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Economy & Business

Business news

Retail shakeout: Web stores on the rise

Apr 28, 2016
Mitchell Hartman

Brick-and-mortar retail is going through a substantial shakeout in 2016. While retail sales overall have held up moderately well (up 3.1 percent in 2015), growth has stalled over the past several years. Virtually all the recent expansion in retail has been in online sales, rising by double digits annually.

Annie Baxter

A new report from the nation's largest domestic hunger relief organization, Feeding America, points to a persistent problem of food insecurity: the socio-economic condition where people have limited or uncertain access to adequate food.

The report said food insecurity rates across counties remained high at 14.7 percent in 2014, the most recent year its data captured.

Marketplace Tech for Thursday, April 28, 2016

Apr 28, 2016

On today's show, we'll talk about the evolution of Facebook; chat with Philip Rosedale, founder of the virtual reality platforms "Second Life" and "High Fidelity"; and examine Germany's new flashing red LEDs to protect distracted pedestrians. 


On today's show, we'll talk about the inability for many Americans to access adequate food; look at Facebook's plan for a new class of shares; and interview Antoine van Agtmael about his new book, "The Smartest Places on Earth." 

The FBI has officially decided it can't tell Apple how the agency hacked into the locked iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino attackers.

A prominent columnist for the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the largest news organization in Nevada, resigned after being told he could no longer write about two of the state's biggest players, including his newspaper's new owner, casino magnate Sheldon Adelson.

"If I can't do my job, if I can't hold the heavyweights in the community to account, then I'm just treading water," the columnist, John L. Smith, told NPR in an interview. "It wasn't an easy decision to make, but there was no other decision to make — at least in my mind."

Planning to squeeze cash out of your house this spring to do some remodeling?

You can relax a little. Interest rates on home equity loans, credit cards and car loans are likely to stay low for a while longer.

That's because the Federal Reserve Board's policymakers ended their meeting Wednesday without raising the benchmark short-term interest rate. If the benchmark had risen, then your borrowing costs probably would have been pointing higher too.

But you should be OK for now.

Kai Ryssdal

The House of Representatives voted today to make the bison -- the buffalo the national mammal of the United States.

Makes sense in that bald eagle kind of way.

Iconic. Brought back from the endangered list.

Also, buffalo were vital to the subsistence of Native Americans.

But well, aren't humans the national mammal of the United States?

JohnPickenPhoto / Flickr

When catastrophes happen, we tend to look at them as stunning events that shock the places they hit and the world at large. Think of the collapse of the housing bubble, or the massive outbreak of Ebola in West African nations. But writer Michele Wucker says that there are far fewer complete surprises that we might think, and in many cases, catastrophe is something that can be foreseen and acted upon before it happens.

Tony Wagner

A city in Germany has given up on getting people to get off their phones when they cross the street. 

In Northwest farm country it’s pretty warm right now -- in fact record temps for spring. And that means tiny blueberry buds are plumping up early. But cold snaps at night could kill them until early June. In Washington state, blueberries should yield about a $100-million-dollar harvest this year. To save more of those money-bearing buds, blueberry farmers wage epic battles against biting cold frost at night.

Why SWIFT is a tempting target for hackers

Apr 27, 2016

Back in February, hackers stole $81 million from the Bangladeshi central bank’s account at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. The fraudulent transfer request likely came through the SWIFT system, a messaging network used by more than 11,000 financial institutions to communicate and issue transfer instructions. It appears that hackers used compromised credentials to access the network and malware to cover their trail so they wouldn’t be immediately detected.

Click the player above to hear more about the attack and its implications.


Venezuela is shortening the workweek for public sector workers to just Monday and Tuesday, in an effort to save power as a drought pushes the water level to new lows at the country's main hydroelectric dam.

President Nicolas Maduro announced the change in his weekly television address, adding that the shortened workweek would last "at least two weeks," Reuters reported.

Maduro "said the water level behind the nation's largest dam has fallen to near its minimum operating level thanks to a severe drought," The Associated Press reported.

Investing for retirement doesn't have to be hard. You read up on how to put together a diverse mix of low-cost index funds, bonds, etc. Then keep setting aside all you can into that retirement account. Easy.

But when you actually retire and start spending that money, that's like going from playing checkers to playing chess. It can get a lot harder.

McDonald's is testing a healthier Chicken McNuggets recipe

Apr 27, 2016
Reuters and Marketplace staff