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.
Target took weeks to reveal details of its data breach. Neiman Marcus, too. How do companies decide whether and how to reveal details of data breaches to the public? Next, we look at the updated situation in West Virginia, as residents question whether their water is safe just days after a chemical leak. Finally, we begin our new series that answers your economic questions, like "Why does one rotisserie chicken cost less than two chicken breasts?" and "Why do hotels give you a sewing kit, but not a toothbrush?" Today we examine why your zipper probably has three letters on it: YKK.
The Labor Participation Rate hasn’t been this low since the late 1970s. Who's in? Who's out? Target has upped the total number of customers impacted by its two-and-a-half week data breach to 70 million. A staggering figure that’s a reminder of the volume of shopping that happens in the U.S. consumer economy. California's state budget famously sank during the recession. Now that the state has just as famously turned it around and has a revenue surplus, Gov. Jerry Brown wants the state to pay down debts it piled up during the bad years.
It's a little known historical fact that when it was created 110 years ago, the Department of Commerce was actually called the Department of Commerce and Labor. It's a reflection, perhaps, of the relationship between those two parts of the economy. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker stops by to talk about growing the American export economy as one way to keep American businesses competitive. Next, T-Mobile is offering big incentives to try and get you to leave your phone carrier. But to do so, you've got to change the family plan, the data plan, get a new phone, etc. Even where there's a better deal out there, consumers don’t always make the switch because it’s just too much trouble. Also, an increase in heroin use has been reported in many states. This week, Vermont's governor devoted his entire state of the state speech to the problem.
Today, on the the fifty-year anniversary of Lyndon B. Johnson’s State of the Union address, in which he issued a call to arms against poverty, we look at the fierce debate, not only over whether the U.S. has won or lost the war on poverty, but whether the country as a whole is gaining ground or retreating. Also, this week marks the 50th anniversary of a report by the Surgeon General on the health effects of smoking, linking it to lung cancer and heart disease. We hear about the impact the report had on one of the biggest industries in the nation. And, the National Federation of Independent Business said small business owners added more jobs per firm last month than they have in eight years. Even so, there are more Americans unemployed now than at any time since World War II, while Congress is debating whether to extend benefits for the long-term unemployed.
As a deal to reinstate unemployment insurance works it way through Congress, we delve into the "freeloader argument." What happens when folks lose their benefits -- do they finally start looking and land a job? Next, AT&T is offering companies the opportunity to pay for your smartphone’s data use. The idea is that a company would offer, say, a video for which it pays the data charge, getting you to stream it when ordinarily you’d pass. It gets a view, and AT&T increases the data flowing through its system. And also, Lindsey Vonn, one of the few big names in winter sports, is out of the Winter Olympics with an injury. For NBC/Comcast, which paid a fortune for the rights, a lackluster games could come at a very high cost: lower ratings for the game themselves, but also a loss of ratings for the Today show.
As CES opens, exhibitors are showing all sorts of gadgets and apps that will connect you to everything in your home and your car. But if you look back at some of the futurist visions promised in the past, what happened to them? Next, a really deep freeze can screw with an economy built on moderate temperatures. And finally, we take a look at the accounting tricks behind extending unemployment benefits. Pay for something today that we will save the money for tomorrow.