Business

Business
6:13 am
Thu July 24, 2014

How High Debt From The Housing Collapse Still Stifles Our Economy

An artist's installation shows pre-foreclosed homes in Newark, N.J., in July 2009 at the Queens Museum of Art in New York City.
Mario Tama Getty Images

Originally published on Thu July 24, 2014 1:05 pm

"Foreclosure, foreclosure, foreclosure."

Real estate broker John Susani drives down a Paterson, N.J., street where every third house seems to be abandoned or boarded up. During the boom years, money flooded into Paterson.

"The banking industry allowed everyone to be a homeowner; they gave mortgages to people [just because they were] breathing," Susani says.

In some cases, he says, home prices jumped as much as 50 percent. The homes on these streets aren't worth nearly that much anymore.

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Business
7:13 am
Tue July 22, 2014

Credit Suisse Reports $770 Million Loss

Originally published on Tue July 22, 2014 1:13 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

NPR's Business News starts with big losses at Credit Suisse - really big. The Swiss bank is reporting a net loss of more than $770 million for the second quarter. That's the biggest loss for the bank since the 2008 financial crisis. Much of the loss is due to a legal settlement with U.S. tax authorities. In May, the bank pleaded guilty to helping Americans evade U.S. taxes by hiding the money in Swiss accounts. Credit Suisse paid a fine of $2.6 billion. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Business
4:45 am
Tue July 22, 2014

Telecommuting Didn't Work Out For One Transplanted Worker

Originally published on Tue July 22, 2014 1:13 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

This summer, we're also focusing on the high rate of youth unemployment and hearing what some out-of-work younger adults are doing to make ends meet. Christina Gastlelum is 32. She recently moved to Maine from New York City. She tried to keep doing her job as vice president of a nonprofit remotely which did not work out.

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Business
5:51 pm
Mon July 21, 2014

Hospital Settles Lawsuit By Thousands Of Women Over Exam Photos

The Johns Hopkins Health System will pay $190 million to former patients of a gynecologist who used a small camera to secretly film examinations, in one of the the largest sexual misconduct settlements involving a physician.

The Baltimore-based hospital is settling a class-action lawsuit that includes more than 7,000 women and at least 62 minors; more women will likely register with the suit.

From member station WYPR, Christopher Connelly reports:

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Business
6:06 am
Mon July 21, 2014

Report Of Expired Meat Sparks Food Safety Scare In China

Originally published on Mon July 21, 2014 8:30 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Business
5:27 am
Mon July 21, 2014

The Youth Unemployment Crisis Hits African-Americans Hardest

Originally published on Mon July 21, 2014 10:50 am

Young people are being chased out of the labor market. Though the national unemployment rate has fallen steadily in recent months, youth unemployment remains stubbornly high, and the jobless rate is even higher among young minorities. For young people between the ages of 16 and 24, unemployment is more than twice the national rate, at 14.2 percent. For African-Americans, that rate jumps to 21.4 percent.

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Business
10:37 am
Sun July 20, 2014

Justice Dept. Charges FedEx For Online Drug Shipments

Originally published on Sun July 20, 2014 12:08 pm

Transcript

ARUN RATH, HOST:

A federal grand jury indicted FedEx last week on charges the company knowingly shipped drugs from illegal online pharmacies. NPR's Yuki Noguchi reports the disputes over shippers' responsibilities in the illegal drug trade go back many years.

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Business
10:21 am
Sun July 20, 2014

R.J. Reynolds Vows Appeal Of $23 Billion Cancer-Death Verdict

Camel cigarettes, an R.J. Reynolds brand, are seen on display at JJ&F Market in in Palo Alto, Calif. The company has vowed to appeal a $23 billion judgement.
Paul Sakuma AP

Originally published on Sun July 20, 2014 12:01 pm

R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., the nation's second-largest cigarette maker, is vowing to fight a verdict of $23.6 billion in punitive damages to the widow of a smoker who died of lung cancer.

Calling the massive award "grossly excessive and impermissible under state and constitutional law," the tobacco company's CEO, J. Jefferey Raborn, said the verdict was "beyond the realm of reasonableness and fairness, and is completely inconsistent with the evidence presented."

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Business
12:25 pm
Sat July 19, 2014

States That Raised Minimum Wage See Faster Job Growth, Report Says

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray (right) and Seattle City Council President Tim Burgess cut a cake to celebrate city's raised minimum wage.
Ted S. Warren AP

Originally published on Sat July 19, 2014 6:42 pm

New data released by the Department of Labor suggests that raising the minimum wage in some states might have spurred job growth, contrary to what critics said would happen.

In a report on Friday, the 13 states that raised their minimum wages on Jan. 1 have added jobs at a faster pace than those that did not. The data run counter to a Congressional Budget Office report in February that said raising the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, as the White House supports, would cost 500,000 jobs.

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Business
5:42 am
Sat July 19, 2014

Tech Week: Microsoft Layoffs, Comcast Call Hell And Call Of Duty

Comcast CEO Brian Roberts gestures as he speaks during a cable convention in Washington, D.C., in 2013. This week, his company drew scrutiny for an agonizing customer service experience.
Susan Walsh AP

Between the Comcast kerfuffle and big layoffs at Microsoft, we weren't at a loss for tech news this week. So here's what happened since your last wrap-up, from NPR and beyond.

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Business
10:24 am
Fri July 18, 2014

Microsoft Announces Biggest Layoffs In Company's History

Originally published on Fri July 18, 2014 8:00 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

NPR's Business News starts with a downsized Microsoft. Microsoft announced the biggest layoffs in its history yesterday. It's cutting 18,000 jobs worldwide over the next year - that's 14% of its workforce. The company's new CEO wants to adapt to a society and an industry increasingly dependent on mobile devices. From member station KPLU, Bellamy Pailthorp reports.

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Business
10:23 am
Fri July 18, 2014

FedEx Charged With Shipping Drugs For Illegal Online Pharmacies

FedEx was indicted Thursday on charges of assisting illegal online pharmacies by shipping controlled substances.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Thu July 17, 2014 8:28 pm

A federal grand jury has indicted FedEx on charges of assisting illegal pharmacies. Prosecutors say the shipping company knowingly distributed controlled substances, NPR's Carrie Johnson reports.

FedEx is "accused of conspiring to distribute prescription drugs to people who never met with doctors — a violation of the Controlled Substances Act," Johnson says.

She says prosecutors in San Francisco demanded that representatives for FedEx appear in court on July 29.

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Business
5:36 pm
Thu July 17, 2014

Latest Wrinkle In The Jobs Debate: Blame The Boomers

Participation in the workforce has dropped significantly since 2007, and economists say more than half of the dropouts may never return.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

Originally published on Mon July 21, 2014 1:46 pm

Since late 2007, the U.S. labor force has shrunk significantly, raising questions about where former workers have gone and why.

Now the White House Council of Economic Advisers says it has found answers and has compiled them into a detailed research report released Thursday.

As it turns out, most of the missing workers have been hiding in plain sight: They are retiring baby boomers.

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Business
8:28 am
Wed July 16, 2014

EEOC Announces Tougher Rules Protecting Pregnant Workers

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's new guidance states that employers who allow parental leave must provide it to men and women equally.
Yuri Arcurs iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed July 16, 2014 10:32 am

Discrimination against female workers who might get pregnant in the future, or have been pregnant in the past, is against the law, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said this week. For the first time in 30 years, the agency has updated its rules against pregnancy discrimination.

The agency clarified several policies, including one that spells out when businesses may have to provide pregnant workers light duty and another that bans employers from forcing a pregnant worker to take leave even in cases when she's able to continue on the job.

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Business
3:31 am
Tue July 15, 2014

Leased Solar Panels Can Cast A Shadow Over A Home's Value

Mark Bortman of Exact Solar in Yardley, Pa., says having leased solar panels on a roof can add an extra step when selling a house. He says typically a buyer will assume the remainder of the lease, but that requires a credit check and some paperwork
Jeff Brady NPR

Originally published on Thu July 17, 2014 11:11 am

Installing solar panels on a house to generate electricity often costs $20,000 or more, and many homeowners have turned to leasing programs to avoid those upfront costs. But most leases are for 20 years, and that can present problems if someone wants to sell the house before the lease is completed.

Peter Auditore of El Granada, Calif., was happy with the leased solar panels he installed a few years back. When he decided to sell, he found a buyer who also appreciated the environmental benefits of solar panels. But then there was a hitch just as the sale was about to go through.

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Business
9:53 am
Thu July 10, 2014

Talking to Your Aging Parents About Their Finances

As people age, their financial needs change and they may need advice. Here's a useful checklist of issues to consider in working with aging family members regarding financial decisions, provided by Commonwealth Financial Network.

Each day between 2011 and 2030, 10,000 baby boomers will celebrate their 65th birthdays. As the boomers grow older, their middle-aged children may find themselves in a challenging situation: providing financial assistance to their parents as well as their own kids.

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Business
4:11 am
Wed July 2, 2014

A 'Lost Generation Of Workers': The Cost Of Youth Unemployment

Alexandria Roberts, 23, recently graduated from the University of Nevada but hasn't been able to find full-time work. She plans to join the military soon, unless her employment situation changes.
Will Stone Reno Public Radio

Originally published on Mon July 21, 2014 9:52 am

It makes some sense that young people might work less than their older counterparts. They are figuring out their lives, going in and out of school and making more short-term plans.

But a whopping 5.8 million young people are neither in school nor working. It is "a completely different situation than we've seen in the past," says Elisabeth Jacobs, the senior director for policy and academic programs at the Washington Center for Equitable Growth.

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Business
4:01 am
Wed July 2, 2014

For Sale: Vacant Lots On Chicago Blocks, Just $1 Each

Sonya Harper picks peppermint she's been growing in a vacant lot on her block in Chicago. With her neighbors, she's hoping to acquire two adjacent overgrown lots under the city's "Large Lot Program" so they can expand the community garden.
David Schaper

Originally published on Wed July 2, 2014 2:08 pm

Chicago is practically giving away land: vacant lots for just $1 each. The catch? To buy one, you must already own a home on the same block.

Like many U.S. cities, Chicago has struggled with what to do with a growing number of empty lots in the wake of the foreclosure crisis. Efforts to develop affordable housing or urban farms have had some mixed results.

So Chicago officials and community development advocates hope the vacant lot program can help spark a renewal in some of the city's most blighted areas.

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Business
4:37 pm
Wed June 18, 2014

Sluggish Housing Market A Product Of Millions Of 'Missing Households'

NPR Census Bureau

Originally published on Wed June 18, 2014 7:08 pm

A year ago, the housing market looked like it was finally recovering. Sales and prices were picking up. But then home sales fizzled. Currently, they are down about 7 percent from last spring.

A big part of why housing remains so stunted is that there are more than 2 million "missing households" in the U.S. That's how economists describe the fact that fewer people are striking out on their own to find places to live.

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Business
3:43 pm
Mon June 16, 2014

When Innocent People Go To Prison, States Pay

A pair of hands gripping jail-door bars.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon June 16, 2014 5:04 pm

Suppose you spent five years in prison for a crime you didn't commit. How much does the government owe you?

Over the past few decades, the rise of DNA exonerations has made this a more pressing question. And many states have created explicit policies to answer it.

But those policies vary wildly from state to state.

Twenty-one states provide no money — though people who are exonerated can sue for damages. Twelve states and the District of Columbia award damages on a case-by-case basis. Another 17 states pay a fixed amount per year of imprisonment.

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