Business

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 Fri August 1, 2014 10:24 am

New data released by the Department of Labor shows that raising the minimum wage in some states does not appear to have had a negative impact on 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, could cost as many as 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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Chornyak & Associates
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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Business
10:01 am
Mon June 9, 2014

To Sell A House In California, It Might Need Good Feng Shui

About 40 miles east of Los Angeles, houses in the new College Park subdivision are designed to have good feng shui.
Miles Bryan NPR

Originally published on Sat June 7, 2014 12:41 pm

If you leave Los Angeles, Calif., on Interstate 10 and head east for about 40 miles, you'll run into a quintessentially suburban phenomenon: the opening of a subdivision.

At one such development called College Park in Chino, Calif., the lawns are bright green, the D.J. is spinning classic rock and a lot of the conversations are in Mandarin. Among those looking for a house is Eddie Yung. He lives in China now, but he's moving to California.

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Business
7:45 pm
Sat June 7, 2014

'Downton Abbey' Craze Serves Up A Demand For Butlers

Jim Carter as Mr. Carson in Downton Abbey, which has helped fuel a growing demand for butlers around the world.
WGBH/PBS

Originally published on Sun June 8, 2014 5:05 pm

Butlers in American pop culture tend to provide comic relief — think The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air or The Birdcage. Or, like Batman's Alfred, the butler is more of a friend than an employee.

But one show has brought back the classic butler, with a vengeance. Since the British period drama Downton Abbey made its debut on PBS in 2010, the demand for butlers in some parts of the world has surged.

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Business
5:46 am
Sat June 7, 2014

Job Outlook Brightens For Graduates, Though Problems Linger

Kaitlin Foran, a senior at the College of Charleston in South Carolina, meets with a prospective employer at a job fair at National Harbor in Maryland.
T.J. Kirkpatrick Getty Images

Originally published on Tue June 10, 2014 3:07 pm

Congratulations Class of 2014! You are entering a labor market that offers a record number of paychecks.

On Friday, the Labor Department said the U.S. economy now has 138.5 million jobs, slightly more than the previous high set in early 2008 — just as the Great Recession was tightening its grip.

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Business
6:01 pm
Fri June 6, 2014

GM Recalls 105,000 More Vehicles

The 2014 Chevrolet Silverado is among the vehicles being recalled.
Paul Sancya AP

Originally published on Fri June 6, 2014 6:59 pm

A day after General Motors admitted it failed customers who owned cars with a defective ignition switch, the automaker issued a recall for 105,000 more vehicles, bringing the total number of GM recalls so far this year to 34, involving 14 million vehicles, Michigan Public Radio's Tracy Samilton reports.

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Business
4:36 pm
Fri June 6, 2014

Despite Va. Order, Car Services Uber, Lyft Refuse To Pull Over

Passenger Christina Shatzen gets into a car operated by a driver for Lyft. Virginia has sent a cease-and-desist letter to Lyft, Uber and other car-sharing services.
Jeff Chiu AP

Originally published on Fri June 6, 2014 4:55 pm

Uber and Lyft car services have said they will continue to operate in Virginia, despite a cease-and-desist letter from the state saying the service is illegal because it hasn't received authorization from the Department of Motor Vehicles.

It comes a day after Colorado became the first state to pass a law regulating such companies, which use smartphone apps to connect passengers with drivers of vehicles for hire and ridesharing services and have seen fast growth in recent years in some parts of the country.

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Business
12:16 pm
Fri June 6, 2014

Illinois Declares Truce In Cupcake War

Chloe Stirling presents cupcakes to Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn in his office last month.
Seth Perlman AP

Originally published on Fri June 6, 2014 3:27 pm

No one really thinks 12-year-old Chloe Stirling presents a menace to public health.

The Illinois girl has a knack for baking cupcakes and has done pretty well selling them. So well, in fact, that her local newspaper published a story about her earlier this year. That drew the attention of the county health department — which shut her down for selling baked goods without a license or a state-certified kitchen.

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Business
6:54 am
Fri June 6, 2014

The Budget Traveler: Tips for Booking Your Summer Vacation Online

  If a summer getaway is on your agenda, doing some online research is a great way to find deals. But is it better to book through a third-party travel website, like Expedia or Orbitz, or directly with the airline, hotel, or car rental agency? 

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Business
6:28 am
Fri June 6, 2014

The Fight Over Drones, As Seen From A Drone

Quoctrung Bui/NPR

Originally published on Fri August 1, 2014 11:57 am

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