Illinois Economy

Business and economic news

Denver wants to help the middle class move on up

Jan 16, 2018

Supply and demand have come to bear on the housing market, and it's putting some cities out of reach for much of the middle class. The city of Denver has a plan to deal with the problem: housings subsidies. The subsidies aim to help middle-class professionals, like nurses and teachers, afford higher end apartments in areas with skyrocketing rents. Marketplace host Kai Ryssdal spoke with Laura Kusisto of the Wall Street Journal about her article on the subsidy plan. 

01/16/2018: Is "Catan" the next blockbuster?

Jan 16, 2018

Sony Pictures hopes so. The studio is making a bid for the rights to the bestselling board game. We like Catan because it's all about economics, but is there enough there for the kind of mega-franchise Hollywood demands these days? Plus, we're talking markets and the Chinese government's new plan for limiting the population of Shanghai.

While the markets closed today with a slight loss, they opened at a high point. This morning, the Dow broke 26,000 points for the first time in its 120 year history — and that's after a year with practically no dips to speak of.

But that lack of volatility has some market watchers a little nervous. According to Michael Regan, senior editor of markets at Bloomberg, you never know how long a bull market is going to last. 

What do actress Mila Kunis, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and Colts quarterback Andrew Luck have in common? They're fans of the German board game Catan, which deals in trade and economics. Players represent tribes who have landed on the island of Catan. They jockey for the best position to collect resources, grow settlements and beat their opponents.

“It's a really cleverly designed game that you never really know until the very end who's going to win,” Adam Williams said as he stood with about two dozen other Catan fans at a gaming convention in Darmstadt, Germany.

What's on the Democratic agenda in the upcoming year?

Jan 16, 2018

As we approach the Trump administration's one-year anniversary, we're looking more broadly at the economic agenda ahead.

With the Republicans in power, and the passage of their major $1.5 trillion tax overhaul, what are Democrats planning? Felicia Wong, president and CEO of the progressive leaning think tank the Roosevelt Institute, stopped by to give us some insight. Below is an edited transcript.

(Markets Edition) Another day, another stock market surge — but is that a good thing? David Kelly, chief global strategist at JP Morgan Funds, joined us to share why it makes him feel a little bit "uncomfortable." Afterwards, we'll look at how the U.K. is dealing with a corporate collapse similar to the Enron debacle — this one involving a big government contractor called Carillion, PLC. Finally, we'll talk about the rise of high-end male grooming salons and barbershops around the country.

New barbershops cash in on male grooming trend

Jan 16, 2018

Male grooming is in.

To capitalize on the trend, new high-end male grooming salons and barbershops are popping up in cities around the country. Men are shelling out at these places to get everything from a haircut and a shave to a wax and mani-pedi — or rather, “hand and foot detailing.”

Clifford Chiu did not use to spend a lot on a haircut — just $8 or $10. Then Chiu got a new job and decided it was time to pay for something a bit more elaborate in the old hair department.

So what tax rate will corporations actually pay in 2018?

Jan 16, 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?

01/16/2018: What's ahead for Democrats in 2018

Jan 16, 2018

(U.S. Edition) There's a new bill in the Senate that'll change parts of the financial reform law known as Dodd-Frank, which was put in place following the financial crisis. And it looks like it actually has some bipartisan support. We'll discuss why almost a dozen Democrats like that the new measure centers on small banks. Afterwards, we'll talk to Felicia Wong — President and CEO of the nonpartisan think tank the Roosevelt Institute — about the issues Democrats will focus on in the upcoming year.

Automakers step up autonomous car plans

Jan 16, 2018

The future of driving may be closer than we thought. General Motors has announced plans to mass produce a fully autonomous car without a steering wheel or pedals in 2019 — if it gets the go-ahead from federal regulators. Ford and other manufacturers aren’t far behind. 

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

(Global Edition) From BBC World Service ... The Deepwater Horizon disaster of 2010 caused the biggest oil spill in U.S. waters and the resulting compensation claims against BP have amounted to many billions of dollars. As the BBC’s Szu Ping Chan explains, the company will book a charge of about $1.7 billion for remaining losses and claims its next set of quarterly results. Next: workers in Germany enjoy some of the best productivity, pay and employment conditions in the world, but the country’s largest union is warning of strike action if further improvements aren’t made.

01/16/2018: The taxman is coming for your bitcoin

Jan 16, 2018

The bitcoin gold rush involves a lot of money, and where there's lots of money, there is also the taxman. The IRS has started to take a keen interest in cryptocurrency over the past several months, and it's not just bitcoin millionaires who should be taking notice. Marketplace Tech host Molly Wood talks with Amy Wall, a licensed tax preparer based in Tucson, Arizona, who specializes in the tax implications of virtual currency.

In and around the coastal community of Montecito, the death toll from mudslides has climbed to 20 people, as search and rescue operations continue. Cleaning up and re-opening the 101 freeway, a vital corridor for the state, cannot move forward until the lifesaving mission has ended. The new tragedy adds new layers of uncertainty to families and businesses that were already facing long recovery from last month’s wildfires.

States are crafting new Medicaid policies, now that the feds have said they can require people to work in order to qualify for coverage.  That will likely mean more customer churn, people moving in and out of Medicaid programs as their employment status changes, or they learn to comply with new mandatory premiums. That means patients’ treatment could be interrupted, leading to more costs as they catch up on care when they qualify again. And that insurers could have a harder time predicting their costs or measuring their success.

The Childrens Health Insurance Program is healthcare for kids whose parents make too much to qualify for Medicaid, but not enough to afford private healthcare. If Congress doesn't reauthorize it, the program starts to run out of funding on Friday, leaving up to nine million children without coverage. Doctors are urging parents to fill all prescriptions, and to plan their budgets for new, additional costs.

01/15/2018: How health care is changing this year

Jan 15, 2018

Congress may not have completely repealed the Affordable Care Act, but it sure is changing everything about affordable care. First up: CHIP, which covers about nine million children, who are now in danger of losing that coverage. Congress failed to extend funding back in September, and the program will run out of money on Friday. That's the same day for a possible government shutdown, unless there's a broader agreement on funding. Then: Federal health officials are letting states impose work requirements on low-income Americans enrolled in Medicaid.

(Markets Edition) Airbus had a better year in sales than Boeing, but they're having trouble selling their largest plane, the A380. And today is one of just four days this year when entry to National Parks is free. That’s down from the number of free days in the past, and the price for some park passes is going up. So how is the park system balancing its mission to increase access with its need for revenue? Plus, Kansas State has the oldest coach in college football’s top division and he's got a 200-win record with the team.

If President Donald Trump does not increase the federal minimum wage within the next two years, it will be more than ten years since its last increase — the longest that the federal minimum wage has remained unchanged since it was enacted. With the federal minimum wage stuck at $7.25, states and cities across the U.S. have increased their local minimum wages instead — some going as far as more than doubling the amount to $15 an hour.

01/15/2018: The cost of a dream

Jan 15, 2018

(U.S. Edition) The closest the average person can get to hearing Dr. King’s iconic 1963 speech in full is reading it online or trekking to the Dr. King Center in Atlanta to buy a copy on DVD. The recording of the speech has been private property since he recited it, and everyone (with the exception of teachers) has to pay a licensing fee to listen. How do we weigh the value of this piece of American history? Plus, we discuss why homelessness is up for the first time since 2010 and take a look at the changing landscape of New Mexico's beloved chile industry.

(Global edition) From BBC World Service... Trading was suspended after a walkway inside the Jakarta stock exchange building collapsed on Monday morning. We hear from the BBC's Rebecca Henschke at the scene, where police say 72 people have been hurt. UK construction giant Carillion has gone into liquidation, putting thousands of jobs at risk and the future of many projects into doubt. BBC business correspondent Ben Thompson explains what the impact could be around the globe.

Having a winning college football team led by a top caliber coach is worth the investment for some cities. Just ask Manhattan, Kansas, which invested over $200 million to improve its sport facilities and paid the coach for Kansas State's football team $3 million last year.  The number of hotel rooms in the city doubled in the last 20 years as more fans travel there to watch the games. 


It’s common for commemorations of Martin Luther King Jr. Day to include excerpts from his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. But there’s good reason not to play it in full: The work in its entirety is copyrighted.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

If you go out to eat in New Mexico, there’s a good chance your server will ask you, “Red, green, or Christmas?” when you order. It means, do you want your food smothered in red or green chile …. or both. In this state, the green chile is king. So much so that it’s the official state vegetable and the peppers are often an essential ingredient in pretty much any food group, from sauces and stews to chile rellenos.

Revenge porn is the non-consensual sharing of nude photos or videos. Thirty-eight states and the District of Columbia have revenge porn laws, according to the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative. And now Congress is considering a bill that would make revenge porn a federal crime. Marketplace Tech host Molly Wood talks with Danielle Citron, an adviser on the bill and a law professor at the University of Maryland.

Dion Rabouin from Yahoo Finance and Kate Davidson from The Wall Street Journal join us to talk about this week’s economic and business news. This week, Walmart announced it's giving 1 million employees bonuses and wage raises, Fiat-Chrysler announced it will be relocating a plant in Mexico to Michigan and the IRS announced new rules that would give tax payers a bigger paycheck. All of these wins, however were overshadowed by President Donald Trump’s comments about El Salvador, Haiti and some African countries.

Can the Olympics be protected from cyberattacks?

Jan 12, 2018

As athletes gear up for the Olympics, hackers are working hard, too. An unidentified hacker group tried to take over dozens of computers involved with the upcoming games. While hackers are getting craftier, digital protections for everyone involved in the Olympics need to get more complex and expensive. To take us through it all, Molly Wood, host of Marketplace Tech, joined Marketplace Weekend for a discussion about what happened in South Korea, how Olympics organizers build their own internet and just who's on the hook for protecting it.

5 things you need to know about HQ Trivia

Jan 12, 2018

You’ve seen people around your office suddenly intensely staring at their phone around noon Pacific Time/3 p.m. Eastern Time, there’s a good chance they are on an app called HQ Trivia. And if you haven’t seen someone play, you’ve probably heard about it on Twitter.

HQ is an free app that hosts a live trivia game show typically twice a day. HQ sends a notification out when it is game time, then thousands of players log on at the same time to compete against each other for the jackpot. Here are five things you need to know:

It’s a start up

The Consumer Price Index rose 0.1 percent in December from the previous month. The “core” inflation rate — excluding volatile food and energy prices — rose 0.3 percent month-to-month. That’s the largest increase since January 2017, and was higher than economists expected. But does it mean we’re beginning to see a serious uptick in inflation? 

 Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

Texan oil man T. Boone Pickens hangs up his hat

Jan 12, 2018

Infamous investor T. Boone Pickens is closing his BP Capital fund and retiring at age 89 after amassing a fortune in energy — everything from oil and natural gas, to wind power and water.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

How the Rockefellers came to be at odds with Big Oil

Jan 12, 2018

Earlier this week, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that New York City would divest its pension funds from fossil fuels and that the city would sue the big five oil companies. The reason? To collect damages for the cost of coping with the effects of climate change on city infrastructure.