Illinois Economy

Business and economic news

The Fed might not have inflation all figured out

Oct 20, 2017

The macro-economic number of the past decade or so has been "two," as in 2 percent, the Federal Reserves inflation target. The thing is actual inflation, as in the economy, hasn't been playing along with the Fed. It has been running steadily below 2 percent as it pleases, thank you very much. Exactly why inflation's still so low, despite an unemployment rate that should be helping to drive prices up, is a mystery to the Fed, and a subject of interest to former Fed governor Daniel Tarullo. He wonders if maybe we're doing it wrong.

A month after Hurricane Maria destroyed Puerto Rico's power grid, island officials report more than 80 percent of the island still doesn't have electricity. People are relying on diesel generators, if they can get them, and waiting hours in line to buy fuel for them.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has tasked the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers with getting the lights back on. Its mission ranges from providing generators for critical public facilities to repairing power lines across the island.

When social causes meet product sales, you get the cause market

Oct 20, 2017

You may not be familiar with the term "cause marketing," but you've probably seen it. At the Paseo Mall in Pasadena, California, a pink-colored LED light display provides a nighttime backdrop. It's part of the mall's "Paseo Goes Pink" campaign for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which is October. Customers are encouraged to take photos of themselves under the lights, which enters them into a raffle. 

"The campaign is all month long," said Sarah Neuman, the spokesperson for the mall. "So from Oct. 1 until the 31st."

10/20/2017: Tech innovation in Ciudad Juarez

Oct 20, 2017

(Markets Edition) The GOP is getting closer to tax reform following the Senate's approval of a budget resolution, which could mean $1.5 trillion in tax cuts. Chris Low from FTN Financial joined us to talk about how interest rates will play a role in making up that lost revenue, a crucial point going forward given that Trump has to select the next Fed chair soon. Afterwards, we'll discuss Japan's upcoming snap election, in which the current prime minister, Shinzo Abe, is expected to retain power.

A tourism destination relies on its image as a place where people want to spend their free time and their money. That can be a tough sell after the world has been inundated with pictures of disaster.

In the Florida Keys, the tourism industry is trying to rev up — especially in time to catch Fantasy Fest in late October, the biggest event of the year in the island chain. But many who live and work in the Keys are still digging out from Hurricane Irma.

With North Korea looming, Japan heads to the polls

Oct 20, 2017

Japan is holding a snap election on Sunday. Prime Minister Shinzō Abe is widely expected to retain power, with his party maybe losing a few seats from its huge majority. In many ways, the election is a referendum on the prime minister’s economic reforms, known as Abenomics. It’s also a vote about national security.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story.

Pressure from Amazon has looking for new kinds of customers. According to the Wall Street Journal, the giant discount store is close to landing a deal with Lord & Taylor, one of the oldest luxury department stores in the country. 

Click the audio player above to hear the full story.

10/20/2017: Congress moves closer to tax reform

Oct 20, 2017

(U.S. Edition) The Senate has approved a $4 trillion budget, checking one of the boxes the GOP needs before it pushes a tax overhaul. We'll look at how this will help Republicans' tax efforts, and whether the budget provides anymore clues about the party's plans for tax reform. Afterwards, we'll discuss Walmart's courtship of Lord & Taylor, one of the country's oldest department stores, and then report on the emerging demand for "greener" aluminum. 

Looking for tech innovators in Mexico's Ciudad Juarez

Oct 20, 2017

Maquilas, the factories along the U.S. and Mexico border that turn out truckloads of U.S. consumer products and auto parts are notorious for long, monotonous shifts and some of the lowest wages in Mexico. Automation is expected to eliminate as much as 52 percent of these assembly jobs over the next decade. Before that happens, business incubator Technology Hub, in the city of Ciudad Juarez, is working to develop higher paying tech employment, with a push to transform Ciudad Juarez into an innovation-based economy.

The emerging demand for "greener" aluminum

Oct 20, 2017

Sales of aluminum are on the rise, and that’s in part because using it in products can have environmental benefits. But there’s a dirtier side to aluminum — producing it is energy intensive. So, now demand is growing for “greener” aluminum.

Senate GOP backs budget, clears way for tax overhaul

Oct 20, 2017

WASHINGTON (AP) — Republicans must now shift their focus to enacting President Donald Trump’s sweeping tax plan, a far heavier lift than the $4 trillion budget plan they’ve muscled through the Senate to lay the groundwork for the first tax overhaul in three decades.

(Global Edition) From the BBC World Service ... German Chancellor Angela Merkel might have thrown British Prime Minister Theresa May a Brexit lifeline overnight, but will it be enough to reignite dialogue between the UK and the EU on their looming divorce? Afterwards, we’ll explain why football, kangaroos and meat pies might still be going strong in Australia, but not GM Holden cars, which have hit the brakes on domestic production.

Congress's push to get self-driving cars on the road faster

Oct 20, 2017

Right now, states and cities decide if and how they want autonomous vehicles on their streets. But the U.S. Senate is considering a measure that would standardize the rules of the road and let automakers sell more vehicles with self-driving capabilities over the next three years. The House of Representatives has already passed a different version of the bill.

10/20/2017: Self-driving regulation speeds along

Oct 20, 2017

Right now, states and cities decide if and how they want autonomous vehicles on their streets. The U.S. Senate is considering a measure that would standardize the rules of the road and let automakers sell more cars with self-driving capabilities over the next three years. It's passed out of committee and will go to a full Senate vote in the coming weeks. The House of Representatives has already passed a different version of the bill. Republican Sen. John Thune of South Dakota, one of the sponsors of the bill, talks with Molly Wood about the legislation.

10/19/2017: Tax reform's brain drain

Oct 19, 2017

Kai Ryssdal promised we weren't going to talk about tax reform today, but it kept coming up: Rep. Pat Tiberi's resignation from Congress signals a brain drain of tax code experts in the Ways and Means Committee, which could make tax reform a lot messier. And we checked in with a union leader in Erie, Pennsylvania, who wasn't exactly moved by President Donald Trump's big announcement that tax reform would lead to the rebirth of American industry.

A day in the life, surrounded by federal regulations

Oct 19, 2017

Can you name a single federal regulation? Probably not, but they're all around you, from the second you open your eyes in the morning.

Tech companies head to Capitol Hill over politcal ads

Oct 19, 2017

Sheryl Sandberg, the chief operating officer of Facebook, took to Washington to smooth things over with Congress about Russian-linked accounts using the social network to target political ads in the 2016 election. But her efforts may be too little too late, as Congress introduced a bill today to change the disclosures tech companies must make about political advertising. Marketplace host Kai Ryssdal spoke with Molly Wood, the host of Marketplace Tech, about the controversy. 

In Pennsylvania, a budget stalemate — one that’s been going on for more than three months now — is threatening millions of dollars that some universities count on to lower their in-state tuition. The state’s legislature adopted the budget over the summer, but it still hasn’t agreed on how to pay for it. Meanwhile, four schools — Pennsylvania State University, the University of Pittsburgh, Temple University and Lincoln University — are nervous their funds could become a casualty in the negotiation process. 

Another Republican congressman heads for the exits

Oct 19, 2017

U.S. Rep. Pat Tiberi announced today that he's leaving Congress in January — midway through his term. The Ohio Republican is a senior member of the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee. That makes him part of what's known as the governing wing of the Republican party — the folks with influence who can get things done. So what will that mean for tax reform?

Click the audio player above to hear the full story.

It's been a rough couple of weeks for two of the country's biggest conglomerates. Proctor & Gamble and General Electric have been fending off shareholder unrest over their lackluster stock performance. For GE, that drama has extended to the boardroom. Tomorrow, GE will give its first quarterly results since new CEO John Flannery took over.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story.

(Markets Edition) In the third quarter, investors pulled $36 billion out of mutual and exchange-traded funds in the U.S. Diane Swonk, from DS Economics, stopped by to chat with us about the decrease in the number of Americans who own stocks, and the rising trend of people who are borrowing against their own 401(k)s. Afterwards, we'll discuss companies that the stock market loves despite their unimpressive or completely non-existent profits, like Uber and Netflix.

President Trump pledged sweeping political and economic changes during the campaign. We have no idea if Trump can deliver on those promises, but we can explore what it’s going to take for him to try. It’s all in our series The Big Promise.

One of President Donald Trump’s big promises while he was campaigning was that he was going to bring manufacturing jobs back to this economy. More recently, he said the Republican tax overhaul plan will “lead to the rebirth of American industry.”

Analysts predict double-digit growth for PayPal

Oct 19, 2017

PayPal reports its quarterly earnings today. Analysts expect double-digit revenue growth. Last quarter, revenues at the payment processor were more than $3 billion, with 6.5 million new customer accounts. In tech company years, PayPal is kind of old — it’s been around since the late '90s and pioneered peer-to-peer payments online. But the company keeps managing to stay relevant.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story.

A new Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development report said that as younger generations are getting older, their experience of aging is dramatically different to those who came before. One big difference — growing inequality between the affluent and less well off.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story.

The UK's cheese industry is wary of Brexit

Oct 19, 2017

Of all the dire warnings of what might befall Britain after leaving the European Union, this is one of the oddest — a cheese crisis. The country spends more than $3.5 billion a year on this coagulated comestible and now faces rising prices and even shortages, thanks to last year’s Brexit referendum, which approved Britain leaving the European Union.

Dominic Coyte knows this to his cost. Coyte runs the Borough Cheese Co. in London, which imports and retails a range of French and other continental European cheeses. He describes Brexit as “a disaster.”

(U.S. Edition) U.S. authorities are reportedly looking at connections some U.S. individuals may have to South Africa's Gupta family, which is currently embroiled in a series of scandals. We'll look at the family's background and their political influence. Afterwards, we'll discuss a new report that says the aging experience will be different for younger generations. One of these changes: growing inequality. Afterwards, we'll look back at a major event in our financial history, which happened 30 years ago today. On Black Monday, the stock market experienced the largest single-day ever. 

(Global Edition) From the BBC World Service ... China's economic growth data came in better than expected today, just as the ruling Communist Party's once-every-five-years conference gets underway. But can the numbers be trusted? Afterwards — it's the 30th anniversary of Black Monday, the single-biggest daily decline in U.S. stock markets. The panic then rippled across the world, leading to double digit declines in places from Australia to Spain to Hong Kong. With global markets hitting fresh highs, have we learned any lessons from the intervening three decades?

Amazon has inked deals with several of the nation’s largest apartment building owners to install Amazon locker systems at residential properties, where packages can be delivered and stored for pickup.

Those contracts could give Amazon a more convenient way to deliver packages to customers in more than 850,000 apartment units across the U.S., the Wall Street Journal reports

Thirty years ago this week, the Dow Jones suffered its biggest one day percentage loss ever — almost 23 percent of its value in just six and a half hours.

On Black Monday, Kenneth Polcari, now a managing director at O’Neil Securities, was a rookie trader on the New York Stock Exchange. The market “just went down, and down. It just never came up for air,” said Polcari, “Johnson & Johnson lost nearly 50 percent of its value in six and half hours.”

Your pension fund could be invested in tech

Oct 19, 2017

The economics of the tech industry is a chain with a bunch of confusing links. Startups get their money from venture capital firms, and we've talked about how that works and why it heavily influences who becomes key players in tech and what products end up in your hands. But how do venture capital firms get their money? Limited partners, or private corporations; state, county and city entities; and universities. Now, continue to follow me down the chain.