Business

Business
10:55 am
Wed February 6, 2013

Do Not Pass Go, Do Not Get Severance: Interview With An Iron

The Monopoly iron token that was replaced by the new cat token.
Steven Senne AP

Originally published on Wed February 6, 2013 6:07 pm

Wednesday, Hasbro announced that it was welcoming a new member of the Monopoly-token family. And because it asked the Internet, it wound up with a cat. (For whatever reason, the Internet was not offered Gotye or a bacon cupcake.)

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Business
8:53 am
Wed February 6, 2013

Reports: Postal Service Will Move To Halt Saturday Mail

Letter carrier Raymond Hou delivering mail on his route in San Francisco (March 2010 file photo).
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Wed February 6, 2013 3:57 pm

(We updated the top of this post at 10:37 a.m. ET.)

Calling it "absolutely necessary" if the U.S. Postal Service is going to stop losing billions of dollars a year and reach anything close to financial stability, Postmaster Gen. Patrick Donahoe confirmed Wednesday morning that USPS is moving to eliminate Saturday delivery of first-class mail.

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Business
2:58 am
Wed February 6, 2013

Puerto Rico's Battered Economy: The Greece Of The Caribbean?

Edward Bonet, 23, lives in Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico, and works on the dive team at the Copamarina Beach Resort & Spa in the town of Guanica. He lives with his grandmother, while his mother and sister live in Central Florida.
Coburn Dukehart NPR

Originally published on Wed February 6, 2013 10:51 am

Puerto Rico's population is declining. Faced with a deteriorating economy, increased poverty and a swelling crime rate, many citizens are fleeing the island for the U.S. mainland. In a four-part series, Morning Edition explores this phenomenon, and how Puerto Rico's troubles are affecting its people and other Americans in unexpected ways.

Edward Bonet's mom no longer tries to convince him to join her in Florida. Unlike his family, the 23-year-old from Puerto Rico refuses to leave the island and its shattered economy.

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Business
3:36 am
Mon February 4, 2013

Foreclosure Process Hammers Florida's Housing Market

A sign hangs outside a house in Miami in 2010. Currently, Florida's foreclosure legal process can take a couple of years, which critics say is hurting the housing market.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Mon February 4, 2013 12:09 pm

A decade ago, speculators in Florida were pumping up a huge housing bubble.

"You couldn't go wrong," Tampa real estate attorney Charlie Hounchell says. In that overheated period from 2001 to 2006, "you could buy a house and make $100,000 a year later by selling it," he says.

But the party ended in 2007 and the hangover persists. The state now has the highest foreclosure rate in the country, beating out Nevada for the first time in five years.

Experts say the legal process in Florida is the key reason for the sluggish pace of foreclosures there.

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Business
6:22 pm
Fri February 1, 2013

Pentagon Remains Big Target In Likely Budget Cuts

The winding down of the war in Afghanistan and efforts to slice the budget deficit will likely mean more spending cuts for the Pentagon.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri February 1, 2013 7:17 pm

The economy shrunk in the fourth quarter — for the first time in three years — and one of the critical reasons was a drop in defense spending. Apparently, contractors took precautionary steps and held onto money in case the federal government failed to avert the fiscal and tax crisis known as the fiscal cliff.

But there's now a new deadline — automatic budget cuts, known as sequestration, which may hit at the beginning of March.

The Effect On Contractors

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Business
10:08 am
Fri February 1, 2013

Losses Are Actually Gains, And Other Weird Facts From The Jobs Report

bgottsab Flickr

Originally published on Fri February 1, 2013 1:25 pm

What's today's big jobs report say?

The U.S. economy lost 2.8 million jobs jobs in January.

What?!

Don't panic. The U.S. economy loses millions of jobs every January, in good times and bad, largely because tons of seasonal holiday jobs always wind down after Christmas.

So if you set aside the normal, seasonal stuff, how is the job market doing?

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Business
12:34 am
Wed January 30, 2013

Debate Over Rebuilding Beaches Post-Sandy Creates Waves

Ongoing beach nourishment, like this project in Viriginia Beach, has been the topic of debate. Some people say it's needed to protect beach communities; others decry the costs.
Pam Spaugy U.S. Army

Originally published on Wed January 30, 2013 12:49 pm

For a half-century, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has been in the beach business, dredging up new sand as shorelines wash away. Federal disaster aid for Superstorm Sandy could provide billions more for beach rebuilding, and that has revived an old debate: Is this an effective way to protect against storms, or a counterproductive waste of tax dollars?

On a recent blustery day at Virginia Beach, the latest beach nourishment project is in full swing. A bulldozer smooths out pyramids of sand, and on the horizon, a large, black hopper dredge appears with another load.

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Business
3:34 am
Mon January 28, 2013

Google Posts How It Handles Requests For Users' Data

Originally published on Mon January 28, 2013 10:11 am

Google wants you to know you're being watched. Or rather, the company wants you to know how and when the police get to watch what you do online.

For the first time, the company has posted its policies for when it gives up users' information to the government. It's part of a broader company strategy to push for tougher privacy laws.

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Business
3:29 am
Mon January 28, 2013

Hemp Gets The Green Light In New Colorado Pot Measure

Hemp products for sale in Washington, D.C., in 2010. The U.S. is the world's largest consumer of hemp products, although growing hemp is illegal under federal law. Colorado recently passed a measure that legalizes growing hemp.
Tim Sloan AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon January 28, 2013 10:13 am

With recreational marijuana now legal in Colorado, small-scale pot shops will open up soon in places like Denver and Boulder. But that's not the only business that could get a boost: Large-scale commercial farmers may also be in line to benefit.

Why? When Colorado voters legalized marijuana last November, they also legalized hemp.

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Business
1:49 pm
Fri January 25, 2013

Free Breast Pumps And The Cost Of Health Care

Originally published on Fri January 25, 2013 5:12 pm

Health insurance plans now have to cover the full cost of breast pumps for nursing mothers. This is the result of a provision in the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare), and the new rule took effect for many people at the start of this year.

It's led to a boom in the sale of the pumps, which can cost hundreds of dollars.

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Business
6:02 am
Sun January 20, 2013

Dependent On Arms Plant, N.Y. Town Braces For Gun Laws' Impact

Standing near the Remington Arms factory, Beth Neale, deputy mayor of Ilion, N.Y., says she's watched a lot of large manufacturers leave the region. She's not sure Ilion would easily recover from losing Remington.
Marie Cusick for NPR

Originally published on Sun January 20, 2013 1:30 pm

When New York state passed a wave of new gun-control laws on Jan. 15, it outlawed a type of assault rifle made just over an hour's drive from the state capital.

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News from Chornyak & Associates
12:11 pm
Tue January 15, 2013

IRS Trends in Tax Auditing

Are you aware of the significant changes in the way the IRS targets taxpayers for audits and how it conducts the exams?  

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Business
3:27 am
Thu January 10, 2013

The North Dakota Town Where A One-Bedroom Apartment Rents For $2,100 A Month

Yours, for $2,100 a month
Josh Marston

Originally published on Thu January 10, 2013 3:04 pm

A plain, one-bedroom apartment in Williston, N.D., rents for $2,100 a month. For this price, you could rent a one-bedroom apartment in New York City.

Williston is not New York City. There are 30,000 residents and one department store. The nearest city is two hours away.

Rents are so high in Williston because the town is in the middle of an oil boom. Unemployment is below 1 percent, and workers are flooding into town.

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Business
9:15 am
Tue January 8, 2013

New Bank Rule: Sounds Boring, Actually A Big Deal

The Bank for International Settlements in Basel, Switzerland: world capital of bank rules that sound boring but are actually a big deal.
Fabrice Coffrini AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon January 14, 2013 5:59 pm

We don't hear much about bank liquidity, partly because it sounds so dull. It's much more fun to talk about prop trading (fear the London Whale!) or structured finance (synthetic CDOs are crazy!).

But if you're trying to figure out how safe banks are — and how willing they'll be to make loans to ordinary people — liquidity is at least as important as other, more-dramatic-sounding corners of finance.

So the new liquidity rules global banking regulators released yesterday are a big deal for the real economy.

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Business
5:45 pm
Mon January 7, 2013

Why Is Google Exec Interested In North Korea?

Google's Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt (left) arrives at Pyongyang International Airport on Monday. There is speculation that Schmidt's presence in North Korea could have an upside for Google by positioning Schmidt as the company's global ambassador.
David Guttenfelder AP

Originally published on Mon January 7, 2013 6:39 pm

Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google, has landed in North Korea. His trip there is a bit of a mystery.

Schmidt, the former CEO of Google, has been a vocal proponent of providing people around the world with Internet access and technology. North Korea doesn't even let its citizens access the open Internet, and its population is overwhelmingly poor — so it's not exactly a coveted audience for advertisers.

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Business
5:07 pm
Mon January 7, 2013

The $1.76 Million Tuna: Great For Publicity, Bad For The Species

Sushi chain owner Kiyoshi Kimura poses with a bluefin tuna in front of his Sushi Zanmai restaurant in Tokyo on Saturday. He paid more than $1.7 million for the fish.
Shuji Kajiyama AP

Originally published on Mon January 7, 2013 5:52 pm

It's become an annual tradition: bidding up an outrageous price for a Pacific bluefin tuna during the first auction of the new year at Toyko's Tsukiji fish market.

And on Saturday, a bluefin tuna big enough to serve up about 10,000 pieces of sushi fetched a mind-boggling price: $1.76 million. That's about three times as much as last year's tuna and equates to about $3,600 per pound for the 489-pound fish.

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Business
11:57 am
Mon January 7, 2013

Big Banks Agree To Pay $8.5 Billion To Settle Foreclosure-Abuse Claims

April 2011: A foreclosure sign in front of a home in Richmond, Calif.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Mon January 7, 2013 6:26 pm

Ten of the nation's major mortgage servicing companies, including household names such as Bank of America and Citibank, have agreed to pay $8.5 billion to resolve claims that they abused some homeowners when they foreclosed on mortgages during the recent housing crisis, the Federal Reserve and the Comptroller of the Currency announced late Monday morning.

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Business
8:39 am
Mon January 7, 2013

Bank Of America To Pay Fannie Mae $3.6B, Buy Back $6.75B In Mortgages

Bank of America's corporate center in Charlotte, N.C.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Originally published on Mon January 7, 2013 9:43 am

Bank of America announced this morning that it will pay the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) $3.6 billion in cash and will buy back $6.75 billion worth of mortgages to resolve claims related to mortgage-backed securities sold to Fannie Mae by the bank and Countrywide Financial Corp. (which BofA acquired in 2008.

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Business
5:55 pm
Sun January 6, 2013

iPads, China: Twin Threats To Wisconsin's Paper Industry

The Nekoosa Paper Mill was established in 1883. Its mill in Nekoosa, Wis., sits on the banks of the Wisconsin River, and is now owned by a Canadian paper company.
Mike De Sisti Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Originally published on Tue January 8, 2013 8:11 pm

Deep in the Northwoods of Wisconsin, lumberjacks still cry "timber," just not as often as they once did. Across the state, milling lumber into good paper, the kind called "knowledge" grade for books, has employed thousands for more than a century, and created a distinct culture.

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Business
11:10 am
Fri January 4, 2013

After Sandy, Can The Jersey Shore Come Home Again?

A woman walks past a cabana complex pulled off its foundations by Superstorm Sandy in Sea Bright, N.J., in November.
Seth Wenig AP

Originally published on Thu January 3, 2013 8:25 pm

Think about it and you'll start to realize how important the Jersey shore is to American culture. Sure there's the television show Jersey Shore, but there are more enduring signs. Consider the board game Monopoly; properties are named after Atlantic City locations. And during a television fundraiser for Superstorm Sandy victims in November, comedian Jimmy Fallon talked specifically about the Jersey Shore.

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