Business

Business
5:21 am
Sat January 3, 2015

Tech Week: FBI Still Blames North Korea; App Encourages Sharing

Amid much speculation by private security analysts, the FBI stood by its claim this week that North Korea was responsible for the hack against Sony Pictures.
Damian Dovarganes AP

Originally published on Sat January 3, 2015 5:33 am

This week, the FBI stood firm on its claim that North Korea was responsible for the hack on Sony Pictures, even though independent cybersecurity experts have questioned the FBI's stance. We also looked at a new app that helps people share their stuff, and at Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler's handling of the net neutrality debate.

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Business
12:42 am
Tue December 30, 2014

Plastic Bag Industry And Allies May Dispose Of California's Ban

A man carries plastic single-use bags past the State Capitol in Sacramento, Calif. Starting in July 2015, California could become the first state to ban single-use plastic bags, unless a referendum delays the measure from taking effect.
Rich Pedroncelli AP

Originally published on Wed December 31, 2014 12:45 pm

Last October, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a law that would ban single-use plastic bags at grocery and convenience stores, and allow shops to sell customers environmentally-friendly bags for 10 cents. Senate Bill 270 was set to take effect in July 2015.

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Business
6:51 pm
Mon December 29, 2014

Can't Pay Your Fines? Your License Could Be Taken

Desiree Seats, 23, lost her license for two years before she even got it because of an unpaid fine. Without a license, she couldn't find the jobs she needed to start earning money.
Joseph Shapiro NPR

Drive drunk, drive recklessly, and the state can suspend your driver's license. But many police and motor vehicle administrators worry about a recent trend: A large number of suspensions are for reasons that have nothing to do with unsafe driving.

These reasons include unpaid traffic tickets, falling behind on child support, getting caught with drugs, bouncing checks; or minor juvenile offenses like missing school, using false identification to buy alcohol, or shoplifting.

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Business
10:02 am
Mon December 29, 2014

Looking To 2015, Economists See 5 Reasons To Celebrate

Target shoppers Kelly Foley (from left), Debbie Winslow and Ann Rich use a smartphone to look at a competitor's prices while shopping shortly after midnight on Black Friday, in South Portland, Maine.
Robert F. Bukaty AP

Originally published on Mon December 29, 2014 10:39 am

Each December, economists make predictions. And each new year, they get hit by unexpected events that make them look more clueless than prescient.

This year's bolt out of the blue was the plunge in oil's price, which no one saw coming.

Still, top economists' forecasts did get a lot right for 2014. One year ago, most were predicting healthy growth, tame inflation, low interest rates, rising stock prices and declining unemployment — and that's just what we got.

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Business
9:12 am
Fri December 26, 2014

Possible Hack Of Sony, Microsoft Game Console Sites

Attendees walking past the Sony PlayStation booth at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco in 2012. The PlayStation and Microsoft's Xbox consoles were experiencing a possible hack on their online sites.
Paul Sakuma AP

Originally published on Fri December 26, 2014 11:56 am

If you can't get your new Sony PlayStation or Microsoft Xbox online today, you can blame the Lizard Squad – or (indirectly) North Korea. Or maybe neither.

The Lizard Squad purports to be a group of hackers now claiming responsibility for a denial of service attack on the two game consoles' online sites.

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Business
9:42 am
Tue December 23, 2014

U.S. Economy Grew At A 5 Percent Rate; Dow Surpasses 18,000

Originally published on Tue December 23, 2014 2:55 pm

The U.S. economy grew at a surprisingly fast 5 percent annual rate in the third quarter of 2014, up sharply from the 3.9 percent of the last revision. The figure blew past the consensus estimate of 4.3 percent put forth by economists surveyed by Bloomberg News.

It's the fastest the U.S. economy has grown in one quarter in more than a decade: The GDP grew at a 6.9 percent pace in the third quarter of 2003.

Update at 10:30 a.m. ET: Dow Tops 18,000 For First Time

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Business
8:29 am
Mon December 22, 2014

The 5 Business Stories That Made 2014 A Memorable Year

James Franco (left) and Seth Rogen, stars of The Interview, arrive for the film's Los Angeles premiere on Dec. 11. The comedy about a CIA plot to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was pulled from theaters after a cyberattack on Sony Pictures, the studio behind the film. The FBI said the attack was traced to the North Korean government.
Jim Ruymen UPI/Landov

Originally published on Mon December 22, 2014 8:47 am

As the year's end approaches, economists are looking back and assessing the news stories that shaped 2014.

Though their lists may vary, most analysts are pointing to five developments that had very big impacts on the U.S. economy. These were the biggies for 2014:

Oil Prices Plunge

No one saw this one coming. When 2014 began, a barrel of crude oil was selling for about $110. It hovered there until late spring, when the price ticked up to nearly $115.

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Business
3:44 am
Mon December 22, 2014

Heating New England Homes: The Good And Bad News

Low heating oil prices mean New Englanders don't have to bundle up at home this year, but they will have to watch their rising electric bills.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Sun January 4, 2015 3:55 pm

Falling oil prices are perhaps nowhere more welcome than in northern New England, where most homes burn heating oil in their furnaces. But cheaper heating oil is refilling consumers' pockets just as high electric prices are emptying them out.

For example, a heating oil truck delivers 600 gallons of heating oil every two weeks to an old, four-story brick building in Concord, N.H. At last year's oil prices, each refill would have cost around $2,200. Right now, it's more than $300 cheaper.

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Business
1:06 pm
Mon December 15, 2014

How The Gender Pay Gap Has Changed (And How It Hasn't)

Quoctrung Bui/NPR

Originally published on Mon December 15, 2014 10:53 am

The pay gap between men and women has been narrowing for decades. But it persists, and it gets larger as women move toward the middle of their careers.

In a recent paper, Harvard economist Claudia Goldin looked at the gap in a bunch of different ways — how it's changed over time, how it changes over the course of people's careers, and how it varies from industry to industry.

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Business
10:52 am
Mon December 15, 2014

From Australia To France, Another Bad Day For Uber

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Screenshot

Originally published on Mon December 15, 2014 2:37 pm

Uber's troubles are mounting. The ride-sharing service was criticized in Australia after its "surge pricing" kicked in, quadrupling fares for some customers trying to flee the area in Sydney where a gunman took hostages in a cafe.

Here's a screenshot that one customer sent to Mashable with details of the increased fare:

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Business
5:11 am
Tue December 9, 2014

That Nest Egg Needs To Last As Long As You Do. So How Do You Start?

While people can often estimate how much they might need for 10 or 15 years of retirement, that calculation becomes more difficult for retirement that could last 20 years or more.
Gary Waters Ikon Images/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 2, 2015 5:47 pm

Retirement for baby boomers will look different than it did for their parents — Americans are living longer, health care costs more, fewer people have pensions today, and many people facing retirement haven't saved much.

All of that makes managing the nest egg you do have even more vital. But many people need and want guidance on what they should do to make sure their retirement savings last.

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Chornyak & Associates
11:22 am
Mon December 8, 2014

News From Chornyak & Assoicates December, 2014: Winter Preparation Checklist

Commonwelath Financial Network warns us to avoid making the end of the year more stressful than it needs to be. By checking some items off your list earlier, you'll be free to focus on what's important during the holidays-spending time with family and friends.
 

Are you ready for colder weather and the end-of-the-year rush? Consider using some of these tips to help you save money and time as winter approaches.

Ready your home and car

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Business
6:43 pm
Tue December 2, 2014

Holiday Shoppers Are Filling Their Carts, Online

Workers pack items Sunday at an Amazon fulfillment center in Tracy, Calif. Cyber Monday online sales jumped 8.5 percent over 2013.
Noah Berger Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Tue December 2, 2014 7:45 pm

This weekend, Will Falls decided to skip the local mall near Raleigh, N.C., and shop online instead.

"No standing in line, no finding a parking spot," he says. "Just get comfortable and go at it."

Millions of Americans did the same — Falls helped contribute to an 8.5 percent increase in online shopping Monday compared with 2013, according to data from IBM.

That growth stands in contrast to an 11 percent drop in sales reported by the National Retail Federation at brick-and-mortar stores over the Black Friday weekend compared with a year ago.

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Business
2:07 pm
Tue December 2, 2014

Small Retailers Jump On The Subscription Box Bandwagon

The Wantable company arranges makeup, jewelry/accessories and undergarments in a box to match each subscriber's tastes. The company started with three employees in 2012 and now has 24.
Alyssa Pointer MCT/Landov

Originally published on Tue December 2, 2014 7:18 pm

For three years, Erin Maynard ran a store called The Geeky Cauldron out of her home in Phoenix. On the online artisan marketplace Etsy, she sold jewelry inspired by themes from popular books, films and TV shows: think vampires and wizards. For the most part, it made her decent income, but month-to-month sales were a roller coaster: Some months, sales topped $5,000, while other months they barely cracked $1,000.

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Business
5:48 pm
Wed November 12, 2014

As U.S. Leads Growth, It Wants Others To Step Up

U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew says the global economy is relying too heavily on just the United States for growth.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Wed November 12, 2014 6:41 pm

The global economy rolls along more smoothly when it's not riding a unicycle. It needs additional wheels for momentum and stability.

That is, in effect, what Treasury Secretary Jack Lew is telling leaders of other advanced nations.

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Business
3:35 pm
Wed November 12, 2014

Coal Mines Keep Operating Despite Injuries, Violations And Millions In Fines

This photo of Roy Middleton working underground at the Kentucky Darby mine now sits on the mantel in the Middleton home in Harlan County, Ky. He was killed after an explosion in 2006.
Anna Boiko-Weyrauch/NPR Original photo courtesy of the Middleton family

Originally published on Thu November 13, 2014 9:21 am

Jack Blankenship was pinned facedown in the dirt, his neck, shoulder and back throbbing with pain.

He was alone on an errand, in a dark tunnel a mile underground at the Aracoma Alma coal mine in Logan County, W.Va., when a 300-pound slab of rock peeled away from the roof and slammed him to the ground. As his legs grew numb, he managed to free an arm and reach his radio. For two hours, he pressed the panic button that was supposed to bring help quickly.

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Business
5:22 pm
Sun November 9, 2014

Low Gas Prices Haven't Slowed Domestic Drilling — Yet

Lower oil prices, while good for the economy, are a threat to what has been a dramatic surge in oil production in the U.S.
David Goldman AP

Originally published on Mon November 10, 2014 3:22 pm

It's lunchtime in Douglas, Wyo., a town smack in the middle of the state's booming oil patch, and the line of cars at the McDonald's drive-through wraps around the building. A hiring poster hangs in the window, and the parking lot is full.

Troy Hilbish, a tool hand for the oil field servicing company Schlumberger, says while he didn't know oil prices have been falling, he does know what falling prices mean.

"If the oil prices go up, we drill more," Hilbish says. "If they go down, we don't drill as much."

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Chornyak & Associates
3:38 pm
Fri November 7, 2014

Five steps to survive your adult child's return home

When you waved your grown-up kids off to college, cheered at their graduation, congratulated them on a first job or helped them move in with a partner, you didn't expect that one day you'd be following up those milestones with: "Welcome home!"

But one of the ironies of 21st century life is that just at the crossroads when emerging adults want to take a great leap forward toward independence, many are forced by circumstance to come back home. 

The New Perfect Storm

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Business
5:39 pm
Mon October 6, 2014

Some Americans Boosted Charitable Giving In Recession; The Rich Did Not

During the recession, middle-class and poor Americans gave more of their incomes to charity organizations than did the wealthy, according to a new study.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue October 7, 2014 12:44 pm

As times got tough in the recent recession, the less well-off of America's citizens became more generous when giving to charity. But at the same time, wealthy Americans cut the proportion of their incomes they donated, according to a new study that analyzed data from tax returns.

NPR's Pam Fessler reports for our Newscast unit:

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Business
7:06 am
Fri October 3, 2014

U.S. Manufacturing: A Remembrance And A Look Ahead

A worker cuts slabs of steel at a mill in Cleveland in 2004.
Ron Schwane AP

Originally published on Fri October 3, 2014 11:28 am

If it weren't for American manufacturing, I wouldn't be here today.

Literally.

A century ago, my grandfather moved from Poland to Youngstown, Ohio, to work in a steel mill. At the time, Ohio factories were cranking out steel slabs, tires and cars — building a mountain of wealth that the next generation could climb. And the generation after that.

But what will happen in the 21st century? Is the path that led to higher ground blocked now?

The answer is complicated.

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