6pm Weekdays on 89.7 NPR News
  • Hosted by Kai Ryssdal

In-depth focus on the latest business news both nationally and internationally, the global economy, and wider events linked to the financial markets. The only national daily business news program originating from the West Coast, Marketplace is noted for its timely, relevant and accessible coverage of business, economics and personal finance.

Ways to Connect

The Congressional Budget Office is set to release its assessment of the GOP's new health care bill this afternoon. The CBO estimated 24 million would lose health insurance under the first draft of this plan. We'll examine whether fewer people will lose coverage under the most recent proposal. Afterwards, we'll discuss a downgrade in China's creditworthiness, and look at how the country's new fiduciary rule works. 

OPEC nations meet this week to discuss cuts to oil production, as prices for crude remain in a slump. Price volatility, changes to car technology, and other major uncertainties are leading to widely divergent views on the future of oil – namely, whether the world will see a peak in demand anytime soon.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story.

Libby Denkmann

Ashley Williams' ambition to become a lawyer has a lot to do with her experience as a kid in foster care.

“I want to be a lawyer because when I grew up in the foster care system, I didn’t have many lawyers who could advocate for me,” Williams said. “I figure I want to help other youth.”

Williams said she moved around to 36 foster homes and 26 schools after she entered the system at 10 years old.

“Education was just what kept me going,” she said. “I loved being in school.”

Mitchell Hartman

The Trump administration’s proposed 2018 budget calls for deep cuts in non-defense discretionary spending, including a 21 percent reduction for the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

D Gorenstein

In President Trump's budget plan, proposed $1.6 trillion reductions to Medicaid have taken center stage. But tucked into the raft of health care cuts is something that's attracted less attention: cuts for, the website where about 10 million Americans go to shop for insurance.

Last year, President Obama thought needed $2.1 billion to run smoothly. This year, Trump thinks it just needs $1.7 billion.

Penn Station is drag for commuters and the economy

May 23, 2017
Ryan Kailath

The busiest stretch of road in the entire country is Interstate 405 in Los Angeles, which carries more than 350,000 drivers a day, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. But on the East Coast, a single train depot handles nearly twice as many people every day.

New York’s Penn Station is stretched past capacity, with two train derailments in the last month, track closures, delays and cancellations.

Home sales drop 11.4 percent in April

May 23, 2017
Jana Kasperkevic

About 569,000 new single-family homes were sold in April, the Commerce Department announced this morning, about 50,000 homes short of what Wall Street expected. The disappointing April number was accompanied with upward revisions for March, when an estimated 642,000 homes were sold. That’s the highest since October 2007.

President Trump has proposed selling half of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, America’s emergency stockpile of oil, as part of his 2018 budget proposal. The White House says that would lower the federal deficit by nearly $17 billion over a decade. We'll take a look at how the reserve came about – and why there’s a debate over it.

Click the above audio player to hear the full story.

05/23/2017: Environmental scientists, wanted

May 23, 2017

With the stock and bond markets reacting to global events differently, Julia Coronado from Macropolicy Perspectives joins us to explain the disconnect. Afterwards, we'll look at the job market for EPA employees amid uncertainty about their future with the agency, and then explore what will happen with health care premium costs if Obamacare subsidies disappear.

Associated Press

MANCHESTER, England (AP) — The Islamic State group claimed responsibility Tuesday for the suicide attack at an Ariana Grande show that left 22 people dead as young concertgoers fled, some still wearing the American pop star's trademark kitten ears and holding pink balloons.

Teenage screams filled the Manchester Arena just after the explosion Monday night, and members of the audience tumbled over guardrails and each other to escape. Fifty-nine people were injured in what British Prime Minister Theresa May called "a callous terrorist attack.''

Legal wrangling between the Trump Administration and House Republicans leaves $7 billion of Obamacare subsidies in question. That has health insurance executives reaching for antacid, because it means they may have to jack up premiums. They have to assume that fewer people will buy health insurance if they don’t get subsidies to pay for it, and that means price increases for everyone left on the individual market. 

Click the audio player above to hear the full story.

JaeRan Kim

The White House’s budget mirrors initial proposals to cut funding for the Environmental Protection Agency by about 30 percent. While the budget still faces negotiations in Congress, the agency seems to be preparing for major reductions, including staff.  The agency announced last week it’s setting aside $12 million for buyouts and early retirements. EPA employees who feel unsure about their future with the agency have been seeking other options, and there are employers who want to give them jobs.

Is it fair to ask people to work for government benefits?

May 22, 2017

The Trump administration will reveal a major budget proposal tomorrow. It is widely expected to include massive cuts to Medicaid – $800 billion worth over 10 years. States would also get more flexibility to impose work requirements, meaning people who receive government assistance – including Medicaid – would be required to work.  Is that a good idea?

Click the audio player above to hear the full story.

Abacus: The only bank charged in the financial crisis

May 22, 2017
Kai Ryssdal and Tommy Andres

In 2010, the New York District Attorney's office charged Abacus Federal Savings Bank of Chinatown, New York with mortgage fraud.

Abacus became the only bank prosecuted for the financial crisis.

In a new documentary film, "Abacus: Small Enough to Jail," filmmaker Steve James tells the story of the Sungs, the family of a now 82-year-old Chinese immigrant named Thomas Sung who started Abacus in 1984.

Timber tariff cuts different ways in Canada, U.S.

May 22, 2017
Nate Hegyi

Workers from the WynnWood sawmill in southeastern British Columbia are buying bags of chips and hot dogs at a nearby gas station. Owner Betty Ann Gordon is at the counter, ringing people up.

Like many folks around here, Gordon’s business depends on the mill. And right now there’s some uncertainty. “Nobody knows ... what’s going to happen,” she said.

First let's start with the breaking news. You can now get your very own Make Me Smart pop socket and help Marketplace continue to report on the economic stories that matter to you. Check out that green donate button on our site, or contribute here

Sally Herships

When crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo first got their start, the idea was that all an entrepreneur needed was a cell-phone camera and a dream.

05/22/2017: Cereal may no longer be a breakfast staple

May 22, 2017

As part of a wider shakeup at Ford, the car company is replacing CEO Mark Fields with Jim Hackett, a former leader of the company's self-driving car unit. We'll explore more of Hackett's background and why investors wanted Fields out. Afterwards, we'll look at the decline of cereal and then dive into the wind power boom happening in Texas.

Jana Kasperkevic

Starting in 2018, anyone in the U.S. will be able to pick up a Kinder Egg without having to worry about incurring the wrath of the Food and Drug Administration. Except, this Kinder Egg will look slightly different than its outlawed cousin.

Jana Kasperkevic

People buy a lot of stuff. As the global middle class grows from 2 billion people in 2010 to 5 billion in 2030, we are bound to buy even more stuff. That means companies will have to produce more even as natural resources are dwindling. As a result, many manufacturers are trying to come up with a long-term sustainability strategy to replace the old “take, make, dump” business model.

Take a stroll down the cereal aisle at your local grocery store, and check out the Lucky Charms. General Mills, the cereal’s maker, has an attention-grabbing promotion right now: It’s giving away 10,000 boxes with nothing but those brightly colored marshmallow pieces inside. It raises health and nutrition issues, and also points to some serious challenges facing cereal in today’s ultra-competitive marketplace. And that explains one possible reason for this sugar-coated promotion: Cereal sales have fallen 3 percent a year since 2012, the market research firm IBISWorld says.

Andy Uhler

John Dudley lives in Comanche, Texas, and wears a couple of hats: He's a cattle rancher and a wind farmer. We met on his 20,000 acres in the Texas hill country. His land holds more than half of the 87 turbines that make up the vast Logan’s Gap Wind Farm. His brown Herefords roam among the giant stalks, as they spin up to 40 stories overhead.

“Yeah, we put up some turbines, and that changes the way the hilltops look," he told me. "But we think that will probably be instrumental in allowing us to continue to own our family lands.”

The U.S.'s delicate balance between arms deals and diplomacy

May 19, 2017

President Trump is headed to Saudi Arabia, the first stop on his first foreign trip as president. The Saudis buy a lot of weapons from the U.S., and more arms deals could be announced this weekend. The U.S. keeps careful tabs on who buys American-made weapons and what they buy. There is sometimes a delicate balance between arms deals and diplomacy.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story.


Rachel Abrams of the New York Times and Sudeep Reddy of Politico join us to discuss the week's business and economic news. This week, they talk about how the latest revelations from the White House will affect Donald Trump's economic agenda ahead of his trip to Saudi Arabia. Plus, with the controversies surrounding Trump and former FBI Director James Comey, we ask if people outside of the Beltway and New York are paying attention to it. 

Kai Ryssdal

The new “Alien” movie and the new “Guardians of the Galaxy” are expected to top the box office this weekend, both just the most recent examples of big tent pole productions that suck all the oxygen and money out of the movie-making ecosystem. So, with the summer movie season approaching, host Kai Ryssdal talked with New York Times culture critic Wesley Morris about what to expect in the upcoming summer blockbuster season.

The long tradition of being bored at work

May 19, 2017
Bridget Bodnar

In this commentary, we hear from author Mary Mann, who ponders why we're bored at work and what it means about your job in her book, "Yawn: Adventures in Boredom." 

Boredom is this sort of irritated restlessness. A lot of times, people will avoid talking about boredom because it's kind of embarrassing. Nobody really wants to admit that they get bored.

How much does it cost to send someone to prison?

May 19, 2017
Eliza Mills

recent memo to federal prosecutors from U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions changed the policy on prosecuting nonviolent drug crimes. Sessions wrote: "It is a core principle that prosecutors should charge and pursue the most serious, readily provable offense ... by definition, the most serious offenses are those that carry the most substantial guidelines sentence, including mandatory minimum sentences.”

Marketplace Weekend Staff

Let's talk about avocado toast.

It's a simple pleasure. A thick slice of wholewheat, rye or whatever fluffy carb-filled goodness you choose. Add a generous slathering of buttery avocado — only the ripest will do — and top with a little salt, a dash of pepper, maybe a slice of smoked salmon if you want to be fancy and enjoy. 

Bad! Why the AT&T strike means jobs woes for Trump

May 19, 2017
Jana Kasperkevic

Update: As of 3 pm EDT on Friday, 40,000 AT&T employees have gone on strike. "This is a three-day strike. AT&T workers will go back to work on Monday," a spokesperson told Marketplace. 

In April last year, 40,000 Verizon workers went on strike. Rain or shine, the employees stood outside stores, demanding a better contract. The strike went on for 44 days until an agreement was reached.

Marielle Segarra

In March, the Department of Homeland Security banned laptops from the cabins of flights coming from 10 airports in the Middle East and North Africa. Now, the agency is reportedly considering expanding the ban to all international flights.