economy

Planet Money
3:39 am
Fri January 17, 2014

The Birth Of The Minimum Wage In America

Franklin D. Roosevelt Libarary

Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 4:46 pm

In 1895, legislators in New York state decided to improve working conditions in what at the time could be a deadly profession: baking bread.

"Bakeries are actually extremely dangerous places to work," says Eric Rauchway, a historian at the University of California, Davis. "Because flour is such a fine particulate, if it gets to hang in the air it can catch fire and the whole room can go up in a sheet of flame."

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Economic Development
8:56 am
Thu January 16, 2014

Commission on Connecticut's Future Meets

Catherine Smith, Commissioner of the DECD.
Credit CT-N

The Commission on Connecticut's Future met on Thursday morning to revisit economic development topics in the state. At its last meeting, economist Patrick Flaherty presented jobs data and workforce trends. Catherine Smith, Commissioner of the Department of Economic Development, presented a slideshow called "Focus on Economic Growth."

Minutes of the December meeting are available here.

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State Legislature
10:55 am
Wed January 15, 2014

Connecticut Democrats Showcase Economic Platform for Upcoming Legislative Session

Don Williams is Senate President Pro Tem.
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

The Democrats have unveiled their plan for jobs and the economy for the coming legislative session in Hartford. But they're facing some skepticism from across the aisle.

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Paid Sick Leave
12:41 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

Study: Paid Sick Leave Has Minimal Effect on Employers

Credit Fuse / Thinkstock

A new study quantifies the impact of Connecticut's first-in-the-nation paid sick leave law, and many employers said they're pleasantly surprised.

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Affordable Care Act
5:43 am
Tue January 7, 2014

Health Care Costs Grew More Slowly Than The Economy In 2012

NPR

Originally published on Tue January 7, 2014 4:55 pm

Health care spending grew at a record slow pace for the fourth straight year in 2012, according to a new government report. But the federal officials who compiled the report disagree with their bosses in the Obama administration about why.

The annual report from the actuaries at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, published in the journal Health Affairs, found total U.S. health spending totaled $2.8 trillion in 2012, or $8,915 per person.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
10:49 am
Mon January 6, 2014

The Scramble: Insider Trading, Anxiety, and David Brooks Best Friend

The trading floor of The New York Stock Exchange
Credit Wikimedia Commons

Today on The Scramble we lead off with some reporting that will be featured this week on a PBS' "Frontline" story, To Catch a Trader. It's the story of a federal probe into insider trading and the specific role of Connecticut's Steve Cohen, and his SAC hedge fund. 

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Sun January 5, 2014

Old Tension, New Turmoil for Ukraine

Protestors at Independence Square in Kiev during the Orange Revolution in 2004.
Credit Marion Duimel / Creative Commons

The Cold War is over – but some political relationships in the former Soviet Union remain tense. On Where We Live, we explain the latest turmoil in Ukraine as Russia and the European Union are pulling Ukraine in opposite directions. We're joined by experts and a member of Connecticut's Ukrainian community about to discuss what's happening and why.

Plus, we follow up on a recent show about distracted driving.

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50 Years Of Theater
5:06 am
Tue December 31, 2013

Hartford Stage Sees Better Economy, Brighter Future

The cast of "The Tempest" from Hartford Stage's 2011-2012 season.
T. Charles Erickson

It’s that time of the year when miserly Ebenezer Scrooge and sweet Tiny Tim electrify the Hartford Stage with their heart-warming story, like they have these past 15 years. But now, in honor of the theater's 50th anniversary season, the production has redesigned costumes, more special effects, and new lighting.

The holiday cheer is much needed. The multiple award-winning Hartford Stage, like its counterparts nationwide, has struggled through the tough economy.

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Economy
4:33 pm
Thu December 26, 2013

Manufacturing 2.0: Old Industry Creating New High-Tech Jobs

Unlike the smoky, eardrum-damaging factories of yesterday, today's manufacturing is going high-tech. That can mean more robots and automated machines than workers. But companies like Machine Inc. in Stoughton, Mass., are still growing and hiring.
Chris Arnold NPR

Originally published on Thu December 26, 2013 6:07 pm

As the U.S. economy continues to recover, it has been getting some help from an unexpected place. After decades of massive job losses, manufacturing firms have been steadily creating jobs — many of them well-paying. One particularly bright spot is a new generation of high-tech manufacturers.

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Housing Market
3:26 pm
Thu December 26, 2013

Housing Gains Uncertain in 2014

Credit Fuse / Thinkstock

The housing market made strong gains in 2013, but there's a lot of uncertainty about what might happen in 2014.  

Housing prices in Connecticut rose ten percent in 2013, the strongest year since the financial crash, giving an improvement of $25,000 on the median price of a single family home. 

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Economy
9:54 am
Thu December 26, 2013

Jobless Claims Fell Sharply Last Week

A "help wanted" sign earlier this year in the window of a clothing store in Pasadena, Calif.
Kevork Djansezian Getty Images

Just as last week's figures may been distorted by temporary factors related to the holiday season that made things look worse than they really are, the word Thursday that there's been a sharp drop in claims for unemployment insurance needs to be accompanied by the same sort of caveat.

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Job Market
8:07 am
Mon December 23, 2013

Report: Falling Jobless Rate Reflects Discouraged, Departing Labor Force

Fred Carstensen, director of the Connecticut Center for Economic Analysis, said the falling unemployment rate reflects people giving up on looking for work.
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

Connecticut saw some encouraging employment statistics in the second half of the year. But some economists are urging a closer look.

The figures released last week showed gains of about 4,000 jobs in November, and the unemployment rate falling to 7.6 percent, seven-tenths of a point lower than a year ago. But the latest forecast from the Connecticut Center for Economic Analysis shows that the figures are only superficially encouraging. 

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Mapping Uncertainty
10:10 am
Fri December 20, 2013

Study: Federal Budget Battles Cost Connecticut 20,000 Jobs

Businesses don't like uncertainty, but between recessions and government budget standoffs, they've had to get used to it in recent years. A new study from UConn looks at just how much the economy has been affected by sustained crisis management.

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Retail
7:05 am
Fri December 20, 2013

Shop On The Web Or In The Store; Each Has Risks

A customer prepares to sign a credit card slip Thursday at a Target store in Miami. The giant retailer says 40 million payment cards nationwide may have been compromised by data theft.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 20, 2013 8:37 am

Back in ye olden days — say, a decade ago — many holiday shoppers worried about using credit cards to buy gifts online. They feared their information would end up in the hands of computer hackers.

Turns out, walking into a store and swiping a credit card can be plenty risky, too.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
10:41 am
Tue December 17, 2013

How Do We Determine the Value of Art?

A Jeff Koons red balloon flower
Credit Wikimedia Commons

A Francis Bacon triptych, "Three Studies of Lucian Freud" sells for $142.4 million.

Jeff Koons work sells for $58.4 million, making it the most expensive art by a living artist to sell at auction.

Is any art really worth this much or do a few wealthy investors artificially drive up the market to divert the rest of us from the reality of overall declining sales. If art is not worth as much as certain vested interests want us to believe, how do we determine the real worth of art?

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Casinos
8:31 am
Wed December 11, 2013

Massachusetts Gaming Commission Demands Revere Vote On Mohegan Sun Casino

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission

Originally published on Tue December 10, 2013 6:12 pm

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission has authorized Mohegan Sun to apply for a license to build a casino on land owned by Suffolk Downs in eastern Massachusetts.  However, a new voter referendum on the project will have to take place.

Seeking to avoid a scenario that would have left just one applicant for the lone casino license available in eastern Massachusetts, the five-member gaming commission voted unanimously Tuesday to waive a requirement that a casino applicant secure the approval of local voters before filing a final license application.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Mon December 9, 2013

Connecticut at Work

Dan Haar and Congressman Joe Courtney
Catie Talarski

We're broadcasting live from Wesleyan University, where the Connecticut Humanities Council is kicking off a day-long look at the past, present, and future of work life in Connecticut.

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Gun Industry
1:04 am
Mon December 9, 2013

Legislative Turmoil, but Record Sales for Connecticut Gun Makers

Mark Malkowski with one of the weapons his company, Stag Arms, makes in New Britain
Harriet Jones

It’s been a momentous year for the gun industry in many ways, and for Connecticut’s gun makers more than for most. Events in Newtown changed the landscape for an industry which some people feel is implicated in the tragedy.  

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Open Government
11:56 am
Wed December 4, 2013

Malloy Touts Economic Track Record, Launches New Transparency Initiative

Governor Dannel Malloy signed a new executive order to increase transparency in state investments to promote economic development.
Sujata Srinivasan

The public will soon have access to a one-stop web portal for information on tax credits and direct financial assistance the state is offering to help businesses grow and expand in Connecticut. Governor Dannel Malloy at a press conference in Bloomfield said taxpayers have the right to know what their state government is doing to promote economic development and job creation. 

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Sales
3:21 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

'Giving Tuesday' Follows Record-Breaking Cyber Monday

(givingtuesday.org)

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 4:19 pm

Cyber Monday, the Super Bowl of online sales, broke all records this year, with sales up 19 percent over last year.

Mobile traffic accounted for 13 percent of total site visits, and sales are projected to reach $2 billion for desktop online sales, according to comScore.

But the bonanza isn’t over. Today is “Giving Tuesday.” The movement to create a national day of giving started last year, raising $10 million dollars for more than 2,500 charities nationwide.

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Forecasting the Future
9:44 am
Tue December 3, 2013

Connecticut Manufacturing Shows Dynamic Growth and Destruction

The F119 engine, made in Connecticut by Pratt & Whitney
Credit Pratt & Whitney

Connecticut has created 40,000 new manufacturing jobs since the end of the recession. But paradoxically, the sector is still shrinking.

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Economic Development
9:14 am
Mon December 2, 2013

Commission on Connecticut's Future Meets to Discuss Industry, Sustainability

Economist Patrick Flaherty of the Connecticut Department of Labor’s Office of Research presented jobs data Monday morning.
Credit CT-N

The Commission on Connecticut's Future meets Monday morning to discuss economic renewal in the state. The commission is examining the manufacturing industry and defense-related industries along with environmental sustainability. A report is due to the governor by this time next year. 

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Unemployment
9:18 am
Fri November 22, 2013

More Job Losses for Connecticut

Hiring in the state stalled in September and October.
Credit Creative Commons

Connecticut lost more than four thousand jobs in September, ahead of the government shutdown, but job creation stayed flat in October.

The state Department of Labor played catch up with this latest announcement: September's figures were delayed by the federal shutdown, but the picture that emerges isn't pretty. 

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Press One For America
1:15 pm
Tue November 19, 2013

Call Center Legislation Could Affect Connecticut Businesses

Call Center, State Farm

When we think of jobs in Connecticut, the call center industry isn't the first thing that comes to mind. But according to the Communication Workers of America, there are more than 49,000 call center jobs in the state: people answering phones for companies like AT&T, Comcast, Verizon Wireless, and Cablevision.

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The Tax Man
8:10 am
Tue November 19, 2013

Amnesty Program Nets $180 Million in Back Taxes

Department of Revenue Services Commissioner Kevin Sullivan in WNPR's studios on December 5, 2011.
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

The Department of Revenue Services said it collected almost $180 million in back taxes through a two-month-long amnesty program. That's far in excess of the $35 million it set as a goal at the beginning of the amnesty.

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Energy
12:12 pm
Sun November 17, 2013

Regulators Hear Call for Simpler Gas Rates

Credit James Riden / Creative Commons

Connecticut's gas utilities are asking regulators to lower the amount they'd have to charge businesses that sign up for new gas service. The request comes as regulators debate the final shape of the state's new comprehensive energy plan.

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China
9:11 am
Fri November 15, 2013

China Unveils Major Economic Changes

An investor is seen at a brokerage house in Shanghai, China, on Aug. 16.
Ding Ting Xinhua /Landov

Originally published on Fri November 15, 2013 11:32 am

We told you this morning about changes announced in China regarding the country's one-child policy, as well as an announcement that it was ending its system of labor camps. But those aren't the only policy shifts by the Communist Party.

China also said Friday that it would loosen restrictions on foreign investment in e-commerce and other businesses, and allow private competition in state-dominated sectors.

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China
8:29 am
Fri November 15, 2013

China Eases One-Child Policy, Ends Labor Camp System

Children participate in a drawing contest on May 13 celebrating international children's day in Qingdao, China.
Wu Hong EPA/Landov

Originally published on Fri November 15, 2013 11:47 am

China announced Friday that it is loosening its decades-old one-child policy, and abolishing its system of "re-education through labor" camps.

In order to have a second child, one parent would have to be an only child under the new rules. Previously, both parents had to be only children in order to have a second child.

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Trans Pacific Partnership
7:09 am
Thu November 14, 2013

Delegation Splits Over Free Trade Protest

Credit Diane Orson / Chion Wolf / WNPR

The effort to oppose a new free trade agreement seems to have caused a rare split in the ranks of Connecticut's congressional delegation. Connecticut's five U.S. House members are all Democrats, and usually stand together on a wide range of issues. But a huge new free trade agreement currently being negotiated between the U.S. and ten other Pacific nations is causing some friction between colleagues.

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Economy
1:18 pm
Wed November 13, 2013

Economic Forecaster Sees Flat Jobs Growth This Year

Connecticut looks likely to maintain its level of job growth this year, according to the New England Economic Partnership, but the forecasting group says the state’s recovery will continue to lag behind the national average.

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