Economy & Business

Business news

Former Wells Fargo employees tell NPR that managers at the bank retaliated against them for calling the company's ethics line and pushing back against reckless sales practices. They say the bank fired them or pushed them to resign and then, in effect, put a scarlet letter on their permanent record that has damaged their careers and prevented them from getting hired by other banks.

Scott Cohn

Wildfires are an unfortunate fact of life in California, and a five-year drought is only making matters worse. Since the beginning of this year, more than 5,300 fires have broken out in the state. That is a 16 percent jump from a year ago.

Starbucks doubles down on China

Oct 21, 2016
Reema Khrais

Starbucks named executive Belinda Wong as its first CEO for China this week, and said it plans to have 5,000 stores in the country by 2021. With a middle class that is already larger than the population of the United States, China could be Starbucks' growth engine of the future.  

Click the above audio player to hear the full story. 

Will honey bees stay sweet on North Dakota?

Oct 21, 2016
Annie Baxter

It might seem surprising that North Dakota, one of the northernmost and coldest states in the nation, is the bees’ knees for honey production.

It produces more honey than any other state. In summertime, North Dakota's climate is just right. It's conducive to flowers’ production of nectar, which bees use to make honey.

“Warm days and cool nights are optimal for nectar secretion for a number of plants that honeybees visit. So that helps,” said Mark Sperry, owner of Sperry Apiaries in Kindred, North Dakota.

Marketplace Tech for Friday, October 21, 2016

Oct 21, 2016

On today's show, we'll interview the CEO of Emotiv about the company's EEG headsets, a type of hardware that could one day be used  for everything from teaching better focus to controlling robotic limbs. Plus, we'll also play this week's Silicon Tally with Greta Johnsen, the co-host of the Nerdette podcast and a reporter and anchor at WBEZ.

Tesla has begun equipping all its new cars with self-driving hardware. Elon Musk, Tesla's CEO, tweeted Wednesday night that the new Tesla drives itself with no human input, using eight cameras, 12 ultrasonars, and radar. All this hardware is mounted so the technology is not visible to drivers.

Another pharmaceutical company is coming under fire for boosting the price of one of its drugs. Two lawmakers are demanding to know the justification for a more than $80,000 price hike for a year's supply of a drug that treats leukemia patients.

As NPR's Alison Kodjak reports:

"The drug is called Iclusig and it was approved in 2012 to treat a subset of patients with chronic myeloid leukemia.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit


Fortunate Nyakupinda has parked her hatchback by the side of the busy main road leading to the industrial area in Harare — where she sells used clothing for men from the trunk and the back seat.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit NPR.

If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area, you may have seen ads urging you to vote "no" on a grocery tax. "Don't Tax Our Groceries" is the tagline of the $9.5 million campaign, which is funded by the American Beverage Association.

In one ad, the camera pans to images of tomatoes and beans, as a local business owner says, "The grocery tax is going to hurt my customers."

But here's the thing. There's no grocery tax on the ballot.

If you can't pay bail, aren't you unfairly incarcerated?

Oct 20, 2016
Sabri Ben-Achour

Does bail discriminate?

There are around 450,000 Americans in jail who haven't been convicted of a crime. How many of them are there because they are poor is hotly contested and varies from place to place. Data from Los Angeles suggest it's 14 percent there. A New Jersey study from 2013 put the number at 39 percent, advocates say it's higher. By any measure it's tens of thousands of people on any given day.

Soon, the house next door could be a rental

Oct 20, 2016
Mitchell Hartman

According to ATTOM Data Solutions’ Single-Family Rental Market Report for Q3 2016, approximately 25 percent of single-family homes in the U.S. are owned by investors and rented out, rather than occupied by their owners.

ATTOM senior vice president Daren Blomquist said that purchases of properties in 2015 were even more investor-driven, with approximately one-third of single-family homes being purchased by investors.

What does it take to start a network, anyway?

Oct 20, 2016
Gigi Douban

Before last night’s presidential debate, Republican Donald Trump had a pre-game show all his own on Facebook Live.  Now there is speculation Mr. Trump is considering Trump TV. Which made us wonder, what does it take to get a brand new network off the ground? 

Number one, a brand. But a little caution: Oprah Winfrey had a brand and a popular syndicated talk show. But it took OWN four years and $500 million in investment before it turned a profit.  

Sam Craig, heads of NYU’s Entertainment, Media, and Technology program, said it takes years to build an audience.

Silicon Valley's answer to brain fog

Oct 20, 2016
Molly Wood

In a competitive market, everyone is looking for an edge to keep them going throughout the workday. But sometimes, another cup of coffee just doesn't do the trick. Now, there's a subscription service called Nootrobox, which is filled with pills designed to enhance cognition. Alex Morris, a contributing editor at New York Magazine, profiled the company in a piece titled "The Pill Freaks of Silicon Valley," and spoke with Marketplace's Molly Wood.