Every weekday on Marketplace, Kai Ryssdal hosts a lively and unexpected exploration of the day’s business and economic news from Wall Street to your wallet.
Airing on Thursday Feb. 26, 2015: Oil prices are moving up and down every day as all kinds of traders try to predict where prices will land in the future. In the last two days we've seen how different kinds of contradictory data can move prices in what might seem odd directions. The U.S. reported its biggest oil glut in 30 years, yet the global Brent price shot up because of other indications that supplies may fall and demand may rise. The U.S. price, meanwhile, stayed pretty much where it was. We explore. Plus, Facebook wants to do more in suicide prevention and, after consulting with various mental health professionals, has come up with a new tactic. Soon, if you see a post on Facebook that suggests your friend may be suicidal you will be able to report it directly to the company. Facebook will then reach out to the poster offering support. Is there any risk to this corporate strategy and what are the privacy implications here? We investigate.
Airing on Wednesday Feb. 25, 2015: TJX, the parent of TJ Maxx and Marshalls, just announced it will boost its base pay to $9 an hour by this summer, and $10 an hour by 2016. In light of Wal-Mart’s recent minimum wage hike, is this the first sign of a tightening labor market in low-wage retail? We investigate. Plus, as Google proposes a new headquarters in Mountain View, the small city has mixed feelings about the economic growth within its borders. Mountain View’s not going to become a company town in the old sense, but it is going to have to change, build housing and grow because of Google — all things that Silicon Valley cities have resisted for decades.
Airing on Tuesday, Feb. 24, 2015: In case you haven't heard, Boston's been getting pounded with snow every few days, for weeks. Boston's mass transit system, the oldest in America, broke down under the stress. Trains and buses are running late, if at all. How are employers handling an ongoing situation where employees are late for work on a daily basis? We investigate. Plus, the EPA is asking car makers to follow stricter rules in measuring their vehicles' gas mileage to insure at least some uniformity, if not produce estimates that drivers might find more accurate. Also, in her testimony before the Senate today, Fed Chair Janet Yellen swatted away the “Audit the Fed” calls. But when Senator Rand Paul and others say “Audit the Fed,” what they really mean is something more political than monetary. We explain.
Airing on Monday, Feb.23, 2015: The president wants to stop unscrupulous brokers from flogging investments to consumers that kick back fees to the brokerage. These kinds of dodgy investments cost consumers one percent a year, on average. That may not sound like much, but one percent a year is worth a lot to a saver, thanks to the miracle of a magical thing called compound interest. We explain. Plus, this week’s political hot potato is funding for the Department of Homeland Security, which is set to expire on Friday. But no matter what happens with DHS spending, there’s a much bigger problem at the sprawling agency: low morale. It consistently ranks worst for morale among large government agencies. This and more.
Airing on Friday, Feb. 20, 2015: Okay, we’re gonna take the rumors seriously and ask, “If Apple is getting into the car business, what does that look like?” Plus, the Baker Hughes Rigs Counts are out today. They’re considered an important indicator of the health of the energy and drilling industries. But some question whether they’re as indicative or relevant as they once were. We investigate. Also, we dive into the belly of the nationwide food supplier, Sysco. They are the biggest distributor of foods in the country and are looking to expand, joining yet another company. But the Federal Trade Commission is not having it and filed a lawsuit to stop the merger. We take a look at the surprising reach of Sysco.
Airing on Thursday, Feb. 19, 2015: Walmart announced a mass raise today to some 500,000 employees. By April, these workers will make $9 an hour and by next year this time, it will go up to $10. We speak to two workers to find out what difference this will make in their lives. These higher wages also mean rising costs. So how will Walmart shareholders react to this new paradigm in their operating trajectory? This and more!