Economy & Business

Business news

Kate and John Walter see themselves as victims of a housing crisis spawned by Seattle's technology boom — but they disagree whether high tech workers like them also should be the solution.

Reinventing a summer classic, water balloons

Jul 17, 2017
Adrienne Hill and Emily Henderson

In our series Brought to you by, we dive into the stories behind ordinary seasonal items: that grill you fire up for the Fourth of July or the fruitcake that you dig into (or regift) over the holidays. Where did they come from, and why did they become so popular?

The worrisome news in China’s economic scorecard

Jul 17, 2017

Despite all the president’s complaints on the campaign trail about China and the unbalanced trading relationship the U.S. has with them, the Trump administration and China are scheduled to announce the details on bilateral trade talks this week.  The Chinese economy continues to grow; it's up a fresh 6.9 percent during the second quarter. But behind that growth is a sort of sluggishness – productivity is at a standstill in China. We explore why.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story.

The Trump Administration released its objectives for renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA, our trade deal with Mexico and Canada. President Trump has called NAFTA the worst trade deal ever, citing factory jobs that moved to Mexico. The Trump Administration wants to "maintain existing reciprocal duty-free market access for agricultural goods" and expand market opportunities for U.S. agricultural goods.  Essentially, the plan calls for keeping all the good things NAFTA brings to the agriculture sectors.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk, speaking to U.S. governors this weekend, told the political leaders that artificial intelligence poses an "existential threat" to human civilization.

At the bipartisan National Governors Association in Rhode Island, Musk also spoke about energy sources, his own electric car company and space travel. But when Gov. Brian Sandoval of Nevada, grinning, asked if robots will take everyone's jobs in the future — Musk wasn't joking when he responded.

Yes, "robots will do everything better than us," Musk said. But he's worried about more than the job market.

It's back-to-school season all year

Jul 17, 2017
Adrienne Hill

Back to school shopping counts for nearly half of all school-related spending in the year for families in the U.S.

Natalie Moore

A job isn’t always just a job – sometimes it is a way of life. This story is part of a series exploring what it means when jobs define several generations and are part of the very fabric of a community.

Over the years, Anthony Jackson has baked just about every Nabisco snack familiar to American pantries: Saltine Crackers, Ritz Crackers, Honey Maid Graham Crackers and of course, Oreo cookies. 

07/17/2017: Is it back-to-school season already?

Jul 17, 2017

The White House's "Made In America Week" started with a lot of trade news. Trade reps from China and the U.S. will meet Wednesday, and this afternoon we got the administration's objectives for renegotiating NAFTA. We'll talk about both. Then: Back-to-school shopping used to be like Christmas for some retailers, but now it happens all year round. Plus, because it's still summer after all, we have an interview with the inventor of the self-sealing water balloon. Finally, as part of our ongoing series "Way of Life," we'll look at the tough-to replace food jobs that have left Chicago. 

Even your manager thinks it’s OK to use emoji at work

Jul 17, 2017
Jana Kasperkevic

Today is the fourth world emoji day. It was first celebrated on July 17, 2014 by Jeremy Burge, the founder of Emojipedia. Why July 17? Because that’s the date on your calendar emoji.

The little cartoon symbols have come a long way from when they first appeared on phone keyboards. These days they show up everywhere, even at work.

Copyright 2017 KUOW. To see more, visit KUOW.


The Senate was supposed to vote on the latest attempt at health care reform, but that's been delayed. Julia Coronado, founder of MacroPolicy Perspectives, stopped by to explain what this means for the legislative calendar and other parts of the GOP's agenda. Afterwards, we'll look at the pros and cons of Netflix's investment in original content, and then discuss the possibility that Sweden may become the first nation to go cashless.

What's your side hustle?

Jul 17, 2017
Marketplace Weekend Staff

According to a survey by Bankrate, 44 million Americans have a side hustle right now — some source of income besides their primary job. Millennials age 18 to 26 are especially likely to have a side hustle, with 28 percent of those surveyed saying they have a "5-to-9" on top of their "9-to-5," and over half saying they work this side job every week.

But whether you're a millennial or not, we want to know: Are you currently working a side hustle?

Tech songs to fuel your summer

Jul 17, 2017
Kristin Schwab

Here at Marketplace Tech, we appreciate a good tech mention in a song. And fortunately for us, there are plenty of them. You tweeted your suggestions and we compiled them — and a few of our personal favorites — into a summer tech jams playlist. You can find it on Spotify. But first, a few shout outs:

Skill shortages hamper fracking operations

Jul 17, 2017
Dan Boyce

After a big downturn over the last few years, oil prices have improved slightly in recent months. Prices are now high enough that oil companies are expanding their operations in the U.S., but a shortage of workers has meant companies are not getting as much oil out of the ground as they want.

“You’ll see close to 200 frack crew jobs listed for North Dakota,” said Lynn Helms, director of the North Dakota department of mineral resources, at a press conference last month. “The rigs are outrunning the frack crews.”

They landed, one after another, in 2015: plans for nearly a dozen interstate pipelines to move natural gas beneath rivers, mountains and people's yards. Like spokes on a wheel, they'd spread from Appalachia to markets in every direction.

Together these new and expanded pipelines — comprising 2,500 miles of steel in all — would double the amount of gas that could flow out of Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia. The cheap fuel will benefit consumers and manufacturers, the developers promise.