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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.


50 years after the oil embargo, the U.S. is playing catch-up

The idea of energy “conservation” was new to Americans in 1973. Experiencing a first-of-its-kind gasoline shortage, the U.S. began to encourage fuel efficiency in cars and homes. If President Ronald Reagan hadn’t reversed such commitments, would renewable energy be ubiquitous today? Plus, doing without: manufacturing without temp workers, the Fed without government economic data and NYC without Airbnb.
21/09/23·28m 39s

Do you advertise en Español?

About three-quarters of Latinos in the U.S. speak at least some Spanish. Marketing experts have caught on. We’ll talk to a few about how they strike an English-Spanish balance in ads geared toward the growing demographic. Plus, Amazon is already aggressively hiring for the holidays, Japan might prop up the yen again, and the Federal Reserve didn’t raise rates — this time.
20/09/23·27m 18s

The facial recognition software cops are raving about

Clearview AI, widely used by U.S. law enforcement, can find a face anywhere on the internet thanks to a database of billions of scraped photos. Journalist Kashmir Hill, who recently published a book about Clearview, will tell us what it was like to investigate a company that’s always watching. Plus, the viability of a four-day workweek for blue-collar jobs and an electrical transformer shortage.
19/09/23·26m 17s

Would you take a job that might make you work for free?

With government shutdowns becoming more frequent — we could have another one at the end of the month — taking a government job isn’t all that appealing. Why worry about the uncertainty of a furlough when plenty of other companies are hiring? We’ll also tackle the environmental impacts of barge shipping, hard-to-find auto parts in the U.S. and members-only shopping in China.
18/09/23·27m 56s

Is it time to question the economic vibe?

Consumer spending is key to this economy, but Americans are running through their cash just as student loan repayments are coming due. Could that be the straw that breaks the consumer’s back? We’ll discuss it on the Weekly Wrap. Plus, how car dealers are reacting to the UAW strike, why immigration is important to the AI race and why gross domestic product and gross domestic income often don’t match up, even though they should.
15/09/23·26m 1s

How to price an IPO so it “pops”

Shares of chip designer Arm Holdings surged 25% above their initial public offering price of $51 in the company’s stock market debut today. A lot went into deciding on that price. Today, we dig into what it takes to make an IPO “pop.” Later, the United Auto Workers plans to target its work stoppages as a strike looms. And will Social Security’s cost-of-living increase be enough to help older Americans keep up with inflation next year?
15/09/23·26m 57s

What will inflation look like in 6 months?

Though inflation ticked up a bit in August, it looks like price increases are losing steam. Today, we ask what inflation could look like next year and what wild cards might be in play. We also investigate where all the G-rated movies went and why fish tacos are still about a buck at a San Diego restaurant chain.
13/09/23·26m 41s

Poverty rose last year. Inflation’s only part of the story.

New data released by the U.S. Census Bureau shows that median income fell last year while poverty spiked, as pandemic-era government benefits ended. Today, we do the numbers and discuss who’s been most affected. We also explore the impact of tech regulation in the European Union and look at why businesses are so glum. Plus: You’ve probably infringed several patents today.
12/09/23·27m 8s

When a 10-day strike could cost $5 billion

Members of the United Auto Workers union could go on strike this week if contracts aren’t signed with Ford, GM and Stellantis. If no deal is struck, the Upper Midwest in particular could suffer major losses. Today, we’ll chart the potential impacts. We’ll also look at consumer expectations, fear of automation and the panic over retail theft.
11/09/23·29m 40s

What rising corporate bankruptcies tell us about the economy

Corporate bankruptcies have been on the rise for more than a year now, and the trend can have wide-ranging ripple effects. We dig into it. We also unpack the cooling labor market in the Weekly Wrap and look at the future of sustainable energy from the American home of oil and gas.
08/09/23·26m 47s

The Chicago Fed president on the path forward for interest rates

The Federal Reserve’s Open Market Committee meets in two weeks to determine if interest rates should change. Today, we hear from Chicago Fed CEO Austan Goolsbee on the odds of a soft landing for the economy and the data used to guide rate decisions. Plus, the inverted yield curve is an indicator of a coming recession. Could it be wrong this time? And later: Speed-dating makes a comeback.
07/09/23·28m 22s

A strong dollar spells trouble for other economies

Ever since the Federal Reserve began hiking interest rates, the value of the U.S. dollar has surged. For many other countries, that means debt has become costlier and it can be harder to prevent capital flight. So what are the options for central banks abroad? We also take the pulse of community banking six months after SVB’s failure and examine the fan fiction economy.
06/09/23·26m 14s

Why oil prices jumped today

Saudi Arabia and Russia said they’ll stick with oil production cuts through the end of the year. The two countries are trying to prop up prices for their lucrative resource, and those prices surged after the announcement. We dig into the decision. Plus: More than 800,000 people are benefiting from student loan forgiveness. Then, the rise of “girl math” and other ways people justify their enthusiastic spending.
05/09/23·25m 47s

Tracing the roots of Labor Day

This has been a hot summer for labor organizing, and strikes — along with narrowly averted ones — have made headlines. This Labor Day, we chart the holiday’s history and examine the parallels between worker activism of more than a century ago and worker activism today. We’ll also do the numbers on labor, including women’s workforce participation and how hotels are hiring in a tight market. Later: the big business of wacky holidays.
04/09/23·25m 34s

GDP doesn’t care how you feel

Gross domestic product has been a global standard for measuring economic growth since 1944. But there’s a new push to measure economic welfare and well-being. Today, we’ll explore the history of GDP, all the things it can measure and all the things it can’t. We’ll also take a closer look at rebounding labor force participation and hear how small businesses are grappling with hiring hurdles.
01/09/23·27m 49s

Get used to these labor shortages

The pandemic accelerated baby boomer retirement, and multiple sectors are struggling to find enough workers. Those challenges may persist for years to come. Today, we take a closer look at what some are calling an economywide labor shortage and what can be done to remedy it. We also hear from a White House economist who wants businesses to “step up and make investments” in the United States.
31/08/23·28m 8s

Give yourself a pat on the back

While U.S. gross domestic product didn’t grow as fast in the second quarter as initially thought, there are underlying signs of strength in the economy. And a lot of it is due to the American consumer, who keeps on spending. Good job! Plus, a view of China’s tourism recovery from the vantage point of a seafood market. Then, would you pay $500 a month for bigger, better Tinder?
30/08/23·28m 20s

A labor market that’s cooling, but not cool

Today, we learned that job openings fell in July. While it’s an indication that supply and demand in the job market are balancing out, there’s still a ways to go before that sought-after “soft landing” is achieved. Then, we turn to the housing market, looking at some homeowners who bypass high mortgage rates and others who bypass insurance. Later: the return of awkward business lunches.
29/08/23·29m 13s

A brake tap on wage gains

It’s a big week for job data, including reports on the quits rate, private payrolls, layoff announcements and employment numbers. The Federal Reserve will be keeping a close eye on wage growth, and today we see indications that pay gains might be cooling. Then, the Texas power grid is strained by rising temps and growing cities, and companies invest in passenger rail.
28/08/23·29m 9s

Remember the $5 footlong? Thank behavioral economics.

How much should a sandwich cost? How about a fast food drink? A gallon of gas? Turns out, behavioral economics shapes how much we think something should cost and explains why it’s hard to adjust those prices for inflation. We also dissect Fed Chair Jerome Powell’s Jackson Hole Symposium speech and hear why squashing the last bit of inflation is so tricky.
25/08/23·28m 57s

Manufacturing is down in the dumps, but things may be looking up

Nearly every business had to pivot during the pandemic. But domestic manufacturing has been weak for a while now. On today’s show, we hear how businesses in the sector are looking to pivot yet again. Plus: the challenges faced by schools as pandemic funding ends, and the risks around chipmaker Nvidia’s dominance of a very concentrated market. Later: Wordle, but make it global trade.
24/08/23·28m 43s

The things that keep economists up at night

The theme of this year’s Federal Reserve symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, is “Structural Shifts in the Global Economy.” Today, we ask a handful of economists who aren’t sitting around the campfire with Jay Powell to weigh in. Then: Just half of CEOs see climate change as a threat to their business. And later: Could teaching more women poker narrow the boardroom gender gap?
23/08/23·27m 11s

Real wages rebound, while low-income earners play catch-up

Inflation is cooling and real wages are improving, which is good news. But after losing ground to rising prices for so long, low-income households are struggling to catch up financially, leaving them vulnerable to an economic slowdown. Plus, the U.S. dollar weakens as other countries hike interest rates, and the real estate refrain “you can always refinance” stages a comeback.
22/08/23·27m 3s

A barometer for the AI economy

Wall Street is zooming in on Nvidia, which reports quarterly earnings this week. The  chipmaker’s components power many of the generative artificial intelligence models that have surged in popularity, and its financial results will provide clues about the strength of the industry that runs on its technology. Also on the show: diminishing appetite for U.S. bonds, life in a fire lookout tower and vanishing tattoo ink.
21/08/23·27m 13s

Houston’s heat wave is taking its toll

It’s been a summer of record-breaking heat. Today, we’ll head to Houston to hear how a sizzling heat wave is impacting the health of its most vulnerable workers. Also on the show: The 10-year Treasury yield is climbing, as are 401(k) balances. Plus, are American tourists ready for a museum about the economy?
18/08/23·28m 17s

The most predicted recession … if it happens at all

Leading economic indicators are stubbornly pointing to a recession that hasn’t shown up. They’re normally a strong signal that a downturn is on the horizon. Could they be wrong this time around? Then, why child care is likely to get even more expensive, how AI summaries could transform product reviews and how subsidized employment programs could fight racial inequity.
17/08/23·28m 1s

Say we achieve a soft landing. Then what?

If the Federal Reserve chills inflation without tipping the economy into a recession — known as the elusive “soft landing” — what will that look like and what happens when we get there? We dig into the ideal outcomes. We also take a bite out of three slices of our economy: retail inventories, Fed decision-making and investors’ aversion to risk.
16/08/23·27m 50s

When will the Federal Reserve start cutting interest rates?

Economists at Goldman Sachs predict that the Federal Reserve could begin to pare back interest rates by the middle of next year. So what kind of economic conditions would warrant such a change after a historic series of hikes? We’ll examine. We also look at the state of the restaurant biz and what happens when you can’t afford to own a car but can’t afford not to.
15/08/23·27m 40s

Life’s bananas. Let’s buy something!

American consumers keep on spending month after month — even as inflation and rising interest rates chip away at family finances and credit card debt mounts. But after several years of hardship and unpredictability, there’s still a lot to stress about. And it’s got us feeling spendy. Then, how Gen Z and millennials feel about investing and how waste plants pick through unsorted recyclables.
14/08/23·28m 37s

Don’t lose sleep over the uptick in producer prices

The cost of services helped push up the producer price index in July. But that increase likely isn’t a lasting one. Today, we’ll unpack the uptick. We’ll also dig into new home sales and oil demand. Plus, in the Weekly Wrap, what will it take to get consumers to feel better about the economy?
11/08/23·27m 15s

Would you trust AI for financial advice?

Many finance-focused artificial intelligence tools seem designed to make the jobs of human financial advisers easier, not replace them. At least for now. Today, we’ll map out how likely it is that AI will manage our money and pick our stocks. We’ll also dig deeper into inflation data for shelter and gas, then examine how aging populations could shake up the global economy.
10/08/23·27m 3s

Political economics, zero-COVID and China’s slowing recovery

China’s economic miracle isn’t going so well. Exports fell in July, and there are now fears of deflation. Could China’s political economy and the implementation of its zero-COVID policies be to blame for its current woes? We’ll also look at what WeWork’s continuing downward spiral means for co-working companies, and what it might take to convert office spaces to affordable housing.
10/08/23·27m 34s

The “slow burn” phase of the banking crisis

It’s been nearly five months since the collapses of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank sparked upheaval in the banking industry. But this week, Moody’s cut the credit ratings of several regional banks, citing problems related to rising interest rates and troubled loan portfolios. We’ll dive in. Plus, California trucking companies go electric, and a decline in China’s exports hints at a global spending slowdown.
08/08/23·27m 19s

Why China’s economic rebound has fallen short of expectations

After China lifted its zero-COVID policy, economists expected the economy to come roaring back. That hasn’t quite happened. Today, we zoom in on the reasons, including a pullback in consumer spending after a burst housing bubble. Then, why the UAW is asking for a 40% raise, why Black farmers feel left behind by the Agriculture Department and why car repairs are so darn expensive these days.
07/08/23·26m 39s

Can we let the economic good news be good news?

Is that a productivity boom we see on the horizon? It’s too early to tell if that’s the case, but the economic mood has clearly improved. Our Weekly Wrap panel parses the changes. Also, labor shortages in home health care, a dip in domestic travel and the cultural and economic impact of hip-hop.
04/08/23·28m 6s

Bitcoin, election anxiety and second passports

Instead of buying another Porsche, some of the mega-rich are dropping $100,000 on new citizenship. These citizenship by investment programs have gained popularity since the 2020 election and pandemic, especially among bitcoin investors. Today, we delve into “the ultimate hedge” for wealthy Americans. Plus, why an uptick in productivity is good news for the inflation fight, and what to make of a slowdown in manufacturing.
03/08/23·27m 39s

An economic vibe shift?

The economy seems pretty strong right now: Inflation is moderating and consumer sentiment is up. In other words, the vibes are good. So is it possible we’ve skirted a recession? Or that the “vibecession” is over? Also on today’s program: claims of a superconductor breakthrough, AI’s impact on voice assistants and calls to end “scholarship displacement.”
02/08/23·27m 50s

Is the current job market music to the Fed’s ears?

According to the Job Openings and Labor Turnover survey for June, fewer workers are quitting their jobs and employers are hiring less. But is it all rock ‘n’ roll for the Federal Reserve’s inflation fight, or will it just end up rocky, with a recession? Turns out, the economic anthem of the moment depends on how you read the data. Then: freight shipping woes, Uber’s first-time profit and a blame game over Britain’s cost-of-living crisis.
01/08/23·27m 13s

The country’s newest test case for nuclear power

While extreme heat bakes much of the country, the first new nuclear reactor to be built from scratch in decades just came online in Georgia. But the project took much longer and cost much more than planned. As the planet continues to scorch, will nuclear power catch on? Then, the perks of being a legacy student and a boom in spam texts.
31/07/23·28m 26s

Inside the Deadhead economy

It’s the final tour of Dead & Company, the Grateful Dead’s offshoot band. But what’s to come of the vendors and Deadheads who’ve followed the band for decades? Today, we hear about what a long, strange trip it’s been and what happens now that the show’s over. We’ll also examine the double-edged sword of consumer spending and unpack whether inflation might threaten brand loyalty.
28/07/23·28m 43s

What’s behind those annoying customer service hold times?

Call a customer service line and odds are you’ll hear that “unusually high call volume” is making you wait. But automated messages and long wait times seem to have become the norm. We won’t put you on hold to find out why. Plus, the economy just keeps on growing and businesses stock up on inventory again.
27/07/23·27m 45s

Interest rates are high, but consumer confidence is up

Sure, today the Federal Reserve hiked its key interest rate to the highest level since 2001. But consumers are feeling much rosier about the economy lately, thanks to cooling inflation and a strong labor market. Plus, higher interest rates spell trouble for businesses, and a lack of investment in women’s soccer has debilitating physical consequences.
26/07/23·27m 43s

A view of the post-peak housing market

The CoreLogic Case-Shiller index of existing home prices, which came out today, shows that values are down from the year before, but the price trends vary across the country. Today, we trace their rise and fall. Then, what’s a fair price for artificial intelligence? And what Milton Friedman’s “long and variable lag” means in 2023.
25/07/23·28m 17s

The origin story of Friedman’s “long and variable lag”

Popularized by Milton Friedman in the 1960s, the phrase “long and variable lag” refers to the idea that it takes time for monetary policy to be felt in the economy, and the Federal Reserve uses it a lot. How did it go from concept to conventional wisdom? Today, part one of our answer. We’ll also outline a big week ahead for the world’s central banks and the ripple effects of a potential UPS strike.
24/07/23·27m 4s

Your move, Federal Reserve

We got retail sales and housing data this week, and there’s some optimistic news. Are these signs of a “soft landing”? The Federal Reserve hasn’t said — nobody wants to jinx it. We’ll examine the data and what it means for a potential Fed rate hike next week. Also on the program: a trip to a winery in southwest Germany and a famous pony ranch on Virginia’s Chincoteague Island.
21/07/23·28m 24s

Fragmented medical records are a danger to our health

Accessing medical records isn’t always easy for doctors, and the gaps and disorganization that result can pose serious risks for patients. Today, we hear what fragmentation means for our health care and what we can do to fix it. We’ll also examine whether the monthly Leading Economic Index is still a good recession predictor, and do the numbers on the Women’s World Cup.
20/07/23·27m 49s

Stay cool out there

Air conditioners are cranked and grids are straining as much of the country grapples with a heat wave. This is also the first summer Americans are eligible for expanded home weatherization tax credits, and we’ve got everything you need to know. Later, we’ll learn why Chipotle is expanding to small-town America and what worries legal pros about the spread of AI-powered tools.
19/07/23·25m 58s

Confused by the economy right now? So are economists.

We talk with experts every day about this chaotic economy, up to and including today’s new retail sales data. But years of mixed signals mean economists are sometimes just as confused as we are. On today’s show, we’ll get a bit meta and talk with them about it. Plus: What those retail sales numbers and a recent surge in loan rejections mean (or don’t?) for the economy at large. Later, we’ll talk with economics BA, former teen idol and new author Ben McKenzie about why Hollywood fell hard for crypto.
18/07/23·25m 33s

How China does the numbers

The world’s second-largest economy missed expectations this quarter. China’s gross domestic product grew 6.3% from the same quarter last year, and an anemic 0.8% since Q1. But what’s the right way to measure China’s economy? Today our Shanghai correspondent looks into it. But first, we’ll look at uneven inflation around the world and how Federal Reserve officials craft their public statements between market-moving meetings. Later, a check-in on the electric vehicle market as Ford slashes $10,000 off the price of an F-150 Lightning.
17/07/23·26m 57s

Regulate crypto? Sure. But how?

Yesterday’s landmark Ripple Labs ruling has both regulators and crypto boosters declaring victory. On today’s show, we’ll untangle the case and what it means for the government’s crypto crackdown. But first, is the soft landing finally here? We’ll recap a big week in economic news with our panel. Later, the culture wars holding up defense funding and a visit to Kai Ryssdal’s favorite Beijing vegetable stand.
14/07/23·27m 59s
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