Business news

A backlash may be brewing against no-tipping policies

Jun 9, 2016
Sally Herships

How much to tip? Figuring between 10, 15, 20 percent, or extra for extra excellent service is one decision. But when it comes to haggling over the percentage of a gratuity, the choice is no longer solely in the hands of diners.

The shifting U.S. working class

Jun 9, 2016
Adrienne Hill

The working class in the U.S. — defined as working people without a college degree — will be "majority-minority" more than a decade before the overall population. That's according to a new study from the nonprofit Economic Policy Institute. The report's author, Valerie Wilson, projects the working class will become majority non-white in 2032.

Sold: Playboy Mansion for $200 million

Jun 8, 2016
Kai Ryssdal

This final note on the way out today: A little bit ew, a little bit misplaced nostalgia.

Businesses ponder the effects of Brexit

Jun 8, 2016
Sam Beard

In less than three weeks,  Britain holds a critical referendum on whether it should remain a part of the European Union or, after more than 40 years of membership,  pull out of the bloc.

One of the battlegrounds in the campaign has been business. British companies (or their managers and employees) are facing an excruciating  choice: would they be better off staying inside the tariff free, single market of 500 million Europeans or would they prosper more if they were free from the constraints of EU regulation.      

More than half of 2015 grads are working

Jun 8, 2016
Tony Wagner

Millennials may be living with their parents more than ever, but at least they're working.

On today's show, we'll talk about the European Central Bank's kick-off of its corporate-bond buying program; the nuclear power industry's decline; and the success of a San Francisco homeless shelter program. 

Annie Baxter

Low prices and a global oversupply of cotton have been putting a lot of pressure on the nation's cotton producers. This week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said it would offer cotton growers $300 million in aid to help stabilize the industry.

“The market is certainly not where any of us would like it to be,” said Steve Verett, executive vice president of the Plains Cotton Growers in Lubbock, Texas, the nation's leading cotton-producing state.

Why nuclear plants are having trouble making money

Jun 8, 2016
Mark Garrison

Nuclear power may have made Mr. Burns a rich man on "The Simpsons," but in the real world, it’s getting harder and harder to make money running nuclear plants.

On June 2, industry leader Exelon said it will shut down two Illinois nuclear plants in 2017-2018. It says they have lost a combined $800 million in the past seven years. The company had hoped Illinois legislators would help out the plants, but it didn’t happen.

Kai Ryssdal

General Mills is doing something it hasn't done in 15 years: introducing a new breakfast cereal.

It's called Tiny Toast. The cereal comes in strawberry and blueberry flavors — flavors the company says are actual strawberry and blueberry powder, no artificial flavors involved.

Kai Ryssdal

Stetson Worldwide is most known for its wide-brimmed cowboy hats founded by John B. Stetson in 1865. The company enjoyed success with the popularity of his iconic "Boss of the Plains" hat, and by the early 1900s, the company's Philadelphia plant had grown into the world's largest hat factory. Unfortunately, the trends of the mid-1960s put the company through some major setbacks.

JaeRan Kim

Republicans have announced a financial regulatory alternative they will be pushing as an effort to ditch the Dodd-Frank Act, the 2010 law designed to prevent the possibility of another financial collapse.

The Dodd-Frank Act is in little danger of being set aside during the Obama presidency. But what are the forces Dodd-Frank  set in motion? Its provisions include requirements that banks have more capital on hand to reduce risk from bad loans and those that limit proprietary trading.  

Has it made a difference?  

Unemployed oil workers find new home in solar industry

Jun 7, 2016

Eighty thousand workers have been laid off across the country as the price of oil has plummeted. In Texas, some out-of-work rig hands, pipe fitters and engineers are finding employment in solar energy.

David Webster has been managing the Mission Solar warehouse in San Antonio since February. Before finding work in the solar sector, Webster spent 10 years shipping oil out of rigs all over the world. Now, he makes sure that the solar panels are packaged and distributed to customers across the U.S.

Transitioning to solar energy was an adjustment.

After 27 years of working for fashion giants like Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren, and Donna Karen, Izumi Kajimoto took the CEO reins of Stetson Worldwide, the makers of the famous Stetson cowboy hat. Kajimoto explains how she's making hats relevant again.

Click the audio player above or subscribe to the Corner Office podcast to listen to hear more full and extended interviews with CEOs.

Verizon's $3 billion bid for Yahoo's web assets

Jun 7, 2016

On today's show, we'll talk about Verizon's $3 billion bid for Yahoo's web assets; how data may help curb opioid abuse; and a surge in consumer debt.

A look at the economies of the latest states to vote

Jun 7, 2016
Nancy Marshall-Genzer

The six states holding  primaries and caucuses Tuesday are a mixed bag economically. Some are really hurting.

“North Dakota is the extreme case,” said Howard Cure, director of municipal research at Evercore Wealth Management. North Dakota Democrats hold caucuses. 

Cure said North Dakota’s economy relies heavily on the energy sector. So do New Mexico and Montana. 

Consumer debt continues to climb

Jun 7, 2016
Mitchell Hartman

In March, consumer credit surged by $29.7 billion — 10 percent on an annual basis — to $3.59 trillion, according to the Federal Reserve. (The measure excludes mortgage debt.) That compares to a 7 percent annual increase for the full year of 2015. Consumer credit was rising at a rate of just 4.2 percent annually in 2011.

D Gorenstein

Nearly 19,000 people. That’s how many Americans died in 2014 due to overdosing on prescription pain medication, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported.

The Food and Drug Administration, states and health insurance companies are all tackling this public health epidemic.

Kai Ryssdal

You know how during negotiations for the Trans Pacific Partnership — the big trade deal the Obama Administration's trying to get through Congress — one of the big complaints from would-be opponents was that they weren't being allowed to read the thing as it was being negotiated?

There's something else people won't be able to read for a while: Then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's emails about it.

Are you getting more comfortable with debt?

Jun 6, 2016
Marketplace staff

New consumer credit numbers may show that Americans are more comfortable with taking on debt than seven years ago, when the recession ended.

Mark Garrison

In New York’s Chelsea neighborhood, a growing crowd watches a mirror image of a common street scene. There’s a tow truck and a car, but instead of removing it from an illegal parking space, the truck is lowering it into place, on the sidewalk in front of HG Contemporary Gallery. It’s a late-model VW Beetle in black, but it’s a little hard to tell, because it’s barely recognizable under all the multicolored graffiti, the work of Nelson Saiers.

The spacy state of law around commercial moon travel

Jun 6, 2016
Sabri Ben-Achour

A little-known company called Moon Express may well be the first to get clearance from the government to launch an unmanned mission to the moon, according to the Wall Street Journal. The mission would be in pursuit of the Google Lunar XPRIZE, which would award $30 million to the first privately funded mission to successfully deploy a spacecraft to the moon, and is able to traverse 500 meters of lunar surface and send back HD video and images.

Co-signing loans can be bad business

Jun 6, 2016
Sabri Ben-Achour

This just in: No good deed goes unpunished. 

“If you co-sign with someone on a loan or a credit card, you’ve got a 40 percent chance of losing money and a 26 percent chance of damaging your relationship,” said Matt Schultz, senior industry analyst at It commissioned a survey of 2,003 adults of whom 388 had co-signed a loan. 

The conclusion: Never help anyone ever. 

“Twenty-eight percent experienced a drop in their credit score because the other person paid late or not at all," Schultz said.

Nancy Marshall-Genzer

One of the big issues likely to come up during Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Washington? Trade.

“The U.S. is India’s largest export destination,” said Chad Bown, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics. 

Ben Bergman

Six states will hold presidential contests Tuesday, including California. Even though California probably benefits from trade more than any other state, all three remaining candidates have been campaigning there with a solidly anti-trade message.

“We’re going to start making things again," Donald Trump told cheering supporters at an April campaign stop in Costa Mesa, CA. "We’re going to start our manufacturing businesses.”

Bernie Sanders has also made outsourcing a major theme of his campaign.

Honk if you're a real person

Jun 3, 2016
Kai Ryssdal

This final note on the way out: 

Google is working on self-driving cars, as you know. They're also, apparently, working on self-honking cars. The company wrote in its most recent update of the Google Self-Driving Car Project that it's teaching its cars when to honk, when to just give a little toot and when to really lean into it.

Their goal, they say, is for their cars to be polite, considerate and only honk when it makes driving safer for everyone.

They just don't really get the whole honking thing, do they?





Joining us to talk about the week's business and economic news are Felix Salmon of Fusion and Catherine Rampell of the Washington Post. 

Click the audio player above to listen to their conversation.

Esperanza Spalding takes the Marketplace Quiz

Jun 3, 2016
Raghu Manavalan

Think back to your first job. Maybe you learned a lesson that stuck with you or maybe you used the money you earned from it to make an impulse purchase you really, really wish you could take back.

Jazz musician Esperanza Spalding sat down with producer Raghu Manavalan to take the Marketplace Quiz, our questionnaire based on experiences with work and money. Her latest album, "Emily's D+Evolution," is out now.

How communications tools change the workplace

Jun 3, 2016
Eliza Mills

It may be the weekend, but around the world, people are still tapped into their work lives, getting emails, chats, texts or calls that draw them back into the weekly grind. 

New messaging apps and email services pop up left and right, migrating from the startup world into mainstream offices everywhere. As the way people communicate at work changes, so does the workplace — tools like email, Slack and Gchat enable a constant stream of messaging and leaves some overwhelmed.  

On today's show, we'll talk about May's weak jobs report; truck drivers' fight to be classified as full-time employees; and Wal-Mart's collaboration with ride-booking services to deliver groceries to customers.

Why employment numbers are so low

Jun 3, 2016
David Brancaccio

Economic policymakers and market professionals got some news Friday morning that may change the way we're thinking about the United States economy — for the worse. The May employment figures were released and, with only 38,000 new jobs added to the market, they show a startling departure from forecasts. Forecasters predicted growth of about 160,000 jobs, or nearly four times the reality.