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WNPR’s Business Desk has a tradition at this time of year of asking our contributors from around the state to reflect on the year just past, and make a few predictions for the future. 

More than 60 million cars, trucks and SUVs have been recalled this year — nearly twice the previous record. That translates to nearly 1 out of every 4 cars on the road recalled for a safety-related defect.

But analysts say those recalls say more about the way the industry has restructured than about overall car safety.

Lucy Nalpathanchil

T-mobile customers may qualify for a refund after the cell phone company agreed to a $90 million dollar settlement over allegations of mobile cramming. The practice of "cramming" includes when third-party companies add bogus charges to monthly bills.

Sujata Srinivasan

Later stage manufacturing companies are not, as a rule, high on the venture capital radar. According to PriceWaterhouseCoopers MoneyTree Report, only three out of 53 VC financing transactions in Connecticut went to manufacturing firms last year. Of this, two were established businesses with a revenue-making product. So how are some manufacturers bucking the trend and attracting big VC investments? 

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The Equal Pay Act of 1963 was designed to close the wage gap between men and women. More than 50 years later, however, discrimination against female workers continues to persist.

This hour, we take a closer look at wage inequality in our state. We ask our panel of experts why unequal pay is still so common in the workplace, and what’s being done eliminate it. 

The economy was floored by the polar vortex early on in 2014 — plus, businesses and consumers were still a little dazed by a government shutdown and debt ceiling fight late in 2013.

Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Analytics, says it all produced an anxious start to the year. "Yeah, a lot of worry, particularly because we had misstepped a few other times during the recovery," he says. "We had these false dawns when we really thought the economy was going to kick into gear and then we kind of fell back into the morass."

Now that MGM has won Massachusetts regulatory and voter approval to build a resort casino in downtown Springfield the Las Vegas-based entertainment giant has employment and local purchasing commitments to keep. 

Updated at 8:20 p.m. ET

More than 200 theaters will now show The Interview on Christmas Day, a spokesperson for Sony Pictures tells NPR.

Sony had pulled the controversial comedy that centers on a plot to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong Un after ominous threats were made, allegedly by a group that hacked the studio's emails. The nation's largest theater chains had also said they won't show the movie starring Seth Rogen and James Franco.

Keurig, the company that makes the popular single-serve coffee machines, is recalling 7 million Mini Plus Brewing Systems, with the model number K10 (previously identified as B31), the federal Consumer Product Safety Commission announced today.

Andreas Poike/flickr creative commons

The end of the year is fast approaching, and our contributors on financial matters advise us to keep a close eye on capital gains.

The CEO of Sony Pictures has been saying that the cyberattack against his company is "the worst cyberattack in U.S. history." And you can see where he's coming from. An entire feature film got canned — at least for now. And his corporate networks were so damaged, Sony workers had to revert to using fax machines to communicate. That said, "the worst" is a big claim.

The U.S. Justice Department has announced a settlement with French company Alstom that marks the largest-ever criminal fine levied in the U.S. over foreign bribery laws. Some of the conspiracy took place in Connecticut. 

Sujata Srinivasan / WNPR

The head of Connecticut Innovations, Claire Leonardi, has announced her resignation from the quasi-state agency. Leonardi has led Connecticut’s technology investment arm for almost three years. 

Harriet Jones / WNPR

Connecticut’s jobs recovery continued strongly in November, with employers adding 4,600 new positions. 

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Connecticut's U.S. senators visited Pratt and Whitney in East Hartford on Thursday to highlight the impact the 2015 defense budget will have on the state. 

L.L. Bean's iconic rubber and leather boots — long worn by practical and preppie New Englanders — have swung back into fashion with young people and are more popular than ever.

The recent surge in demand has the company scrambling to fill orders, upgrading its manufacturing equipment and adding a third shift at its Maine boot factories.

A new website for Connecticut entrepreneurs aims to launch 500 new companies in the state. The grassroots effort connects inventors with investors and help services.

New York State Gaming Facility Location Board

A New York State Gaming Board Wednesday selected developers and sites for three new casinos to be built upstate. 

The Patrick administration today announced more funding to help strengthen the advanced manufacturing industry in Massachusetts.

       Massachusetts will distribute $1.5 million to be shared by five regional workforce development agencies across the state to help recruit and train 280 unemployed or underemployed people for careers in precision manufacturing.    A vocational high school in western Massachusetts will get $400,000 to equip its machine shop with state of the art equipment.         

Mark Hillary / Creative Commons

It’s the holiday season, meaning it’s time for Americans to hit the stores for Christmas sales and New Year's bargains. This November and December, millions of shoppers will peruse the aisles of big-box stores and chain retailers, hoping to find the coolest gifts and lowest prices.

I See Modern Britain / Creative Commons

According to a recent survey from the National Retail Federation, Thanksgiving sales dropped by 11 percent this year. While this might sound like an alarming figure, some economists would argue that 2014 sales aren't nearly as bad as they seem. 

A federal directive will go into effect Saturday making it easier for some Americans to come up with a down payment to buy a house.

The vast majority of home loans are guaranteed by the government-controlled mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The regulator in charge of Fannie and Freddie will allow first-time homebuyers to put down as little as 3 percent.


Incoming CEO of United Technologies, Greg Hayes, said the company is committed to Connecticut, at least for now. He said the company’s direction remains constant.

"The priorities: it’s the same. Nothing has changed at UTC," Hayes told analysts at an annual business outlook meeting in New York.

Plagued by controversy and sharp drops in attendance and stock prices, SeaWorld has announced that CEO Jim Atchison will step aside.

U-T San Diego reports that the amusement park also plans on cutting an unspecified number of jobs. Atchison, according to the newspaper, will receive a $2.4 million payout and become vice chairman of the board.

Chairman David F. D'Alessandro will take on the job of chief executive officer while a permanent replacement is sought.

More than 400 business owners, contractors, and tradesmen packed a meeting Thursday morning to find out how to bid for work building the MGM Springfield casino. 

MGM officials outlined a construction timetable, explained hiring goals for women, minorities and veterans, and provided contact information. Hunter Clayton, MGM Resorts top construction official said building the casino, hotel, retail stores, restaurants and other amenities is a unique and special project.

Operation Fuel

The number of households unable to afford heating bills in the state will rise again this winter. That’s the message from Operation Fuel, the non-profit that aims to help low-income families with utility bills. 


The Hartford Courant presented a Key Issues Forum on Thursday morning in collaboration with the Connecticut Public Broadcasting Network. 

Many things made with paper have become relics because of computers and the Internet: the Rolodex, multivolume encyclopedias, even physical maps.

Now take a look in your mailbox or somewhere around your house. There's a good chance you'll see a shopping catalog, maybe a few of them now that it's the holiday season.

"I ignore them," says Rick Narad, a professor at California State University, Chico. "I get them in the mail sometimes, and they don't make it into the house. I walk past the recycling bin, and they go right in."

Uber is making headlines for all the wrong reasons.

Mike Mozart / Creative Commons

It's official: a gallon of gas now costs less than $3.00 in Connecticut. According to AAA's statewide survey, it's the first time in over four years that the average price has dipped below that mark.