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07/17/2017: A streetcar not named desire

Jul 16, 2017
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Marketplace

That's right: today is world emoji day. And there are plenty of companies that are trying to turn these symbols into a business, like Inmoji. On today's show, we'll chat with the company's CTO, Jarrod Mclean, and head of engineering, Chris Nagle, about its services and their involvement. Afterwards, we'll talk with Ian Bogost, a professor at Georgia Tech, about the declining appeal of cars as "fashion objects."

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"I am overloaded and struggling. It's terrifying."

"I feel like I'll be making the last payment from my grave."

"It is an albatross around my neck. Years of paying and I feel like I'm getting nowhere."

"Help!"

Those were some of the comments we received from more than 2,000 respondents to NPR Ed's first Teacher Student Debt survey.

Days after dozens of Alfred Angelo Bridal stores closed with little or no warning, brides and their loved ones have been struggling to track down dresses they've paid for — and making contingency plans if they can't find them.

Alfred Angelo reportedly closed all of its 61 bridal stores at the end of business Thursday night as part of its plan to file for bankruptcy, infuriating customers and leaving employees in the lurch. The lawyer handling the case says she has received more than 7,000 emails about it.

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The Trump administration this week unveiled its strategy for the economy and dubbed it "MAGAnomics."

In the Wall Street Journal, Trump budget director Mick Mulvaney wrote that "the focus of MAGAnomics is simple: Grow the economy and with it the wealth of, and opportunity for, all Americans."

The simple plan: Ratchet the economic growth rate up to a sustained 3 percent annually. That's an ambitious target, given current levels of around 2 percent.

This is what the unemployed look like

Jul 14, 2017
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Lizzie O'Leary and Carrie Barber

The latest figures from the federal government put the unemployment rate at 4.4 percent. That sounds low, right? But there are still 4 million unemployed people out there who want to work and are looking for jobs, according to a recent study by the Brookings Institution. The study looked closely at who the unemployed are and how they are counted.

Auto racing goes electric

Jul 14, 2017
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Marielle Segarra

In New York City this weekend, the hot ticket is an international racing circuit for electric cars called Formula E. The series, which is wrapping up its third season, is drawing some of the world’s best race car drivers. It’s also bringing in tens of millions of dollars in investment from automakers that say the races will help them bring their electric cars to market. The series has been making the rounds, with stops in Hong Kong, Buenos Aires, Monaco and other cities.

Four big banks (JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, PNC, Wells Fargo) reported earnings today, all beating expectations, especially JPMorgan, which posted its best quarter ever. That wind in the banks' sails comes in the form of higher interest rate levels after three straight rate hikes by the Federal Reserve. That means banks get to charge you more for the products they sell. One thing they aren’t doing is paying out more on good old-fashioned deposits. That tenth of a percent interest rate you earn on your checking or savings account is basically peanuts.

The new head of the railroad CSX has called a timeout on naps. For the past 20 years or so, the railway allowed naps under limited circumstances. Now CSX is implementing an approach meant to reduce train delays. So a few months ago, it told engineers and conductors snoozing is now off limits. The move is part of a debate within transportation industries around napping. And some wonder whether companies are putting economics ahead of safety.

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