Economy & Business

Business news

Private prisons benefit from new Trump rules

May 12, 2017

The Trump administration is going back to the “tough on crime” policies of the 1980s and '90s. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has ordered federal prosecutors to bring charges that carry heavy penalties – sometimes mandatory minimum sentences. This is a roll-back of Obama administration rules telling prosecutors not to charge nonviolent drug offenders with crimes that would automatically land them in jail.  The Sessions order could lead to a substantial increase in the prison population. That’s big news for the private prison industry.

Store-branded cards are a life raft for sinking retail

May 12, 2017

Department stores, those vestiges of the past, just can’t catch a break these days. Yesterday, shares of both Macy’s and Kohl's plummeted as investors grow more pessimistic about brick-and-mortar retail in an e-commerce world. There is one silver lining: Business from store-branded credit cards is up, but it likely won’t be enough to reverse the overall trend.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story.

Spirit Airlines is in the spotlight this week after cancelled flights led to a near riot at its hub in Fort Lauderdale. The discount airline blamed "unlawful labor activity" by the pilots during contract negotiations, with their refusal to work some flights causing hundreds of cancellations. The union has denied the accusation but says its members will obey a judge's order not to engage in boycotts or a work slowdown.

Schwarzenegger: The self-made man is a myth

May 12, 2017
Jana Kasperkevic

There is no such a thing as a self-made man, Arnold Schwarzenegger said today while delivering a commencement speech at the University of Houston. The former body builder, movie star and lawmaker urged new graduates to acknowledge everyone who has helped them along the way and help others, including immigrants who come to the United States.

Marketplace Weekend Staff

One trillion dollars. That's how much President Trump has pledged to invest in America's infrastructure. That's everything from roads and rail to schools and broadband access.

Marketplace Weekend is digging into what happens when key parts of America's infrastructure fall apart. How does it affect our everyday lives? And who benefits when things change?

We're compiling a list of some of the worst infrastructure problems in the country and we want to hear from you. What are you seeing in your neighborhood?


We have a lot to talk about on the Weekly Wrap this week: We'll cover the economic impacts of Comey's firing, the interview President Trump gave about his own economic policies and that letter about Trump's Russian business interests or lack thereof. Then: State governments submitted more than 500 infrastructure projects to the White House for consideration as Trump puts together his spending plan. We're tracking what's on each state's wishlist along with APM Reports. Plus: What the Justice Department's new action on drug offenses means for the private prison business.

Eliza Mills

The big political news of the past week was President Trump's firing of FBI Director James Comey. Meanwhile, the FBI is investigating connections between the Trump campaign and Russia. Two congressional committees are also examining Russian meddling in our election. And many congressional Democrats have called for a special prosecutor or independent counsel to look into Russia and the Trump campaign.

Just days after her comments to Chinese investors set conflict-of-interest questions swirling, Jared Kushner's sister will not be holding a similar presentation that had been scheduled for Saturday. Nicole Kushner Meyer, who has been in China courting investors interested in the family firm's stateside real estate development, had drawn significant criticism for mentioning her family's White House connections in a pitch last weekend.

05/12/2017: How to handle a financial crisis

May 12, 2017

The U.S. and China have reached a deal to lower some of the barriers to trade between the countries. We'll take a look at what each country stands to gain from looser restrictions. Next, we'll explore Yale University's new guide on how to put economies back together, and then talk about how outlets are exploring a new business model that will include full-price stores.

What we talk about when we talk about 'jagoffs'

May 12, 2017
Tony Wagner

Sometimes "jagoff" can be a compliment.

Kai and Molly's conversation with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel was combative — sometimes playfully so, sometimes not. He objected to our questions and then softened the blow with some light name-calling before settling into a long anecdote. It didn't matter the topic either: As we hopped from immigration to education to the city's finances to his tenure as Obama's chief of staff, the mayor was always verbose and punchy.

Almost two months after the Department of Homeland Security instituted a ban on large electronics on U.S.-bound flights from several countries in the Middle East, the agency is considering expanding the prohibition to flights from Europe.

Ever since the world economy broke in 2008, policymakers have looked for ways to keep it from breaking again. But there’s another important lesson to learn: how to put it back together. Yale University is creating a tool to offer real-time guidance to central bankers and others while they deal with a financial crisis. 

Click the audio player above to hear the full story.

Aaron Schrank

Carl Lee recently traveled 100 miles to buy a pair of shoes at the Camarillo Premium Outlets center northwest of Los Angeles.

“I got some Jordans,” Lee said. “I saved $60. You can’t beat that, right?”

The recession changed the way Americans shop. While it was mostly all bad for brick-and-mortar retail, it wasn't so bad for outlet malls.

They managed to thrive by selling discounts direct to the consumer. To keep that momentum going, however, outlet developers are making some changes to the business model.

Auto-loan market starting to spook lenders

May 12, 2017

The state of the auto loan market is causing some concern among analysts. Many are drawing comparisons with the mortgage-lending crisis that figured largely in the financial crash of 2008. At issue is the growing number of riskier, subprime loans. Default rates are going up too.  And lenders are starting to get spooked. 

Click the audio player above to hear the full story.


Europe's highest court will decide in a few months whether Uber is a software company or a transportation service. If it rules the latter, that could mean unionization among the company's workers and guaranteed benefits for them. But could the ride-sharing giant withstand the cost increases associated with this regulation? Plus: We'll end the week by playing Silicon Tally with Alex Davies, a transportation editor for Wired.