economy

Jobs
9:07 am
Thu October 3, 2013

Jobless Claims Stay Near Six-Year Low

There were 308,000 first-time claims for unemployment insurance filed last week, up 1,000 from the week before, the Employment and Training Administration reported Thursday morning.

That means claims continue to run at a relatively low rate that until recent weeks hadn't been seen since the spring of 2007 — six months before the start of the 2007-09 recession.

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Government Shutdown
9:44 am
Mon September 30, 2013

Connecticut Braces for a Failed Budget Deal

Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

Connecticut's budget office is working with state agencies to prepare for a possible shutdown of the federal government. In a letter last week to agency heads, Office of Policy and Management Secretary Benjamin Barnes said if Congress fails to reach a budget deal, there could be "significant impact" on staff and programs that rely on federal funding.

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Congress
11:42 am
Fri September 27, 2013

President To GOP: Don't 'Burn Down The House' Over Obamacare

House Republicans have insisted that a spending bill contain language defunding Obamacare.
Win McNamee Getty Images

Originally published on Fri September 27, 2013 6:32 pm

Update At 3:50 p.m. EDT.

President Obama on Friday praised the Senate for passing a spending bill to keep the federal government operating and called House GOP efforts to tie approving the measure to defunding the Affordable Care Act "political grandstanding."

He said that despite Republican hopes that Obamacare will be repealed, "That's not going to happen," accusing Republicans of threatening to "blow up the entire economy."

No one has the right to precipitate such a crisis, he said, "just because there are a couple of laws you don't like."

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Business
2:07 pm
Thu September 26, 2013

State Loan for KAYAK as HQ Moves to Stamford

Paul English, co-founder of KAYAK.
Credit Bill O'Donnell / Wikimedia Commons

Online travel site KAYAK will move its headquarters to Stamford, with the help of a $2.5 million state loan. KAYAK is already headquartered in Norwalk, Connecticut, and was recently acquired by the state's other online travel giant, Priceline.com.

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Local Trade with Australia
4:18 pm
Wed September 25, 2013

State Trade Mission Charms Aussies With 'Made in Connecticut' Products

Officials at a trade mission in Sydney included one dressed as Nathan Hale.
U.S. Department of Commerce

Executives from several Connecticut companies, along with U.S. Department of Commerce officials from Middletown, are on a trade mission in Australia this week to promote exports, inbound investments and tourism. It’s all hands on deck. Officials dressed up as Mark Twain and Nathan Hale at “The Tastes and Sights of Connecticut” event, which kicked off the week-long visit.

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Where We Live
11:19 am
Tue September 24, 2013

The Wheelhouse Goes Downtown

The next edition of "The Wheelhouse" focuses on the capital city.
Chion Wolf WNPR

We took our weekly political roundtable, The Wheelhouse on the road! We broadcast from a vacant storefront on Trumbull Street in downtown Hartford as part of the city’s iConnect project. The conversation started off with Mayor Pedro Segarra and reporters from the Hartford Courant and Hartford Business Journal joined in with their own questions for the mayor.

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Small Business
4:47 am
Tue September 24, 2013

When It Comes To Businesses, How Big Is Small?

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed October 16, 2013 4:41 pm

First in a series about small businesses in America.

Small businesses are celebrated and exalted as the hard-working, most deserving members of the political economy. They get tax breaks, and they're touted as the engines of job creation.

But a basic question: What is a small business? It turns out there is no one definition.

Classifications Of Small

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Technology
1:37 pm
Mon September 23, 2013

Apple Sells 9 Million New iPhones In Opening Weekend

Apple says it has sold 9 million iPhone 5s and 5c models since their launch on Friday. Here, staff members at an Apple retail store in Beijing cheer a customer after he bought a new iPhone.
Andy Wong AP

Originally published on Mon September 23, 2013 3:29 pm

Sales of its new iPhone 5s and 5c models have surpassed other iPhone releases and exceeded initial supply, Apple says. The company says it has sold 9 million of the phones since their launch on Friday and that "many online orders" will ship in coming weeks.

"This is our best iPhone launch yet — more than nine million new iPhones sold — a new record for first weekend sales," Apple CEO Tim Cook said in a Monday press release. He added that "while we've sold out of our initial supply of iPhone 5s, stores continue to receive new iPhone shipments regularly."

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Sustainable Dining
1:49 pm
Fri September 20, 2013

Conscious Diners Drive Up Demand For 'Farm-to-Chef'

Firebox executive chef Sean Farrell, at right. Even though organic, local ingredients are more expensive, business is booming. “We’ve seen a 20 percent growth across the board in sales throughout this full year,” Farrell said.
Sujata Srinivasan

This week was Farm-to-Chef week, as the Connecticut Department of Agriculture makes an effort to promote local produce at Connecticut restaurants. The state’s eateries report they are seeing more demand for locally-grown food.

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Connecticut Jobs
8:26 am
Fri September 20, 2013

Connecticut's Unemployment Rate is Unchanged

Credit Tony Alter / Wikimedia Commons

The state labor department says Connecticut's unemployment rate remained unchanged at 8.1 percent in August. Local government job cuts, particularly in schools shut for the summer, far surpassed private sector job gains.

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Economy
12:02 pm
Thu September 19, 2013

UConn Economist: Spend Less, and Risk Being Worse Off

Credit Connecticut Center for Economic Analysis

Economists at the University of Connecticut are calling on the state to use bonds that have been approved by the legislature but never issued. The Connecticut Center for Economic Analysis forecast reports that if the state relies only on traditional drivers like the housing market to grow the economy, it could begin to lose jobs again in 2014.

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Health Care
9:08 am
Thu September 19, 2013

Health Care Costs Are Projected To Outpace Economic Growth

Increased use of generic drugs caused a slight drop in the price of prescription drugs in 2012.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu September 19, 2013 9:43 am

The nation's health spending will bump up next year as the Affordable Care Act expands insurance coverage to more Americans, and then will grow by an average of 6.2 percent a year over the next decade, according to projections by government actuaries.

That estimate is lower than the typical annual increases before the recession hit. Still, the actuaries forecast that in a decade the health care segment of the nation's economy will be larger than it is today, amounting to a fifth of the gross domestic product in 2022.

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Economy
6:12 pm
Wed September 18, 2013

The Fed's Surprising Decision: Should You Cheer Or Boo?

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke arrives to speak at a news conference Wednesday in Washington, D.C. The Fed cut its economic growth forecasts and said it would keep buying bonds in a bid to keep interest rates down.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

If you are trying to buy a home, you just got good news: The Federal Reserve said Wednesday it is not going to try to drive up long-term interest rates just yet.

Stock investors are happy for you. They like cheap mortgages too because a robust housing market creates jobs. To celebrate, they bought more shares, sending the Dow Jones industrial average up 147.21 to an all-time high of 15,676.94.

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Demographics
8:09 am
Wed September 18, 2013

More Old People, Fewer Workers: Nations Look To Immigration

A man relaxes at a downtown park in Seoul. The pronounced demographic shift triggered by a plummeting birth rate and soaring life expectancy is seen as one of the greatest challenges facing Asia's fourth-largest economy.
Kim Jae-Hwan AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed October 9, 2013 5:43 pm

A story in the Financial Times caught our eye this week. It was on foreign workers in South Korea.

The story looked at the town of Ansan, where about 7.6 percent of the population is foreign. They come from other Asian countries, as well as from Russia. Here's one of the reasons for the change in South Korea, a highly homogeneous society:

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Bridgeport
3:40 pm
Tue September 17, 2013

Community's Bank Depositors to Receive Checks

The Community's Bank in Bridgeport went into receivership.
Credit <a href="http://www.nbcconnecticut.com/news/local/Bridgeport-Bank-Shuttered-223691121.html" target=new>NBC Connecticut</a>

Customers who had money in The Community's Bank in Bridgeport should receive their insured deposits back this week after the bank failed and was put into receivership. It's the first bank failure in Connecticut in more than a decade.

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Economy
11:06 am
Tue September 17, 2013

Why Is The Global Shipbuilding Business Struggling?

Laborers stand on a new ship at a Rongsheng Heavy Industries shipyard in Nantong, China, in 2012. The troubles at Rongsheng, China's largest private shipbuilder, mirror what's happening in the global industry.
Aly Song Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Tue September 17, 2013 12:43 pm

There's news this week that shipbuilder STX Finland will close what it describes as "the world's leading ferry builder," a yard where the company also built small cruise ships, icebreakers and naval craft.

The company blamed economic conditions for the closure of the Rauma Shipyard. Work from there will be shifted to the company's facility in Turku. About 700 people will lose their jobs.

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Health Care
10:17 am
Tue September 17, 2013

Laid Off And Looking For Health Insurance? Beware Of COBRA

After losing a job, figuring out health insurance may be the smartest first step.
Franck Camhi iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue September 17, 2013 2:14 pm

People who lose their jobs and the health insurance tied to them will have new coverage options when the Affordable Care Act's marketplaces open in October.

But consumer advocates are concerned many of these unemployed people may not realize this and lock themselves into pricier coverage than they need.

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Farms
3:01 am
Tue September 17, 2013

American Farmers Say They Feed The World, But Do They?

A cornfield is shrouded in mist at sunrise in rural Springfield, Neb.
Nati Harnik AP

Originally published on Thu September 19, 2013 6:30 pm

When critics of industrial agriculture complain that today's food production is too big and too dependent on pesticides, that it damages the environment and delivers mediocre food, there's a line that farmers offer in response: We're feeding the world.

It's high-tech agriculture's claim to the moral high ground. Farmers say they farm the way they do to produce food as efficiently as possible to feed the world.

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Insurance
3:21 am
Mon September 16, 2013

Getting Personal With Your Health Insurance Exchange Questions

The final countdown: It's time to figure out how insurance through the health exchanges will work for you.
Katherine Streeter for NPR

Originally published on Mon September 16, 2013 11:15 am

With the launch of new health insurance exchanges just about two weeks away, many of the questions in this month's mailbag focused less on the big picture and more on exactly how the law will operate for individuals.

We can't answer every question we get. But here is a sampling of questions that were really popular, or that would apply to a lot of people.

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Politics
5:30 pm
Sun September 15, 2013

Summers Pulls Out Of Running To Be Federal Reserve Chief

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Citing what he calls an "acrimonious" confirmation process, Lawrence Summers called President Obama to tell him of his decision not to seek the job of Federal Reserve Chairman Sunday.
AFP AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon September 16, 2013 11:01 am

Larry Summers has removed his name from the running to be the next chairman of the Federal Reserve. The former Treasury secretary informed President Obama of his decision in a phone call Sunday. The withdrawal was first reported by The Wall Street Journal.

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New London
10:10 am
Fri September 13, 2013

Schooner Festival Showcases Innovation

New London's Waterfront Park will host the CT Schooner Festival
Credit Harriet Jones

Connecticut is celebrating its maritime heritage this weekend with the Schooner Festival in New London. The brand-new event hopes to attract thousands of people from around the region, and provide a showcase for local companies.

The Fishers Island Ferry prepares to sail from its terminal in New London. She'll have some company today, as 20 schooners, sturdy, sleek and fast sailing vessels with a long history in Connecticut, arrive in the Thames River.

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Economy
9:55 am
Fri September 13, 2013

Connecticut Companies Survey World Markets

Bill Stone, CEO of Windsor's SS&C Technologies
Credit Sujata Srinivasan

The U.S. economy is picking up and the Eurozone’s out of a recession, but emerging markets are now slowing down. In this new economy, companies find it takes more than one market to fuel growth.

Think of the global economy as a large pizza pie worth nearly $75 trillion. Each country adds more dough and toppings, and the pie keeps growing. But downturns change that.

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Jersey Shore
5:39 pm
Thu September 12, 2013

Fire Sweeps Through Businesses Along Jersey's Seaside Boardwalk

Firefighters battle a raging fire on boardwalk in Seaside Park, N.J., on Thursday.
Fox 29/AP

Originally published on Thu September 12, 2013 7:36 pm

A fire that started in an ice cream shop is spreading elsewhere along New Jersey's famous boardwalk in Seaside Park.

News video shows the boardwalk — located in an area that had just been rebuilt after it was destroyed by Superstorm Sandy nearly a year ago — clouded by thick smoke.

Seaside Heights Police Chief Thomas Boyd tells The Star-Ledger the fire spread to adjacent structures around 2:30 p.m.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
3:46 pm
Thu September 12, 2013

Tipping the Scales Away From Tipping

Billy Grant, chef-owner of Grant's Restaurant and Restaurant in West Hartford, and Bricco Trattoria in Glastonbury
Chion Wolf

You may eat out a lot, but do you really have tipping figured out?

Or do you stress about whether you left the right amount?

Would you be happier with an 18 percent service charge added on and no obligation to tip?

These are the shifting restaurant rules we'll talk about today.

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Economy
3:43 am
Thu September 12, 2013

Tired Of Inequality? One Economist Says It'll Only Get Worse

Economist Tyler Cowen believes that income inequality in America is only increasing. His new book is called Average Is Over: Powering America Beyond the Age of the Great Stagnation.
Szasz-Fabian Ilka Erika iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu September 12, 2013 9:57 am

Economist Tyler Cowen has some advice for what to do about America's income inequality: Get used to it. In his latest book, Average Is Over, Cowen lays out his prediction for where the U.S. economy is heading, like it or not:

"I think we'll see a thinning out of the middle class," he tells NPR's Steve Inskeep. "We'll see a lot of individuals rising up to much greater wealth. And we'll also see more individuals clustering in a kind of lower-middle class existence."

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Budget
12:37 pm
Wed September 11, 2013

Maybe 'Muddling Through' Isn't That Bad For The Economy

Originally published on Wed September 11, 2013 5:15 pm

When the global financial system started to collapse five years ago, leaders from the Treasury Department, Congress and the Federal Reserve jumped up and started running.

Like men on a burning wooden bridge, they raced along, making crazy-fast decisions. They seized Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, bailed out big banks, saved automakers, slashed interest rates and funded a massive infrastructure-building project to stimulate growth.

But that was then.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
4:56 pm
Thu September 5, 2013

Making Tea Honestly

Ashwin on Flickr Creative Commons

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Business
11:46 am
Tue September 3, 2013

Changes Could Mean Angel Flight

Angel investors pump a lot of cash into start-up businesses in this country - by some accounts about $23 billion a year. But some say they'll back off from looking for new opportunities if the Securities and Exchange Commission implements new rules on funding -- rules that are due to go into effect September 10. The irony is that the rules were supposed to make it easier for start-ups to find seed money.

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9:18 am
Tue September 3, 2013

Connecticut Dairy Farmers Lose Federal Aid

Lead in text: 
The Connecticut Mirror reports that because Congress failed to act on a farm bill before its summer recess, Connecticut's dairy farmers lost their federal assistance this past weekend.
Washington - Because Congress failed to act on a farm bill before its summer recess, Connecticut's dairy farmers lost their federal assistance over the weekend. Connecticut farmers received about $1.2 million last year in payments from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Milk Income Loss Program, or MILC, and much, much more during years when milk prices were lower.
U.S. Economy
3:32 am
Thu August 29, 2013

For Restaurant Workers, A Struggle To Put Food On The Table

Losia Nyankale helps daughter Jonessa and son Juliean learn the alphabet. Nyankale, who works in a restaurant in Washington, D.C., says she needs food stamps and child-care subsidies to make ends meet.
Jennifer Ludden NPR

Originally published on Thu August 29, 2013 11:27 am

Losia Nyankale, 29, didn't mean to make a career in the restaurant business. But after Nyankale was in college for two years, her mom lost her job as a schoolteacher and could no longer pay tuition. Then, Nyankale's temp jobs in bookkeeping dried up in the recession. So she went back to her standby — restaurant work.

"I did some kitchen work. The pantries or the salad station," she says. "I've also managed, supervised, wash[ed] dishes."

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