economy

Massachusetts
8:20 am
Wed December 17, 2014

Springfield City Council Sets New Property Tax Rates

Originally published on Tue December 16, 2014 12:10 pm

New property tax rates have been set in Springfield, Massachusetts.  For the first time in many years, the rates for both homeowners and business property owners have been reduced, as property values continue to recover from the Great Recession

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Rhode Island
3:58 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

Rhode Island Governor-Elect Taps Stefan Pryor as First Commerce Secretary

Stefan Pryor in a WNPR file photo.
Chion Wolf WNPR

Rhode Island's governor-elect Gina Raimondo has picked Connecticut Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor, a fellow Yale alum with experience leading economic-development efforts in New York and New Jersey, as her choice to be Rhode Island's first commerce secretary.

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Economy
6:21 pm
Fri December 12, 2014

Mortgage Giants Ease Down Payments For First-Time Homebuyers

A new directive from the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which regulates mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, will allow first-time homebuyers to put down as little as 3 percent.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 12, 2014 8:05 pm

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.

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Net Worth
1:21 pm
Fri December 12, 2014

Wealth Gap Between Races Widened During Recession, Study Says

Occupy Wall Street protesters join a labor union rally in Foley Square before marching on Zuccotti Park in New York's Financial District in 2011. A new report shows that wealth inequality between whites and nonwhites grew during the Great Recession.
Jason DeCrow AP

Originally published on Fri December 12, 2014 3:50 pm

The Great Recession has widened the wealth gap among white, black and Hispanic Americans, with median net worth in white households increasing to 13 times that for African-Americans, a new Pew Research Center study shows.

The study also shows that from 2007 to 2013, the wealth of white households has grown to 10 times that of Hispanic households.

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Hartford History
9:10 am
Thu December 11, 2014

Senate Vote Nears on Making Hartford's Coltsville a National Park

Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra in October 2013 announced a plan to borrow $5 million and build more apartments at the former Colt factory.
Credit David Panagore

The effort to turn Hartford's historic Colt gun factory into a national park is continuing. 

A century and a half ago, the Colt complex was where Sam and Elizabeth Colt made the revolver. Now, it's a fundamental part of the country's industrial history, and supporters want to turn it and some of the surrounding neighborhood into a national park.

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Voicemail Project
4:19 pm
Tue December 9, 2014

The WNPR Voicemail Project: Retail Horror Stories

John Henderson Creative Commons

WNPR has an experimental radio project and we want you to get involved. The idea is simple: we provide a theme; you call our hotline and tell a story.

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Connecticut Business Briefs
11:24 am
Tue December 9, 2014

UTC Appoints New CFO

UTC's new CFO, Akhil Johri.
Credit United Technologies

United Technologies is bringing back a long-time executive to serve as chief financial officer.

Akhil Johri succeeds Greg Hayes, who became president and CEO of the conglomerate last month after the unexpected departure of CEO Louis Chenevert. 

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Business
4:58 pm
Mon December 8, 2014

GOP Leaders: Gas Tax Hike Could Fuel Fixes To Bad Roads And Bridges

Thomas Harden of Chicago pumps gas into his truck. He says he wouldn't support a gas tax increase.
David Schaper NPR

Originally published on Tue December 9, 2014 1:57 pm

Gasoline prices are at their lowest level in four years. The price at the pump in many states is almost a full dollar cheaper than it was last spring.

So some politicians think this is a good time to raise gasoline taxes. Several states are tired of waiting for Congress to fix the federal highway trust fund, so they're considering raising gas taxes themselves to address their crumbling roads.

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Business
4:44 pm
Fri December 5, 2014

2014: The Year When The Job Market Finally Turned The Corner

A construction worker clears wood from a platform that spans the Penn Station railroad tracks in New York City on Nov. 18. Construction jobs rose by 20,000 according to the November jobs report.
Mark Lennihan AP

Originally published on Fri December 5, 2014 4:23 pm

As 2014 winds down, you might want to save that calendar hanging next to the fridge.

Maybe even frame it.

After so many years of misery for the middle class, 2014 is now looking like the one that finally brought relief. The November jobs report, released Friday by the Labor Department, had blowout numbers showing a surge in job creation, an upturn in work hours and a meaningful boost in wages.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
8:21 am
Thu December 4, 2014

Inflammation Can Kill You

Vishwa-Deep Dixit is Professor of Comparative Medicine and of Immunobiology at the Yale School of Medicine
Chion Wolf

I got interested in this topic last year when the Yale Medical School got a $10 million Blavatnik grant for more work in the specific area of  Immunobiology.

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Holiday Shopping
9:56 am
Sun November 30, 2014

Black Friday Sales Down At Stores, Surge Online

Shoppers Manuel Orellano, middle, with his daughter Marcela, left, and her son Manuel, 6, shop for children's clothing at JCPenney at Glendale Galleria shopping mall in Glendale, Calif, on Friday.
Damian Dovarganes AP

Originally published on Sun November 30, 2014 2:33 pm

Black Friday shopping at brick-and-mortar stores in the United States was down about 7 percent from a year ago, according to ShopperTrak, but more purchases on Thanksgiving Day nearly made up the difference. Meanwhile, online retailers recorded double-digit year-on-year increases in sales.

ShopperTrak says Friday store sales hit $9.1 billion, but that shoppers spent $3.2 billion on Thanksgiving — a 24 percent increase for sales on that day from over last year. Overall, it represented a 0.5 percent drop from last year.

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Business
12:53 pm
Thu November 13, 2014

Gender Wage Gap in Connecticut Exceeds National Average

Phil Whitehouse Creative Commons

Women’s position in the workplace in Connecticut has improved significantly over the last 15 years, according to a new report. But the study, commissioned by the Permanent Commission on the Status of Women, says too many disparities still remain, particularly for women of color. 

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Mon November 10, 2014

Connecticut's Plan for Energy Efficiency; Roundtable Looks at CL&P Rates

Kevin Dooley Creative Commons

According to a new scorecard from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, Connecticut has dropped to sixth place in the national ranking of state energy efficiency. 

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The Business of Governing
10:31 am
Thu November 6, 2014

Catherine Smith Looks Forward to Economic Development 2.0

DECD Commissioner Catherine Smith
Credit Chion Wolf

Economic development was a major part of the campaign rhetoric this election season, and it seems destined to be a high-profile part of Governor Dannel Malloy’s second term.

WNPR sat down with the administration’s economic development chief, Catherine Smith to talk about what a second term will look like.

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American Made: The New Manufacturing Landscape
3:24 am
Thu November 6, 2014

In South Carolina, A Program That Makes Apprenticeships Work

John Harris makes a weld for a test during a welding class at Spartanburg Community College in Spartanburg, S.C., on Oct. 22.
Mike Belleme for NPR

Originally published on Thu November 6, 2014 6:41 pm

Several years ago, South Carolina had a problem: a shortage of skilled workers and no good way to train young people for the workforce. So at a time when apprenticeship programs were in decline in the U.S., the state started a program called Apprenticeship Carolina.

"We were really, really squarely well-positioned at the bottom," says Brad Neese, the program's director.

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Election 2014
1:13 pm
Thu October 23, 2014

How Far Apart, Really, Are Connecticut's Candidates for Governor on Economic Issues?

Governor Dannel Malloy breaks ground on Jackson Lab's new Farmington facility.
Jackson Labs

The two major candidates for Connecticut governor have clashed repeatedly in their debates over economic policy and jobs. But how far apart are they really in how they would tackle the pocketbook issues? Maybe not so far.

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Employment Statistics
4:04 pm
Mon October 20, 2014

Connecticut Posts Biggest Monthly Jobs Gain in 20 Years

Credit Sujata Srinivasan

Connecticut posted its best month for job gains in 20 years in September, adding 11,500 positions to its workforce. That’s the largest monthly improvement since 1994. 

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Energy
1:10 pm
Thu October 16, 2014

As Oil Prices Fall, Who Wins And Who Loses?

Saudi Arabia's oil minister, Ali Al-Naimi, shown in Kuwait last month, has played down the drop in oil prices. The country continues to pump oil at high levels, saying it wants to preserve its market share. But this has also contributed to a 25 percent drop in oil prices since June.
Yasser Al-Zayyat AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu October 16, 2014 2:47 pm

With oil around $85 a barrel and tumbling to its lowest levels in several years, here's the upside: Gasoline prices are down, the U.S. is feeling less dependent on foreign crude, and serious economic pressure is growing on oil producers such as Iran and Russia.

Here's the downside: The low demand for oil reflects a fragile global economy that's vulnerable to additional shocks, like falling stock markets around the world.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Tue October 14, 2014

The Return of the American Streetcar

Jay Galvin Creative Commons

Sometimes called trams, sometimes called trolleys, the streetcar was once a primary method of transportation in many American cities. Nowadays, well, not so much. But as many metropolitan districts grapple with issues like traffic congestion and economic development, some have begun looking to streetcars as a potential solution.

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Nobel Prize
9:53 am
Mon October 13, 2014

French Economist Wins Nobel For Work On Regulating Big Business

French economist Jean Tirole won the Nobel prize for economics Monday for research on market power and regulation in industries dominated by a few powerful companies. The undated photo was provided by the Toulouse School of Economics.
AP

Originally published on Mon October 13, 2014 1:15 pm

Saying that he "clarified how to understand and regulate industries with a few powerful firms," the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has awarded the Nobel Prize in economic sciences to Jean Tirole, who teaches at the Toulouse School of Economics. He studies oligopolies, markets that are controlled by a handful of powerful (and interdependent) companies.

"I was very surprised, I was incredibly surprised," Tirole said shortly after he received the phone call informing him of the win. "The honor... it took me half an hour to recoup from the call. I still haven't recouped yet."

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Fri October 10, 2014

Connecticut's Slow Housing Recovery

Deb Chamberlain.
Chion Wolf WNPR

It’s been years since the housing market crashed. But in that time, increased job insecurity and the rising cost of living have left many questioning whether the American dream of homeownership is still a practical one, especially for the nation’s low- and middle-wage earners.

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Where We Live
7:36 am
Thu October 9, 2014

Welcome to the Great State of New England!

Toronto Public Library

Our beloved New England is filled with scenic coastlines, lobster pots and clam shacks, Green Mountains, White Mountains, and a long river valley filled with Yankees who take their long winters as a point of pride. We have history and culture all right here.

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New Jersey
10:16 am
Sat October 4, 2014

Atlantic City Falls From Glittering Resort To Bargain Basement

The Revel was one of four Atlantic City casinos to shut down this year.
Mel Evans AP

Originally published on Mon October 6, 2014 1:36 pm

The U.S. may have added jobs to its payroll last month, but the losses are still huge in Atlantic City, N.J., where four casinos have closed this year. A fifth teeters, and more than 7,000 people — dealers, greeters, cooks and maids — have been laid off.

The job losses could mean a future of boarded windows and abandoned buildings.

In the 1970s, Atlantic City had lost the glitter of its golden years — the 1940s and '50s, when it was a favored summer spot with a broad beach, the Boardwalk, pastel resort hotels and the home of the Miss America Pageant.

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American Made
7:06 am
Fri October 3, 2014

U.S. Manufacturing: A Remembrance And A Look Ahead

A worker cuts slabs of steel at a mill in Cleveland in 2004.
Ron Schwane AP

Originally published on Fri October 3, 2014 11:28 am

If it weren't for American manufacturing, I wouldn't be here today.

Literally.

A century ago, my grandfather moved from Poland to Youngstown, Ohio, to work in a steel mill. At the time, Ohio factories were cranking out steel slabs, tires and cars — building a mountain of wealth that the next generation could climb. And the generation after that.

But what will happen in the 21st century? Is the path that led to higher ground blocked now?

The answer is complicated.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Thu October 2, 2014

The History and Methodology of Public Opinion Polling

Monkey Business Thinkstock

Public opinion polling has a pretty extensive history here in the United States. Since the 19th century, interest groups, researchers, think tanks, media outlets have all used polls to measure the favorability of a wide range of political, social, and economic issues. 

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State Taxes
12:58 pm
Mon September 29, 2014

Connecticut Tax Panel Looks at Simplicity, Affordability

Credit Flickr Creative Commons, Tax Credits

Connecticut’s tax code comes under scrutiny on Monday as the state’s new tax panel meets for the first time.

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American Made
3:27 am
Mon September 29, 2014

Rochester Focuses On A New Picture Of American Manufacturing

Tom Worden works on a fixed-abrasive grinding table at Exelis Inc. in Rochester, N.Y. Exelis is an aerospace and defense company, and employs numerous former Kodak workers in its facility.
Mike Bradley for NPR

Originally published on Mon September 29, 2014 7:17 am

Rochester, N.Y., was once the imaging capital of the world, home to Kodak, Xerox and the eye care company, Bausch + Lomb.

Led by these companies, the manufacturing sector once employed 60 percent of Rochester's workforce. Now, that's less than 10 percent. And so, like many cities in this country, Rochester is trying to build something new from its manufacturing heritage.

If you want to understand the story of Rochester, says historian Carolyn Vacca, you need to come to High Falls, where from a bridge visitors see a waterfall and a panoramic view of downtown.

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U.S. Economy
6:26 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

Federal Reserve To Markets: Nothing To See Here; Move Along

"There are still too many people who want jobs but cannot find them," Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said Wednesday.
Susan Walsh AP

Originally published on Wed September 17, 2014 7:23 pm

The Federal Reserve's policymakers just eyeballed the economy and saw nothing new.

On Wednesday, they announced that wage and price hikes remain low, and that growth continues at a moderate pace. That means interest rates can stay superlow for a "considerable time," while the Fed's bond-buying program can wrap up next month, as expected.

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Global Economy
10:37 am
Tue September 16, 2014

Like It Or Not, Scotland's Drama May Hit Your Wallet

The Saltire, the flag of Scotland, flies near the Union Jack in Gretna in Scotland. Some economists say Thursday's vote on Scotland's independence could have wide-ranging economic impacts.
Andy Buchanan AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue September 16, 2014 4:37 pm

Does news of Scotland's independence vote make your eyelids feel heavy?

Americans may feel a yawn coming on when told of a political squabble playing out in a distant land less populated than metro Atlanta.

But economists say this Thursday's vote is no snoozer. You may wake up to find its outcome has triggered another global financial upheaval.

To understand the risks to your economic health, let's first review a couple of basics:

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The Faith Middleton Show
11:44 am
Mon September 15, 2014

How to Protect and Grow Your Money

Credit Dave Dugdale/flickr creative commons

While more people are saving, a startling number of people have no pensions or savings as they head toward retirement years. If you are lucky enough to have investments, the key question for our show is, how do we protect and grow our assets at the same time? Too conservative means you miss the gains; too risky means you can lose a bundle if the market sinks, and never make it up if retirement is near.

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