Illinois Economy

Business and economic news

How to grow a union in an anti-union state

Feb 26, 2018

Before Mark Janus gets his paycheck, a number of things get deducted: taxes, Social Security and Medicare. And then a small portion of Janus’ paycheck goes to the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, a union that negotiated his contract. Janus is not a union member, but he is required to pay what is called a “fair-share” fee that covers the union’s costs of negotiating and maintaining a contract.

The Weinstein Company files for bankruptcy

Feb 26, 2018

The Weinstein Company says it will file for bankruptcy after sale talks fell through. The company emailed a statement late Sunday night claiming the interested buyer — an investment group led by former Obama administration official Maria Contreras-Sweet — failed to meet adequate terms of the sale.

02/26/2018: The eternal CEO

Feb 26, 2018

(U.S. Edition) CEOs get criticized for short-term thinking, but what if you kept them in power for several decades? In China, President Xi Jinping could stay in power for the remainder of his life. We'll look at news that the ruling Communist party wants to change the constitution that would grant him the ability to. Afterwards, we'll discuss the importance of checking your credit score, and then talk to Gary Kennedy — the former top lawyer of American Airlines — about whether airlines have to deal with too many rules and regulations.

Most people say they care about credit card security. They just don’t take time to deal with it before it’s too late.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

(Markets Edition) The movie studio founded by disgraced producer Harvey Weinstein is set to file for bankruptcy. We'll take a look at why sales talks might have fallen through. Afterwards, we'll talk with economist Julia Coronado about what we can expect from Fed Chair Jay Powell's upcoming speech to Congress, and then discuss how Colombia's LGBT community may not be benefiting fully from the country's reparations system.

(Global Edition) From the BBC World Service … German Chancellor Angela Merkel may be one step closer to running Europe’s largest economy as her party votes on whether to form a coalition government with its rivals … five months after elections. We’ll explain what’s at stake. Then, smartphone sales declined at the end of last year for the first time since the pocket-sized devices were invented. So how are giants of the industry pivoting to keep customers upgrading every year? We head to the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona to find out.

Are airline rules getting out of hand?

Feb 26, 2018

Airlines are pushing for deregulation, which could affect the 24-hour grace period you can get a full refund and whether you can see all of the taxes included in your ticket purchase. 

While a lot of these rules airlines have in place are aimed at protecting consumers, a former American Airlines employee argues that there are some downsides to them. 

02/26/2018: The coming cardboard apocalypse

Feb 26, 2018

E-commerce is creating a cardboard nightmare. The rise of Amazon and the like has left a deluge of packing waste in many of the world’s largest economies. None more than China, where more than 40 billion packages were shipped last year. That number will likely increase as the Chinese economy grows. There is some pressure on retailers to use less material in their packaging and to switch to reusable alternatives. Marketplace Tech host Molly Wood spoke with our China correspondent, Jennifer Pak, about how China will cope with the pending cardboard apocalypse.  

China is drowning in a sea of cardboard — so is the U.S.

Feb 26, 2018

E-commerce is creating a cardboard nightmare. The rise of Amazon and the like has left a deluge of packing waste in many of the world’s largest economies. None more than China, where more than 40 billion packages were shipped last year. That number will likely increase as the Chinese economy grows. There is some pressure on retailers to use less material in their packaging and to switch to reusable alternatives. Marketplace Tech host spoke with our China correspondent, Jennifer Pak, about how China will cope with the pending cardboard apocalypse.

How to be a Zamboni driver

Feb 23, 2018

Ryan Hevern is an ice technician at the Schwan Super Rink in Blaine, Minnesota. He also works part-time driving Zambonis at Minnesota's 3M Arena and is currently working at the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. He started driving a Zamboni right out of high school and has been working on the ice for eight years. 

Student loan debt affects more than 44 million Americans, who hold about $1.4 trillion in debt.

Marketplace Weekend spoke to Adam Looney, a senior fellow at The Brookings Institution and author of the group's latest report on student loan repayment. Here are the three big takeaways:

Researchers from George Washington University announced Thursday they will be conducting a recount of Hurricane Maria's death toll amidst conflicting accounts that have emerged since the hurricane hit, rekindling conversation about recovery efforts on the island. Beyond the challenges of physical reconstruction, Puerto Rico is also facing a debt crisis.

Does your dog really need "natural" food?

Feb 23, 2018

General Mills is set to pay $8 billion for pet food maker Blue Buffalo. That's the company that markets, among other products, "farm-to-table canine cuisine.” Here’s what’s behind this deal — and why this market is so red hot.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

Baltimore subway closure exposes deeper problems

Feb 23, 2018

At the Reisterstown Plaza Metro station in Baltimore, loudspeakers were blasting WTTZ, the Maryland Transportation Channel. Yes, the Baltimore Metro has a radio station. But today, and for another few weeks, there is no subway service. On Feb. 11, the Maryland Transit Administration announced it would shut down the city’s only subway line for a month to make emergency track repairs.

Habib Malik, 64, stood on the curb, waiting for one of the free shuttles the MTA has arranged during the repairs.

Enforcing minimum wage is harder than you think

Feb 23, 2018

Raising the minimum wage is a perennial issue in the business and economic news cycle. But according to a new investigation from Politico, we might do well to focus on enforcing existing wage laws first and make sure workers are paid what they're owed. When they're not, it's wage theft. Marketplace's Kai Ryssdal spoke with Marianne Levine, who wrote the story. The following is an edited transcript of their conversation. 

How all-day cafes are changing our lives

Feb 23, 2018

Where do you go when you find yourself in need of a place to sit and work for awhile? Or a place to take a meeting? Or a little corner where you get a bite to eat that's maybe one step up the food chain that from your local coffee shop where you can only get pastries and stale bagels?

Welcome to the all-day cafe where you can work, eat all three meals and feel extremely welcomed.

Christine Muhlke is editor at large of Bon Appetit Magazine and a regular patron of all-day cafes.

02/23/2018: The NRA's brand trouble

Feb 23, 2018

The National Rifle Association is losing business ties in the wake of the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, last week. SimpliSafe, Met Life, Enterprise and a handful of other companies have said they're done with the group. It's a powerful brand, and companies tend to want to align themselves with a such a big group of passionate potential customers. But in the wake of a tragedy, the calculation looks a little different. That's where we're starting today.

How much do gun-related injuries cost U.S. hospitals?

Feb 23, 2018

Three billion dollars. Yep, gun-related injuries cost the U.S. hospital system about $3 billion each year, according to a study in the journal Health Affairs. Most injuries occur during an assault. And when people wind up in an emergency room, the costs add up to about $100,000 per person. MarketWatch health care reporter Emma Court reported on that data and spoke to the study's authors.

It's almost that time of the year again: tax filing season.

We've got new tax rules that were recently signed into law. Most of the changes from the new law will go into effect in 2019, but there are some issues people ought to think about right now. Investment adviser and certified personal accountant Jonathan Gerber shares five things you need to know about the new law.

1) What impact has the tax reform act had on the tax rates of most Americans?

02/23/2018: Can "Black Panther" shake up Hollywood?

Feb 23, 2018

(Markets Edition) The big financial story of this week: what the guardians of interest rates said about future interest rates. Christopher Low, chief economist at FTN Financial, stopped by to talk with us about how difficult it is to forecast inflation. Afterwards, we'll discuss news that the Chinese government has seized control of Anbang, the firm that owns some famous U.S. properties. Plus: We talk about whether "Black Panther" will help create more opportunities in Hollywood for black actors.

Will “Black Panther” be a game changer?

Feb 23, 2018

"Black Panther" moves into its second weekend in theaters having already posted half a billion dollars at the box office. Sure, it’s a Disney film based on a Marvel comic book, but could it also be a game changer for how Hollywood looks at mostly black casts and distinctly African narratives? 

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

The National Rifle Association has backed President Trump's call to arm teachers in the wake of the Florida and other deadly school shootings.

Trump advocated arming school officials, only "if they really have the aptitude." But would this actually help people in the midst of a crisis? 

Real ID fuels demand for passports

Feb 23, 2018

You may have been hearing about something called "Real ID" lately. The Real ID Act, passed in 2005, requires U.S. fliers to have a new, more secure kind of ID card to get through TSA checkpoints. About half of U.S. states are issuing driver licenses that comply, while the rest have been given extensions to get there. When it comes to Real ID, travelers have some choices to make.

Click the audio player above for the full story. 

Supreme Court to hear arguments on "fair-share" union dues

Feb 23, 2018

On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in Janus v. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees — a case that some view as the biggest threat to labor unions in years. If the justices rule in favor of the plaintiffs, millions of public-sector workers would be able to opt out of paying dues to their labor union.

(U.S. Edition) The Chinese government has seized the control of Anbang, a firm that owns some high-profile U.S. properties. We'll look at Anbang's origins and why China is cracking down on it. Afterwards, we'll discuss a major Supreme Court case that could affect economic mobility. The case questions whether public-sector unions have a right to collect fees from government workers who refuse to join. Plus: A look at upgrades to the Real ID, and what could happen if states don't comply with their requirements.  

02/23/2018: Donald Trump Jr.'s business with India

Feb 23, 2018

(Global Edition) From the BBC World Service … The Royal Bank of Scotland turned its first profit in 10 years, but we’ll explain why looming fears about the bank’s actions in the run up to the financial crisis are hitting the bank’s share price today. Then, Donald Trump Jr. is in India today meeting buyers of his firm’s luxury real-estate business…the same day a new report says inequality in the country has risen sharply for the last three decades. Afterwards, royal waters have plenty to look forward to this year with two weddings and a baby on the way.

Government unions face a big court challenge

Feb 23, 2018

On Monday, the Supreme Court will hear arguments in Janus v. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, or AFSCME. It’s the biggest challenge to organized labor in years.  The case questions whether public-sector unions have a right to collect fees from government workers who refuse to join, but are still represented by the union. 

Should we trust Silicon Valley to fix itself?

Feb 23, 2018

The tech industry has a bit of a PR problem. From tech addiction to online bullying and foreign influence over elections, consumers are getting skeptical about tech’s impact on our lives. There’s even a push from within Silicon Valley to find solutions to these and other issues. Former employees of Google, Facebook and other tech firms have founded  the Center for Humane Technology to address tech addiction, a problem they helped create.

The tech industry has a bit of a PR problem. From tech addiction to online bullying and foreign influence over elections, consumers are getting skeptical about tech’s impact on our lives. There’s even a push from within Silicon Valley to find solutions to these and other issues. Former employees of Google, Facebook and other tech firms have founded the Center for Humane Technology to address tech addiction, a problem they helped create.

Explaining the craze in TV reboots

Feb 22, 2018

Every time you change the channel, it seems like a new reboot is popping up: Will & GraceMurphy BrownRoseanne. These are familiar names in TV, and they're having a come-back precisely because of that name recognition.

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