economy

New data released by the Department of Labor shows that raising the minimum wage in some states does not appear to have had a negative impact on job growth, contrary to what critics said would happen.

In a report on Friday, the 13 states that raised their minimum wages on Jan. 1 have added jobs at a faster pace than those that did not. The data run counter to a Congressional Budget Office report in February that said raising the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, as the White House supports, could cost as many as 500,000 jobs.

A large layoff is under way at Microsoft, as the technology company says it will cut 13,000 jobs in the next six months. All but 500 of the layoffs are related to the Nokia phone division the company acquired in April. Microsoft says it might shed as many as 18,000 jobs as it restructures itself.

The company says it will complete most of the layoffs by the end of this year, and complete the restructuring by next June.

President Obama outlined a new package of sanctions against Russian firms and individuals on Wednesday.

"These sanctions are significant but also targeted," Obama said. "Russia will see that its actions in Ukraine have consequences."

The administration targeted large banks, as well as energy and defense firms. The sanctions stopped short of covering entire sectors of the Russian economy.

Obama said they were designed to inflict pain on Russia without harming U.S. companies or the nation's allies.

James Vaughan / Creative Commons

Connecticut is fully engulfed in campaign ad season and candidates are already spending big money to get the message out to voters. What's the message? "Like me! The other guy, not so much." On our weekly news roundtable The Wheelhouse, Colin McEnroe guest hosts a conversation with a panel of reporters and political analysts to catch you up on the week’s news.

Citigroup said Monday it had agreed to pay $7 billion to settle a federal investigation into subprime mortgages it sold in the run-up to the financial meltdown of 2008.

The deal covers mortgage-backed securities and collateralized debt obligations issued, structured or underwritten by Citi between 2003 and 2008, the company said in a statement on its website.

A recent study saw Connecticut drop once again in the ranking of business-friendly states. According to CNBC, we’re now among the bottom five states in the nation in terms of our business climate.

There is a view out there, however, that things may not be so bad after all.

City of Hartford

Developers who want to build a minor league baseball stadium and other surrounding buildings in the capital city aren't going to have a relaxing July.

Mark Fischer / Creative Commons

It looks like the world'’s largest hedge fund won'’t build a new headquarters in Stamford…. What does that say about the state'’s economic development plans? A charter school organization faces investigations of its finances and operations. What does it say about the school reform movement? We’'ll look at those stories, plus the Supreme Court ruling on the Affordable Care Act's contraception mandate, and whether the employer-based insurance model makes sense today.

DBen / Wikimedia Commons

Fairfield County had the highest proportion of employment provided by foreign-owned companies of any metro region in the country. The figures came in a new study on the impact of overseas investment in the U.S.

Contributed Photo / Connecticut Department of Transporation

Highway tolls are again being discussed in Connecticut as part of an 18-month study conducted by the state Department of Transportation. It's got road planners asking an interesting question, can one type of toll actually reduce traffic?

Tracy O / Creative Commons

Connecticut's economy is showing positive growth, but it's very modest, according to newly-revised figures from the federal government.

Jeff Cohen / WNPR

Hartford’s “done deal” on minor league baseball once again has our weekly news roundtable The Wheelhouse thinking about the process behind government decisions. The plan to bring the New Britain Rock Cats' franchise to town was months in the making behind closed doors. 

We also check in on East Haven where a racial discrimination settlement was reached, closing another chapter in the painful history of the town. A very old bridge is creating new problems for Metro-North commuters down the shoreline too and officials are pointing fingers.

Polish magazine "Znak" / Creative Commons

This week's big anniversaries of the Normandy Beach invasion 70 years ago, and the crackdown in Tiananmen Square 25 years ago have taken away from another important milestone: the 25th anniversary of Polish freedom from Communist rule. 

President Obama marked the anniversary in a speech, but the real reason for his visit was to highlight the success of Poland in the last quarter-century, while vowing NATO support for Ukraine in its struggle for independence from Russian influence. 

Governor Dannel Malloy commemorated passage of  a new law strengthening sexual assault prevention and response on college campuses. He held a ceremony today at the offices of the Connecticut Sexual Assault Crisis Services in East Hartford.

Municipalities Awarded Grants 

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Promises, promises -- all politicians make them, but they don't always keep them. Just last month, Gov. Dan Malloy canceled the $55 tax rebate he’d promised residents earlier this year. 

White House

Former Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner will give a lecture series at Yale this fall, based on his experiences during the financial crash.

A new U.S. government report released Tuesday finds that climate change is already having a broad impact on both weather and the economy.

NPR's Elizabeth Shogren tells our Newscast unit the third National Climate Assessment is the most comprehensive look at climate change that the government has ever produced. It was put together by more than 300 experts "guided by a 60-member Federal Advisory Committee."

She filed this report for our Newscast unit:

Steven Depolo / Creative Commons

After decades of stagnant incomes, the inability to save, and disappearing pensions, 75 percent of Americans nearing retirement have less than $30,000 saved, which won’t last long. One third of Connecticut residents are baby boomers -- a big demographic that is headed straight towards retirement. In fact, Connecticut’s population of 65 and up is growing ten times faster than the general population.

There's plenty of anxiety in the U.S. over getting into a top college. But a new Gallup poll suggests that, later in life, it doesn't matter nearly as much as we think. In fact, when you ask college graduates whether they're "engaged" with their work or "thriving" in all aspects of their lives, their responses don't vary one bit whether they went to a prestigious college or not.

Heroin use is rising at an alarming rate here in Connecticut and in the northeast. According to U.S. Representative Elizabeth Esty, 257 state residents have died from heroin overdoses, many in her district, which covers Torrington and Waterbury. Thursday, Esty met with the mayors of those two cities, along with law enforcement and public health professionals to explore options to combat the problem. 

Some investors avoid paying taxes in a move called round-tripping — sending money offshore, then investing it in U.S. stocks or bonds. A study estimates it costs the U.S. billions in lost revenues.

Recently, MIT professor Michelle Hanlon and two colleagues set out to find out all they could about round-tripping.

The first slice of data about job growth in March offers some hope that the U.S. labor market gained some strength:

Steven Depolo / Creative Commons

After decades of stagnant incomes, the inability to save, and disappearing pensions, 75 percent of Americans nearing retirement have less than $30,000 saved, which won’t last long. One third of Connecticut residents are baby boomers -- a big demographic that is headed straight towards retirement. In fact, Connecticut’s population of 65 and up is growing ten times faster than the general population.

Jagadhatri / Wikimedia Commons

   I get way too much of my information from movies and  this year large container ships played a role in two major films.

The first was Captain Phillips, an account of piracy in the Indian Ocean. The problem with that movie is that it didn't ask any fundamental questions about the method of moving stuff around.

Somewhere under all of that melting snow, there's a warming economy.

"Adverse weather conditions" have hurt economic growth so far this year, but things are headed in the right direction now, according to a forecast released Monday by the National Association for Business Economics.

"Conditions in a variety of areas — including labor, consumer and housing markets — are expected to improve over the next two years, while inflation remains tame," Jack Kleinhenz, NABE president and chief economist for the National Retail Federation, said in a statement.

This post has been updated.

The nation's unemployment rate edged up to 6.7 percent in February from 6.6 percent the month before, but employers added more jobs than expected, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said Friday.

According to BLS, the number of jobs on public and private payrolls grew by 175,000 last month — about 25,000 more than economists had expected.

While watching the turmoil in Ukraine unfold, you may feel as though it has little to do with the United States, but the conflict is stirring a contentious debate in Europe over a topic familiar to many Americans: fracking.

Much of the continent depends on Russian natural gas that flows through pipelines in Ukraine. European countries are asking themselves whether to follow the U.S. example and drill for shale gas.

This post was updated at 10:30 a.m. ET on March 6.

Facebook said Wednesday that it will limit minors' access to pages and posts that offer firearms for sale, along with other measures intended to curtail illegal gun trafficking.

"This is something we've been working on for a while," says Facebook spokesman Matt Steinfeld. "We want to balance the interests of people who come here to express themselves while promoting an environment that is safe and respectful."

Across the country, communities stranded in food and retail deserts are asking how they can enjoy the bounty afforded to other urban centers. One Washington, D.C., community thinks it might have an answer.

Just a 10-minute drive south of the U.S. Capitol, across the Anacostia River, sits Congress Heights. The Southeast D.C. neighborhood is less than 2 miles long and home to more than 8,000 people, many in single-family houses. But if you're looking for a sit-down meal, options are scarce.

Think of the budget plan released Tuesday by President Obama as a magic wand. If he could wave it and make every line come true, how would the U.S. economy look?

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