Economy & Business

Business news

03/23/17: When your government is a bank robber

Mar 23, 2017

Last week, 258,000 applied for unemployment benefits last week. While these numbers move around week to week, the latest figures indicate a large spike. Diane Swonk, the CEO of DS Economics, breaks down the causes of this increase, which include bad weather. Next, we'll talk about new research that looks at the connection between the mortality rate and job opportunities. And finally, we'll discuss North Korea's possible involvement in a mega bank heist at the New York Fed.

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Mark Garrison

New research finds America’s education gap is increasingly a matter of life and death, and lack of job opportunity may be to blame.

A new Brookings Institution paper finds alarming midlife mortality increases for less-educated white Americans. It’s a topic with increasing relevance as policy questions swirl about how to create stable jobs that support families as well as presidential election results that reveal a swath of America deeply frustrated with their economic state.

Copyright 2017 WNYC Radio. To see more, visit WNYC Radio.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

In 2015, when researchers Anne Case and Angus Deaton discovered that death rates had been rising dramatically since 1999 among middle-aged white Americans, they weren't sure why people were dying younger, reversing decades of longer life expectancy.

Now the husband-and-wife economists say they have a better understanding of what's causing these "deaths of despair" by suicide, drugs and alcohol.

In spite of a whole lot of predictions to the contrary, the movie industry is hanging in, even as competition for our attention grows. According to a new report from the Motion Picture Association of America, ticket sales in the U.S. and Canada were flat compared to last year. One bright spot – it turns out the movie industry is attracting a more diverse audience.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story.

Trump set to reshape the Wall Street regulation?

Mar 23, 2017

The Senate Banking Committee is scheduled to hold a confirmation hearing Thursday on Jay Clayton, President Donald Trump’s choice to head the Securities and Exchange Commission. Clayton does not have a track record in Washington, and that makes it difficult to know if he shares Trump’s distaste for government regulation. But we can tell something from his past experience in the private sector.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story.

Hospitals worry as Obamacare repeal vote approaches

Mar 23, 2017
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D Gorenstein

A heavyset man sits on a gurney pushed to the side of a hallway in the emergency room at Jefferson Health in Philadelphia. It’s not even 9 a.m, and already beds are filling up.

CEO Dr. Stephen Klasko guides me to a fancy-looking IV pump. It can replace nearly half of someone’s blood after they got shot, stabbed or hurt in a car accident.

“In the old days, we would lose patients because we weren’t able to get that volume in quickly enough,” he said. “The difference between three minutes or seven minutes could be life and death.”

Employers struggle to make H-1B visas work

Mar 23, 2017
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Sally Herships

There’s really no polite way to say this. When it comes to the H-1B system, the tech industry is pissed off. 

“You know the fantasy of the H-1B opposition is that we’ll just hire more out-of-work coal miners and bring them to New York. And it’s not possible,” said Amol Sarva, a New York-based entrepreneur who’s helped found multiple startups, including Peek and Virgin Mobile USA. “They don’t have the skills or network or knowledge or background,” he said.

03/23/17: Uploading the human mind to a machine

Mar 23, 2017
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Marketplace

The physical sports world is now trying to capitalize on the digital sports world. We'll look at the NBA's plan to launch eLeague, a group that'll feature top-notch video gamers who compete against one another. Afterwards, we'll chat with author Luke Dormehl about the history and future of artificial intelligence.

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Marketplace

The House is expected to vote tonight on the GOP's health care bill. But opposition is coming from all corners — including hospitals. We'll look at why executives are against the measure. Next, we'll explore the complicated H-1B visa program, and the frustrations business owners have with how it selects recipients.

Sears used to be the titan of American retailing. But now its future is in doubt.

Shares of the company's stock tumbled 12 percent today after the company acknowledged Tuesday in its annual 10-K filing that its future viability is not a sure thing. A 10-K is a report that public companies file with the Securities and Exchange Commission, giving a comprehensive summary of the company's financial performance.

Angela Chen makes money hawking her ties to important people, running a consulting firm that helps companies connect with Asia's power players.

So it inevitably attracted notice when Chen spent nearly $16 million recently to buy a four-bedroom Park Avenue penthouse owned by President Trump himself.

The February deal, which was first reported by Mother Jones, underscores one of the problems posed by Trump's ongoing business interests.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

The owner of a Massachusetts compounding pharmacy was acquitted on 25 counts of second-degree murder, but guilty of racketeering and fraud in the 2012 fungal meningitis outbreak that killed 64 people and hurt more than 700.

A jury found Barry Cadden, an owner of the now-defunct New England Compounding Center, guilty of some of the charges, but decided against holding him directly responsible for the deaths, which could have resulted in a life sentence for Cadden.

Copyright 2017 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

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