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.

Downturn Start-Ups: A Conversation With Guy Raz
Sep 18 • 9 min
Since the pandemic started, nearly 100,000 businesses have closed permanently. Opening a business now might seem crazy. But downturn start-ups have some advantages.
DIY Firefighting
Sep 17 • 8 min
Emergency services are spread so thin in the West that some property owners are taking a D-I-Y approach to firefighting.
How Immigration Is Changing The U.S. Economy
Sep 16 • 9 min
Nearly 17 percent of the U.S. labor force is made up of immigrants. That’s up from 12.4 percent in 2000, and 6.7 percent in 1980. What that means for the economy.
A Smarter Approach To Lockdowns
Sep 15 • 9 min
The coronavirus has put millions of people out of work. Greg Ip talks about his recent article in the Wall Street Journal and argues that lockdowns are “an overly blunt and economically costly tool.”
The Birth Of The Greenback
Sep 14 • 9 min
In the mid-1800s, the US had 8,370 kinds of money. How that happened, and what it meant for the US economy.
The Science of Hoops
Sep 11 • 9 min
The three-point shot has revolutionized basketball, but its unintended consequences could mean trouble for the sport’s future.
Making The Most Of Scarce Space
Sep 10 • 9 min
Lockdowns, working from home, and remote learning have all made personal domestic space more scarce. Emily Anthes has some solutions.
Parenting In The Time of Corona
Sep 9 • 9 min
COVID, lockdowns and working from home made life complicated for parents. Trying to educate kids from home has made things even tougher, so tough many women are dropping out of the workforce.
The Great Lego Scam
Sep 8 • 7 min
Counterfeit Lego kits, made illegally in China, are giving collectors a headache.
More Job Growth, But Slower
Sep 4 • 9 min
The August unemployment numbers were better than expected. But doesn’t mean the labor market is the picture of health.
Overrated Or Underrated: The Nobel Edition
Sep 3 • 9 min
Nobel economics prize winners Esther Duflo and Abhijit Banerjee on whether foreign aid, french bread and dating an economist are overrated or underrated.
Opening Schools: Mission Impossible
Sep 2 • 8 min
The question of whether to reopen schools or educate children at home is medically sensitive, logistically complicated and politically fraught. How one superintendent is handling it.
Your Brain On Retail Trading
Sep 1 • 9 min
Stock-picking retail traders have been jumping into the market this year. They may not understand the risks.
The Inclusion Payoff
Aug 31 • 9 min
Women and non-white men are gaining ground when it comes to science and engineering degrees, but not when it comes to patents.
An Ode To Taxes
Aug 28 • 9 min
Taxes get a bad reputation, but they were central to the formation of representative government and even the written word.
What A Piece Of Work Is The Post Office
Aug 27 • 9 min
The rather Shakespearean situation of the U.S. Postal Service
5 (More) Ways Life Has Changed
Aug 26 • 9 min
From smoking more cigarettes to stocking up on meatless meats, the pandemic has changed consumer behavior in some unexpected ways.
A Conversation With Janet Yellen
Aug 25 • 9 min
Former Fed Chair Janet Yellen talks about her New York Times op-ed with Jared Bernstein, proposing a two-punch solution for boosting the economy.
Egg Prices: States Cry Foul
Aug 24 • 9 min
The price of eggs skyrocketed at the start of the pandemic. That has some people crying foul … and filing suit.
Why Do Diamonds Cost More Than Water?
Aug 21 • 9 min
The Diamond-Water Paradox: If we need water to survive and we don’t need diamonds, why are diamonds expensive and water cheap?
The Looming Eviction Crisis
Aug 20 • 9 min
Millions of renters in the US are facing the prospect of eviction from their homes.
Becky, We Hardly Knew Ye
Aug 19 • 9 min
We bought a junk bond back in December. Then COVID-19 sent the economy into a tailspin, and the company that issued the junk bond declared bankruptcy. But that wasn’t the end of the story.
Making the Middle Class Great Again
Aug 18 • 9 min
The argument that the key factor that boosted the middle class post WW2 — and could help the middle class again — is access.
Science, Economics And Vaccines
Aug 17 • 9 min
Everyone wants to develop a coronavirus vaccine. But vaccine development usually takes years. The White House is betting money can speed things up.
The Economics of Gods and Mortals
Aug 14 • 9 min
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.
When $600 Goes Away
Aug 13 • 9 min
Millions of jobless Americans are desperate to know whether their unemployment benefits will be extended, and by how much. But Congress just went on vacation.
An Immigration Backfire?
Aug 12 • 8 min
Limiting high-skilled immigration to the U.S. may not save jobs for Americans; it might even cost jobs.
Coronavirus Comes To Venezuela
Aug 11 • 9 min
Venezuela’s economy was already struggling, for a variety of reasons. The coronavirus pandemic couldn’t have struck at a worse time. Now the country’s economy is on life support.
Roller Coaster Economy (Scream Inside Only)
Aug 10 • 9 min
As Democrats, Republicans and the President fight about how much support to give laid-off workers during the pandemic, we take the temperature of this up-and-down economy.
Jobs, Labor And The 1936 GM Strike
Aug 7 • 8 min
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.
One Drug, Two Prices
Aug 6 • 9 min
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.
Why Your Internet Sucks
Aug 5 • 9 min
We answer two questions today: Why is American internet so bad? And why was the unemployment benefit extension set at $600?
An Artful Pivot
Aug 4 • 9 min
How a theater company in Philadelphia is reacting to the existential threat posed by the coronavirus.
Protest And A Black-Owned Business
Aug 3 • 9 min
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.
Sharing The Vaccine
Jul 31 • 9 min
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.
GDP -32.9%???!!!
Jul 30 • 8 min
This quarter’s Gross Domestic Product numbers could be the worst on record. But what do they mean, exactly?
The Coronavirus Housing Boom
Jul 29 • 9 min
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.
Work After COVID
Jul 28 • 8 min
The use of technologies that help office workers do their work remotely could have unanticipated, long-lasting effects for low-skilled workers too.
The Extra $600
Jul 27 • 9 min
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.
The Power Of Workers
Jul 24 • 9 min
The three main drivers behind the decline in worker power.
Can Restaurants Reopen?
Jul 23 • 9 min
Restaurants are going out of business in droves. But some are battling hard to keep their doors open.
Question Time!
Jul 22 • 9 min
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.
A Tale Of Two Camdens
Jul 21 • 9 min
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.
This Weekend’s (Fiscal) Cliffhanger
Jul 20 • 9 min
Unless Congress acts, unemployment benefit enhancements will expire. And that could have big effects on the economy.
A Conversation With Gary Cohn
Jul 17 • 9 min
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.
A Race Reckoning In Economics
Jul 16 • 9 min
The economics profession has a serious inclusion problem, and that matters for how all of us understand the economy.
When SNAP Gets Squeezed
Jul 15 • 9 min
One in five American households doesn’t have enough food to eat. And the program that’s supposed to help is about to shrink.
Oil Storage Wars
Jul 14 • 9 min
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.
Leaving Prison In The COVID-19 Economy
Jul 13 • 9 min
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.
The Small Business Roller Coaster
Jul 10 • 9 min
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.
Texas Hospitals Battle COVID-19
Jul 9 • 9 min
Rural hospitals in Texas are scrambling for equipment and staff to combat the surge in coronavirus cases.
Why We Need Black-Owned Banks
Jul 8 • 9 min
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.
Live Music Industry Blues
Jul 7 • 9 min
Live music events are like micro-economies that support hundreds of small businesses. Coronavirus is hammering them.
Unintended Consequences, Hidden Deaths
Jul 6 • 9 min
The way organizations and governments respond to disasters often have hidden consequences; sometimes those consequences can be fatal.
Jobs In June
Jul 2 • 9 min
The BLS jobs report for June was better than expected, but showed the U.S. economy is still suffering badly from coronavirus.
The Market For Student Loans
Jul 1 • 9 min
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.
Listener Questions: Past Pandemics And Property Prices
Jun 30 • 9 min
On the Spanish Flu, housing prices, and the resilience of Australia’s economy. Indicator listener questions, answered.
The Uncounted Workforce
Jun 29 • 9 min
Incarcerated Americans make goods for American companies, and get paid next to nothing for their labor.
Sadie Alexander, America’s First Black Economist
Jun 26 • 9 min
Sadie Alexander was the first African-American to earn a PhD in economics. We think her contributions deserve another look.
Liar Loans
Jun 25 • 9 min
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.
Black Workers And The Fed
Jun 24 • 8 min
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.
The Economics Of Vaccine Pricing
Jun 23 • 9 min
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.
Poker, Markets And Life
Jun 22 • 9 min
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.
Daymond John: Swimming With Sharks
Jun 19 • 9 min
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.
When A Boomtown Goes Bust
Jun 18 • 9 min
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.
How Other Countries Handled Their Jobs Crises
Jun 17 • 9 min
Not all countries approached the COVID-19 economic crisis the way the U.S. did. How different strategies on unemployment had radically different outcomes.
Who Pays For The Police?
Jun 16 • 9 min
Police fines and fees have helped to fill city coffers, but they’ve done serious damage to community relations.
High-Frequency Indicators
Jun 15 • 8 min
Five “high-frequency” indicators help us track the health of the U.S. economy
The Business Of Police Surveillance
Jun 12 • 8 min
The companies that lead the field in surveillance technology are turning against it.
Story Of A Paper
Jun 11 • 9 min
Why a groundbreaking paper by Lisa Cook on the effects of racist violence took ten years to get published.
The Cost Of Contact Tracing
Jun 10 • 9 min
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.
The Post Pandemic City
Jun 9 • 9 min
Big American cities might never look the same again, post coronavirus. And that could be the making of them.
The Minnesota Paradox
Jun 8 • 9 min
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.
Unemployment And The Racial Divide
Jun 5 • 9 min
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.
The Business Of Antibody Tests
Jun 4 • 9 min
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?
Police Unions And Civilian Deaths
Jun 3 • 9 min
There appears to be a relationship between police unionization and the number of people killed by officers.
Where Are The Business Bankruptcies?
Jun 2 • 9 min
When the coronavirus hit, economists predicted a tsunami of bankruptcies. But that hasn’t happened.
Racism And Economics
Jun 1 • 9 min
The coronavirus pandemic has been called “the great equalizer.” But in fact, COVID-19 has disproportionately affected African Americans in all kinds of ways.
The Beige Book And The Pig Farmer
May 29 • 9 min
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.
Melissa Dell On Security And Prosperity
May 28 • 9 min
Mellisa Dell, this year’s John Bates Clark Medal winner, explains the relationship between security, prosperity and the rule of law.
#WFH Forever?
May 27 • 9 min
Many of us are working from home for now. Some could be destined to do it forever.
Rent In The Time Of Coronavirus
May 26 • 9 min
The landlord-tenant relationship is often a tense one and it’s becoming a national problem.
Stocks Are Up But The Economy’s Down
May 22 • 9 min
The stock market has recovered more than half the ground lost when it crashed nearly 34 percent starting in late February. But the economy hasn’t recovered. Why is there such a stark disconnect?
Waiting For A Surge
May 21 • 8 min
Hospitals lost millions of dollars preparing for a surge of COVID-19 patients. Some were swamped, but others only saw a handful of coronavirus cases. Now many are struggling to survive.
The Persistence Of Poverty
May 20 • 9 min
Melissa Dell, winner of the John Bates Clark Medal for economics, on why poverty and insecurity are so persistent in certain parts of the world.
The Public Transit Problem
May 19 • 9 min
Public transit systems are vital to cities. Many have been shut down or slowed during the pandemic. Now city administrators have to figure out how to reopen them.
Small Banks’ Corona Crunch
May 18 • 8 min
Many banks have changed the way they work, as they hurry to get billions in CARES Act cash to small businesses.
Waiting For A Check
May 15 • 9 min
State unemployment offices have been slammed, as 36 million Americans have lost their jobs. And now individuals and the U.S. economy are depending on these often underfunded operations to step up.
Reopening Sports: Does MMA Point The Way?
May 14 • 9 min
Mixed martial arts is the first major spectator sport in the U.S. to host live events since the coronavirus lockdown. Other sports are watching to see whether MMA could point the way.
Coronavirus, Farmworkers And America’s Food Supply
May 13 • 9 min
The working conditions on many farms mean that agricultural laborers are at high risk of getting COVID-19. That poses a real threat to those workers and to the country’s food supply.
Pay Cuts Vs. Layoffs
May 12 • 9 min
Companies hammered by the economic collapse due to the coronavirus pandemic are being forced to make a hard choice: lay staff off or cut their pay.
On Demand
May 11 • 9 min
The U.S. economy depends on consumer demand. And demand is way down because of the coronavirus pandemic. What happens if it doesn’t come back?
A Brutal Jobs Report
May 8 • 9 min
The jobs report for this month was nightmarish. But as bad as it was, it hid some even worse news about the employment situation.
Gov. Newsom On Reopening California
May 7 • 9 min
California Governor Gavin Newsom talks with Stacey Vanek Smith about his plans to reopen the fifth largest economy in the world.
Masks En Vogue
May 6 • 9 min
If the pandemic goes on much longer, or its aftereffects linger, face masks will inevitably become a fashion accessory.
Italy Reopens: A Tale of Two Bookstores
May 5 • 9 min
Italy was one of the countries hardest hit by coronavirus, and was one of the first to shut down its economy. Now it’s reopening. But not everyone’s happy about it.
The Workplace In The COVID-19 Era
May 4 • 9 min
As businesses make plans to reopen their workplaces, we’re probably going to find that these spaces will look very different than before.
Creating A Post Pandemic World
May 1 • 9 min
We’re all thinking about what the world might look like after this pandemic. Several years ago, Justin Marks had a vision of how things might be, in his TV show, Counterpart.
Essential Workers
Apr 30 • 9 min
Essential workers put themselves at risk of infection every day to keep the economy running. But many aren’t well protected or compensated for the dangerous work they do.
Getting Back To Business
Apr 29 • 9 min
Small and medium size enterprises tend not to have much of a cash cushion, so most are desperate to get back to work. But many are finding that reopening after a pandemic is a messy business.
Disease In A Globalized World
Apr 28 • 9 min
Globalization and urbanization historically have made the global economy more productive and efficient — and also more vulnerable to pandemics. But now they can be forces for good in the fight against disease.
The Bankruptcy Question
Apr 27 • 9 min
The COVID-19 pandemic is driving thousands of people and businesses into bankruptcy.
How The Fed Fights Coronavirus
Apr 24 • 9 min
Much has been made of the unprecedented legislation passed by Congress in its attempt to curtail the economic damage of COVID-19. But what about the Federal Reserve?
The Great Potato Giveaway
Apr 23 • 9 min
Supermarket shelves are empty, and food banks around the country are besieged. So why are farmers dumping, destroying and giving away food?
Why We Didn’t Prepare For The Pandemic
Apr 22 • 9 min
We’ve had plenty of warnings over the years that we weren’t ready for a pandemic. Today on the show: the psychology and economics of why.
Oil: Less Than Zero
Apr 21 • 9 min
The price of a barrel of West Texas Intermediate crude oil fell below zero. In other words, suppliers were paying people to take it off their hands. How did that happen? And what does it mean?
Coronavirus And The Digital Divide
Apr 20 • 9 min
We’re spending more time at home, and more time with technology — highlighting a deep digital divide in the United States and introducing thorny ethical dilemmas.
Where’s My Stimulus Check?
Apr 17 • 9 min
Sending $1,200 checks to millions of Americans was a big part of the aid bill Congress passed last month. Around 80 million Americans got that money this week. But 60 million are still waiting.
Small Businesses On Their Own
Apr 16 • 9 min
Congress’ recent aid package directed $370 billion to help small businesses. The fund is out of money, and it seems very few who applied got help.
Performing After A Pandemic
Apr 15 • 8 min
Live performance has always been a risky business, run on thin margins. The COVID-19 pandemic has ratcheted up that risk and sharpened those margins to a razor’s edge.
Rural Hospitals: The Waiting Game
Apr 14 • 9 min
Rural hospitals already walk a scalpel’s edge between solvency and collapse. Coronavirus threatens to push many of them over the brink.
The Story So Far
Apr 13 • 8 min
Five indicators provide a gauge of how daily economic life in America has changed.
Why Hospitals Are Laying People Off
Apr 10 • 9 min
Hospitals are ramping up and gathering supplies to deal with a deluge of coronavirus patients. At the same time, revenues are down. All of this means hospitals across the U.S. are laying off workers.
Why Sweden Isn’t Locking Down
Apr 9 • 9 min
Most of the world’s developed economies have gone on total economic lockdown to combat coronavirus. Sweden has kept its economy open. Sweden says this is better for the economy and for public health.
Coronavirus and Trade
Apr 8 • 9 min
The coronavirus pandemic may have pushed trade wars off the front page, but such wars are still with us — and they’re complicating the world’s ability to fight the virus.
Coronavirus And The Gig Economy
Apr 7 • 9 min
Many gig workers have suddenly found themselves providing essential services during the COVID-19 pandemic. But many also feel like they have to work in an unsafe situation.
Pandemic-onomics: Lessons From The Spanish Flu
Apr 6 • 9 min
Different cities responded in different ways to the Spanish Flu outbreak of 1918. And their economies fared differently as a result.
The Jobs Crisis
Apr 3 • 9 min
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.
The Coronavirus Pivot
Apr 2 • 9 min
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.
Three Ideas To Fight The Recession
Apr 1 • 9 min
Policymakers can still do more to fight the coronavirus recession. Here are three ideas that we haven’t yet tried.
Scarcity In The Emergency Room
Mar 31 • 10 min
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.
Listeners Ask, We Answer
Mar 30 • 9 min
Coronavirus questions on the yield curve and refinancing. And some of the ways individuals can help.
When Should We Restart the Economy?
Mar 27 • 8 min
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?
The Labor Market Catastrophe
Mar 26 • 9 min
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.
Stimulus Rex
Mar 25 • 9 min
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?
Pandemic Bonds
Mar 24 • 9 min
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.
The Most Vulnerable Workers
Mar 23 • 9 min
Because of social distancing, the U.S. restaurant industry has entirely disintegrated with unimaginable speed, leaving its workers to face an uncertain future.
Our COVID-19 Indicators Of The Week
Mar 20 • 9 min
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.
The Test Shortage
Mar 19 • 9 min
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.
China’s New Normal
Mar 18 • 8 min
China appears to have stopped the spread of coronavirus within its borders. People there are now beginning to adjust to a new normal.
Working From Home
Mar 17 • 9 min
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.
The Sudden Stop
Mar 16 • 9 min
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.
Economic Fear Factor
Mar 13 • 9 min
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.
Healthcare And Economic Despair
Mar 12 • 8 min
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.
Disease Detectives
Mar 11 • 9 min
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”.
Tracking The Impact Of Coronavirus In Real Time
Mar 10 • 8 min
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.
Oil Shock
Mar 9 • 9 min
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.
Coronavirus And The Labor Market
Mar 6 • 9 min
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.
Health Policy Is Economic Policy
Mar 5 • 9 min
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.
The Corona Bump
Mar 4 • 9 min
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.
Coronavirus: Update From Italy
Mar 3 • 8 min
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.
The Economic Lessons Of A Free Solo Climb
Mar 2 • 9 min
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.
Coronavirus: A View From Hong Kong
Feb 28 • 9 min
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
How Wealth Has Changed
Feb 27 • 9 min
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.
The Rise And Fall (And Rise?) Of NASCAR
Feb 26 • 9 min
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.
Why Netflix Turned To Junk
Feb 25 • 9 min
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.
For Richer Or… Richer
Feb 24 • 9 min
The effects of assortative mating, or, what happens when people increasingly marry only other people with similar incomes and education.
The Indicator The Candidates Should Be Talking About
Feb 21 • 9 min
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.
Timecard Capitalists
Feb 20 • 9 min
People who make the highest salaries are increasingly the same people who draw the highest incomes from their capital.
Meet Our Junk Bond!
Feb 19 • 9 min
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.
Listener Questions: Minimum Wage & Gender-Fluid Tadpoles
Feb 18 • 9 min
Cardiff takes on the national debt, minimum wage, and gender-fluid tadpoles to get answers to your burning questions.
How Economists Do Valentines
Feb 14 • 9 min
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.
For Rent: Fast Fashion
Feb 13 • 9 min
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.
The First Milestone In The History of Economics
Feb 12 • 9 min
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.
Why Cheap Solar Could Save the World
Feb 11 • 9 min
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?
Coronavirus And The Global Economy
Feb 10 • 9 min
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.
Jobs Friday: The Racial Unemployment Gap
Feb 7 • 9 min
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.
Betting On The Oscars
Feb 6 • 9 min
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.
Triple-A Ratings Are So Yesterday
Feb 5 • 9 min
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.
Peak Misery And The Happiness Curve
Feb 4 • 9 min
How do you measure happiness? Economist David Blanchflower says age has a lot to do with it.
Even The Facts Are Polarized
Feb 3 • 9 min
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.
A Business Owner’s View On Brexit
Jan 31 • 9 min
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.
American Dynamism In Decline
Jan 30 • 9 min
America has a hard-earned reputation for being the most dynamic economy on the globe. But that dynamism could be waning.
The Economic Impact Of An Infectious Disease
Jan 29 • 9 min
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.
Weird (Amazon) Flex, But Okay
Jan 28 • 9 min
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.
The Indicator Plays ‘Ms. Monopoly’
Jan 27 • 9 min
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.
Fun Fact Friday: Aggressively Passive Edition
Jan 24 • 9 min
Cardiff is back to present three economic facts for Stacey to deem fun, not fun, or just plain fascinating.
Buddhists, Sociopaths And The Art Of Investing
Jan 23 • 9 min
There’s been a lot of troubling economic and political news over the last few years. In spite of that, the stock market has just kept on climbing.
Dueling Indicators: Stock Market Edition
Jan 22 • 9 min
Stacey and Cardiff face off on the question of whether the stock market is overvalued or undervalued.
Can You Name Five Fine Artists That Are Women?
Jan 21 • 10 min
On average, work by women artists sells for 40% less than work by male artists. Their work also represents just a small sliver of what’s displayed in museums. So, how did women get shut out of the art world?
A Bag of Bolívares: And Other Indicators From Venezuela
Jan 17 • 9 min
Venezuela started 2019 with rolling blackouts, hyperinflation, and crippling food shortages. Things have actually gotten a little better, mostly thanks to the economic innovations of everyday people.
China Trade Deal: A Truce Awakens?
Jan 16 • 9 min
The U.S. and China signed a trade deal yesterday - one where China has pledged to buy $200 billion worth of U.S. goods over the next two years. Seems like a big win for the U.S., but is it?
How The FCC Is Trying To Take On Robocalls
Jan 15 • 9 min
In October 2019, Americans received a record number of robocalls: 5.7 billion. We talked to Los Angeles Times columnist David Lazarus about these pesky calls and how we can avoid them.
How Amazon’s Counterfeit Products Threaten Safety
Jan 14 • 9 min
Over half of sales on Amazon are from third-party sellers, some of whom are selling counterfeit goods. Faulty car seats are threatening children’s safety, but is Amazon being held liable?
How Trade Wars Fill The Swamp
Jan 13 • 9 min
How lobbyists’ campaigns for exclusions to the trade war have skewed incentives and disadvantaged small businesses.
Episode 500! And Jobs Friday
Jan 10 • 9 min
Two reasons to blow the airhorn today: it’s Jobs Friday, and The Indicator’s 500th episode!
What To Watch In 2020
Jan 9 • 9 min
Predictions can be a fool’s errand. Instead, we take a look at economic trends that we’re planning to keep an eye on this year.
The Popularity Of (And Problem With) Municipal Bonds
Jan 8 • 9 min
Thirsty for yield, and eager for tax breaks, investors are falling over themselves to buy municipal bonds. That could be a problem if the economy turns sour.
All The Single Ladies…Are Losing In The Housing Market
Jan 7 • 9 min
A home is the largest purchase most Americans will ever make. Why single women are losing out in both buying and selling compared to their male counterparts.
The Business Behind The Color Of The Year
Jan 6 • 9 min
Since 2000, the Pantone Color Institute has announced a “color of the year.” This year’s color: Classic Blue.
The Skyrocketing Cost Of Air Ambulances
Jan 3 • 9 min
After a catastrophic accident, you may be rushed to the hospital in an air ambulance. It could save your life, but there’s no way to predict how much it will cost.
The Bubble That Broke Kuwait
Jan 2 • 9 min
How a simple financial innovation turned a parking garage in Kuwait into one of the most important markets in the world… and how it all came crashing down.
The Great British Bicycle Bubble
Dec 31, 2019 • 9 min
We continue our series on financial bubbles with the British bicycle mania of the 1890s and the trail of bankrupt companies it left behind.
The Roman Financial Crisis Of A.D. 33
Dec 30, 2019 • 9 min
What lessons should we learn from one of the earliest documented financial crises in history?
The Work Week, Episode 4: Is The Unemployment Rate Broken?
Dec 27, 2019 • 9 min
Economist Jared Bernstein thinks it’s about time we admit that the unemployment rate is not as useful as it used to be. He offers three alternative indicators.
The Work Week, Episode 3: Gender Segregation In The Workplace
Dec 26, 2019 • 9 min
The most common jobs for men and the most common jobs for women tend to be different — and this separation has big effects for everyone.
The Work Week, Episode 2: What Happened To U.S. Workers?
Dec 24, 2019 • 9 min
The share of people aged 25 to 54 in the labor force has fallen in the past couple of decades. What happened?
The Work Week, Episode 1: The Strike That Changed U.S. Labor
Dec 23, 2019 • 9 min
The 1937 union agreement between General Motors and the United Auto Workers union ushered in a period of tremendous worker prosperity and union strength. But today, labor is nowhere near a powerful as it used to be. What happened?
Fun Fact Friday!
Dec 20, 2019 • 9 min
Stacey busts out the funometer and casts judgment on Cardiff’s facts.
We Buy A Junk Bond!
Dec 19, 2019 • 9 min
Cardiff said the best gift he could imagine getting was a junk bond… so we thought, “Can we actually buy one of those? Also, what exactly is a junk bond?”
How Economics Excludes Black Women
Dec 18, 2019 • 9 min
Economics is an academic field notorious for its lack of diversity. This is especially true for black female economists. Why are they being left out?
A Guide To Holiday Scams
Dec 17, 2019 • 9 min
“It’s the most wonderful time of the year. But for consumers, it’s also the most dangerous.” David Lazarus of the Los Angeles Times discusses some of the major scams that arise during the holidays.
The Efficient Christmas: Why Economists Hate Gifts
Dec 16, 2019 • 9 min
When economists see holiday gifts, they see waste: sweaters that never get worn; books that never get read. Many recommend cash or no gift at all. Economist Tim Harford may have a compromise.
A Trade War Truce?
Dec 13, 2019 • 9 min
The Trump administration announced it would hit the brakes on a new set of tariffs that were set to go into effect on Dec. 15. Could it be the start of a détente in the ongoing trade war?
Underrated Trends Of The 2010s
Dec 12, 2019 • 9 min
The 2010s have been a rich decade for economic megatrends. But some trends haven’t gotten the attention they deserve.
Debt And The Dairy Farmer
Dec 11, 2019 • 9 min
Mary Rieckmann and her husband run a small dairy in rural Wisconsin. But a perfect storm of factors has plunged farmers like her into crippling debt.
The Disappearing Small Farmer
Dec 10, 2019 • 9 min
It’s been a tough year for small farmers hit by trade wars and extreme weather. And as Time’s Alana Semuels reports, this latest trouble is just part of a decades-long decline in small-scale farming.
New York City’s Luxury Condo Hangover
Dec 9, 2019 • 9 min
When the rich stop buying luxury condos, sale prices drop for everyone. But rents are a different story.
Job(-switch) Friday!
Dec 6, 2019 • 9 min
It’s time for our favorite Friday of every month: Jobs Friday! This week, we look at job switching and what it reflects about the tightening labor market.
Nike Swooshes Out Of Amazon
Dec 5, 2019 • 9 min
Nike, the country’s largest sporting brand, is pulling its products off of Amazon. What spurred this decision, and will other companies follow suit?
The Case For Hope In 2020
Dec 4, 2019 • 9 min
Today, the show takes a distinctly positive stance in making the case for being optimistic about the economy in 2020. Five reasons why you should, plus kittens and rainbows.
The Map That Made Manhattan
Dec 3, 2019 • 9 min
Manhattan is known for being a grid. But 200 years ago, it was a hilly, bucolic wilderness. The transformation all started with a secret map. And the reason was all about economics.
Hudson’s Kill
Dec 2, 2019 • 9 min
Back in the early 1800s, Manhattan was a wild, sparsely populated place, but it was just about to be developed big-time. There was a lot of money to be made knowing what would go where.
The Sahm Rule With The Eponymous Economist
Nov 27, 2019 • 8 min
Economist Claudia Sahm explains the eponymous Sahm Rule, and how changes in the unemployment rate point to whether or not we are in a recession.
Niche Products In Our Grocery Stores
Nov 26, 2019 • 9 min
Niche food products at grocery stores have been getting more and more popular. But, what took so long?
The $100 Million Apple
Nov 25, 2019 • 9 min
Next week, a new product will hit store shelves. It’s been in development for 20 years and cost millions of dollars to bring to market. It’s a new kind of apple. And the stakes are high.
Saudi Arabia’s IPO Fail?
Nov 22, 2019 • 9 min
After years of teasing, deliberating and negotiating, oil behemoth Saudi Aramco finally looks poised to go public. But the IPO is shaping up to be a lot more modest than the original plan.
Ready Your Wallet For Thanksgiving Dinner
Nov 21, 2019 • 9 min
What will Thanksgiving dinner cost you this year? Also, Cardiff brings back the debate on which is better, pumpkin or pecan pie.
Lancaster Spotlight, Part 2: A Refugee’s Tale
Nov 20, 2019 • 9 min
In our second spotlight episode on Lancaster County, we look into what Lancaster’s success can tell us about the relationship between refugees and the local economy.
Grocery Store Wars
Nov 19, 2019 • 9 min
The profit margin for groceries is razor thin. To stay competitive against increasingly large competitors like Amazon Prime, retailers are turning to a new service: curbside pickup.
How Does The Economy Influence Voters?
Nov 18, 2019 • 6 min
The economy is one of the most important factors in how people vote. But its influence has been changing and it has everything to do with politics.
Fun Facts Fridays
Nov 15, 2019 • 9 min
Cardiff surprises Stacey with three feel-good facts about the economy, and she decides whether or not those facts are awesome.
Winning The Nobel
Nov 14, 2019 • 9 min
Esther Duflo and Abhijit Banerjee talk about their work and what happens when you win a Nobel Prize.
Politics And The Trade War
Nov 13, 2019 • 9 min
Did President Trump’s trade policies cost Republican votes last year? We talk to economist Chad Bown to find out.
The Great Cranberry Scare Of 1959
Nov 12, 2019 • 9 min
Sixty years ago, a food scare nearly crushed the cranberry business. Cranberries have bounced back since then, but the industry is facing new threats.
Why Sam Sanders Is Binging ‘Friends’
Nov 11, 2019 • 9 min
Netflix, HBO, Amazon, Hulu, Disney, NBC, they’re all at war for your eyeballs. Today on the show, the streaming wars. Who the major players are, what’s at stake and what it will mean for you.
The Lancaster, Pa., Puzzle
Nov 8, 2019 • 9 min
A heavily rural county with a big manufacturing base and a low share of college graduates has found a way to thrive.
Your Secret Score
Nov 7, 2019 • 9 min
It’s no secret that every online platform you use is keeping track of your information. But what if this data is being used to give you a ‘score’ as a customer?
What’s The Beef? The Declining American Leather Industry
Nov 6, 2019 • 9 min
The leather manufacturing industry was once a backbone of the American economy. Now the industry is in decline, and the trade war isn’t helping.
Openness Versus National Security: A Dilemma For U.S. Schools
Nov 5, 2019 • 9 min
Last year, the Education Department reported that U.S. universities received over $1.3 billion dollars in the form of gifts and contracts. Most of this money came from China.
The American Dream And The Children Of Immigrants
Nov 4, 2019 • 11 min
A new working paper suggests that children of poor immigrants have higher rates of upward economic mobility than children of poor US-born parents. What factors are at play?
Jobs Friday: The Broken Unemployment Insurance System
Nov 1, 2019 • 9 min
In this week’s edition of jobs friday, we look into why 72% of unemployed people do not have unemployment insurance.
Scary Stories From The Eek-conomy: Part II
Oct 31, 2019 • 9 min
In our second episode on scary stories on the economy we ask Tim Harford and Jared Bernstein what keeps them up at night. Also, has anxiety about the economy spooked off the Halloween spirit?
Lights Out For California
Oct 30, 2019 • 9 min
PG&E announced it was shutting off power to thousands of Californians to lessen the risk of wildfire. This is costing residents and businesses dearly and PG&E says it will likely be the new normal.
Are The Humanities Underrated? (And Other Questions)
Oct 29, 2019 • 9 min
We invite Tyler Cowen once again to play another round of overrated/underrated.
Can Global Shipping Go Zero Carbon?
Oct 28, 2019 • 9 min
A lot of the stuff we buy comes via ship, using a particularly dirty kind of fuel. Now the shipping industry wants to change.
WeWork And The Future Of Co-Working
Oct 25, 2019 • 9 min
WeWork has had a rough few weeks — its CEO was fired, it’s lost billions of dollars and it’s laying off thousands of workers. What happened? And what does that mean for the business of co-working?
Is The Unemployment Rate Broken?
Oct 24, 2019 • 9 min
Economist Jared Bernstein thinks it’s about time we admit that the unemployment rate is not as useful as it used to be. He offers three alternative indicators.
Scary Stories From The Eek-conomy
Oct 23, 2019 • 9 min
We ask economists what scares them about the US economy right now.
Housing: It’s About More Than Money
Oct 22, 2019 • 9 min
Our housing options matter not just for how much money we spend, but also in other ways that have a lasting impact on our quality of life.
Brexit: It’s Complicated
Oct 21, 2019 • 9 min
Tomorrow the UK Parliament will vote on Brexit… again. Today, we take a look at what’s happening, why Brexit is taking so long and what’s at stake.
The 2019 IPO Awards!
Oct 18, 2019 • 9 min
2019 has been a very dramatic year for the IPO market. From Uber to Pinterest to WeWork—the headlines just kept coming. We celebrate it all with the first Annual IPO Awards!
The Jekyll And Hyde Economy
Oct 17, 2019 • 9 min
There are so many conflicting indicators about the economy’s health, it’s difficult to know where we’re headed. We present the Jekyll and Hyde economy.
How Stories Shape The Economy
Oct 16, 2019 • 9 min
Nobel Laureate Robert Shiller talks about his new book, which looks at how narratives drive economic change and may help economists more accurately forecast recessions.
Of Diet Coke And Nobel Prizes
Oct 15, 2019 • 8 min
We talk to newly-minted Nobel Prize winner Michael Kremer about using economics to solve real-world problems and what it’s like to receive his field’s highest honor.
What The %!&$# Is The Repo Market?
Oct 11, 2019 • 7 min
Lots of people have been freaking out over the repo market… but what IS the repo market?
The U.S. And Global Economy: A New Relationship
Oct 10, 2019 • 9 min
The global economy used to have a simple rule: the US leads, everybody else follows. Things have changed.
The Cost Of Climate Change
Oct 9, 2019 • 9 min
Climate activists have long used political and social pressures to decrease the use of fossil fuels and preserve forests… but now many are following the money to try and affect change.
Five Economic Firsts
Oct 8, 2019 • 9 min
We’re seeing a lot of firsts in this economy. Some good, some not so good, some surprising.
Forever 21’s Fast Fashion Fail
Oct 7, 2019 • 9 min
Forever 21’s bankruptcy filing highlights the flaws in fast fashion.
Jobs Friday: Crunching The Numbers
Oct 4, 2019 • 10 min
On the first Friday of every month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics releases a jobs report which includes the number of new jobs added to the U.S. economy. But how is that number calculated?
How Iceland’s Tourism Bubble Deflated
Oct 3, 2019 • 9 min
The tourism explosion in Iceland helped the tiny island recover from the 2008 financial crisis, but did the tourism industry grow too big, too fast?
The Rise And Fall Of Iceland’s WOW Air
Oct 2, 2019 • 9 min
A budget airline, WOW Air, helped fly the tiny island nation of Iceland out of a financial crisis — but then it all came crashing down.
Is Cash Overrated? And Other Questions
Oct 1, 2019 • 9 min
We play Overrated, Underrated with Jill Schlesinger, CBS business analyst and author of The Dumb Things Smart People Do With Their Money.
What’s Gonna Trip Us Up In Q4?
Sep 30, 2019 • 9 min
Another quarter ends today, but the news is nuts right now, so we take a step back and guide you through the big themes we’ll be looking at in the fourth quarter of the year.
Finance Fridays With Mary, Volume 6: Nuns & Guns
Sep 27, 2019 • 9 min
In an attempt to stem the tide of gun violence, a group of religious organizations turned to an unlikely place: the markets.
The Probiotics Heist
Sep 26, 2019 • 9 min
Probiotics are increasingly popular — flying off of the shelves, even being stolen from pharmacies. But the jury’s still out on their safety and efficacy. So, how did they get on store shelves?
Millennial Mythbusting
Sep 25, 2019 • 9 min
Data shows that many of the popular assumptions about millennials are dead wrong.
How Much Are Thoughts And Prayers Worth?
Sep 24, 2019 • 9 min
A gesture which is given out freely to victims of big, catastrophic events are thoughts and prayers. But what if you could assign a monetary value to this gesture?
Our Five Favorite Fun Facts & Figures
Sep 23, 2019 • 9 min
We stumble on interesting nuggets of economic information all the time. Here are some of our recent favorites.
Finance Fridays With Mary, Volume 5: Why Fees Matter
Sep 20, 2019 • 9 min
Do hedge funds and private equity firms charge too much money to their investors — including, potentially, your pension fund?
Unsung Economists: Edith Penrose
Sep 19, 2019 • 9 min
Edith Penrose transformed our understanding of how businesses grow, and also lived a remarkable life full of adventure, intrigue, and tragedy.
What Separates Urgent Care And The ER? Your Bill.
Sep 18, 2019 • 9 min
Urgent care centers look a lot like emergency rooms. But they’re a lot cheaper, both for patients and operators.
Physical Stores Are Back, Again
Sep 17, 2019 • 9 min
Brands are struggling to strike a balance between the real and digital worlds.
An Attack On Saudi Arabia’s Oil
Sep 16, 2019 • 9 min
What the attacks on Saudi Arabia’s oil production facilities could mean for the global oil industry.
How China Transformed The Luxury Goods Market
Sep 13, 2019 • 9 min
Chinese consumers not only account for a growing share of high-end luxury goods purchases; they’re transforming the way the market works.
The White Claw Tax Law Flaw
Sep 12, 2019 • 8 min
White Claw could be the hottest alcoholic beverage of the summer of 2019. You can thank tax policy for (some of) that.
The Debt That Never Dies: China’s Imperial Bonds
Sep 11, 2019 • 9 min
Bonds issued by Chinese governments more than a century ago could come back to haunt the People’s Republic of China.
The Olympic Bounce
Sep 10, 2019 • 9 min
When new sports are added to the Olympics — like surfing and sports climbing — they see a bump in the year following the games. But, what happens after that?
Listener Q&A, Another Policy Wonkout
Sep 9, 2019 • 9 min
NPR politics correspondent Danielle Kurtzleben answers your questions about student loans, taxes and tariffs.
Jobs Friday: Future Edition
Sep 6, 2019 • 8 min
The Bureau of Labor Statistics has some predictions about the future of the US labor market.
Tech’s Convenience Store
Sep 5, 2019 • 9 min
Amazon is opening new stores — in the real world. And in true Big Tech fashion the experience is meant to emphasize convenience. All you need to do is walk in, grab your stuff, and go.
What Medicare For All Might Mean For Jobs
Sep 4, 2019 • 9 min
Proponents of Medicare for All argue it’ll give all Americans health insurance and cost less. But even supporters admit it could mean job losses in the short term.
How A String Quartet Explains Healthcare Costs
Sep 3, 2019 • 9 min
The costs of education and healthcare have climbed faster than other prices throughout the economy — for decades. An under-appreciated economic theory explains why.
Finance Fridays With Mary, Volume 4: The Worry of Wall Street
Aug 30, 2019 • 8 min
There’s a trend emerging in the finance world: Billionaire financiers are increasingly — if belatedly? — acknowledging inequality in America.
America’s Rare Earth Conundrum
Aug 29, 2019 • 9 min
America doesn’t produce much in the way of rare earths. As the trade war with China intensifies, that’s becoming a problem.
Listener Q&A, Policy Wonkout Edition
Aug 28, 2019 • 9 min
Policy can take a back seat to politics in the run-up to elections. But that’s no excuse for not watching to see what effects policy can have on an economy.
Not All Goods Are Traded Equal
Aug 27, 2019 • 9 min
Not all goods are created equal: some are exempt from tariffs.
More Money, More Votes?
Aug 26, 2019 • 9 min
The 2020 election cycle is almost in full swing. People can barely go a day without seeing an ad from candidates asking for money. But does more money really mean more votes?
Finance Friday With Mary, Volume 3: Snack-Sized Questions
Aug 23, 2019 • 9 min
Our inbox is pretty much always filled with great questions about business, the economy and how the markets behave. Today, we answer three questions specific to the financial world.
The Economics of Music Festivals
Aug 22, 2019 • 9 min
Music festivals like Coachella and Lollapalooza have gotten a lot more expensive, and the reasons behind that increase can tell us a lot about how the economy is changing.
The R-Word
Aug 21, 2019 • 9 min
Our inbox is chock full of listener questions about whether there’s a recession coming, and what we should do about it. Today, we answer.
Why China’s Buying Rice From America
Aug 20, 2019 • 7 min
China is the world’s biggest rice producer. So why did China agree to buy two shipping containers of rice from the U.S.?
Trump And Trade: The Point Of No Return?
Aug 19, 2019 • 9 min
President Trump has kept his protectionist promises, but his scorched earth approach to dealmaking could have damaged global trading relationships for good.
The Gender Gap Series: The Problem With The Pink Tax
Aug 16, 2019 • 9 min
Women pay more than men for many consumer products. Why some economists say that’s a good thing.
The Gender Gap Series: Tampons - That Bloody Sales Tax
Aug 15, 2019 • 9 min
Most states in the U.S. have a sales tax on menstrual products. Some states have repealed this so-called Tampon Tax, on the grounds that it’s unfair to women. But the repeals come at a cost.
The Gender Gap Series: Saving Women
Aug 14, 2019 • 9 min
Women invest far less of their paychecks than men do. Sallie Krawcheck spent her career on Wall Street and she says this is a problem we need to solve.
The Gender Gap Series: Working Women- Why the U.S. is Behind
Aug 13, 2019 • 9 min
When it came to the female labor force participation rate, America used to lead the world. But we’ve fallen behind. Today on the show: What happened?
The Gender Gap Series: Where The Gender Pay Gap Is Widest
Aug 12, 2019 • 9 min
A report from Glassdoor reveals which industries have the starkest gender pay gaps.
Finance Fridays With Mary, Volume 2: Short Selling
Aug 9, 2019 • 9 min
Short sellers are investors who bet against companies. They’re the detectives of the stock market, unearthing flaws and making markets more efficient, though they also attract controversy.
Sports Teams Need To Fill Stadiums
Aug 8, 2019 • 9 min
Sporting event attendance is down. So teams are trying out creative, new ways to win back fans.
Why Grad Students Are Taking On More Debt
Aug 7, 2019 • 9 min
Graduate students are increasingly shouldering the country’s student debt.
Currency Wars & A Pepperoni Problem
Aug 6, 2019 • 9 min
Listener questions! How the U.S.-China trade war has escalated, including a move by China to devalue its currency. Plus the history of pepperoni on pizza.
The Delicate Macho Movie Brand
Aug 5, 2019 • 9 min
The stars of the new Fast & Furious movie will go to extraordinary lengths to protect their “tough guy” brands, even going so far as to negotiate to make sure their characters never lose a fight.
Jobs Friday Meets Listener Q&A
Aug 2, 2019 • 9 min
Happy Jobs Friday! The U.S. economy created 164,000 jobs in July, and the unemployment rate remained unchanged. But to send you into your weekend with more pep, we answer some listener questions.
The View From The Boardroom
Aug 1, 2019 • 9 min
Some presidential candidates have supported a policy — known as co-determination — that would see workers represented on corporate boards. We talked to one worker who already has a seat at the table.
Workers Take A Seat At The Table?
Jul 31, 2019 • 10 min
The board of directors for most U.S. companies is made up of shareholders—not workers. A corporate system called co-determination aims to put employees at the table where big decisions are made.
Stacey vs Cardiff: The Fed Cut Throwdown!
Jul 30, 2019 • 9 min
The economy’s looking pretty good. So, do we really need a rate cut right now? Stacey and Cardiff duke it out.
It’s Check-Up Time, America!
Jul 29, 2019 • 9 min
The Federal Reserve is set to cut interest rates this week. We also just passed the half-year mark. Two good reasons to check in on the health of the U.S. economy.
America’s Tijuana Tech Boom
Jul 26, 2019 • 9 min
A growing workforce of high-tech specialists is luring American companies to Tijuana
Waiting For The Tariff Storm
Jul 25, 2019 • 9 min
The trade war between the U.S. and China started a little over a year ago, but the oft-predicted economic storm is yet to break.
The Fed Cuts Loose?
Jul 24, 2019 • 9 min
An economic principle that has guided the Federal Reserve for decades is increasingly being questioned.
Rhino Bonds
Jul 23, 2019 • 9 min
Investors will soon be able to bet on black rhinos. A conservation group is rolling out a 5 year, 50 million dollar rhino bond to help save the species.
Rethinking Economics
Jul 22, 2019 • 9 min
Jared Bernstein has a shortlist of economic ideas that he thinks his colleagues have been getting wrong for decades.
Women, Men And Hedge Funds
Jul 19, 2019 • 9 min
Introducing a new series: Finance Fridays With Mary!
Gold Rush 2.0
Jul 18, 2019 • 9 min
The price of gold is at a six-year high and gold bugs say it’s the safest place to put your money in uncertain times. But is it actually a good investment?
Yield Curve: You Asked, We Answer
Jul 17, 2019 • 9 min
The yield curve is inverted! We answer a few questions we have gotten from our listeners about our beloved recession predicting indicator.
Tricking Myself Into Paying My Student Loans
Jul 16, 2019 • 9 min
About 44 million people owe nearly 1.5 trillion dollars in student loans all together. But for some people — like our producer Darius Rafieyan — paying them requires some mental adjustments.
Can GIPHY Make It Rain?
Jul 15, 2019 • 9 min
GIPHY makes those viral mini-videos that people use to color their texts and emails. They’re super popular, but they’re free. So how does GIPHY plan to make money?
Bitcoin’s Energy Bill
Jul 12, 2019 • 9 min
The computers that mine Bitcoin use a lot of electricity. That’s created some unique arbitrage opportunities in different parts of the world. And causing governments some concern.