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.


The view from the Fed’s discount window

Banks borrowed less from the Federal Reserve’s emergency lending programs this week than the week before, a sign that the threat of additional bank runs could be waning. One of those programs is called the discount window, and banks really try to avoid it. We explain why. Plus, a big change in the oil world, and an exploration of the welfare-to-work industrial complex from the latest season of Marketplace’s “The Uncertain Hour.”
31/03/23·27m 34s

A labor shortage may stall the clean energy transition

The Inflation Reduction Act channels hundreds of billions of dollars into clean energy projects. But “electrifying America” could be short-circuited by the nationwide shortage of electricians. Today, we’ll hear from the companies and programs hoping to draw a new cohort of electricians to the field. Also, a preview of tomorrow’s economic data dump, a short-lived urban exodus and five child care workers on the industry’s joys and challenges.
30/03/23·28m 23s

A bumpy ride for mortgage rates means bumpy home sales

Spring is when flowers, and For Sale signs, tend to start popping up. Today we learned that pending home sales rose for the third straight month in February, which seems puzzling given climbing interest rates. Could it signal a thawing housing market? Plus, a look at the debate about public funds for home-schooling and how a tight labor market benefits the poorest workers.
29/03/23·28m 19s

Personal economies are the whole shebang

On this program, we’ve discussed a somewhat confusing dynamic: Consumers are sour on the economy despite a job market that’s historically strong. Today, we’re joined by Washington Post columnist Catherine Rampell to help piece the puzzle together and tally inflation’s mental and financial tolls. Plus, why recent banking turmoil may slow nonresidential construction and what one reporter learned walking from Washington, D.C., to New York.
28/03/23·28m 32s

Let’s talk about (banking) trust issues

Bank regulators will be heading to Capitol Hill this week, where they’re likely to be grilled by lawmakers over the recent banking turmoil. But they also have to reassure markets and the public that everything’s going to be all right — because if depositor fears escalate, that could spawn yet another crisis. Plus, it’s boom time for certificates of deposit, and anxiety about commercial real estate loans looms over regional banks.
27/03/23·29m 56s

Attention turns to bank examiners in SVB fallout

The Federal Reserve will release a report by May 1 on what happened at Silicon Valley Bank. A key part will be how bank examiners, the government employees who monitor a bank’s safety and soundness, supervised SVB. Today, we’ll look at what a bank examiner does — and doesn’t. We’ll also map new home sales and head back to college with some midlife students.
24/03/23·28m 50s

Happy rate hike-iversary!

Long gone are the good ol’ days when inflation was described as “transitory.” This month marks one year since the Federal Reserve started raising interest rates to curb inflation, and we chart the relationship between rates and prices, and take stock of where we are. Plus, why some central banks follow the Fed’s lead and how small businesses are responding to banking turmoil.
23/03/23·28m 47s

The Fed’s stress testing is put to the test

One way the Federal Reserve oversees the banking system is through “stress tests,” which help determine whether banks can withstand economic disasters. But only the biggest banks are required to undergo these tests. Could Silicon Valley Bank’s collapse change that? We’ll also unpack Fed Chair Jerome Powell’s rate hike remarks, check to see who’s currently hiring and gauge reactions to anticipated charges for COVID-19 vaccines.
22/03/23·29m 26s

Why bond prices fall as interest rates go up

A simple economic phenomenon — that rising interest rates push bond values down — is part of what has weighed on financial companies like Silicon Valley Bank. We’ll take a closer look at the relationship and examine how the Federal Reserve’s rate hikes may have contributed to the current banking drama. Then, we’ll hear why the lowest rents are rising the fastest and what the end of additional SNAP benefits means for one mother.
21/03/23·29m 12s

Let the bank failure blame game begin

The debacles that engulfed Silicon Valley Bank and other precarious financial institutions have sparked debates over who dropped the ball. Was it a regulatory failure, a supervisory failure, or both? On today’s show, we’ll parse out the answer. We’ll also explore what comes next for Swiss banking, what a Supreme Court case means for Navajo water rights and what small banks are doing to address liquidity concerns.
20/03/23·29m 58s

When group chats help fuel bank runs

Back in the ’30s, news of bank collapses traveled slowly. But in the early hours of Silicon Valley Bank’s collapse, the news spread like wildfire through startup messaging chains on WhatsApp, Slack, Signal and Telegram. Today, how rumors and anxiety contributed to SVB’s downfall. Plus, grocery bills bum consumers out more than banking meltdowns and China’s population decline has far-reaching repercussions.
17/03/23·28m 39s

The forecast calls for tightening financial conditions

“Financial conditions” influence the cost of money, and they’re being made much more complicated by recent bank collapses. Today, we’ll delve into how tightening financial conditions influence the Federal Reserve’s next moves and could make it harder for small businesses and consumers to get loans. Plus, why COVID may have fundamentally reshaped how we spend and what the Silicon Valley Bank collapse means for venture capital.
16/03/23·29m 24s

Credit Suisse turmoil stokes financial contagion fears

Following the meltdowns of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank, Europe’s Credit Suisse is now in trouble. Though the Swiss bank’s problems predate the recent U.S. bank failures, some economists are asking whether the malady at Credit Suisse can or will infect the rest of global finance. We’ll also take a closer look at the role of regional banks and the communication tactics some are using to quell customer anxieties.
15/03/23·28m 10s

Where does banking oversight go from here?

As we follow the implosion of Silicon Valley Bank, we’ll examine the parties involved in regulating finance — both state and federal — and what changes may emerge from the meltdown. We’ll also check in with a former Federal Reserve official who oversaw reforms and ask him to chart a path forward for Washington. Plus, shelter costs continue to drive inflation and cowhides help predict the economic future.
14/03/23·29m 8s

Silicon Valley Bank collapsed … now what?

Add the spectacular collapses of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank to the lengthy list of consumer concerns. Bank failures like these don’t just rattle their depositors, they stoke anxiety in everyone who hears about them. Today, we’ll feature special coverage of SVB’s demise — how Washington is responding, the ripple effects on other banks and what it all means for average consumers.
13/03/23·28m 23s

How Silicon Valley Bank failed

Silicon Valley Bank, where many startups got their funding, is now in the hands of the FDIC after a collapse. On today’s program, we’ll take a closer look at the factors that spelled disaster for the bank and if other financial institutions are at risk. Also on the program: demystifying Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell’s congressional testimony in the Weekly Wrap and a silver lining in an unemployment uptick.
10/03/23·28m 41s

What if the Fed just can’t get the job done?

The Federal Reserve has unleashed eight interest rate hikes in the past year, yet the economy doesn’t seem to be taking the hint. With unemployment at historic lows and consumer spending still robust, is monetary policy able to slow the economy any longer? And if not, what more can the Fed do? Plus, U.S. exports reached record highs in January and customers seeking retribution take to Yelp.
09/03/23·29m 4s

“A baby step in the right direction”

That’s how one economist described today’s job openings report. The number of available jobs remains high but is on the decline, as is the number of people who’ve quit their gigs. It indicates that the Federal Reserve’s efforts to cool the economy are working — at least in certain industries. Plus, converting office buildings to apartments, parsing the importance of seasonally adjusted data and gaming our way to a balanced federal budget.
08/03/23·29m 20s

For companies, it could come down to people versus profits

Can we rein in inflation without unemployment surging? Though it’s an open question, one route to avoiding layoffs is for companies to accept lower profit margins and absorb additional costs. But whether they will is a whole ‘nother question. We’ll also unpack Day 1 of Fed Chair Jerome Powell’s Capitol Hill testimony, look at the workforce gap left by pandemic-era retirements and visit one of Los Angeles’ newest lesbian bars.
07/03/23·28m 30s

Tallying the steep costs of gender inequality

A new study finds that gender inequality costs the global economy $7 trillion per year. Today, we’ll take a closer look at the roadblocks that persist for women and how addressing them could benefit everyone. We’ll also hear what’s on the docket for the economic week ahead, examine the demographic shifts in trucking and see whether the gas stove debate will heat up the induction market.
06/03/23·28m 47s

The battle for the Dungeons & Dragons economy

A special game license allowed Dungeons & Dragons fans to create additional storylines and characters — and make money off of them. But when parent company Hasbro looked to change D&D’s license to get a cut of third-party profits, fans fought to protect the role-playing game community and economy. Plus, in the Weekly Wrap, the specter of layoffs and legislation aimed at boosting teacher pay.
04/03/23·27m 31s

Treasury Secretary Yellen on Ukraine, inflation and the debt ceiling

This week, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen visited Kyiv to underscore U.S. support for Ukraine. Today, Yellen joined “Marketplace” host Kai Ryssdal to chat about her trip, the “moral obligation” to aid Ukraine and the impact of sanctions on Russia, as well as domestic economic concerns — from the politicization of the debt ceiling to cooling the labor market. Plus, what an inverted yield curve foretells and where consumers are cutting back.
02/03/23·29m 31s

Where’s the sweet spot for wage growth?

There’s a running assumption that a strong labor market and wage growth will make it harder to slow rising prices. But how much does wage growth need to slow to get us to normal levels of inflation? Today, we’ll do the numbers on what economists say is ideal wage growth. Also on the program: rising loan balances, growing hurricane risks and the sound of a $10 million violin.
02/03/23·27m 50s

Restaurant tabs … as an economic indicator?

The average consumer is hungry — to go out, that is. Sales at restaurants and bars are up nearly 25% since last January, but that spending surge coincides with dimming consumer confidence. What can all that going out tell us about the economy more broadly? Also on the show: bans on American investments in China, TikTok’s numbered days on government devices and Tubi’s CEO on ad-supported streaming.
28/02/23·26m 23s

The Federal Reserve is an institution in transition

The Federal Reserve’s original job was to help the U.S. avert financial meltdowns. But propping up the pandemic economy forced the central bank to do some “soul searching.” Today, we’re joined by The New York Times’ Jeanna Smialek to examine the Fed’s history and its shifting role in the modern economy. Also, recession predictions are all over the map, and low housing inventory fuels new home construction.
27/02/23·27m 23s

Funding the Ukrainian cultural resistance

The United States and European nations have committed billions of dollars in military and humanitarian aid to Ukraine since Russia’s invasion one year ago. But there’s also a cultural dimension to the conflict. Today, we’ll hear from Ukrainian artists at home and abroad who are fighting to preserve their cultural identity. Plus, the Federal Reserve has more work ahead to reel in inflation, and consumers kept squirreling away savings in January.
24/02/23·25m 54s

The civil rights movement was an economic movement too

The American civil rights movement was about more than attitudes around racism. It also fought to expand workers’ rights and access to housing and good jobs. We’ll chart the economic agenda the movement outlined decades ago, which is sometimes left out of the conversation today. Plus, a look at how gross domestic product figures get revised and what a drop in unemployment claims says about the job market.
23/02/23·26m 21s

Why the bond market is an economic crystal ball

Interest rates on government debts are set by where the market thinks the economy is headed. Fed rate hikes and a disappointing inflation report have pushed bond yields higher. Today, we’ll look at what they’re telling us about the future of the economy. Plus, more stores accept SNAP for online groceries, more school principals are quitting or retiring, and a Los Angeles distillery bets on more nonalcoholic spirits sales.
23/02/23·26m 51s

How retailers are prepping for the unpredictable

Economists have been placing bets on how bad a recession might be — if there is one. But retailers have to decide what to buy and how much based on where they think the economy is headed. How are sellers coping with the unknown? Also, what the Supreme Court case involving Google could mean for Big Tech, and why online shopping led to the death of the “smart shopper.”
21/02/23·29m 38s

Credit card debt is at a record high. How worried should we be?

American consumers are spending lots — and putting it on plastic. Credit card debt has climbed to a record of $986 billion, according to the New York Fed. Is this a return to pre-pandemic, “normal” spending habits or a worrying sign about the economy? Or both? We’ll also check in on Presidents Day shopping, examine a new carbon capture technology and hear how the climate crisis is threatening Europe’s ski industry.
20/02/23·26m 55s

Meet the American consumer: anxious yet spend-happy

Surveys show that Americans are concerned about the economy and inflation, yet retail sales remain strong. What’s behind the mismatch between what people are saying and how they’re spending? We, like the American consumer, try to make sense of it all. We’ll also interrogate how “bumpy” the road to disinflation is, see which home renovations are worthwhile and check in on the Valentine’s Day chocolate rush.
18/02/23·26m 47s

The federal budget is not the same as a household budget

The debt ceiling dance is well underway in Washington and the Treasury is taking “extraordinary measures” to avoid a default. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has compared the federal budget to a household’s credit limit, but that’s like comparing apples and oranges, or maybe apples and the Pentagon. Today, we’ll outline why. Plus, what wholesale prices indicate for consumers, who’s hiring amid a slew of layoffs and what’s at stake in the upcoming farm bill.
16/02/23·27m 21s

Why “eat the rich” storylines are everywhere now

“Succession,” “The Menu,” “The White Lotus” — Hollywood is producing plenty of films and shows that let viewers watch rich people suffer. America has always been obsessed with wealth, but those portrayals are changing. Why? We’ll also do the numbers on January retail sales, hear why all-cash home offers are on the rise and see why Tesla is expanding use of its charging network.
15/02/23·27m 39s

What’s in a number?

What’s in your shopping basket may not be the same as what’s in the metaphorical basket of goods used to calculate the consumer price index. But the Bureau of Labor Statistics is updating its formula to more accurately capture changing prices. Today, we’ll look into the math. We’ll also parse the difference between fiscal and monetary policy and revisit the personal economies of Ukrainian refugees.
14/02/23·26m 36s

An extra-important inflation report

We’ll get the consumer price index for January tomorrow. Though inflation appeared to ease at the end of last year, the report comes at a “really critical time” for the Federal Reserve, the markets and consumer expectations. Will inflation continue to lose steam? Plus, sanctions complicate remittances to Syria, Europe enjoys a sunnier economic forecast and we look at how accusations and family drama rocked CBS and Viacom.
14/02/23·27m 15s

Unpacking the mixed bag of consumer sentiment

Surveys of Americans’ economic outlooks are coming up with contradictory conclusions. Some consumers report being worse off than they were a year ago, while others are feeling optimistic. What’s behind the split? We’ll also break down the prospects for a soft landing in the Weekly Wrap, consider what 2023 may look like for initial public stock offerings and delve into why Black communities are frequently targeted by predatory financial products.
10/02/23·26m 54s

A healthier wellness industry

Wellness has became an even bigger concern during the pandemic, as well as a bigger business. The last couple of years have been good for sales of vitamins, supplements and apps to help us sleep, stick to our diets and be more mindful. With hype reaching new levels, the Federal Trade Commission has decided to address the industry’s marketing ills. We’ll perform an examination.  Plus, Disney rethinks its content and cost-management strategies, and fresh unemployment claims data underscores the strength of the job market.  
09/02/23·27m 40s

When the economy changes, so do our jobs

The American labor market has been on a roller coaster in the past few years. While what we do for work looks different today from pre-COVID times, it’s not done changing. We’ll do the numbers on the industries that saw the biggest job gains in 2022 and the ones still lagging. Plus, what it would take to reach a balanced budget and why consumer debt is growing but slowing.
08/02/23·27m 52s

ChatGPT comes for digital advertisers and publishers

Today, Microsoft unveiled how it will incorporate ChatGPT’s generative AI tech into its search engine, Bing. That could spell trouble for publishers and content creators, as well as the advertisers that rely on searches and page views. We’ll examine some of the potential impacts and pitfalls. Also on the program: A strong dollar spurs imports, accounting has a personnel problem and the class of NASA astronauts that diversified space travel. Need some Econ 101? Sign up for our Marketplace Crash Course and get weekly lessons to complete at your own pace!
07/02/23·27m 27s

The global economy may not be so bad off after all

Despite the Federal Reserve’s interest rate hikes, the U.S. economy hasn’t soured as much as many forecasters expected. And with falling energy prices, slowing inflation and the waning economic impact of COVID, the global economy’s outlook may be getting sunnier too. Plus, what the Census of Agriculture can tell us, the power of solar and why shows are disappearing from streaming platforms. Need some Econ 101? Sign up for our Marketplace Crash Course and get weekly lessons to complete at your own pace!
06/02/23·27m 32s

Why crypto has drawn so many Black investors

Last year was hard on cryptocurrency, with scandals and plummeting prices rocking the industry. Those losses were particularly keen for Black Americans, who are more likely to get into crypto than their white peers. Today, we’ll explore how targeted marketing and exclusion from traditional investment opportunities helped boost crypto’s appeal for Black investors. Also, the major takeaways from today’s strong jobs report and its impact on bond yields. Need some Econ 101? Sign up for our Marketplace Crash Course and get weekly lessons to complete at your own pace!
04/02/23·27m 9s

Back to the office … kinda

Last week, office occupancy rates in major cities hit a milestone, reaching half of their pre-pandemic levels. While most places feel just as crowded as they did before, offices are an exception. Today, a closer look at the sluggish return to office buildings. Plus, the house behind the pitchfork in “American Gothic” and how homebuyers are feeling about higher mortgage rates. Need some Econ 101? Sign up for our Marketplace Crash Course and get weekly lessons to complete at your own pace!
02/02/23·26m 58s

Job churn may finally be leveling off

We’ve frequently discussed the “great resignation” on this program over the past year as people have sought new jobs with better pay and benefits. But as recession worries loom and wage growth moderates, quitting and hiring rates have begun to decline. Also on the program: The Federal Reserve hikes interest rates for the eighth time, retailers follow consumers to the ‘burbs and Bed Bath & Beyond hints at bankruptcy. Need some Econ 101? Sign up for our Marketplace Crash Course and get weekly lessons to complete at your own pace!
02/02/23·27m 30s

When slowing wage growth isn’t so bad

New Labor Department data shows that wage growth slowed to 1% last quarter. That may not sound too rosy for workers, but it’s welcome news to Federal Reserve officials, who are mulling additional interest rate hikes as they try to deflate wage growth and keep unemployment under control at the same time. Also, the continuing pull of cookbooks, the billions in unclaimed college financial aid and the impacts of rising prices on wedding planning. Need some Econ 101? Sign up for our Marketplace Crash Course and get weekly lessons to complete at your own pace!
01/02/23·27m 13s

How do economists forecast recessions?

Many CEOs and economists anticipate a recession this year. But their predictions, based on economic data and historical trends, are part art and part science. Today, we’ll dig into how those forecasts are made. Plus, why inflation varies depending on where you live, how business owners in China feel about reopening and how lawmakers’ pay, or lack thereof, influences who serves in government. Need some Econ 101? Sign up for our Marketplace Crash Course and get weekly lessons to complete at your own pace!
30/01/23·27m 51s

Save a little, spend a little

The American consumer saved more and spent less in December, cutting back on restaurants, movies and sporting events. Will that slow inflation? We’ll talk about that on today’s show.  Plus, the confusing economy, who holds U.S. debt, and what’s behind the growing business of liquidation. Need some Econ 101? Sign up for our Marketplace Crash Course and get weekly lessons to complete at your own pace!
28/01/23·27m 25s

A glass half full/glass half empty GDP report

Economists often see both good and bad news in economic data. Today’s gross domestic product report was no different. The economy grew by 2.9% last quarter, which was more than expected, but there are some signs of a slowdown. Today, we’ll examine the two sides of the GDP coin. Then, we’ll tour a Costco returns warehouse in New Jersey and visit a co-working space in Seattle. Need some Econ 101? Sign up for our Marketplace Crash Course and get weekly lessons to complete at your own pace!
27/01/23·27m 9s

The calculus behind those rent increases

Today, the White House announced a slew of actions aimed at helping renters. Though we’ve seen recent glimmers of a cooling rent market, the national median has shot up more than 20% since 2020. So how do landlords set rents in the first place? We explore. Then, we’ll examine the limitations of the Federal Reserve’s preferred inflation measure and visit an irreverent beverage company making canned water cool. Need some Econ 101? Sign up for our Marketplace Crash Course and get weekly lessons to complete at your own pace!
25/01/23·27m 3s

The slowdown has begun for manufacturing

After being fueled by a surge in pandemic demand, the manufacturing sector is showing signs of cooling off. Production and hiring in the industry slowed toward the end of last year. Today, we’ll take a look at what’s driving the manufacturing decline. Plus, why copper prices are rising, how commercial lending is faring amid high interest rates and where the streaming economy is going.
24/01/23·28m 4s

Why unemployment remains low even as layoffs tick up

Tech and finance companies have announced major job cuts recently, yet the unemployment rate hit at a 50-year low in December. What gives? The answer lies in the still-tight job market and the hassles of dealing with outdated unemployment systems. Then, why business economists are less glum about the economy and why big banks want to get into the digital wallet biz.
24/01/23·27m 14s
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