Marketplace on WVTF, RADIO IQ & RADIO IQ w/BBC News
Marketplace with host Kai Ryssdal produced and distributed by American Public Media focuses 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.
Friday, May 22, 2015 2:26pm
On the next episode of Marketplace Weekend, we're looking at your money across the years.
We want to know: what's the first thing you ever saved up to buy?
Send us your memories of your first purchases, and how much they cost.
Friday, May 22, 2015 7:01am
The guessing game over when interest rates will go up ... continues. More on that. Plus, we all know what a 'leap year' is, but what about a 'leap second'? On June 30th, an extra second will be added to the world's clocks to make up for the discord between the earth's rotation and the clocks we humans use. And while it may not seem like much, it's a big deal to the world's markets. Plus, residents in the struggling city of Flint, Michigan, have seen their share of hardship over the years. In addition to a catastrophic loss of manufacturing jobs and subsequent blight, the city is losing its grocery stores, making life even more difficult for its poorest residents.
Friday, May 22, 2015 6:00am
Residents in the struggling town of Flint, Michigan, have seen their share of hardship over the years.
In addition the catastrophic loss of manufacturing jobs and subsequent blight, the city is also struggling to provide groceries to its poorest residents.
Jason Lorenz, a public information officer at Flint City Hall, has a wall map showing the city boundaries. One thing that’s rapidly disappearing from the map are grocery stores.
“Yeah, we had a Kroger that closed, we have a Meijer up on the northwest side of town. Either side of M-21 here were two VG’s. They both closed,” Lorenz says.
Over the past eight months, Flint has seen three groceries close, most recently the Kroger on Davison Road. That means that a city of 100,000 people now has only one major grocery within city limits.
“Flint was a very tough decision for us,” says Kroger spokesman Brandon Barrow. This latest store closure, he says, was simply unavoidable.
Kroger closed the Davison Road location only two weeks after making the announcement. Barrow says the business was simply unsustainable.
“Over the course of nine years, we lost just over $3 million at that particular location.”
According the U.S. Census, more than 40 percent of Flint’s residents live below the poverty line. Many don’t have cars, meaning they are increasingly cut off from fresh groceries.
Bettie Cavendish is disabled and can’t drive. When the Eastside Kroger closed, she started taking the bus to a Walmart located outside the city.
“It’s a four to-six hour trip, generally, for me,” Cavendish says. “I [also] have to walk a half hour to get to the bus stop, because it doesn't go down the road I'm on. “
And after she’s done all of her shopping, Cavendish says she has to carry all her groceries back home. It’s one of the hardest parts of her week.
"I guess people would think it would be easier because you have the time when you're disabled. But it's a lot harder. They don't make it easier on you at all."
The bus that Cavendish takes is a special grocery route that Flint created as a 90-day test. If the ridership is there, the line may become permanent, says Ed Benning, general manager of Flint’s bus system, the MTA.
Flint MTA opened a special ''Ride to Groceries'' route for 90 daysAdam Allington
“I think the ridership will be there, because the need is not going to go away,” Benning says.
The grocery bus helps, but it only runs weekday hours from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., leaving some working people without the chance to shop during the week.
Friday, May 22, 2015 6:00am
In the wake of the Ebola outbreak in Africa, a new plan has emerged to guard against future risk: insurance for disease outbreaks. The idea is to help protect governments and industry against the costs of pandemics. A San Francisco firm announced $30 million in funding for the idea this week.
Today, nobody can buy an insurance policy that protects them from a pandemic. But by 2017, at least one company promises to have a product on the market. Dr. Richard Wilcox runs the African Risk Capacity, a company that sells insurance to African countries and is owned by the governmental body the African Union. He says when Ebola hit, countries lacked money for the basics, like public health workers and the ability to quarantine. So Wilcox says they waited, as governments around the globe and philanthropists passed the hat.
“The cost of having to wait for funds to be mobilized abroad is so expensive to their economy, to their vulnerable populations that they protect,” he says.
If a country takes out a policy, it will be able to get cash quickly to support efforts to control outbreaks. Wilcox estimates costs can run into the tens of millions for even cases numbering in the single digits. Aon insurance consultant Dr. Gisele Norris says Ebola has governments, insurers and companies thinking about pandemics in a whole new way.
“Ebola was so instructive in that was a completely unforeseen event. And no one was prepared,” she says. “I think maybe what it brought home was there is a whole world of emerging and re-emerging infectious disease out there.”
The point, says Norris, is that we don’t know what’s going to strike next time, but there will be a next time. With that new thought in mind, she says certain industries like healthcare, aviation, hospitality and higher education are at higher risk and may look for ways to limit their financial exposure. Of course, price will determine the size of any future market.
In Africa, ARC will sell policies that encourages public health investment. The more prepared for an epidemic, the lower its premiums—perhaps a model for industry as well.
Friday, May 22, 2015 6:00am
On June 30, at midnight Greenwich Mean Time/Coordinated Universal Time, an extra second will be added to the world’s master clocks so that they sync up with the earth’s rotation, which does not precisely match the clocks and computers we earthlings use.
Financial exchanges and firms that depend on precise pricing and transaction data are planning for this so-called "leap second" down the micro-second.
“It’s a big issue for financial firms,” says Victor Yodaiken, whose software firm, FSMLabs, provides time-synchronization computer applications to those firms. “A whole second is a long time. Software is really not set up to see time go backwards.”
U.S.-based exchanges have a deadline of Friday to submit their plans for dealing with the leap second to the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission.
Yodaiken says high-frequency traders are particularly sensitive to the problem because of their automated algorithms.
Meanwhile, U.S. exchanges and those in Asia (Japan, Australia, Singapore and South Korea) will adjust to the extra second by spreading it out over a longer period or adding it later in the day. “During the trading day, their clocks will be different,” says programmer-analyst Steve Allen at the University of California’s Lick Observatory. He is dealing with an automated telescope that will have to adjust to the leap second. “There will be moments during that day when transactions from one market to another seem to come from the future.”
Some U.S. exchanges will pause around the leap second as a precaution or will halt after-hours trading beforehand.