have qualified for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program before. But given the long road to recovery, many who take disaster food stamps will wind up transitioning to the permanent program when D-SNAP expires.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story.

Chanel launches its first big fragrance in 15 years

9 hours ago

Chanel launched a new fragrance this month called Gabrielle, after Gabrielle Chanel, Coco Chanel’s real name. The luxury brand dropped its last completely new perfume, Chance, 15 years ago.

(U.S. Edition) Brexit talks are not going well. Part of the problem: the amount of money Britain will need to pay as part of this divorce settlement. We'll chat with the BBC's Theo Leggett about the tight rope U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May needs to walk. Then, we'll look at some of the innovative methods that groups are using to help out in the wake of hurricanes Irma and Harvey. In Texas, the USDA is rolling out Disaster SNAP (a version of food stamps geared toward natural disasters),  while the Red Cross is using drones to try to speed up the recovery process. 

(Global Edition) From the BBC World Service ...U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May will outline her plan for Brexit during a speech in Florence, Italy. We’ll tell you how much she might be willing to pay in exchange for a deal to keep her country’s access to the single market. Afterwards, we’ll discuss an announcement from Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg that his company will share with U.S. investigators details of 3,000 Russian-linked political ads. Then, a round of positive economic data from Eurozone countries out on Friday showed the economic situation is improving in the region.

When hurricanes and tropical storms like Irma and Harvey hit, it can take a while to figure out how bad the damage is. In Texas, the Red Cross has been experimenting with a way to speed up the process, and the recovery, using drones.

In a pasture east of Houston, a Red Cross team huddles around a laptop, watching live images from a camera 400 feet above.

ICO? Bitcoin? Blockchain? A guide to digital currency

10 hours ago

Perhaps you've seen the term ICO, or initial coin offering, pop up recently in your business news. It's a whole new system of money being traded in the digital world, helping startups grow. They've raised nearly $2 billion, according to some estimates. But they're also under scrutiny because they're not regulated like regular money. China banned ICOs earlier this month, and U.S. regulators have been criticizing them more.

There are whole new systems of money being traded in the digital world. Companies can create their own cryptocurrency and sell it to the public in an initial coin offering. But these offerings are unregulated and risky. Marketplace Tech host Molly Wood talks to Kevin Werbach from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School about how initial coin offerings work.

Let's do the numbers: on private jets

20 hours ago

President Trump has expensive taste and a penchant for spending.

Google makes a $1 billion bet on hardware

23 hours ago

In the everything old is new again department, Google is betting big on hardware. The company already bought and sold Motorola in the past five years and now Google’s announced it’ll pay $1.1 billion for a chunk of HTC. To be clear Google’s not acquiring the company here. It’s acqui-hiring pretty much the entire engineering department of the Taiwanese phone maker. So what’s the strategy here?

Click the audio player above to hear the full story.

The entire island of Puerto Rico is still without power today in the wake of Hurricane Maria. Local officials said it could take months to repair the damage and restore full service. And it won't be easy. The utility was already around $9 billion in debt before the hurricane and had filed for bankruptcy earlier this year. Now, there's a big repair bill and the problem of deciding who gets power back first. Puerto Rico's economy can't recover unless the businesses it depends on have electricity. But should they get priority over, say schools or residential areas?

The headline unemployment rate we report every month from the Labor Department has been consistently low. According to economists we’re at or near what’s considered full employment.Employers have a record number of job openings, about 6 million right now, and say they can’t find workers to fill them, especially in fields like manufacturing and construction. Meanwhile, about 8.5 million people are either looking for work, or say they want to work but have given up looking.

What is EDGAR and why do we care if it was hacked?

23 hours ago

The acronym of the day is EDGAR, which stands for Electronic Data Gathering Analysis and Retrieval.

It’s a platform created and run by the Securities and Exchange Commission. It could also be known, though, as the latest hacking victim in this economy. The SEC made the disclosure late last night that it'd been breached and added that it's possible some insider trading was done as a result. 

Facebook fights fires on multiple fronts

Sep 21, 2017

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced today that the company will give congressional investigators thousands of social and political ads from accounts associated with a Russian organization known as the Internet Research Agency. And while Zuckerberg was busy detailing that decision, Facebook's chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg, has been dealing with another tricky issue. ProPublica recently reported that Facebook advertisers could target ads using anti-Semitic keywords. Now, Sandberg has promised to strengthen its ad enforcement methodology.

Just over a year ago, Lillie Gumm, 63, woke up to find her Baton Rouge, Louisiana home filling with water.

"Within a matter of about maybe 30, 40 minutes, the water was just above my knees," Gumm said. "There was a very strong current in the water."

Gumm flagged down a passing school bus and, along with her grandson, caught a ride to higher ground, then a shelter.

09/21/2017: Facebook's ad trouble, explained

Sep 21, 2017

The drip-drip-drip of news about Russia and the 2016 election continues today. A week or so ago, Facebook said it sold about $100,000 worth of ads to a so-called Russian "troll farm." Today, the company announced it would show the ads to the government. Meanwhile, the company is working to improve its advertising process after ProPublica revealed users could target ads with anti-Semitic keywords. We'll start today's show by explaining all the fires Facebook is fighting. Then: all of Puerto Rico is still without power today, and it could take months to restore service.

In a cozy little restaurant called VIF, on the edge of Frankfurt’s financial district, the young owner Luise Hoepfner makes herself a cup of coffee and relaxes after the lunch time rush. Hoepfner is rather pleased with herself. She took a gamble opening her restaurant a year ago. Now she believes it will pay off, thanks to Brexit. 

NEW YORK (AP) — President Donald Trump signed an executive order Thursday aiming to tighten an economic noose around North Korea, days after he threatened to “totally destroy” the country if forced to defend the United States or its allies.

The new order enables the U.S. to sanction individual companies and institutions that finance trade with North Korea. It adds to U.S.-led international pressure against Kim Jong Un’s expanded missile and nuclear testing program that has stoked fears of nuclear war and dominated the president’s debut at this week’s U.N. General Assembly.

Preserving America's movie going history

Sep 21, 2017

Movie theaters had a tough time this summer, ticket sales were the worst the industry has seen for the summer season in over a decade. But the movie theater business has never been an easy one. Theaters have been opening and closing, rising and falling with economic tides for years. In one American city, Baltimore, Maryland, there were 129 theaters open in 1916, 119 remained in 1950, but by 2016 there were just three.

Fed Chair Janet Yellen: Wells Fargo's actions are "unacceptable"

Sep 21, 2017

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said the Fed is prepared to take action against Wells Fargo but won't say when. For its part, Wells Fargo said it’s committed to making things right for its customers and is eliminating sales goals for retail bankers in its branches and call centers.


(Markets Edition) The Fed didn't raise interest rates at its meeting yesterday, but it looks like it just might in December. But is that the best choice given the series of natural disasters that have been hitting the western hemisphere lately? Diane Swonk from DS Economics shares her thoughts with us. Afterwards, we'll look at whether the Fed will take any enforcement action against Wells Fargo following the bank's fake accounts scandal.

After the cart is full: working in e-retail

Sep 21, 2017

Veronica Mena is one of those people whose energy is practically contagious. She shouts “let’s do this!” to her fellow workers as she moves between conveyor belts and cardboard cartons. She peppers her own sentences with “let’s go” a lot. You get the feeling she could have an alternate career as a life coach.

“I like to motivate people,” said Mena, a packing supervisor for the e-retailer Boxed. “This is automation, and as you can see, we don't stop.  I'm like, let’s go, you can do this, I know you can do better."

If people are more worried about living in places with a high risk of flooding, hurricanes and wildfires, it hasn’t shown up in home prices.

During the housing recovery of the last five years, median home prices have risen 65 percent in areas with the biggest risk of natural disaster, compared to 45 percent overall, according to the 2017 Natural Hazard Housing Risk Index from ATTOM Data Solutions.

Mobile merger greenlight more likely now

Sep 21, 2017

Sprint and T-Mobile have tried to merge before, but federal regulators nixed the plan. The business climate under Trump may smooth the way for a deal.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story.

09/21/2017: The SEC has also been hacked

Sep 21, 2017

(U.S. Edition) Yet another cyber breach has been disclosed. The Securities and Exchange Commission has revealed that hackers got into one of its computer systems last year. We'll look at how they could have used the information they accessed to make illegal stock trades. Afterwards, we'll discuss a possible merger between T-Mobile and its rival Sprint, and then talk about German Chancellor Angela Merkel's political comeback. 

SEC reveals 2016 hack that breached its filing system

Sep 21, 2017

NEW YORK (AP) — The Securities and Exchange Commission said Wednesday that a cyber breach of a filing system it uses may have provided the basis for some illegal trading in 2016.

In a statement posted on the SEC's website, Chairman Jay Clayton said a review of the agency's cybersecurity risk profile determined that the previously detected  "incident'' was caused by "a software vulnerability'' in its EDGAR filing system.

As the demand for online retail grows, so do warehouse and fulfillment centers. But most of us who order stuff online don’t actually know what goes into getting a product off a shelf, into a box and to our door. On today’s episode of Marketplace Tech, we follow Veronica Mena, a warehouse supervisor for the online store Boxed to see what goes into packing your shipments of bulk toilet paper and how automation is changing the industry.

09/21/2017: How HTC can benefit from Google deal

Sep 21, 2017

(Global Edition) From the BBC World Service ... A deal between HTC and Google might help the U.S. tech giant compete better against its rival Apple in the smartphone market. But we’ll tell you why the agreement is not all downside for the Taiwanese company. Afterwards, we’ll report on why the Dutch economy is growing at its fastest clip in a decade despite a lack of government. Then, we’ll take you to India where Mother Teresa’s charity has trademarked her iconic sari to prevent her reputation from being exploited.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel — if the opinion polls are to be believed — is on course for an easy win in her country’s general election on Sunday. Merkel has made an extraordinary political comeback. A year ago, she was on the ropes. Her approval rating had plummeted in the aftermath of her decision, in 2015, to open the door to more than a million Syrian refugees and other migrants. But, on the eve of the election, many of her supporters appear to have forgiven her. 

Maura Judkis of The Washington Post spent a week buying every pumpkin spice product she saw: yogurt, cookies, pasta sauce — the basics. But also candles, deodorant, and pumpkin printed paper towels. Judkis wrote about the experience and joined Marketplace host Kai Ryssdal to discuss her piece.