economy

When Samuel Smith graduated with a master's in engineering from Cornell, he thought the $190,000 in debt he incurred would pay off. But it took him a while to land job at a software firm in Austin, Texas. And now, after paying $1,750 a month in loan payments, rent and food, he says he doesn't have much left over.

He doesn't own a TV and says "it'd be nice to go out for drinks once in a while."

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin said the city has a $9 million budget shortfall this year, one that is projected to be three times that in the budget year to come without significant cuts. The mayor is beginning by making some immediate changes at city hall to try and save money. 

Chion Wolf / WNPR

This hour, Kristina Newman-Scott sits down with us for the first time since becoming Connecticut's director of culture in 2015. We find out how things are going in her new position, and take your questions about local arts and culture. 

Last year, an Iranian economist named Mohammad Mehdi Behkish was extremely optimistic about prospects for a nuclear deal that would end many economic sanctions on his country.

"Personally, I would say it can't be that there would not be a deal," he told me when I met him in Tehran.

The alternative, he said, was disaster.

Behkish leads Iran's International Chamber of Commerce. When I met him again this month in his Tehran office, he sounded even more optimistic.

This hour -- from Holocaust survivor to iconic twentieth-century inventor -- we hear about the life and career of Hartford's own H. Joseph Gerber. His story is chronicled in the new biography, The Inventor's Dilemma.

Also, urbanist Richard Florida gives us his take on GE's move from Fairfield to Boston

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Home sales finished the year strongly, with a 17.9 percent bump in sales in December of 2015. It marked the best December for the housing market in Connecticut since 2006.

c-George/iStock / Thinkstock

About half of Connecticut businesses oppose the idea of the state getting further into the retirement business. That’s the finding of a survey commissioned by the Connecticut Retirement Security Board. 

Harriet Jones / WNPR

Plunging oil prices are proving to be a boon for about six million homeowners in the northeast who heat their homes with oil. And they may also lessen the appetite for conversion to other fuels -- a movement that had been gaining ground. 

Xerox will be splitting into two companies — one dedicated to document management, including the printing and copying technology that made Xerox's name, and another for business process outsourcing.

The split will be completed by the end of the year. The names of the two companies, as well as their leadership structures, have yet to be determined, Xerox says.

Harriet Jones / WNPR

The number of empty offices in Fairfield County has declined slightly, according to one brokerage — the first time they’ve seen that trend in several years. 

The Northern Pass project is bidding for a contract to sell a portion of its energy to the states of Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island. The three states have requested proposals in a process they are calling the "Clean Energy RFP" which they hope will drive down the cost of large-scale renewable energy, by buying in bulk.

The program is accepting bids from utility scale wind, solar and large-scale hydropower projects, as well as hydrogen fuel-cells and even battery storage.

neetalparekh via flickr.com / Creative Commons

Connecticut’s unemployment rate jogged upward in December, even as the state added 300 jobs. 

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

Bankruptcy proceedings for the failed television venture called the Back9Network are continuing, and a federal judge said Monday that she would approve a plan to let the Hartford-based company borrow more money. 

Harriet Jones / WNPR

Expanding overseas is a goal for many Connecticut businesses. A new program aims to give them the data to break into foreign markets. 

Chion Wolf / WNPR

A new report on Connecticut's civic health was released Tuesday. This hour, we discuss its findings with Secretary of the State Denise Merrill. 

West Hartford Walmart to Close Its Doors

Jan 15, 2016
Mike Mozart / Creative Commons

West Hartford's Walmart Neighborhood Market is among 153 stores the multinational retail corporation said it will be closing across the country. 

Denis-Carl Robidoux / Creative Commons

General Electric said in this week's announcement that it began considering a headquarters move three years ago: in other words, long before last spring's dust-up over Connecticut’s budget. 

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Last week, Puerto Rico defaulted on millions of dollars in debt payments, spurring legal action from bond insurers. This hour, we get the latest on the island's economic crisis, including Governor Alejandro García Padilla’s pleas for Congressional intervention

Harriet Jones / WNPR

General Electric confirmed on Wednesday afternoon that it will move its headquarters to Boston from Fairfield.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

Governor Dannel Malloy has touted the state’s economic achievements in 2015, saying robust job growth and an overall rise in wages has put Connecticut in a stronger position.

Mike Mozart / Creative Commons

Four Macy’s stores in Massachusetts and Connecticut are among dozens of locations slated for closure nationwide. The department store chain cites slow 2015 sales as the reason.

Another sharp fall forced China's stock market to close less than 30 minutes after trading began Thursday, setting up another rough day for investors. In the first half-hour of U.S. trading, the Dow Jones index fell by more than 1.2 percent — and that was after clawing back 90 points of an initial drop.

After trading in China was halted automatically the second time this week, officials said Thursday that they're suspending the "circuit breaker" that shuts down the market if a key index falls by 7 percent.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

What news mattered most to you this year? In Connecticut, many national headlines took a localized form in 2015. 

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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.

Centerplan Construction

The head of the Hartford agency overseeing the new $56 million minor league baseball stadium project said he is concerned that the project won't be done in time for opening day in April. But the stadium's developer said that's not the case. 

Paul Jerry / Creative Commons

Serta Simmons Bedding is planning to relocate its Massachusetts operations across the border to Windsor Locks, according to Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy. 

Harriet Jones / WNPR

General Electric is going to make us wait a little longer. The conglomerate had promised a decision on its potential headquarters move by the end of this year, but recently said it won’t announce until January.

Michael Iamele / Soul de Cuba Café

American Airlines and Jet Blue have announced plans to offer scheduled flights to Cuba. This follows last week’s new agreement on commercial flights between the island nation and the United States. 

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

When Metro-North trains run through the East Side neighborhood of Bridgeport, passengers don’t see much beyond a jungle of abandoned factories.

But on the site of an old ammunition factory, the state plans to build a second rail station for the city. It’s a part of Bridgeport that needs development the most, some say.

The Federal Reserve on Wednesday announced liftoff for short-term interest rates — a launch that may send many borrowing costs higher in 2016.

The 0.25-percentage-point increase — to a range of 0.25 percent to 0.5 percent — in the federal funds rate was small but important because it signals the beginning of the end of easy money; the Fed wants to get back to normal after years of fighting economic stagnation with supercheap loans.

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