Yuki Noguchi

Yuki Noguchi is a correspondent on the Business Desk based out of NPR's headquarters in Washington D.C. Since joining NPR in 2008, she's covered business and economic news, and has a special interest in workplace issues — everything from abusive working environments, to the idiosyncratic cubicle culture. In recent years she has covered the housing market meltdown, unemployment during the Great Recession, and covered the aftermath of the tsunami in Japan in 2011. As in her personal life, however, her coverage interests are wide-ranging, and have included things like entomophagy and the St. Louis Cardinals.

Prior to joining NPR, Yuki started her career as a reporter for The Washington Post. She reported on stories mostly about business and technology, and later became an editor.

Yuki grew up with a younger brother speaking her parents' native Japanese at home. She has a degree in history from Yale.

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Energy Grid
3:21 am
Wed September 10, 2014

New York Says It's Time To Flip The Switch On Its Power Grid

A worker repairs electrical lines in Plainview, N.Y., after Superstorm Sandy in 2012. A proposed plan to overhaul the state's power grid could help the system better withstand severe weather and enable energy to be stored and managed more efficiently.
Bruce Bennett Getty Images

Originally published on Wed September 10, 2014 11:18 am

In the power business, it's all about managing the peaks.

During the hottest days of summer, electric utilities run at full capacity to keep giant cities comfortably cool. But most of the rest of the year, half that capacity goes unused — and that's highly inefficient.

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News
4:36 pm
Thu September 4, 2014

The Big Picture Of The Fast-Food Wage Dispute

Originally published on Thu September 4, 2014 6:51 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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Business
5:07 am
Tue September 2, 2014

What's In A Name? Former Arthur Andersen Employees Spell It Out

Courtesy of Prime Group

Originally published on Tue September 2, 2014 10:01 am

Arthur Andersen is back. Or at least the old accounting firm's name will be, for the first time since its association with accounting scandals at Enron more than a decade ago.

The firm was criminally convicted — a decision that was later overturned, although that came too late to save the company.

As of Monday, a company called WTAS is adopting the Andersen name and, in doing so, hopes clients will have forgotten the bad associations.

'That Was The End'

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Business
3:30 am
Wed August 27, 2014

Driven By Climate Change, Cotton Buyers Look For Alternatives

Unifi makes Repreve, a thread that comes from plastic waste bottles and leftover polyester scraps, at its Yadkinville, N.C., facility.
Courtesy of Unifi

Originally published on Wed August 27, 2014 11:32 pm

VF Corp. is one of the biggest clothing companies you might not have heard of. But its brands include Lee and Wrangler jeans, Timberland shoes and The North Face, and it also makes uniforms for police and major league sports teams.

It's also a large purchaser of cotton. "We buy roughly 1 percent of the cotton available in the world," says Letitia Webster, VF's senior director of sustainability. Her job is to both reduce the company's greenhouse gas footprint and reduce its risks from climate change.

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Shots - Health News
4:32 pm
Tue August 12, 2014

Colorado Case Puts Workplace Drug Policies To The Test

Workplace drug testing for marijuana may need updating in light of changing laws, a case before the Colorado Supreme Court suggests.
Kai-Huei Yau MCT/Landov

Originally published on Thu August 14, 2014 5:23 pm

A car accident crushed Brandon Coats' upper spine when he was 16, leaving him unable to walk. His muscles still spasm, disrupting sleep and causing pain.

"If I'm out in public it's embarrassing," Coats says. "It's always uncomfortable. If I smoke marijuana, it almost completely alleviates it" — more, he says, than other prescriptions.

Coats smokes at night, and says he was never high when answering customer calls at Dish Network. "I was really good at my job," he says.

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Shots - Health News
4:20 pm
Thu July 31, 2014

Amid Smoking Decline, Look Who's Still Lighting Up

Tobacco giant Reynolds American is buying Lorillard and acquiring Newport, a popular menthol cigarette. In a shrinking market, Newport is one of the few U.S. brands gaining market share. It is particularly popular among African-American smokers.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Mon August 4, 2014 10:18 am

Robin Koval is making a career of her changed tobacco habit.

"I'm a child of a smoker — my father was a heavy smoker," Koval says. "Really typical to the way the story goes, I started smoking when I was 15."

Now she is president and CEO of Legacy, a foundation devoted to preventing tobacco use.

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Business
10:37 am
Sun July 20, 2014

Justice Dept. Charges FedEx For Online Drug Shipments

Originally published on Sun July 20, 2014 12:08 pm

Transcript

ARUN RATH, HOST:

A federal grand jury indicted FedEx last week on charges the company knowingly shipped drugs from illegal online pharmacies. NPR's Yuki Noguchi reports the disputes over shippers' responsibilities in the illegal drug trade go back many years.

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Shots - Health News
3:27 am
Wed July 16, 2014

Coping With A Co-Worker's Body Odor Takes Tact

We can all work up a stinky sweat — welders, ballerinas and number-crunchers alike. Would you want to know?
emreogan/iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed July 16, 2014 1:14 pm

It's summer. It's sweaty. And sometimes that means people are trailing some pungent body odors that their colleagues can't help but smell. But how do you tactfully inform co-workers that they stink and need to address it? As Cath Ludeman-Hall will tell you, it isn't easy.

She was just out of college and a newbie at a staffing firm when she was asked to gently talk to an older worker in a retail warehouse after his colleagues complained that he stank.

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Business
3:33 am
Tue July 8, 2014

Paintballing The Boss: Office Team-Building Exercises Gone Bad

A team-building exercise involving marshmallows and knives is led by Create-Learning. This is relatively tame compared with some co-worker bonding activities.
Clark Dever Courtesy of Create-Learning

Originally published on Tue July 8, 2014 9:51 am

Who can forget that game of Twister played in a skirt? Or the failed "trust fall" where the boss ends up on the ground?

Office team-building exercises often create lasting memories — just not necessarily ones you want to remember.

Several years ago Ben Johnson worked at a health foods store in Iowa. He remembers store management stringing up a donkey piñata to pump up the workers.

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Shots - Health News
3:49 am
Wed July 2, 2014

Targeting Overweight Workers With Wellness Programs Can Backfire

Originally published on Wed July 2, 2014 2:08 pm

Employers say obesity is a top health concern for their workers. But health is a sensitive and personal issue. Some employees say these wellness initiatives can go too far.

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Climate Change
3:27 am
Tue June 24, 2014

As Sea Levels Rise, Norfolk Is Sinking And Planning

The naval base at Norfolk has had to build two levels to its docks to accommodate rising sea levels. The water level has risen about 1 1/2 feet since 1920.
Yuki Noguchi NPR

Originally published on Tue June 24, 2014 11:25 am

From the water's edge in Norfolk, Va., the U.S. naval base spans the whole horizon. Aircraft carriers, supply centers, barracks and admirals' homes fill a vast expanse.

But Ray Toll, a retired naval oceanographer, says the "majority of [the naval base], if not all of it" is at risk of flooding "because it's so low and it's flat."

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Business
4:32 pm
Thu June 5, 2014

Sprint Might Finally Get Its Way With Possible T-Mobile Deal

Originally published on Thu June 5, 2014 7:58 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Sprint has made no secret of its designs on its smaller rival, T-Mobile. And today, there were multiple reports of a tentative deal valued at around $32 billion. Sprint chairman, Masayoshi Son, has said a deal would make it possible for Sprint to offer more competition in high-speed Internet. But as NPR's Yuki Noguchi reports, there are still plenty of obstacles to the proposed takeover.

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Business
4:08 pm
Wed June 4, 2014

When A Retail Giant Shops For A CEO, A Good Fit Is Hard To Find

Originally published on Wed June 11, 2014 9:45 am

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel. There are a lot of open job slots in the top ranks of retail companies these days. J.C. Penney, American Eagle Outfitters and Target are all looking for new CEOs. As NPR's Yuki Noguchi reports, executive recruiters say it's harder these days to fill those positions.

YUKI NOGUCHI, BYLINE: Once upon a time, retail wasn't so big or so complicated. And talent was as plentiful as the competition.

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Business
5:21 pm
Mon June 2, 2014

Will EPA's New Emission Rules Boost Your Power Bill? It Depends

A coal-fired power plant in Colstrip, Mont. The Environmental Protection Agency wants U.S. power plants to cut carbon pollution by 30 percent.
Matt Brown AP

Originally published on Mon June 2, 2014 8:26 pm

The issue of cost comes up repeatedly in the debate over climate change.

With the Obama administration's proposed rules for limiting greenhouse gases out Monday, critics and proponents alike claim they know how the plan will affect consumers' monthly budgets. The draft proposal aims to cut carbon dioxide emissions from power plants by 30 percent by 2030.

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Workplace Behavior
3:23 am
Tue May 27, 2014

States Consider Bills To Crack Down On Workplace Bullies

Workplace bullying even happens at the NFL. Investigators concluded that Miami Dolphins lineman Jonathan Martin was harassed by other teammates.
John Minchillo AP

Originally published on Mon June 2, 2014 4:44 pm

Bullying is a behavioral problem often associated with children in grade school, but according to a recent Zogby poll commissioned by the Workplace Bullying Institute more than a quarter of American workers say they've experienced abusive conduct at work.

Now, many states are considering laws that would give workers legal protections against workplace abuse.

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Law
4:16 pm
Mon May 19, 2014

In Rare Concession, Credit Suisse Admits Criminal Wrongdoing

Originally published on Mon May 19, 2014 8:54 pm

Credit Suisse will plead guilty to criminal charges and pay over $2 billion in fines in connection to allegations of tax evasion. But the CEO and chairman are reportedly expected to keep their jobs.

Business
4:12 pm
Tue May 13, 2014

Companies Face Backlash Over Foreign Mergers To Avoid U.S. Taxes

Pfizer is pursuing British drugmaker AstraZeneca, in part because it wants to lower its tax rate by moving its headquarters to London.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

Originally published on Tue May 13, 2014 7:26 pm

U.S. drugmaker Pfizer has offered more than $100 billion to acquire its London-based rival, AstraZeneca. Pfizer says it likes AstraZeneca's strong "pipeline" of new drugs. But the American company makes clear it is pursuing the British firm because it wants to lower its tax rate.

All Pfizer has to do is buy the company and move its headquarters to London.

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Environment
6:04 pm
Wed May 7, 2014

When Colleges Ditch Coal Investments, It's Barely A Drop In The Bucket

Some universities have stopped investing in coal companies, but many others don't see the point. An aerial view of the Coal Hollow Mine in Utah in 2012.
Ethan Miller Getty Images

Originally published on Tue June 10, 2014 9:59 am

If the students at Stanford University believe they sent the coal industry a strong message this week, they should think again. The school's decision to eliminate coal from its portfolio did not send shock waves through the industry. In fact, representatives say it will have no financial impact on the industry at all. Nor will it curb the growing demand around the world for coal-generated electricity.

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Business
4:02 pm
Mon May 5, 2014

Target's Top Executive Steps Down, Brought Low By Data Breach

Originally published on Mon May 5, 2014 11:49 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block. Five months after Target disclosed a massive data breach, its CEO has lost his job. Greg Steinhafel is stepping down from his dual posts as president and CEO at Target Corporation. His resignation underscores the company's effort to overhaul its entire business. Here's NPR's Yuki Noguchi.

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Economy
9:52 am
Sat May 3, 2014

Discouraging Numbers Hidden By A Positive Jobs Report

Originally published on Sat May 3, 2014 12:33 pm

The April jobs report came in much better than expected, though the shrinking labor force leaves some unanswered questions.

U.S.
4:52 pm
Thu April 24, 2014

Postal Workers Protest At Staples Over Shift In Jobs

Postal workers take part in a march in Washington, D.C., on Thursday to protest the opening of U.S. Postal Service counters at Staples stores.
Meredith Rizzo NPR

Originally published on Thu April 24, 2014 7:17 pm

U.S. postal workers took to the streets Thursday to protest in front of Staples office supply stores around the country. At issue is a decision to open Postal Service counters in Staples stores — something they say is siphoning away union jobs.

The postal workers' grievances come as their employer faces pressures to find new avenues of business.

Both the American Postal Workers Union and the leadership of the U.S. Postal Service lay claim to be fighting for the same cause: safeguarding the long-term future of one of the largest employers in the country.

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All Tech Considered
4:39 pm
Tue April 22, 2014

Online Sales Taxes Shift Consumer Behavior, Study Shows

Monica Chavez packs up a box at an Amazon.com fulfillment center Dec. 2, in Phoenix.
Ross D. Franklin AP

Originally published on Wed May 14, 2014 5:34 pm

Technically, consumers are supposed to pay taxes on things they buy online. In fact, few do.

Congress is considering a bill called the Marketplace Fairness Act that would force many online sellers to collect sales taxes for the first time.

In the meantime, some states have already enacted so-called Amazon taxes, forcing the giant online retailer to collect sales taxes the same way traditional brick-and-mortar stores do.

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Law
5:51 pm
Thu April 17, 2014

When Being Pregnant Also Means Being Out Of A Job

While many women continue to work with little change in their duties while pregnant, others find that pregnancy can be a career liability.
Yuri Arcurs iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu April 17, 2014 8:06 pm

The workplace has become a more understanding place for pregnant women or new moms these days. Many companies now have lactation rooms and offer more liberal maternity and paternity leave policies than in years past.

But for some women, pregnancy can still be a career liability.

Heather Myers was fresh out of high school and working at a Wal-Mart in Salina, Kan., in 2006 when she found out she was pregnant. She kept a water bottle with her on the sales floor, as her doctor recommended. Then, her supervisor intervened.

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Business
3:27 am
Thu April 17, 2014

When Divorce Leads To A Happily Ever After For A Small Business

Rhonda Sanderson and her ex-husband, John Amato III, shown here in 2010, helped make a business thrive after they divorced.
Courtesy of Rhonda Sanderson

Originally published on Thu April 17, 2014 9:03 am

Married couples in America co-own 3.7 million small businesses, according to the Census Bureau, and the arrangement can be fruitful when both marriage and business are going well. But what happens when it doesn't? Most of the time, when the love dies, the business relationship ends, too.

But that's not always the case.

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All Tech Considered
4:31 pm
Fri April 11, 2014

Can't Ask That? Some Job Interviewers Go To Social Media Instead

In the hiring process, there are things employers aren't permitted to ask, like whether you plan to have kids. Some employers turn to social media to learn more about job candidates.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue April 15, 2014 1:49 pm

Many of Don Kluemper's management students at the University of Illinois at Chicago have had this experience: After going on a job interview, they sometimes receive "friend" requests from their interviewers.

It puts the students in a bind, he says. They fear that not accepting the request might hurt their job chances, but they also feel compelled to scrub their profiles before accepting.

"They didn't know why they were being friended," Kluemper says. "If it was some personal request or if the person was going to be screening their profile."

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The Salt
5:54 pm
Wed April 2, 2014

Stop, Thief! When Colleagues Steal From The Office Fridge

"Too darn funny what a co-worker put on top of her lunch. It was fake of course, but got the point across."
Courtesy of Toni Kinnard

Originally published on Wed April 2, 2014 9:54 pm

As a wedding planner, Jeanne Hamilton saw her share of very bad manners — people who made her think, "There should be an etiquette hell for people like you."

And bingo! That was the beginning of her website, Etiquette Hell, a repository of more than 6,000 firsthand accounts of bad behavior people witness in their fellow peers.

And the most frequent complaint? Fridge theft. It's rampant, apparently, in offices all over the world.

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Business
3:08 am
Tue April 1, 2014

An Intern At 40-Something, And 'Paid In Hugs'

Danielle Probst, 50, works part-time in food service at NPR headquarters in Washington, D.C. Previously, she worked in film and marketing and also had an internship at a social media marketing company.
Jim Tuttle NPR

Originally published on Tue April 1, 2014 11:43 am

As the job market improves and people are trying to get back to work, more older workers in their 40s and 50s are signing on for internships. It could pay off, but it can come with some difficult trade-offs.

For Renee Killian, 47, it has meant working an unpaid stint alongside fellow interns who are less than half her age. Killian's dayside duties at the Red Cross in Washington, D.C., often involve making sure the response trucks are properly stocked with blankets, water bottles and cleaning kits. At night, she is a volunteer on call. And she's not earning a dime.

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Shots - Health News
5:39 pm
Fri March 21, 2014

OK To Vape In The Office? Cities, Feds And Firms Still Deciding

Some employees say e-cigarettes increase their productivity and help them steer clear of tobacco. But health regulators are looking into possible risks to e-cig users — and to co-workers.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu April 24, 2014 8:50 am

E-cigarettes aren't yet federally regulated as tobacco products, but many cities and some states are already moving to include the devices in their smoking bans. Such bans are raising a debate about whether e-cigarettes should be permitted to be used in smoke-free workplaces.

Gary Nolan was a two-pack-a-day cigarette smoker until he switched to e-cigs. Now Nolan, who hosts a libertarian talk show based in Columbia, Mo., freely puffs — or vapes, as it's come to be called — at work.

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News
4:31 pm
Wed March 19, 2014

In First Press Conference, New Fed Chair Goes Vague

Originally published on Wed March 19, 2014 7:59 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel.

Federal Reserve policymakers say it's not your imagination, there has been an economic slowdown over the past few months. The pullback was partly due to the harsh winter weather. And today was Fed chair Janet Yellen's first opportunity to face the Washington press corps at the end of a two-day meeting.

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Economy
4:21 pm
Fri February 21, 2014

Fannie Mae: Now Free From Debt But Still Under Government's Wing

Originally published on Fri February 21, 2014 7:53 pm

With another $7.2 billion in payments to the Treasury Department, Fannie Mae is now in the black for the first time since it entered conservatorship in 2008. Yet Fannie's future is as murky as ever.

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