The Indicator from Planet Money

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A little show about big ideas. From the people who make Planet Money, The Indicator helps you make sense of what's happening today. It's a quick hit of insight into work, business, the economy, and everything else. Listen weekday afternoons.

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    • Jan 26, 2023 LATEST EPISODE
    • weekdays NEW EPISODES
    • 9m AVG DURATION
    • 958 EPISODES

    4.7 from 8,097 ratings Listeners of The Indicator from Planet Money that love the show mention: love planet money, vanek, thanks planet money, love stacey, cardiff, like planet money, indicators, interesting economic, inverted, thank you stacey, thanks stacey, love stacy, it's not easy, 10 minute podcast, tariffs, economics interesting, best 10 minutes, economic stories, current economic, economics fun.



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    Latest episodes from The Indicator from Planet Money

    Want a balanced federal budget? It'll cost you.

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 26, 2023 9:05


    The U.S. reached its debt ceiling last week, and some lawmakers say they won't raise it unless there are also cuts to balance the budget. The problem? That would mean 25% reductions everywhere.For more economics content, subscribe to Planet Money's weekly newsletter.

    A big bank's big mistake, explained

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 25, 2023 9:46


    One of the world's biggest banks acquires a promising tech company, and things go very, very wrong. It's a flashy tech startup story with some surprisingly low-tech twists and a web of alleged lies.For sponsor-free episodes of The Indicator from Planet Money, subscribe to Planet Money+ via Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org.

    The great turnaround in shipping

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 23, 2023 8:16


    Prices for shipping carriers have gone back down to 2019 price levels after record highs during the pandemic. So what does this mean for consumers and businesses who rely on international trade? For sponsor-free episodes of The Indicator from Planet Money, subscribe to Planet Money+ via Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org.

    Can China save its economy - and ours?

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 21, 2023 9:45


    What's up with China's GDP, what's down with China's population numbers, and what Marvel's return tells us. Indicators from China to bring in the Lunar New Year. For sponsor-free episodes of The Indicator from Planet Money, subscribe to Planet Money+ via Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org

    Simon says we're stuck with the debt ceiling (Encore)

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 19, 2023 8:54


    The debt ceiling approaches. A congressional standoff ensues. It wasn't always this way. So where did the debt ceiling come from? And how do other countries control their debt?This episode originally came out in October 2021.

    Did AI write this headline?

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 18, 2023 9:14


    A chatbot that can do your homework for you? Sounds like every student's dream. But one college senior is building an app to call out the fakes. For more HUMAN WRITTEN content like this, subscribe to Planet Money's weekly newsletter.

    A chat with the president of the San Francisco Fed

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 18, 2023 9:28


    Today, a conversation with Mary Daly, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. Her family faced the pain of high prices and a turbulent economy decades ago, so she dropped out of high school to earn money. That experience, she says, helps guide her today, as the Fed tries to bring down inflation without sparking a recession.For sponsor-free episodes of The Indicator from Planet Money, subscribe to Planet Money+ via Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org.

    CEO predictions, rural voters on the economy and IRS audits

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 14, 2023 9:21


    We comb through the surveys, polls, and reports so you don't have to! Three caught our attention for Indicators of the Week: one asking CEOs on whether we're headed for a recession, another on the economic challenges facing rural communities, and a report offering further evidence on the high audit rates of low-income workers.For sponsor-free episodes of The Indicator from Planet Money, subscribe to Planet Money+ via Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org.

    Jobs vs prices: the Fed's dueling mandates

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 13, 2023 9:29


    The Federal Reserve has a dual mandate: keeping prices stable (and inflation low) and promoting "maximum employment." But sometimes, as the Fed attacks one goal, it can potentially hurt the other. It's a dueling dual mandate. For sponsor-free episodes of The Indicator from Planet Money, subscribe to Planet Money+ via Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org.

    The pregnant workers fairness act, explained

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 11, 2023 9:26


    What happens if someone can't perform their job in the same way because of pregnancy? Until now, they could be sent home without pay – essentially lose their job. But a new law aims to change that, by requiring employers to provide reasonable accommodations for pregnant people. For sponsor-free episodes of The Indicator from Planet Money, subscribe to Planet Money+ via Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org.

    From Brexit to Regrexit

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 11, 2023 9:27


    In 2016, the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union. More than 6 years later, a majority of voters are feeling some buyer's remorse. Today, we cover what's changed since Brexit. For sponsor-free episodes of The Indicator from Planet Money, subscribe to Planet Money+ via Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org.

    The precarity of the H-1B work visa

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 10, 2023 9:25


    Many sectors of the American economy depend on foreign nationals holding H-1B work visas for valuable skilled labor. But if a H-1B visa holder gets laid off, they're on their own.For sponsor-free episodes of The Indicator from Planet Money, subscribe to Planet Money+ via Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org.

    Jobs Friday: Why apprenticeships could make a comeback

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 7, 2023 9:27


    Apprenticeships: not just for medieval guilds, but also useful in today's tight labor market! More employers in fields such as healthcare are turning to apprenticeship programs to train new hires for critical roles.For sponsor-free episodes of The Indicator from Planet Money, subscribe to Planet Money+ via Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org.

    The never-ending strike

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 5, 2023 9:24


    The average labor strike lasts just over 40 days, but a union of coal miners in Alabama has been on strike for over a year and a half. Protesting for that long requires help, both from the community and the economy.For sponsor-free episodes of The Indicator from Planet Money, subscribe to Planet Money+ via Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org.

    Listener Questions: Airline tickets, grocery pricing and the Fed

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 4, 2023 9:27


    Dear listeners: You had questions, and we have answers! Today, we're digging into airline fares, buying in bulk at the supermarket and the Fed's wacky (?) district boundaries. It's a listener questions episode!For sponsor-free episodes of The Indicator from Planet Money, subscribe to Planet Money+ via Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org.

    How to keep your New Year's resolutions (Encore)

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 3, 2023 9:27


    This episode originally came out in January 2022. We're back with a new episode tomorrow!It's a new year, and many people are excited for their fresh starts. But, it's no secret that following through with New Year's resolutions can be challenging. Today on the show, behavioral economist Katy Milkman shares her tips on how you can follow through.

    The secret to upward mobility: Friends (Indicator favorite)

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 30, 2022 9:29


    This week, we're sharing some of our favorite Indicator episodes from 2022! Today, we hear one of our most downloaded from the year. This episode originally came out in August.Who your friends are may be the key to your economic success story. In a groundbreaking study by Harvard researchers, find out why cross-class friendships may be the key ingredient to the American Dream.

    AP Macro gets a makeover (Indicator favorite)

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 29, 2022 9:25


    This week, we're sharing some of our favorite Indicator episodes from 2022! Today, we hear one of Darian's favorite episodes. It originally came out in August.Today on the show, why colleges and high school Advanced Placement Macroeconomics classes had to rip out old textbook pages and write a new chapter.

    Are you being tricked into working harder? (Indicator favorite)

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 28, 2022 9:26


    This week, we're sharing some of our favorite Indicator episodes from 2022! Today, we hear one of Adrian's favorite episodes. It originally came out in September."Gamification" as we know it has become increasingly common since the late 2000s. And proponents say adding game-like features to non-game activities — especially boring ones — can make us healthier, happier, and more productive. But Adrian Hon, who has made a career out of 'gamifying' mundane activities like jogging, says the trend has gone awry. Today on the show, Adrian argues that companies are using gamification to confuse, manipulate, or coerce people into doing things they wouldn't have done otherwise.

    How new words get minted (Indicator favorite)

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 27, 2022 9:10


    This week, we're sharing some of our favorite Indicator episodes from 2022! Today, we hear one of Wailin's favorite episodes. It originally came out in September.Shrinkflation, yeet, supply chain, unbanked. What do these terms have in common? They're some of Merriam-Webster's newest dictionary entries!

    We battle Planet Money for indicator of the year

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 23, 2022 9:23


    We love a good competition, so we brought on two Planet Money hosts for a special edition of indicators of the year. Who will take home the title of the indicator that's defined this year? You decide.For sponsor-free episodes of The Indicator from Planet Money, subscribe to Planet Money+ via Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org.

    How 2% became the target for inflation

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 23, 2022 9:23


    Most people assume that when the Fed says a two percent inflation target is best for the economy, they're correct. But that number is more arbitrary than it seems, and some economists are pushing back.For sponsor-free episodes of The Indicator from Planet Money, subscribe to Planet Money+ via Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org.

    Interest rates up, but not on your savings account

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 21, 2022 9:06


    When the Fed hikes interest rates, the interest rate on your savings account usually follows in step. But recently, that logic hasn't held up. We ask an economist and a community banker why.For sponsor-free episodes of The Indicator from Planet Money, subscribe to Planet Money+ via Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org.

    The overlooked power of Latino consumers

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 21, 2022 9:47


    The U.S. economy does a bad job of serving the Latino population. Today, we hear from a researcher about why changing that is a win-win, and from one entrepreneur who took matters into her own hands.For sponsor-free episodes of The Indicator from Planet Money, subscribe to Planet Money+ via Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org.

    A solution to the housing shortage?

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 19, 2022 9:09


    Residential construction is one of the few industries that's gotten less productive over time. Modular housing, or building homes in factories to be assembled onsite, offers a solution.For sponsor-free episodes of The Indicator from Planet Money, subscribe to Planet Money+ via Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org.

    Big entertainment bets: World Cup & Avatar

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 16, 2022 9:13


    The sequel to Avatar has been hyped up for over a decade, but Covid outbreaks in China threaten its box office success. And the World Cup champion will have more than glory to celebrate — its GDP should rise, too.For sponsor-free episodes of The Indicator from Planet Money, subscribe to Planet Money+ via Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org.

    When startups become workhorses, not unicorns

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 16, 2022 9:02


    Venture capital investors pour money into startups in hopes of landing a unicorn—a $1 billion company. But what happens to the companies that don't reach that status?For sponsor-free episodes of The Indicator from Planet Money, subscribe to Planet Money+ via Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org.

    Real estate, real wages, real supply chain madness

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 14, 2022 9:30


    Way back in January, when the economy was in a very different place, we picked three indicators to watch. Almost 12 months later, we're seeing how they fared.For sponsor-free episodes of The Indicator from Planet Money, subscribe to Planet Money+ via Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org.

    How inflation expectations affect the economy

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 14, 2022 9:43


    Consumers' and businesses' inflation expectations usually stay safely anchored at the Fed's two percent target. But recently, that anchor has been slipping. It's one of the reasons inflation has risen.For sponsor-free episodes of The Indicator from Planet Money, subscribe to Planet Money+ via Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org.

    Revitalizing American innovation

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 12, 2022 9:29


    Since World War II, the United States has prided itself on being a global leader in technological innovation. But shepherding those innovations from the lab to the masses has proven to be a sticking point.For sponsor-free episodes of The Indicator from Planet Money, subscribe to Planet Money+ via Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org.

    The state of the American consumer

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 10, 2022 8:47


    Should we be worried about a recession? New polling shows that auto dealers certainly are. But leftover pandemic stimulus money is one of the biggest buffers holding one off.2022 is almost over and we want to know what your favorite Indicator episode of the year is ... Email us at indicator@npr.org and put "favorite Indicator" in the subject line. We'll reveal some of them at the end of the month!

    Where inflation hits hardest

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 8, 2022 9:21


    The most recent Beige Book featured a little of everything — economic anecdotes from around the country, some positive, some not so good. But one Fed branch's contribution stood about above the rest.For sponsor-free episodes of The Indicator from Planet Money, subscribe to Planet Money+ via Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org.

    Impact investing, part 2: Can money meet morals?

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 8, 2022 9:57


    In part two of our ESG series, we speak with two insiders who have been involved with ESG since before it was cool. To them, it's come a long way — and is now mainstream enough to have a real impact.For sponsor-free episodes of The Indicator from Planet Money, subscribe to Planet Money+ via Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org.

    Impact investing, part 1: Money, meet morals

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 7, 2022 8:38


    ESG investing claims to pursue both profits and morals at once. But is it really the future of finance, or just a PR sham? In part one of our series on the topic, a former ESG guy argues the latter.For sponsor-free episodes of The Indicator from Planet Money, subscribe to Planet Money+ via Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org.

    Reading the stock market tea leaves

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 6, 2022 9:59


    Technical analysis, or finding patterns in stock charts to predict future price movements, is like cloud watching: You can see pretty much anything if you squint hard enough. Even a vomiting camel.For sponsor-free episodes of The Indicator from Planet Money, subscribe to Planet Money+ via Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org.

    Should we worry about another dot-com bust?

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 3, 2022 9:20


    This jobs Friday, we look to the tech sector, where companies are laying off thousands of workers in a rapid reversal of their pandemic-era hiring boom. What effects could tech layoffs have on the broader economy?For sponsor-free episodes of The Indicator from Planet Money, subscribe to Planet Money+ via Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org.

    Water works (except when it doesn't)

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 2, 2022 9:15


    Water utilities in the United States could gain from economies of scale: localized infrastructure can be inefficient and lead to outages in places like Jackson, Miss. But in practice, it's complicated.For sponsor-free episodes of The Indicator from Planet Money, subscribe to Planet Money+ via Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org.

    Water works (except when it doesn't)

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 2, 2022 9:15


    Water utilities in the United States could gain from economies of scale: localized infrastructure can be inefficient and lead to outages in places like Jackson, Miss. But in practice, it's complicated.For sponsor-free episodes of The Indicator from Planet Money, subscribe to Planet Money+ via Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org.

    How Elon bought Twitter with other people's money

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 1, 2022 9:29


    Elon Musk bought Twitter for $44 billion, but almost a third of it was in loans—and Twitter's on the hook to pay them back. This strategy, popular in the '80s, is called a leveraged buyout.For sponsor-free episodes of The Indicator from Planet Money, subscribe to Planet Money+ via Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org.

    The American Dream adrift

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 30, 2022 8:08


    NYU professor Scott Galloway thinks America is drifting — away from investing in a strong middle class, and away from prosperity for all. Today on the show, he brings us the indicators that explain why.For sponsor-free episodes of The Indicator from Planet Money, subscribe to Planet Money+ via Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org.

    The Indicator Quiz: Crypto and GDP

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 28, 2022 9:30


    Indicator fans and trivia fanatics, this one's for you. In our first ever Indicator Quiz episode, we invite a listener onto the show and test their knowledge on crypto and GDP.Are you interested in being a contestant on our next "Indicator Quiz"? Just email us your name and phone number at indicator@npr.org and put "Indicator Quiz" in the subject line. We'll pick one person at random. Just one entry please. You have until the end of the day, Monday (12/05), to enter.

    Inflation hits the Thanksgiving dinner table

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 24, 2022 9:43


    Thanksgiving isn't immune from inflation — an annual survey recently found that a holiday meal for four is 20 percent more expensive than it was last year. We bring the Indicator team around the dinner table for a very nerdy Thanksgiving. Indicator listeners — as the end of the year approaches, we want YOUR feedback! What were your favorite shows of 2022? Are there any stories from the past year you'd like an update on? Let us know by emailing indicator@npr.org or commenting on social media!

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