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At the beach in Magens Bay, St. Thomas, the party is back on. It's one of the Virgin Islands' most popular beaches and by noon on a recent weekday, it's already busy. Reggae-inspired hip hop is playing as pickup trucks converted into taxis bring visitors direct from the cruise ship docks. Chris Dimopoulos runs the bar, serving up margaritas, rum punches and something called the painkiller.

"We're seeing a recovery slowly but surely. Every day gets a little bit better," he says.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Catherine Smith is Commissioner of Connecticut's Department of Economic and Community Development. This hour, she stops by for an update on the state's economy and manufacturing workforce.

Later, we also check in with Goodwin College President Mark Scheinberg. How is his school training the next generation of manufacturing employees? We find out and we also hear from you. 

Yoamar Vergara was living in the Puerto Rican city of Bayamon when Hurricane Maria hit the island's shores. Two days later, a friend living Springfield, Massachusetts, said she could move in.

Electric Boat

Groton shipyard Electric Boat is looking to hire more than a thousand people this year. But the submarine maker is warning that the lack of a federal budget could eventually affect its outlook. 

A new NPR/Marist poll finds that 1 in 5 jobs in America is held by a worker under contract. Within a decade, contractors and freelancers could make up half of the American workforce. Workers across all industries and at all professional levels will be touched by the movement toward independent work — one without the constraints, or benefits, of full-time employment. Policymakers are just starting to talk about the implications.

Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development

Connecticut is out of the running to host Amazon's monster second headquarters. The internet retail giant Thursday released its shortlist of 20 communities that it's still considering. Hartford and Stamford, Connecticut's official bidders, are out of luck. 

In the competition for Amazon's second headquarters, just 20 metropolitan areas remain in the running.

Last year, Amazon set off a hyper-competitive proposal process, saying that it plans to invest $5 billion in building a second headquarters that could create up to 50,000 high-paying jobs.

The Seattle-based company, which is a financial supporter of NPR, says it reviewed 238 proposals in the U.S., Mexico and Canada. Here are the metropolitan areas that made the cut:

The conglomerate General Electric says it is considering a breakup after taking $6 billion in losses to its insurance division.

For decades, GE gobbled up businesses as diverse as credit cards, jet engines, and TV networks. But last year, the company started losing bets made on coal and oil. Then came losses on power plants. Now it’s insurance. GE’s freshly-minted CEO John Flannery says its long-term care insurance division will lose $6 billion this year and $15 billion in the future.

In a narrow alley just behind a busy Queens street, Hernán's kitchen makes more than 4,000 churros each day for street vendors to sell across New York City. From 3 a.m., hours before nearby shop owners unlock their front gates, the kitchen fills with the sound of churro batter beating against the sides of large industrial mixers.

The kneaded dough is shaped by a long dispenser that drops it into sizzling hot oil. The churros — long, striated doughnuts — are finished with a sprinkling of sugar and cinnamon and stacked high on baking trays by Hernán's wife.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

Pharmacy chain CVS has confirmed it will keep Aetna’s headquarters in Connecticut after the two companies merge, nixing a plan to move workers to New York City.

Vornado Realty Trust

Health insurer Aetna still won’t say if its headquarters move to New York City is off. The city Thursday announced it was canceling its offer of financial incentives. 

Arthur Caranta / Flickr

They may not look like R2D2 or BB8, but in 2018, robots are an important part of our world.

This hour we talk about ​automation—new advances in “smart” technology during a period of time that’s been dubbed the “Fourth Industrial Revolution.”

A glitch in the Republican tax overhaul has created an uncertain future for Newman’s Own Foundation and the food company it operates.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

Puerto Rico is officially declaring itself open for tourism -- nearly three months after Hurricane Maria. But on an island where so many people still lack electricity, what does open for tourism mean?

Frankie Graziano / WNPR

In the wake of Hurricane Maria, and with the end of the year approaching, the Department of Consumer Protection has some tips for people who want to give.

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