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Marketplace

Marketplace

Hosted by Kai Ryssdal, our flagship program is all about providing context on the economic news of the day. Through stories, conversations and newsworthy numbers, we help listeners understand the economic world around them.

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Episodes

What happens when millions of people can’t make loan payments?

We got the March jobs numbers this morning ? 4.4% unemployment, more than 700,000 jobs lost, and it’s going to get a lot worse. Lenders are bracing themselves for missed mortgage payments and investors are avoiding loans that aren?t backed by the government. Today, we’ll dig into the economic ripple effects. Plus, small businesses trying to apply for emergency loans and the impact of COVID-19 on both funeral homes and the ad industry.

2020-04-03
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Pay cuts spread further down the ladder

Unemployment claims passed 6.6 million last week, more than double the week before. Many workers who still have their jobs are now doing them for reduced pay. We’ll ask how those pay cuts might ripple through the economy. Plus: the huge number of immigrants who will miss out on checks from the government, and the logistical challenge of giving small businesses emergency loans.

2020-04-02
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Why ventilators are getting more expensive

States and FEMA are separately competing for ventilators, which is driving prices up to roughly $25,000 each. Today, we look at the market forces at work. Plus: What it’s like to run a barge company right now, why employers are backing off 401(k)s and how the housing market is adapting to low interest rates and no in-person showings.

2020-04-01
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How the COVID-19 crisis compares to the Great Depression

We?re starting to see some devastating economic indicators around the coronavirus pandemic. But just how bad are things going to get? Today we assembled a group of historians to talk about the economic crises of the past, and why it’s unlikely this one will look like the Great Depression. Plus, Britain’s ventilator shortage, insurance hikes and the science of setting the markets to music.

2020-03-31
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Is it ethical to shop online right now?

If your inbox looks anything like ours, you’re seeing a bunch of ads for online sales. With nonessential businesses closed all over the country, many retailers are doing what they can to drum up business. It’s true that consumer spending is a primary engine of this economy, but is it right to splurge on fancy sweats right now? Plus: how deep this recession will get, how Americans are confronting the bills due this week and a conversation with rapper, singer and writer Dessa.

2020-03-30
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Small businesses are barely hanging on

Lawmakers have finally passed a $2 trillion COVID-19 relief package. When it comes to saving small businesses, will the aid be enough? We talk with some business owners who are barely getting by. Plus: the new economies of Canadian border towns, retailers’ rush to staff up and a conversation with the president of the Dallas Fed.

2020-03-27
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Those medical supplies hospitals need? They’re overseas.

Ventilators, masks, gloves and other supplies American hospitals need are produced in China, Italy, Malaysia and elsewhere. That puts the U.S. at a disadvantage in its fight against COVID-19. We’ll look through the supply chain and potential solutions. Plus: the new lifestyles of working parents and the non-traditional workers being hit especially hard by this crisis.

2020-03-26
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Is this country ready for 2.5 million jobless claims in a week?

Tomorrow’s first-time unemployment claim numbers are expected to be exponentially higher than a typical week, and many states have cut back on unemployment insurance in recent years. What about the people losing employer-sponsored health care? Today we’ll do the numbers and check in on the status of the stimulus bill that could provide some relief. Plus: What a 90-day tariff deferral would do for the people paying (that’s us).

2020-03-25
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What’s the difference between being laid off and being furloughed?

When you’re losing work because of COVID-19, it might not feel like there’s much difference between getting laid off and furloughed. But it’s an important distinction. We’ll talk about it, plus the unemployment claim numbers coming this week, how the repo market works and the nationwide mask shortage.

2020-03-24
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Ben Bernanke on saving the American economy

When you’re staring down a financial crisis, you want to talk to someone who’s been there before. So today we called up Ben Bernanke, who’s both a scholar of the Great Depression and ran the Federal Reserve during the Great Recession. He says fiscal policy is going to have to “get its act together.” Plus: what an economic “restart” looks like, how small businesses in China are still under pressure and encrypted social platforms’ struggle to fight COVID-19 misinformation.

2020-03-23
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How will we know when the coronavirus crisis is over?

We have pretty good, near-real-time data on the COVID-19 virus, the number of new cases, tests and so on (you can find daily updates on our website). But the economic impact? Not so much. Today, we’ll tell you what to keep an eye on. Plus: A few stories from a tidal wave of layoffs, and is Boeing too big to fail?

2020-03-20
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Even traders are working from home because of COVID-19

The floor of the New York Stock Exchange is usually full of people, but on Monday it will move to electronic trading only to combat coronavirus. Today, we talk about how that will work and ask Nasdaq President and CEO Adena Friedman why markets are still open at all. Plus, the state of mental health benefits, economic impacts of the 1918 Spanish flu and a conversation with “World War Z” author Max Brooks.

2020-03-19
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How work has changed under COVID-19

In just a few weeks, coronavirus has completely reshaped the way Americans are working. Today, we’re looking at the layoffs, the newly housebound office workers and the folks who still have to go out and risk spreading the virus, sometimes for minimum wage. Plus, more listener questions, like: What’s the difference between a recession and a depression? And can’t the Fed just pay for a stimulus?

2020-03-18
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What a coronavirus recession would look like

President Donald Trump acknowledged Monday that the economy may be headed toward a recession. Is that just due to the coronavirus, or is it the recession economists have been predicting for years? Today we talk a bit about the difference and what’s on the horizon. Plus: remote education in the digital divide, Americans stocking up, and why stocks are up.

2020-03-17
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What happens to the economy when COVID-19 throws on the brakes?

We’re answering more of your questions about the coronavirus pandemic today. Starting with: What exactly did the Fed do this weekend, and what would happen to the global economy if activity in the U.S. shut down? Plus, how China’s 270 million students are learning at home, what’s changing for supply chains along the border, and why working from home is great for hackers. Of course, we’ll also talk about stocks, which had their biggest single-day drop of the crisis so far.

2020-03-16
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Your coronavirus questions, answered

The COVID-19 pandemic isn’t causing an economic slowdown in the United States, it’s causing an economic stop. You probably have a lot of questions, like where the Fed’s $1.5 trillion went, how algorithmic trading is affecting volatility and what numbers to watch as we prepare for a recession. We’re going to answer all of them and more. Plus: What it’s like to run a movie theater right now and the increased risks for the hundreds of millions of homeless Americans.

2020-03-13
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This was a terrible day for markets. Here’s what comes next.

Stocks had their worst day since 1987 and the economy is experiencing uncertainty unseen since 2008. Today, we?ll help you understand what’s happening and what’s coming. We?ll talk with experts, business owners, a farmer and a doctor (who?s also school board president) about how they?re feeling the spread of COVID-19 and what they?re bracing for. Plus: the millions of uninsured or underinsured Americans who can?t afford to see a doctor even if they suspect they might have the new coronavirus.

2020-03-12
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The COVID-19 crisis isn’t 2008 … yet

With a the Dow in bear market territory and a bunch of stimulus proposals under consideration, the COVID-19 pandemic might be giving you flashbacks to the financial crisis of 11 years ago. Today we compare current economic conditions to 2008. Plus, online dating and stockpiling “essentials” during the outbreak.

2020-03-11
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How do you prevent a coronavirus recession?

As new cases of COVID-19 spread across the nation, it’s becoming increasingly clear that the economy is going to take a serious hit. With that in mind, the White House has floated a payroll tax cut and other steps to prevent a recession. Today, we’ll look at how that would work. Plus: canceled flights, canceled classes and a price war on oil.

2020-03-10
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How worried should we be about COVID-19 and the economy?

Phew, OK, wow. Like the markets this morning, let’s trip our own “circuit breaker” to recalibrate and talk through everything that just happened with stocks and oil. Plus, we’ll look to Austin, Texas, where residents and businesses are reeling from the cancellation of SXSW, and to Shanghai, where people are ever-so-slowly getting back to work and shopping.

2020-03-09
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Hollywood isn’t immune to COVID-19

The COVID-19 outbreak has virtually shut down the entire movie industry in China, and that’s having ripple effects for big blockbusters, often the only reliable moneymakers in Hollywood right now. We’ll look at what’s happened so far and consider the summer movie season. Plus, what we can get out of today’s jobs report, diminishing returns on the 10-year T-note and a visit to the dark web.

2020-03-06
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Coronavirus is hitting America’s Port

They call the Port of Los Angeles, which handles more cargo than any other port in the Western Hemisphere, “America’s Port.” Thanks to COVID-19, February volume was down 25% from last year. Today, we talk with the port’s executive director about what’s going on there and why it matters. Plus, what you need to know about market volatility and algorithmic trading, and the debt collection case in front of the Supreme Court.

2020-03-05
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Look to the futures

Markets are down 1,200 points one day, up 1,200 points the next. There’s lots of activity on the bond market and a lot of people looking to the equity index futures market. Today we talk through what that is and how you can read the futures, too. Plus, how airlines and OPEC are reacting to COVID-19, “Women’s Work” and why affordable mental health care can be so hard to find.

2020-03-04
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There’s only so much the Fed can do

There?s a lot the Federal Reserve can do to keep credit moving and help businesses weather the storm caused by the new coronavirus disease. Today, the Fed cut interest rates by a half point. But rates are already low, and in a COVID-19 outbreak, what if the economy needs more than the Fed can give? Plus, we’ll talk about what that decision might have been like in the Federal Open Market Committee and the reaction from the G-7 and the Treasury.

2020-03-03
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More Americans are working from home

As COVID-19 spreads to the United States, more workers here are staying home ? and boosting telecommuting stocks. Plus: The mood in Shanghai, Jack Welch’s legacy at GE and how Judge Judy made a fortune in syndication.

2020-03-02
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Mercury is in retrograde

C’mon, have you seen markets this week? Today we’ll talk about stocks, bonds and why millennials are so into astrology. Plus, mortgages are getting cheaper and what a $200 million fine means to billion-dollar wireless carriers.

2020-02-28
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It’s a correction, folks

COVID-19 fears have driven stocks down 10% from a 52-week high, putting us officially in a market correction. Goldman Sachs says S&P 500 companies won’t see any earnings growth this year. We’ll talk about what it all that means, plus: the CDC’s Emergency Operations Center, the history of corporate buzzwords and we “sundown” our series “United States of Work.”

2020-02-27
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If you’re sick, stay home!

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had pretty straightforward advice for staying healthy during the COVID-19 outbreak: wash your hands and stay home when you’re sick. For a lot of Americans, the former is fine but the latter is easier said than done. Plus: What President Trump talks about when he talks about coronavirus, Silicon Valley’s VC drought, and in the latest installment of “United States of Work,” one woman tells us about working past retirement age.

2020-02-27
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Workers in Shanghai are back at the office, but not back to normal

A lot of economic activities in China remain stalled, but as cases of COVID-19 are on the decline, some workers are back on the job. Today, we look at how office life has changed in Shanghai after the outbreak. Plus: more market reaction to the coronavirus and another installment in our series “United States of Work.”

2020-02-25
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Take a deep breath

You had to know this was coming, right? The Dow dropped more than 1,000 points as COVID-19 spread continued its spread. We spend some time at the top of today’s show getting context for that reaction, and looking at why consumer confidence is still so high. Plus, made-to-order clothing at scale, more seasonal work visas and our series “United States of Work” heads to a private practice in rural Ohio.

2020-02-24
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He sees a lot of the “United States of Work”

On today’s installment of “United States of Work,” we’re talking with Steve Fields, a Kansas City, Missouri, trucker who sees a lot of this country ? and sees economic changes down the road, too. Plus, we meet a Los Angeles construction worker and dig into the latest business activity numbers.

2020-02-21
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The economy needs rule of law

?Rule of law? is a legal phrase that?s been getting a lot of attention amid President Donald Trump?s controversial interactions with the Justice Department. But it’s not just the foundation of the legal system ? it keeps the economy together, too. Plus: Morgan Stanley buys E-Trade, Bath & Body Works is one of the last mall stores standing and our series “United States of Work” heads to Nashville.

2020-02-20
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What it’s like to be a service worker right now

Two in 10 American workers are in the service industry. As part of “United States of Work” series, we’re following a bartender in Portland, Oregon, and a hair stylist in Boise, Idaho. Plus: sinking toy sales, new producer price index numbers and what it’s like to build your own house.

2020-02-19
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This is “United States of Work”

There are 164 million people making this economy go. We don’t have room on our show to profile the entire workforce, but this year we’re going to follow 10 of them in a new series, “United States of Work.” We’re starting with Michael, a New York-based accountant. Plus, how the COVID-19 outbreak is affecting Apple and Nintendo earnings and a look at the booming market for hard seltzer.

2020-02-18
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How Zillow and online real estate have become a millennial addiction

Portals into the dream of homeownership look a little different these days. Real estate apps and websites like Zillow have attracted a swelling audience of millennials looking to take a peek into the real estate market. Also, we talk about the sleep economy, apps helping native business and how George Washington handled national debt.

2020-02-17
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The U.S. has one bathroom for every person

The number of private bathrooms per American has doubled in 50 years. Doubled! Today, we talk to The Atlantic’s Derek Thompson about why the U.S. has so many toilets and what that says about us. Plus, Delta’s plan to become carbon neutral, dismal retail numbers and why teachers in D.C. aren’t managing to live where they work.

2020-02-14
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Who gets student loan forgiveness

The Congressional Budget Office says the U.S. government is on track to forgive over $200 billion in student loans over the next decade. Today, we look at how the program works and who benefits. Plus: The cost of canceling the Mobile World Congress, Asia’s pilot shortage and a conversation with the woman who runs Wikipedia.

2020-02-13
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What makes a song successful now?

Matthew Wilder’s “Don’t Break My Stride,” a 1980s one-hit wonder, has been going viral on TikTok for weeks. So has Roddy Ricch’s “The Box,” which beat Justin Bieber to number one on the Billboard Hot 100. When does virality start to pay? Today, we do the numbers on streaming, memes and chart success. Plus: fake coronavirus news, unemployment insurance cuts and in-home grocery delivery.

2020-02-12
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I quit!

Thanks to a tight labor market, more and more Americans are changing jobs, and faster. Where does that leave the customary two-week notice period? Plus: the Sprint and T-Mobile merger, WME’s failed IPO and the first responders who can’t turn to Google Maps.

2020-02-11
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What China wants with Equifax data

The Justice Department is charging four members of the Chinese military in the 2017 Equifax data breach, in which hackers got the names, birth dates and Social Security numbers of 145 million Americans. Attorney General William Barr said it was the biggest in a string of connected attacks, which China has denied. Today, we’ll look at what the Chinese would want with Americans’ personal data. Plus, President Donald Trump’s budget, the economies of early primary states, and the Oscars’ spotlight on hair discrimination.

2020-02-10
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Uber’s path to profitability

Growth is not a problem for Uber, but when it will start making money is another question. The company says it will be profitable by the end of year, and while Uber Eats accounts for two-thirds of its losses, it’s doubling down on food delivery. Today we’ll talk about why. Plus, how coronavirus is hitting supply chains, Brexit brain drain and why Warner Music is going public … again.

2020-02-07
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How much money do you have tied up in gift cards?

Billions of American dollars are resting in unused gift cards and digital wallets. Starbucks and Walmart together have about $3.5 billion, PayPal is holding tens of billions. Where is that money sitting and what do companies do with it? That’s what we’re finding out on today’s show. Plus: The latest China trade news, how to get your personal data back and why Iowa’s caucus app failed.

2020-02-06
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Advertisers are cautiously getting back on Reddit

It was tough to be a Redditor in 2015. For every small, vibrant subreddit devoted to a hobby or earnest advice, there was a cesspool of misogyny or a community devoted to snuff films. But CEO Steve Huffman has been working to make the site less scary, and advertising revenue has started growing. The story of how a sinking ship righted itself could offer insights for other other social media sites trying to clean up. Plus: Ripple effects from cutting down flights to China, Casper’s IPO and more from Kai’s conversation with Janet Yellen and David Malpass.

2020-02-05
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America’s debt is “unsustainable”

That’s what former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said onstage in Washington with World Bank President David Malpass this morning as part of a wide-ranging discussion with Kai Ryssdal. Today, we bring you some highlights from that conversation. Plus: YouTube’s earnings and how AI could help track the coronavirus outbreak.

2020-02-04
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Why mall owners are buying Forever 21

Fast fashion giant Forever 21, which filed for bankruptcy last month, is selling itself to a consortium of buyers that includes two large mall owners. Today, we take look at why America’s malls have an interest in buying their tenants. Plus: coronavirus turned Shanghai into a ghost town, tariff exemptions are harder to get and the world’s biggest oil producers mull cutting production.

2020-02-03
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The big business behind “Cheer”

Netflix’s new documentary series “Cheer” is bringing new attention to both the world of competitive cheerleading and Varsity, the company with a monopoly on the sport. Plus, farm bankruptcies, the real cost of one-day shipping and Iowa’s deluge of political ads.

2020-01-31
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The end of the beginning of Brexit

Britain will finally exit the E.U. tomorrow. The U.K. now has eleven months to finalize a new trade deal with their former bloc. Today, we look at what comes after Brexit day. Plus, the return of the 20-year bond, sluggish business investment and America’s effect on Mexico’s economy.

2020-01-30
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Welcome to … the “dead zone”

For a lot of retailers, especially restaurants, afternoons are tough. That’s why happy hour exists. Starbucks beat earnings expectations in part because it’s been able to bring more shoppers in during the afternoon. Today, we look at how coffee shops and other retailers are fighting through the “dead zone.” Plus: Warren Buffet gets out of newspapers, the latest from the Fed meeting, and how one man is finding shelter amid LA’s homelessness crisis.

2020-01-29
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What weighs down GDP?

The Federal Reserve’s first meeting of the year just started, and gross domestic product numbers are out later this week. The production slowdown of Boeing’s 737 Max is slated to show up in that number, and we’re taking a look at the other products that impact GDP. Plus: 3M’s job cuts, Huawei’s role in the UK’s 5G network and the latest consumer confidence and durable goods numbers.

2020-01-28
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Chinese workers are staying home because of coronavirus

The Chinese government extended the Lunar New Year holiday to slow the spread of coronavirus. While some workers will get paid time off, not everyone is so lucky. Today, reporter Jennifer Pak gives us the view from the streets of Shanghai. Plus, the outbreak’s ripple effects, new steel and aluminum tariffs and the official start of tax season.

2020-01-27
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