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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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The Jobs Crisis

We had almost a decade of growth in the jobs market. But in the last two weeks, nearly 10 million people lost their jobs. Today, we look at the labor market ? what's happening and where it's headed.
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The Coronavirus Pivot

Faced with the prospect of shutting up shop because of coronavirus, some companies are retooling and pivoting to keep their doors open and their workers employed.
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Three Ideas To Fight The Recession

Policymakers can still do more to fight the coronavirus recession. Here are three ideas that we haven't yet tried.
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Scarcity In The Emergency Room

Emergency rooms all over the country are struggling with limited resources: masks, ventilators, hospital beds, doctors. We talk to one ER doctor in New York about how she is managing those resources right now.
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Listeners Ask, We Answer

Coronavirus questions on the yield curve and refinancing. And some of the ways individuals can help.
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When Should We Restart the Economy?

President Trump got major backlash this week when he suggested businesses should reopen by Easter. Critics said that was way too early. How do we know when it's safe for businesses to reopen?
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The Labor Market Catastrophe

Layoffs and furloughs due to the coronavirus clampdown have pushed 3.3 million Americans to apply for unemployment benefits, the largest weekly increase in U.S. history.
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Stimulus Rex

The Senate has managed to negotiate a $2 trillion relief package to help keep the U.S. economy afloat as we deal with the coronavirus pandemic. What's in it and will it be enough?
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Pandemic Bonds

A few years ago, the World Bank issued bonds designed to get cash to needy countries in the event of a pandemic. Sounds like a great idea! But the bonds haven't paid out yet and they may never.
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The Most Vulnerable Workers

Because of social distancing, the U.S. restaurant industry has entirely disintegrated with unimaginable speed, leaving its workers to face an uncertain future.
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Our COVID-19 Indicators Of The Week

Zero and 27 are our indicators of the week. Zero (or nearly zero) is the Fed's new benchmark interest rate. 27 is the number of days that around half of small businesses in the U.S. can go without making money.
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The Test Shortage

A short supply of test kits, staff and equipment have put the U.S. behind in terms of coronavirus testing. We talk to one healthcare worker about what's been limiting their coronavirus testing ability.
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China's New Normal

China appears to have stopped the spread of coronavirus within its borders. People there are now beginning to adjust to a new normal.
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Working From Home

Millions of people all across the world are now having to work from home. Including team Indicator. Today, a look at how this might change the way we work... and what it's like to skip the office.
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The Sudden Stop

As social distancing kicks in and cities begin moving aggressively to contain the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, the U.S. economy is hitting the brakes. Hard.
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Economic Fear Factor

The global economy is being hammered this week - markets have tanked, businesses are closing down. The spreading virus is part of it, but most of the effect is coming from fear.
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Healthcare And Economic Despair

The U.S. spends more on healthcare as a share of its economy than any other wealthy country. In addition to making care less affordable, that also causes indirect damage to the rest of the economy.
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Disease Detectives

As the outbreak of COVID-19 becomes officially classified as a pandemic by the World Health Organization, we look at the role of the Epidemic Intelligence Service the CDCs "disease detectives".
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Tracking The Impact Of Coronavirus In Real Time

The economic effects of the coronavirus outbreak will take some time to show up in the most important economic indicators. We offer three high-frequency indicators to track its effects in real time.
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Oil Shock

A spat between Russia and Saudi Arabia led to a collapse in oil prices over the weekend. Stock prices followed. What happened and what it means.
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Coronavirus And The Labor Market

Today's healthy jobs report was uncontaminated by the coronavirus outbreak, but some parts of the labor market may be especially vulnerable in the months ahead.
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Health Policy Is Economic Policy

U.S. policymakers are taking steps to limit the spread and impact of coronavirus. But they're not helped by American health policy, which could use an overhaul if it's to limit the spread of viral outbreaks.
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The Corona Bump

As coronavirus wreaks havoc on the global economy, some businesses are actually experiencing a boom in demand. Today on the show, what happens when everyone suddenly wants to panic-buy your product.
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Coronavirus: Update From Italy

The coronavirus continues to roil global markets and economies - including here at home, where the markets took yet another dive. Today, we look at an epicenter of the virus outbreak: northern Italy.
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The Economic Lessons Of A Free Solo Climb

In 2017, rock climber Alex Honnold ascended Yosemite's rock formation El Capitan free solo, meaning without ropes or equipment. On today's show, we look at the economic lessons revealed by Honnold's extraordinary feat.
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Coronavirus: A View From Hong Kong

As coronavirus fears roiled markets this week, we hear from Bloomberg's Tracy Alloway, who's based in Hong Kong, about what it's like to live in a city in the throes of an outbreak
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How Wealth Has Changed

The world has changed, and nearly two thirds of global wealth is human capital. Policymakers and politicians may not understand just what that means for global politics.
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The Rise And Fall (And Rise?) Of NASCAR

Last week's Daytona 500 came at a precarious time for NASCAR. Once a behemoth in the world of professional sports, the company is now trying to entice a new generation of race fans.
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Why Netflix Turned To Junk

Netflix had to become a content producer to compete with other streaming services. To raise the money to pay for all that content, the company turned to junk bonds.
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For Richer Or... Richer

The effects of assortative mating, or, what happens when people increasingly marry only other people with similar incomes and education.
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The Indicator The Candidates Should Be Talking About

Political Economist Jared Bernstein watched this week's Democratic debate. Many economic issues came up, but he thinks the candidates need to start talking about how much U.S. households are saving.
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Timecard Capitalists

People who make the highest salaries are increasingly the same people who draw the highest incomes from their capital.
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Meet Our Junk Bond!

Last year, Team Indicator bought a junk bond! The bond was from a company called Hornbeck Offshore Services. On today's show, we learn more about the company and we check in on our investment.
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Listener Questions: Minimum Wage & Gender-Fluid Tadpoles

Cardiff takes on the national debt, minimum wage, and gender-fluid tadpoles to get answers to your burning questions.
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How Economists Do Valentines

It's an Economic Valentine! Economics isn't known as a language of love. But economists Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers say it's central to their relationship and to their decisions as a couple.
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For Rent: Fast Fashion

Buy or rent? That's becoming a question for manufacturers of more and more types of products. Now fast fashion brands are trying to get in on the movement, too.
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The First Milestone In The History of Economics

The first milestone in the history of economics was an 8th century B.C. poem ? a lecture by an ancient Greek poet to his deadbeat brother.
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Why Cheap Solar Could Save the World

In the last fifteen years, the cost of solar energy has declined so sharply that it has recently become the cheapest form of energy in the world. Now, major companies are jumping in to invest, but will the markets follow?
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Coronavirus And The Global Economy

The coronavirus has sickened more than 40,000 people and killed more than 900. In addition to that devastating human toll, the outbreak is likely to have economically destructive effects as well.
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Jobs Friday: The Racial Unemployment Gap

The unemployment rate for black workers is roughly twice that of white workers - and has been for half a century. Today we discuss the reasons for the gap, and how to shrink it.
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Betting On The Oscars

Betting on the Oscars is now legal in New Jersey and Indiana, so we went down to Atlantic City to place a bet on Best Picture. And we spoke to a few experts beforehand to understand how to make a better bet.
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Triple-A Ratings Are So Yesterday

It used to be that companies strove for the best credit rating possible. Today, however, almost everyone's happy to slide by with a barely passing grade.
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Peak Misery And The Happiness Curve

How do you measure happiness? Economist David Blanchflower says age has a lot to do with it.
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Even The Facts Are Polarized

As Iowans prepare to make their selection for the Democratic presidential nominee, a new study sheds light on just how polarized Americans are, even when it comes to reality itself.
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A Business Owner's View On Brexit

Today is Brexit Day. As of 11:00pm tonight (GMT), the UK will no longer be part of the European Union. We spoke to a small business owner about what that might mean.
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American Dynamism In Decline

America has a hard-earned reputation for being the most dynamic economy on the globe. But that dynamism could be waning.
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The Economic Impact Of An Infectious Disease

As the coronavirus spreads internationally, we wanted to know what it looks like when an infectious disease shuts down one of the world's largest economies. We speak with NPR Beijing correspondent, Emily Feng.
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Weird (Amazon) Flex, But Okay

Nearly half of Amazon's packages are delivered not by UPS or USPS, but by the company itself. Amazon employs thousands of gig workers to make its deliveries, administering them through an app called Amazon Flex.
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The Indicator Plays 'Ms. Monopoly'

Monopoly recently rolled out a version of its classic board game, meant to highlight female contributions to the economy as well as women's economic issues. Today on the show, we play Ms. Monopoly.
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Fun Fact Friday: Aggressively Passive Edition

Cardiff is back to present three economic facts for Stacey to deem fun, not fun, or just plain fascinating.
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