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.
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."
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.
Credit Sujata Srinivasan
Michael Corcoran, waiter at Max Amore in Glastonbury.
Credit Sujata Srinivasan
Farmer Lisa Griffin at Oxen Hill Farm in Suffield.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
With U.S. economic growth inching upward, the Federal Reserve’s announcement in May that it might taper off quantitative easing – initiated to boost domestic growth – is sending emerging economies into a tailspin. Global economies are so inter-connected with the U.S. through trade and investment channels that the currencies of Brazil, Indonesia, South Africa and Mexico all fell. But the Indian currency was especially sensitive, falling to its lowest in 20 years.
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.
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.
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.
Economist Tyler Cowen believes that income inequality in America is only increasing. His new book is called <em>Average Is Over: Powering America Beyond the Age of the Great Stagnation.</em>
Credit Szasz-Fabian Ilka Erika / iStockphoto.com
Tyler Cowen is a professor of economics at George Mason University. He is also the author of <em><em>The Great Stagnation</em>, An Economist Gets Lunch, Good and Plenty</em> and <em>Create Your Own Economy. </em>He blogs at <a href="http://marginalrevolution.com/">Marginal Revolution</a>.<em></em>
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
In an ongoing effort to create growth for mom and pop businesses in the state, the U.S. Small Business Administration is making capital available to Connecticut Economic Development Fund, a non-profit offering micro-loans. WNPR’s Sujata Srinivasan has more.
James Dufour owns Connecticut Carpentry in Meriden. He makes cabinets for hospitals and employs seven people. Up until the start of the financial crisis, the nearly 30-year-old business had little trouble accessing bank loans.
Rico Saccoccio is a junior at Fordham University in the Bronx. He's from a middle-class family in Connecticut and he spent the summer living at home with his parents, who cover about $15,000 a year in his college costs.
According to the U.S. government, Saccoccio is living in poverty. The $8,000 he earns doing odd jobs puts him well below the $11,945 poverty threshold for an individual. In fact, the U.S. Census Bureau recently reported that more than half of all college students who are living off campus and not at home are poor.
It's been a rough summer for Connecticut's shellfish industry.
A recent Connecticut law states that Connecticut oysters must be at least three inches long when harvested. The state's shellfish industry supported the bill, despite neighboring states allowing smaller sized oysters to be harvested in their waters.
Now a recent inspection by the State Department of Agriculture revealed that 20 of 24 randomly chosen samples by 11 harvesters had oysters smaller than three inches. Steven Reviczky is the commissioner of the Department of Agriculture.
The New Haven area is still looking for answers after last week’s plane crash at Tweed Airport. Patrick Murray is in charge of the National Transportation Safety Board’s investigation into what happened. "The airplane impacted the ground and the house upside down, in a 60 to 70 degree angle," he said shortly after the accident.