Business

Planet Money
11:32 am
Mon July 9, 2012

What ever happened to the TED spread?

TED spread charts like this one — from June 2011 — have been used to judge whether the financial markets are worried about the health of the big banks.
Bloomberg News

Over the last week or so, we've been watching the scandal over manipulation of LIBOR, perhaps the single most important global interest rate: See Robert Smith's piece on Morning Edition, and Tuesday's podcast.

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Economy
9:23 am
Mon July 9, 2012

No June Gloom For American Auto Sales

Originally published on Mon July 9, 2012 10:04 am

Recovery has been creeping at a slow pace for much of the American economy, but sales by US auto makers have revved up. Chrysler and General Motors both saw double digit growth in June, and Ford wasn't too far behind. Guest host Maria Hinojosa and NPR's Sonari Glinton talk about what's driving the rise.

Planet Money
9:08 am
Mon July 9, 2012

Identifying The Real Victims In The LIBOR Scandal

LIBOR affects many consumer credit rates, from mortgages to credit cards.
Theo Francis NPR

Originally published on Wed July 11, 2012 3:16 pm

A lot of the coverage of the LIBOR scandal has focused on the ways that Barclays tried to manipulate LIBOR lower during the financial crisis, to make the bank look more secure. This has led some listeners to ask a good question: if rates were being shoved down, doesn't that help consumers? LIBOR, after all, is a financial benchmark that shows up in adjustable rate mortgages and other loans.

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Planet Money
6:13 am
Mon July 9, 2012

Did The Bank of England Urge Barclays to Lie?

Morning light on the houses of Parliament in London, where Bank of England Deputy Governor Paul Tucker faces questions over his role in a banking scandal.
Christopher Furlong Getty Images

The scandal over LIBOR, a key global interest rate, has already hit banks around the world. Today, it moves to the very heart of the British government.

A deputy governor of the Bank of England will be quizzed by parliament on whether he told banks to lie to about the crucial interest rate.

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Economy
3:28 am
Mon July 9, 2012

Charity Collects Donations To Buy Greek Bonds

Many businesses in the town of Oia, on the northern tip of Santorini, are struggling to make ends meet following a drop in tourism.
Michael Virtanen AP

Originally published on Mon July 9, 2012 4:22 pm

A young shipping heir whose family helped turn the Greek island of Santorini into a tourist hot spot is trying to help Greece dig out of its massive debt by asking average Greeks to chip in.

Peter Nomikos hopes to build a social movement beginning with a charity he launched about two weeks ago called Greece Debt Free, which collects donations to buy Greek bonds. On Santorini, the Cycladic island of whitewashed homes, residents say they'd like help with their benefactor's charity — but they can't even pay their own bills.

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Business
2:55 am
Mon July 9, 2012

Stafford Loans Interest Rate To Remain Steady

Originally published on Mon July 9, 2012 4:23 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And for one more year, college students can access a certain kind of loan for the low rate of 3.4 percent. It's known as a Stafford loan, and the interest rate was set to double, until lawmakers managed to reach an agreement to keep the rate low, which in turn will keep college more affordable for more people.

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Business
2:55 am
Mon July 9, 2012

The Last Word In Business

Originally published on Mon July 9, 2012 5:11 am

In France, 26 million customers lost mobile phone service for more than nine hours on Friday. France Telecom had crashed. For subscribers, that meant no calls, no texts and no mobile Internet.

Business
2:55 am
Mon July 9, 2012

Business News

Originally published on Mon July 9, 2012 5:03 am

Some Internet users may be out of luck when they try to log on Monday. They're victims of an international malware attack — a malicious software picked up by their computers online over a year ago. The FBI has turned off Internet servers set up as a stop-gap to keep tens of thousands of victims online.

Politics
2:09 am
Mon July 9, 2012

GOP To Make 31st Attempt To Repeal Obamacare Act

Originally published on Wed November 14, 2012 11:00 am

The House Rules Committee takes up a bill Monday called the "Repeal of Obamacare Act." And just like it says, the bill would wipe away the president's Affordable Care Act. A vote of the full House is planned for Wednesday.

It's the first legislative response from House Republicans after the Supreme Court upheld the law. But it is far from the first time the GOP has voted for repeal.

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Your Money
3:28 pm
Sun July 8, 2012

Raising Minimum Wage: A Help Or Harm?

Wendy Brown of Schenectady, N.Y., holds a sign before an Occupy Albany rally pushing for a raise in New York's minimum wage on May 29, 2012.
Mike Groll AP

Originally published on Sun July 8, 2012 6:55 pm

Back in 1912, Massachusetts became the first place in America to introduce a minimum wage, but it would take another quarter century before a national minimum wage was set.

President Franklin Roosevelt made it law in 1938, that any hourly worker had to be paid at least 25 cents an hour. It was revolutionary, and very few countries had anything like it.

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Your Money
2:44 pm
Sat July 7, 2012

What Does London's LIBOR Mean To The U.S.?

British banking giant Barclays is at the center of an interbank loan rate scandal that caused several high-ranking executives to resign and forced the company to pay $455 million in fines.
Carl Court AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat July 7, 2012 3:24 pm

Many of us were introduced to the term LIBOR for the first time this week, when it was revealed that some banks might have been manipulating the dull but vital interest rates to gain an edge in the market.

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Sports
2:42 pm
Sat July 7, 2012

In NBA, The Old Guys Get Paid

Steve Nash, 38, left the Phoenix Suns to sign a $27 million three-year deal with the Los Angeles Lakers
Matt York AP

Originally published on Sat July 7, 2012 3:54 pm

Two NBA stars who are certainly past their primes and almost over the hill signed huge new contracts this week.

Make no mistake, Kevin Garnett and Steve Nash are still world-class basketball players. But it's been eight years since Garnett won his Most Valuable Player award, and it's been six years since Nash won back-to-back MVPs. Garnett is 36 years old, and Nash is 38.

"At 38, you're an active senior in NBA terms," sports writer Dave Zirin of The Nation magazine says. "You might as well be playing shuffleboard."

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Election 2012
1:55 pm
Sat July 7, 2012

Pro-Obama SuperPACs Losing The Money Race

President Obama steps onstage before a campaign event in Poland, Ohio. He recently underlined the importance of campaign finances to supporters in an email that began, "I will be outspent."
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Sat July 7, 2012 3:28 pm

"I will be outspent." This simple phrase headed an email President Obama recently sent to supporters.

"We can be outspent and still win," the message read. "But we can't be outspent 10 to 1 and still win." Obama asked for donations of as little as $3 to compete against the deep pockets of Republican challenger Mitt Romney and the super political action committees that back him.

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Around the Nation
6:57 am
Sat July 7, 2012

Scranton's Public Workers' Pay Cut to Minimum Wage

Originally published on Sat July 7, 2012 2:29 pm

The city of Scranton, Pa., sent out paychecks to its employees Friday, like it does every two weeks. But this time the checks were much smaller than usual. Mayor Chris Doherty has reduced everyone's pay — including his own — to the state's minimum wage: $7.25 an hour.

Doherty says his city has run out of money.

Scranton has had financial troubles for a couple of decades — the town has been losing population since the end of World War II. But the budget problems became more serious in recent months as the mayor and the city council fought over how to balance the budget.

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Economy
3:29 pm
Fri July 6, 2012

Options Slim, Older Job Seekers Try Starting Fresh

John Pham (right) reviews Bob Drake's resume at an AARP event aimed at helping older workers improve their job search. Workers age 55 and older cite particular difficulty finding employment, and some are choosing to retrain for new careers.
Frank Franklin II AP

Originally published on Tue July 10, 2012 2:46 pm

Deborah Klein sits in a parked car, a pile of envelopes on her lap. She's looking for work as a pharmacy technician, and has come to a faded strip mall near Waterbury, Conn., to drop off resumes with employers.

"I hope they get in touch with me, they want to meet with me, and who knows — they may have a position," Klein says. "It may not be now, but if I put something in their hand, they have something to think about."

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It's All Politics
2:15 pm
Fri July 6, 2012

Jobs Report And Politics: The Monthly Spin Cycle

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney speaks about the monthly jobs report Friday in Wolfeboro, N.H.
Charles Dharapak AP

Originally published on Fri July 6, 2012 2:32 pm

Like any Oval Office incumbent seeking re-election, President Obama would prefer to have the economy exceeding expectations in terms of job creation at this point in the campaign.

But exactly four months from Election Day, the economy isn't cooperating. In fact, it's doing just the opposite, underperforming job-growth forecasts in recent months.

Given the trend, it seems unlikely the four monthly jobs reports to be issued between Friday and Election Day will change the pattern in which our politics now seem trapped:

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The Two-Way
1:07 pm
Fri July 6, 2012

Yahoo, Facebook Reportedly In Ad Deal

Originally published on Fri July 6, 2012 1:52 pm

Yahoo and Facebook have agreed to re-sheath their patent swords and play nice — at least for now.

The two companies have struck a broad advertising partnership as part of a deal to end a patent dispute, Kara Swisher reports on the technology blog All Things Digital, quoting "sources close to the situation."

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Planet Money
10:10 am
Fri July 6, 2012

Rigging LIBOR: Banking Scandal Hits Home (Literally)

Lefteris Pitarakis AP

Originally published on Mon July 30, 2012 7:20 pm

The biggest scandal in the world right now has nothing to do with sex or celebrities. It's about an interest rate called LIBOR, or the London Interbank Offered Rate.

Most Americans probably never heard of LIBOR. When I first moved to New York, I hadn't. Back then, I could barely afford my apartment and got an adjustable rate mortgage. And so I wondered: When my rate adjusts, how will I know how much I'll be paying?

I searched through all the documents and it was right there — LIBOR. I would be paying a few percentage points above whatever LIBOR was.

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Planet Money
8:08 am
Fri July 6, 2012

How Unemployment Has Dragged On, In Three Charts

Lam Thuy Vo / NPR

Originally published on Mon July 9, 2012 9:06 pm

Losing your job is rarely good. Not being able to find one for months can be disastrous for individuals, and bad for society as well. Yet during the recent recession and the current anemic recovery, more people in the U.S. have been unemployed for longer than at any time since 1948.

Of all Americans who were unemployed in June, almost half had been without a job for 27 weeks or longer. In other words, 5.4 million people have been jobless for more than half a year.

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The Two-Way
5:09 am
Fri July 6, 2012

Just 80,000 Jobs Added In June; Unemployment Rate Stays At 8.2 Percent

The line at a job fair in New York City last month.
John Moore Getty Images

Originally published on Fri July 6, 2012 9:43 am

Job growth was even weaker than economists feared in June as public and private employers added just 80,000 jobs to their payrolls, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported this morning. They had been expecting BLS would say there were closer to 100,000 more jobs in June than in May.

A separate BLS survey showed the nation's jobless rate remained stuck at 8.2 percent. It's been above 8 percent since February 2009.

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Technology
4:10 am
Fri July 6, 2012

U.N. Human Rights Council Back Internet Freedom

Originally published on Mon July 30, 2012 7:20 pm

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

The United Nations Human Rights Council has declared people have a right to freedom of expression on the Internet. This is the first time that the council has extended the definition of human rights into the virtual world. And as NPR's Laura Sydell reports, the resolution had nearly universal support, even from countries which censor the Internet.

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Economy
4:10 am
Fri July 6, 2012

June Brought 80,000 Jobs, 8.2 Percent Unemployment

Originally published on Mon July 30, 2012 7:20 pm

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Linda Wertheimer with Steve Inskeep. The U.S. economy gained 80,000 jobs in June, that's the latest word from the Labor Department and it is another disappointing month of job growth. The number was slightly below expectations. The employment report is closely followed by economists. Job growth, of course, is front and center in the presidential election.

Joining us are NPR's political reporter Tamara Keith and economics correspondent, Chris Arnold.

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Business
4:10 am
Fri July 6, 2012

The Last Word In Business

Originally published on Fri July 6, 2012 10:10 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And today's last word in business takes us to London, where Europe's new tallest building has been inaugurated. It's called the Shard. Maybe that's because it sort of looks like a giant shard of glass, 1,016 feet tall. It stands out in a city with a relatively low skyline. It towers over the Tower of London, and the Shard brings many metaphors to mind.

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Business
4:10 am
Fri July 6, 2012

Data Show It Was A Gloomy June For Many Retailers

Originally published on Fri July 6, 2012 10:10 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with a retail's lousy summer.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

INSKEEP: It's been sunny in much of the country, but inside many stores, the attitude is gloomy - or at least it was during the month of June. The latest sales figures are in, and they show many consumers were not in a buying mood last month. NPR's Wade Goodwyn has more.

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Politics
4:10 am
Fri July 6, 2012

Obama Boards A Bus To Promote His Economic Vision

Originally published on Fri July 6, 2012 10:10 am

President Obama's campaign bus rolls from Ohio into Pennsylvania Friday. He is trying to make the case that the U.S. economy is slowly but surely on the mend. While touring Ohio's manufacturing belt Thursday, he highlighted the rebound of the auto industry.

Business
4:10 am
Fri July 6, 2012

Why The Barclays Scandal Affects More Than Britain

Originally published on Fri July 6, 2012 7:35 am

The Planet Money team digs into the rate-setting scandal engulfing the British bank Barclays. Emails reveal bank employees were shockingly casual and explicit in their communications about manipulating one of the key financial benchmarks in the global economy.

News
2:39 am
Fri July 6, 2012

Fake Bylines Reveal True Costs Of Local News

Newspapers acknowledged publishing dozens of items in print or online from outsourcing firm Journatic that appeared under fake bylines. The Chicago Tribune, for example, said the matter is under investigation. But the newspaper's corporate parent, the Tribune Co., is a new investor in Journatic.
Charles Rex Arbogast AP

Originally published on Fri July 6, 2012 10:10 am

Major newspapers in Chicago, Houston and San Francisco are among those this week that have acknowledged they published dozens of items in print or online that appeared under fake bylines.

As was first disclosed by the public radio program This American Life, the items in question were not written by reporters on the staffs of the papers at all but by employees of what is effectively a news outsourcing firm called Journatic.

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Around the Nation
1:19 am
Fri July 6, 2012

Despite Delays, Chair Lifts Coming To Public Pools

New government regulations require public pools to have chair lifts, like this one in Savannah, Ga., for people with disabilities. The compliance deadline has been extended for a second time.
Russ Bynum AP

Originally published on Mon July 30, 2012 7:20 pm

Pools open to the public were supposed to have chair lifts installed for people with disabilities in time for this summer, but after a wave of protests, the federal order was delayed until January.

Still, some of the country's 300,000 or so pools at hotels, parks and gyms continue to fight the requirement.

Vestavia Hills pool near Birmingham, Ala., is one of thousands of pools that scrambled to get a chair lift installed by May.

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Business
1:02 am
Fri July 6, 2012

For Some Businesses, Daily Deals Have A Dark Side

Creative Hands is a therapy center in Washington, D.C., that used daily deals when it opened last year. Instead of bolstering revenue, the deals left Creative Hands' owner in the red.
Ebony Bailey NPR

Originally published on Mon July 30, 2012 7:20 pm

Groupon and Living Social have sold tens of millions of daily deals and are now a major force in retail. But they rely heavily on getting businesses to offer their goods and services at deep discounts. In exchange, businesses hope for payoff in the form of return customers.

Sometimes, though, the flood of extra business causes more problems than it solves.

Deal-Hungry Crowd

Ailie Ham had just opened Creative Hands Massage in Washington, D.C., when she decided to offer deals through Living Social and Groupon last year.

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NPR Cities: Urban Life In The 21st Century
3:06 pm
Thu July 5, 2012

A Company Town Reinvents Itself In South Bend, Ind.

Pete Buttigieg, 30, is the first mayor of South Bend, Ind., born after car manufacturer Studebaker left town.
Peter Hoffman for NPR

Originally published on Fri July 6, 2012 11:55 am

There are two truths about South Bend, Ind. No. 1: You can't escape the influence of the University of Notre Dame. No. 2: You can't escape the ghost of Studebaker.

South Bend may be best known as the home of the Fighting Irish, but it was once the home of Studebaker automobiles. When Studebaker closed in 1963, it left a gaping hole in the town, where unemployment is at 10.4 percent, according to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Now, the city is working hard to create a second act for the commercial life of South Bend.

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