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.
Saved by the spring - retail sales increased 1.1 per cent in March, the biggest jump since September 2012. This might be pent-up demand from a difficult winter, but what's the story behind the figures? When both the job market and wages are still weak, Mitchell Hartman looks at where the money's coming from. Also, a new report from the U.N.’s climate panel says we’ve got 15 years to turn things around or potentially really suffer the effects of global warming in the future. This is the starkest call for action yet, but the report also illustrates why calls for this kind of action are so hard for people to process. Plus, Maxwell House coffee is getting a makeover today, but it’s only the most recent Kraft vintage brand to get one. Kraft’s going through its older brands, some of the most famous in consumer goods, and refreshing them for modern times.
The President has picked his budget adviser Sylvia Burwell to replace HHS Secretary Kathleen Sibelius. She’s the second director of the Office of Management and Budget to ascend to a higher position in the administration with Jacob Lew as her predecessor). What is it about the OMB – one of the wonkiest spots in a wonky town – that makes it such a good proving ground? Plus: Walmart is challenging Whole Foods with a new line of organic foods with sharply lower prices. But this isn’t meat or produce, its processed foods like spaghetti sauce and pasta. And therein lies the challenge: ain’t much organic wheat grown anywhere. Where you going to find commodity volumes of organic commodity grains, tomatoes and other ingredients? Also, Amazon just bought comiXology for Kindle – but you might be forgiven for thinking that comic geeks would revolt against anything that doesn’t come wrapped in an eminently swappable plastic sheath. Krissy takes a look at the business of making comics pay these days.
Kathleen Sebelius, the secretary of Health and Human Services, will resign after serving five years in the position and presiding over the rollout of the Affordable Care Act. President Obama accepted Sebelius's resignation earlier in the week, and on Friday will nominate Sylvia Mathews Burwell, the director of the Office of Management and Budget, to replace her, according to White House officials. Plus, the search for the Malaysian jet goes on, and at great expense. This is less about the 777 that disappeared, and more about all the other 777s that are still flying: investigators need to protect all the other people that are traveling in these jets every day. That means they need to know what went wrong. And they'll do and spend whatever it takes to find out. And after a four-year absence, Greece is back in the international sovereign debt market.
Goldman Sachs considers shutting down its private trading exchange as publicity about high-speed trading and talk of SEC investigations draw attention to the bank. The bank will consider how it profits/benefits from the private exchange versus the cost of scrutiny and negative attention. Are the calculations similar to those in its decision to sell its commodities trading business? Also, the break-up of a graphic design duo has resulted in a lawsuit of $20 million – over fonts. Tobias Frere-Jones and Jonathan Hoefler worked together for 15 years to create some of the most famous and ubiquitous fonts around– used by GQ, Martha Stewart, the New York Jets, and Saturday Night Live. They won awards for their typefaces - before the relationship turned sour. Who knew there was so much money in fonts? Plus: Not to worry, Comcast tells Congress. It needs to merge with Time Warner Cable, so it will have the strength to compete with the real heavyweights in broadband and content delivery – companies like Google and Apple. We examine the argument.
The "Job Opening and Labor Turnover" survey out today says employers advertised 4.2m jobs in Ferburaury, the highest figure since January 2008. It also showed that more people are quitting their jobs. We investigate what kind of jobs are being posted and the workers leaving their jobs. Plus: Employees of some of the biggest tech firms, incliding Apple and Google, have accused their employers of colluding to prevent workers from being hired by their rivals and are asking for $9 billion as part of a class-action law suit. The ecidence against the companies is pretty damning. So what impact is this lawsuit going to have on wages in the industry and what does this say about the complexities of hiring and keeping tech firms? Also, the Manischewitz Co. is changing hands again, this time acquired by a private-equity group that plans to push Manischewitz’s efforts to broaden its customer base to non-Jews by latching on to the healthy food movement. What could be healthier than kosher?
Tomorrow Obama signs an EO meant to help close the wage gap for federal contractors. Of these contractors, woman earn 77 cents on the dollar compared to men. In this episode, we investigate who these women are and what they stand to gain. Also, with the Nasdaq sliding we look at the Tech sectors value and what it means to the overall economy, considering it doesn't produce jobs. Plus: Amazon's created a device called Dash that can speed your oredering of groceries from Amazon Fresh, if you happem to be one of the few people who uses Amazon Fresh, which raises the question: Why do tech companies find it so challenging to be grocery stores? Afterall, some grocery stores already deliver and have been doing so for a while.