Illinois Economy

Business and economic news

(U.S. Edition) Central bankers and finance ministers from around the world are in Washington this week for the International Monetary Fund and World Bank's annual spring meeting. We'll look at some of the major concerns likely to be addressed, which include government debt.

The beach in Dakar, Senegal is empty except for a group of singing fishermen, pushing their colorful wooden boat back to shore. The windy weather has kept many on land today – including Mamadou Mbaye, head of Senegal’s fishermen union. He says the sea is depleted of fish because of foreign trawlers, and fishermen often work three straight months in order to make just under $20 a day – half of which goes to expenses like gasoline. And here’s no guarantee they’ll catch something. The fish, he adds, started to go away about ten years ago.

(Global Edition) From the BBC World Service … New leadership in Zimbabwe hasn’t brought a new economic reality. This week, thousands of nurses went on strike and they’re threatening legal action if they aren’t reinstated. Then, a changing of the guard in Cuba and the first time in decades a Castro won’t be at the nation’s helm. But what does it mean for the country’s citizens and economic well-being? 

Why cutting the cord isn't so easy in the U.S.

6 hours ago

TV is changing all around us. Just last week, ESPN, a pillar of cable subscription bundles, launched its own streaming service, ESPN Plus. It’s just part of how streaming and other tech trends are changing the way we watch television. Old-fashioned cable subscriptions meanwhile seem like something out of "Land of the Lost." Given all that, it’s easy to forget that just a few years ago, the big disruptor in the TV industry was cable.

Is Instagram a healthier Facebook?

18 hours ago

Facebook's data breach scandal  has turned off many of its users. But for Instagram, a company Facebook bought in 2012, the impact is almost minimal. Essentially the same company, Instagram seems to distance itself from Facebook — and it's working out pretty well.

Stock buybacks are crazy right now. Here’s why.

18 hours ago

Goldman Sachs reported sharply higher profit this week, and yet its shares fell after Goldman said it wouldn’t be buying back stocks in the second quarter. In this respect, Goldman is an outlier. After the corporate tax rate dropped this year, American companies have been using cash to repurchase their own shares in furious fashion.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

The upside of multilateral trade deals

18 hours ago

President Donald Trump has again rejected the idea of the U.S. joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership. That’s the multilateral trade pact the Obama administration hammered out. Yesterday, the president tweeted that he still doesn't like the TPP. He added that bilateral trade agreements, between the U.S. and just one other country, are more "efficient" and "profitable." But, are they? 

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

In a lot of restaurants in this country, Maine lobster is the luxury version of a luxury product. You get it in places with white table cloths and shiny silverware. But in Maine, where Jim Tselikis and Sabin Lomac grew up, lobster was eaten off paper plates at family gatherings in Jim's backyard. Six years and a couple of appearances on "Shark Tank" after the cousins sold their first Maine lobster roll off a food truck in Los Angeles, they’ve got a national lobster franchise with 20 trucks in 13 cities and a couple of brick-and-mortar restaurants as well.

A food truck business that sells a "uniquely Main moment"

20 hours ago

Cousins Jim Tselikis and Sabin Lomac were thrilled to find a large crowd when they parked their truck on their first day of business in 2012. Then they realized they were customers, and they had kept them waiting.

The following is an excerpt from their book "Cousins Maine Lobster: How One Food Truck Became a Multi-Million Dollar Business," where they discuss how they went from opening a food truck to receiving a phone call from the folks at "Shark Tank," the ABC TV show where entrepreneurs try to gain investors.   

04/18/2018: Did you go to Starbucks today?

21 hours ago

American consumers can be a fickle bunch, and companies spend billions to make that fickleness break their way as best they can — especially in a crisis. Bloomberg calculated that Starbucks' upcoming shutdown for racial bias training is gonna cost $17 million in lost sales. But what do Starbucks customers think of last weekend's incident in Philadelphia, where two black men sat down without buying anything and left in handcuffs? That's where we're starting today. Then, another Trump tweet fact check: Are bilateral trade deals really better for the U.S.

In 2012, filmmaker Hajar al-Naim, 28, set foot in her first movie theater in Los Angeles more than 8,000 miles from her home in Saudi Arabia.

"I watched 'Argo,' it was ... amazing. I didn't know it would be such an experience. But I loved it because of the reaction of the people around me. The laughter, the crying, the silence in the room. It was just an incredible experience. I can't forget that day," she recalled in December when Saudi Arabia announced it was lifting a 35-year ban on cinemas.

(Markets Edition) With the S&P up more than 2 percent this week, the markets aren't doing too badly. According to expert Susan Schmidt, they are on the "positive side of neutral." On today's show, we'll look at some of the factors helping keep volatility at bay. Afterwards, with the House Agriculture Committee considering the Farm Bill today, we'll discuss how cutting crop insurance funding could be a problem if China makes good on its tariff threats.

It’s been more than six months since Hurricane Irma and the Florida Keys had a busy spring break this year. But while lots of people enjoyed going to the beach, diving the reef or hitting the bars, some residents in the Florida Keys are still living with Irma’s aftermath as a daily reality.

On Big Pine Key, Bill Tubbs is spending a lot of time working on his garden.

“Otherwise I’d want to put my fist through a wall and considering this is concrete block, that would be really painful and it wouldn’t hurt the wall,” he said.

Can an app solve long lines at U.S. border checkpoints?

Apr 18, 2018

Facebook might be facing a lawsuit in California over its use of facial recognition technology but the technology itself is only becoming more ubiquitous. iProov, a London-based company that uses facial recognition technology, has been tapped by the Department of Homeland Security to help at the U.S. border. 

The House Agriculture Committee considers the Farm Bill today. The bill includes funding for crop insurance, the federal program that protects farmers from swings in crop yields, and prices. If insurance is cut back, that could be a problem should China makes good on its latest tariff threats. 

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

History is being made in Cuba today. Cuba’s National Assembly is expected to decide on a new president. It will be the first time in more than 50 years that someone who isn’t a Castro will be leading the country. All signs point to current vice-president Miguel Díaz-Canel as the successor to Raúl Castro. What will the change at the top mean for Cuba’s future?

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

04/18/2018: Senior living in style

Apr 18, 2018

(U.S. Edition) Tax Day has changed thanks to some frozen software. After its website crashed, the IRS decided to give people a one-day extension on filing their tax returns. On today's show, we'll give some context surrounding the issue, which may have to do with the agency's shrinking budget. Afterwards, we'll look at what the selection of Cuba's new president could mean for the country's future, and then we'll talk about how baby boomers are reshaping "senior living." Think sophisticated sensors and restaurant-style dining. 

04/18/2018: AMC preps for Saudi Arabia cinema debut

Apr 18, 2018

(Global Edition) From the BBC World Service...Facebook lays out how it will comply with strict European privacy regulations, but what does it mean for the future of advertising? Then, after a reportedly secret US visit to North Korea, are tensions between the two nations actually thawing? Afterwards, Saudi Arabia’s first cinema in four decades opens today with a screening of Black Panther. We talk to AMC’s boss about what to expect on opening night…and he reassures us there will be popcorn.  

The U.S. Census has projected that people age 65 or older will outnumber children under 18 by the year 2035. For now, as the baby boomer generation is aging, it is also reshaping senior living — and some older seniors are already trying it out.

What rules exist around our faces, and how are they tracked?

Apr 18, 2018

This week, a federal judge said Facebook must face a class-action lawsuit over facial recognition and how it collects what's called biometric data, such as images of faces and fingerprints. Three users sued Facebook under an Illinois state law that says the company has to get written permission before it collects such data. So far, the only laws against gathering that data come from a handful of states. 

We’re all being photographed, a lot — by each other, and by cameras in public and private spaces.  As our images become more widespread, there’s also more facial recognition technology that’s used to identify us. This week, a federal judge said Facebook must face a lawsuit over its use of facial recognition. Marketplace Tech host Molly Wood talks with Joseph Lorenzo Hall, chief technologist at the Center for Democracy and Technology about the value in this kind of technology, along with what kind of harm it can cause.

Barbara Bush’s literacy legacy

Apr 17, 2018

Former first lady Barbara Bush died today at home in Houston, Texas, according to a statement from her family. She was 92. Over the weekend, the wife of former President George H.W. Bush elected to forgo additional treatment for several health problems.

After the arrest of two black men who sat in a Philadelphia Starbucks without buying a drink, Starbucks is going through a public relations tailspin — and the company can't seem to say mea culpa fast enough.

CEO Kevin Johnson announced today that Starbucks would close its 8,000 company-owned stores on May 29 so that the approximately 175,000 employees could attend a day of bias training. But will that be the end of the company's attempts to restore its image?

Everyone gets another day to file their taxes after IRS site outage

Apr 17, 2018

Americans who waited until the last day to pay their taxes online got an unwelcome surprise: The IRS website to make payments and access other key services went down earlier today.

Now, taxpayers will get a one-day extension, and the filing system is back online.

IMF bumps up U.S. growth projections for 2018

Apr 17, 2018

The International Monetary Fund raised its growth target for the American economy today to 2.9 percent. That’s very close to the three percent forecast the Trump administration promised.  In a conversation about President Donald Trump's tax cuts and the overall state of the economy on Fox News this morning,  Trump's top economic adviser Larry Kudlow said we are starting to see "an economic boom.”

Marketplace host Kai Ryssdal called up Kathy Bostjancic, the chief U.S. financial markets economist at Oxford Economics to get some context on the economic growth projections.

Restaurants say diners are bad at making reservations

Apr 17, 2018

When you try to reserve a table at a restaurant, you make a call or click a button online. But on the restaurant side, things could get messy and complicated. Marketplace host Kai Ryssdal spoke to journalist Marissa Conrad about her story  on why diners are bad at making restaurant reservations and how restaurants are trying to change that.

59: Adam ruins our show

Apr 17, 2018

What does the sketch comedy TV show "Adam Ruins Everything" have in common with our podcast? Well, we kinda share the same mission. In his TruTV show, live tours and podcast, comedian Adam Conover takes on topics we think we know about — like dieting, going green, taxes and, uh, circumcision — then punctures our assumptions with facts and comedy. We learn about his process, whether he actually changes minds and truth-squadding in the age of alternative facts. But first we chat about our own news fixations, like who bought divisive digital ads, Beyoncé and currency manipulation.

Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe is in Florida to discuss trade issues with President Donald Trump. One issue on the table: Japan's desire to be excluded from steel and aluminum tariffs that went into effect last month. Other key U.S. allies, including Australia, Canada, the European Union and Mexico have been granted exemptions.

04/17/2018: The Tax Day that wasn't

Apr 17, 2018

It was supposed to be Tax Day in America, but thanks to computer issues at the IRS, everyone gets another day to file. Taxes were still on the docket at the Supreme Court today though — the justices heard South Dakota v. Wayfair Inc. At issue is whether the online retailer and others like it should collect sales tax. We'll follow the money. But first: Starbucks is closing down all 8,000 of its company-owned stores for one day next month to give its 175,000 workers racial bias training.

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