M-F 6:30 p.m.
  • 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.

Identity and economic choice

May 8, 2019

Nearly everyone can agree that one of the worst parts about flying is going through TSA security screening. The system is designed to be thorough, meant to identify who you are and what you’re carrying. For those who identify as transgender or genderqueer, this is where things get complicated.

Uber and Lyft drivers in cities across the country are striking Wednesday. They say their take-home pay is decreasing, and they have little job security. The protest comes as the companies go public. Lyft’s IPO was in March; Uber’s is expected on Friday. Part of the excitement around these companies, and one of the reasons for their high valuations, is their future plans. They’re working on autonomous cars, which could mean there’ll be a drastically reduced need for drivers.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story.

The little word critical to the American economy

May 8, 2019

We're talking about "jobs." The unemployment rate is the lowest it’s been in 50 years, but there may be something other than this economy's tight labor market that explains why claims for unemployment benefits are so low. Then: Ride-share drivers are striking ahead of Uber's initial public offering in search of better pay and job security. But it looks like autonomous vehicles are the industry's future. Plus: We talk to a Los Angeles Times reporter about staffing season for TV writers after Hollywood writers fired their agents.

China’s economy is not growing as fast as it used to. That's partly due to government efforts to clean up air pollution, which officials say they have had dramatic success with.

The country’s Ecology and Environment Minister Li Ganjie said at the annual political meeting in early March that in 338 major Chinese cities, the average density of PM 2.5 — a fine particulate that can seep deep into the lungs and cause health problems — had dropped 9.3 percent in 2018.

The African National Congress has been the ruling party of post-apartheid South Africa since the election of Nelson Mandela in 1994.

"And in a lot of areas there’s been good progress,” said Zintle Koza, a visiting fellow from South Africa at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, D.C. “But there’s also a recognition that things could have been better.”

It's official: tariffs on Chinese imports are go if trade talks fail this week. Investors are just trying to keep up. Developers descend (or maybe just stay in) Mountain View for Google's I/O conference. Plus, we take a look at how buskers and street performers are adapting to an increasingly cashless economy.

Today's show is sponsored by CortBitSight Technologies and Capital One.

New phone. Whose debt?

May 8, 2019

Your debt collector could be texting you soon. South Africans head to the polls to elect a new president. Plus, Beijing skies are a lot clearer after five years of curbing air pollution.

Today's show is sponsored by CortBitSight Technologies and Capital One.

Britain sets coal-free power record

May 8, 2019

From the BBC World Service... Iran's President Rouhani has announced the country will increase its stockpiles of uranium and heavy water, directly contravening the nuclear deal. He also said Russia, China, the U.K., France and Germany had 60 days to meet their commitments to protect Iran's banking and oil sectors. Plus, the U.K. has gone six days without using coal, the longest streak since the industrial revolution. Will the country fulfill its aim of coal-free power by 2025? Plus, a huge relief operation is taking place in the Indian state of Odisha after it was hit by cyclone Fani.

We all know selfies have become an art form on social media: the perfect “I woke up like this” pose, the filters that make lashes longer, skin smoother, cheeks more plump and delectable, and noses more pleasingly pointed.

Selfies are an art form on social media. But some young people aren't happy with just a Snapchat or Instagram filter. They want the lip, cheek and forehead injections so their real-life faces match the doctored selfies. Marketplace reporter Erika Beras talks to host Molly Wood about her reporting on the topic, including how the makers of injectable facial fillers are spending a lot more on social media marketing.

In logistics, employers scramble for workers

May 7, 2019

The latest Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary showed the number of jobs open in the U.S. economy at the end of March rose by 346,000 from the previous month to 7.5 million. Meanwhile, the number of workers hired declined modestly and now stands nearly 2 million below the number of job openings.

There are 72 Boeing 737 Max aircraft sitting on the ground in the United States while the company waits on regulators to approve software fixes. But they’re not clogging up the taxiways at passenger airports. 

Southwest, which has a fleet of 34 Maxes, has flown many of them to Victorville for storage at the Southern California Logistics Airport. It’s one of a handful of giant airplane parking lots colloquially known as “aircraft boneyards.” Captured in aerial photographs, these storage facilities look stunning, with planes packed in, nose to tail, wingtip to wingtip. 

Export-Import Bank might shake years of reduced powers

May 7, 2019

The Senate will vote on confirming three new board members who would enable the Export-Import Bank to perform its full mission.

The political crisis in Venezuela may soon come to a head. Turmoil between the President Nicolás Maduro and opposition leader Juan Guaidó peaked last week when Guaidó called for protests against the president. Protesters hit the streets and faced violent interactions with the police before the events simmered down. For months, food and medicine prices have soared in Venezuela as it experiences some of the worst hyperinflation ever.

If you’re frustrated about your car payments or student loans, a new pop-up in downtown Los Angeles gives you the chance to vent your rage.

Stacks House — a pop-up that promotes women’s financial literacy — features an area called the “Debt Boxing Gym” where attendees can don a pair of boxing gloves and hit a series of obstacles that represent different types of debt or their “deadbeat friends” (“71% have loaned friends money and have yet to be paid back,” says the print on one bag.)  

Walmart wants your pets to be customers

May 7, 2019

Walmart probably already has your business — 95% of American consumers bought something from one of its stores or its website as of a couple of years ago, according to NPD Group. Now it wants your pets’ business, too: The retailer plans to have veterinary clinics up and running in about 100 stores within a year, and it’s launching an online pet pharmacy. We’re spending twice as much on our pets as we did 12 years ago, according to the American Pet Products Association, and Walmart’s aiming for a bigger slice of a market that was worth $72 billion last year.

With more than 20 democratic presidential hopefuls clamoring for attention in the 2020 campaign, candidates have latched onto several new political moments to raise money and attempt to boost their profile.

Online fundraising, the changing nature of campaign finance and new debate rules are forcing presidential campaigns to develop new strategies for raising money and grassroots support.

Rosemary Abrami moved to the Valley of the Sun in Arizona with her husband when he became the rabbi at the local synagogue. She was retired, Jewish and her new community didn’t have a university, which had always been her main source of work as a book binder.

But what the area lacked in higher education, it made up for it with old bibles. Her business, Abrami Bookbindery, was back.

112: What. The. Fed.

May 7, 2019

The Federal Reserve's got quite the puzzle on its hands. We're dealing with one of the longest job growth streaks in modern history. And yet, the economy isn't working as expected. Interest rates and inflation are simply not behaving according to standard economic models. And it’s the Fed’s job to figure out what’s going on in the name of keeping things stable and growing. New York Times' senior economics correspondent Neil Irwin returns to break things down for us. Plus, we hear from the 'Iolani High School economics team (good luck at the finals!) on their favorite Fed chairs.

Met Gala red carpet faces challenge from influencers

May 7, 2019

The Met Gala is possibly the biggest fashion event of the year. Designers create elaborate gowns in order to put the spotlight on their brands as millions watch the red carpet. But with the rise of influencers and fashion houses paying celebrities directly to model their designs, could the Met Gala be losing some of its cachet?

Click the audio player above to hear the full story.

A million species of life on this planet are facing imminent extinction because of human activity, according to a United Nations report. That report makes clear that there are consequences — economic consequences — for humans.

British retailers expect royal baby sales bump

May 7, 2019

The baby watch has ended and ... it's a boy!

The Duchess of Sussex, better known as Meghan Markle, yesterday gave birth to the British monarchy's first mixed-race child. Retailers around the country are set to see their cash registers ring amid the celebrations.

Meghan, 37, went into labor in the early hours of Monday morning with Prince Harry, 34, by her side, according to Buckingham Palace. Their son's name has yet to be released and it is unclear if he will receive a royal title.

Schools struggle to address rising student homelessness

May 7, 2019

Cecilia Sirianni's small office at Massabesic High School can sometimes get a bit messy. Piles of donated clothes and boxes of snacks fill cabinets and shelves — all for students at the rural district in York County, Maine. For more than a decade, a big part of Sirianni's job has been to identify kids and families who are homeless and help them meet basic needs.

The deal deadline over Chinese tariffs looms as talks continue this week. Mexican President Andrés Manuel Lopes Obrador is dealing a huge blow to oil thieves. Plus, we look at how some schools districts are making sure students experiencing homelessness don't get left behind.

Today's show is sponsored by BitSight Technologies, the United States Postal Service and Wasabi Hot Cloud Storage

Uber and Lyft drivers are banding together to launch a strike on Wednesday in several major American cities. The strike comes just days ahead of Uber’s IPO launch, planned for Friday. The drivers are seeking better working conditions, higher pay and a cap on corporate commissions. Frustration among rideshare drivers has been exacerbated by controversial public offerings from Lyft and Uber. In their IPO filings, both companies have described drivers’ employment status and pay as threatening revenue.

U.S. Interior Secretary David Bernhardt is set to testify before a House appropriations subcommittee Tuesday. Bernhardt is likely to face questions about a severe maintenance backlog in the National Park Service, which says it can’t afford to keep its parks looking like what people expect. "These funding problems really threaten not just the integrity of the cultural natural resources that make parks so special, but also of the tourism economy that is so important," said John Garder, senior director of budget and appropriations with the National Parks Conservation Association.

How one species is killing off one million others

May 7, 2019

The Fed is keeping a close eye on risky corporate borrowing. The National Parks Service budget gets the spotlight on Capitol Hill. Plus, a new U.N. report finds one million species are at risk of extinction due to human activity.

Today's show is sponsored by BitSight Technologies, the United States Postal Service and Wasabi Hot Cloud Storage

China's answer to Starbucks

May 7, 2019

From the BBC World Service... It's been almost a year since President Trump pulled the U.S. out of the Iranian nuclear accord. Can a deal with Europe be salvaged? Also, the ambitious Chinese start-up Luckin Coffee that is competing with Starbucks wants to raise as much as $510 million in a stock market flotation. Then, Italy's populist coalition came to power last year amid a promise to spend more and tax less. One of the more eye-catching proposals was a promise to start handing out a “citizens’ income” for the poor.

Livestreaming is growing retail sales in China

May 7, 2019

At long last, Instagram influencers can stop using clunky workarounds to try to get you to buy things on the social media platform — things like, “click the link in the bio” or tagging the account attached to the brand they’re hawking.

As of this week, creators can tag a product, and their fans can buy it directly from the post, further cementing the influencer economy and so-called social e-commerce as the next big trend in online retail.

As of this week, Instagram influencers can tag products in their photos so they can sell things directly to their followers. And brands are increasingly bypassing traditional advertising and using sponsored content and social influencers to sell their goods. In China, where most internet usage is already mobile, this so-called social commerce is already the norm. And some retail shops are using China's other hot mobile trend, livestreaming, to show off goods to a real-time audience. It’s like QVC, but for social media.