Illinois Economy

Business and economic news

(Markets Edition) The Fed didn't raise interest rates at its meeting this week, but they're priming folks to expect one in March. Dine Swonk, chief economist at the accounting firm Grant Thornton, joined us to discuss why they're likely to do a hike, along with what we should expect from the January jobs report. Afterwards, we'll look at a possible join venture between Google-Alphabet and the state oil company Aramco.

Jerome Powell will officially take over the Federal Reserve on Saturday, replacing Fed Chair Janet Yellen. Powell used to work at the Carlyle Group — a private equity firm — and as a Treasury Department official for the first George Bush administration (though note: he's not an economist). 

As the world’s largest cities face huge shifts in how people get around, disruptive tech transportation companies seek the best routes to integrating new solutions with existing infrastructure.

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02/01/2018: Is the Fed on the right path?

Feb 1, 2018

(U.S. Edition) The Fed has unanimously approved Jerome Powell to be the new chair of the Federal Reserve, replacing Janet Yellen. Josh Bivens, director of research at the Economic Policy Institute, joined us to discuss the type of Fed that Powell will be inheriting. Afterwards, we'll look at India's decision to unveil a new annual budget — which promises $225 billion in rural investment — and then discuss how 15 of the world's leading transportation and tech companies are signing an agreement to keep cities livable.

On Tuesday night, President Donald Trump used his State of the Union speech to lay out his immigration plan. The four pillars of his plan include a path to citizenship for 1.8 million Dreamers brought to the U.S. by their parents, securing the U.S. borders, ending the visa lottery and ending “chain migration” by limiting sponsorship to just immediate family members.

(Global Edition) From the BBC World Service … Rural areas and agriculture are a big focus of India’s 2018 budget. We’ll explain the details of the prime minister’s election-year plan. Then, nearly a dozen nations have agreed to advance annual contributions to the U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees after the U.S. partially cut off its funding. But will it be enough to continue efforts to run schools and clinics in the region? Afterwards, we’ll take you to Ethiopia where global warming and El Niño are blamed for a sugar shortage. 

We're looking at the media streaming landscape for live events. Why is it possible to watch television on some devices but not all? Why can some of us watch NFL games while out in the world, but not all of us? Because, hey, you might happen to be in the yarn aisle at a Michael’s and want to stream an NFL game. That happened to Marketplace Tech host Molly Wood. She talks with Joan Solsman, a senior reporter at CNET, about why she couldn’t. 

President Donald Trump made a lot of economic claims during his first State of the Union address Tuesday night. His points on regulation were not new, but they stuck out nonetheless.

"In our drive to make Washington accountable, we have eliminated more regulations in our first year than any administration in the history of our country," Trump said.

CDC director resigns over investments

Jan 31, 2018

Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald resigned from her post as acting director of the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention. This came after a report in Politico which detailed a series of stock purchases made by Fitzgerald, including shares of tobacco companies.

Prices for West Texas crude oil are hovering around $65 a barrel. That’s more than twice the price at this time just two years ago. Oil companies, including major players like Exxon Mobil and Chevron, have let investors know they’re increasing production, specifically in Texas’ Permian Basin, where output has tripled in the past three years. What does this increased output means for America’s ability to assert influence in the global oil and gas market?

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While new data show the rate of homeowners has risen around the nation — the highest jump since 2004 — that boost hasn’t been felt in cities where the market is particularly tight. 

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We are finally starting to see some signs that the tight labor market is pushing up wages. New numbers out today from the Department of Labor show wages and salaries in the private sector are up 2.8 percent from this time last year. That doesn’t leave too much extra cash for workers once you factor in inflation, but it’s the best number we’ve seen on this since early 2015. It does have some wondering, with such low unemployment, what took so long?

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In the wake of a mass shooting, victim needs can range from intensive medical care to figuring out how to reclaim personal items, like a wallet and car keys, from the crime scene. Supporting victims through their short- and long-term recovery can be an ongoing challenge for communities, many of which have never had to deal with a tragedy of this nature.  

Donations: Who gets what?

Warren Buffett, of Berkshire Hathaway; Jeff Bezos, of Amazon; and Jamie Dimon, of JPMorgan Chase, announced they would form a health care company together. We thought it was a perfect time to revisit this interview.

We talked with Buffett back in 2012 about Dimon, the business decisions he regrets, and yes, eating Oreos for breakfast. Buffett had recently released a book with Carol Loomis, a longtime financial journalist who had covered Buffett's career. She joined him for this interview. 

CDC director resigns over financial conflicts

Jan 31, 2018

NEW YORK  (AP) — U.S. officials have announced that the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has resigned because of financial conflicts of interest.

Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald had been in the job since July.

A statement Wednesday from the Department of Health and Human Services said Fitzgerald’s complex financial interests had caused conflicts of interest that made it difficult to do her job. Alex Azar, who was sworn in as head of the department Monday, accepted her resignation.

01/31/2018: Trump's tone softens on trade

Jan 31, 2018

(Markets Edition) We're continuing our debrief of Trump's State of the Union speech by chatting with Ian Bremmer, founder of the Eurasia Group. He's here to explain why President Trump's trade rhetoric wasn't as heated as it usually is. Afterwards, we'll look at how the budding health care alliance between Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JP Morgan Chase could control costs for companies. 

President Donald Trump's trade rhetoric during his State of the Union speech last night wasn't as heated as you might have expected. 

While he took a hard line on issues like immigration (he said we have a broken system where single immigrants can bring "virtually unlimited numbers of distant relatives"), his tone toward trade was a bit more muted compared to previous statements he's made on the subject.  

GOP donors are revitalized by Republican successes

Jan 31, 2018

Today is the deadline for congressional candidates to file year-end finance reports with the Federal Elections Commission. So far, it’s been a record-breaking fundraising year for Republicans.

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The Waymo vs. Uber driverless car war lands in court

Jan 31, 2018

Waymo claims a former employee took trade secrets to rival Uber. The intellectual property dispute could have implications for a range of industries.

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(Global Edition) From the BBC World Service… President Trump’s first State of the Union might have been light on details around his calls for fair and reciprocal trade deals. But the lack of specificity or talk of a trade war with China was relief for the business community in Asia. Then, although the Federal Reserve isn’t expected to raise rates at the end of its two-day policy meeting today, Wall Street is closely watching for signs more than three rate increases will come by the end of the year.

01/31/2018: The promising drug for Alzheimer's

Jan 31, 2018

(U.S. Edition) President Trump spent part of his State of the Union speech last night talking about the need for infrastructure funding, saying he needs at least $1.5 trillion. On today's show, we'll look at where this money might come from and when his official plan will be released. Afterwards, we'll look at how researchers see promise in some anti-diabetes drugs that could reduce memory loss and improve cognitive ability for those suffering from Alzheimer's. 

Could antenna fatigue be holding up 5G technology?

Jan 31, 2018

Earlier this week there was a brief kerfuffle over whether the American government should pay to build the next generation of wireless, known as 5G, so that China doesn't beat us to the punch. The Federal Communications Commission came forward and said, no, the government would not nationalize 5G. But it made us wonder: Is the U.S.

The next generation of wireless infrastructure is known as 5G. And it could have implications for not just how fast our phones get data, but also for driverless car infrastructure, and our ability to communicate in virtual reality. How close are we to having the 5G infrastructure in place, and what are the hold ups? Marketplace Tech host Molly Wood talks with Sundeep Rangan, director of the research center NYU WIRELESS, and a professor of electrical engineering.

Another topic expected to come up in tonight’s State of the Union speech is immigration. The Trump administration has put out a framework for resolving the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program question. Undocumented immigrants who arrived as children would get a path to citizenship over 10 to 12 years. In exchange for $25 billion for the border wall … and a significant reduction in legal immigration. By one estimate the plan would cut the number of green cards by 22 million over the next five decades. What that could mean for the economy?

Inside social media's black market

Jan 30, 2018

If you want to gain thousands of followers on Twitter overnight, it is not that hard. A company called Devumi can do just that for you — you just have to pay for it.

One of the biggest puzzles for public transit organizations usually isn’t how to get people from one bus stop or train station to the next — it’s how to get them all the way home. This is called the last mile problem and it turns out it’s a big challenge for package delivery too. Working separately to solve the problem, the two industries are coming up with similar solutions.  

... and walk out running a health care company. Together they employ about a million people, and it appears health care was driving them nuts. They're starting their own company that will give coverage "free from profit-making incentives and constraints." We'll start today by trying to make sense of it all. Then: Janet Yellen is presiding over her last Federal Open Market Committee meeting this week, so we'll take a look at her economic legacy. Plus: inside the black market for Twitter followers.

Adrian Henderson was out buying shoes for his daughter when he spotted a white RV in the mall parking lot marked “mobile job center.” It’s run by the public library — picture a bookmobile for jobs. Inside, there’s a bank of computers for printing resumes and applying for openings online.

Henderson, 49, lost his job in December and was looking for work in security.

“The market is certainly there,” he said. “But I guess sometimes it’s who you know and not what you know, so it’s just been tough for me right about now.”

Pittsburgh's influential but brief role in the Black Renaissance

Jan 30, 2018

For a handful of decades in the middle of the 20th century, Pittsburgh — yes, Pittsburgh — was a nexus for the Black Renaissance. Influential musicians like Lena Horne and Billy Strayhorn passed through, so did sports figures like Joe Louis and Jackie Robinson. And the Pittsburgh Courier, the local black newspaper, was read across the country.

Trump's State of the Union: Our predictions

Jan 30, 2018

As we await President Donald Trump’s first State of the Union tonight, the Marketplace team has been thinking about what the president might say — and what he might not say. From the economy to immigration, jobs to education, here are some of the things that we’ll be listening for tonight.

Nancy Marshall-Genzer, senior reporter, D.C. bureau