Illinois Economy

Business and economic news

Nations meet to discuss Arctic resources

May 6, 2019

Today in Finland, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will speak at what’s called the Arctic Council, a forum of northern countries that meets to discuss and assess sustainable development and environmental protection in the Arctic region. With climate change, the Arctic is warming at twice the rate of the rest of the planet, and melting ice presents both economic opportunities and challenges.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Facebook is preparing to launch a cryptocurrency for use across its social media platforms, including WhatsApp and Instagram. According to the report, Facebook hopes the coin will be backed by $1 billion in investments from Visa and Mastercard, among other financial services companies. If the tech giant does unveil a cryptocurrency, it’s certain to disrupt the current online payment habits of the company’s 2.5 billion monthly users. 

A presidential tweet regarding tariffs on China sends otherwise calm stock markets into chaos. Facebook makes a late entrance into the digital currency game. Plus, what does Prime Minister Theresa May's announced exit mean for Britain's cross-country, high-speed rail project?

Today's show is sponsored by the United States Postal ServiceKronos and the University of Florida Warrington College of Business.

President Trump's tariff threat shakes markets

May 6, 2019

From the BBC World Service... Global stock markets have plunged following President Donald Trump's threat to raise tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods. Can a trade deal between the U.S. and China still be struck? Then, we explain why a meeting in Finland to discuss protecting the Arctic has global significance. Plus, voters in South Africa head to the polls this week. With the jobless rate at 27%, we look at what the rainbow nation needs to do to solve its unemployment problem.

Nintendo's Game Boy turns 30

May 6, 2019

Nintendo's Game Boy came out 30 years ago. It marked a beginning and an end. The end of me as a productive child, teenager and adult — let's face it. The device was janky by today's standards, but it was revolutionary in 1989. It was also affordable enough that a kid could buy one after a single summer of delivering the West Toledo Herald newspaper in his neighborhood. Because my parents would never buy me one.

Nintendo's Game Boy turns 30

May 6, 2019

Game Boy launched serious mobile gaming 30 years ago, and that's a big part of how we play today. By 2121, its projected mobile gaming will bring in more than $100 billion in revenue. Marketplace’s Jed Kim talks with Ian Bogost, a game designer and professor of gaming at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

What does "tight labor market" mean? Opportunity!

May 3, 2019

With unemployment so low and wages moving up, workers now have more bargaining power than they have in recent years. It may be a good time to ask for a raise, or see if you can trade in your current job for a higher-paying one. Changing jobs often offers a larger pay increase than staying in the same position. 

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This 13-year-old chief executive is her dad's boss

May 3, 2019

The jobless rate for teenagers is around 13%, according to the latest employment report from the U.S. Department of Labor. The Labor Department however, only counts those over the age of 16. We talked to one teenager who's too young to be officially included in the workforce, but has a very big job to do. At 13 years of age, Alina Morse is the chief executive of a multimillion-dollar candy company, Zollipops.

How to get a raise

May 3, 2019

The economy added 260,000 jobs last month, and unemployment hit a record low. Wages are rising steadily but not dramatically. With such a tight labor market, what does it take to get a real raise? Often, it's trading up for a different job. Plus, we take a short march through Chinese history and meet a 13-year-old CEO who counts her father as an employee.

Eight hundred million Internet users. 1.5 billion mobile phone accounts. Huawei, Alibaba, WeChat. Eight times the STEM graduates the U.S. produces. How did China become such a big player in science and technology?

The Consumer Technology Association brought a scaled-down version of its popular Consumer Electronics Show to Capitol Hill this week in an effort to change the conversation for a minute amid mounting pressure from lawmakers looking to increase regulation of tech companies. With privacy violations, data breaches and concerns over net neutrality regularly making headlines, tech companies used the event to mingle with members of Congress

Condom sales lag as millennials have less sex

May 3, 2019

When Franjo Ivankovic, 24, gets together with friends, they talk about their concerns. They’re worried about jobs, whether they’ll be able to support themselves or someday have and support kids. Those concerns, he said, are having an impact on their sex lives.

“We tend to not only get cautious about having sex but also lose the mood to have sex or socialize in general,” he said.

"Greedy" work and the gender gap

May 3, 2019

The U.S. added 263,000 jobs in April, about 70,000 more than expected. But could the hot jobs market overheat the entire economy? The federal consumer watchdog gives small banks a new level of privacy. Plus, we look the widening gender gap at a time when women are more educated and prepared for demanding, high-level jobs than ever before.

Today's show is sponsored by Indeed and Wasabi Hot Cloud Storage.

Efforts to ban foam containers pick up steam

May 3, 2019

The movement against polystyrene — plastic foam that includes the brand Styrofoam — is growing. Maine this week became the first state to ban the material for single-use food and drink containers. Other states are considering similar measures. Several cities, from New York to Berkeley, California, have bans in place. But how much of a dent in our growing plastic waste problem can these bans make?

Here's why teen unemployment is as high as it is

May 3, 2019

The unemployment rate for teenagers in March was 12.8% compared to the national figure of 3.8%. "They have lower levels of education. And they probably are not going to have the kinds of social and professional networks that many adults use to find jobs," said Martha Ross at the Brookings Institution. Teens also tend to work in jobs with higher turnover, so they're often between jobs.

CES on Capitol Hill

May 3, 2019

Fewer teens are getting jobs, due, in part, to teens not really looking for them. Maine becomes the first state to ban styrofoam, but some say these prohibitions aren't very environmentally friendly. Plus, the Consumer Electronics Show comes to Capitol Hill.

Today's show is sponsored by Indeed and Wasabi Hot Cloud Storage.

Is a four-day work week the future?

May 3, 2019

From the BBC World Service... Investor hunger for vegan burger maker Beyond Meat sent shares soaring on their Wall Street debut. We explore why. Then, Pepsi has backed down from a fight with Indian farmers it accused of illegally growing its registered potatoes. We explain how seed protection got political. Plus, we all want to work less and play more, and the campaign for a four-day working week is gaining traction. We hear from companies that have tried it out and explain why a shorter working week could lead to more inequality.

According to Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook is about to become a “privacy-focused” company. He made that loud and clear at this week’s developer’s conference, F8, which some analysts called “privacy-palooza.

Facebook's shift to more secure messaging does not mean it won't be collecting data about you. Marketplace Tech host Molly Wood talks with Carolyn Everson, Facebook’s vice president of global marketing solutions, about the company's ideas about privacy.

Today's show is sponsored by Clickshare and Indeed.

The issue of gender diversity in the workplace is just not limited to the CEO's office or to upper management. Boardrooms are experiencing the same problem. Despite attempts to increase the number of women board directors in recent years, the overall makeup of boardrooms is still mostly male. Why?

What happened to the rom-com?

May 2, 2019

A movie like "Avengers: Endgame" demonstrates how Hollywood has focused its attention in recent years — on big-budget, action-filled blockbusters. That's left less room for an older genre that used to be a Hollywood staple: the romantic comedy. The mid-budget rom-com genre isn't what it once was, and Wesley Morris of the New York Times thinks it's time for that to change.  Morris spoke with Kai Ryssdal about why Hollywood ought to revisit it. 

Why Tesla's raising a new round of cash

May 2, 2019

Tesla just announced a big plan to raise $2.3 billion through by issuing new stock and new bonds. Issuing bonds is another way of borrowing money, something Tesla’s been doing for years. But borrowing more comes at a time when its borrowing costs are getting pretty high.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story.

Why stock buybacks soared at the end of 2018

May 2, 2019

A report from Moody's says stock buybacks jumped by more than 60% in the second half of last year for 100 of the largest American companies. There are several reasons why the buybacks — a result of the tax cuts corporations received in 2018 — escalated. Moody's says the buyback frenzy could create an expectation on the part of shareholders: that the buybacks will continue even if things go south.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story.

When trade talks resume in Beijing this week, American officials will be talking about intellectual property theft. But an even more common problem American businesses encounter in China is "trademark squatting," a bad-faith application that could block a company from the country entirely. Today, we take to the high seas of so-called "trademark pirates." Plus: Why stock buybacks are surging and why Hollywood isn't making as many rom-coms. 

Worker productivity is booming. Why is inflation so tame?

May 2, 2019

In the first quarter of the year, the productivity of U.S. workers rose at the fastest pace since 2014: 3.6%. Productivity gains like that are supposed to come along with plenty of inflation. But prices are barely rising. What gives? While American workers are more productive, their additional production isn't translating to additional income. Instead, their employers are reaping the gains — and holding prices steady.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story.

For American firms that design shoes, handbags or electronics, there is a high chance their trademarks have already been registered in China by someone else.

“These [trademark filers] almost certainly are not using the mark. They're sitting around, waiting to be bought out,” said intellectual property specialist Joe Simone.

A race to the finish: The Kentucky Derby, by the numbers

May 2, 2019

The 145th Kentucky Derby takes place this weekend at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky.  

The first event of the Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing, the Kentucky Derby is one of the most prestigious horse races in the world. Over the next month, the two other Triple Crown races, the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes, will be held in Baltimore, Maryland and Elmont, New York.

Inflation is low, but the Fed chair calls it "transitory." After years of decline, the number of children without health insurance is on the rise. Plus, the condom business isn't what it used to be, so prophylactic makers are getting creative to boost sales.

Today's show is sponsored by Clickshare and Indeed.

The percentage of uninsured children in the U.S. has been in decline for years. But a new study by the University of Minnesota finds that it’s moving upward again. The rate increased across demographic groups, and the study estimates that some 4 million U.S. kids are now uninsured. Declining rates of both Medicare enrollment and private coverage are driving the increase, and experts say the number of children without health insurance is likely to keep growing. 

 

Fiat Chrysler’s going to stop reporting sales on a monthly basis. Instead, the carmaker will report sales quarterly. General Motors and Ford have already made the change. Automakers started issuing monthly sales figures under pressure from analysts who wanted more transparency, but for Fiat Chrysler, GM and Ford, the practice created short-term incentives that weren’t in the companies’ long-term interest.

 

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