Economy & Business

Business news

The final chapter of the Obama economy drew that much closer to its end on Friday, with the final jobs report of the 44th president's time in office. That report showed the 75th straight month of job growth, with employers adding 156,000 jobs.

Solid, but nothing flashy.

Midwest farmers are wary of talk about tariffs

Jan 6, 2017
Mark Steil

Grain companies in the midwest this year have been busy loading soybean trains for overseas sales.  Soybean exports are so good they've almost single-handedly raised the price of the commodity.  But President-elect Donald Trump's threats of trade sanctions has farmers wondering if that will continue.

We started with a promising jobs report this morning and ended with a report from American intelligence agencies saying Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a campaign to help Donald Trump win last year’s presidential election.

Trump, fresh from a briefing with intelligence officials earlier in the day, insisted in a statement that Russia’s actions had no effect on the election.

01/06/17: Americans are finally getting a raise

Jan 6, 2017

First up, wages are on the rise for the first time since President Barack Obama took office. What might this mean for inflation? Then: China is investing a whopping $360 billion in renewable energy over the next few years, and it's not the only emerging economy to make a green power play. Plus, conversations with "nerd Ryan Seacrest" Chris Hardwick and outgoing Secretary of Education John King.

China is investing a whopping $360 billion in renewable energy over the next few years. It’s part of a wider shift in the global green energy story. Where emerging economies are getting more investment in this sector than richer economies.

For all the benefits to future generations that may come with the move away from fossil fuels, China’s move is largely prompted by good old self-interest.

Click the audio player above for the full interview.

In the kitchen at Oakland Avenue Urban Farm, just north of downtown Detroit, Linda Carter and Shawnetta Hudson are in the final stages of making their newest jam creation: cranberry-apple preserves. Carter is meticulously wiping down tables while Hudson seals the lids on jars. Then comes the logo — a beautiful graphic of a black woman with afro hair made of strawberries. The kitchen is small and basic, but for the past year it has served as the hub of a community-based product called Afro Jam.

What the Secretary of Education wishes he had accomplished

Jan 6, 2017
Lizzie O'Leary and Crystal Castle

In just two weeks, we will have a new president. And along with a new commander-in-chief comes a series of new cabinet members. But before we transition, let’s take a look back.

The outgoing Secretary of Education John King, spoke to Marketplace host Lizzie O’Leary about his time in the department. Below is a transcript that was edited for clarity and brevity.

Tony Wagner

It might be hard for Uber to convince drivers and passengers to carpool, but a study from MIT says widespread use of ridesharing with a good algorithm could cut traffic in crowded cities way, way down.

Researchers used modelling to test a new algorithm on three million taxi trips in New York City. By using carpooling and matching rides in real-time, MIT found just 3,000 cars could cover 98 percent of those rides while keeping wait time to an average 2.7 minutes.

The U.S. added 156,000 jobs last month and hourly wages rose by 10 cents, according to the monthly jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The unemployment rate was little changed; it ticked up slightly to 4.7 percent, compared to November's 4.6 percent.

Economists had been watching closely to see if the jobs report reflected a rise in wages.

Chris Hardwick on ‘The Wall,’ nerd ubiquity and fighting impostor syndrome

Jan 6, 2017
Lizzie O'Leary, Robert Garrova and Adhiti Bandlamudi

There's a new game show on NBC called "The Wall.” The action centers around a huge pinball looking thing which resembles Japanese pachinko games and contestants have to answer trivia questions to win big money.

The show is co-executive produced by LeBron James and Chris Hardwick, who also hosts.

What rising wages look like around the U.S.

Jan 6, 2017
Donna Tam

The U.S. economy added fewer jobs than economists were expecting in December, but there was some good news: wages are finally on the rise.

Wages last month were up 2.9 percent over the past year, which pencils out to a raise, on average, of about $0.75 an hour.  

Lizzie O'Leary and Eliza Mills

On this week's show Marketplace's Andy Uhler and Kimberly Adams go long on Mexican energy deregulation and short on McDonald's. We talk to Steve Heely, the CEO of the vegan fast casual chain Veggie Grill, about bringing vegan food to the masses. The Atlantic's Dr. James Hamblin talks about his book "If Our Bodies Could Talk: A Guide to Operating and Maintaining the Human Body" and why we should  be weary of health claims made by businesses. Plus, musician Mayer Hawthorne takes the Marketplace Quiz.

Veggie Grill CEO Steve Heeley on expansion and 'veggie positivity'

Jan 6, 2017
Lizzie O'Leary and Eliza Mills

Vegan fast-casual chain Veggie Grill has found success on the West Coast. Since it was founded in 2007 in Irvine, Calif., the restaurant has opened 28 locations in California, Oregon and Washington. The chain recently completed a $22 million round of fundraising, and is now gearing up for a nationwide expansion, planning to double the number of locations in the next three years. 

How we overlook the most basic ways to get healthy

Jan 6, 2017
Lizzie O'Leary and Hayley Hershman

At the start of a new year many of us make resolutions about becoming healthier. For you it might be about adopting a new fitness routine, or maybe starting a new diet. Whatever it might be, there is no shortage of businesses that want to sell you stuff to help you meet your goals. But we often overlook some of the most basic ways to get healthy.

Three things we learned from the December jobs report

Jan 6, 2017
Sabri Ben-Achour and Marketplace staff

The final jobs report of President Obama’s presidency appears to be a mixed bag. On the one hand, the U.S. gained fewer jobs than expected: the economy added 156,000 jobs — around 20,000 to 30,000 fewer jobs than economists were expecting. The unemployment rate also ticked up slightly, from 4.6 to 4.7 percent.

On the other hand, wages in December rose 2.9 percent over the past year. It’s a yearly growth rate that we haven’t seen since 2009.