Episodes
A new paper in the journal “Nature” finds that the rate of scientific innovation has been on a steady decline, despite living in the most technologically advanced age in the history of humanity. Co-author Russell Funk, a professor at the University of Minnesota, helps us understand what’s going on. This round of corporate layoffs could portend a larger slowdown in the labor market, which has remained hot. And, yesterday’s GDP numbers may be good on the surface, but there are some...
Published 01/27/23
From the BBC World Service: In a special programme from Dresden in east Germany, we hear from one European green tech company – Solarwatt – who are calling for the EU to give the industry similar tax breaks and financial incentives to those introduced by President Biden in the U.S.. We also talk to the semi-conductor manufacturer Global Foundries about how to keep the supply chain secure, amid concerns about China’s data collection.      
Published 01/27/23
Today’s GDP numbers likely lifted many an economist’s spirits — the economy grew at 2.9 percent in the fourth quarter last year, a solid showing despite inflation pressures and the threat of recession. KPMG Chief Economist Diane Swonk helps us dissect what’s in today’s report. Boeing is being sued for fraud over faults in its 737 MAX plane that caused two fatal crashes. And, a look at the effects of the increasing amount of private money flowing into drug rehabilitation programs.
Published 01/26/23
The maker of the Taser, the weapon meant to be a non-lethal option for law enforcement, is toying with the idea of selling drones with Tasers attached. Among the potential clients: schools. We talked to Dina Temple-Raston, host of the “Click Here” podcast, about her reporting on the story. Southwest is facing a probe on whether the airline booked more flights than it could cancel at the time of its mass-cancellation debacle. And, there are storm clouds hanging over the housing market, but...
Published 01/26/23
From the BBC World Service: A deal has finally been done to send American and German tanks to Ukraine. President Volodymyr Zelensky says they need to be delivered quickly, but just how realistic is that – and how costly? We hear from the former commander of the British Army’s tank regiment. Millions of Pakistanis were left without power this week after a major failure of the country’s energy grid. The system is back up and running but businesses tell us they fear more cuts, and the disruption...
Published 01/26/23
The corporate earnings season has thus far been a downer. Yesterday, Microsoft announced its profits fell 12 percent last quarter, which comes after major banks reported similarly poor performances. We check in with Susan Schmidt, Head of Public Equity at the State of Wisconsin Investment Board, about what to expect as companies continue to report earnings. Mainline economic indicators fell again this month, raising the spectre of recession. Copper prices are surging worldwide, partly due to...
Published 01/25/23
Tesla and Twitter CEO Elon Musk is once again defending himself against a lawsuit. This time, plaintiffs are suing Musk over a 2018 tweet saying he was considering taking Tesla private which caused investors to lose money. Erik Gordon, a professor at the University of Michigan, helps us break down the suit. And, the Department of Justice is suing Google’s parent company, Alphabet, over allegations that the company has monopolized the digital advertising business.
Published 01/25/23
From the BBC World Service: We hear from the Amazon workers in the UK who are staging their first strike in a dispute over pay and conditions. Plus, a German union says Ford is planning thousands of job cuts in Europe. What’s driving the group’s future strategy? And, Egypt is struggling with rising prices, a weak currency and a cash-strapped government. What impact is that having on day-to-day lives?
Published 01/25/23
The CEO of Live Nation, an entertainment company bought by Ticketmaster over a decade ago, is facing a grilling on Capitol Hill over last year’s online sales debacle with Taylor Swift concert tickets. This, as it reportedly faces a probe by the Department of Justice. There’s data today that orders from factories are down, which comes amid a spate of bad news for the manufacturing sector. And, as part of our Econ Extra Credit series, we delve into how social media and algorithms promote a...
Published 01/24/23
Amazon announced it will launch a new subscription drug service dubbed Amazon RxPass to complement its existing pharmaceutical products. The service, which will offer generic medications for $5 a month with Prime membership, will be the latest attempt by the online retail behemoth to make waves in the healthcare space. And, as part of our Econ Extra Credit series, we delve into the extreme fitness industry with Stephen Mayville, a Reno-based psychologist who studies muscle dysmorphia and...
Published 01/24/23
From the BBC World Service: Twitter stands accused of skipping rent to King Charles III. The Crown Estate in the U.K., which manages property belonging to the reigning monarch, has filed court proceedings against the firm for arrears on its headquarters in London’s famous Piccadilly Circus. Plus, questions are being raised over Ticketmaster and whether it has a monopoly. We look at what U.S. regulators could maybe learn from Europe. And we hear more on those plans for a common currency in...
Published 01/24/23
With the latest inflation report indicating a moderation in rising prices, some CEOs and economists are changing their tune on forecasts of a potential recession this year. Julia Coronado explains what’s driving optimism that the near-term economic future may not be as bad as originally predicted. As Lunar New Year festivities kick off worldwide, China is having to balance celebrating one of the country’s most important holidays with a severe Covid situation. And, Chris Farrell talks about...
Published 01/23/23
The holiday season may be over, but another “season” is now upon us — the one to pay your taxes. The IRS’s window to submit tax returns is open from now until around April 15 for most people, and the agency is promising better service than in recent years when it experienced crippling delays. Renters nowadays are having to spend higher and higher proportions of their income on housing, which takes away from spending in other areas. And, some of the Federal Reserve’s highest-profile figures...
Published 01/23/23
From the BBC World Service: We examine why Brazil and Argentina are exploring a common currency. Both countries have been wracked by economic demons – with Argentina in particular suffering one of the highest inflation rates in world. Plus, why Pakistan is facing power cuts. And we meet the Hongkongers celebrating Lunar New Year in the U.K.
Published 01/23/23
A big swing in the housing market occurred over the last year: for the vast majority of people, it’s now cheaper to rent a place than to own it. According to a new report, that’s in big part due to rising mortgage rates, which have risen in tandem with the Fed’s rate hikes. Netflix’s CEO, Reed Hastings, is stepping down — he helped transform the company from a mail-order DVD service to a streaming behemoth. Christopher Low helps break down what’s behind the recent strength of bond yields....
Published 01/20/23
Harvard Medical School, one of the top in the country, will stop submitting data to the U.S. News and World Report college ranking system. It’s another blow for the rankings, which has recently come under criticism from a number of high-profile schools for alleged flaws in the methodology. Alphabet, the parent company of Google, announced that it would lay off 12,000 workers, making it the latest tech giant to announce job cuts. And, the high-flying Davos summit wraps up today amid a mix of...
Published 01/20/23
From the BBC World Service: The fight over a controversial coal mine in Germany isn’t over according to one of the country’s best-known climate activists Luisa Neubauer. She tells us how mining cannot be justified, even in the context of an energy crisis in Europe triggered by Russia’s war with Ukraine. Plus, the demise of British Volt, once the UK’s great hope for the future of the auto industry. And millions are on the move in Asia for the Lunar New Year.
Published 01/20/23
There’s more bad news out this morning for the embattled housing sector. Housing starts, the metric used to measure the number of new homes being constructed in the U.S., fell for a fourth consecutive month. KPMG Chief Economist Diane Swonk helps us break down what the data means for the wider economy. And, Treasury Janet Yellen said that her department would take “extraordinary measures” to keep the U.S. government paying its debts as Congress mulls increasing the debt ceiling. And, a story...
Published 01/19/23
It’s estimated that the U.S. government will hit the Congressionally-mandated debt ceiling today, meaning it will have to find ways to shuffle funds around until Congress raises the limit. Lawmakers are gearing up for a protracted fight on Capitol Hill. Recent data from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York show that inflation is hitting low-income households, especially those that are Black and Latino, the hardest. And, amid unease following the collapse of FTX, crypto miners are being...
Published 01/19/23
From the BBC World Service: France faces a day of national strikes as President Macron’s retirement reforms divide the country. The plans, which include pushing the country’s retirement age up to 64, are facing major pushback from unions. Also, how carbon can be captured from the atmosphere. And, Pakistan’s former president thinks he can solve the country’s economic crisis.
Published 01/19/23
Consumers seemingly couldn’t buy enough cars during the peak of the pandemic, but recent data shows that the auto industry saw widespread declines in vehicle sales last year. We delve into what drove the decline and what car sellers are doing to adjust. Lower vehicle sales also contributed to an overall decline in retail sales in December — a good sign for investors, says Susan Schmidt. But that may not be the case for others — we checked in with a number of small businesses to see how...
Published 01/18/23
A big change in the housing market is happening — young people aged 25 to 34 are making up a bigger and bigger proportion of homeowners. A new analysis from Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies says millennials are making inroads as they age and start families. Global demand for oil will reach a new record this year, according to the International Energy Agency. And, the Bank of Japan again declined to raise interest rates, bucking expectations and continuing the country’s policy of...
Published 01/18/23
From the BBC World Service: Global inflation seems to be easing – but there’s still no quick fix. The latest data from Europe suggests the worst of the inflation pain might be over for now. We hear from consumers and businesses in the UK where prices are still high, and we take a look at Japan’s unique approach to rising prices. Plus, Elon Musk changed Twitter’s blue tick system and now an unlikely party has been taking advantage – Afghanistan’s Taliban.
Published 01/18/23
Fresh economic data from the Chinese government paints a picture of a rapidly slowing and aging economy. The world’s second-largest economy reported just 3 percent GDP growth in the fourth quarter, a number that’s the lowest in decades besides the first year of the pandemic. This, was all during the same week that the country reported its first population decline since the mid-20th century. And, this week’s World Economic Forum summit in Davos, Switzerland is underway and tackling global...
Published 01/17/23
The annual meeting of the World Economic Forum kicked off this week in Davos, Switzerland, bringing together a collection of the world’s most powerful people to discuss a range of global issues. On the agenda for participants will be problems like climate change, geopolitical fragmentation, and even a question of the summit’s own relevance. Zanny Minton Beddoes, the Editor-in-chief of The Economist, gives her view on the ground in Davos. Electric vehicle sales accounted for 10 percent of all...
Published 01/17/23