Economy & Business

Planet Money
11:11 am
Thu January 16, 2014

Expensive Bacon, Cheap TVs, And Other Price Trends From 2013

Not cheap.
Robert Smith NPR

Inflation is very low: Prices rose 1.5 percent last year, according to the consumer price index report released this morning.

But when you dig into the numbers, you see some notable price swings. Here are a few that caught our eye for different reasons.

The price of bacon rose 9.6 percent.

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The Two-Way
8:43 am
Thu January 16, 2014

J.C. Penney Cutting 2,000 Jobs, Closing 33 Stores

J. Pat Carter AP

Originally published on Thu January 16, 2014 2:12 pm

The post-holidays hard news continues for employees of some major retailers.

One week after discount retailer Loehmann's started liquidating its inventory and Macy's announced it is eliminating 2,500 jobs, there's word that J.C. Penney is cutting 2,000 jobs and closing 33 stores.

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The Two-Way
8:29 am
Thu January 16, 2014

Weekly Jobless Claims Hold Steady At Pre-Recession Level

The scene at a job fair in Marietta, Ga., last November.
David Goldman AP

Originally published on Thu January 16, 2014 9:28 am

There were 326,000 first-time claims for jobless benefits filed last week, the Employment and Training Administration said Thursday.

While down only 2,000 from the previous week, claims did hold steady around the level where they were typically running before December 2007, when the economy slipped into its latest recession.

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Parallels
7:29 am
Thu January 16, 2014

Do You Know Who Owns Your Favorite Liquor?

The Japanese drinks company Suntory plans to buy Beam Inc., which includes Jim Beam and Maker's Mark bourbon. They are shown next to Suntory's Yamazaki and Hakushu whiskies at Suntory headquarters in Tokyo on Tuesday. The deal makes Suntory one of the world's leading drinks companies in an industry where a handful of companies increasingly dominate the global market.
Issei Kato Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Thu January 16, 2014 2:18 pm

Liquor companies like to make drinkers think their favorite spirits always have been and always will be attached to a very particular place — Kentucky bourbon, Irish whiskey, Russian vodka.

But like many other industries, the liquor business has gone global, and a small number of players increasingly dominate the industry worldwide. The distilling may still be local, but ownership is definitely international.

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Business
6:32 am
Thu January 16, 2014

Retailers May Use Video Cameras To Track Shoppers

Originally published on Thu January 16, 2014 2:07 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And our last word in business is: Surveillance - not from the NSA, but from a store near you.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Retailers have long tracked activity in stores, with video cameras. Now, they have an option to track you. Security tech company 3VR has unveiled an in-store video camera that allegedly uses facial recognition to gauge your age, gender and mood.

INSKEEP: Retailers could use real-time information to customize digital signs - just as you are passing.

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Business
5:16 am
Thu January 16, 2014

Concerns Raised Over Banks' Commodities Holdings

Originally published on Thu January 16, 2014 2:07 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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Business
5:13 am
Thu January 16, 2014

Apple To Refund App Purchases Void Of Parental Consent

Originally published on Thu January 16, 2014 2:07 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Apple has agreed to compensate consumers who bought more than they realized from the company. The company will also fix a problem that led to some unauthorized spending.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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Business
5:10 am
Thu January 16, 2014

GM Shareholders To Receive Dividends Again

Originally published on Thu January 16, 2014 2:07 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

NPR's business news begins with a GM comeback.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

BLOCK: General Motors announced this week that for the first time in nearly six years, it will begin to pay cash dividends to its shareholders. GM stopped paying out dividends back in June of 2008, as it struggled to save money through the recession, bankruptcy and a government bailout.

Business
2:28 am
Thu January 16, 2014

Detroit Touts Clean, Efficient Diesels, But America Isn't Sold

Automakers like GM, Chrysler and Volkswagen are introducing new, cleaner diesel passenger cars to the U.S. market as fuel-efficient alternatives.
Carlos Osorio AP

Originally published on Thu January 16, 2014 2:07 pm

At the North American International Auto Show in Detroit this week, it's not all hybrids and battery-powered cars. Some car companies are making significant investments in a fuel that's not new at all — diesel.

The newest diesel engines are far cleaner than their predecessors, and they get many more miles per gallon. The question is, what's holding customers back from switching gas pumps?

When you look around the auto show, there's a lot of energy and there's a lot of money being spent again. The one topic that keeps coming up, of course, is fuel economy.

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It's All Politics
2:26 am
Thu January 16, 2014

Jobs Pitchman Takes Labor Department's Show On the Road

"Any federal employee who's driving a Dodge Viper either has a really good spouse, a really good inheritance or needs to be investigated by the inspector general," Labor Secretary Tom Perez says at the Detroit Auto Show.
Brian Naylor NPR

Originally published on Thu January 16, 2014 2:07 pm

Tom Perez is having fun at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. He sits in a Corvette, climbs into a new pickup truck, and gamely poses for pictures next to a $140,000 Dodge Viper.

"Any federal employee who's driving a Dodge Viper either has a really good spouse, a really good inheritance or needs to be investigated by the inspector general," he jokes.

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