Business news

Lane Wallace

Oil futures were looking gloomy on Tuesday morning following the latest monthly report from the International Energy Agency, which forecasts oil supply and demand. The agency predicts oversupply and low prices will continue at least through the first half of 2017, but it calls the supply side of the situation “confounding.”

David Brancaccio

It's been eight years since the financial crisis and the U.S. economy is still in recovery mode, though it may be the envy of Europe, China, and other countries around the world.

Earlier this year, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew spoke to us about America's role in the world economy and tax inversions (when companies purchase foreign companies to change their tax liabilities). 

Marketplace Tech for Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Sep 13, 2016

On today's show, we'll talk about the vulnerability of electronic voting systems amid this year's election season. Plus, we'll interview Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein from the band "Survive" about their musical involvement in the TV show "Stranger Things."

Fed officials touch a market nerve

Sep 12, 2016
Sabri Ben-Achour

Fed governors and presidents have been popping up like Whack-a-Moles, offering their thoughts about whether we should be talking about rate hikes or not. Gov. Lael Brainard warned against moving too quickly; Atlanta Fed President Dennis Lockhart said there’s a strong case for having a discussion about raising rates this year; Minneapolis Fed President Neil Kashkari said he saw no urgency.

Markets have followed suit — down, then up as they reacted to various signals about whether or not the central bank is ready to hike rates.

Kai Ryssdal

Donald Trump went on CNBC this morning — he's got a standing invitation to be on this program as well, by the way — and he talked about a lot, including the Federal Reserve. He accused Fed Chair Janet Yellen of keeping rates "artificially low" and creating a "false stock market" to make President Barack Obama look good.

Donna Tam

The first boat to be solely powered by renewable energy will set sail for what its crew hopes is a historic around-the-world trip, the Agence France-Presse reported today.

Now's your chance to be the next Mr. Burns

Sep 12, 2016

On today's show, we'll talk about the growing number of people who are opening traditional bank accounts; an assisted living facility that's aiming to help LGBT seniors; and an unfinished nuclear power plant that's for sale. 

New documentary examines at-risk youth in US schools

Sep 12, 2016
David Brancaccio

The new documentary "The One That Got Away" takes a look at the tough problem of dealing with at-risk youth in American schools. 

In the feature, Dan Gill,  a teacher at Glenfield Middle School in Montclair, New Jersey, reconnects with his former student, Tourrie Moses. Moses is serving prison time for manslaughter and aggravated assault. 

One of the documentary's co-producers, Steve McCarthy, joined us to talk about the work. 

On what attracted McCarthy to this particular story:

Lisa Napoli

With the nation’s senior population expected to double in the next 20 years, there’s a growing need for senior services.

One niche: the millions of LGBT baby boomers who came from an era when equal rights were only a dream.

A new community in Palm Springs is a sign of the changing times.

Lauren Kabakoff toured a visitor around the resort-style property her family owns.

“This was an old motel, built in the 1950s. I heard it was revamped in the '70s,” she said.

Roxane Gay takes the Marketplace Quiz

Sep 9, 2016
Hayley Hershman

No matter who you are, you've probably had a rough day at the office that changed your perspective, or maybe you made an impulse purchase you really, really wish you could take back. This week, author Roxane Gay took our money-inspired personality questionnaire.

Lizzie O'Leary

This week, investigative reporter Charles Duhigg visits the show to discuss his latest book, "Smarter, Faster, Better" and why certain people and companies are more productive than others. Click the audio player above to hear our interview with him. 

Here's an excerpt from his book:

My introduction to the science of productivity began in the summer of 2011, when I asked a friend of a friend for a favor.

Marketplace Weekend for Friday, September 9, 2016

Sep 9, 2016

On this episode of Marketplace Weekend, Marketplace's Reema Khrais and Andrea Chang of the L.A. Times go long and short on for-profit colleges, meal delivery boxes, Chipotle and travel to Cuba. We hear stories from a "Star Trek" event in New York City, and Marketplace senior tech correspondent Molly Wood talks Apple and headphone jacks. Marketplace's Lewis Wallace reports on police interaction with people with disabilities, and writer Roxanne Gay takes the Marketplace Quiz. 

Kim Adams

Grocery store chain Kroger releases earnings Friday. It’s one of several big names in the food industry making a commitment to “cage-free” eggs, with plans to shift its whole supply chain to cage free by 2025.

To encourage consumers to make the switch, Kroger announced a new, less expensive line of cage-free eggs this week. One of the ways the company was able to bring down the cost was by switching to less expensive packaging than is usually used for cage-free eggs.

Lane Wallace

Wells Fargo will pay a total of $185 million in fines over a scandal in which bank employees opened accounts in customers’ names without their permission.

Over a period of several years, bank employees used customer information and money to temporarily open accounts in order to meet quotas. As many as 1.5 million accounts were opened without customers being aware, and more than 500,000 credit cards issued.

More Americans come into the banking system

Sep 9, 2016
Marketplace Weekend Staff

"Unbanked" is the term used by financial regulators and consumer advocates to describe people who live, work, pay bills and borrow for emergencies entirely outside the traditional banking system. Being "unbanked" can limit peoples' access to affordable credit and leave them vulnerable to predatory lending.

David Brancaccio

The old line in Hollywood is that "everybody wants to be a producer."

Even, it seems, the coffee guy. Starbucks has announced it's going into content production: Think online articles, podcasts, video feature stories. They'll be distributed through Starbucks' website, its mobile app and other online media, such as Mic and Upworthy.

The promise here is not smarmy infomercials, but stories about people making their communities and/or the world better. Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz joined us to talk about the company's plans. 

Molly Wood

In the land of brands, fall means one thing: Starbucks pumpkin spice lattes.

Now, regular Marketplace host Kai Ryssdal has a legendary hatred for the PSL, as the fans call it. Pumpkin anything, really.

Airbnb cracks down on bias — but at what cost?

Sep 8, 2016
D Gorenstein

In recent months the $25 billion home-sharing company Airbnb has come under fire as people looking for a room say they’re facing discrimination. 


Today, the company announced a series of steps hoping to curb the bias and prejudice renters have reported.


Tony Wagner

College admissions season can be a time of high anxiety for high school students and parents a like. Doing tours, taking tests, writing essays and waiting on letters, or worse, getting off a wait list can all be stressful. But a new survey says unless you're applying to a super-elite school, you could be stressing out for nothing.

Why junk bonds are back in vogue

Sep 8, 2016
Mark Garrison

Junk bonds are quite popular at the moment, an example of how our bizarre world of low interest rates and unusual central bank policy has investors piling into riskier investments.

The polite way to refer to a junk bond is as a high-yield bond. But lately, it’s more of a relative term.

“They’re higher than other bond yields, but they’re not high by historical standards at all,” explained Kathy Jones, chief fixed income strategist at Charles Schwab.

Tobacco farmers see green in indigo

Sep 8, 2016
Emily Siner

For many farms in Tennessee, tobacco is still the biggest cash crop in the field. It's been that way for generations. But farmers are looking for alternatives that aren't quite so difficult to grow, and some are turning to an unusual one — indigo, as in, the plant that can be used to dye blue jeans.

David Fulton farms about a thousand acres in Robertson County, Tennessee, including a small field on the side of a back country road bordered by trees.

The first thing to know about indigo plants is that they are, well, green. They look like bushes growing in long, neat rows.

The funeral business? Eternally healthy

Sep 8, 2016
Gigi Douban

On a somewhat morbid note: As long as people are dying, there’s no shortage of jobs —  in the funeral business. There were more than 25,000 jobs in the funeral industry in 2015, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects. That number is expected to grow about as fast as other occupations.

Donna Tam

Airbnb is reducing the prominence of its guest photos and increasing instant bookings in an effort to keep hosts from rejecting guests based on their race, the company announced today.

The new policies, which go into effect Nov. 1, also includes a program for training hosts on racial bias.

Lane Wallace

A study released by the Urban Institute finds that women are better than men at paying their mortgages.

Urban Institute researchers merged data from the federal Home Mortgage Disclosure Act and CoreLogic to look at borrowers’ characteristics and credit scores alongside their likelihood of default.

Prius sales are down in the US. Why?

Sep 8, 2016
JaeRan Kim

Toyota has reported that Prius sales are down 26 percent in the U.S. so far this calendar year. As the car represents the majority of the hybrid market, a decline in interest has significance for all highly fuel-efficient vehicles.

“The Prius, from Day 1, has really been the bellwether for the efficient vehicle movement,” said George Hoffer, who teaches automotive economics at the University of Richmond. “In essence, it has become the synonym — and has remained such — for the efficient car.”

Record-high job openings but no wage gains to match

Sep 7, 2016
Mitchell Hartman

The Labor Department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey for July shows continuing gradual improvement in the labor market. Job openings hit another record high of 5.9 million.

Meet the new 'Most Interesting Man in the World'

Sep 7, 2016
Molly Wood

Some of us were saddened when the beer brand Dos Equis sent its classic pitchman character, The Most Interesting Man in the World, off on a rocket ship to Mars

The company said it needed something different, someone who could appeal to a younger, more multicultural drinking audience.

Economist Paul Krugman ponders the sci-fi economics of Star Trek

Sep 7, 2016
Molly Wood and Robert Garrova

If you were stranded in a remote sector of the Delta Quadrant this week, you might have missed the fact that tomorrow marks the 50th birthday of "Star Trek."

The original NBC series made it so on September 8, 1966, and this year Trekkies everywhere have no shortage of ways to celebrate.

The cost of criminalizing disability

Sep 7, 2016
Lane Wallace

Kevin Matthews loved to give people things. Every Tuesday he would go to Church’s Chicken and bring back a leg, thigh and biscuit for his mom, $1.69. Sometimes he would come back with the box soaking wet, sometimes early in the morning, sometimes late into the evening, sometimes having helped himself to some of the chicken.

His mom and sisters laughed as they talked about the times he’d come home with gifts he seemed to have plucked off the curb: a dirty teddy bear, pieces of paper. He loved Christmas, Easter, Mother’s Day, all excuses to give gifts to his mom.

Lane Wallace

Stocks in MasterCard are up following the revelation Tuesday that the credit card company will partner with online giant PayPal. The deal will make it easier to link PayPal payments to a MasterCard, if you have one, and it’s similar to an agreement PayPal already has with Visa.