Illinois Economy

Business and economic news

01/12/2018: Here's the thing about this week

Jan 12, 2018

This week could have been an economic messaging home run for the White House and congressional Republicans. The tax law's kicking it, companies are giving bonuses and raises, some raises anyway. But no. We'll talk about it. Then: T. Boone Pickens announced today he's hanging it up. He's pretty much the stereotype of the big-time oil man, with his Oklahoma-Texas drawl. He made more than a billion dollars in the energy industry and ran a hedge fund, too. We'll talk about his legacy. Plus: Facebook hasn't had the best week, and it capped it off with changes to the News Feed.

Facebook is changing your News Feed to show more personal posts

Jan 12, 2018

Facebook announced this week that it will change the algorithm that governs what content users see in their News Feeds. Users can expect to see less news content and more posts from friends and family. Marketplace host Kai Ryssdal talked with Marketplace Tech host Molly Wood about the change and what it means for Facebook. 

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

How to be a winemaker

Jan 12, 2018

Everyone has a dream job growing up: doctor, vet, ice cream taste tester. But how do you actually get the gig? Marketplace Weekend is looking into how, with the occasional series, How to be a...

Elizabeth Vianna is the winemaker and general manager at Chimney Rock Winery in Napa Valley, CA. She has been in the winemaking business for 20 years -- she started as a harvest intern at Chimney Rock while completing her masters in enology at UC Davis, and became the vineyard's winemaker in 2005. These are her tips for how to become a winemaker: 

When grocery stores close, this legal phrase can prevent new ones from opening

Jan 12, 2018

For nearly 60 years, the Safeway grocery store operated in downtown Greeley, Colorado. It was old and not always fully stocked, but it provided fresh food for people in the area.

"It was very handy, you know, working downtown for me to be able to stop there and be able to pick up things on the way home," said Pam Bricker, executive director of the Downtown Development Authority in Greeley. 

But then in 2014, the store, located in a city of 100,000 people north of Denver, closed.

Tom Houck leaned toward a window at the front of his coach bus and pointed to the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site on Atlanta’s historic Auburn Avenue. His audience, some 40 college students, peered out at King’s childhood home, his church, his and his wife Coretta’s burial grounds and other landmarks.

“It’s so delightful to have you on our tour,” Houck belted from a wireless headset microphone. “You are in the megacenter of history.”

Ask A Manager: Quitting your job with grace

Jan 12, 2018

Earlier this week, we asked our listeners if it's possible to quit your job gracefully. We got lots of stories and questions in response, from on-the-spot quitters to some who maybe gave a little too much notice before leaving, and got stuck with the projects no one wanted.

Debt burden a worry for many Americans

Jan 12, 2018

The economy is ticking along and investors seem confident but a new report from Creditcards.com has some sobering findings. It says two out of three Americans with debt aren’t confident they’ll ever be able to fully pay it off.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

(Markets Edition) The stock market seems to be doing well, but the bond market — not so much. Chris Low, chief economist at FTN Financial, joined us to explain what could be going on. Afterwards, we'll look at a new report that shows more than half of Americans now live in places where it's more affordable to rent than own a house, and then discuss why so many in the U.S. are struggling to pay back their credit card debt.

Bond prices have been under pressure this week as yields jumped to a 10-month high on a range of factors, including forecasts for better global growth, U.S. tax reform, and reports some nations could scale back U.S. debt purchases. Things have calmed down a bit, and while Allianz Chief Economic Adviser Mohamed El-Erian expects more volatility later this year, he isn’t too worried about what the activity signals for the broader economy. 

Click the above audio player to hear the full interview.

(U.S. Edition) Facebook is making big changes to the content you'll see on your news feed. On today's show, we'll discuss the company's push to prioritize posts that it thinks will spark "meaningful" social interactions. Afterwards, we'll look at Saudi Arabia's decision to open the first car showroom for women, and then talk about the IRS' daunting challenge of implementing the GOP's tax overhaul.

Rent or own? The affordability conundrum

Jan 12, 2018

ATTOM Data Solutions reports that 64 percent of Americans now live in places — mostly big metro areas on the East and West coasts — where it is more affordable to rent than own. That means the monthly cost of a mortgage, mortgage interest, insurance and property taxes on a median-priced home in the area will eat up a larger percentage of the average monthly wage there than paying rent on a typical three-bedroom apartment.

(Global Edition) From the BBC World Service… A breakthrough in Germany four months after elections: Prime Minister Angela Merkel’s center-right block has made a deal with the center-left Social Democrats, with compromises in sight on migration and taxes. Afterwards, new data from China shows its trade surplus with the U.S. hit a record high last year. We’ll explain what that mean for the two nations. Then,  the bond market caused whiplash for investors this week and though things have calmed down a bit, is more volatility on the way … and would it be such a bad thing?

The twin security flaws called Spectre and Meltdown let hackers take advantage of almost any device with a chip in it and steal data, passwords, keystrokes — pretty much all the things you want to keep private. Marketplace Tech host Molly Wood talks with independent security reporter Brian Krebs, who says that on the scale of one to 10 in terms of how worried he is, this is about an eight. He also says we should patch our computers. We get into the nitty gritty of the hack for our segment Quality Assurance, a second look at the news. 

Is "Black Panther" a billion-dollar movie?

Jan 11, 2018

The new Marvel superhero movie “Black Panther” is breaking records — and it's not even out yet. Fandango says the first 24 hours of advanced ticket sales beat the sales for “Captain America: Civil War,” thus setting a new bar for Marvel. Disney, which owns Marvel, has been promoting the movie heavily. But there’s also been a whole lot of grass-roots support for “Black Panther.”

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

When we subsidize coal companies, does that make it back to the people living in coal country? In her reporting for Quartz, economics writer Gwynn Guilford found that the answer may be a loud, resounding "no." For her article "The 100-year capitalist experiment that keeps Appalachia poor, sick, and stuck on coal," Guilford reported on the coal mining region of Central Appalachia, near the Kentucky-West Virginia border.

When the world's biggest private employer speaks, people listen, even the White House. Walmart announced this morning it's gonna give some of its hourly workers a one-time bonus of as much as $1,000 and bump starting wages to $11. They also announced layoffs, it should be said. The White House was quick to take credit for the raises, which Walmart attributed to the tax bill. So what does that mean for the tax plan? That's the question that starts off today's show. Then: The Internal Revenue Service released its updated withholding tables today. Sounds like a snoozer, but it's a big deal.

The Trump administration is offering states a path to impose new work requirements for some people who get health insurance under Medicaid, the program that serves 68 million primarily low-income, elderly and disabled Americans. This is a historic shift. Never in Medicaid's 52 years have people had to work in order to get health insurance. Federal health officials Thursday morning said 10 states have requested work requirement waivers that would force healthy, working-age adults to have a job, volunteer or be in school.

A carton of organic eggs can cost more than double the price of regular eggs — so, what are you paying for? When it comes to the treatment of livestock and poultry, there are some murky areas. Many in the organic industry pushed for a new rule, issued at the end of the Obama administration, aimed, in part, at ensuring that the green and white organic seal on the egg carton means the chickens actually spent time outdoors.

Why Walmart's employees are getting a raise now

Jan 11, 2018

If you work at Walmart, you might be getting a raise. The retailer announced today it will raise entry-level wages to $11 an hour next month. The announcement came as the company stands to benefit from the changes to the tax code passed into law in late 2017. Marketplace host Kai Ryssdal spoke with Abigail Wozniak, professor of Economics at the University of Notre Dame, about why the raise is coming now and how it affects the labor force at large.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story.

Business books deliver new buzz words with the old hype

Jan 11, 2018

Want to realize your untapped potential? How about boost your ______. Those are the kind of promises that grace the cover of some of the 11,000 business books published in the United States each year. But has the language used to to market these books changed over time? Miriam Quick analyzed decades' worth of business and self-help book titles to see what trends emerged. Marketplace host Kai Ryssdal spoke with Quick about the results of her findings, which were published by the BBC. 

Click the audio player above to hear the full story.

This article has been updated.

WASHINGTON — In a major policy shift that could affect millions of low-income people, the Trump administration said Thursday it is offering a path for states that want to seek work requirements on Medicaid recipients.

(Markets Edition) As companies start to unveil their final quarterly earnings report from 2017, we'll talk to Susan Schmidt — senior portfolio manager from Westwood Holdings — about retail sales and consumer shopping habits. Afterwards, we'll discuss what the upcoming year might look for the banking industry, and then examine what the Republican tax plan could mean for airlines.

Walmart workers could see their wages go up as soon as next month. The company announced today that it is raising its starting wages to $11 an hour and expanding its parental leave policies. Up till now, Walmart workers were paid $9 an hour to start and then were bumped up to $10 an hour after they completed their training. Workers will also receive bonuses based on the length of their employment, Walmart said.

As Wells Fargo and JP Morgan Chase report earning this week, analysts are looking ahead and anticipating that the tax bill, regulatory rollbacks, and a sound overall economy with low unemployment will mean a strong year for banks.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

(U.S. Edition) Coca-Cola has announced its South African divisions will stop working with McKinsey, the world's biggest consulting company. We'll look at the reason behind the soda giant's decision, which has to do with the company's entanglement in a big corruption scandal in South Africa. Afterwards, we'll talk to Ariella Cohen — editor in chief of the online publication Next City — about the lingering effects of redlining on Philadelphia.

A federal policy that began almost a century ago is still harming Philadelphia. Beginning in the 1930s, the federal government encouraged mortgage lenders to withhold credit from areas where people of color or immigrant communities lived — a process that became known as "redlining." While the government eventually passed a measure to get rid of the practice in the 1960s, its effects still linger. 

(Global Edition) From the BBC World Service… More trouble for bitcoin: South Korea is mulling a plan to ban cryptocurrency trading in an area of the world that’s seen some of the highest demand. We explain what it means for the future of bitcoin.  Then, peaceful protests have turned violent in Tunisia as anger over government austerity measures heats up. We’ll take you there and explain why protesters are calling the 2018 budget unfair. Afterwards, we’ll explain how one organization in the U.K. is getting women back to work using a model akin to speed dating. 

Delta Air Lines released its latest earnings report this morning, sharing just how much money it made during the last few months of 2017. The company beat Wall Street expectations, earning 96 cents per share. The airline has laid out some lofty goals to push its profit margin higher and contain costs this year. The industry expects to get a boost from the Republican tax plan.   

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

 

Senate Democrats want to CTRL+Z FCC net neutrality repeal

Jan 11, 2018

The controversy over net neutrality hasn't died down a bit. In December, the Federal Communications Commission overturned rules that prevent internet service providers from blocking, slowing down or charging more to access content online. The ruling drew the ire of internet users and small business owners arguing that net neutrality protects consumers and internet startups.

01/11/2018: The battle to bring back net neutrality

Jan 11, 2018

The controversy over net neutrality hasn't died down a bit. In December, the Federal Communications Commission overturned rules that prevent internet service providers from blocking, slowing down or charging more to access content online. The ruling drew the ire of internet users and small business owners arguing that net neutrality protects consumers and internet startups. Since then, states are considering their own laws, and this week, some 44 senators, including Republican Susan Collins of Maine, said they'll support a bill that would overturn the FCC's ruling.

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