Illinois Economy

Business and economic news

The company town dealing with the Boeing fallout

Apr 5, 2019

The March jobs numbers are in they're fine, just fine. Erstwhile retail giant Sears was saved from bankruptcy earlier this year, but its new stores will be more pared down — much more. Plus, we go to the Puget Sound where Boeing makes most of its aircraft to see how the company is dealing with the fallout of two crashes involving its 737 MAX planes.

Today's show is sponsored by PaintYourLife and Panopto.

While the border with Mexico remains open despite President Trump’s threats to close it, it’s now taking significantly longer to cross between the two countries. Lines of vehicles and waiting times have been growing at border crossings in El Paso, San Diego, and elsewhere. The delays are proving costly to businesses that depend on cross-border commerce. 

The cost of the crawl at the border

Apr 5, 2019

President Trump backed away from his threat to close the border with Mexico, but lines to cross back and forth have slowed to a costly crawl. Erstwhile retail giant Sears was saved from bankruptcy earlier this year, but its new stores will be more pared down -- much more. Plus, we take look at some municipalities suing drug companies over the opioid epidemic.

Today's show is sponsored by PaintYourLife and Panopto.

Samsung profits nosedive as China competes

Apr 5, 2019

From the BBC World Service... Profits at tech giant Samsung took a nose dive at the beginning of 2019, thanks to lower prices for memory chips and display panels -- a sign of increased competition from China. Plus, we break down figures which seem to show that the gender pay gap has widened at over half of Britain's biggest firms, since they began reporting their staff pay figures to the government.

Today's show is sponsored by PaintYourLife and Panopto.

Social media, elections and fake news: India edition

Apr 5, 2019

India holds its national elections next week. And as voters get ready to head to the polls, they’re being targeted with false and misleading information. The platform of choice? WhatsApp, the messaging service owned by Facebook that allows users to send encrypted messages to other individuals, groups of people and forward messages they’ve received.

India holds its national elections next week. As voters get ready to head to the polls, they're being targeted with false and misleading information. The platform of choice? WhatsApp, the messaging service owned by Facebook that allows users to send encrypted messages to other individuals, groups of people, and forward messages they've received. According to a survey conducted by Microsoft, 64 percent of Indians reported they've encountered fake news.

The Ethiopian government has published its preliminary report into the plane crash that killed all 157 people on board last month. It was the second crash involving a Boeing 737 Max in five months. The report found that the crew on the Ethiopian Airlines flight followed all the procedures provided by Boeing, but still weren't able to control the plane. It crashed after take-off from Addis Ababa. Boeing is developing system reforms to submit to regulators for approval. Still, no airlines are taking delivery of new 737 Max planes right now.

Gallo seeks to uncork lower-end wine market

Apr 4, 2019

A wine bottle on a grocery store shelf may seem like a little work of art, with a unique label and evocative description. But the wine industry has come to be dominated by E. & J. Gallo Winery, Constellation Brands and a handful of other major players. This week it was announced that E. & J. Gallo is buying roughly 30 inexpensive wine brands from Constellation. What is Gallo hoping to achieve with plans to buy labels at the lower end of the market?

Click the audio player above to hear the full story.

Why can't America build bullet trains?

Apr 4, 2019

After decades of challenges, construction is finally underway on the largest public works project in the U.S.: California’s high-speed rail. Today, we look at why bullet trains have been an elusive American goal for more than 50 years. But first, the latest on the Ethiopian Airlines crash, Boeing and its grounded planes. Plus, the story of an undercover police officer whose career has been shaped by his county’s drug problems. 

Disney’s biggest box office flops

Apr 4, 2019

"Finding Dory." "The Incredibles 2." "Frozen." The Walt Disney Co. is no stranger to box office success. Between TV, film, theme park and other consumer products, Disney's revenue in the first quarter of 2019 topped $15 billion.

In the last 10 years, the company has acquired the rights to some of the largest film franchises in history, including the Marvel Extended Cinematic Universe and the Star Wars saga.

China's professional shoppers

Apr 4, 2019

At a supermarket inside an upmarket mall in Beijing, Wang Hai inspects the labels of a display of red containers of bird’s nest soup – a delicacy people eat for good health and skin. A tub smaller than a yogurt cup sells for $68. “This bird’s nest soup contains 99 percent sugar water, we’ve tested it before,” Wang said.

Here’s a little trivia question for you – what is the largest public works project currently underway in the U.S.? The answer is California’s high-speed rail line. Despite years of setbacks and the recent back-and-forth between President Trump and California Governor Gavin Newsom over federal funds, the project continues. If completed, it would connect San Francisco to Los Angeles with the country’s first bullet train, after more than 50 years of proposals. 

Here's a look at some of the key milestones.

Welcome to Wise County

Apr 4, 2019

It’s the deadliest drug epidemic our country has ever faced. We go to ground zero, where “nothing changes except for the drug.”

The 'green' news deal

Apr 4, 2019

The number of people claiming unemployment in the U.S. is the lowest it's been since December of 1969. Broadcast news is doing a dismal job in covering climate change. Plus, what does the measure of GDP miss in its count?

Today's show is sponsored by Panopto and the Portfolio Group.

In February, the government reported employers added just 20,000 jobs, a figure that fell far below expectations. The overall unemployment rate still fell, to 3.8 percent, and wages rose. But was that jobs creation figure an anomaly or the start of a trend? With the March jobs figure coming out Friday, what will economists be looking for?

Correction (April 4, 2019): The audio version of this story has been changed to correct David Shulman’s name.

The cost of youth unemployment

Apr 4, 2019

A report to be published later this month by the nonprofit Social Science Research Council estimates that, in the U.S., there are about 4.5 million young adults in their late teens and early 20s who are neither in school nor working. Researchers sometimes call this group of people "disconnected" or "disengaged" youth. The social and economic consequences of that disengagement are very real for places such as Cuyahoga County, Ohio.

The stakes of youth unemployment

Apr 4, 2019

Will a second month of lower job creation signal a slowing economy. What are the consequences youth unemployment? Plus, in the wake of the deadly mosque attack in Christchurch, New Zealand, Australia becomes the first country to pass legislation that could result in jail time and fines for execs of social media companies that fail to remove violent content from their platforms in a timely manner.

Today's show is sponsored by Panopto and the Portfolio Group.

From the BBC World Service… Ethiopian Airlines pilots followed proper safety protocols before a fatal crash last month, according to Ethiopia's transport minister who delivered the first official report on the disaster and recommended the flight control system now be reviewed by Boeing. So, what does all this mean for the future of the world's biggest aircraft maker? Then, we know streaming services have revolutionized the way we listen to music. And while they initially led to plunging revenue for artists and record labels, the booming industry is now seeing a turnaround.

Homework is much harder when you can't get online at home

Apr 4, 2019

Education experts and digital divide researchers call it "the homework gap." It's when students suffer academically because they don't have consistent access to the digital tools they need. Pew Research says almost a quarter of students from low-income families often struggle to finish their homework because they lack a dependable computer or internet connection.

Homework is a big part of any child's education. Today, that means getting online to watch a video the teacher assigned, do research or fill out forms and worksheets. But Pew Research says almost a quarter of students from low-income families often struggle to finish their homework because they lack a dependable computer or internet connection.

It’s not easy being an undercover cop in a county of 40,000.

Bucky Culbertson keeps his cover intact by changing his clothes — several times a day, some days — and switching up his facial hair. There are rumors he wears a wig, but he denies that. It’s hard to tell when he’s wearing a ball cap and sunglasses.

The Alliance of American Football is done playing games just eight weeks into its inaugural season. The league was intended as a springtime developmental league for the NFL, but it suspended operations when its top investor, Tom Dundon (who also owns the Carolina Hurricanes NHL franchise), backed out. The AAF joins a long list of gridiron football leagues that have failed, including the WFL, USFL and XFL, though the last one is set to return to the field next year.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story.

Delta Air Lines and American Express just renewed their credit-card partnership through 2019. By 2023, Delta expects to more than double its AmEx-generated revenue, to $7 billion annually. Delta is not alone — other major carriers are also racking up cash from credit-card deals. Are airlines now more in the credit-card business than in the business of flying people?

Click the audio player above to hear the full story.

It looks like refinancing is making a comeback in the housing market. Dropping interest rates have brought a spike in applications to refinance mortgage loans. According to a report from financial analysts Black Knight, about 5 million homeowners in the US could benefit, saving hundreds of dollars a month. But is it a boon for the businesses that make those loans? What difference does the refinancing boom make for lenders?

Click the audio player above to hear the full story.

What's the value of a villain? The Joker gets his own film

Apr 3, 2019

Could you imagine the world of Batman without his arch-nemesis, the Joker?

From "Wonder Woman," to "Black Panther," to "The Avengers," superheroes have triumphed at the box office. Only recently has the supervillain been given its cinematic due, with films like "Venom" and "Suicide Squad". Now, the Joker is getting his own film.

Why the NFL is undefeated

Apr 3, 2019

Just eight weeks into its inaugural season, the Association of American Football appears to be throwing in the towel. With the XFL set to return next year, we look at why every NFL alternative seems to fail. But first, what you need to know about the recent spike in mortgage and refinancing applications. Plus, the professional shoppers of China who report mislabeled products for a share of the fine.

The other day, Andrea Parness, a CPA in Queens, New York, was working on a tax return. She was trying to figure out whether her client, a business owner, would qualify for a 20 percent tax deduction created under the new tax law.

Parness did the numbers with paper and a calculator. "And then I looked at the version on the computer, and the software came up with something completely different," she said. She then phoned a friend. Two, actually. Both CPAs.

"They both said, 'I think you're right. I think the software is wrong,'" she said.

Chicago's Lincoln Yards development under scrutiny

Apr 3, 2019

The real estate developer Sterling Bay wants to turn a 55-acre former industrial site on the Chicago River into a sprawling community with thousands of housing units, retail and commerce.

Credit unions are only supposed to serve certain communities, but the federal government has made membership restrictions a lot looser than they used to be, and that’s helped credit union membership shoot up by almost 60 percent over the past 20 years. 

Banks are crying foul. The two sides have fought about this on Capitol Hill and in U.S. District Court. Soon, they'll meet in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

Denmark's 24-hour 'open libraries'

Apr 3, 2019

The U.S. is still adding jobs, though not as many as anticipated. Brunei faces boycotts as it implements new, draconian sentences for crimes. Plus, we take a look at Denmark's 24-hour "open libraries".

Today's show is sponsored by EquityZenWasabi Hot Cloud Storage and the Portfolio Group.