economy

After several boom years while the rest of the economy struggled, farming is entering its third year on the bust side of the cycle. Major crop prices are low, while expenses like seed, fertilizer and land remain high. And that means farmers have to get creative to succeed.

Modern crop farms in the Corn Belt are sophisticated businesses. So put aside your notions of bucolic red barns surrounded by a few cows. And pull out your best business school vocabulary, because crops are commodities.

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The legislature has set lofty new goals for the state to create private sector jobs and boost its population.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

The state’s largest business organization seems to have angered legislative Republicans with its support of the proposed budget. 

Just a few months ago, the price of a barrel of crude oil reached a 30-year low. That price has inched up since then, but still, it remains 60 percent lower than it was in the summer of 2014.

As Bernie Sanders tries to keep his fight for the Democratic nomination for president going amid primary losses in recent weeks, his campaign is starting to talk about influencing the party platform.

Economists at UMass Amherst have been providing academic fodder for Sanders’ proposals.

Saying he was making a "tough decision," Puerto Rican Gov. Alejandro García Padilla announced the island would not make a more than $400 million debt payment due today.

"I've had to choose and I have made a choice," García said in a message to the commonwealth. "I've decided that your basic needs come before anything else."

NPR's Jim Zarroli filed this report for our Newscast unit:

Senate Bill One is usually the flagship legislation of any session, the Big Idea that signals lawmakers’ vision for the state. This year, it’s all about building entrepreneurship in Connecticut, but it hasn’t received the kind of fanfare you might expect. 

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For the United States, the 20th century marked a period of vast and unparalleled prosperity thanks -- in large part -- to an economic model known as the “mixed economy.” Under that model, the nation's government and markets operated in tandem, creating a robust coalition from which health, wealth, and well-being not only grew, but flourished. 

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The effect of a declining middle class is everywhere -- the medically uninsured or underinsured, the heroin epidemic, declining life expectancy for middle-aged white men, flat wages, weakened unions -- the list goes on and on.

Connecticut has seen robust growth in businesses owned by women over recent years, and much of the increase appears to be driven by minority entrepreneurs. 

China has gotten very good at making steel. And making it and making it and making it.

In fact, that "excess" production is causing such a crisis for the global steel industry that the United States is joining an international push to try to cut the glut.

J. Stephen Conn / Creative Commons

Remember Hartford's Six Pillars? Gov. John Rowland’s plan to revitalize Hartford -- begun almost 20 years ago -- included a convention center and sports megaplex, a downtown higher education center, up to 1,000 housing units, Civic Center renovations, expanded downtown parking, and riverfront improvements. 

Yahoo goes on sale Monday. At least some of you reading this are thinking, "Yahoo? Are they still around?"

Yes, this company founded in 1994, is ancient by Internet standards, but, according to the measurement company comScore, Yahoo sites are the third-most trafficked on the Internet. Among its properties are Yahoo Finance, News, Search, Mail, Tumblr and Flickr.

neetalparekh via flickr.com / Creative Commons

Connecticut employers added just 300 positions in March, a big dip from the 4,100 jobs created in February. 

Mary Lou Cooke photo illustration / frye1989 / pixabay / WNPR / Creative Commons

Connecticut’s “new normal” sees its economy underperforming the nation as a whole. But the state still has core strengths that it can leverage in an effort to improve its economic performance.

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David Brancaccio

If you want to know where the economy’s going, who would you want sit next to on a plane? Fed chair Janet Yellen is a good answer. So is Ray Dalio, a legendarily successful investor. Dalio is founder and CEO of Bridgewater Associates, the largest hedge fund manager in the world. Dalio bases his investment decisions less on abstract financial data, and more on his reading of the macro economy.

Scot Lilwall / Flickr

As golf season begins again there are some troubling signs for the sport's future. The game of presidents past and country-clubbers around the nation is in fast decline according to analysts.  With a decrease in participation,  television ratings,  equipment sales, rounds played and courses being built, are we seeing the end of golf?

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Rep. Joe Courtney joins us to talk about what he's working on in Washington, D.C. for his constituents in eastern Connecticut. One national issue hitting his district particularly hard is the heroin epidemic. What is the federal government's role in combating this problem? 

Also, the U.S. Navy announced this week that Electric Boat would be the main contractor for a new submarine program. How's the health of the rest of the defense industry in the region?

The U.S. economy gained 215,000 jobs in March, the Bureau of Labor Statistics says in its monthly report released Friday. The unemployment rate rose slightly to 5 percent, up from 4.9 percent in the month before.

"The increase in the unemployment rate came because we had more people looking for work," economist Gus Faucher of PNC Financial Services tells our Newscast unit.

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This campaign season has seen the attack on the concept of government in full swing, with Republican candidates pledging to cut taxes and downsize federal agencies.

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In his February budget address, Gov. Dannel Malloy outlined the challenges facing the state government. "Connecticut state government must reset our expectations of what we can afford, how we provide services, and how we save for our priorities," said Malloy. "It won't be easy, and it often won't be politically popular." That last part is becoming increasingly evident.

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In 2013, over 1,000 gold coins were found by a couple walking their dog on their property in Sierra Nevada, California. A rainstorm exposed the rusted can holding the gold coins. They soon found additional rusted cans, all holding gold coins dating from 1847 to 1894. The face value of the coins was just under $28,000. Today's market value is about $10 million.

David Ohmer / Creative Commons

For the United States, the 20th century marked a period of vast and unparalleled prosperity thanks -- in large part -- to an economic model known as the “mixed economy.” Under that model, the nation's government and markets operated in tandem, creating a robust coalition from which health, wealth, and well-being not only grew, but flourished. 

Kelly Henderson loves her job, teaching at Newton South High School in a suburb west of Boston. But she's frustrated she can't afford to live in the community where she teaches: It's part of the 10th most expensive housing market in the nation.

"For people in the private sector, they're probably saying 'Oh poor you, you can't live in the community where you work, what's the big deal?' " says Henderson, 35. "And I guess part of the nature of public education and why it's a different kind of job, is that it's all-consuming — as it should be."

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Governor Dannel Malloy and legislative leaders say large numbers of state employee layoffs appear more likely after the unions' umbrella organization declined to discuss possible pension and benefit concessions.

glegorly/iStock / Thinkstock

Connecticut’s latest jobs report is giving cause for concern.

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It was a battle of dueling economic reports before the state legislature Thursday as lawmakers considered whether to commission yet another study on the impact of a potential third casino. 

The U.S. economy gained 242,000 jobs in February while average wages dropped slightly, according to a Bureau of Labor Statistics report released Friday.

The unemployment rate held steady at 4.9 percent.

The report indicates stronger job growth than expected, and an improvement over the previous month. January's count of 151,000 new jobs — far lower than had been anticipated — was revised upward, to 172,000. And the job gains for December were also revised upward, from 262,000 to 271,000.

Senado Federal / Flickr Creative Commons

It goes by many names: the sharing economy, the collaborative economy, the peer economy, just to name a few. Whatever you want to call it, one thing's for sure: this new way of doing business -- where idle assets equal big profits, and the hard-earned currency of trust comes through user reviews -- is changing the economic landscape of our country.

The U.S. Supreme Court dealt a blow Tuesday to nascent efforts to track the quality and cost of health care, ruling that a 1974 law precludes states from requiring that every health care claim involving their residents be submitted to a massive database.

The arguments were arcane, but the effect is clear: We're a long way off from having a true picture of the country's health care spending, especially differences in the way hospitals treat patients and doctors practice medicine.

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