Business

Politics
3:02 pm
Sat October 6, 2012

Defense Companies Hold Off On Pink Slips, For Now

Air Force F-22 Raptors, made by Lockheed Martin, are prepared for flight operations at Langley Air Force Base. Despite the looming defense spending cuts that would go into effect in January if Congress does not pass a deficit reduction plan, Lockheed Martin and other defense contractors announced this week they would not issue layoff notices.
Gary C. Knapp AP

Originally published on Sat October 6, 2012 4:44 pm

Major defense companies said this week they will not send out layoff notices to warn of big job cuts in January, taking away the prospect of embarrassing layoff notices right before the November elections.

That's led to charges that the White House overstepped when it told the industry the notices are not needed.

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Economy
3:58 am
Sat October 6, 2012

Holiday Jobs Come With Uncertainty For Workers

Retailers expect to hire hundreds of thousands of extra holiday workers this year, but the hours can be scarce — and unpredictable.
Ross D. Franklin AP

Originally published on Sat October 6, 2012 5:55 pm

Retailers across the country expect to hire hundreds of thousands of extra workers this holiday season to help with the anticipated spike in sales. Retail workers who have been hustling year-round for more hours are looking at that news with a jaded eye — because the vast majority of these seasonal jobs will disappear after December, sending many of these workers back scrounging for more work.

With a 17-hour workweek, Onieka O'Kieffe is left with a lot of time on her hands. Too much time. She said she very often sleeps 12 hours a day just because she can.

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The Two-Way
3:57 am
Sat October 6, 2012

Fallout From Financial Crisis: Thousands Of Nigerian Kids Poisoned By Lead

Women and their children wait for medication and instructions on how to use it at the clinic in Dareta, Nigeria. Treating children with high levels of lead is a painstaking process that works only if their environment at home is free from lead.
David Gilkey NPR

Originally published on Sat October 6, 2012 6:27 pm

Gold in general has great PR. It's slick, it's hip, it's bling. But in a remote corner of West Africa, it's killing children.

Lead from illegal gold mines in northwestern Nigeria has sparked what Doctors Without Borders has called the worst case of environmental lead poisoning in years.

The catastrophe is part of the fallout from the collapse of the U.S. housing market.

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Planet Money
12:57 pm
Fri October 5, 2012

Why Do The Jobs Numbers Change?

Originally published on Fri October 5, 2012 1:01 pm

The Labor Department revised the number of jobs added in July up by 40,000 jobs and the number of jobs added in August up by 46,000. These revisions have some people asking questions about the way the Bureau of Labor Statistics measures employment.

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Solve This
11:32 am
Fri October 5, 2012

Candidates Tout Different Routes To 'Energy Security'

President Obama and Mitt Romney are both calling on the U.S. to become less dependent on foreign oil, though their plans differ. Here, workers with Bramwell Petroleum set up a derrick for a new oil well near Spivey, Kan., in March.
Mike Hutmacher MCT/Landov

Originally published on Fri October 5, 2012 9:07 pm

The pressing energy issue in the 2008 presidential campaign was how to reduce carbon emissions and limit global warming. Four years later, the drive for "green energy" has been replaced by a new imperative: the need to end U.S. dependence on foreign oil.

"I will set a national goal of North American energy independence by 2020," Mitt Romney declared during a campaign speech in August. "That means we produce all the energy we use in North America."

He reiterated that goal in the opening minutes of the presidential candidates' debate in Denver this week.

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The Two-Way
11:20 am
Fri October 5, 2012

Record High Prices At The Gas Pump Likely To Linger In California

Motorcyclists Hanna Gilan, right, and her son Chaim Gilan fill up their Vespa scooters with less than two gallons at a gas station in the Echo Park district of Los Angeles on Oct. 4, 2012.
Damian Dovarganes AP

Originally published on Fri October 5, 2012 9:07 pm

Gas prices spiked overnight Thursday by as much as 20 cents per gallon in parts of California, causing some stations to close and shocking many customers.

According to The Associated Press, the average price of regular gas across the state was nearly $4.49 a gallon. In other parts of the country, gas prices have fallen. South Carolina has the lowest average gas prices in the continental U.S. at $3.49 a gallon.

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The Salt
10:59 am
Fri October 5, 2012

Does Your Gas Tank Hold Enough Food To Feed 22 People?

Robert Byron iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu October 11, 2012 8:35 am

Here's a little math problem for you: How many calories go into the ethanol that's in your tank of gas?

Enough to feed 22 people, if you're talking the bare minimum calories needed in a single day, according to researchers at the New England Complex Sciences Institute.

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It's All Politics
10:58 am
Fri October 5, 2012

For Obama, 7.8 Could Be Lucky Number

President Obama smiles during a rally Friday at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va.
Brendan Smialowski AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri October 5, 2012 11:09 am

To become president and to be re-elected president takes much luck (among other factors, like money and political skill.) And President Obama appears to be one of the most fortunate presidents in recent memory with the release of the latest employment report.

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Business
10:27 am
Fri October 5, 2012

One Jobs Report, Two Different Political Spins

Democrats say the economy is growing and jobs consistently are being added. But Republicans note that the pace is far too slow to absorb the more than 12 million people still looking for work.
Mladen Antonov AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri October 5, 2012 1:22 pm

With a new report showing the nation's unemployment rate fell to 7.8 percent last month, the Obama administration got good news Friday: Jobs are indeed growing. But, as Republicans noted, the pace remains well below the level needed to provide paychecks for the 12.1 million people seeking them.

The truth is, each party could find evidence to support either a positive or negative spin on the labor market, which is recovering — yet weak.

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NPR Story
10:11 am
Fri October 5, 2012

Why Mobile Maps Sometimes Lose Their Way

Originally published on Fri October 5, 2012 11:03 am

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Starting route to Empire State Building: Head northwest on West 43rd Street.

FLATOW: That's the voice of Apple's maps app for iOS 6. She sounds confident enough, but how do you know she'll actually lead you to the correct destination? Because as users all over the world have figured out, Apple's maps and their driving directions have some serious problems. Apple has even apologized for it.

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Presidential Race
9:33 am
Fri October 5, 2012

Does Jobs Report Mean Things Are Getting Better?

Originally published on Tue October 9, 2012 8:30 am

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. Coming up, the sweeping move to modernize the Catholic church known as Vatican II turns 50. We'll talk about that in Faith Matters in just a few minutes.

But, first, it's still all about the economy. The economy is still center stage this election season. This morning's jobs numbers are providing fresh material for the ongoing contest between the candidates and their philosophies and records.

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Economy
4:00 am
Fri October 5, 2012

Campaigns Wait To See If Jobs Data Will Help Or Hurt

Originally published on Fri October 5, 2012 10:45 am

For the first time since President Obama took office, the unemployment rate is back at 7.8 percent, the Labor Department reported Friday. It's been above 8 percent for nearly four years. The number of new jobs added was in line with expectations — 114,000.

Business
3:28 am
Fri October 5, 2012

Bacon Shortage Is Hogwash

Originally published on Fri October 5, 2012 3:48 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

We are going to rip the lid off the pork panic at NPR's business news.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

INSKEEP: This called for serious investigation. A group of British pork producers sent fear into the hearts of bacon lovers worldwide by predicting an impending pork shortage. They say drought will make pork too expensive to produce, so farmers will sell off their herds.

But Boise State Public Radio's Scott Graf reports that here in the United States, experts say the notion of a bacon shortage is hogwash.

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NPR Story
3:28 am
Fri October 5, 2012

Mystery Solved: Why Was Some French Honey Green?

Originally published on Fri October 5, 2012 5:11 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Oh my gosh, today's last word in business is the most compelling report about our food supply since a few minutes ago, when we exploded the way that the bacon shortage was hyped. This story seems to be true.

Beekeepers in eastern France were upset, recently, to find that their bees were producing honey in unusual shades of blue and green.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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Planet Money
1:43 am
Fri October 5, 2012

No One Trusts China's Unemployment Rate

Mark Ralston AFP/GettyImages

Originally published on Fri October 5, 2012 2:09 pm

Ask an economist like Eswar Prasad, who used to work at the International Monetary Fund, "So, do you know, what the unemployment rate in China is?"

And he'll answer, "We don't."

The official unemployment rate, put out by the government, Prasad says, is 6.5 percent, but according to him, "that number has no credibility at all."

He's not the only dubious one.

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Europe
1:18 am
Fri October 5, 2012

Not Everyone In Spain Eager To Wager On EuroVegas

Spaniards protest the construction of the EuroVegas gambling complex at Puerta del Sol in Madrid last month.
Gustavo Cuevas EPA/Landov

Originally published on Fri October 5, 2012 2:03 pm

American billionaire, casino mogul and Republican donor Sheldon Adelson has a new project: a $35 billion gambling megacity in Europe. He has chosen debt-ridden Spain as the location for "EuroVegas," which is expected to bring up to 250,000 much-needed jobs.

But many Spaniards are divided over whether they want casinos in their backyard.

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The Salt
1:15 am
Fri October 5, 2012

In Haiti, Aid Groups Squabble Over Rival Peanut Butter Factories

Alex E. Proimos Flickr.com

Originally published on Fri October 5, 2012 2:00 pm

Can there be too much life-saving peanut butter?

In Haiti, two different humanitarian groups have built new factories to make this product, which is used to treat severe malnutrition and maybe someday prevent it. The problem is, Haiti doesn't appear to need two of them. Each factory, all by itself, could satisfy Haiti's current demand.

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The Two-Way
12:07 pm
Thu October 4, 2012

Friday's Jobs Report Is Campaign's Next Key Moment, Here's What To Expect

The welcome sign at a job fair earlier this year in Washington, D.C.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Thu October 4, 2012 12:16 pm

With the first presidential debate now behind us, what's the next big item on the campaign calendar?

It's Friday's 8:30 a.m. ET release from the Bureau of Labor Statistics about the September unemployment rate and how many jobs were added to payrolls last month.

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The Two-Way
11:41 am
Thu October 4, 2012

Google, Publishers Reach Deal On Book Scanning

Originally published on Thu October 4, 2012 11:54 am

Google and a group of book publishers have settled a seven-year-old dispute that would allow the search giant to continue in its quest to digitize all the world's books.

This is only a step in that direction because Google still has an outstanding lawsuit with authors.

The New York Times explains:

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The Salt
11:25 am
Thu October 4, 2012

The Cost Of Saving Lives With Local Peanuts In Haiti

Alex E. Proimos flickr

Originally published on Fri October 5, 2012 2:05 pm

How much extra would you pay for local food? It's a familiar question. We face it practically every time we shop for groceries, either at the store or at the farmers market. But what about food that can save the lives of severely malnourished children?

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U.S.
10:06 am
Thu October 4, 2012

How 'Star Wars' Seduced Another Generation Of Kids

Ben Blier (left) and his friend Jesse Bleckner hang out in their Yoda T-shirts. On his first day of kindergarten, Ben wore a Yoda T-shirt with "Go to Kindergarten I Must" printed on the front and "Learn Things I Will" on the back.
Courtesy of Nancy Edson

Originally published on Thu October 4, 2012 4:03 pm

Aruna Jayaraman knows where to find lemonade. Her son's friend Alexander sells it out in front of his house every weekend, hoping to earn enough money to buy a $400 Lego Death Star.

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The Two-Way
7:42 am
Thu October 4, 2012

Facebook Hits Major Milestone: 1 Billion Active Users

The Facebook homepage.
Nicholas Kamm AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu October 4, 2012 7:48 am

Facebook hit a major milestone today: The biggest social network in the world now has 1 billion active users each month. That means that one in seven people in the world are Facebook users.

As you might have expected, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg made the announcement on his Facebook account.

The milestone, he said, means Facebook has joined the pantheon of things that help connect humans.

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The Two-Way
6:57 am
Thu October 4, 2012

Jobless Claims Rose Slightly Last Week

Originally published on Thu October 4, 2012 7:39 am

There were 367,000 first-time claims for unemployment benefits last week, an increase of 4,000 from the previous week, the Employment and Training Administration says.

The bottom line: This doesn't mark any significant change in the jobs market, especially considering the "4-week moving average was 375,000, unchanged from the previous week's revised average." That figure is a better measure of labor market trends.

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Business
2:56 am
Thu October 4, 2012

The Last Word In Business

Originally published on Thu October 4, 2012 8:19 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And today's last word in business concerns another unlikely franchise, "Jersey Shore."

UNIDENTIFIED GROUP: I love "Jersey Shore."

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: I love Guido.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "JERSEY SHORE")

PAUL DELVECCHIO: There's no way I'm going to Jersey without my hair jell.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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Business
2:56 am
Thu October 4, 2012

HP CEO Meg Whitman Asks Wall Street For Patience

Originally published on Thu October 4, 2012 8:19 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with rough times at HP.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

INSKEEP: Hewlett Packard was once a giant among the tech firms of Silicon Valley and now it is struggling. The company's latest CEO says profits at HP will continue to plummet.

NPR's Steve Henn reports that HP's stock now trading near its lowest price in a decade.

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Asia
1:47 am
Thu October 4, 2012

Faltering Economy Threatens Pakistan's Stability

A demonstrator reacts after Pakistani policemen fire tear gas during a protest against power cuts in Karachi in June. Pakistan suffers from a massive energy crisis, one of several factors contributing to the country's severe economic troubles.
Rizwan Tabassum AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu October 4, 2012 8:19 am

If you want to gain a good insight into Pakistan's economic situation, just look at a few of the country's newspaper headlines on any given day. The language says it all: prices soar, stocks plunge, budget deficit swells, foreign investment evaporates — and the list goes on.

Now, analysts are increasingly worried that the faltering economy could join Pakistan's pervasive insurgency and repeated political upheavals as another serious threat to the country's stability.

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The Salt
1:42 am
Thu October 4, 2012

Despite Greek Economy, Athens Cupcake Business Thrives

Nicole Kotovos arranges cupcakes in the case at her store in Athens.
Jim Zarroli NPR

Originally published on Thu October 4, 2012 8:19 am

Nicole Kotovos was searching for a way to start a new life when the idea struck her: She would go to her ancestral homeland of Greece and open an American-style bakery cafe. She would bring the cupcake fad to Athens.

What she didn't figure on was the historic downturn in the Greek economy.

The former New York TV producer arrived in 2008, just as the country's debt-mired economy was falling into a deep recession it still hasn't emerged from.

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The Salt
3:40 pm
Wed October 3, 2012

Capturing Summer's Harvest, One DIY Wine Bottle At A Time

Customers at a Hartford produce market, choosing grapes to turn into homemade wine.
Jeff Cohen NPR

Originally published on Wed October 3, 2012 4:40 pm

If buying a local wine just isn't local enough for you, then you might consider joining the growing ranks of people making homemade wine this fall.

Some home winemakers make wine with friends for fun, some make wine with family for tradition; some make it "old school," adding nothing, and drink it by Christmas; others do it "new school," adding preservatives, and wait a year or more to bottle.

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The Salt
10:03 am
Wed October 3, 2012

Freshwater Shrimp: Still Not A Midwestern Cash Crop

A patron enjoys the offerings at this year's Ohio Fish and Shrimp Festival.
Maureen Langlois NPR

Originally published on Wed October 3, 2012 4:07 pm

It's harvest time in the heartland, but not just for apples and squash. In small, back-lot ponds on farms across the Midwest, a different crop has been growing all summer. They're substantial, slightly sweet and a revelation to the land-locked palate, not to mention worth top dollar. Yep, it's shrimp season in Ohio.

But don't ask for any Midwestern shrimp at your local fishmonger. There aren't enough yet to make it to the store.

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Election 2012
5:35 am
Wed October 3, 2012

Before The Debate, Brush Up On Buzzwords

The General Motors headquarters in Detroit. The U.S. government bailout of GM and Chrysler has been a key economic issue in the presidential campaign.
Carlos Osorio AP

Originally published on Wed October 3, 2012 6:56 am

In their first debate Wednesday night, the two presidential candidates will explain their plans for fixing the U.S. economy.

Good luck.

The problems are complicated and long-standing, so the solutions may not be easy to spell out in the two minutes allowed for each answer under the debate rules.

But President Obama, the Democratic incumbent, and former Gov. Mitt Romney, his Republican challenger, will try, and about 60 million people are expected to tune in. This first debate will focus on domestic issues, with the economy topping the list of homefront problems.

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