Illinois Economy

Business and economic news

In Virginia, stealing $200 or more is considered a felony. The state’s felony threshold is tied with New Jersey’s as the lowest in the country, and hasn’t been been updated since 1980. 

But this year, Virginia’s Governor Ralph Northam and legislators announced a bipartisan deal to raise the threshold to $500, in exchange for restitution changes.

AT&T and Time Warner are about to have their day in court

Mar 15, 2018

AT&T wants to buy Time Warner and the Justice Department isn’t having it. The Justice Department filed a civil antitrust lawsuit against AT&T and Time Warner last November to prevent the merger. The government’s case rests on whether the merger would lessen competition in the entertainment marketplace and harm consumers. The case will go trial next week.

(Global Edition) From the BBC World Service. .. The U.K. announced actions against Russia over the poisoning of a former double agent — will the Kremlin's response include economic measures? We hear from Evghenia Sleptsova, a senior economist for Central and Eastern Europe with Oxford Economics. Also: Singapore tops the list of the world's most expensive cities to live in, but how far will your money go in the U.S. and Europe? Nikita Sisaudia crunched the numbers for the Economist Intelligence Unit and tells us more.

AT&T wants to buy Time Warner and the Justice Department isn’t having it. The Justice Department filed a civil antitrust lawsuit against AT&T and Time Warner last November to prevent the merger. The government’s case rests on whether the merger would lessen competition in the entertainment marketplace and harm consumers. The case will go trial next week. Marketplace Tech host Molly Wood spoke with Michael Carrier, a professor of law at Rutgers, about what’s at stake. 

FICO’s grip on mortgage credit scores challenged

Mar 14, 2018

Mortgage finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac consider one credit score when determining the creditworthiness of mortgage applicants: FICO.  Some members of Congress want to change that by adding a provision to a bank deregulation bill that would require Fannie and Freddie to also look at applicants’ VantageScore. The company that calculates VantageScores is owned by the big three credit reporting firms: Equifax, TransUnion and Experian. We look at the reason for the proposed change, and its implications.

Could the 2008 financial crisis happen again?

Mar 14, 2018

Bear Stearns was a Wall Street titan. And when it started to look like it was failing in March of 2008 under the weight of bad bets on mortgages, people started to panic. Bear’s stock was trashed, then the shares of other banks including Goldman Sachs and Lehman Brothers fell as panic spread. The Federal Reserve stepped in and eventually engineered a takeover by JPMorgan.

03/14/2018: Bear Stearns fell 10 years ago today

Mar 14, 2018

On this day in 2008, an 85-year-old investment bank became the very public face of the financial crisis. Only a $29 billion loan guarantee from the Federal Reserve and JP Morgan's buyout kept Bear from actual bankruptcy, but the company was ruined. We're marking this anniversary as part of our series Divided Decade, and on today's show we'll look at the financial infrastructure that made the crisis so contagious, and what's changed. Then: What you need to know about Theranos, amid the news that the blood-testing startup's CEO has been charged with "massive fraud." Plus: Gary who?

What you need to know about Larry Kudlow

Mar 14, 2018

It was only last week that White House chief economic adviser Gary Cohn announced he was leaving the White House after losing the battle on steel and aluminum tariffs. Today, we've gotten news of his replacement: Economist and CNBC contributor Larry Kudlow.  Here's what you need to know about him:

He's not just a TV/radio personality.

NEW YORK (AP) - Elizabeth Holmes, a Stanford University dropout once billed as the "next Steve Jobs" has forfeited control Theranos, the blood testing startup she founded, and will pay $500,000 to settle charges that she oversaw a "massive fraud."

Under an agreement with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Wednesday, Holmes is barred from serving as an officer or director of a public company for 10 years. The SEC said it will pursue its case against the president of the company, Ramesh "Sunny" Balwani, in federal district court in the Northern District of California.

He's not a CEO now, but he once was. Now Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin has a pivotal role in our economy and in President Donald Trump's economic agenda. On Feb. 26, he talked with us on stage at UCLA's Burkle Center for International Relations about taxes, the deficit, strengthening the middle class, sanctions and more. You'll hear the audience, largely made up of students, reacting to what Mnuchin had to say — sometimes hissing, sometimes applauding. At the end, Mnuchin answered some of their questions as well. 

(Markets Edition) Many economists are talking about the dangers of Trump's steel and aluminum tariffs, but his announcement hasn't really been rattling the markets. What gives? Susan Schmidt, senior vice president and portfolio manager at Westwood Holdings Group, joined us to explain why they aren't panicking. Afterwards, we'll look at tensions in Alabama over a state law that makes it illegal for anyone to move or alter a monument that's 40 years or older without special approval. Critics of the law say that it's protecting Confederate memorials.

Ten years ago this week, there was a wild milestone in the history of the 2008 financial crisis: the government arranged a shotgun marriage between JPMorgan Chase and Bear Stearns. 

JPMorgan ended up buying the collapsing Wall Street institution Bear Stears for pennies on the dollar

03/14/2018: "A deep desire to be rich"

Mar 14, 2018

(U.S. Edition) When it comes to health care, the U.S. spends a whopping $3 trillion. And the reason for that may not be us going to the doctor's office too often. We'll look at a new article from the Journal of the American Medical Association that shows what may really be the cause. Afterwards, we'll look at South Dakota's push to get out-of-state online retailers to collect sales taxes. Then we'll talk to New York Times reporter Kate Kelly about the culture at Bear Stearns — the investment bank that failed during the financial crisis — and the types of people who worked there.

In 2017 Alabama’s Governor signed into law the Alabama Memorial Preservation Act, which makes it illegal for anyone to move or alter a monument that’s 40 years or older without the approval of a special committee. Despite the fact that violators of the new law face a hefty fine, the law is already being tested in the courts and in some communities. The law’s critics say it is clearly aimed at stopping efforts to take down or alter Confederate memorials.

03/14/2018: U.K. considers fresh Russia sanctions

Mar 14, 2018

(Global Edition) From the BBC World Service ... British Prime Minister, Theresa May is expected to announce measures against Russia on Wednesday. The country failed to meet her midnight deadline to explain how a nerve agent was used to poison a former spy, living in the U.K. The Kremlin has strongly denied any involvement — we look at what might happen next. Also in this edition: tributes are being paid to Professor Stephen Hawking, the British scientist who explained the workings of the universe to millions, who has died aged 76.

Science remains a male-dominated field, and in academia, some take advantage of that power. In a 2014 study, Kathryn Clancy, an anthropologist at the University of Illinois, found that harassment was pervasive at research field sites and few people knew of mechanisms to report incidents.

Are scientists prioritizing data collection over reporting harassment? That’s one of the questions that caused University of Illinois anthropologist Kathryn Clancy to examine harassment in research laboratories and field sites.  She found that it’s prevalent in science as much as other fields, and that often researchers don’t know the procedures for reporting incidents. Clancy talks with Marketplace's Kimberly Adams about the harassment that exists in scientific research, and what universities can do to change it.

Big Tech is slowly, carefully creeping into banking

Mar 13, 2018

Big tech companies are dabbling in big finance and big banks are starting to notice. Amazon has loaned over a billion dollars to small businesses, Apple owns more corporate debt than some of the worlds biggest bond funds, and Google and Apple have gotten into the mobile payment business. Columnist Lionel Laurant wrote about this shift for Bloomberg. He talked with Marketplace’s Molly Wood about Big Tech creeping into the highly regulated world of banking.

State Department role not limited to diplomacy

Mar 13, 2018

International reaction to President Trump's firing of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has been muted. One of the few public statements today came from Germany's deputy foreign minister, who said it would not improve ties with his country. The State Department will face some tough challenges globally in the months ahead — everything from North Korea's nuclear program to the nuclear deal with Iran. But the new secretary of state will have to deal with more than just diplomacy. The State Department also plays an important economic role.

A growing number of Americans are getting money from driving for car services like Uber or Lyft, working one-off jobs, delivering goods, selling products on websites like Etsy or eBay, renting space in their homes on websites like AirBnb or working as a freelance writer, designer or musician.


Daniel Silva Soto and his wife had recently moved from their hometown of Puebla, Mexico, to Mesa, Arizona. It was 1996, and Silva Soto was working for a tire disposal business, driving a truck regularly to pick up old tires as far south as Tucson and as north as Flagstaff.

03/13/2018: What "America First" looks like

Mar 13, 2018

The Trump Administration is reportedly looking to impose tariffs on Chinese goods, adding up to $60 billion in tariffs that would target tech products and telecom companies. That follows the White House's surprise move to block Singapore-based Broadcom's bid to buy Qualcomm because of possible national security implications. Semiconductor deals often get extra scrutiny since the tech is so important, but this case is different. That's where we're starting today. Then we'll look at the job ahead of Trump's new secretary of state, Mike Pompeo.

There are up to 2 million people going to work in homes across America. Many of these domestic workers have little-to-no legal protections, and many of them experience sexual harassment or assault. Marketplace's Molly Wood and Kai Ryssdal speak with Ai-jen Poo, director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance about how that is changing.

53: The hidden workplaces all around us

Mar 13, 2018

Where were you when the economy collapsed? We're coming up on the 10-year anniversary of the fall of Bear Stearns, a time when Kai and Molly both happened to be hosting daily news shows. We'll take a listen back, and talk about what was or wasn't known at the time. Then we sit down with National Domestic Workers Alliance director Ai-jen Poo.

The National Low Income Housing Coalition issued a report Tuesday that highlights a shortage of more than 7 million affordable and available rental homes for extremely low-income households. And the affordable housing crunch could get even worse soon. The reason? The new tax law.

Click the above audio player to hear the full story.

(Markets Edition) President Trump has ousted Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, replacing him with CEO director Mike Pompeo. We'll talk to expert Ian Bremmer, president of a political risk consultancy called the Eurasia Group, about the differences between the two and what this shake-up could mean for foreign policy. Afterwards, we'll look at key stock indicators are doing, and then discuss the Trump administration's efforts to thwart Broadcom's hostile takeover of Qualcomm. 

President Donald Trump ousted Rex Tillerson as secretary of state Tuesday, making a surprise Twitter announcement that he’s naming CIA director Mike Pompeo to replace him.

“Mike Pompeo, Director of the CIA, will become our new Secretary of State,” Trump tweeted. “He will do a fantastic job! Thank you to Rex Tillerson for his service! Gina Haspel will become the new Director of the CIA, and the first woman so chosen. Congratulations to all!”

President Donald Trump plans to visit California this week. He’s expected to stop in San Diego to take a look at prototypes for a border wall with Mexico. But the big question still looms: How much will it cost, and will Congress fund it?

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

For the millions of people who visit its theme parks in Kissimmee, Florida, Disney World is a place where magic happens.

For Jon Gilbert, it’s a 9 to 5 — or an 11:30 to 7:30, depending on his schedule. Every shift, he arrives in his uniform: a 1920s-style newsboy cap, a patterned shirt and shorts with black work sneakers. His job is to serve guests at the Hollywood Studios restaurants.

“Sometimes I could be a cashier. I could be working in the kitchen cooking. I might end up busing tables,” he said.

(U.S. Edition) Broadcom — a Singapore-based chipmaker — tried to buy its American-based competitor Qualcomm in a hostile takeover, but the Trump administration announced it blocked the deal yesterday. On today's show, we'll look at some of the reasons why the U.S. would want to block this deal. Afterwards, we'll talk with Sheila Bair — former chair of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation — about the government's role during the financial crisis and whether they overstepped their bounds.