Illinois Economy

Business and economic news

Big banks are expected to report big profits tomorrow

Apr 12, 2018

Tomorrow, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup and Wells Fargo will report earnings for the first few months of the year. This year is shaping up to be a good one for the big banks, which are hauling in record profits. Analysts expect the new tax law and consumer confidence to be big boosters.

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Fuel prices depress Delta earnings

Apr 12, 2018

High fuel costs and a 6 percent raise for most of its employees are likely to take a toll on Delta Air Line's earnings. After years of low fuel prices, Delta's revenue is not what it used to be. Yet the air line is expanding and offering new trans-Atlantic flights — including direct flights between Atlanta and Lisbon.

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Purple faces over Britain's new blue passports

Apr 12, 2018

The UK is planning to mark its departure from the European Union by discarding the burgundy colored EU passport that has been issued to British citizens since the 1980s. Instead, from October next year, the UK will revert to the traditional British blue and gold document. The government has trumpeted the move as symbolically important: a clear sign that the UK is regaining its independence after more than 40 years of EU membership.

(U.S. Edition) The World Trade Organization is out with new data showing global commerce is off to a strong start. But there's a stark warning that governments should refrain from a retaliatory trade measure. Who could they possibly be talking about? Afterwards, we'll chat with Margrethe Vestager, Europe's top antitrust official who's gone after the world's biggest tech companies. Following Mark Zuckerberg's testimony on Capitol Hill, she joined us to talk about why privacy is such an important issue to her and why she thinks regulation isn't a disadvantage for smaller companies.

(Global Edition) From the BBC World Service … IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde warned that while China’s Belt and Road Initiative might be a critical infrastructure investment, the nation should be wary of “problematic increases in debt.” So, how do you strike the right balance between stimulating economic growth without creating huge payment challenges? Then, today New Zealand banned all future offshore oil and gas exploration in the name of tackling climate change. Industry players, though, say they were blindsided by the move.

She's the woman taking on some of the biggest tech companies in the world, and she has a response to some of the statements Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg made on Capitol Hill this week.

The Data Economy: Policy (or lack thereof)

Apr 12, 2018

This article is part of Marketplace Tech's ongoing series on The Data Economy. You can read the other parts here.

In some ways policy is the easiest thing to discuss when we’re talking about the data economy. That's because, well, there really isn’t any.

Congress may have grilled Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg this week, but generally, lawmakers have given social media and tech a regulatory pass. Now there's at least talk about the possibility of laws that would govern our private data. So, all this week on Marketplace Tech, we're focusing on the data economy. Today a look at the laws (or lack thereof) that have been put in place around data and technology. Marketplace Tech host Molly Wood talks with Nuala O'Connor, who leads the nonprofit Center for Democracy & Technology. 

CFPB head Mulvaney grilled on Capitol Hill

Apr 11, 2018

The most powerful tool in social media

Apr 11, 2018

Before it was ever introduced to the world as the "like" button, Facebook developers had another name for it: the "Awesome" button.

“It’s one of those things that was lost in history,” said Soleio Cuervo, who helped design the feature about a decade ago.

He said before the blue thumbs up icon, designers experimented with a star symbol and a plus sign (those didn’t feel “Facebook-y” enough). Cuervo said the feature kept failing so-called Zuck reviews.

04/11/2018: What Paul Ryan's departure means

Apr 11, 2018

We got the most recent Federal Reserve meeting minutes. The key takeaways: Trump tax cuts and increased federal spending will give the economy a short-term boost, but all the deficit spending and retaliatory tariffs carry long-term risks. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan won't have to worry about any of this soon. He announced today he'll leave Congress in January. We'll talk about the ripple effects of that departure.

White Castle CEO: plant-based Impossible Sliders are "a natural evolution"

Apr 11, 2018

White Castle announced this week that it will start serving the Impossible Slider, a traditional White Castle slider made by Impossible Foods, featuring their plant-based substance that mimics the taste and texture of ground beef — it even bleeds. CEO Lisa Ingram said the addition is about continuing to respond to consumer tastes. When vegetarians first started ordering sliders with only cheese and onions, the company updated its menu with veggie sliders. And now, a plant-based meat alternative. "This was a natural evolution for us," she said.

One of the key parts of the 2017 tax law was the reduction of the state and local tax deduction. Filers can't deduct as much state and local tax as they were before. It's capped at $10,000.

But states have been trying to find sneaky ways of getting around this. New York recently became the first state to try it. It passed a budget outlining various methods for people to get back the money they would lose from not being able to deduct state taxes on their federal taxes.  

Jaime Mann lives in Eastern Arkansas. Over a decade she paid over $15,000 for charges that ranged from traffic violations like not wearing a seat belt, to fines for things like using fake car tags, disorderly conduct during an arrest, and drug possession. Mann says the drug charge involved carrying prescription drugs in a bottle with the wrong label. 

It all started in 2005, when she was cited for several traffic violations.

“And then it started spiraling out of control, and I was so mad, I remember, because I thought, ‘I paid this ticket,’” she said.

(Markets Edition) After a suspected chemical attack in Syria, Trump said missiles "will be coming"  toward the country and that Russia should get ready. We'll look at the market reaction to all this with Julia Coronado, founder of MacroPolicy Perspectives. Afterwards, we'll discuss some of the pitfalls of getting a gas station credit card, and then talk about one of the upsides of Facebook in the midst of the Cambridge Analytica controversy. Despite the privacy issues many users have raised, some groups rely heavily on them to organize, including Native Americans. 

Facebook is facing increasing scrutiny over the amount of user data it both collects and shares with third parties. But despite the concerns around data privacy, social media platforms like Facebook are vital to Native Americans for a number of reasons. Facebook has helped people on reservations keep track of dangerous water shortages, road-closing blizzards, bad floods and has helped activists organize social movements. 

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Compared to other credit cards, a new report out this morning from suggests gas station credit cards often carry higher interest rates and fewer rewards.

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How much protection for consumers?

Apr 11, 2018

Mick Mulvaney is set to testify before Congress on April 11 about how he’s managing the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. It might be hard to tell, but, the CFPB still there.

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(U.S. Edition) Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg began testifying in front of Congress yesterday following revelations that Cambridge Analytica harvested data to target users during the 2016 election. On today's show, we'll recap some of the highlights. One of the main takeaways is that Facebook's business model probably won't change, but it could see more regulation. Afterwards, we'll preview another testimony happening on Capitol Hill: Mick Mulvaney, acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, gives his first report to Congress.

A "last frontier" of fair housing?

Apr 11, 2018

Twelve years ago, Jill Williams had a stroke that left her unable to work. She ended up homeless, living between shelters and her car. Then in 2016, she received a Section 8 housing voucher for veterans. She’d served in the Coast Guard.

“After 10 years of homelessness and being on the street, it was a tremendous help,” Williams said.

But when she tried to use the voucher, Williams said, she “traveled to several apartment complexes, and constantly heard the word, ‘no.’”

The Data Economy: the role of advertising

Apr 11, 2018

Here’s a fun fact for you. Cookies, the absolute foundation of online ad tracking, the tiny little pieces of code embedded in websites that save information about your password or your browsing history and follow you across the web, were invented all the way back in 1994.

At that time on the World Wide Web, targeted advertising was mostly a matter of creating an online destination for like-minded people to gather, and then serving them ads based on those interests. 

Facebook won’t stop selling ads anytime soon. But the ad business has changed in the last few decades, and data is at the heart of its new strategy. All this week on Marketplace Tech, we’re focusing on the data economy and how we got here. Host Molly Wood speaks with Safiya Noble, a professor at the University of Southern California's Annenberg School for Communication, about the evolution of advertising technology and how much it now relies on personal information, such as what Disney princess each of us is. 

(Global Edition) From the BBC World Service… Facebook’s boss is facing day two on Capitol Hill, but there are still many unanswered questions about handling data protection. We hear from one of the company’s co-founders, Chris Hughes, about what the social network needs to consider. Then, Marriott International says it’s opening a hotel every 13 or 14 hours, but with growing competition from online booking sites like Airbnb, where is the hotel chain looking for growth and diversification opportunities? 

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office released its 2018 Budget and Economic Outlook Monday. The report usually comes out in January, but the CBO took some extra time to factor in the consequences of the recently passed tax law. Those consequences were significant indeed, pushing up the date when the United States will return to trillion-dollar annual deficits, as well as the date when American debt gets close to matching gross domestic product.

In the frequent exchanges on trade between the U.S. and China, it was Chinese President Xi Jinping's turn to offer his country's take. Speaking to the Boao Forum for Asia today, Xi struck a  conciliatory tone. He said China is committed to opening up its economy more to foreign businesses and products. So what do we take away from what Xi's offering?

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Tech businesses and consumers alike today scrutinized what Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said to Congress and how lawmakers reacted to it. The big question is whether tougher regulation for social media platforms will follow. The threat is already materializing on the other side of the Atlantic. A new data protection law comes into force in the European Union next month, and the new rules are the toughest ever.

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Washington, D.C. lawmakers grilled Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg today over issues of data privacy and political manipulation of users. One possible outcome of Washington's anger at the social media giant: new federal regulations that would clamp down on companies that trade in personal data. But regulating technology companies can be a daunting task, because tech advances much faster than the law's ability to stay current.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story.

Why 1 in 3 families has trouble affording diapers

Apr 10, 2018

There are consumer products that are wants, and there are consumer products that are needs. Those who have a baby at home know diapers fall very firmly into the latter category. It costs about $1,000 a year to diaper a child in the average disposable product, but one in three families in this country has trouble affording those must-have items. Kathleen McGrory is a reporter with the Tampa Bay Times.

57: Can big data really bring the world closer together?

Apr 10, 2018

As we taped this week's episode, Mark Zuckerberg was about to begin his testimony in front of Congress. Lawmakers are expecting an explanation for how Facebook's self-professed mission to "bring the world closer together" gave way to its current privacy fiasco. But is data collection and use always the bad guy? Nancy Lublin, founder and CEO of Crisis Text Line, says no. Her nonprofit offers emergency, anonymous counseling to millions via text messaging.

04/10/2018: "Senator, we run ads."

Apr 10, 2018

If you were listening to Mark Zuckerberg's testimony in front of the Senate, you missed the sort of bewildered smile on the Facebook CEO's face as he explained to Sen. Orrin Hatch how his company makes money. Zuckerberg was still answering questions as we taped the show this afternoon, but we brought in Marketplace Tech host Molly Wood to talk about the story so far. Then, we'll look at another striking moment from this afternoon, when Zuckerberg said Facebook isn't a monopoly as it stares down regulation, here and abroad.