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Some weaknesses in the July jobs report

Aug 3, 2018

(Markets Edition) We have yet another trade war update. China is upping up the ante by announcing it may impose tariffs on $60 billion worth of U.S. products. We'll look at what's behind this decision and the kinds of U.S. exports China is targeting.

Heather Repennin, vice president of the Los Angeles Bureau of Public Works refers to herself as a "wastehead." 

“It’s someone who is completely immersed in discussions, operations and policy around the waste sector,” Repenning said. In her job, Repennin helps set waste and recycling policy for the city of Los Angeles. “Welcome to the world of being a wastehead," she said. 

One thing that keeps wasteheads up at night is the lousy job of recycling that non-wasteheads are doing.

U.S. employers slowed their hiring in July, adding 157,000 jobs, a solid gain but below the healthy pace in the first half of this year.

The unemployment rate ticked down to 3.9 percent from 4 percent, the Labor Department said Friday. That’s near an 18-year low of 3.8 percent reached in May.

Will scandal slow CBS juggernaut?

Aug 3, 2018

CBS reported stellar earnings on Thursday, and CEO Leslie Moonves spoke about a bright future for the network even as he grapples with allegations of sexual misconduct. Similar charges have been leveled at the executive producer of one of the network's most popular shows, "60 Minutes." But will the scandals cause advertisers to flee the prime-time news magazine and the network as a whole? 

Click the above audio player to hear the full story. 

 

We don't know how to recycle

Aug 3, 2018

(U.S. Edition) Since it's jobs day, we'll dive into how wages are faring in the U.S. While growth hasn't been impressive, not all sectors are seeing stagnation. Afterwards, we'll look at a new report that says the economies of Africa and Southeast Asia will be hit hardest by global warming over the next three decades.

For some workers, big pay raises. Others, not so much.

Aug 3, 2018

The Labor Department released the latest jobs numbers this morning, revealing that the economy added 157,000 jobs in July, while the unemployment rate dipped to 3.9 percent.

The employment picture’s been pretty rosy lately, with average job growth above 200,000 a month since mid-spring and more people coming back into the labor market.

One thing that hasn’t impressed much is wage growth. Average hourly earnings increased 2.7 percent year over year — the same rate as it did in June.

(Global Edition) From the BBC World Service…Four days after voters went to the polls, election results are finally in for Zimbabwe’s presidential race. But controversy is swirling about the credibility of the outcome. We’ll hear from one factory owner who describes how the results could impact ongoing international investment in the country. Then, despite Venezuela’s ongoing economic crisis, the country’s gasoline is still the cheapest in the world. But President Nicolas Maduro wants to change that.

The trade story of the day is actually more of a currency story. As you know, the Trump administration has proposed another round of tariffs on some $200 billion worth of Chinese products — ranging from tobacco to dog food to plywood. Now, the president is threatening to more than double the size of that tariff from 10 percent to 25 percent. One reason: the falling value of China's currency. The yuan is trading at a 14-month low against the U.S. dollar, blunting the intended effect of those tariffs.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

"These folks are caught in a trap" by tariffs, U.S. representative says

Aug 2, 2018

We've talked to handful of the businesses that submitted more than 23,000 applications for exemptions from steel and aluminum tariffs to the Department of Commerce. Some of them have managed to get a couple exemptions, others haven't been so lucky. Rep.

Today the Trump administration unveiled its proposal to roll back the federal emissions standards set under President Barack Obama.

The Obama standards called for vehicles to get around 50 miles to the gallon by the year 2025. Trump’s proposal lowers that to around 35 mpg by the year 2020.

Automakers had long bemoaned the Obama standards as too difficult to meet, especially as more consumers choose larger trucks, crossovers and SUVs, which guzzle more gasoline.

There's been almost no progress for females on screen in film for over a decade. That's the message from a report the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative released this week on its annual research into inequality in the 100 top grossing films of the prior year. Women are still underrepresented on camera and behind it as well. Of the 109 people who directed a top movie in 2017, just eight of them were women.

Walk through enough open houses in Los Angeles, and you’ll find that they share a similar vibe: Midcentury modern furniture, fuzzy pillows, a surfboard on the wall, a vintage record player and zero clutter. 

Those are the tell-tale signs of a “staged” home: one that’s been cleared of the owner’s actual possessions and replaced with rented furnishings and decor that’s designed with the buyer in mind. 

Meridith Baer has made a living staging homes in hot real estate markets across the U.S. In Southern California, her company stages about 30 homes a week.

On a quiet street in Worcester, Massachusetts, there’s a little white clapboard church with a steeple called Hadwen Park Congregational Church. Over the past decade, this classic-looking, century-old New England church has become a destination for migrants who were persecuted for their gender or sexual orientation and had to flee their homes. Some find the church online: If you google words like “asylum-seeker,” “LGBT” and  “looking for help,” this church comes up. Others hear about it through word of mouth.

What's next for the Fed?

Aug 2, 2018

(Markets Edition) The Federal Reserve met this week, but they did not end up raising short-term interest rates. We'll look at what they have planned for the rest of the year and their assessment of the economy. Afterwards, we'll discuss the standards that currently exist for data breaches, and then we'll explore how Barcelona, Spain, is planning to turn some of its empty apartments into public housing.

Spain is in a housing crisis. According to the latest official figures from 2012, around 22,000 people are homeless, though more recent estimates from nonprofits say it could be closer to 40,000.

This week, the Treasury Department issued recommendations to protect consumers from big data breaches, like the ones we’ve seen at Equifax and Target. Among the Treasury Department’s recommendations: creating a national standard for handling the aftermath of data breaches.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

On Wednesday, the Trump administration unveiled a proposal for even higher tariffs on many consumer goods imported from China. We went to a shopping center in Austin, Texas, to find out what buyers of those goods thought about the plan.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

The financial crisis that never fully goes away

Aug 2, 2018

(U.S. Edition) Wells Fargo has agreed to a $2 billion fine a decade after the financial crisis. We'll look at the details of the company's settlement with the Justice Department and how it compares with other settlements from the recession. Afterwards, we'll hear from customers at a Walmart in Texas to find out what they think of the Trump administration's tariff plans, and then we'll talk to reporter Paul Tullis about the vulnerabilities that exist with GPS.

(Global Edition) From the BBC World Service … Google has been non-operational in China for the last eight years thanks to worries about government censorship. But the tide could be about to turn. Then, Bank of England Governor Mark Carney has been dubbed the “unreliable boyfriend” as Britain’s central bank has been weary to raise interest rates over the last few months. Today, though, investors are near certain a quarter percentage point rate rise will be delivered. But with Brexit looming and slow wage growth, is now – realistically – a good time?

This weekend in Las Vegas, the huge cybersecurity event Black Hat USA kicks off, followed immediately by the other big cybersecurity event of the year, Def Con. There are always some big hacker stunts at these events — hackers already broke into a voting machine as a Def Con demonstration. But after a year of major data breaches, there's also a sense of security fatigue. Chester Wisniewski is a principal research scientist at Sophos, a security firm.

This weekend in Las Vegas, the huge cybersecurity event Black Hat USA kicks off, followed immediately by the other big cybersecurity event of the year, Def Con.  There are always some big hacker stunts at these events — hackers already broke into a voting machine as a Def Con demonstration. But after a year of major data breaches, there's also a sense of security fatigue. Chester Wisniewski is a principal research scientist at Sophos, a security firm. He talked with Marketplace’s Molly Wood about whether that fatigue is affecting business. (08/02/2018)

If you're the kind of sports fan who likes to put a little money on games, there was some news for you this week. The National Basketball Association has become the first major sports league in this country to sign a deal with a sports betting operation. Back in May the Supreme Court said it was okay for states to legalize sports betting, meaning Las Vegas would no longer have a monopoly. ESPN reports the deal the NBA signed with MGM Resorts is worth $25 million over three years.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

The Trump administration finalized rules today that expand access to so-called "skinny” short-term health insurance plans. Those are low-cost, low-coverage insurance plans meant for people who have a temporary gap in health insurance.

Under the Obama administration, insurers could offer you a short-term plan for up to three months. Now, President Donald Trump has extended that timeline, so insurers can offer short-term insurance plans for up to three years.

Why buy a short-term plan?

Postcard from a Japanese steel town

Aug 1, 2018

Kamaishi, Japan, may be a long way from Pittsburgh, but the two cities have a lot in common.

Once upon a time, both were thriving hubs for steel production. Then globalization happened. Companies had to figure out how to compete and survive in the world marketplace, and the old ways of doing things didn’t quite work anymore.

What do the United States, Nigeria, Iraq, Sierra Leone and France all have in common? 

They all have remixed version of Childish Gambino's “This is America” music video specific to their individual countries. The original video is a social and political critique of America that has generated conversation and controversy in the US and, as of publication, more than 350 million views.

You’ve probably heard of MoviePass, the subscription-based movie ticket service — yeah, the one having a lot of problems recently. Sinemia offers a similar ticket plan through their mobile app, but with a different business model. It's not a household name yet in North America, but Sinemia's expanded to Canada, Australia, the U.K. and now the U.S. Founder and CEO Rifat Oguz moved the company to Los Angeles last year, and he told us how he plans to make the movie subscription business work.

Another movie ticket subscription business tries to make it in Hollywood

Aug 1, 2018

While MoviePass is in the headlines for its struggles with pricing and stockholders, a similar movie ticket subscription has been operating quietly around the globe. Sinemia is the MoviePass competitor founded in Turkey a few years ago. It isn’t quite a household name yet, but its expanded to Canada, Australia, the U.K. and now the U.S.

The big U.S. and foreign automakers release their July sales numbers Wednesday. Car and light-truck sales have been strong so far this year — with consumer confidence up, the job market good, and people banking a little more income from the recent tax cuts. How does the rest of the year look for automakers?

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

The economics of housing the homeless is a tricky equation, especially in New York City, which has a right-to-shelter mandate, meaning the city has to provide a temporary bed to anyone who needs it. Because of demand, the city often houses people in apartments and hotels where accommodations can be spotty and social services nonexistent.

(Markets Edition) Interest rates are going up — not at the hands of the Fed, but market forces. We'll look at how a new report on hiring in the private sector is fueling this. Afterwards, we'll discuss the state of the auto industry and the risks it faces in the near future, and then we'll explore how one New York City nonprofit is changing up the homeless shelter model by becoming its own landlord.

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