Business news

Marketplace for Monday, September 7, 2015

Sep 7, 2015

Molly Wood sits in for Kai: why e-book sales are falling, a shortage of warehouse workers just in time for the holidays and how military cuisine shapes the way you eat.

PODCAST: Whiskey business

Sep 7, 2015
Amy Scott

On today's show, we'll talk about increasing signs of a slowing Chinese economy; businesses that advertise themselves as the Uber of private jets; and why starting a whiskey distillery can be risky.

How a tax on health plans may lead to higher wages

Sep 7, 2015
D Gorenstein

School is starting around the country this week. But as the doors open, teachers in Minnesota, New York and elsewhere are in contract negotiations, and health benefits are on the table. 

School districts are reluctant to be on the hook for the so-called Cadillac Tax, a provision under Obamacare that penalizes health insurance plans that are considered too generous, or expensive. It begins in 2018.

Running a distillery is whiskey business

Sep 7, 2015
Emily Siner

Tennessee is known for its whiskey — in particular, Jack Daniels, the most popular American whiskey in the world. Until recently, it was one of only three distilleries in that state. But a 2009 change in liquor laws allowed whiskey distilleries like SPEAKeasy to open throughout the state.

Real vs. nominal wages

Sep 4, 2015
Mitchell Hartman

Average hourly wages for American workers increased more in August than July — 0.3 percent, versus 0.2 percent the month before, according to the Labor Department. That pushed the yearly hourly wage increase to 2.2 percent from 2.0 percent.

Marketplace for Friday, September 4, 2015

Sep 4, 2015

The latest jobs report; "full employment" explained; and why the U.S. isn't taking in more refugees.

Amy Scott

Joining us to talk about the week's business and economic news are Leigh Gallagher of Fortune and the Wall Street Journal's John Carney. The big topics this week: the August jobs report and the possibility of the Fed raising interest rates in September. 

Christopher S. Penn / Flickr

State regulators have approved an 11.7 percent rate increase for some Kansas City Power & Light customers. 

The Kansas City Star reports the decision will mean about half of KCP&L's customers in Missouri will see rates go up nearly $12 a month.

The utility said it needed the increase to pay for pollution control at its La Cygne coal-fired plant, improvements at Wolf Creek nuclear power plant and rising transmission costs.

PODCAST: The jobs report for August

Sep 4, 2015
Mark Garrison

On today's show, a look at the jobs report for August, new sanctions against China for hacking American trade secrets, and a big shift in the healthcare industry. 

Making sense of good job growth and stagnant wages

Sep 4, 2015
Mitchell Hartman

The Labor Department reported on Friday that the U.S. added 173,000 jobs in August, with the unemployment rate falling to 5.1 percent. In July, the economy added 215,000 jobs and unemployment held steady at 5.3 percent. Average hourly earnings rose 0.2 percent month over month.

A pothole for bike-sharing programs: bike helmets

Sep 4, 2015
Gigi Douban

There are so many reasons people don’t ride bikes. It’s too hot. It’s too cold. I look ridiculous in spandex. These are what people in the bike world call “barriers to cycling.” Among the most common?

Why gas prices are likely to keep falling

Sep 4, 2015
Andy Uhler

The national average of gas prices keeps falling. Prices are expected to reach their lowest Labor Day levels in a decade. In a lot of the country, the price at the pump is inching under $2 a gallon, which is leading a lot of Americans to take road trips this weekend. 


Sep 4, 2015
Sabri Ben-Achour and Tim Fernholz

This week, Actuality plugs into the weird world of sonification — making data into sound. Pythagoras tried to do it with cosmic spheres. Today, sonification pioneers are making music from climate change and cheeseburger data. Plus, can you be allergic to Wi-Fi, and is that a disability?

The UK is under pressure to take more refugees

Sep 3, 2015
Sam Beard

One image has brought home the scale of the tragedy unfolding in Europe. It’s of a small lifeless body on a Turkish beach. The 3-year-old boy drowned as he and his family, fleeing the war in Syria, attempted to reach Greece. This one image has sparked international outrage and piled even more pressure on European leaders to do more to help the refugees flooding into their continent. 

Why is in-flight Wi-Fi so slow?

Sep 3, 2015
Molly Wood and Mukta Mohan

If you're a business traveler who's been wanting to catch up on Twitter while you’re up in the air, you’ve probably wondered why the Wi-Fi is so bad … and why it’s so expensive. That’s because there’s only one major company in the game. Gogo controls 80 percent of the country’s in-flight Wi-Fi. Today, the company provides service on more than 2,000 commercial aircraft including American, Delta, United, Virgin America, Alaska Air and Air Canada. Yet, service tends to be slow.

Marketplace for Thursday, September 3, 2015

Sep 3, 2015

The hard math of migration; shopping for CEOs; and Forcing the issue.

The merch is strong with this one

Sep 3, 2015
Tracey Samuelson

If you're Disney, it's not enough to make a movie anymore. Not by a long shot.

But Disney's now-legendary merchandise machine is in overdrive this week. At midnight, Disney stores, Toys R Us, and Wal-Mart will open up to sell new merchandise and toys around the latest "Star Wars" movie, "The Force Awakens."

Just to be clear, the movie doesn't open for another three months.

But Disney — which bought Lucasfilm and the rights to "Star Wars" franchise for $4.1 billion in 2012 — wants this rollout to be an event all its own.

It's calling it "Force Friday."

Kim Adams

Most countries and various international organizations have procedures in place to handle refugees, but they are overwhelmed by the flow of people into Europe right now. There hasn’t been a global crisis on this scale since World War II.

The woman who would have been the only voter on a proposed sales tax increase for a downtown Columbia business district says she would have voted against the measure. 


The architects of a new football stadium in St. Louis are planning an arena that will offer more than just football games.

Eli Hoisington, with St. Louis-based HOK architects, told The St. Louis Post-Dispatch the stadium would have plazas, gardens, bike trails, a three-story brew pub and an observation deck overlooking the Mississippi River.

PODCAST: The refugee crisis in Europe

Sep 3, 2015
Noel King

On today's show, we'll talk about global interest rates, wages for low-income Americans, and the humanitarian crisis in Europe.

Airing on Thursday, September 3, 2015: On today's show, we'll talk about China's announcement that it will cut 300,000 people from its military, and more on a study that finds positive association between family income and brain surface area.

Marketplace Tech for Thursday, September 3, 2015

Sep 3, 2015

Airing on Thursday, September 3, 2015: On today's show, we'll talk about Samsung's new smart watch, and why Microsoft, Google, Netflix and other tech giants are teaming up battle buffering.

Home sweet risky home

Sep 3, 2015
Amy Scott

As fires continue to burn in much of the dry West, a new report from real estate data firm RealtyTrac says 43 percent of homes in this country are located in counties with a high, or very high, risk of a wildfire, hurricane or other natural disaster.

The states with the most homes in these danger zones won’t surprise you. California tops the list, followed by Florida, New York, New Jersey and North Carolina. 

Rob Schmitz

The last time China held a military parade was six years ago, to celebrate the People’s Republic of China’s 6oth birthday. The official title of Thursday's parade is: “Commemoration of 70th anniversary of victory of Chinese people’s resistance against Japanese Aggression and World Anti-Fascist War.”

Polling's 'spectacular disasters'

Sep 2, 2015
Nancy Marshall-Genzer

Former Hewlett-Packard boss Carly Fiorina is expected to make the main GOP debate on September 16, after CNN tweaked its selection criteria. It blamed a lack of recent high-quality polls of the 17 Republicans running for president. That speaks to the disruption in the business of polling, where track records have taken a hit over the past few years.

Gallup predicted that Mitt Romney would win the popular vote by a percentage point in 2012 . In the 2014 midterm elections, some pollsters were surprised by the Republican takeover of Congress.

Marketplace for Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Sep 2, 2015

A look back at war bonds; CNN's new criteria for main-stage candidates; and how economics define migrants and refugees. 

PODCAST: Waiting at Wal-Mart

Sep 2, 2015
Noel King

On today's show, we'll talk about job growth in August; Wal-Mart's attempts to reinvent; and selling bonds during wartime to support U.S. efforts.

Nancy Marshall-Genzer

Airing on Wednesday, September 2, 2015: On today's show, we'll talk about the victory for Uber drivers in court; how nixing the Iran nuclear deal could undermine the dollar's status in the global economy; and the stranglehold Universities often have over their own branding.

Using colleges' names? They're looking for you.

Sep 2, 2015
Gigi Douban

It’s that time of year again — college students are back on campus. It’s also the busy season for college- and university- licensed merchandise, from hoodies to umbrellas. The collegiate merchandise market takes in $4.6 billion in annual sales. That’s up from $2.9 billion 10 years ago. And the revenue from those licenses is fiercely protected.