Economy & Business

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Throughout history, being on the receiving end of anything involving cavitation, a miniscule underwater implosion, has been bad news. Millions of years before humans discovered cavitation — and promptly began avoiding it, given its tendency to chew up machinery — the phenomenon has provided the shockwave and awe behind a punch so ridiculously violent that it's made the mantis shrimp a honey badger-esque Internet mascot.

Celebrity chef Mario Batali is stepping aside from directing his restaurants and taking leave from his TV cooking show following reports of sexual misconduct over a 20-year period.

The move was apparently spurred by a report published Monday morning on the dining and food website Eater, in which four women allege that Batali touched them inappropriately:

A recent ribbon cutting in downtown Denver gave a snapshot of electric vehicle charging in the U.S.

The event, dubbed “Ride into the Future,” brought in several car companies with EVs for people to test drive around the block. There were electric bikes too. But, the real highlight was the unveiling of the first electric car fast charger in Denver’s LoDo neighborhood.

While there are already more than 150 charges citywide, Cindy Patton, who runs parking and mobility services for the City of Denver, said the new installation is a win against climate change. 

Another 228,000 jobs were added to the U.S. economy last month. The unemployment rate stayed steady at 4.1 percent — a 17-year low. Nearly a decade after the Great Recession, the U.S. economy is almost where it was before the 2008 economic crisis. Almost.

Hourly wages are still low — growing at just 2.5 percent over the last year. And more than 4.8 million people work part-time jobs, despite wanting and being able to work full-time.

Three deals of acquisitions and investments that were rumored over the past week, and that are all now confirmed, have something in common — none of them involve companies owned by major record labels. All involve technology companies or insurrectionists to entrenched industry leaders. One noted below, Tencent, holds such power in its home country that all three major labels agreed to let it broker their deals in that country.

12/11/2017: Janet Yellen's last Fed meeting

Dec 11, 2017

(Markets Edition) The Fed will likely raise interest rates before the end of 2017, the third increase this year. Julia Coronado, founder of MacroPolicy Perspectives, stopped by to discuss what else we should expect from the upcoming Fed meeting, given that it'll be Janet Yellen's last as the chair. Afterwards, we'll talk about Volkswagen's surprising statement that Germany should phase out diesel subsidies, then look at how one rural Alaska village is establishing a reindeer herd to improve the community's diet and boost its economy.

'Tis the season for ugly sweaters, festive lights, and presents — at least, when you're home. Things can get a little confusing when all that holiday stuff makes the jump to your workplace. Is it appropriate to get your co-workers holiday gifts, even if you're not sure they celebrate the holidays? Or what about the infamous office party — should you really let loose, or maybe go light on the spiked eggnog?

Lyft is unveiling a new education program for drivers, offering access to discounted GED and college courses online. The move is an interesting experiment in the gig economy, where a growing class of workers receive zero benefits from a boss and yet competition for their time is fierce.

Many Lyft drivers see their work for the company as a stopgap measure, a flexible way to make money while they try to build a career.

Most credit card users these days want something back – like points, miles or money.

“People of all shapes and sizes, all income levels, they all prefer cash back for their credit card rewards,” said Matt Schulz, with Creditcards.com. He said store cards can’t compete with perks from cards like Visa and American Express, which are in an arms race of rewards.

A big date on the economic calendar this week: the Federal Reserve’s Open Market Committee meeting Dec. 12 and 13. We’ll find out Wednesday whether it’s raising short-term interest rates again. An important piece of the economic puzzle landed on today with the November jobs report. It showed unemployment at a low 4.1 percent and middling wage growth — just 2.5 percent year-over-year.

(U.S. Edition) The first-ever Bitcoin futures began trading last night, which saw big price swings within minutes. On today's show, discuss what futures trading means for the cryptocurrency and investors. Afterwards, we'll examine why the Fed is looking at an interest rate hike this week, and the potential pitfalls of that decision. Plus: We look at how one 21-year-old student from Puerto Rico is handling her move to Florida after Hurricane Maria. 

 

Before the sun has risen over central Florida, Nicole Morales is inside a factory building in Orlando with thousands of workers testing out internet routers. She carpools 40 minutes to the quiet industrial complex most weekday mornings with her uncle, a supervisor there. When Morales’ shift is over, she heads across town to the outlet mall, where she sells clothes to tourists.

It is hectic. It is hard. But the 21-year-old is grateful.

(Global Edition) From the BBC World Service…Enthusiasm pushed the price of bitcoin futures up in their trading debut on the Chicago Board Options Exchange. But what does that mean for what many are calling a crypto-currency bubble? Then, we explain the link between Legos and blockchain, the technology underpinning bitcoin. Afterwards, we talk about why global arms sales have risen nearly 2 percent.

Life in rural Alaska is expensive. For the many small villages that are not on the state road system, planes and boats are the only way in and out. For Port Heiden residents in Southwest Alaska, a gallon of milk can cost more than $20, and a pound of bacon can cost more than $13. So two years ago, the village fund raised and won grants to start a reindeer herd and run a farm, as a way to produce its own fresh food.  

The purpose of this farm is two-fold — to provide fresh food and economic infrastructure.

What's behind bitcoin's dramatic rise?

Dec 11, 2017

Bitcoin has had quite a few days. Its price soared to more than $15,000. And as of this week, investors can trade bitcoin futures on the public market — the Chicago Board Options Exchange launched bitcoin futures yesterday, and today's the first full day of trading. What's behind the incredible increase? Kevin Werbach, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School, has a few theories. He talked with Marketplace Tech host Molly Wood about bitcoin's rise and what might happen if, and when, the bubble bursts. Below is an edited portion of their conversation.

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