Economy & Business

Business news

Seattle fought Amazon ... and Amazon won

Jun 15, 2018

The Seattle City Council voted this week to undo a new tax that would have made big businesses pay per employee to generate money for public housing and help for the homeless. Seattle's housing costs and homeless population have both exploded in recent years as the tech industry, mainly Amazon, has brought higher salaries and lots more jobs. But Seattle businesses, including Amazon, pushed back hard on the new tax. One month after it passed, the city council flipped the reset button.

Kentucky's Attorney General announced on Thursday that the state is suing the pharmacy chain Walgreens for allegedly exacerbating the "man-made" opioid crisis, by playing a dual role in in the supply chain as both the distributor and dispenser.

The lawsuit also asserts the company willfully ignored its own safeguard systems that are designed to protect consumers and monitor their drug consumption.

Gas prices are on the rise just in time for summer travel. But will that give drivers second thoughts about hitting the road during the summer vacation season?

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

In order to afford a modest one-bedroom rental, an American would, on average, have to make $17.90 an hour. This is according to the National Low Income Housing Coalition. There’s just one problem — $17.90 is far above the federal minimum wage. It means there are a lot of people who can’t really afford their rent. The question is, what other essentials are they giving up?

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

New numbers out Thursday show that Americans spent a lot of their paychecks on retail last month. U.S. retail sales were strong in May, rising about eight-tenths of a percent from a month earlier.  That may sound small, but it’s the biggest one-month jump since last November. Among the merchants that got a lot of love are those that sell building materials.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

ECB to end stimulus. Is Europe's economy out of the woods?

Jun 14, 2018

The European Central Bank announced today it is doing something the Federal Reserve has been doing for several years now: It's taking its foot off the gas pedal of the economy — in this case, the eurozone economy. Specifically, it's ending its practice of buying up bonds. So is the eurozone back on track?

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

In the potential tariff war between China and the United States, each state is choosing to protect different sectors. Which is right? And is there a way for a country to engage in “good” protectionism for its own interests?

First off, economists in general agree that tariffs should be avoided because they bring costly trade-offs. If a country taxes imported sneakers, for instance, it helps domestic shoemakers but deprives shoe buyers of the best, low-price kicks.

The New York Stock Exchange got its start more than 200 years ago, with an agreement, signed by 24 men under a buttonwood tree on Wall Street.

Up to that point trading was a chaotic operation, conducted on street corners and in coffee houses, with basically no rules. So when America's young government declined to write its own regulations, a group of traders took it upon themselves to enter into a gentlemen's agreement that would lay the groundwork for the Wall Street we know today.

Sedans; we write songs about them, from the 1964 Impala to a little deuce coupe (OK, that’s a two-door but you get the drift). But it seems we’re changing our tune.

Facebook has apologized in recent months for becoming a tool of foreign interference in elections, disinformation and hate speech in some of the world's most mature democracies. But critics are concerned that there's potential for even greater chaos elsewhere, especially in places where Facebook is the dominant social media platform.

Chicago has selected Elon Musk's Boring Company to build and operate an "express service to transport people to O'Hare Airport from downtown in 12 minutes on electric vehicles in underground tunnels," Mayor Rahm Emanuel says.

In the 10 years that real estate agent and part-time basketball coach Laura Krier has lived in Concordia, Kansas, she has seen the small rural city of 5,000 residents get progressively smaller. Without some kind of economic development, she fears things will only get worse.

“I just want to see it grow,” Krier said. “I want my kids to want to come back home.”

That’s why, when a deal to build a Tyson Foods chicken processing plant in Tonganoxie, Kansas, collapsed, she fully supported her city’s efforts to lure the plant to Concordia.

The United States is among the notable no-shows for the month-long World Cup tournament. It's the first time since 1986 the U.S. men haven't qualified for their sport's biggest event.

Soccer officials say they are moving on from criticism and controversy to get the men's national team back on track. But some wonder whether they're focusing on what really needs to be fixed — from improving coaching to broadening the appeal of the sport at the youth level — to put the American team back on the world stage.

Still stings

New York attorney general sues Trump Foundation

Jun 14, 2018

President Donald Trump’s charitable foundation served as a personal piggy bank for his businesses, legal bills and presidential campaign, New York’s attorney general said Wednesday as she sued the charity, Trump and three of his children.

The Donald J. Trump Foundation “was little more than a checkbook for payments from Mr. Trump or his businesses to nonprofits, regardless of their purpose or legality,” Democratic Attorney General Barbara Underwood said as she sued to dissolve the foundation and seek $2.8 million in restitution.

The Fed is getting interest rates closer to "just right"

Jun 14, 2018

The Federal Reserve has raised interest rates and set the stage for two more increases in the cost of borrowing this year. Fed Chair Jerome Powell said the economy is getting close to what he considers a "normal level," where the Fed won't have to do as much fussing and tinkering. Marketplace senior reporter Nancy Marshall-Genzer was at the Fed briefing yesterday and spoke about it with David Brancaccio. Below is an edited transcript of their conversation. 

Pages