Illinois Economy

Business and economic news

The fate of fashion in the trade war

Aug 22, 2018

Hearings before the U.S. Trade Representative continued today as businesses spoke on the impact their industries will face if the next batch of Chinese tariffs are put into place by the White House. Called the Section 301 tariffs, the 25 percent taxes are aimed at another $200 billion worth of Chinese imports. On the list this time: apparel, handbags, backpacks — enough items to have the American fashion industry very concerned. Julia Hughes, the president of the United States Fashion Industry Association, testifies tomorrow.

My Economy tells the story of the new economic normal through the eyes of people trying to make it, because we know the only numbers that really matter are the ones in your economy.

Chinese firms remain optimistic about U.S. trade

Aug 22, 2018

The U.S. and China are engaged in lower level trade talks in Washington this week. Though President Donald Trump has said he doesn't expect any breakthroughs, many Chinese businesses are hopeful. 

Both nations have engaged in tit-for-tat tariffs on some two thousand items.

Even so, many of the Chinese companies affected have told Marketplace they feel rather optimistic. 

“We do not think this is a big problem. The trade dispute will be resolved soon. We are confident about this,” said Juliet Yang, who's in the pecan business.

A year ago this week, a storm named Harvey dumped trillions of gallons of water on Southeast Texas. It left Houston, the fourth most-populous city in the nation, underwater for days. The damage caused by the storm is estimated to be more than $125 billion, and a lot of that damage was done to peoples' homes. A year on, many neighborhoods are just beginning to rebuild, and residents face a tough decision: take any insurance or FEMA money from the disaster and rebuild or just cut their losses and leave. 

Houston, a year after Harvey

Aug 22, 2018

A year ago this week, a storm named Harvey left Houston underwater for days. A year on, many neighborhoods are just beginning to rebuild, and residents face a tough decision: take any insurance or FEMA money and rebuild, or cut their losses and leave. We're on the ground there. But first, let's do the numbers on today's Federal Reserve meeting minutes, which mentioned trade 21 times, up from seven last month, and expressed unease about inflation. We'll go inside the talks happening right now with China, the European Union and Japan.

We're about to enter the longest bull market ever

Aug 22, 2018

First, a little background. Generally speaking, a bull market is when the stock market is on an upward trajectory. There are lots of ways to measure that, of course. 

“You talk to people and you maybe get 10 answers as to exactly what a bull market is,” said Ryan Detrick, senior market strategist at LPL Research.

A common answer —and the one we’ll use here — is that it’s a bull market when the S&P 500 index rises by 20 percent and keeps going. If that trend reverses, and the index closes down by more than 20 percent, we enter a bear market.

In May, the Trump administration announced import tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum. Canada retaliated with its own, longer list of tariffs that includes steel and aluminum but also products from bourbon to strawberry jam. With the risk of an escalating trade war, a father-son team has created a website for Canadians to find products made at home. While a Buy Canadian movement could encourage more consumers to seek out domestic alternatives to U.S.

The classic IT advice is to back up anything that's valuable, just in case. With computerized voting, the preferred backup is good old-fashioned paper records. And yet, 14 states have systems that either lack paper backups completely or are only partially backed up by paper. So if something goes wrong with the state's voting system on election day — hacking or some malfunction — that means there won't be a foolproof way to make sure votes aren't lost. We talk with J.

(Global Edition) From the BBC World Service…Workers stayed home and many businesses were at a standstill as Venezuelans tried to adapt to their new currency. The government says the measures will help combat hyperinflation, but critics say it’ll just make the ongoing economic crisis there worse. Then, new action by Facebook and Twitter to fight misinformation campaigns on social media ahead of the mid-term elections. Afterwards, summertime means peak tourist season, but some say millions are indulging in an unhealthy appetite for travel.

Longest bull market ever?

Aug 22, 2018

As of today the stock market is on a record tear, this is the longest bull market ever at least by one definition. The S&P 500 hit bottom on March 9, 2009 when it closed at just 676. It's been more or less heading upwards ever since and yesterday it closed just shy of 2,900. We'll get into what this means for the economy and what exactly constitutes a bull market. Plus, we talk to Susan Schmidt, senior vice president at Westwood Holdings about how this bull market is different than others. Also, U.S. travelers to the U.K.

About that one crime in particular

Aug 22, 2018

(U.S. Edition) President Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort was found guilty of tax and bank fraud yesterday, only minutes after Trump's former lawyer pleaded guilty to breaking campaign finance law. But that's not all, Manafort still faces another trial next month on accusations that he failed to register as a foreign agent. So, what's at stake in that next trial? What does it mean that he was acting as a foreign agent? How many people act as foreign agents? We break it down.

U.S. travelers to the U.K. and the eurozone face two currency hurdles: calculating pound and euro prices in dollars, and dealing with the higher cost of goods and services over there. How do they cope? With a little magical thinking. 

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

Why election security experts really like paper records

Aug 22, 2018

The classic IT advice is to back up anything that's valuable, just in case. With computerized voting, the preferred backup is good old-fashioned paper records. And yet, 14 states have systems that either lack paper backups completely or are only partially backed up by paper. So if something goes wrong with the state's voting system on election day, like hacking or some malfunction, that means there won't be a foolproof way to make sure votes aren't lost. J.

The downsides of low interest rates

Aug 21, 2018

President Donald Trump has long favored low interest rates, which are typically a boon for real estate developers. And he has criticized the Federal Reserve and the chairman he appointed, Jerome Powell, for pursuing a policy of gradual rate hikes initiated under former Fed Chair Janet Yellen. But maintaining a loose monetary policy could be risky now that the economy has been in recovery mode for nearly a decade, consumer sentiment and spending are strong, and unemployment is near record lows.

Next month, Danish shipping company Maersk will launch the first container ship on an Arctic Ocean route. The 3,600-container ice vessel will travel from Vladivostok in eastern Russia all the way to St. Petersburg in the west using the Northern Sea Route. That's a shipping lane running across Russia's northern coast.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

With auto tariffs on the horizon, a warning from U.S. carmakers

Aug 21, 2018

Today U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross announced that proposed tariffs on foreign auto parts have been placed on hold. The reason, Ross told the Wall Street Journal, is all the other trade news is taking up too much time — NAFTA, China, tariffs, testimonies, the trade war.

Paul Manafort, the longtime political operative who for months led Donald Trump’s winning presidential campaign, was found guilty of eight financial crimes Tuesday in the first trial victory of the special counsel investigation into the president’s associates. A judge declared a mistrial on 10 other counts the jury could not agree on.

The verdict was part of a stunning one-two punch of bad news for the White House, coming as the president’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, was pleading guilty in New York as part of a separate deal with prosecutors.

Life's good in the sector tariffs were intended to protect

Aug 21, 2018

We've been hearing a lot from people at companies who oppose the tariffs and poured time into trying to get exemptions from them. But for steel producers, this era of trade war isn't so bleak. With new tariffs looming, Marketplace host Kai Ryssdal checked in with Lisa Goldenberg, president of Delaware Steel in Pennsylvania, who has enjoyed better business since Trump's original tariffs on steel and aluminum imports went into effect in March.

Ex-Trump lawyer Cohen pleads guilty in hush-money scheme

Aug 21, 2018

NEW YORK — Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer and “fixer,” pleaded guilty Tuesday to campaign finance violations and other charges, saying he and Trump arranged the payment of hush money to porn star Stormy Daniels and a former Playboy model to influence the election.

The guilty plea came almost at the same moment former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort was convicted in Alexandria, Virginia, of eight financial crimes in the first trial to come out of special counsel Robert Mueller’s sprawling Russia investigation.

The Environmental Protection Agency released details today of its plan to replace the Obama-era rules governing carbon emissions from power plants. The EPA's proposals differ radically from the old Clean Power Plan. They give a lot of concessions to the coal industry. President Donald Trump has long promised to end what he calls the "war on coal." But even if this plan makes it through the long, dirty fight to become law, how much difference can regulatory changes make to the coal industry in the face of rapidly evolving market forces?

In other news ...

Aug 21, 2018

The Environmental Protection Agency released details today of its plan to replace the Obama-era rules governing carbon emissions from power plants. This proposal gives a lot of concessions to the coal industry and is a step toward ending what the president calls the "war on coal." But even if this plan makes it through the long, dirty fight to become law, how much difference can regulatory changes make to the coal industry in the face of rapidly evolving market forces? Also on today's show: You guessed it, tariffs. We get insight on steel tariffs from industry insiders.

Classic sitcoms still making money after all these years

Aug 21, 2018

A living room in Miami, 1999. Fifteen-year-old Alexander Ruche is walking to the kitchen to get a glass of water when his mom calls him over to the couch.  “I Love Lucy” is on TV.  She wants him to watch it with her.

He’s not into it. The show is in black and white.

“I’m like, 'Mom, I’m not going to watch this,'” Ruche said. “And she tells me ‘Hey, you know, give it a chance. It’s pretty funny.'”

More than 2 million Americans receive rental housing assistance from the federal government through the Housing Choice Voucher Program, also known as Section 8. But new research sponsored by the Department of Housing and Urban Development finds low-income families don’t have much “choice” in where they are able to use their vouchers.

(Markets Edition) More than 2 million people get government aid to help pay rent through Section 8 housing, or the Housing Choice Voucher program. But new research is showing that landlords are making the choice to refuse most of those vouchers. The Department of Housing and Urban Development is working on a solution – a task force designed to get more landlords on board with the program. Also, we look at how tomorrow signals the longest bull run ever ... but when is the drop going to come?

(U.S. Edition) President Trump is back on the attack against Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell, saying he's "not thrilled" with the Fed for boosting interest rates during an interview with Reuters. He also took time to toss some criticism at China mere days before trade talks are supposed to resume in Washington. Then, we take a look at the rise of used car prices, which have grown a little more than 5 percent from the previous year in July, according to data from Cox Automotive.

Domain names are hot property for countries. Israel.com sold for almost $6 million in 2008. Korea.com went for $5 million in 2000. Now, a Miami man is suing France – the country – for seizing his domain name: France.com.

What’s behind the used car sales boom?

Aug 21, 2018

Used car prices hit a record high this summer according to recent data from the business and research firm Cox Automotive. Economists there found car prices for July, which is usually a slow month, were up 5.1 percent from the same month last year. Why is this happening?

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

(Global Edition) From the BBC World Service … Chinese and American officials are meeting in Washington today to discuss the ongoing trade spat – and overnight President Trump again ramped up pressure saying China is “absolutely” manipulating its currency. But what exactly does that mean, and what implications could it have on the souring relationship between the world’s two biggest economies?  Afterwards, it’s not just the U.S. and China caught up in a trade spat – most Asian economies are intricately linked to China through their supply chains.

Girl Scouts CEO Sylvia Acevedo worked at NASA and IBM before she took the top job at Girl Scout headquarters. Under her leadership, the organization has unveiled a round of STEM merit badges, including new ones for cybersecurity, robotics and mechanical engineering. These come at a time when the Girl Scouts face a shrinking membership. Guest host Lizzie O'Leary talks to Acevedo about whether the badges make the Girl Scouts more relevant and if they'll help girls gain marketable skills. (08/21/18)

 

Girl Scouts CEO Sylvia Acevedo worked at NASA and IBM before she took the top job at the scouts' headquarters in New York. Under her leadership, the organization recently unveiled a STEM program with new badges for cybersecurity, robotics and mechanical engineering. This comes at a time when the Girl Scouts face shrinking membership. Guest host Lizzie O'Leary talked to Acevedo about whether the badges make the Girl Scouts more relevant and if they'll help girls gain marketable skills. She also asked Acevedo for an example of how the badges engage troop members in science and tech.

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