Business news

The Nobel Committee can't find Bob Dylan

Oct 17, 2016
Kai Ryssdal

Let me preface the following with my long standing, widely unpopular opinion — I never was a big fan of Bob Dylan.

Is Walmart’s investment in employees paying off?

Oct 17, 2016
Kai Ryssdal

A year-and-a-half ago the company announced a higher starting salary and other employee benefits. 

Walmart is generally known for its low, low prices. The catch is that those prices were made possible by pay for Walmart workers also being low, low.

Economics being what it is, that bottom tier pay structure brought some not so intended consequences sales-wise.

So a year-and-a-half ago the company promised to raise pay and make things better for its workers.

Goldman transcripts show how Clinton has evolved

Oct 17, 2016
Lane Wallace

The transcripts of Hillary Clinton’s expensive speeches to Goldman Sachs came out over the weekend, and while they don’t contain any bombshells, they do reveal some differences between Clinton circa 2013, and Clinton on the campaign trail today.

Where did 'I approve this message' come from?

Oct 17, 2016
Adam Allington

Given that it is election season, there is a particular bit of audio we’ve all heard dozens, if not hundreds of times. “I’m candidate X, and I approved this message.”

So we at Marketplace wondered — when exactly why did “approving a message” become a thing?

Personally, I physically cringe every time I hear that ubiquitous phrase pop up on TV or radio.  It just seems obvious, and more than a little bit dorky.

Turns out there is a good reason for forcing candidates to add the disclaimers, and that reason is accountability.

Pepsi looking for sweeter returns, but cutting sugar

Oct 17, 2016
Adam Allington

PepsiCo is rolling out plans today that would, among other things, reduce the amount of sugar in its soft drinks and improve water efficiency.

According to the company, at least two-thirds of its drinks will have 100 calories or less, per 12 ounces.

The move comes as there is increasing pressure on “Big Soda" for the role they play in the obesity epidemic.

Donald Trump may be getting a TV network

Oct 17, 2016
David Brancaccio

An agent for Donald Trump has reportedly met with a financier on setting up a TV network.

The Financial Times says Trump’s son-in-law and campaign adviser, Jared Kushner, spoke about the idea of a Trump TV network as late as August with the New York investment banker Aryeh Bourkoff. Bourkoff is the founder of LionTree, a bank that does media deal financing.

David Brancaccio and Dong-ill Shin

This election season, Marketplace is casting its eyes toward the future, asking how the country can address long-term opportunities and threats — the ones that don’t fit into a single federal budget or election cycle. 

When (original) content is king

Oct 17, 2016
Mitchell Hartman

Netflix reports its third-quarter earnings on Monday, and the company’s numbers — especially how many new subscribers it added and old subscribers it lost — will be closely watched for signs of how many eyeballs the company is attracting with its big push into new original programming.

Netflix originally built its business streaming TV shows and movies that had already aired, but this is a multibillion-dollar bet for the online streaming giant to generate original content.

Cuban-American support for the GOP is eroding

Oct 17, 2016
Gigi Douban

When it comes to the Latino Republican vote, Cubans are a big deal.

"They’re certainly one of the most influential, if not THE most influential group of Latino Republicans," said Jens Manuel Krogstad, who studies Latino trends at the Pew Research Center. 


The Obama administration announced Friday that new tourists to Cuba can bring back as much rum and cigars as they can fit in their baggage. Normal duties apply, of course.

Amy Scott

It’s been more than 60 years since Brown v. Board of Education, the Supreme Court case that ended state-sponsored racial segregation in schools and helped launch the modern Civil Rights movement. But segregation — by race and class — is on the rise again in public schools. A new report from the Century Foundation, a think tank that advocates for socioeconomic diversity, found that more districts are taking steps to address the growing concentration of poverty in schools.

JaeRan Kim

When’s the last time you saw an online ad you really hated? If you’re a typical user who reads even the occasional online article, chances are good it happened just a few minutes ago.

But if you’re part of the growing number of people who’ve installed an ad blocker on their browsers or smartphones, it may have been a while. That freedom from autoplaying videos and expanding ads that cover the content you’re trying to read however isn’t without a price.

Treasury Department continues to crack down on inversions

Oct 14, 2016

On today's show, we'll talk about findings from our economic anxiety poll, which show that a majority of Americans think the economy is rigged; the Treasury Department's efforts to stop inversions, and how buttons and pins have been used to attack presidential candidates in the past.

Christopher Olin

In elections before the internet, before television and before radio, there was the campaign lapel pin and the button.

Today in New York, there's an auction of a treasure trove of these buttons from the Dr. Alan York collection. York was an optometrist and avid collector of political paraphernalia.  

Economic anxiety is on the uptick, says our new poll

Oct 14, 2016
Marketplace staff

Economic anxiety is on the rise in America. 

Results are out from the latest Marketplace-Edison Research Poll, and they reveal a growing sense of financial insecurity among our poll respondents.  

More Americans are increasingly worried about saving for retirement and the ability to pay their mortgage or rent. Thirty percent of Americans are very fearful they will lose their job in the next six months, up from 10 percent a year ago. And 39 percent of Americans say their personal financial situation actually causes them to lose sleep. 

More bad news for Yahoo

Oct 13, 2016
Kai Ryssdal

Things are going from bad to worse for Yahoo.

Of course, you'll remember Verizon signed a $4.83 billion deal to buy Yahoo before Yahoo discovered a half-billion emails had been hacked back in 2014. Today, Verizon general counsel Craig Silliman said the company has "reasonable basis" to believe the breach is enough to let Verizon back out of the deal.

Is the Trump brand transitioning or dying?

Oct 13, 2016
Nancy Marshall-Genzer

Donald Trump is a walking, talking human brand. When he sneezes, the brand catches a cold. Robert Passikoff, president of the research firm Brand Keys, can pinpoint exactly when the Trump brand started to suffer.

“The minute he became the designated candidate for the GOP," he said. "That was when the real damage began.”

At that point, more consumers started taking seriously Trump’s comments about Muslims, Mexicans and now women.

Lane Wallace

CEO John Stumpf’s resignation, announced Wednesday, doesn’t come close to ending the troubles at Wells Fargo. The bank is still the subject of criminal probes and boycotts. It's also facing at least two class-action lawsuits from workers who say they were fired, not for participating in the fake account scandal, but for refusing to participate.

Can Wells Fargo come back from its fake accounts scandal?

Oct 13, 2016

On today's show, we'll talk about whether Wells Fargo will be able to cope with the backlash against the fake accounts scandal; new research that shows drug coupons help manufacturers with sales; and what makes a piece of artwork valuable. 

Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf resigned on Wednesday following outcry over a fake accounts scandal within the company. In order to meet sales quotas, employees had opened more than 2 million accounts and credit cards for customers without their knowledge

What makes a piece of artwork valuable?

Oct 13, 2016
David Brancaccio

The auction house Sotheby’s revealed earlier this month that a painting purported to have been the work of 17th century Dutch artist Frans Hals is a fake. It sold for about $11 million. The controversy has called into question other paintings that came from the same source. 

Blake Gopnik, a critic at large for Artnet News and a contributor to the New York Times, stopped by to shed some light on what makes a "good" piece of fake art and the ever-changing art market. 

On how to get away with art forgery: 

Schooling the principals

Oct 13, 2016
Gigi Douban

The Wallace Foundation announced a $47 million initiative today aimed at improving school principal training and helping school districts hold onto those principals once they’re hired.

Marketplace Tech for Thursday, October 13, 2016

Oct 13, 2016

On today's show, we'll talk about the release of the PlayStation VR and what that means for competitors like Oculus; look at President Barack Obama's vision for colonizing Mars; and recap all the plans that currently exist to get humans to the Red Planet.

Maria Jose Valero / Missouri Business Alert

After a decade of planning and development, the Katy Trail extension towards Kansas City is set to open. A portion of the trail will be open to the public this October and it’s news not only for cyclists, but also for business owners. The Missouri  State Parks Department says the Katy Trail supports 367 jobs and generates about $18.5 million in economic impact a year, which could grow.


Can Wells Fargo shrug off the cross-selling scandal?

Oct 12, 2016
Adam Allington

Wells Fargo announced today that CEO John Stumpf is stepping down in the wake of a scandal over the bank's retail division opening millions of fraudulent customer accounts.

Wells Fargo was the last bank one would expect to be smacked with a scandal so patently unethical and wrong, according to many analysts.  In fact, for decades the bank was a model of stability, even during the dark days of the financial crisis.

Sam Beard

Britain’s departure from the European Union — or Brexit — is turning into a bumpy ride. And it’s hardly begun. 

Formal talks between the U.K. and its European partners about the terms of the withdrawal are unlikely to start until next year and should last at least two years. But already a furious row has erupted between the British government and some of the country’s business leaders over one of the key issues arising from Brexit: the issue of immigration.

Elderly matchmaking at a Shanghai Ikea may be under threat

Oct 12, 2016

On today's show, we'll talk about yesterday's fairly rocky stock market; Turkey and Russia's deal on the construction of a pipeline that will run beneath the Black Sea; a big push from Hewlett Packard and General Mills to increase racial and gender diversity; and romance among seniors at an Ikea store in Shanghai.

D Gorenstein

The Obama administration has pushed to get doctors and hospitals to ditch all their paper records and get wired up.

The idea was to be more efficient, avoid medical mistakes like prescribing the wrong medication, and save money.

After the federal government invested more than $30 billion, most hospitals and physicians now have electronic health record systems.

Andy Uhler

Russia and Turkey don’t agree on much, especially when it comes to international relations. But the two governments reached a deal this week on the construction of a pipeline on the bed of the Black Sea that would give Russia more access to western Europe and allow Turkey to get gas on the cheap.

Right now, Russia sends most of its natural gas through Ukraine, which has repeatedly increased transit tariffs on gas. So Russia has been trying to get around Ukraine for years — and the TurkStream pipeline would help make that happen.

Advertising agencies get a message on diversity

Oct 12, 2016
Gigi Douban

HP Inc. and General Mills are among a few major corporations demanding that the ad agencies they employ improve gender and racial diversity.

It's a plot twist worthy of "Mad Men," the show that won 16 Emmys and was notable for its depiction of women in advertising back in the 1960s. Fifty years later, it turns out the advertising world isn’t all that different.