Illinois Economy

Business and economic news

(Global Edition) From the BBC World Service … Walmart might be about to make its biggest-ever acquisition, and it doesn’t involve online shopping. Then, four African economies are among the most improved in promoting gender equality, according to a new report from the World Bank. There’s a lot to celebrate … but a lot to improve, too. Afterward, a look at the ever-changing makeup market. 

How the future of self-driving cars looks in Arizona

Mar 30, 2018

A self-driving Uber car struck and killed a pedestrian last week in Arizona. The state, which welcomed autonomous vehicle testing with the promise of little regulation, has suspended Uber’s Arizona operations. Uber had already voluntarily stopped all self-driving activities after the accident. Marketplace Tech host Jon Gordon spoke with reporter Jimmy Jenkins of public radio station KJZZ in Tempe, Arizona, to take a second look at how self-driving cars will be regulated. The following is an edited transcript of their conversation. 

A self-driving Uber car struck and killed a pedestrian last week in Arizona. The state, which welcomed autonomous vehicle testing with the promise of little regulation, has suspended Uber’s Arizona operations. Uber had already voluntarily stopped all self-driving activities after the accident. Marketplace Tech host Jon Gordon spoke with reporter Jimmy Jenkins of public radio station KJZZ in Tempe, Arizona, to take a second look at how self-driving cars will be regulated.

Facebook plans to end partnerships with data brokers

Mar 29, 2018

Facebook knows a lot about its users — their searches, their likes, even their chat history. But data brokers have information Facebook doesn't. 

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

How are sports fines set?

Mar 29, 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?

... about who controls it or where it all goes. OK, that's not great poetry, but it is a pretty good business model. Even Facebook couldn't get enough. The embattled company was getting consumer data from outside brokers until this week, when it announced it won't let advertisers use them. We'll kick off today's show by explaining the world of data brokers, along with the latest news from the latest White House Infrastructure Week. Plus: It's opening day for Major League Baseball, so we're looking at fines in sports. Sometimes they're peanuts, sometimes not so much. Who decides?

The Environmental Protection Agency has said it will soon make a big change to the way it vets science, something powerful industries have been seeking for a generation. Critics suspect a trick to undermine legitimate studies that are the basis for current regulations on air, water, toxic chemicals, pesticides and climate.

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt in a recent interview stated that academic studies the agency relies on will have to be more transparent and show their work.

How sanctions might actually develop North Korea's economy

Mar 29, 2018

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is set to meet with South Korean president Moon Jae-in at a village on the border between the two Koreas on April 27. 

This will be the third time since the Korean War ended in 1953 that the leaders from these two countries will meet face-to-face. The key item on the agenda: denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. 

And North Korea might actually listen, given the danger that nuclear weapons pose to them, according to Georgetown University adjunct professor Bill Brown. 

03/29/2018: Skipping work to catch the game?

Mar 29, 2018

(Markets Edition) With Trump expected to speak about infrastructure in Ohio later today, we'll talk with Diane Swonk — chief economist at the accounting firm Grant Thornton — about the problems she sees with his proposals. Next, we'll discuss how Atlanta's cyberattack may have begun, and then we'll look at what opening day for Major League Baseball means for workplace attendance. 

For baseball fans, opening day at the ballpark means an introduction to the players. It’s the season’s first taste of a stadium hot dog,  And, for some? A reason to call in sick from work. So what are employers doing to keep workers at the office?

Click the above audio player to hear the full story.

Puerto Rico austerity plan faces hurdles

Mar 29, 2018

Six months after Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico’s governor is pushing an austerity plan he hopes will turn things around in the bankrupt U.S. commonwealth. He reckons the plan would allow the bankrupt U.S. commonwealth to pay back half of the principal on its debt — which includes more than $70 billion in bond debt and $50 billion in pension liabilities.  But the cuts could be painful.

Click the above audio player to hear the full story.

(U.S. Edition) President Trump will speak in Ohio later today to tout his infrastructure plan, which had been delayed in recent weeks. On today's show, we'll look at what we can expect to hear from him. Afterwards, we'll discuss how Puerto Rico's governor plans to tackle the island's debt — which will include some painful cuts. Afterwards, we'll hear from Georgetown University professor Bill Brown on how sanctions might actually help develop North Korea. 

(Global Edition) From the BBC World Service …there are just 365 days to go until Britain leaves the European Union, but citizens across the country still have basic questions like: Will they be able to freely travel, and how will their wallets be impacted? We chat with some of them today. Then, call it a gin-aissance … global demand for the classically British spirit is still booming. And it’s a trend that’s helped lift not just gin sales, but tonic and mixer sales, too. But what happens when the boozy bubble finally bursts? We’re on the case. 

The most profitable part of Amazon's business has nothing to do with retail. A huge chunk of the internet is powered by Amazon Web Services, ranging from Pinterest to Buzzfeed to Netflix. The thing is, cloud computing is hard, and lots of companies are turning to Amazon to make it happen. But what are the downsides? Marketplace Tech host Molly Wood talks about it with Lily Hay Newman, who covers security for Wired.

Facebook announced a group of changes Wednesday designed to make it easier for users to manage their privacy and find out how their data is being used. The changes are intended to rebuild users’ trust in the social network after the Cambridge Analytica scandal. But they may be more of a Band-Aid than a fix. 

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

03/28/2018: Stuck in the middle of tariffs

Mar 28, 2018

The South Korea trade deal we were talking about has finally gone through, and there's a lot in there: cars, currency manipulation and steel. South Korea gets out from under the steel tariffs that went into effect last Friday in return for limiting how much it sends here. The "here" in this case happens to be just 6 miles from Marketplace headquarters in Los Angeles. We went to Hannibal Industries, where 300 employees use imported steel to manufacture pallet racks you see at places like Costco.

Why the U.S. needs foreign steel imports

Mar 28, 2018

This week, the United States and South Korea, the third-largest steel exporter to the U.S., formally announced a trade agreement. The deal cuts South Korea's average annual steel exports to the U.S. by 30 percent and exempts that country from the 25 percent steel tariff announced by the Trump administration earlier this month.

China's post-Lunar New Year job exodus

Mar 28, 2018

At a job fair in a mid-level Shanghai hotel called Huaxia, more than a hundred job hunters mill around dozens of booths set up by eager employers.

Some recruiters are so fired up, they’re grabbing job seekers in the hallways outside.

“You looking for a job?” a woman calls out to bewildered job seekers.

“Come and see what we have,” another man says.

March and April are a busy time for recruiters. Some companies want to expand their business following the Lunar New Year and they need more workers. At the same time, some employees are looking for a change.

Today, second banana. Tomorrow, CEO?

Mar 28, 2018

The chief operating officer could be called the "second banana" position to the CEO, but it's often seen as a stepping stone to that top job. And while the COO position is most commonly held by men in the United States, as with the CEO, there's been an uptick in the number of women taking that critical COO position at high-performing tech companies. That's according to Leigh Gallagher, editor at Fortune. She says think Sheryl Sandberg at Facebook. Could this be the beginning of a Silicon Valley with more female CEOs? Or is something else going on here?

Silicon Valley could be two years away from having a bunch of female CEOs

Mar 28, 2018

In C-suites across the country, there are still more male CEOs than female CEOs and more male COOs — chief operating officers — than female COOs. But Leigh Gallagher, editor at large for Fortune magazine says there's a trend worth watching in Silicon Valley — the rise of the female COO at tech companies like Facebook, Airbnb, and Pinterest.

(Markets Edition) We have preliminary figure on the rate at which the economy grew in the last quarter of 2017, and it's one that beat expectations: 2.9 percent. Susan Schmidt, senior vice president at Westwood Holdings Group, joined us to give some context about the number and why the markets aren't jazzed about it. Afterwards, we'll talk about the next phase of Walgreen's business plans following its Rite Aid purchase last fall, and then discuss how rural areas are coping with hospital closures. 

Walgreens may shutter hundreds of Rite Aid stores this spring. The drugstore giant bought more than 1,900 stores from its rival last fall. And Walgreen says it still plans to close about a third of them. So what benefits will the company get from that plan?

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

Gene editing for fresher fruit, leaner pigs

Mar 28, 2018

Monsanto and other agribusinesses are spending millions to develop gene-editing techniques to ensure longer shelf life and better taste. Many people balk at GMOs. Will they be hungry for gene-edited foods?

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

Rural hospitals in Tennessee have been some of the most stressed in the country. Eight communities are getting used to life after losing their only hospital, and more facilities are teetering. So health officials are exploring options and pointing to the town of Hohenwald, which has made do without a hospital for two decades.

03/28/2018: Editing the genes in our food

Mar 28, 2018

(U.S. Edition) Tech stocks got crushed yesterday, despite their recovery on Monday. We'll examine what's going on in this sector, and why this is spreading to European markets. Afterwards, we'll look at the rise of genetically edited organisms — different from genetically modified organisms — where technology snips out or rearranges a crop's existing genes. Plus: We explore why meat consumption is expected to hit a new record this year in the U.S. 

Seeking what he called “clean” food, Alexander Minnelli chose ProteinHouse, one of the newer restaurants on Kansas City’s Main Street, one recent day for lunch.

The bodybuilder ordered a Greek Bowl, which was topped with a “natural” turkey burger, produced without antibiotics.

“It’s a turkey burger with brown rice, some low-fat feta cheese, like a salad, but it’s a Mediterranean salad because … there’s olives,” he said.

(Global Edition) From the BBC World Service … A secret meeting between China and North Korea revealed: What leaders of both countries hope to gain from talks ahead of a highly anticipated summit this spring between America and the North. Then, the head of the World Trade Organization told the BBC this morning: We’re not in the midst of a global trade war yet, but we are seeing the first signs of one on the horizon. Afterward, a look how more African brands are making their mark in the luxury goods category. 

Why Facebook thinks you know these random people

Mar 28, 2018

Facebook’s data collection habits have been an eye opener for many in the past few weeks, with users learning how little control they have over their data. And Facebook isn’t just collecting data to figure out who you are, but also who you know and who your friends know. Marketplace Tech host Molly Wood spoke with Kashmir Hill, who covers privacy and tech for Gizmodo, to explain the so-called shadow profiles on Facebook.  

03/28/2018: What your shadow profile says about you

Mar 28, 2018

Facebook’s data collection habits have been an eye opener for many in the past few weeks, with users learning how little control they have over their data. And Facebook isn’t just collecting data to figure out who you are, but also who you know and who your friends know. Marketplace Tech host Molly Wood spoke with Kashmir Hill, who covers privacy and tech for Gizmodo, to explain the so-called shadow profiles on Facebook.  

Every 10 years, the government takes an accounting of us. Ideally, every one of us. And that population count — the U.S. Census — determines a lot of things, like how many seats your state has in the House of Representatives, and how much federal money is doled out to local communities for important services like foster care and Medicaid. Last night, the Department of Commerce said it would add a question about citizenship to the 2020 census. Several states are filing suit, concerned that fewer immigrants will participate. 

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