Illinois Economy

Business and economic news

Let's not panic about the Dow just yet

Feb 5, 2018

The Dow Jones industrial average was off nearly 1,200 points on Monday, which is a record. But you've got to keep this in perspective by looking at the percentage of drop. It was a 4.6 percent drop, which is still big, but it’s not even in the Top 20 of all time.

Building an agricultural empire in a land of drought

Feb 5, 2018

If you've ever had Wonderful Pistachios, POM Wonderful pomegranate juice or Halo mandarin oranges, you've had produce grown on one of the largest farms in the world.

The Wonderful Company is located in California's Central Valley where droughts hit frequently, but that hasn't stopped the company from harvesting record crops. 

What happened to the Dow today?

Feb 5, 2018

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 4.6 percent today and had its largest same-day drop, in terms of points, in history. At one point, it was down nearly 1,600 points. That might give you a knot in the pit of your stomach since we aren’t used to seeing moves like that. So what does it mean? Marketplace host Amy Scott asks correspondent Sabri Ben-Achor to break it down.

What's going on?

02/05/2018: Take a deep breath

Feb 5, 2018

It's the Dow's biggest single-day point drop on record. We're starting off today's show with some context: What we know, what we don't and how serious to take it. Then: If you've ever had Wonderful Pistachios, POM pomegranate juice or Halo mandarin oranges, you're familiar with The Wonderful Company, which operates one of the largest farms in the world. Despite record droughts in California, it actually increased yields. Plus: Economic theory says the Eagles' first Super Bowl win last night was more valuable than what would have been the Patriots' sixth. We'll talk about why.

NEW YORK (AP) — The Dow Jones industrial average plunged more than 1,100 points Monday as stocks took their worst loss in six and a half years. Two days of steep losses have erased the market’s gains from the start of this year and ended a period of record-setting calm for stocks.

Banks fared the worst as bond yields and interest rates nosedived. Health care, technology and industrial companies all took outsize losses and energy companies sank with oil prices.

(Markets Edition) As the markets tumble, we'll check in with economist Julia Coronado from Macropolicy Perspectives about why we shouldn't be panicking. Afterwards, we'll look at the Fed's order to have Wells Fargo kick off four members from its board, and then discuss the push to have the Family and Medical Leave Act provide more paid time off for employees. 

Saturday will mark Janet Yellen's last day at the Federal Reserve. Jerome Powell, who often goes by the name Jay, will be sworn in as the new Federal Reserve chair on Monday. But how did Powell come to be nominated by President Donald Trump in the first place? According to Josh Zumbrun, national economics correspondent for the Wall Street Journal, that story spans multiple presidencies and involves feuding congressmen, a formula to set monetary policy and the Swedes. He launched a Twitter thread about it ...

FMLA celebrates 25th anniversary

Feb 5, 2018

The Family Medical Leave Act was signed into law a quarter of a century ago today. It was an important step in granting American workers time to care for newborns or sick loved ones. Now, though, U.S. support for families lags behind most developed countries, but there is momentum to update the program. 

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

Why does Costco sell luxury items?

Feb 5, 2018

This is just one of the stories from our "I've Always Wondered" series, where we tackle all of your questions about the world of business, no matter how big or small. Ever wondered if recycling is worth it? Or how store brands stack up against name brands? What do you wonder?

(U.S. Edition) Friday's weak showing for stocks — the weakest day for stocks of the Trump presidency — is contributing to drops around the world. We'll hear more from Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets, about what could be going on. Afterwards, we'll look at why the January jobs report — which showed American workers were getting paid more — might not be as positive as it seems.

Where millennials stand on immigration

Feb 5, 2018

The Trump administration's hard-line stance on immigration over the past year has led to fierce disagreement between Republicans and Democrats, even playing a major role in January's government shutdown

(Global Edition) From the BBC World Service … Brexit is causing political turmoil with talk that Prime Minister Theresa May could be removed by her own party. We’ll bring you the latest on U.K.-EU divorce talks. Then, the heir to Samsung has been freed from prison after a year behind bars. Afterwards, a journey to South Korea where, despite facing corruption allegations and mounting pressure to  step down, the country’s president still remains in office. We’ll explain what’s next for party leaders who are meeting today to discuss their next move.

When companies choose not to go public, does that hurt the public?

Feb 5, 2018

Market volatility aside, Dropbox probably is going public in 2018Airbnb is apparently not.  Stripe, SpaceX, WeWork, Slack … maybe?

Market volatility aside, why does a company decide to go public?  Is it just to repay investors, or is it about scaling the product, or is it about having a big branding event? Marketplace Tech host Molly Wood talks with venture capitalist Annie Lamont about why tech companies decide to go public, and why fewer are taking the leap. 

More than 100 million people will watch the New England Patriots battle the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LII on Sunday. Between the action (and the queso, wings and beers) NBC is sure to give viewers a shot of the owner’s box. On one side, the Patriots’ Robert Kraft, a guy who made his money in paper and packaging. On the other side, Jeffrey Lurie, whose grandfather founded General Cinema. Their teams are opponents, but the owners have one thing in common — they’re white men. Ownership in the National Football League is almost exclusively made up of guys like them.

02/02/2018: Markets go down, too (and that's OK)

Feb 2, 2018

You hear us say it all the time: The stock market is not the economy. That's especially true today, as the Dow took a steep dive just after a really great jobs report. We'll talk about it on the Weekly Wrap. Then: We're gonna dig into wages, because the 2.9 percent growth we saw last month was a big deal after years of stagnation. Plus: When you watch the Super Bowl this weekend, take a look at the owners boxes: full of white guys, like nearly every team in the NFL. But why?

02/02/18: Immigration, ideas and ice cream

Feb 2, 2018

This week, we take on three of the most important I's in life: immigration, ideas and, of course, ice cream. We dive into an online program businesses use to check someone's immigration status and look at its successes and pitfalls. Plus, ever wondered what it takes to patent an idea? We try to do just that with a dog translator. Also, we speak with a Ben & Jerry's "flavor guru" about working as an ice cream taste tester (dreams can come true). And a farewell to Janet Yellen, with a look at her legacy and the path she paved for female economists.

Did you know it's a federal crime to release a bird into a house in order to scare another bird out of the house?

We wouldn’t without the Twitter account @CrimeADay. For the past few years, Mike Chase has combed through the thousands of laws Congress has passed that have criminal consequences, and the hundreds of thousands of regulations that federal bureaucrats have written to implement those laws. Then he tweets about one obscure federal crime every day.

02/02/2018: The Super Bowl food wars

Feb 2, 2018

(Markets Edition) The Labor Department released its jobs report for the month of January, revealing that the economy added 200,000 new jobs and that wages are up about a third of a percent. Chris Low, chief economist with FTN Financial, joined us to discuss whether this wage growth is significant and why it's happening. Afterwards, we'll look at how the Super Bowl rivalry between the New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles is extending to food establishments. Some places in Philadelphia and Boston are taking each other's foods of their menus.

Here is the truth about wages that you won’t hear from Trump

Feb 2, 2018

When he delivered his first State of the Union speech on Tuesday, President Donald Trump pointed to growing wages as a sign of the strong state of the U.S. economy. However, while we are finally starting to see some signs that wages are going up, many workers are still not seeing the effect on their paychecks.

U.S. added 200,000 jobs in January, pay up by most in 8 years

Feb 2, 2018

This story was updated at 7:55 a.m. CT.

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. employers added a robust 200,000 jobs in January, and wages rose at the fastest pace in more than eight years, evidence of a consistently healthy job market.

The pay gains suggest that employers are increasingly competing for a limited pool of workers. Raises stemming from Republican tax cuts and minimum wage increases in 18 states also likely boosted pay last month.

(U.S. Edition) With the Labor Department set to release the January jobs report soon, we'll look at the pace of economic recovery. It's been improving for years, but how long can that pace keep up? Afterwards, we'll talk about the uncertainties facing the oil market, and then discuss how insurers are handling the opioid epidemic.

Around 5 a.m. the morning after the Eagles won the NFC Championship, Dottie’s Donuts in Philadelphia decided it would not make one of its top sellers: the Boston Creme.

On Sunday, the New England Patriots will go up against the Philadelphia Eagles in the Super Bowl in Minneapolis. Businesses in both their home towns have identified a business opportunity: taking their rival cities’ products off their shelves or, in some cases, replacing them with tongue-in-cheek versions.

The pace of job creation has been slowing

Feb 2, 2018

The pace of job creation has declined every year since a post-recession peak of 250,000 per month in 2014. Last year, job creation was down to about 170,000 per month. And it could slow even more over the next couple of years. That’s because with unemployment so low, employers are having a harder time finding available workers. Baby Boomers are retiring and population growth is slower today than it was in the past.

(Global Edition) From the BBC World Service… Japanese regulators raided Coincheck’s offices this morning, a week after hackers stole nearly $500 million from the cryptocurrency exchange. Does this spell the beginning of a larger global regulatory crackdown on crypto? Then, Britain’s prime minister, Theresa May, concluded her diplomatic trip to China this week by bringing home more than $12 billion in deals with the promise of creating more than 2,000 jobs. But will that help bolster U.K. citizens’ diminishing confidence in her post-Brexit abilities?

This week, Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and JP Morgan decided they want to get into the health care business, forming a nonprofit that could provide insurance for their employees. This made us wonder: why does Amazon, which began as a retailer, think it can solve the problems of health care? And what is not in the scope of its ambition?  In our regular segment, Quality Assurance, where we take a second look at a news story of the week, Marketplace Tech host Molly Wood talks about it with Alexander Nazaryan, Senior Writer for Newsweek.

In Britain, the Army is defending a much-criticized recent recruitment campaign that focused on the emotional support given to soldiers.

The campaign ads reassured potential recruits that it was OK to express their feelings. In addition, it stressed that Muslim and gay people would be very welcome to enlist.

The Army says the ads were designed to promote inclusiveness and sensitivity towards the feelings of others. Military leaders say a less macho approach is badly-needed to tackle a serious recruitment crisis.

In Britain, the Army is defending a much-criticized recent recruitment campaign that focused on the emotional support given to soldiers.

The campaign ads reassured potential recruits that it was OK to express their feelings. In addition, it stressed that Muslim and gay people would be very welcome to enlist.

The Army says the ads were designed to promote inclusiveness and sensitivity towards the feelings of others. Military leaders say a less macho approach is badly-needed to tackle a serious recruitment crisis.

02/01/2018: Unintended consequences

Feb 1, 2018

With all the drama in Washington these days, you may have missed another deadline looming soon: the federal debt limit. While the government shutdown a couple of weeks ago was about Congress failing to approve new money to pay for government services, the debt ceiling limits how much the Treasury can borrow to pay what we already owe. Thanks to the new tax law, we might hit that ceiling a little sooner than expected. Plus, we'll bring you the latest from Facebook and an excerpt from our podcast The Uncertain Hour. 

A new Texas law took effect this year: SB 4. Under SB 4, if local law enforcement officers don’t cooperate with federal immigration agents, they’re breaking the law. So it’s now illegal to be a sanctuary city in Texas. A number of sheriffs in metropolitan area, including Dallas and Houston, have said they still won’t hand over undocumented people to federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents. But what about people without legal citizenship out in the countryside? Many people there are facing the new reality of living in fear.