economy

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.

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.

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.

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.

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. 

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.

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.

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.

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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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.

Marine Corp New York / Creative Commons

I root for the Green Bay Packers...and not casually. As I speak, there's a Green Bay Packers mug nearby, on weekends I wear a Packers cap and use Packers shopping bags. Most disturbingly, in the long, long off-season, I subscribe to services which provide me with daily obsessive updates on anything going on in Packers land. And, I read them even though nothing really is going on. 

Fast-food workers in cities across the country, from Los Angeles to Chicago to Hartford, Conn., rallied for higher wages during a day of demonstrations Thursday.

Union organizers, backed by the Service Employees International Union, are building a campaign for $15-an-hour pay.

At the corner of 87th Street and South Wabash in Chicago, an intersection that has a McDonald's on one corner and a Burger King on the other, workers chanted "$15 an hour" or sang "We Shall Not be Moved" as they blocked traffic.

Labor unions are looking for lessons in the recent worker victory at New England supermarket chain Market Basket. By using Internet technology to rapidly coalesce around a single demand, nonunion workers forced a sale of the company to their beloved CEO.

"I've never seen anything like it, that's for sure. And they prevailed, which is even stranger. They took on this and forced these people to sell their shares to this one guy," says Dennis Irvin with United Steelworkers Local 12012. "It's amazing, totally amazing!"

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.

Income inequality is getting greater in Connecticut as the recovery continues. That’s the message from a new report which says the state needs to use tax policy to help poorer families catch up. 

After operating for only two years, the Revel Casino Hotel has closed down, part of a trend that will reportedly shutter a third of Atlantic City's big gambling halls by the end of September. It cost $2.4 billion to build the Revel facility.

"It's a tragedy," massage therapist Lori Bacum, who worked at the resort's spa, tells NJ.com. "There were some warnings, but none of us thought it would happen. We felt so safe, because this was the place that was going to take (the city) to a new level."

The Politics Of Calling In Sick

Sep 2, 2014

Got the flu? Or a new baby? Perhaps a little one with chicken pox? In most countries, your employer must pay your wages if you stay home sick or to care for others. Not in America.

But a growing grass-roots movement aims to change that — starting with paid sick leave.

Already the movement has met some success. This past weekend, California became the second state in the country to mandate sick leave for employees.

American Woolen Company

In 1894, a new national holiday was created -- a day when American workers could retreat from harsh work conditions and long hours to spend some time with family and friends. The holiday was called Labor Day.

Rep. Paul Ryan, chairman of the House Budget Committee, used to have a habit of describing the American people in two categories. There were the "makers" — people paying taxes — and the "takers" — people getting government benefits.

Today, the Wisconsin Republican says he was wrong, and that the country needs to overhaul how it thinks about poverty. In his new book, The Way Forward: Renewing the American Idea, he offers ways to redirect federal spending to fighting poverty.

Notebooks And Pencils And Pens, Cha-Ching!

Aug 21, 2014

Millions of families are heading to Target or Wal-Mart this month to make sure their kids have what they need for the first day of school. And, as many parents know, those glue sticks and gym clothes can really add up.

CBIA

Recent jobs numbers from the Connecticut Department of Labor showed some areas of the state recovering much better than others.

Late last week, the state released figures for July job gains, the sixth straight month in which Connecticut employers have been hiring. The state overall gained a net 2,400 jobs in the month.

Connecticut's Labor Department says the state added jobs for a sixth straight month in July, dropping the unemployment rate to 6.6 percent.

Shoppers in Massachusetts can look forward to a sales tax holiday later this month. The Massachusetts legislature in the closing minutes of the legislative session last week set the sales tax-free shopping days for August 16 and 17.

The sales tax holiday was included in a comprehensive economic development bill that contains dozens of programs and incentives designed to create jobs. State  Senator Gale Candaras  of  Wilbraham, who helped write the bill, acknowledges there is scant evidence the sales tax holiday does much to grow the Massachusetts economy.

Sales incentives helped U.S. auto sales rise in July, as major auto companies reported selling more than 120,000 more vehicles than the same month last year. GM retained its spot as the U.S. sales leader.

Sales of passenger cars rose by nearly 5 percent this July compared to last year, with sales of light trucks even higher, at 13.4 percent, according to data released Friday by research firm Autodata Corp.

GM sold 256,160 vehicles last month, beating Toyota's 215,802 and Ford's 211,467.

The nation's unemployment rate moved up a bit in the month of July, to 6.2 percent, as more Americans who'd been sitting on the sidelines started looking for work, according to the latest monthly report released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Nonfarm payrolls increased by 209,000 jobs, a bit less than economists had expected.

monkeybusinessimages/iStock / Thinkstock

Manufacturers are increasingly bullish about the state of the economy, according to a new survey.

Uma Ramiah / WNPR

Ratings agency Fitch has maintained Connecticut's debt rating outlook at negative, saying the state's budget relies on one-time fixes, and calling the economic recovery "slow and uneven."

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio's administration is under fire for signing off on a building plan that allows a new luxury high-rise on Manhattan's western edge to have a separate entrance for low-income residents.

About 20 percent of the units in the 33-story tower will be reserved for low- and middle-income residents. But all the affordable units will be grouped in one area, and those tenants will have to enter through a separate door.

The 93rd annual Santa Fe Indian Market is only a month away. It's the biggest and best-known destination for Native artists and Native art collectors on the planet, and this year, it's got competition — a new event called the Indigenous Fine Arts Market.

Native American art and culture is big business. If you don't believe that, look no further than the controversial or illegal sides of the market. If you've been paying attention over the last year, you've seen some lurid and fascinating headlines:

Chion Wolf / WNPR

U.S. Senator Chris Murphy hopes for a strong vote in the Senate this week on the Bring Jobs Home Act. The bill would take away the ability for businesses to get a tax break for sending jobs overseas, and instead incentivizes companies to bring jobs back to the United States.

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