Hosted by Kai Ryssdal, our flagship program is all about providing context on the economic news of the day. Through stories, conversations and newsworthy numbers, we help listeners understand the economic world around them.
Episodes with Smash Notes
Yesterday, Aug. 13, represents how far into 2020 Black women would have had to work to earn as much as white men did by the end of 2019. On today’s show, we’ll talk about why. Plus: The toll the COVID-19 pandemic is taking on mental health and some parts of the retail sector.
Outdoor retailer REI had plans to open a brand-new headquarters in Seattle this summer. But with employees working from home, the company is looking to sell its new building before it’s even moved in. Today, we’ll look at the lessons learned by REI and other companies looking to cut costs in the pandemic. Plus: Some states are requiring companies to pick up the cost of employees’ Wi-Fi and home office supplies. But first, the latest unemployment claim numbers and cities’ budget shortfalls.
Recent changes at the U.S. Postal Service are causing mail to slow down. The delays could lead to more business shifting to private-sector competitors — and that could have consequences for workers. Most private competitors are less generous with pay and benefits than USPS, which has long been considered a provider of “solid middle-class jobs.” Plus: Bankruptcies are on the rise, apartment vacancies could lead to less affordable housing and a look at the perils of industrial farming and the risk to food.
One of the consequences of structural racism in the U.S. economy is the persistent gap between Black and white homeownership. Black Women Build is working to change that. The group is converting some of Baltimore’s 16,000 abandoned buildings into a community, working with Black women to refurbish the homes and then selling the homes to them at affordable prices. Plus: another potential rise in tariffs on the EU, an end to easier SNAP benefits and how the pandemic has changed the back-to-school shopping experience.
President Donald Trump ordered a payroll tax deferral on Aug. 8, but it only applies to workers who make a certain amount of money, and it’s going to be really complicated for employers. And it’s unclear how payment would work after the deferral period ends in January. Plus: What the consumer price index means for your wallet, how airports are suffering and one scientist’s experience with sexism in academia.
We got a decent, not great, jobs report to kick off the weekend. The U.S. economy added 1.8 million jobs last month, and the unemployment rate fell to 10.2%. But jobs aren’t coming back equally. We’ll tell you what you need to know and break down the week with our expert panelists. Plus: the latest on President Trump’s potential ban on Chinese apps, why Kodak was tapped to help make coronavirus treatments and how one family is getting through months in lockdown.
As we await the July jobs report, we’re going to spend some time today talking about how those monthly jobless numbers are compiled, and why figuring out that number can be so challenging. Plus: The recording industry’s legacy of exploiting Black artists, the decline in household debt and how robots can help with distance learning.
We’ve talked a lot on this program about structural economic racism, but what if the word “racism” isn’t even enough to describe the inequities in this country? Today we’re talking with author and journalist Isabel Wilkerson, whose new book argues just that. But first: What’s CFIUS and what does it have to do with TikTok? Plus the market for caregivers who have survived COVID-19, the ongoing legal battle over gig worker classification and how “creative accounting” works.
A new report from the New York Federal Reserve confirms that Black-owned businesses have been having more trouble during the COVID-19 pandemic, and a lot of it comes down to relationships with banks. We’ll look at why those relationships are so important. Plus: pay disparities in the video game industry, CEOs put pressure on Congress and a view from a college campus preparing to reopen.
That’s not exactly breaking news, but it’s important because more than 30 million people started facing their economic futures this week without an additional $600 a week in federal unemployment benefits. We’ll look at what that means depending on where you live. Plus: the inflationary and deflationary pressures on this economy, the disconnect facing students this fall and what’s going on with the White House, Microsoft and TikTok.
The Trump administration today announced a blockbuster, $2.1 billion vaccine-development deal with two drug companies, giving the United States dibs on 100 million vaccine doses. Hours later, the European Union struck a similar arrangement for even more doses. On today’s show, we’ll dig into fears around so-called “vaccine nationalism.” Plus: What’s going on with the economy (and whether Americans’ savings accounts are ready for it), how loss leaders work and the state of labor organizing in a pandemic.
We expected a bad GDP report today, but that doesn’t make the historic contraction easier to swallow. Ditto for the 17 million continuing unemployment claims for the week ending July 18. Today, we’ll dig into what it all means for the economy. Plus: defining “disinflation,” the economics of the NBA’s Florida “bubble” and Ron Howard talks about “Rebuilding Paradise.”