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The Indicator from Planet Money

The Indicator from Planet Money

A little show about big ideas. From the people who make Planet Money, The Indicator helps you make sense of what's happening today. It's a quick hit of insight into work, business, the economy, and everything else. Listen weekday afternoons.


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Jobs, Labor And The 1936 GM Strike

The brutal unemployment situation in the US today is making a lot of people think again about labor unions. Which had their first major victory after a 1936 strike.
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One Drug, Two Prices

Faced with the prospect of paying for an expensive drug to treat his daughter, this dad found a nearly identical product for thousands of dollars less. But the insurance company wouldn't let him.
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Why Your Internet Sucks

We answer two questions today: Why is American internet so bad? And why was the unemployment benefit extension set at $600?
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An Artful Pivot

How a theater company in Philadelphia is reacting to the existential threat posed by the coronavirus.
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Protest And A Black-Owned Business

The Black Lives Matter demonstrations brought people together to protest injustice. But alongside the protests came riots, at a great cost to some Black-owned businesses.
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Sharing The Vaccine

The biggest, wealthiest nations in the world are in a race to produce a coronavirus vaccine. It's obviously in a country's interest to win that race and protect its citizens. It's also in its interest to share.
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GDP -32.9%???!!!

This quarter's Gross Domestic Product numbers could be the worst on record. But what do they mean, exactly?
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The Coronavirus Housing Boom

Most of the U.S. economy is in crisis: Unemployment and bankruptcies are skyrocketing, and millions aren't paying rent. But home sales are skyrocketing, too. In fact, they're rising at a record pace.
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Work After COVID

The use of technologies that help office workers do their work remotely could have unanticipated, long-lasting effects for low-skilled workers too.
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The Extra $600

Nearly one in five U.S. workers is on unemployment benefits. And most of them are about to see their checks cut in half, as Congress' expanded benefits expire this month.
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The Power Of Workers

The three main drivers behind the decline in worker power.
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Can Restaurants Reopen?

Restaurants are going out of business in droves. But some are battling hard to keep their doors open.
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Question Time!

What's the garbage situation? How can we invest in Black-owned businesses? And what's the state of the gig economy? Your questions, answered.
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A Tale Of Two Camdens

The city of Camden, New Jersey is cited as an example of how cities can change their approach to policing. But the story of Camden and its cops isn't a simple one.
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This Weekend's (Fiscal) Cliffhanger

Unless Congress acts, unemployment benefit enhancements will expire. And that could have big effects on the economy.
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A Conversation With Gary Cohn

Gary Cohn was President Trump's economic advisor, and a prime mover behind the $2 trillion tax cut of 2017. We talk to him about the state of the economy.
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A Race Reckoning In Economics

The economics profession has a serious inclusion problem, and that matters for how all of us understand the economy.
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When SNAP Gets Squeezed

One in five American households doesn't have enough food to eat. And the program that's supposed to help is about to shrink.
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Oil Storage Wars

Because of the global economic slowdown, there's a glut of oil on the market right now. And companies are coming up with creative ways to store it.
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Leaving Prison In The COVID-19 Economy

Reentering the world and the workforce after you've been in prison is hard enough at the best of times. The coronavirus pandemic has made it a whole lot harder.
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The Small Business Roller Coaster

Molly Moon's Homemade Ice Cream in Seattle has been on the same economic and political roller coaster ride many small businesses have. Now they're trying to open back up, survive and grow.
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Texas Hospitals Battle COVID-19

Rural hospitals in Texas are scrambling for equipment and staff to combat the surge in coronavirus cases.
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Why We Need Black-Owned Banks

Black-owned financial institutions are a shrinking part of the U.S. financial system. We look at what that means for America's entrenched racial disparities.
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Live Music Industry Blues

Live music events are like micro-economies that support hundreds of small businesses. Coronavirus is hammering them.
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Unintended Consequences, Hidden Deaths

The way organizations and governments respond to disasters often have hidden consequences; sometimes those consequences can be fatal.
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Jobs In June

The BLS jobs report for June was better than expected, but showed the U.S. economy is still suffering badly from coronavirus.
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The Market For Student Loans

Americans owe about $1.5 trillion in student debt. But who actually owns those loans? One borrower goes looking for an answer?and uncovers a multi-billion dollar shadow market.
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Listener Questions: Past Pandemics And Property Prices

On the Spanish Flu, housing prices, and the resilience of Australia's economy. Indicator listener questions, answered.
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The Uncounted Workforce

Incarcerated Americans make goods for American companies, and get paid next to nothing for their labor.
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Sadie Alexander, America's First Black Economist

Sadie Alexander was the first African-American to earn a PhD in economics. We think her contributions deserve another look.
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Liar Loans

Many businesses have been negatively affected by the pandemic. But some companies that have borrowed a lot of money are manipulating their numbers, to avoid breaking their debt agreements.
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Black Workers And The Fed

How the Federal Reserve manages the economy can have an outsize effect on Black workers. Here's how to make sure it doesn't leave them behind again.
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The Economics Of Vaccine Pricing

Governments and drug companies agree: We need to develop a vaccine for COVID-19. But their motives for developing a vaccine are different. And that will have a big effect on the vaccine's price.
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Poker, Markets And Life

How a psychologist who learned how to play high stakes poker as a way to study human behavior learned a lot about risk management, mendacity and the markets.
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Daymond John: Swimming With Sharks

Daymond John, founder of the iconic brand FUBU and investor on the reality show Shark Tank, talked to us about how he got his start and maintained his lead in the cutthroat world of fashion apparel.
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When A Boomtown Goes Bust

Williston, North Dakota doubled in size during the shale oil boom a decade ago. Now oil prices have fallen and the town's facing hard times.
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How Other Countries Handled Their Jobs Crises

Not all countries approached the COVID-19 economic crisis the way the U.S. did. How different strategies on unemployment had radically different outcomes.
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Who Pays For The Police?

Police fines and fees have helped to fill city coffers, but they've done serious damage to community relations.
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High-Frequency Indicators

Five "high-frequency" indicators help us track the health of the U.S. economy
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The Business Of Police Surveillance

The companies that lead the field in surveillance technology are turning against it.
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Story Of A Paper

Why a groundbreaking paper by Lisa Cook on the effects of racist violence took ten years to get published.
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The Cost Of Contact Tracing

Contact tracing is one of the most effective ways to contain a pandemic and dates back to the 1300s. But the modern versions are coming at a real cost.
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The Post Pandemic City

Big American cities might never look the same again, post coronavirus. And that could be the making of them.
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The Minnesota Paradox

Minnesota is often touted as one of the best places to live in the U.S. ? it has the numbers to prove it. And yet, the state has some of the worst racial disparities of any state in the country.
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Unemployment And The Racial Divide

How well a family can endure a spell of unemployment depends on how much of a buffer it has to fall back on. And there are big racial and ethnic disparities in how big those buffers are.
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The Business Of Antibody Tests

Companies all over the world are jockeying for position in the lucrative COVID-19 antibody testing market, but are quality standards getting lost in the shuffle?
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Police Unions And Civilian Deaths

There appears to be a relationship between police unionization and the number of people killed by officers.
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Where Are The Business Bankruptcies?

When the coronavirus hit, economists predicted a tsunami of bankruptcies. But that hasn't happened.
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Racism And Economics

The coronavirus pandemic has been called "the great equalizer." But in fact, COVID-19 has disproportionately affected African Americans in all kinds of ways.
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The Beige Book And The Pig Farmer

The Federal Reserve's Beige Book provides anecdotes from various parts of the economy. This month's edition illustrates the pain being suffered by pig farmers.
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