Business news

It's not really Black Friday anymore

Oct 30, 2015
Sabri Ben-Achour

'Tis about to be the season. In stores across the land, first shall come the plastic pumpkins, and then the expressive Turkeys, and then the Santas and the icicles.

Holiday sales are expected to grow about 4 percent this year — some predict increases of up to 5.6 percent, and the big kickoff, we are told, is Black Friday. A day that's been around since the 50s.

Must see TV: the business of sweeps month

Oct 30, 2015
Adrienne Hill

It is November sweeps season on television, when networks and local stations pull out all the stops to grab our attention.

"You should expect some special shows, some big movies, some big premieres of TV shows," said Paul Sweeney, a media analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence.

Also, prepare for an onslaught of ads. "You are going to see a lot of promotion by the TV networks of their programming," Sweeney said.  

Results from sweeps season help set the ad revenues that local affiliates of networks can charge.

Airing on Friday, October 30, 2015: On today's show, more on Valeant cutting ties with Philidor RX Services; and we'll talk about a ballot proposal that aims to help struggling shops in San Francisco by establishing a "Legacy Business Historic Preservation Fund."

2015: A Trash Odyssey

Oct 30, 2015
Sabri Ben-Achour and Tim Fernholz

This week, Actuality goes orbital and finds it's quite a mess. Satellites are dodging space trash, and there's business opportunity in cleaning up — but no sexy space garbage trucks yet. Plus, a mysterious piece of space trash is coming back to earth.

Nova Safo

This holiday season, new toys are hitting the market that are smarter than ever: toys that talk with kids, connect to the cloud, even employ artificial intelligence.

Mattel's new "Hello Barbie" doll is the most visible example of this trend and the most controversial one, too. It hits stores in late November. The toy giant demonstrated the doll at the New York Toy Fair earlier this year.

Airing on Thursday, October 29, 2015: On today's show, we'll talk about a potential merger between Pfizer and Allergan; what the change of seasons means for GDP seasonality; and new trends in holiday shopping.

Marketplace for Thursday, October 29, 2015

Oct 29, 2015

China ends its one-child policy; Mattel's new "Hello Barbie" doll; and more from our national economic poll. 

College debt isn't just for the young

Oct 29, 2015
Amy Scott

When Tanya McAnear opened the door at her small boutique in San Diego’s South Park district on a recent morning, she was greeted by a skull in a wedding veil on display for Halloween. The shop, Bad Madge & Company, sells an eclectic mix of midcentury furniture and vintage fashion.

“Right now I have these red velvet swag lamps from the '70s, and they look directly out of the Playboy mansion,” McAnear said. “They’re just amazing.”

One-child left behind

Oct 29, 2015
David Brancaccio

On today's show, we'll talk about China ending its one-child policy; Nintendo's attempts to get into the mobile gaming arena; and we'll talk about those with college debt who don't feel their education was worth the cost.

Happy Halloween: Now get shopping

Oct 29, 2015
Mark Garrison

Even though it’s still October, stores and websites are already talking about their holiday shopping deals. New research shows the online and brick-and-mortar shopping experiences blending in some intriguing ways, with consequences for shoppers and workers. Here are key retail trends to watch:

Nintendo goes mobile

Oct 29, 2015
Noel King

Until now, Nintendo has stuck to making games for its own hardware, like the Wii and the Game Boy.

"It is the classic razor and blades analogy from Econ. 101," said Jeff Ryan, author of "Super Mario: How Nintendo Conquered America."

"If they start making blades for other people's razors, they will go out of business making razors." Ryan said Nintendo didn't want or need to make games for other companies' devices.

Marketplace Tech for Thursday, October 29, 2015

Oct 29, 2015

Airing on Thursday, October 29, 2015: On today's show, we'll talk about Nintendo getting into the mobile games arena; the forecast for; and how education publishers are using algorithms to try and evolve the textbook.

Kamila Jambulatova/KBIA

This piece was produced in conjunction with Missouri Business Alert, a digital newsroom that provides business news from across the state of Missouri.

Charisa Slenker sold her first piece of jewelry when she was 15.

“I saw a little beading kit at Michaels and I decided I’d want to do that,” Slenker said. “So I bought that and I started making earrings and I would take them to school with me and sell them to my friends and teachers.”

Inside the plan by health co-ops to survive

Oct 28, 2015
D Gorenstein

The health insurance co-ops created under the Affordable Care Act are have seen better days — much better days, in fact, as nine have either closed or plan to by the end of this calendar year. 

Co-ops are nonprofit insurers owned by their policyholders, who are generally individuals and small employer groups.

And the trade group that represents these new insurance plans, which are owned by policyholders, said the remaining 14 all are “financially fragile.”

Marketplace for Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Oct 28, 2015

What the Fed didn't do; our national economic poll; and Urban Meyer on what it takes to win.

What if you lost your job?

Oct 28, 2015
Kai Ryssdal

The throughline for our election coverage this year, of which the Marketplace-Edison Research Poll is the leading edge, is that the big economic reports are all well and good, but what really matters is how people feel about their own economies and how they're getting by. 

So we went out to Albuquerque, New Mexico to ask people about job security. Are they afraid of losing their jobs? How hard or easy would it be to find a new one? Click the above audio player to find out what they said. 

Weather information is big business

Oct 28, 2015

If you are like me, and millions of other Americans, one of the first things you do after waking up, and maybe after checking your work email, is to look at the weather report.

Why so many people support the social safety net

Oct 28, 2015
Nancy Marshall-Genzer

The people who responded to the Marketplace-Edison Research Poll come from across the country. But I managed to find one in my neck of the woods.

Dominick Guzzi owns a hair salon in College Park, Maryland, just outside of Washington. That’s where I met him.

Guzzi gives a mean haircut. Or used to — until he fell off a ladder about two years ago and broke his ankle in three places. He’s still a big, solidly built guy. But now he can’t stand for very long.

Homelessness in Hawaii

Oct 28, 2015
David Brancaccio

What to expect from the latest announcement from the Fed; PayPal's move into the international money transfer market; and the homeless crisis in Hawaii.

Marketplace Tech for Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Oct 28, 2015

Airing on Wednesday, October 28, 2015: On today's show, we'll talk about PayPal's first earnings report since it was spun off from eBay; the EU's lack of net neutrality rules; and we'll talk about a new website for European refugees to access services in Lesbos, Greece.

Airing on Wednesday, October 28, 2015: On today's show, we'll talk about the Walgreening of America; how the Fed is contributing to the uneasiness in the economy with its uncertainty about raising interest rates; and more on the findings of the Marketplace-Edison Research Poll on economic anxiety.

Hawaii grappling with homeless emergency

Oct 28, 2015
Michael Solomon

Tracy Martin and his family have been homeless for more than two years. During that time, they’ve gone through more than a dozen sweeps, like a recent one in Honolulu, where some of their belongings were tossed into a dumpster.

“They make it hard when they do these sweeps,” Martin said. “People have got to stay home from work and a lot of people just don’t go looking for jobs because they don’t know if a sweep is coming.”

A look at economic anxiety around the country

Oct 27, 2015
Kai Ryssdal

Marketplace rolled out a poll this week with Edison Research about how much anxiety people are feeling about the state of the economy and their finances. 

We also decided to head out to Cleveland, Miami and Austin to find out how folks there have been doing. Click the above audio player to hear what they said. 

Noel King

In this country, most workers fall into one of two categories: hourly or salaried. When we talked to people who'd taken part in the Marketplace-Edison Research Poll, we noticed that many hourly workers say they wish they were salaried. Salaried employees are viewed as less expendable, our respondents said, and that is accompanied by better pay and treatment.  

Marketplace for Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Oct 27, 2015

GM union workers get a raise; more stories from our national economic poll; and Donna Karan shares some fashion tips.  

Rob Schmitz

This week, the Central Committee of China’s Communist Party meets to hammer out economic reforms as part of its 13th five-year plan. And if you think that sounds boring, you obviously haven’t heard the catchy — some say cringe-inducing — English music video dedicated to the five-year plan.

After China's state-run news agency Xinhua posted the music video online overnight, it’s gone viral. A quick listen to the lyrics makes Communist centralized economic planning seem cheery:

Donna Karan on her chaotic life in fashion

Oct 27, 2015
Kai Ryssdal and Daisy Palacios

Fashion icon Donna Karan stepped down from her role as chief designer of Donna Karan International back in late June. Karan began her career working for Anne Klein before building her own fashion empire. She writes about her career and her personal life in her new memoir, "My Journey."

On what it’s like to step down from what she built:

Reconsidering early retirement

Oct 27, 2015
David Brancaccio

On today's show, we'll talk about why some analysts are worried about people opting for early retirement; why Apple has to work harder in the Chinese market; and we'll take a closer look at a major player in elections ... super PACs. 

Marketplace Tech for Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Oct 27, 2015

Airing on Tuesday, October 27, 2015: On today's show, we'll talk about Apple's fourth quarter earnings; the $32 million in venture capital raised by a former NSA chief; and we'll speak with with Pam Fletcher, engineering chief of electrified vehicles at General Motors.

For Apple, the Chinese market is getting tougher

Oct 27, 2015
Gigi Douban

Apple fills in the blanks on its fourth quarter performance on Tuesday. Wall Street is projecting the company will beat expectations, and revenue will top $51 billion.

But the bulk of Apple sales are driven by the iPhone, and China is its second-largest market in the world. Will economic uncertainty there affect the company’s bottom line?

There was a time in China when if you loved someone, you’d save up for months to buy this person an iPhone. It was the ultimate gesture. And the ultimate status symbol. And all Apple had to do was be Apple. Not anymore.