Marilyn Geewax http://wlrn.org en It May Be Summer, But For Economists, This Week Feels Like Christmas http://wlrn.org/post/it-may-be-summer-economists-week-feels-christmas This week is summer's sweet spot — the peak time for pool parties, fresh-picked berries and cool drinks. But for economists, it may feel more like Christmas — so much to unwrap!<p>Each day will bring new decisions and reports that could have a big impact on the nation's economy. So economists, investors and workers will have plenty to ponder. Mon, 28 Jul 2014 17:37:00 +0000 Marilyn Geewax 36273 at http://wlrn.org It May Be Summer, But For Economists, This Week Feels Like Christmas 4 Theories About Why Wal-Mart Changed Its U.S. Chief http://wlrn.org/post/four-theories-about-why-wal-mart-changed-its-us-chief Bill Simon, head of Wal-Mart's U.S. division, <a href="http://news.walmart.com/news-archive/2014/07/24/walmart-names-greg-foran-president-and-ceo-of-walmart-us">is leaving</a> the retail giant, the company said Thursday.<p>Any major shake-up at Wal-Mart is closely watched because the company is so important — it tops the Fortune 500 list with annual sales approaching a half-trillion dollars. So lots of people are speculating about what Simon's departure really means. Thu, 24 Jul 2014 19:33:00 +0000 Marilyn Geewax 36105 at http://wlrn.org 4 Theories About Why Wal-Mart Changed Its U.S. Chief Inflation Came In Low Again, But Are There Bubbles? http://wlrn.org/post/inflation-came-low-again-are-there-bubbles Want to borrow money for a car or a home this fall?<p>Oddly enough, the interest rates available months from now for big-ticket items may be determined by the prices you pay today for everyday consumer goods. Tue, 22 Jul 2014 20:39:00 +0000 Marilyn Geewax 35983 at http://wlrn.org Inflation Came In Low Again, But Are There Bubbles? Latest Wrinkle In The Jobs Debate: Blame The Boomers http://wlrn.org/post/latest-wrinkle-jobs-debate-blame-boomers Since late 2007, the U.S. labor force has shrunk significantly, raising questions about where former workers have gone and why.<p>Now the White House Council of Economic Advisers says it has found answers and has compiled them into a <a href="http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/docs/labor_force_participation_report.pdf">detailed research report </a>released Thursday.<p>As it turns out, most of the missing workers have been hiding in plain sight: They are retiring baby boomers.<p>"In 2008, the U.S. economy collided with two historic forces. Thu, 17 Jul 2014 21:36:00 +0000 Marilyn Geewax 35754 at http://wlrn.org Latest Wrinkle In The Jobs Debate: Blame The Boomers Citigroup Settlement Offers Former Homeowners 'Cold Comfort' http://wlrn.org/post/citigroup-settlement-offers-former-homeowners-cold-comfort Should you be watching your mailbox for a check from Citigroup?<p>The banking giant says it will pay out $2.5 billion to provide "consumer relief" to help <a href="http://www.citigroup.com/citi/news/2014/140714a.htm">settle charges</a> brought against it by the U.S. Justice Department. The government said Monday that "defects" in Citi's mortgage securities had fueled the financial crisis that triggered the Great Recession.<p>And we all suffered from that catastrophe. Between 2007 and 2009, U.S. Tue, 15 Jul 2014 15:10:00 +0000 Marilyn Geewax 35580 at http://wlrn.org Citigroup Settlement Offers Former Homeowners 'Cold Comfort' Economists Say Inflation Is Tame; Consumers Aren't Buying It http://wlrn.org/post/economists-say-inflation-tame-consumers-arent-buying-it Economists regularly issue reports calling inflation tame or mild, or some other word that suggests consumers shouldn't be feeling much pain.<p>One example: "Inflation has been tame and this is providing households with some relief" from economic stress, according to an assessment done this week by PNC Financial Services.<p>But if you happen to be buying gasoline or groceries, you may not be feeling relieved — at all.<p>"It's kind of hard to even buy milk and bread," said Kimberly Acevedo, a bank teller who was shopping at a Best Market in Harlem. Fri, 11 Jul 2014 11:02:00 +0000 Marilyn Geewax 35376 at http://wlrn.org Economists Say Inflation Is Tame; Consumers Aren't Buying It Hiring Looks Good Now, But Wage Growth Lags http://wlrn.org/post/hiring-looking-good-now-wage-growth-lags The unemployment report released Thursday by the Labor Department offered great news for job seekers: <a href="http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.nr0.htm">Hiring boomed</a> in June.<p>That good news helped send stock prices to record levels, with the Dow Jones industrial average crossing the 17,000 mark for the first time to close at 17,068.26, up 92.02.<p>Unfortunately, the jobs report also contained sobering news for people who already have jobs: All of that hiring is not translating into wage hikes. Thu, 03 Jul 2014 20:03:00 +0000 Marilyn Geewax 34980 at http://wlrn.org Hiring Looks Good Now, But Wage Growth Lags How Many Companies Will Be Touched By Court's Contraception Ruling? http://wlrn.org/post/how-many-companies-will-be-touched-courts-contraception-ruling When the Supreme Court ruled Monday that "closely held" corporations <a href="file:///C:/Users/aschneider/Documents/My%20Documents/326926331">don't have to pay for workers' contraception</a>, you may have assumed the decision applied only to family-owned businesses.<p>Wrong. Mon, 30 Jun 2014 22:37:00 +0000 Marilyn Geewax 34800 at http://wlrn.org How Many Companies Will Be Touched By Court's Contraception Ruling? U.K. Loses Big Vote On The Future Of Europe — Now What? http://wlrn.org/post/uk-loses-big-vote-future-europe-now-what The European Union made history Friday by bringing three of Russia's neighbors — Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova — under its economic tent.<p>The <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2014/06/27/326076494/ukraine-signs-trade-deal-with-eu-risking-russia-s-ire">eastward expansion</a> of trade agreements will push European influence deep into a region that Russia would like to dominate. Fri, 27 Jun 2014 17:51:00 +0000 Marilyn Geewax 34665 at http://wlrn.org U.K. Loses Big Vote On The Future Of Europe — Now What? In Flanders Fields, Europeans Still Learning How To Get Along http://wlrn.org/post/flanders-fields-europeans-still-learning-how-get-along On Thursday, European leaders are gathering in Belgium to mark the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I — the bloodbath that ended millions of European lives.<p>And killed 116,516 U.S. troops. Thu, 26 Jun 2014 11:03:00 +0000 Marilyn Geewax 34579 at http://wlrn.org In Flanders Fields, Europeans Still Learning How To Get Along Job Outlook Brightens For Graduates, Though Problems Linger http://wlrn.org/post/job-outlook-brightens-graduates-though-problems-linger Congratulations Class of 2014! You are entering a labor market that offers a record number of paychecks.<p>On Friday, the Labor Department said the U.S. economy now has <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2014/06/06/319404238/will-the-u-s-finally-gets-past-pre-recession-jobs-total">138.5 million jobs</a>, slightly more than the previous high set in early 2008 — just as the Great Recession was tightening its grip.<p>The post-recession peak came after employers added 217,000 jobs in May. That marked the fourth straight month when payrolls increased by at least 200,000. Sat, 07 Jun 2014 09:46:00 +0000 Marilyn Geewax 33573 at http://wlrn.org Job Outlook Brightens For Graduates, Though Problems Linger Is Pushing Interest Rates To Less Than Zero A Crazy Idea? http://wlrn.org/post/pushing-interest-rates-less-zero-crazy-idea By now, you may have heard that on Thursday, the European Central Bank shifted to a <em>negative</em><em> </em>interest-rate policy for deposits.<p>That news may have prompted two thoughts: 1) Isn't that crazy? 2) Who cares what happens in Europe?<p>These questions have answers. But first, some background:<p>The <a href="http://www.ecb.europa.eu/home/html/index.en.html">European Central Bank</a>'s mission is to promote price stability and steady growth. Thu, 05 Jun 2014 22:34:00 +0000 Marilyn Geewax 33511 at http://wlrn.org Is Pushing Interest Rates To Less Than Zero A Crazy Idea? Regulators And Airlines Fight Over Fares, Fees And Fairness http://wlrn.org/post/regulators-and-airlines-fight-over-fares-fees-and-fairness This week, the Department of Transportation hit Southwest Airlines with a <a href="http://www.dot.gov/briefing-room/dot-fines-southwest-violating-price-advertising-rule-assesses-additional-penalties">$200,000 fine</a> for touting a fare that did not exist. The carrier had said in a TV ad that customers in Atlanta could fly to New York, Chicago or Los Angeles for just $59. But the bargain fare turned out to be too good to be true.<p>Southwest, which paid a fine for a similar problem last year, says the ad was a mistake. Sat, 31 May 2014 17:22:00 +0000 Marilyn Geewax 33242 at http://wlrn.org Regulators And Airlines Fight Over Fares, Fees And Fairness The Economy Takes A Dip, But Analysts Look For It To Snap Back http://wlrn.org/post/economy-takes-dip-analysts-look-it-snap-back The Commerce Department on Thursday <a href="http://www.bea.gov/newsreleases/national/gdp/gdpnewsrelease.htm">said the U.S. economy shriveled</a> during the icy winter, contracting at a 1 percent pace.<p>So does that news leave you feeling chilled with disappointment, or revved up for a summer rebound?<p>How consumers and business owners answer may determine the direction of jobs and economic growth for the back half of 2014.<p>Most economists favor the revved-up scenario. Thu, 29 May 2014 20:28:00 +0000 Marilyn Geewax 33145 at http://wlrn.org The Economy Takes A Dip, But Analysts Look For It To Snap Back It's Geithner Vs. Warren In Battle Of The Bailout http://wlrn.org/post/its-geithner-vs-warren-battle-bailout The financial crisis of 2008 caused such an enormous upheaval that future historians will long be asking: Who caused it? Who fixed it? Could it have turned out better?<p>Recently, two key players looked back: Former Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner wrote <em>S</em><em>tress Test, Reflections on Financial Crisis</em><em>,</em> and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren wrote <em>A Fighting Chance</em><em>.</em><p>The two reached opposite conclusions. Geithner believes the bank bailout proved its worth. Sun, 25 May 2014 09:29:00 +0000 Marilyn Geewax 32900 at http://wlrn.org It's Geithner Vs. Warren In Battle Of The Bailout