NPR Business

Business
5:26 am
Mon June 17, 2013

The Last Word In Business

Originally published on Mon June 17, 2013 1:13 pm

Boring TV is such a hit in the Scandinavian nation of Norway that broadcasters are scrambling to produce even more shows to satisfy the appetites of viewers. One idea being considered is a live show with knitting experts, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Shots - Health News
2:59 am
Mon June 17, 2013

To Find Out How The Health Law Affects You, Ask The President

President Obama encourages people to sign up for health insurance exchanges in San Jose, Calif., on June 6.
Stephen Lam Getty Images

Originally published on Mon June 17, 2013 1:13 pm

Call it the Affordable Care Act, call it Obamacare, call it whatever you want — it's coming. And soon. In less than four months people without health insurance will be able to start signing up for coverage that begins Jan. 1.

A lot has been said about the law, most of it not that understandable. So starting now, and continuing occasionally through the summer and fall, we're going to try to fix that.

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U.S.
2:56 am
Mon June 17, 2013

Visa Exchange Program Draws Scrutiny Under Immigration Bill

Australian counselors at the French Woods camp in upstate New York celebrate their culture on July 4, 2012. All of French Woods' foreign employees work in the United States through the J-1 visa program.
Courtesy of French Woods Festival of the Performing Arts

Originally published on Mon June 17, 2013 1:33 pm

Landing a job at a summer camp or at an amusement park is a rite of passage for many young Americans. Those jobs also appeal to foreigners participating in a cultural exchange using J-1 visas. But with U.S. youth unemployment at 25 percent, Congress is now taking a close look at the J-1 visa exchange program.

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The Protojournalist
11:13 am
Sun June 16, 2013

World's Shortest Business Brief: The Smoffice

The World's Smallest Office competition is over. But will the Smoffice create jobs?

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

The Two-Way
3:51 pm
Sat June 15, 2013

Google's 'Looney' Internet Balloons Invade New Zealand

A Google balloon sails through the air with the Southern Alps in the background, in Tekapo, New Zealand, on Monday.
Jon Shenk AP

Google has launched — quite literally — a new idea to bring the Internet to some of the world's remotest places.

The tech giant's engineering hothouse, Google X, is testing the use of 12-mile-high helium balloons to get coverage in areas where it's impractical to put in conventional infrastructure.

Google said Saturday that it has 30 of the balloons, or "high-altitude platforms" (HAPS), flying over New Zealand as part of something called Project Loon. They will hover at about twice the altitude of a passenger jet.

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The Two-Way
11:25 am
Sat June 15, 2013

Facebook, Microsoft Reveal Requests For User Data

Facebook says it received 9,000 to 10,000 requests from government agencies during the last six months of 2012.
Lionel Bonaventure AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat June 15, 2013 2:08 pm

Facebook and Microsoft Corp. say the government has given them permission to reveal orders they've received to hand over user data, but that they are still prevented from giving anything other than very broad figures.

Facebook says it received 9,000 to 10,000 requests during the last six months of 2012, while Microsoft says it got 6,000 to 7,000 requests, affecting as many as 32,000 accounts.

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The Record
5:28 am
Sat June 15, 2013

Pandora Buys A Radio Station, Songwriters' Group Calls It A 'Stunt'

Blake Morgan's songs were played some 28,000 times over a 90-day period on Pandora, earning $1.62 in royalties.
Jim Herrington Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sat June 15, 2013 4:40 pm

This week, the Internet radio broadcaster Pandora made what seems like a backward move — technologically speaking. Pandora purchased a local radio station in Rapid City, S.D. The company says it's aiming to get the more favorable royalty rates given to terrestrial broadcasters, but the move has songwriters and composers up in arms.

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It's All Politics
5:24 am
Sat June 15, 2013

How Rock 'N' Roll Can Explain The U.S. Economy

Bruce Springsteen performs during halftime of the Super Bowl in Tampa, Fla., in 2009. In music, and increasingly in other industries, a relative handful of top performers take more and more of the spoils, says White House chief economist Alan Krueger.
Mark J. Terrill AP

Originally published on Sat June 15, 2013 8:10 pm

White House economic adviser Alan Krueger took some ribbing from his boss this week. President Obama noted that Krueger will soon be leaving Washington to go back to his old job, teaching economics at Princeton.

"And now that Alan has some free time, he can return to another burning passion of his: 'Rockanomics,' the economics of rock and roll," the president said. "This is something that Alan actually cares about."

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Business
5:28 pm
Fri June 14, 2013

Housing Market Watchers Edgy As Mortgage Rates Keep Climbing

Home values have been rising in recent months, but mortgage rates have taken a rapid turn upward as well. Some investors are worried that the housing recovery may stall if mortgage rates jump too quickly.
Gene J. Puskar AP

Originally published on Fri June 14, 2013 6:12 pm

Mortgage rates have seen a relatively sharp rise this month. The average 30-year fixed-rate loan hit 4 percent earlier in June — a big jump from the record lows of recent years. Some investors are now concerned that the housing recovery could be stifled if rates continue to rise quickly.

The Federal Reserve has two main missions: to maximize employment and minimize inflation. Right now, there are few, if any, signs that prices for goods are spiking, and the job market is still crawling out of its long, deep slump.

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Planet Money
3:15 pm
Fri June 14, 2013

When People Make Their Own Banks

Harlem funeral directors Tamara Bullock and Patricia Hamilton are going to spend their next savings-club payout on a sky-diving trip (unless Bullock can get out of it).
Marianne McCune NPR

Originally published on Fri June 14, 2013 6:12 pm

Miguelo Rada doesn't seem like the kind of guy who'd have extra cash. He just spent 32 years in prison, he lives in a halfway house in West Harlem, and his current income comes only from public assistance.

He uses food stamps for food, wears hand-me-down clothes and buys almost nothing. He is also an unofficial bank.

"If somebody asks me, 'Can I borrow $20?' If I have it I'll say, 'Here!' " he says.

This kind of borrowing is one way people do what economists call "consumption smoothing" – basically making spending more regular, even when income is not.

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