Business

Business
2:37 am
Tue May 1, 2012

Microsoft, Barnes & Nobel Take On Digital Rivals

Originally published on Tue May 1, 2012 2:38 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

The last few years have not been a good time in the bookstore business, but Barnes & Noble stock is climbing after the company announced its dealings with a business partner. Microsoft is investing $300 million in Barnes & Noble. The money goes to the bookstore chain's efforts to expand in digital books and tablet computing. NPR's Wendy Kaufman reports.

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Business
2:37 am
Tue May 1, 2012

As Portfolios Recover, More Workers Retire At 65

Originally published on Tue May 1, 2012 4:47 am

Many older baby boomers — those already 65 — are choosing to go ahead with retirement rather than wait. That's according to a study by MetLife, which says 45 percent of 65 year olds described themselves as "fully retired." Only 5 percent retired later than planned.

Business
2:37 am
Tue May 1, 2012

Caring For Sick Or Elderly Is Tough On The Wallet

Cheryl Matheis is senior vice president for policy at the AARP.
Courtesy of Cheryl Matheis, AARP

Originally published on Thu May 17, 2012 10:26 am

The average caregiver is 49 years old. Cheryl Matheis, senior vice president for policy at AARP, tells Steve Inskeep when a worker has to leave their job to care for a relative, they lose on average $325,000 in lifetime income — from lost wages, Social Security and pensions.

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Business
2:37 am
Tue May 1, 2012

Bank Of America To Lay Off More Workers

Originally published on Tue May 1, 2012 5:23 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

NPR's business news begins with more job cuts at Bank of America.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

INSKEEP: The Wall Street Journal reports that the nation's second-largest bank is planning about 2,000 layoffs at its investment banking, commercial banking and wealth management units. These cuts are notable because they include high-earning employees in operations that account for most of Bank of America's profits since the financial crisis.

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Business
2:37 am
Tue May 1, 2012

The Last Word In Business

Originally published on Tue May 1, 2012 5:44 am

In a new report, the employment firm Challenger, Gray and Christmas predicts more jobs for teenagers this summer. While the jobs picture is improving, CEO John Challenger says teen hiring is still several years away from returning to pre-recession levels.

Business
2:37 am
Tue May 1, 2012

Siemens Changes Its Culture: No More Bribes

Originally published on Tue May 1, 2012 4:47 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Wal-Mart faces many questions after The New York Times reported that the company's expansion in Mexico involved systematic bribery. It is not, however, the first corporation to face this problem.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Years ago, Siemens - the giant German manufacturing firm - faced an even bigger scandal. Siemens is a little like General Electric. It seems to make everything everywhere, from security equipment to locomotives.

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Crisis In The Housing Market
1:05 am
Tue May 1, 2012

Some Housing Markets Rebound, But Bargains Scarce

While some sections of Arizona's housing market have shown signs of recovery, potential homebuyers who are looking for affordable houses have been frustrated. This file photo from 2008 shows a subdivision extending into desert scrubland.
Chris Hondros Getty Images

Originally published on Tue May 1, 2012 7:12 am

The real estate market has turned around in some parts of the U.S., but many buyers aren't seeing true bargains anymore. Investors are driving up prices, and inventory is low, especially for homes priced under $250,000. That's not great news for anyone hoping to buy an affordable house to live in.

Arizona is home to one of the nation's extraordinary turnarounds. The Phoenix-area median home price rose 20 percent over the past year — 6 percent in March alone. And Tucson was recently named the nation's best market for investors. But the easy money has already been made.

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Business
12:59 am
Tue May 1, 2012

N.H. To The Unemployed: Try An Unpaid Internship

Electropac in Manchester, N.H., is among the companies participating in the state's unpaid internship program.
Sheryl Rich-Kern for NPR

Originally published on Tue May 1, 2012 4:47 am

Electropac, a firm that makes printed circuit boards in New Hampshire, once had 500 paid employees. Today, it has 34. But thanks to a state program for the unemployed, it also now offers unpaid internships.

Across the country, unpaid internships are on the rise for older adults looking to change careers or rebound from layoffs. In New Hampshire, a state-run program encourages the unemployed to take six-week internships at companies with the hope of getting a permanent job.

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Business
12:57 am
Tue May 1, 2012

Discovering The True Cost Of At-Home Caregiving

Maryland resident Ida Christian, 89, began showing symptoms of Alzheimer's disease in 2009. Her condition demands around-the-clock care.
Kainaz Amaria NPR

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 8:51 am

Walk through any nursing home, and your first thought might be: "I need to take care of Mom myself."

Few people want to turn over a loved one to institutional care. No matter how good the nursing home, it may seem cold and impersonal — and very expensive. But making the choice to provide care yourself is fraught with financial risks and personal sacrifices.

Those who become full-time caregivers often look back and wish they had taken the time to better understand the financial position they would be getting themselves into.

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Technology
2:54 pm
Mon April 30, 2012

Europe Pressures U.S. Tech On Internet Privacy Laws

Demonstrators with Guy Fawkes masks protest changing privacy policies on March 31, in Vienna.
Ronald Zak DAPD/AP

Originally published on Mon April 30, 2012 3:34 pm

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Business
12:55 pm
Mon April 30, 2012

In Cell Era, Timepieces Are Fashion Trend To Watch

Even as more people rely on cellphones to tell time, retailer American Apparel has found that novelty watches are selling well.
Kaomi Goetz for NPR

Originally published on Mon April 30, 2012 3:34 pm

Cellphones were once simple tools for making calls on the go. But the phones have quickly become all-purpose devices, used to send email, read articles, find restaurants — and tell time.

And as more people carry that tool in their pocket or purse, fewer are relying on wristwatches to keep on schedule.

Monica Espitia is one of them. "Since I've had a cellphone, I pretty much stopped wearing watches," she says. "Until I went on vacation and I didn't know what time it was."

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Business
11:11 am
Mon April 30, 2012

Energy Transfer Partners To Buy Sunoco For $5.3B

Sunoco operates about 4,900 gasoline stations around the United States.
Alex Brandon AP

Natural gas pipeline company Energy Transfer Partners is buying Sunoco in a deal valued at about $5.3 billion.

The acquisition would give Energy Transfer the capability to transport crude and other liquid hydrocarbons that are being produced in greater quantities thanks to the boom in shale drilling. Sunoco's pipelines crisscross the country, connecting the Great Lakes and Northeast to America's refining center along the Gulf Coast.

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The Two-Way
6:35 am
Mon April 30, 2012

Australian Billionaire Says He's Building 'Titanic II;' Would You Go Aboard?

April 4, 1912: The Titanic leaves Southampton, England, on her ill-fated first voyage.
Southampton City Council AFP/Getty Images

Saying that "of course it will sink if you put a hole in it," Australia's wealthiest business executive today announced he has contracted with a Chinese shipbuilder to construct a replica of the Titanic.

Mining magnate Clive Palmer also, as The Sydney Morning Herald reports, said he's planning to run for a seat in Australia's parliament.

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Business
6:01 am
Mon April 30, 2012

Barnes & Noble, Microsoft Team Up In E-Publishing

Microsoft is committing $300 million to the venture with Barnes & Noble. They are working to create a new subsidiary of the bookseller. The two companies are hoping to energize sales of the Nook tablet.

Business
3:26 am
Mon April 30, 2012

Regulators Eye Verizon's Proposed Airwaves Deal

Verizon Wireless announced plans last year to auction off some of its wireless spectrum, if federal regulators signed off on its plan to buy a $3.6 billion chunk of airwaves from cable companies. Public interest advocates say the deal would be bad for consumers. The FCC and Justice Department are reviewing the deal.

Business
3:18 am
Mon April 30, 2012

Business News

Originally published on Mon April 30, 2012 5:30 am

The International Labor Organization issued a report Monday warning that austerity measures imposed in many countries are hurting the job market, as well as failing to effectively reduce deficits. The major European economies received the brunt of the report's criticism. The report predicts a 3 percent rise in the global unemployment rate for 2012.

Business
3:18 am
Mon April 30, 2012

Eurozone Residents Strike Back At Austerity Measures

Originally published on Mon April 30, 2012 5:52 am

Steve Inskeep talks to John Peet, Europe Editor of The Economist about eurozone economies, and the backlash against austerity measures.

Business
3:18 am
Mon April 30, 2012

The Last Word In Business

Originally published on Mon April 30, 2012 5:42 am

The structure will open in Tokyo next month. The building is nothing but a tower of steel and concrete — no offices, no apartments.

Business
8:02 am
Sun April 29, 2012

Auto Manufacturing Gears Up For Chinese Consumers

Originally published on Mon April 30, 2012 10:31 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Let's stay in China now. With its growing population and economic rise, that country has become the world's largest car market. It's a distinction China has held for several years now. And it's an auto market that's becoming increasingly important to American companies. All that is on display at the Beijing Auto Show, which opened this past week. The big emphasis at the show this year is luxury cars with big chrome grilles and also very big price tags.

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Author Interviews
4:26 pm
Fri April 27, 2012

Paul Krugman's Prescription For A 'Depression'

Paul Krugman is a columnist for The New York Times. His previous books include The Great Unraveling and The Conscience Of A Liberal.
Fred R. Conrad The New York Times

In his new book, End This Depression Now! Paul Krugman states that the U.S. is in the throes of a depression — not merely an economic crisis. The New York Times columnist and Nobel laureate argues that Keynesian economics got us out of a much worse depression in the 1930s, so if we were to follow Keynesian prescriptions now, we could get out of this one too.

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Economy
3:20 pm
Fri April 27, 2012

Mixed Signals: Weaker Growth, Higher Profits

Consumers spent more than expected in the first quarter of 2012, partly because they dipped into their savings, but businesses spent less.
Don Ryan AP

Originally published on Fri April 27, 2012 4:05 pm

The U.S. economy lost some steam during the first three months of the year. The Commerce Department said Friday that growth slowed to just 2.2 percent, down from 3 percent at the end of last year.

The good news was that the economy continued to grow during the first quarter of the year. But anyone who was waiting for growth to kick into a higher gear was disappointed once again. One reason for that was a slowdown in business investment — companies spent less on new equipment and software even though profits were surprisingly strong.

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It's All Politics
1:19 pm
Fri April 27, 2012

FCC Requires Top Market TV Stations To Post Political Ad Data Online

The Federal Communications Commission on Friday approved a rule requiring TV stations to post details online about the amount of advertising time political candidates and campaigns buy, as well as how much the stations charge for those ads.

TV stations already are required to keep such public records. But in most cases, the information has been accessible only to those who visit a TV station and physically look through paper files, NPR's Brian Naylor reported.

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The Two-Way
1:03 pm
Fri April 27, 2012

Lehman Was Set To Pay 50 Execs $700 Million Just A Year Before Collapse

Sept. 15, 2008, in London: The news of Lehman's bankruptcy hits.
Cate Gillon Getty Images

Lehman Bros., the Wall Street giant, collapsed in September 2008 in the nation's largest bankruptcy and arguably kicked off a financial meltdown that helped drag the economy into the Great Recession.

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Economy
6:44 am
Fri April 27, 2012

Is Moderate Growth Good For The Economy?

Growth will remain low and consumers will be cautious as long as unemployment stays high, economists say.
Scott Olson Getty Images

The U.S. economy hit the recession exit ramp nearly three years ago, but it's been lost on the back roads somewhere near Recoveryville ever since.

Growth rates have been modest at best compared with the 4-plus percent growth in the years well before the U.S. began slouching toward its worst post-World War II recession.

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Business
3:12 am
Fri April 27, 2012

Amazon's Profits Exceed Wall Street's Expectations

Originally published on Fri April 27, 2012 5:24 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with impressive earnings for Amazon.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

INSKEEP: Amazon released its first-quarter earnings for 2012, which far exceeded Wall Street expectations. As NPR's Steve Henn reports, that sent Amazon's stock price soaring.

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Business
3:12 am
Fri April 27, 2012

The Last Word In Business

Originally published on Fri April 27, 2012 5:46 am

Sales of previously owned homes are up more than 10 percent from last year, according to The Wall Street Journal. At the same time, the number of homes for sale is at the lowest levels in years. The result, say many real estate firms, is that most of the offers being made these days come with competing bids.

Europe
2:10 am
Fri April 27, 2012

Dilemma For European Banks: Clean Books Or Lend?

Many of the most troubled European banks, like the French-Belgian Dexia, lost money in subprime mortgages and Greek bonds.
Yves Logghe AP

Originally published on Fri April 27, 2012 7:35 am

The walls of the Clock Shop in downtown Frankfurt, Germany, are lined with timepieces of every kind, from cuckoo clocks to digital watches. It's a testament to the store's 55-year history as a functioning business.

One of the things that has remained constant for much of that time is the store's relationship with its bank, owner Basia Szlomowicz says.

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Money & Politics
12:52 am
Fri April 27, 2012

FCC To Vote On Putting TV's Campaign Ad Data Online

Originally published on Fri April 27, 2012 5:24 am

Government regulators take up a rule with wide political implications Friday. The Federal Communications Commission is expected to vote on a proposal requiring TV stations to post online information about the campaign ads they air.

Stations are already compelled to keep those records in public files. FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski says it's time to make that information available on the Internet. But TV stations are resisting.

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Planet Money
12:49 am
Fri April 27, 2012

When Should A Country Abandon Its Own Money?

Enough already with the krona?
Jesse Garrison Flickr

Originally published on Mon May 7, 2012 10:16 am

Iceland is a tiny nation in a big financial mess. It's still recovering from the aftermath of the 2008 global economic crisis, which caused a domestic banking collapse.

Its currency, the krona, is also in really bad shape. That's led Icelanders to pose an existential currency question: Should they abandon the krona?

One key problem is size. Iceland has about as many people as Staten Island, so there just aren't that many people on the planet who need to use the krona.

"There are more people using Disney dollars," says Arsaell Valfells, an Icelandic economist.

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The Salt
1:56 pm
Thu April 26, 2012

Nutella Maker May Settle Deceptive Ad Lawsuit For $3 Million

The fact that Nutella's parent company, Ferrero, is known for its chocolates might be a tip-off that the sweet hazelnut spread isn't exactly "health" food.
STEFANO RELLANDINI Reuters /Landov

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