economy

Technology
12:50 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

If You've Ignored Bitcoin Up Until Now, This One's For You

No, these aren't real bitcoins (just Bitcoin buttons). Fans of the virtual currency see several real benefits, including the elimination of fees for transferring money.
Frank Jordans AP

Originally published on Wed March 5, 2014 4:05 pm

One of Bitcoin's largest trading exchanges shut down Tuesday, and you probably couldn't care less.

So what if rumors are circulating that millions of dollars' worth of Bitcoin are stolen? If you don't understand Bitcoin in the first place, it's hard to figure out why this matters. So we're using this as an opportunity to go back to the basics: what this b-word means, where it came from and why it just might matter.

The Birth Of Bitcoin

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Health Marketplace
4:12 pm
Tue February 25, 2014

Bill Could Allow Access Health CT to Negotiate Prices

Credit Gubcio / iStock / Thinkstock

A legislative committee wants to delay for a year when the state's insurance marketplace, Access Health CT, could begin negotiating prices with the insurance companies selling products through the exchange. 

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Technology
12:23 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

Why Facebook Thinks WhatsApp Is Worth $19 Billion

Facebook announced it acquired WhatsApp late Wednesday.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Thu February 20, 2014 1:19 pm

Facebook's purchase of messaging service WhatsApp — at a price tag of up to $19 billion — is its largest acquisition yet. To put things in perspective, the social giant tried to purchase Snapchat for a fraction of that cost — $3 billion. And it successfully bought Instagram for $1 billion.

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WAMC News
7:32 am
Tue February 18, 2014

Decision Due On Casino Surrounding Community Petitions

An artist's rendering of MGM Resorts' proposed $800 million casino in downtown Springfield, MA

Originally published on Mon February 17, 2014 10:11 am

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission will announce a decision Tuesday on the petitions from three municipalities seeking mitigation payments if an MGM casino is built in downtown Springfield.

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Business
4:43 pm
Mon February 17, 2014

Demographic Shifts Contribute To The Changing Face Of Retail

Retailers, including Wal-Mart, are trying to adapt their models to suit urban areas, including this mixed-use retail and residential development in Washington, D.C.
Meredith Rizzo NPR

Originally published on Mon February 17, 2014 7:59 pm

So far this year, retail chains have announced some heavy cuts. J.C. Penney said it would close 33 stores. Macy's said it would lay off 2,500 workers. Sears will close its flagship Chicago store in April.

That's creating a glut of excess space. But that's just one of several forces changing the face of retail.

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Technology
3:24 pm
Thu February 13, 2014

How The Big Cable Deal Could Actually Boost Open-Internet Rules

Comcast is the largest cable company and home Internet service provider in the United States.
Matt Rourke AP

Originally published on Fri February 14, 2014 7:59 am

An announced $45 billion merger between Comcast and Time Warner Cable — the largest and second-largest cable companies in the U.S., respectively — is under scrutiny not just for its massive size but also for its potential impact on Internet use.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Thu February 13, 2014

War on Poverty is Far From Won

President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964.
Credit LBJ Library

Just over 50 years ago, President Lyndon B. Johnson delivered his State of the Union address and made a pledge to the nation. "This administration today, here and now, declares unconditional war on poverty in America," he said.

Johnson didn't live long enough to see the end of the War on Poverty...and neither have we. Poverty continues to be a big problem in the United States and right here in Connecticut.

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Legislative Session
9:11 am
Fri February 7, 2014

Business Gives State of the State a Mixed Review

Credit Siri Stafford/Digital Vision / Thinkstock

The legislative session that got underway Thursday is expected to focus on jobs and the economy. And the governor's State of the State address contained a mixed bag of economic initiatives.

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U.S. Economy
7:50 am
Fri February 7, 2014

Job Growth Less Than Expected, But Unemployment Hits 5-Year Low

Frederic J. Brown AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri February 7, 2014 1:06 pm

Note: This post was updated several times after the jobs report was released at 8:30 a.m. ET.

The nation's unemployment rate slipped to 6.6 percent in January from 6.7 percent a month before, but employers added only 113,000 jobs to their payrolls last month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday morning.

The jobless rate figure was expected. The job growth number, however, was well below the 185,000 that economists expected.

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Agriculture
4:59 pm
Thu February 6, 2014

Even As Dairy Industry Booms, There Are Fewer And Fewer Farms

Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 7:55 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

On Friday, President Obama is scheduled to sign a new farm bill into law. It contains a provision that allows all dairy farms to be part of a safety net. The point is to offset risk when milk prices are too low or feed costs too high. But Abbie Fentress Swanson reports that even in good times, smaller dairy farms in traditional milk producing states are now giving up.

(SOUNDBITE OF COWS)

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U.S. Jobs
8:53 am
Wed February 5, 2014

Employers Added 175,000 Jobs Last Month, Survey Signals

The scene last November at a jobs fair in New York City.
Andrew Burton Getty Images

Originally published on Wed February 5, 2014 12:00 pm

The first of two reports this week about how many jobs were added to U.S. payrolls in January indicates that growth was slow but solid.

The ADP National Employment Report estimates that there were 175,000 more jobs in the private sector last month than in December.

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Cigarettes
7:28 am
Wed February 5, 2014

CVS To Stop Selling Tobacco Products

Soon to be gone: Marlboro cigarettes on display at a CVS store in Pittsburgh last July.
Gene J. Puskar AP

Originally published on Tue February 11, 2014 11:43 am

Saying it is "the right thing for us to do for our customers and our company to help people on their path to better health," the CEO of CVS Caremark announced Wednesday that the company's 7,600 pharmacies will stop selling cigarettes and tobacco products by Oct. 1.

Larry Merlo also said CVS will try to help those who want to quit smoking with a "robust national smoking cessation program" at its locations.

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The Faith Middleton Show
1:33 pm
Tue February 4, 2014

Protecting and Growing Your Money

Credit _J_D_R_/flickr creative commons

Our financial analysts look at protecting and growing your money.

On this fresh edition of The Faith Middleton Show, the markets have been dropping despite some good economic news. Are investors truly spooked or taking profits? What's going on? Are we in for one of those rocky years in the market, and if so, our guests take your calls and talk about protecting and growing your money.

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Great Plains Oil Rush
11:04 am
Wed January 29, 2014

Oil Boom: See A Modern-Day Gold Rush In Motion

Ritter Brothers, a jewelry shop in Williston, N.D., sells novelties that might appeal to those benefiting from the region's recent oil boom.
Annie Flanagan for NPR

Originally published on Wed January 29, 2014 2:30 pm

If you've seen any coverage of North Dakota's oil boom, you've seen the images — oil rigs, truck traffic, "man camps," miles of temporary housing.

But there is something about this place that just can't be captured by a still photograph. It's a feeling you get when you cruise down an endless highway under a vast, big sky — until suddenly: BOOM. You're wedged between semitrucks dwarfing what was once a quiet farm town.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Tue January 28, 2014

In Rebuilding Reserve Funds, Where Does Connecticut Stand?

Before the last recession, Connecticut's rainy day fund was substantial, but it's depleted in recent years.
Credit The Pew Charitable Trusts

Last year, The Pew Charitable Trusts analyzed the fiscal data for all 50 states. They used several markers to rank the states, including the amount of money in reserve funds, sometimes known as rainy day funds. Connecticut’s rainy day fund is among the lowest in the nation. The highest? Alaska.

This hour, we find out how states like Alaska got so far ahead, while Connecticut fell so far behind.

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Long-Term Unemployment
11:24 am
Wed January 22, 2014

Can Networking Prevent Discrimination Against the Long-Term Unemployed?

Credit glegorly/iStock / Thinkstock

As the media turns its attention to reports of a strengthening job market, some fear unchanging conditions in long-term unemployment are being overlooked.

Speaking on WNPR's Where We Live, Ofer Sharone of the MIT Sloan School of Management said long-term unemployment is not decreasing at the same rate as overall unemployment -- something he insisted is largely due to discrimination during the hiring process.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Tue January 21, 2014

Unemployment and the Job Search

Congress continues to debate the extension of unemployment benefits.
Credit Senate Democrats / Creative Commons

The debate over unemployment insurance has Congress in a deadlock. Those opposed to extending emergency benefits argue that doing so only promotes an "idle" class of jobless Americans. Those in favor say it's the only safety net the unemployed have in today’s difficult labor market.

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Agriculture
8:02 am
Mon January 20, 2014

How Food Hubs Are Helping New Farmers Break Into Local Food

Marty Travis (right) started the Stewards of the Land food hub in 2005. His son Will helps him transport food from local farms to area restaurants.
Sean Powers Harvest Public Media

Originally published on Mon January 20, 2014 4:10 pm

Lots of consumers are smitten with local food, but they're not the only ones. The growing market is also providing an opportunity for less experienced farmers to expand their business and polish their craft.

But they need help, and increasingly it's coming from food hubs, which can also serve as food processing and distribution centers. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that there are about 240 of them in more than 40 states plus the District of Columbia.

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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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