Illinois Economy

Business and economic news

Working as a magician in the digital age

Mar 1, 2019

What if your 9-to-5 job was dependent on secret-keeping?  

For centuries, magicians have practiced the art of deception, quietly passing down illusions in order to keep their livelihoods intact. But in the age of the internet, when a secret can be looked up easily, and tricks can be taught by online tutorials, the business of magic is not so secret anymore. And some in the field would argue that's a good thing.

Tesla's 'cheap,' $35K car

Mar 1, 2019

Trade talks with China are going great, or there might be a long way to go; the White House can't seem to get its narratives straight. It now looks like inflation fears might have been overblown. Plus, Tesla finally comes out with it's $35,000 Model 3, which is considered cheap for the high-end EV maker. What's ahead for the global energy market? And some New Yorkers plead with Amazon, "Baby, come back!"

Tesla launches $35,000 Model 3... finally

Mar 1, 2019

It’s been a long time coming, but Tesla announced Thursday that the long-awaited $35,000 version of its Model 3 electric car is now available to order.

Southwest gets FAA approval to fly to Hawaii

Mar 1, 2019

The Federal Aviation Administration has approved Southwest Airlines' plan to start flying to Hawaii. In a January earnings call, Southwest's chief executive Gary Kelly said he expected up to half of the airline's anticipated capacity growth in 2019 to come from new Hawaii routes. The flights will start in small Californian airports, possibly as soon as this month. 

Old Navy's new outfit

Mar 1, 2019

The Gap lets go of Old Navy. SpaceX heads to the International Space Station over the weekend in the hopes of eventually getting Americans back into space in U.S.-made spacecraft. Your airline ticket to Hawaii may get cheaper thanks to Southwest.

Today's show is sponsored by Amenity Health, the University of Florida Warrington College of Business and Brothers Printers.

From the BBC World Service… A day after talks of denuclearization broke down between the U.S. and North Korea, South Korea's president gave a speech insisting meaningful progress was, in fact, made during the two-day talks. We'll explore why the country has such a large stake in the its northern neighbor's international relationship. Then, as people live longer, governments around the world are grappling with how to deal with higher health care costs. Wearable technology, though, could hold the key to alleviating the strain.

Cybersecurity is still really hard. Full stop.

Mar 1, 2019

On Monday the RSA cybersecurity conference kicks off in San Francisco. Lots of security vendors will be there offering solutions for keeping businesses safe from hacking. The number of huge security breaches in recent years might make it seem like that's impossible. In fact, this year the theme of the RSA conference is simply "Better." Yikes.

Cybersecurity is still really hard. Full stop.

Mar 1, 2019

On Monday the RSA cybersecurity conference kicks off in San Francisco. Lots of security vendors will be there offering solutions for keeping businesses safe from hacking. The number of huge security breaches in recent years might make it seem like that's impossible. In fact, this year the theme of the RSA conference is simply "Better."  Yikes.

Once upon a time, America spelled cheese K-R-A-F-T, and Oscar Mayer had a way with B-O-L-O-G-N-A. But lately, those brands haven’t been doing well for their owner, Kraft Heinz. The packaged-foods giant announced that it's writing down the value of Kraft and Oscar Mayer by more than $15 billion. In today’s market, those iconic brands just aren’t what they used to be.

Is it the drug trade? Petty crime? Low interest rates? Economists don't agree on why there's been a spike of hundred dollar bills out there. We look at some of the reasons.

Why we need GDP growth

Feb 28, 2019

Last year, the U.S. economy grew at an annualized rate of 2.9 per cent — a pretty respectable number, and a likely product of the 2017 tax overhaul. But as the "sugar-high" from those tax cuts wanes, what will the effects of sub-3 percent growth rates mean for the U.S. economy in the long run?

Click the audio player above to hear the full story.

Sanctions sink agreement at Vietnam summit

Feb 28, 2019

President Trump is returning from his Asia trip without a deal with North Korea. The idea was to loosen some sanctions in return for North Korea's winding down its nuclear program. Trump says the talks fell apart because Kim Jong Un wanted all sanctions against his country dropped and offered no commitment to get rid of North Korea's nuclear arsenal. North Korea says it demanded only partial sanctions relief. Regardless, the sanctions are a big part of this. What exactly are those sanctions?

Click the audio player above to hear the full story.

As the nation was slowly recovering from the financial crisis, the Justice Department had a choice: Go after big banks with criminal cases that could be tough to win or use powerful civil penalties and negotiate settlements? In the last installment of our special series, we'll look at how the government made that decision and why no CEO went to jail. Plus, the sanctions that cut short President Donald Trump's summit with North Korea.

Madelyn Beck

Brian Otten likens his process for dealing with road problems to a triage system.

As the highway engineer in Perry County in southern Illinois, Otten says he gets calls about potholes or cracked drainage pipes. 

“And we’ll go out there and take a look and say, this pipe is about fall in and somebody could have an accident here and really get hurt. That takes precedence over the inconvenience of a pothole,” he said.

Problems on interstate highways and bridges get a lot of attention. But you may be seeing more potholes and cracks on the roads you take to work or even live on, particularly in rural areas.

Grey's Anatomy pulls off a medical miracle

Feb 28, 2019

"Grey's Anatomy" debuts its 332nd episode today, bypassing "ER" to becomes the longest-running prime time medical drama in TV history. Now in its 15th season, the show created by Shonda Rhimes still commands some of the highest advertising rates in prime time, typically pulling in a weekly audience of more than 7 million viewers.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story.

The Federal Trade Commission just announced it’s creating a new task force, within the agency, to monitor competition in the tech world. The agency says it’s building a team that will investigate anti-competitive conduct and take enforcement action when needed.

Is interconnected exercise the next big thing?

Feb 28, 2019

The interconnected exercise machine company Peloton is reportedly working on an initial public offering. According to Bloomberg News, Peloton has chosen Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase to lead the IPO.

It’s been almost 10 years since subscription-box trailblazers like Birchbox started to revolutionize retail. With monthly deliveries available for contact lenses, female hygiene products, dog toys, and makeup – there’s a box to fit every possible consumer want or need. With so many choices on the market, could the industry be approaching a saturation point?

It's all about the Benjamins lately

Feb 28, 2019

Tariffs take a toll on the GDP. President Trump "walks away" during the North Korea summit. Plus, there are a lot more $100 bills in circulation, and the reason might be less nefarious than you might think.

Today's show is sponsored by Ling Ling Asian Foods, the Alliance for Lifetime Income and Amazon Web Services.

Peugeot announces return to North American market

Feb 28, 2019

Peugeot is one of the world's oldest auto brands, but it hasn't sold cars in the United States for more than 25 years. Now it hopes to bring its je-ne-sais-quoi auto engineering back to North America.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story.

Are you 'experienced'?

Feb 28, 2019

The rate of farm loan delinquencies is at a 9-year high, due, in part, to President Trump's tariffs and low crop prices. The attention humanitarian crises get in the media is impacting the amount of aid going to troubled zones. Plus, as it competes with hospitality disrupters like Airbnb, Marriott focuses on guest "experiences." And TikTok pays a record fine over children's privacy.

Sometimes you have to walk away

Feb 28, 2019

From the BBC World Service… President Trump's second summit with North Korea's leader ends early and without a deal. The news sent ructions through South Korea's financial markets. Then, economic repercussions of the escalation in tensions between India and Pakistan are being felt globally. But it wasn't long ago that relations between the two countries softened. So how has the breakdown in relations impacted businesses on both sides of the border? Plus, a look at whether the subscription-box market has peaked.

As Uber eyes an IPO, what's its plan for profits?

Feb 28, 2019

Ride-sharing platforms Lyft and Uber are speeding toward initial public offerings this year. Both companies offer rides and increasingly bike and scooter rentals. Uber loses a lot of money every quarter. And Lyft hasn't been a star on profits either, reportedly losing over $370 million in the first half of last year. 

As Uber eyes an IPO, what's its plan for profits?

Feb 28, 2019

Ride-sharing platforms Lyft and Uber are speeding toward initial public offerings this year. Both companies offer rides and increasingly bike and scooter rentals, but there are some big differences. Uber has all kinds of other spinoffs, like Uber Eats, a freight business and international expansion. CEO Dara Khosrowshahi has described it as "the Amazon of transportation." And Lyft is still focused on rides.

Marie Kondo may be a boon to the resale industry

Feb 27, 2019

The release of the hit Netflix show "Tidying Up With Marie Kondo" has offered an unexpected boost to thrift stores this year. Kondo encourages viewers across the U.S. to part with the personal effects that fail to "spark joy." Goodwill Industries is attributing at least some of a 10 to 20 percent increase in donations to its stores this year to the release of the show's first series. 

Marie Kondo is sparking joy at the thrift shop

Feb 27, 2019

We're at the end of earnings season, and the news was good, for the most part. But is this the calm before the storm? French carmaker Peugeot says it's coming back stateside. Plus, Marie Kondo's popular downsizing movement could work out great for the resale industry.

Budgeting for a student loan payment each month is something a lot of people can relate to: these days, about 70 percent of college graduates enter

Bear Stearns on trial

Feb 27, 2019

During the worst of the financial crisis, two hedge fund managers were tried in court for securities fraud ... and acquitted. We look at what happened in the second part of our series about who served time after the crash. Plus, a big hearing on Capitol Hill (no, not that one) and why "Grey's Anatomy" has stuck around even longer than "ER."

Help wanted: will pay off student loans

Feb 27, 2019

By most accounts, the U.S. economy is doing well, except when we're talking about farmers. Spotify launches in India, a country with 400 million mobile phone users. Plus, some companies are now offering student loan repayment benefits to attract quality employees. And, in case you're interested, Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch is up for sale at a big discount.

From the BBC World Service… Ahead of President Trump's dinner with Kim Jong Un, Boeing announced deals totaling $16 billion with two Vietnamese aircraft carriers. Then, with less than 10 percent of users in Asia, Spotify has just launched its streaming service in India. But in a crowded market, how does it plan to stand out? Plus, what New Zealand can teach Britain about life after Brexit.

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