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Every weekday, host Kai Ryssdal helps you make sense of the day’s business and economic news — no econ degree or finance background required. “Marketplace” takes you beyond the numbers, bringing you context. Our team of reporters all over the world speak with CEOs, policymakers and regular people just trying to get by.

Episode Date
Will New Mexico chile crop weather labor shortage and climate change?

In the early ’90s, New Mexico had 34,000 acres devoted to the production of chiles, the pepper seen on menus across the state. But that number has dwindled, with some 8,000 acres set aside for chile production in recent years, according to the New Mexico Chile Association. The decline in chile production — largely the result of climate change and a labor shortage — may be a threat to businesses and the culture of the region. Also on today’s show: Housing advocates vie for their slice of the reconciliation pie; examining just how ethical ESG investments are; and a festival sign writer crafts a pandemic side hustle.

Oct 25, 2021
“Clean slate” laws could soften the labor crisis

One in three American adults has a criminal record. Amid a labor shortage and a historically high quit rate among the American workforce, there’s growing advocacy to pass “clean slate” laws, which call for modernizing court databases and creating algorithms to automatically clear records for minor criminal offenses. While such legislation expands candidate pools for businesses, it also opens the door to higher-quality jobs for those with a criminal record. Also on the show today: The Weekly Wrap; talking turkey about holiday food prices; and why some are calling plastic the “new coal.”

Oct 22, 2021
Were COVID relief funds fairly distributed to tribal governments?

In March, the American Rescue Plan set aside $20 billion for tribal governments, an unprecedented federal investment in Indian Country. While close to 600 tribal entities got portions of the relief funds, more than half of the money went to just 30. That’s because the Treasury Department divvied up funds based on population and the number of people each tribe employs — not poverty levels or COVID infection rates. Also on the show today: The Federal Reserve overhauls investing rules for policymakers, why it’s so hard to determine what makes a “high-quality” carbon offset and examining the real-life horrors the film “Candyman” spotlights.

Oct 21, 2021
Inflation comes to a freezer aisle near you

When it comes to checkout time at your local grocery store, the total at the bottom of your receipt might just raise your eyebrows. That’s because prices for essentials have increased by 4.5% year over year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Nearly half of all price increases have come from just three meats: beef, pork and poultry — meaning you may think twice before adding that steak or pork loin to your shopping cart. Later on in the program, we’ll hear about some of the career shifts occurring in the Great Resignation, what California’s drought could mean for the rest of the country and why Citigroup is nixing work lunches.

Oct 20, 2021
Can mediation hold off a wave of evictions?

Philadelphia’s Eviction Diversion Program, launched last year, allows landlords and renters late on payments to avoid court through mediation. Since, the program has conducted more than 2,000 mediations, with more than 90% ending in agreement or continued negotiation. The program has also helped distribute millions of dollars in federal emergency rental assistance. Plus: A trip to a new government stockpile of medication ingredients; a Bitcoin fund debuts on the New York Stock Exchange; and what actually happens when you return an online order.

Oct 19, 2021
Zillow puts the brakes on controversial house flipping

Zillow has been using algorithms to evaluate, buy, then resell houses — until recently. The company announced that it would pause purchases for the rest of the year, citing a lack of workers for renovations. The decision comes at a time when the real estate market is cooling off and may hint at the future actions of other “ibuyers.” Also on today’s show: China’s economic growth weakens, an honest conversation about mental health with a macro-social worker and a breezy trip to the world’s largest offshore wind farm.

Oct 18, 2021
The unemployed are often locked out of low-rate refi market

Mortgage interest rates have been historically low for the past year — at or below 3%. However, many banks have kept in place Great Recession-era proof of employment requirements. This means that those who lost their jobs during the pandemic and could benefit the most from refinancing are often unable to. Plus: The Weekly Wrap, breaking down what the Fed’s board of governors does, and foreclosures begin to creep back up.

Oct 15, 2021
Gentrification meets Texas barbecue

Historically, barbecue has been a cheap and delicious way to cook meat — principally by Black pitmasters who lived in poverty. Now, ‘cue joints win prestigious awards and can charge top dollar. But a lot of media attention has centered on white cooks, who make up a fraction of pitmasters. Marketplace’s Andy Uhler visited a few Texas barbecue restaurants to look at what some are calling the gentrification of barbecue. We’ll also tackle last week’s jobless claims, hear how the John Deere strike is affecting rural America and examine how climate change is likely to reshape migration.

Oct 14, 2021
A look at the child care crisis

The child care industry was struggling even before the pandemic. Costs are high for parents who need the service to enable them to work, yet employee wages rank low among professions. Now, some 80% of day care centers are short-staffed. Experts say the $39 billion in relief outlined in the American Rescue Plan may only be a crutch for the problems that plague the field. Also on the program: Consumers are adapting to inflation, what the bump in Social Security payments means for recipients and we hear from a Black entrepreneur who’s operating a brewery and building community.

Oct 13, 2021
Americans are quitting their jobs in record numbers

Though unemployment levels are dipping, some 4.3 million people left their jobs in August, according to a new Bureau of Labor Statistics report. The “quits rate” is up to 2.9% — the highest it’s been since the BLS started tracking it. This employee exodus is partially fueling the worker shortage in industries like food services, health care, manufacturing and public education. We’ll also discuss how China’s tutoring regulations have impacted some Americans who teach English as a second language, how index funds revolutionized investing, and what Wendy’s and Google’s partnership could mean for a drive-thru near you.

Oct 12, 2021
Why so many products are “temporarily unavailable”

If you’ve tried to buy much of anything lately, there’s a decent chance some of the products you’ve been scouring aisles for have been out of stock. On today’s show, we air the first segment in our new collection, “Temporarily Unavailable,” which explores how stuff moves around the world … or doesn’t. Host Kai Ryssdal gives us an inside look at the Marine Exchange of Southern California in the largest port complex in the U.S. And later: how former “Survivor” contestants are profiting from their reality-star status; companies eye tariff relief under Biden; and new merch is coming your way, courtesy of a new Walmart and Netflix partnership.

Oct 11, 2021
How “Squid Game” took over fall TV

People fall into one of two TV camps right now: You’ve either seen “Squid Game” or you haven’t. But odds are you’ve heard of the dystopian South Korean drama, which is  on track to be Netflix’s most-watched show yet. The series’ production values and exploration of class have helped it become a global hit, and the show’s success bodes well for streaming services that are making investments abroad and courting international subscribers. Also on today’s program: the Weekly Wrap, an uptick in wages and a preview of Marketplace’s newest series, “How We Survive.”

Oct 08, 2021
The Fed has a chance to diversify its leadership. Will it?

After controversy over ethics and stock trading arose, two regional Federal Reserve presidents announced their resignations late last month. Their departures leave two senior leadership positions open and a chance for the Fed to regain trust. Fed Chair Jerome Powell has expressed support for diversifying the regional banks, but the final selection process remains opaque. Later in the show: Coal production struggles to keep up with demand, Germany’s small to mid-size businesses voice their hopes for a new government and the Catch-22 of climate-impact rules and infrastructure updates.

Oct 07, 2021
COVID-19 ignited a virtual mental health care revolution

Mental health professionals have had virtual tools for decades, but the pandemic catalyzed the field to offer more telehealth services. It’s a change that experts say is here to stay and one that makes care more accessible. The shift has also incited an investment boom in mental health startups and apps that topped $1 billion last year. Also on today’s show: Workers can be choosy in the current job market; why this winter’s gas bill might give you sticker shock; and a chat with San Francisco Fed President Mary Daly.

Oct 06, 2021
When WhatsApp goes down, global communication stops

Monday’s outage of Facebook and Instagram was annoying, sure. But the outage of communication platform WhatsApp highlighted how vital the app is to chat with friends and family or even do business in some parts of the world. Many emerging markets have access to technologies like smartphones but lack broadband infrastructure, making WhatsApp one of the most popular, inexpensive communication platforms available. Later, we’ll hear why some Hollywood workers are going on strike, whom a four-day workweek would serve and what an unused lot in Austin, Texas, tells us about the difficulties of creating affordable housing.

Oct 05, 2021
How the U.S. became a tax haven for the globe’s wealthy and elite

Over the weekend, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists broke news about leaked financial documents called the Pandora Papers, which highlighted how the global elite shield their wealth. Dominic Rushe, U.S. business editor at The Guardian, spoke with us about how the documents reveal that some states, principally South Dakota, offer greater protections for offshore money than places like Switzerland or the Cayman Islands. Also on today’s program: A look at the Fed’s debt ceiling playbook, Molly Wood on the Facebook and Instagram outage and ride-hailing apps face competition from an old rival: taxis.

Oct 04, 2021
Could this be the start of a new labor movement?

The pandemic has helped shift power in the economy from employers to workers. Public support for unions is among the highest its been in recent years. On today’s show, Liz Shuler, president of the AFL-CIO, discusses what she sees as the beginning stages of a modern labor movement that can grow and change with the needs of working people. But first: The Weekly Wrap, consumer pessimism grows and what budget constraints will mean for federal agencies.

Oct 01, 2021
Nursing schools are attracting more students, but not enough

Hospitals and intensive care units have seen a wave of nurses leave the field, prompted by the stressors of COVID-19. Enrollment has picked up in many nursing programs, but schools project that there won’t be enough graduates to fill the gap. Also on today’s program: Supply chain-induced inflation may be with us for a while, an Iowa farmer recounts her difficult growing season, and need proof of vaccination? There are apps for that.

Sep 30, 2021
The families the child tax credit has left behind

Some families that include undocumented immigrants are reporting that, despite being eligible, they’ve yet to receive the child tax credit. Chabeli Carrazana, an economy reporter at The 19th, tells us about how those who need it most face barriers to accessing the federal aid. Plus: How a fleet of British satellites could help combat climate change, what New York City’s congestion pricing may mean for residents and supply chain issues come to a paint store near you.

Sep 29, 2021
The past and future of unionizing restaurant workers

The food-and-beverage industry has one of the lowest unionization rates among the U.S. workforce, but that wasn’t always the case. Now, organizing momentum is building. And public support for unions coupled with the stresses of COVID-19 could provide a boost to those efforts. We’ll also examine the rise in Treasury bond yields, see how a neighborhood loan program is benefiting Chicago’s northwest side and hear from former PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi on work-family balance.

Sep 28, 2021
What happens if we blow past the debt limit?

If the debt ceiling is reached without being suspended or raised by Congress, the Treasury will have to choose between paying its bills and repaying money already borrowed. Results could be catastrophic. Also on the program: Facebook pauses the development of a “child-friendly” Instagram; a video game company tackles racism and sexism in its industry; and perks make it a great time to be a new hire.

Sep 27, 2021
A rodeo returns with fanfare and few masks

For many towns in the West and Midwest, rodeos are a boon to the local economy. Despite the delta variant’s surge, many rodeos have made a return in 2021. Marketplace’s Mitchell Hartman takes us to Oregon’s Pendleton Round-Up and chats with locals, tourists and health officials about mask enforcement, a boost to business and the return of a rural tradition. Also on today’s program: The Weekly Wrap, the impact ridesharing has on our climate and a shipping-related holiday gift to discount stores.

Sep 24, 2021
The Fed is cautiously optimistic on recovery

The economy is growing strongly as it recovers from its pandemic-induced downturns — so strongly that the Fed has signaled it will start tapering bond purchases soon and may raise interest rates next year. That optimism for economists comes with an asterisk, however, as COVID-19, supply chain issues and inflation threaten to stand in the way of full economic recovery. Also: Afghanistan’s informal money exchange market, New York City’s new protections for food-delivery app workers and Evergrande’s shockwaves in China.

Sep 23, 2021
Are developed countries pulling their weight in the climate crisis?

The United Nations General Assembly is meeting this week, and climate change is high on the docket. More than a decade ago, the U.S. and other developed countries pledged to gather $100 billion annually by 2020 to assist in climate adaptation and resilience for developing countries. Despite bearing most of the responsibility for emissions and having the most resources to adapt, pledge countries are falling short of their promised amounts. Also on today’s program, we’ll examine London’s financial services post-Brexit, how disaster aid became coupled with budget bills and why you should care about the Fed’s tapering of bond-buying.

Sep 22, 2021
How one massive Chinese company rattled the U.S. stock market

Anxiety over Evergrande, a behemoth property developer in China, and its $300 billion debt sent stock markets around the globe tumbling on Monday. The situation is spotlighting precarity in China’s real estate sector and the country’s economy as a whole; some fear a Lehman Brothers-style crisis. The uncertain future of Evergrande, coupled with supply chain and inflation woes, could continue to stoke market jitters. Plus: Location-based setbacks for new houses, high-frequency data hints about the labor market and mixed business is dished up for New York’s lunch spots.

Sep 21, 2021
How vaccines for younger children could boost economic recovery

Pfizer announced today that a smaller dose of its COVID-19 vaccine is proving safe and effective for children ages 5 to 11. If FDA emergency approval goes as planned, kids could be getting their shots by Halloween. This could, among other things, help moms get back to work. And later: how the weather affects what we buy; an Afghan American humanitarian reflects on the recent upheaval; and a look at what corporate pledges actually accomplish.

Sep 20, 2021
What can the Fed do about climate change?

Progressive Democrats are pushing President Joe Biden to appoint a Federal Reserve chair who will be more proactive about climate change than Jerome Powell. Before the Fed could act more rigorously, however, Congress would need to direct it to. Claudia Sahm, a former Federal Reserve economist, joins us to discuss. Plus: The Weekly Wrap, some background on that pesky computer chip shortage and the building buzz around drive-thru coffee shops.

Sep 17, 2021
Could the housing market maybe be going back to normal?

Competition for homebuyers is finally easing up a bit. There are more new listings, houses are staying on the market longer and there are fewer bidding wars. Though buyers may revel in a return to seasonal expectations for the housing market, real estate experts still think a return to “normal” may be a ways off. Later in the show, we’ll look also into the rise of Portland’s “placeless” restaurants, how Lebanon’s economic crisis came to be and why homeowners insurance doesn’t cover flood damage.

Sep 16, 2021
America’s child care system is failing families. Just ask the Treasury Department.

The Treasury Department decided not to mince words about the state of child care in the U.S. in a new report, calling it “unworkable” and in a state of market failure. As the Biden administration continues to push for investment in human infrastructure and the care economy, the report makes the case for universal preschool and extended tax credits for parents. Plus: how Germany may struggle with its green ambitions, what import and export prices can tell us about inflation and a chat about continued shipping container consternation.

Sep 15, 2021
Poverty dipped in 2020 as the government boosted aid

The U.S. Census Bureau released poverty rates for 2020 today. While the official poverty rate went up slightly, the supplemental poverty rate — which experts say gives a more accurate picture — went down to its lowest in census measurement because of expanded pandemic relief for millions. But with many of those government programs expired or ending in a pandemic economy, the future of the American poverty rate looks uncertain. Also on today’s show: Small businesses look to up prices amid supply chain woes, a look back at the Occupy movement 10 years on and the creators of “South Park” hope to revive the wonderland-meets-restaurant, Casa Bonita.

Sep 14, 2021
For restaurants, fall 2021 brings with it a strong sense of deja vu

Indoor dining is closed in some places, restaurants are requesting federal aid and, for many businesses, fall 2021 is already looking a lot like fall 2020. On today’s show, we’ll look at where things stand. Plus: GDP growth, retail spending in China and the history behind power grid problems in Texas.

Sep 13, 2021
Uncertainty is the economic legacy of 9/11

It’s been 20 years Saturday since the Sept. 11 attacks on New York, Washington and the crash of United Airlines Flight 93 in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. It was the first of many, many “uncertainty shocks” this country and this economy have seen. On today’s show, we’ll take some time to reflect on that legacy. But first, we’ll get the view on the ground in New Orleans, examine how OSHA makes its rules and recap the week in economic news.

Sep 10, 2021
A hot labor market won’t close the gaps in this economy

First-time jobless claims dropped to their lowest point since March of last year. But with many industries still seeing labor shortages, what do the numbers really say about the state of the economic recovery? And how can we build back a more equitable labor market, closing racial unemployment gaps? That’s where we’re starting off on today’s show. Plus: Airline earnings, Biden’s vaccine mandates and a legacy of 9/11 at work you probably don’t even notice.

Sep 09, 2021
How will New York City enforce its vaccine mandate?

Starting next week, New York City will begin enforcing a requirement of at least one COVID-19 vaccine shot for entrance to businesses like restaurants, bars, museums, theaters and gyms. That’s easier said than done, however, as customers struggle to navigate apps and business owners attempt to verify vaccine statuses and enforce the mandate. Plus: Record-number job openings are met with a “meh” number of hires, how North Dakota is aiming to distribute rent relief and more Americans look to retire at a younger age.

Sep 08, 2021
Traveling nurses and short-staffed hospitals are in a vicious cycle

Traveling nurses have always earned more than their full-time counterparts at hospitals. With high demand for nurses in intensive care units, especially in the undervaccinated South, traveling nurses can now earn more than $10,000 per week. Eyeing the higher pay, some regularly employed nurses are leaving their jobs to travel — which further exacerbates staffing challenges and pushes up costs. Also on today’s program: how eco-friendly products are causing aluminum prices to soar, retailers struggle to stock up for holiday shopping and how working women can apply Machiavelli’s teachings.

Sep 07, 2021
As pandemic benefits end, unemployment for Black workers is on the rise

Though the unemployment rate dipped in August, it rose for a single racial or ethnic group: Black workers. Job growth has been slow to rebound in industries like child care and leisure and hospitality — all of which are major employers of Black women. The employment rate for Black workers is trending in the wrong direction as the federal unemployment benefits that extended relief for millions of Americans expired on Monday. Later on in the show: rural vaccination rates are on the rise, what it means when Bansky takes a “spray-cation” and labor shortages hit school cafeterias.

Sep 06, 2021
Not a great jobs report. Should we have seen it coming?

“There was a lot of gasping going on,” was how Heather Long of The Washington Post described the reception this morning to August’s disappointing, very-big-miss jobs report. Given that the delta variant is still very much at large, have economists and labor market analysts been too optimistic about job creation? Also on today’s show: the costly steps to securing a more resilient New York subway system and some background on why Apple is relaxing its app store rules.

Sep 03, 2021
When the effects of the climate crisis hit home

The devastation inflicted on parts of the East Coast by the remnants of Hurricane Ida tells us that climate change is well and truly here — and that much of America’s housing stock is nowhere near up to weathering its effects. Also on today’s show: In the aftermath of OnlyFans’ reversal of its decision to ban sexually explicit content, sex workers and their allies are continuing to protest what they consider business discrimination against legal sex work. And we’ll hear about fierce competition for the stock ticker MEME (among others).

Sep 02, 2021
Power shifts to workers

In anticipation of the holiday season, Walmart plans to hire 20,000 distribution and fulfillment center workers. Getting to that number might be a long shot. According to a recent survey of major retailers by the consulting firm Korn Ferry, 97% said they were having “moderate” or “significant” challenges hiring such workers. Also on today’s show: Could the loss of power on the Gulf Coast have been prevented? And we’ll hear from a Pakistan-based macroeconomist about how the Taliban might run the Afghan economy.

Sep 01, 2021
What next for the housing market?

Today we received record-shattering house price numbers. Although major metro housing market conditions right now are sharply reminiscent of the bubble of 2005, economists consider this a very different category of boom. Also on today’s show, how Louisianans without power or water are surviving in the late-summer heat, a stark report on racial and ethnic disparity in receiving specialty health care and a look at the businesses — 6% of borrowers — that have been asked to pay back portions of their Paycheck Protection Program loans.

Aug 31, 2021
Infrastructure investment put to the test in Louisiana

Although about a million people in Louisiana are without power due to the destruction caused by Hurricane Ida, the investment of billions of dollars in a robust levee system means things are a lot better than they would have been. It’s a real-life examination of return on infrastructure investment. Also: Economist Mohamed A. El-Erian on why he —  still — disagrees with the policy approach taken by the Federal Reserve, how Ikea hopes to stop you from sending its wares to landfills and a marketing professor’s take on the Taliban’s association with Toyota.

Aug 30, 2021
An eviction crisis all over again

The Supreme Court blocked the Biden administration’s most recent eviction moratorium yesterday. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had extended the ban to buy more time for state and local governments to distribute aid to tenants and landlords. Though some 8 million adults in America are behind on rent, the Treasury Department said that just 11% of relief money had been paid out by the end of July. Now, housing advocates worry about a wave of evictions. Also on today’s show: the health care costs of wildfires, the economic outlook for companies that have flourished in the pandemic and examining the silver screen relationship between China and Hollywood.

Aug 27, 2021
What will it take to diversify manufacturing?

A new report from The Century Foundation shows that the manufacturing sector will need 2 million new workers over the coming decade, as the predominately white, predominately male workforce ages into retirement. But manufacturers are struggling to recruit younger employees — and to correct racial and gender divides. Also on the program: the convenience and efficiency of curbside pickup, what a drought declaration could mean for states out West and why cybercrime groups are taking aim at supply chains.

Aug 26, 2021
Biden looks to fill half a million cybersecurity jobs

On Wednesday, the White House held a cybersecurity summit with leaders in tech, finance and energy, calling for private industries to help bolster cyber defenses. The Commerce Department estimates that there are roughly 500,000 unfilled cybersecurity jobs across the country, and that number will continue to grow — and increasingly pose a threat — unless nontraditional education pathways can be explored. Also: where wind energy stands in the U.S., a strong and steady durable goods report and a look inside the growing on-demand warehouse industry.

Aug 25, 2021
Inequality is on the Fed’s agenda at Jackson Hole

The theme for this year’s Federal Reserve Jackson Hole Symposium is “Macroeconomic Policy in an Uneven Economy.” Wrapped up in that title is a long-running debate over the extent to which the Fed can and should play an active role in closing racial disparity in wealth, wages and unemployment rates. And later: what’s behind Walmart’s new delivery service, a shipping behemoth invests in carbon neutrality and a look at the failed U.S. effort to suppress opium in Afghanistan.

Aug 24, 2021
Full FDA approval of Pfizer vaccine clears way for employer mandates

On Monday, the Food and Drug Administration granted full approval to the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for Americans 16 and older. With the first COVID-19 vaccine graduating from emergency use authorization, more companies may join the growing cohort that requires worker vaccinations, but the labor shortage may deter some employers from adopting such mandates. Later in today’s show: what General Motors’ recall of the Chevy Bolt means for the electric vehicle industry; Liverpool, England, contends with the revocation of its World Heritage designation; and a look at how the Environmental Protection Agency measures methane emissions.

Aug 23, 2021
Aid groups are bracing for thousands of Afghan refugees

The Joe Biden administration authorized an extra $500 million for Special Immigrant Visas and other programs for those fleeing Taliban-controlled Afghanistan. On today’s show, we’ll look at what happens to refugees once they arrive stateside and the organizations trying to secure housing for them. Plus: Toys R Us is back from the dead, what copper can tell us about the economy and a look at how companies are struggling to fully embrace empathy.

Aug 20, 2021
Goodbye Zoom calls, hello VR meetings

The pandemic has been incredibly difficult for industries like food service, hospitality and travel. But some fields have blossomed. Among them: remote-work consulting. With COVID cases surging in the U.S. and remote work looking like it could be here to stay for many white-collar workers, companies that provide personality quizzes, feng shui consultations and virtual reality meeting rooms have enjoyed a boom. But first: The clock is ticking on pandemic unemployment benefits, entrepreneurial enthusiasm is up and the Federal Reserve moves toward tapering its bond buying.

Aug 19, 2021
Why are credits cards taking so long to modernize?

A swipe of the credit card and a quickly scribbled signature is a familiar gesture for many American shoppers. But Mastercard recently announced that it will phase out magnetic stripes by 2033 in favor of chips and touchless taps. Though other countries have more quickly adopted credit card technology, in the United States, back-end processing, cost and consumer muscle memory have stood in the way of progress. Plus: indicators of a summer slowdown in economic recovery, the delta variant hits Hawaii’s tourism industry and a local food delivery service competes with food delivery giants.

Aug 18, 2021
For hospitals, COVID surges mean staff and bed shortages yet again

Hospital workers may be having a painful case of déjà vu. A growing number of hospitals across the country are running out of intensive care unit beds, dealing with staffing shortages and struggling with retention amid worker burnout. This is prolonging wait times for emergency room visits and ambulances and — in some cases — causing delays of nonessential surgeries. Plus: We’ll look at how global economies might respond to the Taliban retaking power, the reasons behind the dip in July’s retail spending and what the future might hold for vacant downtown business districts.

Aug 17, 2021