economy

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?

Like this:

Over the last few years an unusual phenomenon has kept popping up in public opinion surveys: Blacks and Latinos have become much more sanguine about the country's prospects as white folks have become more pessimistic. It's a stark reversal of decades of data in which white folks were almost always more optimistic.

Connecticut Senate Democrats / Creative Commons

President Barack Obama will be in Connecticut on Wednesday with four governors to push for a higher minimum wage of $10.10 an hour.

The increase is controversial, but what might actually happen if it goes up? Increasing the minimum wage is a contested political issue, but it's also an economic question that can be studied.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

President Obama will visit Connecticut Wednesday to call for an increase in the minimum wage. The president wants the raise the base pay rate by nearly three dollars an hour.

The economy often absorbs the impact of snowstorms, such as this week's storm, without much trouble, but this winter the weather is doing more damage than usual.

MetroHartford Alliance

Connecticut’s state budget faces a series of problems that have been building for some time. It’s why the Office of Fiscal Analysis shows looming budget deficits in the next two fiscal years.

But we’re not alone. A study of several states shows some of the same trends: Medicaid costs growing faster than states can raise money, which means less funding for education; the federal government cutting aid to states in an effort to cut their own deficits; reliance on volatile tax structures and massive underfunding of public pensions.

Pratt and Whitney

The state of Connecticut has struck a multi-million dollar deal with United Technologies, which it hopes will safeguard the future of research and manufacturing operations here.

Under the agreement, the state will allow UTC to exercise tax credits it has already built up. The conglomerate can exchange $20 million in tax credits each year, up to a maximum of $400 million.

74,476 Reasons You Should Always Get The Bigger Pizza

Feb 27, 2014

One day last year, an engineer and I went to a pizza place for lunch. The engineer told me he wasn't very hungry, but he said he was going to get the 12-inch medium instead of the 8-inch small — because the medium was more than twice as big as the small, and it cost only a little bit more. This sort of blew my mind.

Yesterday, we crunched thousands of pizza prices from around the country, and argued that you should always buy a bigger pizza. (And in a separate post, we presented the case against buying a bigger pizza.)

whologwy, Flickr Creative Commons

Somehow, kale has become trendy in the last few years, although its moment in the sun seems to be almost over. How did a thing like that happen? Would it be possible to infuse an old standby like broccoli with a similar hip panache? Broccoli is the warmest vegetable, and the coolest.

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

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. 

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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