M-F 6:30 p.m.
  • Hosted by Kai Ryssdal

In-depth focus on the latest business news both nationally and internationally, the global economy, and wider events linked to the financial markets. The only national daily business news program originating from the West Coast, Marketplace is noted for its timely, relevant and accessible coverage of business, economics and personal finance.

Gas prices head north before holiday

5 hours ago

We’re only a few days away from Memorial Day weekend, one of the busiest travel days of the year. More than 41 million Americans are expected to hit the road. You know where you’re going? Are you going to drive there? Well, you might be paying more for that gasoline than you have in a long time.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

(U.S. Edition) President Trump is expected to sign a bill that would ease some of the rules imposed on banks after the last financial crisis. But will this be that radical of a decision? Erik Gordon, a professor at the University of Michigan, explains why he thinks most of us aren't going to notice the changes. Afterwards, we'll look at how the job market is for recent college graduates as part of our "Divided Decade" series, which examines how America has changed since the financial crisis. (05/23/2018)

The effects of the Great Recession reverberated throughout our economy: unemployment levels rose, home values fell precipitously, and median household incomes slumped. 

But Americans may experience those consequences very differently depending on factors as simple as the year they got their diploma.

College graduations are going on around the country, after which most graduates face the job market for the first time. And with unemployment at 3.9 percent and employers complaining of labor shortages across professions and regions, this is one of the best job markets in decades for new college graduates.

Should a machine have to tell you if it's a machine?

8 hours ago

This week Microsoft bought a company called Semantic Machines which works on something called "conversational AI." That means computers that sound and respond like humans. Mostly it's for digital assistants like Microsoft's Cortana, Apple's Siri, Amazon's Alexa or Bixby on Samsung. Last month Google showed off its own smart assistant called Duplex, which can call a hair salon to make an appointment on your behalf, or a restaurant to make a reservation.

This week Microsoft bought a company called Semantic Machines which works on something called "conversational AI" - that means computers that sound and respond like humans. Mostly it's for digital assistants like Microsoft's Cortana, Apple's Siri, Amazon's Alexa or Bixby on Samsung. Last month Google showed off its own smart assistant called Duplex, which can call a hair salon to make an appointment on your behalf, or a restaurant to make a reservation.

64: The case of the Butter Bot

22 hours ago

It started with an email about butter. We got it in our listener submission inbox, and it was mostly nonsense with a sketchy link. You probably get spammy emails like this every day. Do you ever wonder who sent them, or what they're trying to accomplish? Well, reader, we clicked the link. Then we called Jonathon Morgan, CEO of the cybersecurity firm New Knowledge, to help us make sense of what we found. It gets weird, kind of scary and yes, buttery. Special thanks to listener Steffen Spear who started us on this trail.

The House is set to take up a bill today dialing back parts of Dodd-Frank, the law regulating banks after the financial crisis. The bill, which has already passed the Senate, would change mortgage lending requirements and raise the threshold at which banks will be officially big, or "systemically important financial institutions," if you want to get technical. We'll start off by telling you everything you need to know, and we'll also look at the rotating deck chairs on the American CEO cruise ship. Plus, speaking of the recession, we'll look at what it's like to graduate into one.

When Luis Calderon graduated from the University of Central Arkansas back in 2008, he had the immigrant dreams of his entire family upon his shoulders. But then the Great Recession hit, and like many in his year, Calderon paid the high price for unlucky timing.

Calderon majored in economics with an emphasis on international trade, and during his senior year he aspired to begin his career at a multinational corporation.

(Markets Edition) The House is set to vote on a bill that would free dozens of small and mid-sized banks from regulations placed after the financial crisis. We'll dive into some of the rules that could go away. Afterwards, we'll discuss the Supreme Court's latest workplace ruling: employees who agreed to settle disputes with their boss through individual arbitration can't later join big class-action lawsuits. Plus: A look at what the Pope has to say about financial markets and its participants. (05/22/2018)



China's "professional" pick-up artists

May 22, 2018

Qi Dongwei, a 32-year-old mechanical engineer, recalls having an excruciating crush on a classmate back in college. He said he would spend time with her before and after class.

“Our hands had brushed up against each other’s by accident, but I never attempted to hold her hand, not even after chasing her for two years,” Qi said.

He has not had much luck with women since, and the pressure is on.

U.S. household debt hit a record $13.2 trillion in the first quarter of 2018, but Americans seem to be handling it okay. Consumer debt levels are stabilizing, according to The New York Fed’s quarterly household debt report. But rising interest rates seem to be squeezing household finances in at least one area: credit card debt.

Click the above audio player to hear the full story. 

The Supreme Court just made class-action lawsuits harder to join

May 22, 2018

The Supreme Court has ruled that employees who agreed to settle disputes with the boss through individual arbitration can't later join big class-action lawsuits. 

(U.S. Edition) European politicians will get to grill Facebook CEO later today about the Cambridge Analytica scandal, over a month after U.S. Congress members questioned him. We'll discuss what to expect from his upcoming testimony. Afterwards, we'll talk about why a rising share of American households seem to be having trouble paying off their credit card debt. Plus: As part of our "Divided Decade" series, which looks at the financial crisis 10 years later, we asked 2008 college grads to share lessons about the job market with class of 2018. (05/22/2018)

Will Sony’s strategy shift shine?

May 22, 2018

(Global Edition) From the BBC World Service … Oil prices are heading back toward $80 a barrel thanks to a range of geopolitical and supply factors. In India, fuel costs are a sensitive issue. We’ll explain how the country’s oil minister is working on a way to pressure prices there. Then, Sony announced a big shift in strategy, but will it pay off? It's set to become the world's no. 1 music publisher now that it's purchased EMI Music Publishing for $2.3 billion. Afterward, while the economic decline in Zimbabwe has been well documented, the impact on the country’s industry hasn’t.

Why privacy settings can't keep your location secret

May 22, 2018

Phone carriers collect a minute-by-minute record of everywhere you go. If you use GPS on your phone, that may be obvious. But carriers are also selling that information to companies that don’t do much to keep it secure. One of those companies, Securus Technologies, was hacked this month. Securus gets its information from a company called LocationSmart.

The class of 2008 offers advice to the class of 2018

May 22, 2018

Ten years after they graduated during the Great Recession from the University of Central Arkansas, several alumni returned to campus for a roundtable with graduates from the class of 2018. The returnees, now in their 30s, talked about making far less in their first jobs than they’d anticipated. Some moved around a lot early on in their careers – which studies suggest is a better way to boost wages – whereas others stayed put and chose to be more risk-averse during the economic downturn. The most common advice heard at the roundtable: take what you can get in your first job.

The United States Supreme Court handed down several rulings today — one in particular has a pretty good chance of affecting you. The court said today that employers can indeed force employees into individual arbitration to resolve workplace disputes. Specifically, arbitration agreements that bar employees from participating in class-action lawsuits. Workers’ rights group say the ruling is detrimental.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

For scrap brokers, the trade war is not "on hold"

May 21, 2018

Over the weekend, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the prospect of a U.S.-China trade war was “on hold” for now. There’s been a lot of trade headlines lately, but one slice of the Sino-American trading relationship that hasn’t gotten a lot of attention is the multibillion-dollar U.S.-China scrap trade. Earlier this month, the Chinese government suspended the North American branch of the China Certification and Inspection Group North America, which inspects all the shredded steel, corrugated cardboard, beverage containers and other scrap that the U.S.

Congress weighs changes to foreign investment oversight

May 21, 2018

In 1975, President Gerald Ford created a committee to oversee foreign investment in the United States. His executive order was prompted, in part, by significant inflows of oil money from places like Saudi Arabia and Iran to buy U.S. companies, said Matthew Baltz, a professor at Bucknell University.

But for its first decade, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, known as CFIUS, didn’t have much bite.

How Theranos, a Silicon Valley star, came tumbling down

May 21, 2018

In October 2015, an investigative reporter for The Wall Street Journal named John Carreyrou stumbled across a pretty amazing story. The technology behind the much lauded biotech startup, Theranos ... well it didn't work, at least not in the way its founder, Stanford drop out Elizabeth Holmes, had said it did.

The trade war is on hold — for now

May 21, 2018

After two days of trade talks in Washington and a high-level trip earlier this month, China and the United States have announced a truce in the simmering trade war, with U.S.-imposed tariffs on hold. We'll spend some time a the top of today's show recapping how we got here, what's settled and what's not. Then: We'll talk to the reporter who wrote the book on the failed blood-testing startup Theranos and the "scorched earth" tactics it took to cover up fraud.

Uber is changing how it deals with sexual harassment and assault claims. Employees, drivers and riders will no longer be forced into arbitration, a process that critics say often favors corporations. The decision comes after survivors of alleged assault by Uber drivers pushed the company to let their cases go to court. Rival Lyft quickly scrapped its binding arbitration agreements, too. And both companies said they will no longer require that settlements of misconduct claims be kept confidential. The changes are part of Uber’s campaign to restore public trust.

Have you used a genetic testing service to take a peek into your ancestral background? One of those direct-to-consumer products that tells you about your family's history and health? A service like 23andMe, Ancestry or National Geographic's ancestry test?

If so, we want to hear your story.

Marketplace is working on upcoming coverage related to how genetic testing plays out for people of color.

So, you're graduating into a financial crisis ...

May 21, 2018

Back in 2009 and 2010, college students were graduating into the worst economy since the Great Depression. Unemployment had risen from 5 percent in December 2007 to 9.5 percent in June 2009, when the recession technically ended, and was 9.6 percent for 2010. So what do you say to students facing a labor market full of cutbacks and uncertainty?

The U.K.’s National Health Service provides free, universal healthcare to U.K. residents.

Communities are creating their own solutions to food deserts

May 21, 2018

Kroger say it’s closing about 40 stores nationwide. Many are in neighborhoods the U.S. Department of Agriculture already calls food deserts. That’s a place where food is hard to get, either because it’s too  far away or it’s not affordable. Kroger says the closed stores weren’t making money. As communities that used to depend on their local Kroger supermarket look for a solution, local activists in Dayton, Ohio, are working to open a cooperative grocery store to replace the Kroger that closed. 

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

Here’s why U.S. small businesses don’t export more

May 21, 2018

The Commerce Department kicks off World Trade Week on Monday. It’s honoring 43 U.S. exporters. Thirty-three of them are small- or mid-sized businesses. But as it turns out, small businesses could be exporting more.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story.