Marketplace

Marketplace

By Marketplace

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.

Episodes

A not-so-happy anniversary to Silicon Valley Bank

The failures of Silicon Valley Bank and several other institutions rank among the largest bank collapses in U.S. history. Almost a year later, small banks still face aftershocks. Also in this episode, traditional sports journalism is disappearing. Will accountability in the sports industry follow? And one couple finds financial freedom with an unusual real estate purchase.
23/02/24·27m 38s

Biden hopes sustainable aviation fuel production could take flight soon

Sustainable aviation fuel — an alternative to conventional petroleum — aims to decarbonize a carbon-heavy sector. Right now, it accounts for less than 1% of global jet fuel. Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act incentivizes aviation’s transition to SAF, but manufacturers still face big roadblocks. Plus, not all SAFs are created equal. This episode is part of our series “Breaking Ground,” where we look at how federal infrastructure spending might change the economy.
22/02/24·26m 36s

Neel Kashkari and the Fed’s inflation fears

Overall, inflation has plummeted since June 2022, shortly after the Federal Reserve began hiking interest rates, and the Fed is getting closer to its 2% target. But consumer prices are still high. So why is it taking so long for the Fed to cut interest rates? “The Federal Reserve has been faked out before, where we thought inflation was licked, and then it flared back up again,” Neel Kashkari, president of the Minneapolis Fed, told us on today’s show. “That’s what we want to avoid.” Also: What to expect when Amazon replaces Walgreens on the Dow, how congressional budget fights threaten federal firefighters’ pay, and why the U.S. is selling its helium reserve.
22/02/24·26m 26s

What’s in your wallet?

If a $35 billion deal goes through, Capital One will purchase Discover and become the nation’s largest credit card issuer. But the bank isn’t in it for credit debt — it’s in it for Discover’s payments system. Also in this episode: why Walmart had strong sales last quarter and how states are preparing for a potentially contentious Election Day. Also, is the post-lockdown travel boom still on?
21/02/24·26m 10s

Can we break out of the mortgage lock-in effect?

It’s a tough time to be a first-time buyer in the housing market. But it’s also tricky if you own a home and are looking to buy a new one, because your mortgage rate could roughly double. That “lock-in effect” is keeping housing inventory low and pushing prices higher. Then, we’ll examine why shipping costs are falling despite global disruptions and hear how steakhouses are trying to rebrand themselves.
19/02/24·28m 19s

Vacant office buildings are making city budgets vulnerable

Vacant offices have been tough on the commercial real estate industry, and more recently lenders that have built a big business on those property loans. But the biggest losers are cities that depend on commercial property taxes. In this episode, some municipalities face big revenue shortfalls. Also: another blow to ESG investing, the cost of big-name credit cards and our excess stuff is feeding the booming storage space industry.
16/02/24·26m 20s

Why so many layoffs in a hot labor market?

Cisco, the communications infrastructure giant, is planning to cut lots of jobs. It’s the latest high-profile company to do so. Meanwhile, we keep getting positive indicators about the labor market, like today’s data on falling jobless claims. We’ll explain the disconnect on today’s show. Also: What rising import prices mean, tracking shipments on freight trains and why a bank created to integrate emancipated Black Americans into the economy matters today.
15/02/24·26m 15s

Walmart wants Vizio, but not for the TVs

Walmart is looking to buy TV manufacturer Vizio, according to The Wall Street Journal, even though it sells its own brand of TVs. That’s because these days, a TV’s worth is tied to its streaming platform, and acquiring Vizio’s SmartCast could help the big-box retailer grow into another kind of company. Plus, split surveys on small business optimism, a map of all the country’s zoning laws, and the falling number of small farmers.
15/02/24·27m 5s

A so-so CPI

The January consumer price index just came out and inflation was up 3.1% year over year. That’s not awesome. But it’s not awful either. We’ll dig into the data, from lagging shelter costs to a still-hot labor market. Plus, monetary policy goes up against fiscal policy, the romance novel market flourishes, and rising prices for “inelastic” goods mean some consumers are gonna suffer.
13/02/24·27m 30s

Cons-oil-idation

Diamondback Energy said today it will buy Endeavor Energy Resources, continuing the consolidation trend in the oil industry. In this episode, why oil and natural gas companies keep merging, especially in the Permian Basin region of Texas. Plus, robotaxi vandalization may represent resentment of Big Tech, lavish quinceañeras spawn a booming industry and some streaming services struggle to provide lag-free viewing.
12/02/24·29m 41s

A modest wish for the Year of the Dragon

China celebrates the Lunar New Year tomorrow. With many in the country struggling financially, they’re hoping the Year of the Dragon brings a healthier economy. Also: Foreign investors are cooling on U.S. commercial real estate, Americans are looking for snack food bargains and volunteers are repairing broken appliances at pop-up Fixit Clinics.
09/02/24·28m 8s

A turning point for Stewart Avenue

Today, a story about one street in one neighborhood in one of America’s highest-profile cities, and the $23.9 million grant meant to transform it. It’s a 4-mile stretch of Stewart Avenue in East Las Vegas, where more than a quarter of the residents live below the poverty line. But upgrades — like improving bus stops, adding bike lanes and planting trees — could have big implications for the community. It’s part of our series “Breaking Ground,” where we look at how federal infrastructure spending might change the economy.
08/02/24·27m 42s

Could AI be the next HR?

Artificial intelligence is still in its early stages, and most Americans don’t use it at work — yet. But a new survey shows 70% of workers are “very” or “somewhat” concerned about employers using AI in human resources decision-making, like hiring, firing and promotions. In this episode, we’ll dig into some AI job fears. Plus, New York Community Bank stock takes a wild ride after Moody’s dings its credit rating, and Ford’s electric vehicle sales are down, but its savings on emissions fines are up.
07/02/24·27m 36s

Are you my mortgage servicer?

When banks let you take out a mortgage, the money they lend you might come from their reserves. But more often than not, banks turn around and sell your loan to an investor — and make an instant profit. In this episode, all about the secondary market for mortgages. Plus, JPMorgan Chase invests in its brick-and-mortar presence, household debt ticks up, and why China’s stock market is struggling.
06/02/24·27m 7s

AI-tested, artist-approved poisoning tools

To train generative artificial intelligence models, many companies use images they find online without paying the artists. We’ll hear about two tools that help creators protect their work from being scraped for data. Also in this episode: Recruiting and staffing jobs are on the rebound, streaming services struggle to turn a profit and unregulated space pollution poses a threat to Earth’s atmosphere.
06/02/24·30m 6s

Hiring or hunting, this job market is tough

The tight labor market means employers are competing for workers, sometimes strenuously. But it isn’t all smooth sailing for job searchers either — prolonged interviewing and companies’ recession fears mean scoring a job can be tough. In this episode, what’s worse: trying to hire or get hired? Plus, a website that uses “Seinfeld” to explain legal policy, a look at how immigration stabilizes our economy and a tour of zero-carbon homes in coastal California.
02/02/24·27m 21s

Silence isn’t golden if you’re a TikTok creator

Universal Music Group pulled its songs from TikTok after the video platform’s license expired Wednesday. Now, creators will have to avoid using some of today’s biggest hits. Also in this episode: what it means when the BLS says productivity is up, why it matters that wage gains are slowing down and how popular food brands are connected to prison labor.  
01/02/24·28m 5s

Forever renters

For some Americans, buying a home feels like an impossible goal — especially in this market. Maybe that’s why more renters than ever say they’re likely to be renters for life. In this episode: Homeownership is out of reach for some and just not a priority for others. Plus, the Federal Reserve hints at when we might see interest rates cut, and AI training methods raise ethical questions about “fair use.”
01/02/24·26m 40s

Wait … how big is our debt?

At $34 trillion, U.S. federal debt is at a record level. And economists say we’re entering uncharted waters with a 120% debt-to-GDP ratio. So, when should we start to worry? Also in this episode: Consumer confidence reaches a two-year high, activity heats up in the corporate bond market and beef Wellington takes center stage at Shanghai restaurants.
31/01/24·27m 11s

The office support jobs’ sluggish comeback

Jobs in office support (think custodians, security guards) grew just 2.6% in 2023, according to a  Bureau of Labor Statistics report tracking employment in different sectors. That may reflect a sluggish return to in-person work more than growth in the sector. In this episode, the office support ecosystem. Plus, Baltimore will use blockchain tech to battle vacant homes, teen employment hits a 14-year high and importers struggle with price spikes.
30/01/24·28m 2s

If the economy’s so good, what’s with all the layoffs?

The U.S. economy has had a sunny start to 2024 — so why is corporate America laying on the layoffs? Plus, the effects of “digital redlining” in the rural South; the Biden administration takes a closer look at liquefied natural gas exports; and apparel brands recruit the help of “mid-size” influencers to more effectively court consumers.
26/01/24·26m 33s

Cha-ching! Can you hear the economy growing?

The latest reading on the U.S. economy shows unexpected growth, led by spending on hotels, dining out and video games. We check in with some businesses that are feeling the consumer love. So that’s how the economy is doing. But how are people feeling about it? Split, according to a new poll that shows a growing divide between what high- and low-income earners think. Also: Profits from home sales fell but are still more than double what they were five years ago. And a doctor talks about her book on racism in medicine.
26/01/24·25m 37s

The New Deal’s legacy

When FDR’s administration created the New Deal, the relationship between the government and the economy changed forever. In some ways, Biden is trying to make a similar impact with more than $1 trillion authorized by legislation like the CHIPS Act and the Inflation Reduction Act. In our new series, “Breaking Ground,” we’ll be visiting communities across the country to see how the infusion of cash might change the economy. Today, we dive into what was accomplished with the New Deal and how it changed American society.
25/01/24·25m 50s

How much do you spend on sports?

The next big thing in streaming is undoubtedly live sports. The NFL’s first streaming-only game smashed records recently. The next big thing in sports, though? Gambling, which is becoming more accessible and more addictive. In this episode, fans spend on streaming and spend bigger on gambling platforms. Plus, New York City retail rents stay soft, organic certification comes at a price and middle managers have the worst time at work.
24/01/24·28m 27s

The honk-shoo-mimimi economy

Sleep aids and supplements, sleep tech and regular old mattresses make up a $100 billion global market combined. Which makes sense, since two-thirds of Americans don’t regularly get deep z’s. In this episode: How much would you pay for a good night’s sleep? Plus, Nordstrom’s challenge to straddle two retail worlds, AI might not take your job after all, and activist shareholders cause a stir at Exxon.
23/01/24·27m 20s

What does an “almost” government shutdown cost?

Congress narrowly avoided yet another government shutdown today, keeping thousands of federal employees in their jobs by basically extending last year’s budget for the short term. But being buzzer beaters comes at a price: Pushing back the budget deadline can cost federal departments precious time and representatives the trust of their constituents. Also in this episode, the New Deal history of Los Angeles freeways and the North American fruit you won’t find at most grocery stores.
20/01/24·26m 26s

“Treasury is used to doing what Treasury wants to do”

Though the IRS doesn’t collect racial data, it is significantly more likely to audit Black earned income tax credit filers than those of any other race. Dorothy Brown, a scholar of tax law and race, is part of a Treasury advisory committee on racial equity, and so far, she said, Secretary Janet Yellen hasn’t embraced the group’s recommendations as a priority. In this episode, the slow-going fight to fix racial disparities caused by the tax system. Plus, what hiring managers mean when they label candidates “overqualified.”
19/01/24·26m 46s

In this economy, we’re focusing on the little things

Discretionary spending has had a good run recently, and the purchases aren’t skewing practical. Furniture retailers, for example, had a lousy 2023 — splurgy shoppers were more focused on Swift tickets than sofas. And looking to 2024, consumers plan to steer clear of big-ticket items and instead buy affordable luxuries like cosmetics. In this episode: Americans are in their “joy spending” era. Plus, financial planners are wary of the new spot bitcoin exchange-traded funds and everything seems to always be on sale.
18/01/24·26m 18s

Does your business need a loan? Banks aren’t your only option.

Increasingly, small and medium businesses are taking out loans with hedge funds or investment firms, which can have fewer restrictions than banks and might be more flexible on loan amounts. In this episode, the pros and cons of private credit. Plus, office downsizing could ramp up this year, Kroger and Albertsons want to merge, and U.S. agricultural imports will likely exceed exports this year.
17/01/24·26m 45s

ACA insurance sees record sign-ups

About 20 million Americans enrolled in Affordable Care Act health insurance plans this go-round — the most since ACA marketplaces started enrolling people in 2013. Open enrollment for 2024 coverage ends tomorrow for most Americans. In this episode, the pandemic policies that boosted sign-ups. Plus, corporations are already fighting for opioid settlement money, minority small business owners face barriers to borrowing and a tiny Georgia town’s port could be the future of U.S. auto shipping.
15/01/24·27m 51s

Gretchen! Stop trying to make recycled IP happen!

“Mean Girls” — a movie based on a musical based on a 2004 movie — comes out today. It’s not the first or the last time Hollywood has recycled a beloved plot and characters for a “new” audience. What makes movie remakes so grool? (Great plus cool, duh.) Also in this episode: tackling the question of the NFL’s future and young voters in Taiwan are focused on inflation and fear of war with China.
12/01/24·26m 38s

Not so fast, CPI!

The last consumer price index came out today. In short? Prices ticked up a bit more than expected. We’ll dig into two major line items: the cost of shelter (and why it’s a lagging indicator when it comes to the CPI) and grocery prices — for that, we’ll hear from shoppers themselves. Also in this episode, restaurants may be the new frontier for dynamic pricing, and farmers lacking child care options could get some help from the next farm bill.
11/01/24·26m 25s

What Alan Greenspan got right and wrong at the Fed

Alan Greenspan served as chair of the Federal Reserve for 18 years, cooling inflation in the 1990s and demonstrating that the Fed was independent from politicians. But he also made mistakes that helped lead to the financial crisis of 2008. In this episode, biographer Sebastian Mallaby dives into Greenspan’s complicated legacy. Plus, why beef and other animal product prices haven’t fallen to pre-pandemic levels, and what wholesale inventory numbers signal about the economy.
11/01/24·26m 34s

What are we gonna do with all this empty space?

Nearly 20% of office spaces across the U.S. are vacant, new data shows. Many companies solidified their back-to-office policies in the past year, so why are buildings emptier than ever? And in Shanghai, retail vacancies remain higher than pre-pandemic levels — yet small-business owners are struggling to find affordable storefronts to lease. Also in this episode: The Biden administration passed a new rule that could classify millions more gig workers as employees, and economists aren’t concerned about the U.S. trade deficit.
10/01/24·26m 36s

According to my Magic 8 Ball …

It’s a new year, and that means experts — and nonexperts — have lots of guesses about what 2024 may hold. In this episode, we’ll talk about some of those predictions. Will inflation hit to 3%? Will consumer credit keep ticking up? Will gas prices drop below $3 a gallon? Signs point to yes. Plus, Houston has been nationally recognized for its successful Housing First approach to homelessness. But keeping up those programs will mean more funding, especially as housing costs rise.
09/01/24·27m 51s

In? Ice cream. Out? Cookies.

In/out lists are, like, so “in” right now. On social media, they’re a way to forecast what trends people will and won’t be fans of in the new year. So for this episode, we asked economists to predict what will be in and out for the 2024 economy. Plus, some sweet stories: an ice cream entrepreneur settles into a long-needed production facility, and Google Chrome begins phasing out third-party cookies. (But that doesn’t mean no more targeted ads.)
05/01/24·26m 26s

This isn’t the old normal

Nearly four years since the pandemic began, the labor market seems to be returning to pre-COVID trends. But just because the numbers look similar doesn’t mean the landscape of work hasn’t evolved. In this episode, how and where Americans work now. Plus, mobile shopping surpassed other online shopping modes this holiday season, firms might have shifted the timing of layoffs to protect their brands and Microsoft updated its desktop keyboard for the first time in 30 years.
04/01/24·26m 31s

After incarceration, inclusion matters

Nearly half of all Americans have a family member who’s spent time in jail or prison — the economic effects of which are far-reaching. In this episode, we’ll hear from sociologist Reuben Jonathan Miller, who studies what he calls the “afterlife” of incarceration, about how we can better support formerly incarcerated individuals and why he’s focusing on those charged with violent crimes. Plus, it’s getting harder to identify ghost jobs, and “little change” is good news for the job market.
03/01/24·26m 52s

How will the markets fare in 2024?

2023 was full of uncertainty. What will 2024 bring? We asked some experts how the year could go, economically speaking. Spoiler alert: There wasn’t much consensus. In this episode, how geopolitical tension may affect financial markets in the new year. Plus, artificial intelligence tools give people with disabilities new avenues for communication, manufacturers weigh borrowing decisions ahead of potential rate cuts and a decline in temporary employment spells good news for the labor market.
03/01/24·26m 47s

New year, new minimum wage

Almost 10 million Americans just got a raise. More than 20 states are ringing in the new year with a higher minimum wage than they left 2023 with. In this episode, who will benefit most and how far we still have to go for a living wage to be the norm. Plus, the Permian Basin region attracts resource-rich oil investors, and landlords report rent payments to credit bureaus with mixed consequences for tenants.
01/01/24·26m 44s

Medicare’s New Year’s resolution? Bring down drug prices.

One in seven Medicare beneficiaries surveyed reported not filling a prescription due to high cost. The Inflation Reduction Act was meant to change this by allowing Medicare to negotiate the prices of 10 medications beginning in 2024. It’ll be a balancing act — bring prices down enough that they’re affordable, but not so low that drug companies exit the Medicare market. Also in this episode: French wineries suffer as red wine consumption drops, and new OSHA rules bring more transparency to on-the-job accidents at 50,000 workplaces.
29/12/23·27m 29s

The very hungry web crawler

The New York Times has sued OpenAI and Microsoft for allegedly using the newspaper’s content to train ChatGPT, the artificial intelligence chatbot. The outcome may answer some pressing questions about copyright law and the fair use doctrine. In this episode, we’ll break down data scraping — the content-copying practice at the heart of lawsuits like this one. Plus, credit unions profit big time from overdraft fees, Black Americans move south in a reverse Great Migration to flee pollution, and student loan borrowers aren’t back in the swing of things months after repayment restarted.
28/12/23·27m 4s

The 2024 election cycle is gonna be a pricey one

A new report predicts that the 2023-24 U.S. election cycle will be the most expensive ever, with more than $10 billion spent across platforms. We’ll dig into who’s providing those funds and how the financial race might unfold. Plus, a word of caution for retailers that hope to extend the holiday shopping season and New Year’s predictions for streaming services. Plus, will the housing market get slightly less terrible in 2024?
27/12/23·28m 23s

The inflation blame game

After the past couple of inflationary years, some consumers have come to accept that things cost more these days. But now that the inflation rate has come down, when will everything stop being inflation’s fault? In this episode, how still-high prices affect consumers psychologically. Plus, China’s property market impacts iron ore prices globally, families drown in toy clutter and next year, the car market could just chill out.
26/12/23·27m 12s

Eating out is gonna cost you

Though overall food inflation has slowed, the latest consumer price index shows the inflation rate for food away from home is higher than that of purchases from the grocery store. What mainly accounts for the gap is the cost of staff. We’ll talk to restaurant owners about rising wages and how they find a middle ground between bumping up prices and keeping customers happy. Also in this episode, more food stories: How the myth of the American diner came to be, who designs restaurant menus and why your candy canes might have cost more this year.
25/12/23·29m 33s

Extra to spend, extra to save

Some good news out of today’s personal consumption expenditures report, which tracked consumer spending in November. Disposable personal income rose, as did the personal savings rate. And some prices fell for the first time since spring 2020. Will consumer sentiment finally catch up to the improving inflation situation? Also in this episode: the wild ride NFTs have taken over the past few years and a debate between affordable housing and wetland restoration in one San Francisco Bay Area town.
22/12/23·27m 5s

All I want for Christmas is same-day shipping

With Christmas Day falling on a Monday, online shoppers are cutting it close if they haven’t ordered all their gifts yet. As consumers grow accustomed to same-day or next-day shipping from Amazon, Target and Walmart are trying to catch up. But a nationwide network of fulfillment centers isn’t built in a day. Also in this episode, the state of hunger in the U.S., the rise and fall of rentable e-scooters, and Buc-ee’s: an embodiment of American excess and efficiency.
21/12/23·27m 3s

All aboard the Marketplace time machine

The beleaguered housing market is showing signs of improvement, but how will things look in 2024? We decided to step into the Marketplace time machine with a few industry experts and report back from this time next year to see how the housing market is shaping up. Plus, McDonald’s takes on the beverage market, inflation comes for holiday tamale makers, Apple watches and the long history of U.S. patent wars, and political campaigns base their pitches on your personal data.
20/12/23·27m 56s

Sending money home

When workers send money to their home countries, it can have a huge impact on local and national economies. Remittances to low and middle-income countries were up this year, and the U.S. was the biggest source. In this episode, we’ll get into why migrants and immigrants have been able to send more cash than they used to. Plus, alternative investments take a wild ride during the pandemic, Canada breaks into EV battery production  and 2022 unemployment hit a record low, new data shows.
19/12/23·27m 30s

Allow us to explain

When it comes to economic talk, inflation is a major topic these days. But the word for “getting inflation to slow down a bit” isn’t as well known. In this episode, we’ll talk to economists who tell us what the difference is between “disinflation” and “deflation” and why the Federal Reserve is aiming for the former. Plus, we’ll explain why stock indexes just shuffled their membership, how board games raise money and what the deal is with movie franchises flopping in theaters.
18/12/23·27m 22s
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