Marketplace

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Description

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
With abortion travel benefits comes privacy concerns
00:27:05

Some companies have pledged to cover travel expenses related to abortion care following the overturning of Roe. Providing those benefits is one thing, but protecting employee privacy and ensuring that workers feel comfortable using them is another thing entirely. Plus, recession risks and a glut of goods in the Weekly Wrap, and a look at the war between crypto miners and environmentalists.

Jul 01, 2022
Today’s Supreme Court decision is about more than the EPA
00:28:38

Today, the Supreme Court issued a ruling that limits the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority to cap emissions. But the move will also restrict other federal agencies’ policymaking powers. We’ll examine how this decision will shape how the economy is run and regulated — in areas as varied as COVID and crypto. Plus, why consumer spending is slowing, what different inflation measures tell us and why tribal lands aren’t abortion access loopholes.

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Jun 30, 2022
How one state is prepping to be a haven for abortion access
00:28:30

As some states curtail abortion care, others are moving in the opposite direction. Today, we take a trip to Maryland, where a new law expands the number of workers able to perform abortions as providers in the state anticipate a surge in demand. Plus, ports work to ease shipping congestion, federal funding for COVID treatments dwindles and Hong Kong’s reputation as a global financial hub shifts.

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Jun 29, 2022
It’s a flipper’s market
00:28:53

Home prices were up over 20% year on year in April. Meanwhile, people are flipping houses at the highest pace since 2000. But that trend may slow as mortgage rates and labor costs continue to climb, cutting into profits. Also in today’s episode: the proposed cap on Russian oil prices, Old Navy’s struggles with inclusive sizing and a Connecticut law limiting “captive audience” anti-union meetings.

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Jun 28, 2022
Employers are adding abortion travel benefits, but many workers are still left out
00:28:18

A growing list of employers will offer a new benefit: covering expenses for out-of-state abortion care. But existing benefits, like paid family or sick leave, already splinter along race and class divides, and these new benefits are unlikely to reach those most likely to seek abortion care. Plus, assessing war’s damage to Russia’s economy and looking at the “narrow path ahead” for countries around the world to escape recession.

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Jun 27, 2022
Reproductive rights and the economic divide
00:27:18

The Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade won’t just make abortions more expensive and difficult to access; it’s also expected to exacerbate economic disparities between people who can afford access to reproductive services and those who can’t. Today, a look at the ruling’s impact. Plus, a recap of Fed Chair Jerome Powell’s trip to Capitol Hill and companies’ evaluation of hybrid work.

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Jun 24, 2022
Who’s hurt the most by a cooling job market?
00:27:39

Low-paid workers have seen some of the biggest pay increases since the start of the pandemic. But those gains are already slowing as the Federal Reserve puts the brakes on the economy and cools the labor market. Today, we dig into the real-world consequences of the Fed’s decisions. Then, a reevaluation of credit card late fees, a potential moratorium on cryptocurrency mining and high inflation across the pond.

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Jun 23, 2022
Is the pandemic over? Plenty of companies seem to think so.
00:28:25

Let’s state the obvious: The pandemic is definitively not over. But plenty of larger companies are rolling back COVID restrictions and signaling the end is near. Today, we delve into how corporations make those decisions and how they shape the public’s pandemic mindset. Plus, the future of commission-free stock trading, the ripple effects of pilot shortages and the incarcerated youths who fight wildfires.

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Jun 22, 2022
What are the odds of a recession?
00:28:03

The stakes are high for the Federal Reserve as it hikes interest rates in its effort to tame rising prices. Getting it wrong could spawn a recession. But different economists use different models to predict the likelihood, magnitude and timing of an economic downturn — so estimates are all over the map. Later on today’s show: a breakfast table breakup, competition among real estate agents and lessons from pandemic-era career shifts.

Jun 21, 2022
Why the wealth gap between Black and white Americans persists
00:27:48

Juneteenth commemorates the day enslaved Black Texans were informed of the Emancipation Proclamation, though it was years late. While the emancipation from slavery is nearly 160 years old, the economic emancipation of Black Americans is ongoing. Today, we’ll take a look at the structural and legal barriers that have prevented Black Americans from building wealth and what can be done to correct it. Plus, the still-hot housing market and the shortage of summer school teachers.

Jun 20, 2022
The Putin-price-pump-pain thing is bolstering the case for remote work
00:27:58

After delta and omicron, employers’ return-to-office plans have run into another hurdle: the price of gas. Plus, how the Federal Reserve is letting an “unsustainably hot” job market cool off; and Raphael Bostic, head of the Atlanta Fed, tells us he understands that inflation is “going to weigh on your psyche.”

Jun 17, 2022
Even if the U.S. escapes a recession, other economies may not be as lucky
00:28:14

Rising prices are a problem around the world, and dozens of central banks are hiking interest rates in response. Today, we delve into the global forces driving inflation and look at the countries most vulnerable to higher interest rates and recessions. Later in the program: a housing market that may be cooling, a patent system that irks inventors and rising costs that challenge schools’ creditworthiness.

Jun 16, 2022
Decades-high inflation gets a decades-high rate hike
00:28:25

Today, the Federal Reserve hiked its key interest rate by three-quarters of a percentage point — the biggest increase since 1994. The move will come with some pain for consumers as the Fed tries to slow the economy and get Americans to spend less. But, if retail sales offer any insight, that may already be happening. Plus, an oil demand forecast and a new Department of Education position.

Jun 15, 2022
Pandemic savings drove inflation, now inflation is draining savings
00:28:21

The savings rate has plummeted since the height of the pandemic as Americans grapple with rising costs. Thing is, that pandemic stockpile of cash — when coupled with janky supply chains — helped fuel inflation in the first place. Today we dig into that relationship. Plus, another crypto winter, the state of Gen Z’s finances and the connection between unfilled jobs and unemployment.

Jun 14, 2022
The Fed’s “soft landing” is looking bumpy
00:27:34

The economic word of the day is … “ouch.” The S&P 500 entered bear market territory as the Dow Jones Industrial Average shed almost 900 points. Meanwhile, inflation remains at a 40-year high while consumer sentiment is in the toilet. On today’s program, we’ll dig into recessionary fears and rate hike expectations ahead of tomorrow’s Federal Reserve meeting. We’ll also unpack the new bipartisan gun control framework and preview a post-inflation economy.

Jun 13, 2022
Supply chain pain isn’t over yet
00:27:24

One of the causes of the grimace-inducing inflation we’re experiencing is a congested global supply chain. Port bottlenecks are finally easing, but we’re not in the clear yet. With COVID-19 restrictions lifting in China, the U.S. could be in store for what one freight broker calls a “freight tsunami.” Plus, a look at why inflation is so pervasive and persistent, and creating federal protections workers who face extreme heat.

Jun 10, 2022
When a cryptocurrency crash drains your life savings
00:27:49

A supposed “stablecoin,” a cryptocurrency pegged to the U.S. dollar, collapsed last month. Venture capitalists and crypto hedge funds lost billions, and some average-Joe investors lost everything. Today, we sort through the wreckage. We’ll also dig into the European Central Bank’s rate hike and answer some of your inflation questions.

Jun 09, 2022
Who should regulate crypto?
00:27:57

Lawmakers and consumer advocates are in a standoff over which agency should regulate cryptocurrencies: the Securities and Exchange Commission or the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. Today, we dive into the debate. Plus, a look at retailers’ continuing inventory woes, the government’s changing definition of “small business” and the costs of school security.

Jun 08, 2022
Retailers are in “unprecedented times,” too
00:27:36

It’s been tricky for retailers to pin down what consumers want. At the height of the  pandemic, shoppers focused on furniture, appliances and other home goods online, so stores stocked up, betting that the spending on domestic stuff would last. But now that Americans are investing less in furnishings and sweatpants, stores are left with unwanted inventory. Plus, a strong dollar buys stress for international companies and winemakers try to salvage grapes tainted by wildfire smoke.

Jun 07, 2022
The salary games employers play
00:27:55

What’s worse than putting all that time and effort into a job interview, only to be lowballed by your prospective employer? In a tight job market, applicants and new state laws are demanding greater transparency around pay, but some employers are still cagey. Today, we look at how expectations for the interview process are changing. Plus, some companies lower their earnings forecasts, and Shanghai residents spin up DIY supply chains during COVID lockdowns.

Jun 06, 2022
When economic recovery meets economic slowdown
00:26:35

More people are working, but labor force participation is still trailing pre-pandemic levels. Meanwhile, wages are up, but inflation is still eating up gains. On today’s program, we’ll look at what’s going on in an economy that’s simultaneously cooling down and  still recovering. Plus, a bump in applications to historically Black colleges, and a train line fit for a queen.

Jun 03, 2022
Another tool in the Federal Reserve’s inflation game plan
00:28:06

We’ve talked a lot about the impact of rising interest rates recently, but the Fed has other tools to fulfill its dual mandate. Today, we’ll look at why the central bank owns mortgage bonds in the first place, and what it hopes to achieve by reducing its stockpile. Plus, the winners and losers of the OPEC+ meeting and what happens when you become your parent’s retirement plan.

Jun 02, 2022
A trip into the metaverse
00:27:47

If you usually just smile and nod when you hear the term “metaverse,” have no fear! Today, Kai Ryssdal explores and demystifies the immersive digital world that companies are investing billions in. On the docket: tools for virtual education, digital event spaces and a conversation on a simulated seafloor. We’ll also look at the contentious relationship between Russia and OPEC, and dive into the (still) hot job market.

Jun 01, 2022
Who needs more things? Americans want things to do
00:27:52

A spending spree on goods at the start of the pandemic helped clog the global supply chain. Now, consumer spending on services has reached pre-pandemic levels. Today, we examine that shift — and the good and bad that come with it. Plus: A hot summer job market, bare-bones housing inventory and another crucial shortage at hospitals.

 

May 31, 2022
High prices aren’t stopping Memorial Day celebrations
00:27:22

Memorial Day marks the unofficial start of summer — and summer travel. Today we take a dive into the financial dimension of the holiday. Gas for road trips? The price is up. Beef and propane for grilling? Also up. Still, that doesn’t mean pandemic-weary Americans are shying away from spending. Also on the program today: New, diverse leadership is changing the landscape of American theater, and recycling electronics proves a lucrative trade.

May 30, 2022
Americans are spending more than they’re making
00:26:00

We got a lot of data today about how people are spending money in this country. The Federal Reserve’s preferred inflation measure slowed in April and spending rose. But as consumers stretch their dollars, they’re changing brands and dipping into savings. Today, we’ll examine how inflation is shaping the shopping experience. We’ll also look at trade complications in a post-Brexit Europe and the rising costs of hurricane season.

May 27, 2022
Gun violence at school has economic consequences for survivors
00:25:31

School shootings have enduring effects on students who survive them. Today, we talk with an economist who’s studied the educational and economic impacts that persist months or years afterward. We also look at the shock of mortgage inflation, the factors behind wage growth and the industries disrupted by the helium shortage.

May 26, 2022
Why does this keep happening?
00:27:27

Yesterday, a gunman killed 19 children and two adults at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas. Today, we revisit a story on gun sales we published after the 2012 Sandy Hook shooting in Connecticut. If it feels like nothing has changed since then, that’s because when it comes to buying guns, nothing has. Later in the program, a look at our aging port infrastructure and a visit to rural Oregon, where mobile home parks are struggling to rebuild after  wildfires.

May 25, 2022
A COVID treatment for vulnerable Americans isn’t getting to them
00:27:41

It’s been roughly six months since AstraZeneca released a COVID-19 antibody treatment called Evusheld, designed for immunocompromised people. But a lack of outreach and unequal distribution has led to a complicated and confusing rollout — leaving millions of vulnerable Americans without protection. Plus, what experts look for in the minutes from Federal Reserve meetings and how high energy prices please investors but burden the economy.

May 24, 2022
Economists are predicting slower economic growth. That may be a good thing.
00:27:35

Some economic forecasters are downgrading their outlooks for growth for the rest of the year. Slower growth may actually help ease inflationary pressures but could still leave the economy vulnerable to a recession. Today, we’ll discuss. Also, how lifting tariffs on Chinese imports could ease inflation, the rise and fall of negative interest rates in Europe and the next big thing in higher ed: classes for TikTok influencers.

May 23, 2022
A tale of two central banks
00:27:54

While the Federal Reserve is raising interest rates to cool down the U.S. economy, China’s central bank is taking the opposite approach to juice its slowing economy. Today, we’ll dig in. Plus, we wrestle with overstaffing at retailers and hear what the infant formula shortage teaches us about market concentration.

May 20, 2022
Seizing the yachts of Russian oligarchs was the easy part
00:26:44

Then comes the upkeep. Authorities have confiscated roughly a dozen vessels with connections to the Kremlin, but to keep just one superyacht moored and maintained can cost tens of millions, and the arresting government has to foot the bill. Plus, retailers are stuck with too much inventory, farmers encounter a delayed planting season and classic cars are being electrified.

May 19, 2022
Let’s put Wall Street’s bad day in context
00:27:04

A thousand-point drop from the Dow is scary, but it wasn’t entirely unexpected either. Inflation cut into retailers’ earnings, spurring a huge market sell-off. The Federal Reserve wants the economy to cool, and the stock market may be taking the hint. We’ll talk about it all on today’s show. Plus: signs of a normalizing housing market, the legacy of California’s board diversity laws and more from our interview with former Fed Chair Ben Bernanke.

May 18, 2022
Former Fed Chair Ben Bernanke on the inflationary lessons of the past
00:27:04

What’s the best way for the Federal Reserve to tackle decades-high inflation? For former Fed Chair Ben Bernanke, the answer’s in the past. Today, Bernanke discusses what previous Fed chairs got wrong, why the Fed’s credibility is critical and how the central bank can manage inflation expectations. Plus, understanding the strength of the dollar, the extension of the public health emergency and the state of U.S. coal production.

May 17, 2022
Building affordable housing is hard, but so is changing minds about where to build it
00:27:16

Today, the Joe Biden administration released a plan to tackle the shortage of starter homes. The move incentivizes high-density housing and manufactured or mobile homes. But there’s a hurdle for lower-cost housing developments: the communities that don’t want them there. Also on the program: looking at a new tool for mapping wildfire risks, grappling with higher utility bills and trading in a gig at Home Depot for one in a glassmaking studio.

May 16, 2022
The view of this economy from the White House
00:27:50

We’ve got Cecilia Rouse, the chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, on the show today to hash out President Joe Biden’s remarks on the economy this week, the past year or so in government relief and who’s ultimately responsible for driving inflation. Before that, we’ll do some postgame analysis of our exclusive interview with Fed Chair Jerome Powell. We’ll also catch you up on the crypto crash and the baby formula shortage.

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May 13, 2022
Exclusive: Jerome Powell on inflation, soft landings and the Federal Reserve
00:27:57

The Senate confirmed Jerome Powell for a second term as chair of the Federal Reserve today. Last week, the Fed announced the biggest interest rate hike in 22 years and its plans for reducing the central bank’s nearly $9 trillion balance sheet, all in an effort to get torrid inflation under control. We sat down with Powell for a long interview about what the Fed can do to engineer a “soft landing” for this economy — and what it can’t.

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May 12, 2022
Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky on the pandemic and work-from-anywhere
00:27:45

At the start of the pandemic, Airbnb lost 80% of its business in about eight weeks. CEO Brian Chesky calls it a near-death experience for his company. On today’s show, we’ll talk with Chesky about where his business is going and why he believes “work from anywhere” is the future. Plus: how consumers are responding to (barely) slowing inflation, what Treasury bond yields have to do with student loans and why the Oakland A’s are playing ball for tiny crowds.

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May 11, 2022
The inflation rate might go down, but prices might not
00:28:16

We’ll get an update on the consumer price index from the government tomorrow. Even if the inflation rate has slowed from its recent 40-year high, don’t expect prices to go down anytime soon. We’ll get you caught up with the economic fundamentals on today’s show. Plus: the trouble with tax holidays, management issues amid peak TV and why wildland firefighters haven’t seen a cent of their raise from last year.

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May 10, 2022
China’s COVID lockdowns are rippling through the global economy
00:28:32

In the early days of the pandemic, China’s “zero-COVID” policy served the country pretty well. But in the omicron era, it’s putting strain on employment, supply chains and the global economy overall. On today’s show, we’ll look into it. Plus: Shein’s ultrafast fashion, Texas’ rolling blackouts and one couple’s money fight that ended up being about so much more.

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May 09, 2022
The labor market is slowing down, and that’s OK
00:27:54

The U.S. economy added 428,000 jobs in April, but there are signs the labor market slowing down a bit. Some economists say that might not be such a bad thing, counterintuitive as it might seem. On today’s show, we’ll explain and break down the rest of this big week in business and economic news. Plus: the start of the WNBA season and a look at the Gathering of Nations powwow.

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May 06, 2022
What it means when productivity is way down
00:27:55

Productivity fell 7.5% in the first quarter, the steepest drop since 1947. On today’s show, we’ll look at what that tells us about the economy as a whole. Plus, the future of medication abortion if Roe v. Wade is overturned. Later in the show, we’ll talk with the president of a community bank about responding to the Fed’s rate hikes.

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May 05, 2022
A look at the Fed’s long road ahead
00:27:35

The Federal Reserve announced a half-percentage-point interest rate hike today. It’s also shrinking its balance sheet in an effort to tame inflation. But supply chain hiccups, inflationary expectations and a potential wage-price spiral complicate the central bank’s job. Today, we dig in. Also on the program: why the Fed might not mind a dip in the stock market, and how overturning Roe v. Wade would ripple out into the economy.

May 04, 2022
Abortion access as an employee benefit?
00:26:58

If the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, about half the states in the U.S. are expected to ban abortions entirely. It’s a human and political story, but it has economic implications too. Today, we’ll take a look at the companies moving to help their employees access abortion care and who those policies impact most. Plus, an in-depth conversation with U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai on tariffs, trade and globalization.

May 03, 2022
What’s left of Russia’s economy?
00:27:38

Since Russia launched its war in Ukraine, the nation has been pummeled by sanctions, the freezing of assets and the exodus of multinational companies. Inflation is hitting ordinary Russians hard too. Now, with its role as Europe’s energy supplier in question, we do the numbers on Russia’s economy. (Hint: They aren’t pretty.) Plus, companies rethink their borrowing sprees amid rising interest rates and manufacturers look to set up shop in Mexico.

May 02, 2022
Oil producers’ megaprofits stir up calls for windfall tax
00:27:59

Exxon Mobil reported quarterly profits of $5.5 billion today, riding the wave of high oil prices prompted by the war in Ukraine, among other factors. The company, a leader in a shareholder-friendly industry, plans to use many of its billions on stock buybacks. Now, environmentalists are pressuring Congress to tax these windfall profits. Plus: Employees see higher pay but less buying power, and we’ll talk recession fears and GDP in the Weekly Wrap.

Apr 29, 2022
That fall in GDP may not be as bad as it seems
00:27:37

U.S. gross domestic product shrank by 1.4% last quarter, but just because the economy’s shrinking doesn’t mean it’s hurting. Today we dive into two big factors — slowed inventory growth and a surge in imports — sinking that calculation. Also on the program: How the NFL draft incentivizes “tanking,” and why the energy crisis could be an opportunity for the energy transition.

Apr 28, 2022
Just how likely is a “soft landing”?
00:27:17

We’ve talked about the Federal Reserve’s tricky balancing act: raise interest rates enough to quell inflation without spurring a recession. That’s often called a “soft landing.” Thing is, it’s hard to do. The Fed’s tried it nine times since 1961 and has succeeded only once. Today, we’ll discuss how soft (or bumpy) the landing may be this time around. Plus: Russia cuts off some gas exports and retirement planning may now include crypto.

Apr 27, 2022
Demand for mortgages slumps, but it may be a while before prices do the same
00:27:50

Home prices? Up. Mortgage rates? Also up. Demand for mortgages? Not so much. Today, we check in with a Los Angeles-based mortgage broker for a deep dive into the cooling of the housing market. Also on the program: Demand for coal sees a (likely temporary) boost, April wildfires underscore the growing costs of the climate crisis and the Pell Grant program is expanded for incarcerated students.

Apr 26, 2022
What does Elon Musk see in Twitter?
00:27:49

Mere days after announcing he wanted to purchase the social network, Elon Musk has reached a deal with Twitter ⁠— a $44 billion buyout. Musk, the world’s wealthiest man, wants to take the company private and change how it moderates content. Is there more to this deal than free speech? We’ll dig in. Plus: Why rising prices impact everyone differently and how companies came to serve shareholders first.

Apr 25, 2022