KRWG

Business

Please note: Sometimes, NPR publishes headlines before the story and/or audio is ready; check back for content later if this occurs. We also publish national/world news on our home page from AP, BBC, and others.

You may already know the headline jobs numbers the government released this morning: The unemployment rate held steady last month at 4.1 percent. The economy added 148,000 jobs.

But these numbers are just the surface of the monthly jobs report; the report has a huge amount of information about how the job market is working (or not working) for people in different industries, and different age groups.

The U.S. economy added 148,000 jobs in December, the Labor Department says, issuing the monthly jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The unemployment rate was 4.1 percent, unchanged from November.

Analysts had predicted the Labor Department report would show another month of solid job gains. But it's a sharp dropoff from the revised November result of more than 250,000 jobs.

If you are a scientist, entrepreneur or a Nobel laureate, you might have a future as an expatriate in China.

The guidelines were released jointly by the State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Public Security.

The special visas — the first of which has already been approved — can be obtained in as few as five days, the government says.

Applications for the visa can be completed online and are free, the ministries say.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

The week after Christmas is usually a short and slow one for town officials in New Paltz, N.Y. — but not this time.

"When we opened town hall Wednesday we had almost 100 voicemails from people inquiring about how they could prepay their taxes," says Daniel Torres, the town's deputy supervisor.

And the phones kept ringing. People started lining up. Torres says the clerk's office has a only few people working in it.

"The clerk's office was so overrun. After a certain while we couldn't even pick up the phones anymore," he says.

This is the third and final report in John Ydstie's series on Germany's manufacturing strength.

The Dow Jones industrial average finished above 25,000 for the first time, as the long rally in stock prices showed no signs of letting up.

A strong report about hiring from payroll processor ADP helped push stocks higher. Financial stocks did especially well, and an increase in oil prices has benefited the energy sector.

The Dow finished the day at 25,075, a gain of 0.61 percent. Both the Nasdaq composite index and the Standard and Poor's 500 index also finished at record highs.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

For the last several months, Congress was almost all tax bill almost all the time. Lots of regular business got postponed.

As a result, there is an insane amount of economic policymaking that has to be done by both Congress and the president by the end of the month.

From tariffs to immigration to funding for the military and social programs, the next 27 days are going to be huge.

A new threat to New England's shellfish industry seems to be establishing itself more firmly, and regulators are trying to stay ahead of potentially deadly blooms of toxic algae that may be driven by climate change.

Thirty years ago, four people died from amnesic shellfish poisoning after eating cultured mussels from Canada's Price Edward Island. The mussels contained domoic acid, a neurotoxin produced by a class of algae called pseudo-nitzschia. The toxin turned up in PEI mussels the next year, but for decades after that wasn't heard from again on the Eastern Seaboard.

The Trump administration is proposing dramatic changes to policies on offshore leasing for oil and gas, opening the door to radically expand drilling in waters that were protected by the Obama administration.

It's the "largest number of lease sales ever proposed, " Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke told reporters. The proposed plan to sell offshore drilling leases in the Atlantic, Pacific and Arctic over a five-year period was detailed Thursday.

The city of Fort Collins, Colo., will build a system to deliver "high speed next-generation broadband to the entire community," after its City Council enacted a ballot initiative that voters approved in November. The move comes despite resistance from cable and telecom companies.

Aurora, a startup company led by three veterans of Google, Tesla, and Uber, has signed deals with both Volkswagen and Hyundai with the goal of putting autonomous vehicle technology on the market within three years — and doing so "quickly, broadly and safely."

The partnerships will pair Aurora's sensors and software — its machine learning and artificial intelligence technology — with two companies that together produce more than 15 million vehicles each year.

Self-driving Hyundai models will be on the market by 2021, the company says.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture predicts consumers will be paying less for beef, pork, lamb, chicken and turkey in early 2018 than at the start of 2017. Not so for eggs.

This is the second of three reports from NPR's John Ydstie on Germany's manufacturing strength.

Manufacturing accounts for nearly a quarter of Germany's economy. In the U.S., it's about half that. A key element of that success is Germany's apprenticeship training program.

French President Emmanuel Macron says he will push a new law aimed at clamping down on fake news, saying he hopes to have it in place by the end of the year.

Speaking at a news conference at the Elysee Palace in Paris on Wednesday, Macron said such a law was essential, especially during elections.

"The freedom of the press is not a special freedom, it is the highest expression of freedom," Macron said. "If we want to protect liberal democracies, we have to be strong and have clear rules." Adding that, "A law will follow in due course."

When it comes to reporting on Spotify and the company's strained relationship with songwriters and publishers, it's beginning to sound like a broken ... system. But a possible fix is in.

Just two days before New Year's Eve, the music publishing company Wixen, which manages the compositions of a wide cross section of artists from Neil Young to Rage Against The Machine, filed a lawsuit against Spotify over its failure to properly license those works before making them available to stream.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Two years ago, international sanctions against Iran were largely lifted. People expected the economy to come surging back. But so far, it's been a disappointment. Unemployment is high. Prices are rising. Corruption is persistent. A surge in the price of eggs was the last straw.

Music by Drop Electric. Find us: Twitter/ Facebook.

Chinese billionaire Jack Ma's yearlong effort to buy U.S. money transfer company MoneyGram is now over, after American regulators objected to the $1.2 billion deal. Ma's Ant Financial Services Group has dropped its bid for the Dallas-based company.

Announcing the spiked merger, MoneyGram CEO Alex Holmes said, "The geopolitical environment has changed considerably since we first announced the proposed transaction with Ant Financial nearly a year ago."

U.S. coal mines recorded 15 workplace deaths in 2017 only a year after they hit a record low, according to Mine Safety and Health Administration data released on Tuesday.

In 2016, just nine deaths occurred in U.S. coal mines.

West Virginia mines saw eight deaths, Kentucky had two, and one each occurred at mines in Alabama, Colorado, Montana, Pennsylvania and Wyoming.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

This is the first of three reports from NPR's John Ydstie on Germany's manufacturing strength.

The United States needs to create more manufacturing jobs: That has been a constant refrain of President Trump and was one of the goals of the corporate tax cut recently passed by Congress and signed into law. The loss of manufacturing jobs has been a problem for many countries, especially the U.S. It played a big role in Trump's election.

Kari Pinto and her husband recently retired, and now they hope to trade Iowa — and its harsh winters — for a state with a milder climate.

But the tax bill President Trump signed into law last month has complicated their search for a new home.

"Now we just have another wrinkle in trying to determine where to go, and how much it's going to cost us," she says.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Vice Media has placed two senior executives on leave, less than two weeks after The New York Times published a story about multiple accounts of sexual harassment at the company known for its edgy and sometimes explicit content.

The U.S. economy is doing great — unemployment is low, businesses are investing more. What could possibly go wrong?

It's like watching the first 20 minutes of a horror movie. Everything seems great. The kids are out swimming in the lake. It's a beautiful summer. But you know something bad is going to happen sooner or later. It always does.

On today's show, we talk about one way things might go wrong: We look at parts of the economy where borrowing is getting frighteningly easy — and where more and more people are struggling to repay their debts.

Happy New Year.

Hoda Kotb, who has been filling in for Matt Lauer since he was fired in late November for sexual misconduct, has been officially named co-anchor of NBC's Today show.

Kotb joins Savannah Guthrie at the anchor desk — making this Today's first-ever all-female anchor team.

In addition to co-anchoring the first two hours of Today, Kotb will also continue to co-host the fourth hour of the show with Kathie Lee Gifford. (The third hour is currently hosted by Megyn Kelly.)

For more than four decades, Peter Martins helped to shape the New York City Ballet — first as a dancer and then as an artistic leader.

Late Monday he informed the company's board that he would be retiring effective immediately.

Martins had been on a leave of absence since last month amid an investigation looking into sexual misconduct claims.

Martins has also served as artistic director of the School of American Ballet. He is also retiring from his role at the school.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

Pages