Illinois Economy

Business and economic news

Almost 40 million people in the United States have a disability, according to 2015 U.S. Census figures, but the language used around disabilities can be a mystery, fraught with acronyms and legalese. We’ve defined a few of those terms to help you navigate the world of disabilities.

Antonio Godinez Vera makes his living turning golden kernels of Mexican corn into a mash that becomes tortillas. People like Godinez, a small business owner with four employees, are part of a wave that could power Andrés Manuel López Obrador to the Mexican presidency when voters elect a new head of state on July 1.

Oil prices are a bit of a paradox right now

Jun 22, 2018

(Markets Edition) OPEC is set to pump a lot more oil, which should bring down its price. But it turns out it's soaring — the benchmark for crude in New York is up. We'll hear from Chris Low, chief economist at FTN Financial, about some possible explanations. Afterwards, we'll look at the government's plan to privatize the mortgage firms Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and then we'll discuss how people with disabilities are finding more work in a tight labor market.

As the job market improves and unemployment keeps falling, more people are finding work for the first time or getting back to work after long bouts of unemployment. That includes, in particular, people with disabilities.

The nation’s largest movie theater chain, AMC, is getting into the subscription service game. Starting next week, the company will offer passes for about $20 a month that get people in to see three movies per week.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

Practically before the ink was dry on its merger with Time Warner, AT&T announced a new streaming service called WatchTV. At $15 a month, it’s a lower-cost alternative to AT&T’s other streaming service, DirecTV Now. WatchTV is a pared-down bundle of channels that you typically see on cable TV, including Time Warner’s CNN and Cartoon Network. 

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

Today's the day the EU slaps tariffs on U.S. goods

Jun 22, 2018

(U.S. Edition) Europe is charging a penalty fee on a suite of U.S.-made goods, which include cranberries, peanut butter and orange juice. We'll look at when the tariffs will hit consumers and producers. Afterwards, we'll discuss AT&T's new streaming video service, WatchTV, which costs $15 a month, and then we'll chat with Spencer Dale — chief economist at BP — about his company's latest review of world energy use.

One paw-ssible solution to stress at work

Jun 22, 2018

(Global Edition) From the BBC World Service … Aviation giant Airbus has issued a dire warning to the UK government this morning saying a no-deal Brexit scenario could be “catastrophic” for the company. Then, voters in Turkey head to the polls on Sunday after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan moved up elections by a year and a half. But with increased focus on the country’s rapid inflation and devalued currency…the outcome is looking more uncertain by the day.  Afterwards, is your boss's bark worse than his bite?

YouTube tries to make nice with its creators

Jun 22, 2018

YouTube has had a bad year. One of its biggest stars, Logan Paul, filmed the body of a suicide victim. Advertisers boycotted over inappropriate content, and parents panicked over violent and sexual videos showing up in the site’s kids' channel. Competition is also growing. Facebook is building a system to connect influencers with brands. And Instagram launched new video tools on Wednesday. So on Thursday YouTube's chief product officer, Neal Mohan, announced new ways for YouTube creators to make money.

YouTube tries to make nice with creators

Jun 22, 2018

YouTube has had a bad year. One of its biggest stars, Logan Paul, filmed the body of a suicide victim. Advertisers boycotted over inappropriate content, and parents panicked over violent and sexual videos showing up in the site’s kids’ channel. Competition is also growing. Facebook is building a system to connect influencers with brands. And Instagram launched new video tools on Wednesday. So on Thursday, YouTube's chief product officer, Neal Mohan, announced new ways for YouTube creators to make money.

Navigating the objection phase of the tariff exemption process

Jun 21, 2018

This week, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross announced the first official exemptions and rejections for companies that applied for exclusions from steel and aluminum tariffs. For seven lucky companies, that means they'll get to stop paying the tariffs on specific imports — 25 percent for steel and 10 percent for aluminum.

How Trump's immigration policy is hurting commerce at the border

Jun 21, 2018

In Brownsville, Texas, the neighboring city Matamoros, in Tamaulipas, Mexico, is just a 10-minute walk away. As the Trump administration's immigration policy causes tension nationally, Brownsville's local economy feels its effects first hand. Marketplace’s Andy Uhler spent some time on both sides of the border and talked with host Kai Ryssdal about what he saw. The following is an edited transcript of their conversation.

Germany automakers are looking for a better trade deal

Jun 21, 2018

Steel and aluminum have been getting most of the tariff coverage, but automakers, specifically European carmakers, are getting some attention on their willingness to negotiate tariffs on U.S.-imported vehicles. Marketplace host Kai Ryssdal talked to William Boston, reporter from the Wall Street Journal, about the proposal and how that is going to play in the global car market. 

Kai Ryssdal: What is the proposal that does seem to be on the table here then?

In a 5-to-4 decision in the case of South Dakota v. Wayfair, the Supreme Court majority ruled that South Dakota can require online retailers that do not have a physical presence in the state to collect state sales tax on purchases by state residents.

OPEC meetings are underway in Vienna, and for now, indications are that oil-producing countries will agree to lift some of the production limits they set 18 months ago. We look into how any changes out of the OPEC summit could ripple through the global economy.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

More and more women have been willing to speak out about harassment and assault in the workplace since the #MeToo movement began last fall. And employers want to ensure they have no reason to do so – mainly for liability reasons. That's why they’ve begun to feel more wary about hiring, as Corinne Jones can attest.

Do you think the Supreme Court shops online?

Jun 21, 2018

We're asking because today a narrow majority ruled that online shoppers have to pay state sales tax, even if the business doesn’t have a physical presence in the state. We'll talk about what that means for companies like Wayfair, the defendant in this case, and consumers. Then we'll bring you the latest on gas prices for the summer. Plus: Brownsville, Texas, is just a 10-minute walk from Matamoros, a city in Tamaulipas, Mexico. As the Trump administration's immigration policy causes tension nationally, Brownsville's local economy feels its effects firsthand.

That's what Kansas Senator Pat Roberts said to Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross at Wednesday's Finance Committee hearing. He also asked if Ross would personally call one of his constituents, Mike Bergmeier, who works at a company that makes agricultural equipment in Hutchinson, Kansas. Ross promised to call Bergmeier and he kept that promise. We also gave Bergmeier a call to see what he had to say about steel tariff exemptions in the agriculture industry.

Supreme Court rules for states in online sales tax case

Jun 21, 2018

The Supreme Court says states can force online shoppers to pay sales tax.

The 5-4 ruling Thursday is a win for states, who said they were losing out on billions of dollars annually under two decades-old Supreme Court decisions that impacted online sales tax collection.

When companies take a stand on immigration

Jun 21, 2018

(Markets Edition) Stocks are down right now for several German car companies, including Daimler, BMW and Volkswagen. The likely cause: tariff threats. Diane Swonk, chief economist at the consulting and accounting firm Grant Thornton, explains how these tariff decisions aren't accounting for our global supply chain. Afterwards, we'll look at how several corporations are pushing back against the Trump administration's immigration policies.

Another government shutdown might be around the corner

Jun 21, 2018

The U.S. already had one government shutdown earlier this year, now we might be headed toward another this October. 

OPEC poised to shift oil agreements

Jun 21, 2018

Representatives from oil producing nations are in Vienna for the biannual OPEC summit. The organization’s most recent agreement capped production. But demand is soaring, so some significant changes could come out of this round of meetings. That’s because of varying goals among oil producing countries.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

(U.S. Edition) Reps from oil-producing countries are meeting for the bi-annual OPEC summit, and it has the potential to turn sour. We'll look at the varying goals these nations have and the geopolitical factors that could complicate this meeting. Afterwards, we'll discuss reports that the Trump administration is planning to combine the U.S.

(Global Edition) From the BBC World Service … New retaliatory measures are aimed at the U.S., this time from India in response to steel and aluminium tariffs. Then, it’s a big day for Greece as its creditors are expected to unveil an economic road map for the country’s third bailout. Afterwards, roads, railways, and bridges were supposed to form the foundations of a prosperous economy in Zambia. But the country has borrowed too much too quickly and now it’s in trouble.

Is the e-scooter craze more bubble than business?

Jun 21, 2018

Venture capitalists have invested hundreds of millions of dollars in scooters — electric scooters, specifically. On a sunny day in San Francisco, they're clogging every sidewalk. Lime and Bird are the two best-known options. They also operate in Santa Monica, California; Washington, D.C.; Austin, Texas; and Atlanta. You use an app to check out a scooter, GPS tracks your location and you just drop it anywhere when you're done with it. There's speculation that Uber or Lyft will buy one of the bigger companies since both have invested in electric bikes. Bird is being valued at $2 billion.

Is the e-scooter craze more bubble than business?

Jun 21, 2018

Venture capitalists have invested hundreds of millions of dollars in scooters — electric scooters, specifically. On a sunny day in San Francisco, they're clogging every sidewalk. Lime and Bird are the two best-known options. They also operate in Santa Monica, California; Washington, D.C.; Austin, Texas; and Atlanta. You use an app to check out a scooter, GPS tracks your location and you just drop it anywhere when you're done with it. There's speculation that Uber or Lyft will buy one of the bigger companies since both have invested in electric bikes.

Earlier this year, corporate titans Jeff Bezos, Warren Buffett and Jamie Dimon announced they would team up to form a new health care company. Their mission: Improve health and save a few bucks for the 1 million people who work for Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase. Today we learned that Atul Gawande will lead this still-to-be-named venture. Gawande is an accomplished surgeon, a Harvard professor, a staff writer at the New Yorker and a best-selling author.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

With NBA picks, data can only take you so far

Jun 20, 2018

The NBA draft takes place tomorrow in Brooklyn, when teams make big bets on young players, hoping they might been the next LeBron James or Steph Curry, that once-in-a-generation player who can transform a team's fortunes. But these players are notoriously risky investments.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

How a red-hot housing market made Zillow a media company

Jun 20, 2018

A few years before the financial crisis hit, Spencer Rascoff was among the entrepreneurs who started a new website devoted to real estate. They named it Zillow, and it was meant to hold all the data and information consumers needed to buy and sell their homes. Marketplace host Kai Ryssdal talked to Rascoff, who is now CEO, about the years the company's spent collecting data as home values crashed, recovered and are now skyrocketing. The following is an edited transcript of their conversation. 

Ireland is famous for its hospitality, offering visitors an abundance of “craic,” or fun.

And that warmest of warm welcomes has been extended to embrace foreign corporations, too. If they set up in Ireland, they get to pay one of the lowest rates of corporate tax in the European Union: 12.5 percent compared with the recently reduced rate of 21 percent in the United States. There are numerous, generous tax breaks in the Emerald Isle as well.

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