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This week, Apple and Netflix fired employees who also happened to be involved in speaking out against their respective employers. What does this all mean for how we think about work? We’ll discuss it. Plus, it turns out Americans want smaller government and we end the week with a round of our favorite game, Half Full/Half Empty. Here’s everything we talked about today: “Opinion | Americans want smaller government, Gallup has found. Democrats should heed the message and revise their agenda.” from The Washington Post “Rising Rents Stoke Inflation Data, a Concern for Washington” from The New York Times “Column: Imagine what else lurks in those 650,000 emails” from The Associated Press “Netflix just fired the organizer of the trans employee walkout” from The Verge “Apple just fired a leader of the #AppleToo movement” from The Verge “More buildings being converted to apartments than ever before” from Marketplace “You do want fries with that: Wendy’s and Google bet on drive-thru AI” from Marketplace “Best Buy makes bigger push into home healthcare with acquisition of Current Health” from Seeking Alpha “McDonald’s launching Beyond Meat’s “McPlant” burger in 8 US cities” from Forbes “Social media users turn traditional Christmas tress into spooky Halloween centerpieces” from The Daily Mail Our show needs your voice! Tell us what you think of the show or ask a question for our hosts to answer! Send a voice memo or give us a call at 508-82-SMART (508-827-6278).
Mortgage interest rates have been historically low for the past year — at or below 3%. However, many banks have kept in place Great Recession-era proof of employment requirements. This means that those who lost their jobs during the pandemic and could benefit the most from refinancing are often unable to. Plus: The Weekly Wrap, breaking down what the Fed’s board of governors does, and foreclosures begin to creep back up.
With remote work taking on new facets and establishing a greater foothold on society, more companies are cutting down the pay of employees who move to less-costly areas of the country. We unpack some of the questions surrounding remote work and geography-based pay with Peter Cappelli of the Wharton School’s Center for Human Resources. Drew Matus of MetLife Investment Management talks the markets with us as numbers show consumers might be getting a little more excited.
More than 10,000 John Deere workers are on strike to demand better pay and benefits. It's the latest of a growing list of labor actions, as unions feel emboldened amid a worker shortage. Marketplace’s Nova Safo joins us to talk about it. The Biden administration announced extended, 24/7 hours for the Port of Los Angeles this week, but what will it actually take there to help loosen the kinks in the supply chain? The FDA released guidelines to help Americans reduce their sodium intake.
As you have probably heard, or maybe experienced, there is a global shortage of computer chips. And carmakers, in particular, have been feeling the pinch. Without chips, they can’t make cars, which means there have been fewer cars available on the lot, and the ones that are there may not be what people want. This week, the chief operating officer of Hyundai said his company is working on a way to develop its own chips. Not many automakers do that, so it's a topic for “Quality Assurance,” where we take a second look at a big tech story. Marketplace’s Marielle Segarra speaks with Jessica Caldwell, executive director of insights at the car-shopping site Edmunds.
We’re barely getting out of one fight over the debt ceiling and we’re already looking down the road to the next one. Will the GOP come around before the December deadline? We’ll discuss why this game of chicken might not end well. Plus, China says RIP to LinkedIn, and Nokia is dropping a new brick phone! Here’s everything we talked about today: “White House banking on another McConnell retreat over the debt ceiling” from Politico Grey Horse newsletter on the mental and emotional effects of social media “Microsoft Folds LinkedIn Social-Media Service in China” from The Wall Street Journal “Lawmakers pressure secretary of state to act on “crisis” posed by “Havana syndrome” as cases mount” from CBS News “Nokia releasing new version of 6310 phone — and it still has Snake!” from The Daily Mail “How space researchers knew that 90-year-old William Shatner didn’t have to worry about his age” from CNN If you or someone you care for is in distress, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (en Español: 1-888-628-9454; deaf and hard of hearing: 1-800-799-4889) or the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741.
Historically, barbecue has been a cheap and delicious way to cook meat — principally by Black pitmasters who lived in poverty. Now, ‘cue joints win prestigious awards and can charge top dollar. But a lot of media attention has centered on white cooks, who make up a fraction of pitmasters. Marketplace’s Andy Uhler visited a few Texas barbecue restaurants to look at what some are calling the gentrification of barbecue. We’ll also tackle last week’s jobless claims, hear how the John Deere strike is affecting rural America and examine how climate change is likely to reshape migration.
The more Morgan Curtis learned about the source of her family's multi-generation wealth — from gold mining, to fossil fuel investment, to slave ownership — the less she wanted anything to do with it. When she started to give away half a million dollars to social justice organizations in her late twenties, her dad told her he may write her out of her future inheritance. In this episode, we hear from them both. For even more Uncomfortable, subscribe to our newsletter! Each Friday you'll get a note from Reema, a story from a listener and some recs from the Uncomfortable team. It's all exclusively for our email list, so don't wait! In case you missed it, here's the latest issue.
The former CEO of Safeway and the ex-CFO of Walgreens shared their testimonies of dealing with Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes at her trial this week. We spoke to the reporter who is covering the trial on what the two execs said and what it could mean for the trial going forward. Diane Swonk talks with us about the markets following a not-so-great jobs report and the government’s warning about the cost of keeping homes warm for the winter. The Federal Trade Commission has issued a warning to companies against the use of fake reviews, paid ratings, and deceptive online endorsements.
Developers created about 20,000 new apartment units this year in buildings that used to serve some other purpose. It’s a process called adaptive reuse, and it’s been a big deal in 2021. We take a peek into all the conversion. The upcoming increase in Social Security payments is the biggest it’s been in decades, but what could it mean for seniors? We also examine some of the dynamics behind all that turnover in the restaurant and hospitality industries.
As you've probably noticed, your regular host Molly Wood is off the show. She has been creating a new Marketplace podcast called “How We Survive” about tech solutions to the climate crisis. This season is all about batteries. They're key to getting us off fossil fuels. But most batteries in the world right now need lithium, a metal that’s only obtainable through mining. Marketplace’s Marielle Segarra speaks with Molly Wood about her visit to a lithium mining lab.
The House of Representatives might’ve voted on a short-term spending solution on the debt ceiling, but one of our listeners is still wondering where the debt limit came from and why it’s a thing. We’ll get into the history, which goes back to World War I. Plus, we’ll answer your questions about retirement, carbon capture and the landscape services industry. Here’s everything we talked about today: “U.S. House votes for short-term debt ceiling fix, averting default” from Reuters The 1954 article on the history of the debt limit from The Monkey Cage blog “Carbon capture technology has been around for decades — here’s why it hasn’t taken off” from CNBC “How Elon Musk will award $100 million in carbon capture contest” from NBC News Some stats on the landscape industry Read the transcript here. Our show needs your voice! Tell us what you think of the show or ask a question for our hosts to answer! Send a voice memo or give us a call at 508-82-SMART (508-827-6278).
The child care industry was struggling even before the pandemic. Costs are high for parents who need the service to enable them to work, yet employee wages rank low among professions. Now, some 80% of day care centers are short-staffed. Experts say the $39 billion in relief outlined in the American Rescue Plan may only be a crutch for the problems that plague the field. Also on the program: Consumers are adapting to inflation, what the bump in Social Security payments means for recipients and we hear from a Black entrepreneur who’s operating a brewery and building community.
Companies are going to start sharing their earning for the third quarter, which gives us a window into how the economy is looking. Joining us for that discussion is Susan Schmidt. We look into how child care centers are chipping away at the labor shortage with each hire they make. Felicia Wong of the Roosevelt Institute chats with us about economic resilience among the nations in the G7.
The Biden administration is set to announce today that the port of Los Angeles will expand to around-the-clock operations in an effort to help untangle the supply chain. Thousands of Kaiser Permanente health care workers in California and Oregon are poised to strike over pay and working conditions. Dozens of countries around the globe pledge to cut down on methane emissions, which have steadily emerged as a climate threat.
Mining is a complicated business. It's destructive, it's dangerous. But in order to get the lithium we need to power the energy transition, mining could be a necessary evil. In this episode, we go from protests in South America to a gold mine in Nevada, where we take a ride on what looks like a massive Tonka truck, all in the hopes of finding out if there's a better way to do things while getting the metal we need to survive. After talking to mining experts, environmental justice advocates and a very vocal CEO, we get some answers.
During the pandemic, a lot of school districts loaned laptops, tablets or other devices to students who didn’t have their own. And many of those schools installed software on the devices that can track what a student is searching for and looking at. School administrators say they need to monitor students this way so they can flag a kid who is in trouble. But do students and their parents actually know they’re being tracked and in what ways? Marketplace’s Marielle Segarra speaks with Elizabeth Laird, the director of the Center for Democracy & Technology's Equity in Civic Technology Project, who has recently done research on this.
We’ve gone from lead-acid batteries in our cars to the lithium-ion batteries that power our phones and devices in a relatively short amount of time. The next generation of batteries will need to be big enough to power homes, cities and our electrical grid because experts believe that’ll be key to our transition away from fossil fuels. “Batteries have really been called the glue of the clean-energy economy because … the wind doesn’t always blow, the sun doesn’t always shine … and so we need to have not only enough storage for the few minutes or the few hours between uses, but we need to be able to provide that super-high-reliability storage for hours, days, weeks and seasons,” said Dan Kammen, an energy professor at the University of California, Berkeley, and adviser for innovative energy solutions at the U.S. Agency for International Development. Our current go-to battery technology is lithium ion. But there are so many other technologies coming online that will become the core of our clean energy economy. On today’s show: one of the most hopeful climate-related deep dives we’ve had in a while. We’ll talk with Kammen about some of the latest battery technology and what it’s going to take to make it cheaper, greener and accessible to all. Side note: Molly Wood is doing a whole podcast on lithium batteries called “How We Survive.” Don’t forget to subscribe! In the news fix, we get hard numbers on how climate change is affecting people all over the world and explain the latest fight over vaccine mandates in Texas. Plus, a listener gives us a firsthand account of the oil spill off the coast of Southern California, and an answer to the Make Me Smart question that will get you thinking about your toothbrush. When you're done listening, tell your Echo device to “make me smart” for our daily explainers. This week we'll explain the global supply chain mess, a new form of advertising in the NBA, and the cult success of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.” Also, don't forget to subscribe to our newsletter! You can find the latest issue here. Here’s everything we talked about today: “World's largest energy storage system completes Phase II in Moss Landing” from The Monterey Herald “The Battery Boom Will Draw $620 In Investment by 2040” from Bloomberg “Renewable energy: getting to 100% requires cheap energy storage. But how cheap?” from Vox “At least 85 percent of the world's population has been affected by human-induced climate change, new study shows” from The Washington Post “Texas Gov. Greg Abbott bans any COVID-19 vaccine mandates — including for private employers” from The Texas Tribune Read the transcript here.
Though unemployment levels are dipping, some 4.3 million people left their jobs in August, according to a new Bureau of Labor Statistics report. The “quits rate” is up to 2.9% — the highest it’s been since the BLS started tracking it. This employee exodus is partially fueling the worker shortage in industries like food services, health care, manufacturing and public education. We’ll also discuss how China’s tutoring regulations have impacted some Americans who teach English as a second language, how index funds revolutionized investing, and what Wendy’s and Google’s partnership could mean for a drive-thru near you.
Thousands of people have died from COVID, and many of them didn’t leave behind a will. That leaves the probate court to figure out what to do with a person’s money, debt and property. Also today: Michael Schumacher joins us to discuss how the markets are dealing with the question of inflation. In Texas, the governor has issued an order that bans private companies from issuing vaccine mandates.
Nobel Prize-winning economist David Card joins us to discuss his research into minimum wage, along with the application of other Econ 101 theories in real-world settings. Also today: We also look into those confusing letters from the IRS that tell you that you’ve made a mistake.
Last year, the holiday shopping season was kind of a disaster. With a lot more people shopping online because of the pandemic, millions of packages were delayed or delivered late. This year could be worse. There are shortages of materials, products, shipping containers and workers, and Deloitte estimates that online sales will jump by 11% to 15% this season. Retailers and shipping companies are trying out robots that can help them sort through items. Marketplace’s Marielle Segarra speaks with Ken Goldberg, a professor of industrial engineering at the University of California, Berkeley, and a co-founder of Ambi Robotics.
Netflix suspended a trans employee who took to Twitter to criticize Dave Chappelle’s special over transphobic comments. It’s not the only example of workers flexing their power. Meanwhile, companies are struggling to figure out how to deal with it. Plus, Apple is still having trouble in the health care space. And, we’re celebrating Indigenous Peoples Day! Here’s everything we talked about today: “Netflix suspends trans employee who tweeted about Dave Chappelle special” from The Verge “Apple dreamed of making healthcare easy. Then it silenced its medical experts.”from Business Insider “Facebook To Limit Politics, Boost Friends, Says Spokesman On ‘Meet The Press'” from Deadline “Gas-powered lawn mowers, leaf blowers to be banned under new California law” from Arts Technica “Trump holds fast to his election lies as the GOP establishment hugs him tighter” from Politico Read the transcript here. Our show needs your voice! Tell us what you think of the show or ask a question for our hosts to answer! Send a voice memo or give us a call at 508-82-SMART (508-827-6278).
If you’ve tried to buy much of anything lately, there’s a decent chance some of the products you’ve been scouring aisles for have been out of stock. On today’s show, we air the first segment in our new collection, “Temporarily Unavailable,” which explores how stuff moves around the world … or doesn’t. Host Kai Ryssdal gives us an inside look at the Marine Exchange of Southern California in the largest port complex in the U.S. And later: how former “Survivor” contestants are profiting from their reality-star status; companies eye tariff relief under Biden; and new merch is coming your way, courtesy of a new Walmart and Netflix partnership.
“This Is Uncomfortable” is a podcast about our money and our feelings. And a lot of the money stuff we have the most feelings about we also like to keep secret. In season five, the secret’s out. We’re revealing family secrets, learning about the true cost of divorce, investigating mysterious piles cash and so much more. We’ll have new episodes every Thursday starting this week, on Oct. 14. Listen to the trailer above or wherever you get podcasts. To get even more Uncomfortable, check out our newsletter! Each Friday morning we’ll bring you a note from Reema, new stories from listeners, tough money questions and all the TV, podcasts and TikToks our team is into. Here’s the latest issue.
The BBC reports on the high cost of energy’s effect on global markets. Christopher Low joins us for our Monday markets discussion, which focuses on the holding back of oil production in the U.S. The troubles for Southwest Airlines continue, as it has canceled more than 300 flights and delayed hundreds more. That’s after cancelling almost 2,000 flights over the weekend. We look into the layered issue of permitless carry as it pertains to Black gun owners.
The recognition of Indigenous Peoples Day is growing, which has led to a concerted effort to call attention to back Indigenous-owned businesses. The effect of the push has been real, as some businesses have seen sales spikes. Also today, senior economics contributor Chris Farrell chats with us about the Nobel Prize in economics. A new law in California allows more freedom for workers to speak out about abuse at the workplace.
From the BBC World Service: As the global energy crisis intensifies, we hear from Europe, where all the focus is on Russian supplies of gas. We’re also in China as the price of coal skyrockets and hear from India, where coal-fired power stations simply can’t find the coal to power them.
Let’s talk about computer chips. We’ve told you that they’re in short supply — because of COVID and materials shortages and shipping problems, and because a lot more people have bought digital devices during the pandemic. Sometimes when there is low supply and high demand, lots of counterfeits appear on the market. These could be chips taken out of old electronics and resold as new. Some of the fake chips work, to a certain extent, and some don’t work at all. Marketplace’s Marielle Segarra speaks with Bill Cardoso, CEO of Creative Electron, a company that uses X-rays to inspect chips and see if they’re real.
If you take away anything from the October jobs report, it should be this: More than a year and a half into the pandemic, women keep losing jobs. And it’s probably because we still haven’t figured out child care. Today, we’ll talk about some of the possible long-term effects of women leaving the workforce. Plus, Google and YouTube take big steps against climate deniers, and the “Bad Art Friend” drama is really all about Facebook. Then, a special guest surprises the hosts on Half Full/Half Empty. Here’s everything we talked about today: “September jobs report shows unemployed are still struggling with child care and reluctant to return to low-paying jobs” from The Washington Post “White House Weighs Wide-Ranging Push for Crypto Oversight” from Bloomberg “Google, YouTube to prohibit ads and monetization on climate denial content” from Axios “Biden Signs Legislation to Compensate Victims of Mysterious “Havana Syndrome” from The New York Times “Who is the Bad Art Friend?” from The New York Times “The WhatsApp outage and its global economic implications” from “Marketplace Tech” “American Women Quarters Program” “USPS is trying out a new business, which could transform how millions access cash and pay bills” from The Washington Post “Fat Bear Week Crowns Its Winner” from CNN Our show needs your voice! Tell us what you think of the show or ask a question for our hosts to answer! Send a voice memo or give us a call at 508-82-SMART (508-827-6278).
People fall into one of two TV camps right now: You've either seen “Squid Game” or you haven't. But odds are you’ve heard of the dystopian South Korean drama, which is on track to be Netflix’s most-watched show yet. The series’ production values and exploration of class have helped it become a global hit, and the show’s success bodes well for streaming services that are making investments abroad and courting international subscribers. Also on today’s program: the Weekly Wrap, an uptick in wages and a preview of Marketplace’s newest series, “How We Survive.”
Christopher Low joins us to discuss the markets after the release of the September jobs report shows numbers that fell well short of projections. However, the unemployment rate improved. We discuss how to take in some of this information. The pandemic has boosted the share of young adults living with their parents. The airline industry is optimistic about the upcoming holiday travel season.
The pandemic has been especially difficult on parents, who are facing a child care shortage even worse than before. Care programs across the U.S. have been decimated, leaving families facing months- or even years-long waiting lists. The shortage is even worse in rural areas. We examine the issue with Jessica Grose of the New York Times. Google will no longer allow ads next to content that spreads climate change misinformation.
From the BBC World Service: Just weeks after President Xi Jinping said China won’t invest in coal plants overseas, the government is asking domestic coal miners to boost production to alleviate power shortages. Plus, the U.K. will accept vaccine certificates from another 37 countries as Britain continues to ease its COVID-19 travel restrictions. And, the dating app which matches people by examining their music listening habits.
Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp went down on Monday for several hours. Then, on Tuesday, whistleblower Frances Haugen, a former product designer at the company, appeared before Congress, saying Facebook puts profit over safety and asking lawmakers to step in. CEO Mark Zuckerberg posted a note on Tuesday night saying a lot of things, including the company does not put profit over safety. Let’s look ahead at how this week might change Facebook with Quality Assurance, where we take a second look at a big tech story. Marketplace’s Marielle Segarra speaks with Mike Isaac, a tech correspondent for The New York Times.
On this hollowed-out shell Thursday, we waste no time getting to the dark place. The Biden administration released reports today detailing just how big of an impact climate change will have on our lives, from more traffic, to higher rates of depression and anxiety, and even more bugs. We’ll talk about those challenges. Plus, other stories of note, including a big win for Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen. Then, a beef over Bruce Springsteen lyrics has finally been put to bed. Here’s everything we talked about today: “Biden administration releases alarming reports on climate change challenges” from NBC News “Caesars Palace To Host 3-Day Climate Denier Conference” from HuffPost “Ireland Signs On to Global Deal Seeking to Curb Tax Avoidance” from The Wall Street Journal “The trillion-dollar coin scheme, explained by the guy who invented it” from Vox “San Francisco to Ease Some Face-Mask Requirements” also from The Wall Street Journal Tweet thread about the correct Bruce Springsteen lyrics Join us on YouTube Fridays at 3:30 p.m. Pacific/6:30 p.m. Eastern for our live happy hour episode! Subscribe to our channel and sign up for notifications so you don't miss it.
After controversy over ethics and stock trading arose, two regional Federal Reserve presidents announced their resignations late last month. Their departures leave two senior leadership positions open and a chance for the Fed to regain trust. Fed Chair Jerome Powell has expressed support for diversifying the regional banks, but the final selection process remains opaque. Later in the show: Coal production struggles to keep up with demand, Germany’s small to mid-size businesses voice their hopes for a new government and the Catch-22 of climate-impact rules and infrastructure updates.
Strikes and unionization efforts have been in the spotlight this year, with the strike of more than 1,000 factory workers at cereal giant Kellogg’s serving as the latest example. Hollywood and Amazon are locked in their own labor battles. We discuss what’s been behind all this. Diane Swonk checks in for our markets and economy chat. We also look into the costs surrounding California’s offshore oil drilling rigs.
The Federal Reserve is looking into the creation of a digital currency. We touch upon what a digital dollar would mean. A lawyer in Atlanta came up with an unusual solution to the debt-ceiling saga among lawmakers: A platinum coin with a Treasury-sanctioned value of $1 trillion that could be plopped into the Treasury’s bank account with the Fed. The Department of Justice has new measures to tackle cybersecurity.
From the BBC World Service: President Vladimir Putin says Russia is prepared to do its part to help ease soaring global energy prices, if a controversial pipeline transporting Russian natural gas to Europe gets approved. Plus, 7-Eleven announces plans to expand in India in a partnership with Reliance Industries, which is run by Asia’s richest person. And, amid pressure for Australia to cut its carbon emissions at a faster pace, we hear from one rural community that’s heavily reliant on coal mining for jobs and income.
You’ve heard about bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, but how are they different from a digital dollar? On this Whaddya Wanna Know Wednesday, we’ll discuss the benefits and drawbacks of a digital dollar as the Federal Reserve ponders making its own digital currency. Plus, we’ll explain the economics behind robocalls and vaccine mandates. And we get an email from a listener and her cats who want to know what’s up with pet food shortages. Here’s everything we talked about today: “What exactly is a digital dollar, and how would it work?” from Popular Science “China’s digital yuan is a warning to the world” from Wired “Tired of robocalls? The FCC is stillllll trying to stop them” from “Marketplace Tech” “THE ANNOYANCE ENGINE: Spam robocalls became profitable scams by exploiting the phone system, but you can stop them” from Business Insider “Fact check: Workers fired for refusing a vaccine are unlikely to qualify for unemployment” from USA Today “Half of unvaccinated workers say they'd rather quit than get a shot – but real-world data suggest few are following through” from The Conversation The Pet Food Institute on the pet food supply challenges Our show needs your voice! Tell us what you think of the show or ask a question for our hosts to answer! Send a voice memo or give us a call at 508-82-SMART (508-827-6278).
Mental health professionals have had virtual tools for decades, but the pandemic catalyzed the field to offer more telehealth services. It’s a change that experts say is here to stay and one that makes care more accessible. The shift has also incited an investment boom in mental health startups and apps that topped $1 billion last year. Also on today’s show: Workers can be choosy in the current job market; why this winter’s gas bill might give you sticker shock; and a chat with San Francisco Fed President Mary Daly.
Think of a “tontine” as a contractual lottery for money collected and invested from a group of people – except the money will ultimately go to the person who has lived the longest. It sounds like a dastardly plot (and it was, in a movie) but it was real until the early 20th century. And, some economists think a tontine could have a positive effect. We explore this with Marketplace’s Chris Farrell. Also today, Susan Schmidt discusses the markets with us. Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen urges regulation of the company. There’s also buzz swirling around a potential work requirement for parents in order to access their child tax credit funds.
A major international shipping industry group presented that zero-emission target this week. One of the actions needed to reach that goal could be switching to an alternative fuel, but how realistic is all this? Also today: We look into the potential ripple effects of the spike in oil prices. We also talk to Molly Wood about the launch of our new podcast, “How We Survive.”
From the BBC World Service: Cracks are somewhat deepening in China’s construction sector, beyond the financial problems facing the Evergrande conglomerate. Plus, England is set to ban so-called “essay mills” which offer essay writing to students for a fee. And, Marrakesh in Morocco is finding new ways to draw tourists back and regain its crown as Africa’s most popular tourist city.
When Facebook went down for several hours this week, we got a sense of just how much people rely on the company and its apps. And not just because they're addicted to scrolling and likes. These platforms are also used for commerce and banking, particularly WhatsApp, the messaging service. In many parts of the world, you can also use it to send money, like you would with Venmo, or to pay for a purchase. And in some countries, that's a big deal because the banking and finance infrastructure is less developed. Marketplace’s Marielle Segarra speaks with Lisa Ellis, a partner with MoffettNathanson, about the effects of the outage.