The Indicator from Planet Money

The Indicator from Planet Money Podcast

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.

Jobs Friday: The Worker Shortage Mystery
The U.S. is experiencing the worst unemployment crisis since the Great Depression. Meanwhile, some employers claim that they can't find the workers they need. What's going on?...

The Economic Legacy Of Shinzo Abe
Shinzo Abe served as Japan's Prime Minister for nearly eight years before suddenly announcing his retirement in August. Today on the show, the lessons of Abenomics for the US and other countries....

Big Donors & Pay-To-Play Politics
The Center for Public Integrity joins The Indicator with an excerpt from The Heist, a new podcast exploring money and politics in the Trump Administration....


Behind The Art Of The Deal
Stacey talks to Tony Schwartz, co-author of Trump: The Art Of The Deal, about the book and the recent New York Times report exploring President Trump's tax records....

Some Listener Questions!
Cardiff and Stacey answer some listener questions about the rebounding demand for gas, the rise of contactless payments, and how wages have changed for low-income workers over the past few years....


RIP Business Suit?
For 400 years, the business suit has been a staple in men's fashion...then the pandemic struck. Today on the show, the end of the business suit?...

The Invention Of Paper Money
Paper currency has become standard around the world, but that wasn't always the case. Planet Money host Jacob Goldstein tells the story of how paper money came to be — and why it temporarily went away....

A Few Freaky Facts
Stacey and Cardiff discuss some of the non-obvious ways the coronavirus pandemic — and the policy response to it — has reshaped the U.S. economy....


Jamaican Monetary Policy: Behind The Music
Jamaica's Central Bank has a unique way of explaining its policies: Reggae music videos. The Indicator talks with the Central Bank about why they've taken this unique approach....

DIY Firefighting
Emergency services are spread so thin in the West that some property owners are taking a D-I-Y approach to firefighting....


A Smarter Approach To Lockdowns
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
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
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
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
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
Counterfeit Lego kits, made illegally in China, are giving collectors a headache....

More Job Growth, But Slower
The August unemployment numbers were better than expected. But doesn't mean the labor market is the picture of health....


Opening Schools: Mission Impossible
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
Stock-picking retail traders have been jumping into the market this year. They may not understand the risks....

The Inclusion Payoff
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
Taxes get a bad reputation, but they were central to the formation of representative government and even the written word....

5 (More) Ways Life Has Changed
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
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
The price of eggs skyrocketed at the start of the pandemic. That has some people crying foul ... and filing suit....


Becky, We Hardly Knew Ye
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....


Science, Economics And Vaccines
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
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
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?
Limiting high-skilled immigration to the U.S. may not save jobs for Americans; it might even cost jobs....

Coronavirus Comes To Venezuela
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)
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
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
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
We answer two questions today: Why is American internet so bad? And why was the unemployment benefit extension set at $600?...


An Artful Pivot
How a theater company in Philadelphia is reacting to the existential threat posed by the coronavirus....

Protest And A Black-Owned Business
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
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%???!!!
This quarter's Gross Domestic Product numbers could be the worst on record. But what do they mean, exactly?...

The Coronavirus Housing Boom
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
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
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....

Can Restaurants Reopen?
Restaurants are going out of business in droves. But some are battling hard to keep their doors open....


Question Time!
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
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....


A Conversation With Gary Cohn
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
The economics profession has a serious inclusion problem, and that matters for how all of us understand the economy....

When SNAP Gets Squeezed
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
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
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
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....


Why We Need Black-Owned Banks
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
Live music events are like micro-economies that support hundreds of small businesses. Coronavirus is hammering them....


Jobs In June
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
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....


The Uncounted Workforce
Incarcerated Americans make goods for American companies, and get paid next to nothing for their labor....


Liar Loans
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
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
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
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
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
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....


Who Pays For The Police?
Police fines and fees have helped to fill city coffers, but they've done serious damage to community relations....


Story Of A Paper
Why a groundbreaking paper by Lisa Cook on the effects of racist violence took ten years to get published....

The Cost Of Contact Tracing
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
Big American cities might never look the same again, post coronavirus. And that could be the making of them....

The Minnesota Paradox
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
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
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?...


Racism And Economics
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
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....


#WFH Forever?
Many of us are working from home for now. Some could be destined to do it forever....

Stocks Are Up But The Economy's Down
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
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
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
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
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
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?
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....


Pay Cuts Vs. Layoffs
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
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
The jobs report for this month was nightmarish. But as bad as it was, it hid some even worse news about the employment situation....

Masks En Vogue
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
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
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
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
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
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
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....


How The Fed Fights Coronavirus
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
Supermarket shelves are empty, and food banks around the country are besieged. So why are farmers dumping, destroying and giving away food?...


Oil: Less Than Zero
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
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?
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
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
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
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
Five indicators provide a gauge of how daily economic life in America has changed....

Why Hospitals Are Laying People Off
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
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
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
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....


The Jobs Crisis
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
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....


Scarcity In The Emergency Room
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
Coronavirus questions on the yield curve and refinancing. And some of the ways individuals can help....


When Should We Restart the Economy?
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
The effects of assortative mating, or, what happens when people increasingly marry only other people with similar incomes and education....

Timecard Capitalists
People who make the highest salaries are increasingly the same people who draw the highest incomes from their capital....


Meet Our Junk Bond!
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....

How Economists Do Valentines
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
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....

Why Cheap Solar Could Save the World
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
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
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
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
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....

Even The Facts Are Polarized
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
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
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
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
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'
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....


Can You Name Five Fine Artists That Are Women?
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?...


China Trade Deal: A Truce Awakens?
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
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 Trade Wars Fill The Swamp
How lobbyists' campaigns for exclusions to the trade war have skewed incentives and disadvantaged small businesses....


What To Watch In 2020
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 Skyrocketing Cost Of Air Ambulances
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
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
We continue our series on financial bubbles with the British bicycle mania of the 1890s and the trail of bankrupt companies it left behind....



Fun Fact Friday!
Stacey busts out the funometer and casts judgment on Cardiff's facts....

We Buy A Junk Bond!
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
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
"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....

A Trade War Truce?
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
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
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
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....


Job(-switch) Friday!
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
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
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
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
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 $100 Million Apple
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?
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....


Grocery Store Wars
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?
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
Cardiff surprises Stacey with three feel-good facts about the economy, and she decides whether or not those facts are awesome....


Winning The Nobel
Esther Duflo and Abhijit Banerjee talk about their work and what happens when you win a Nobel Prize....

Politics And The Trade War
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
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'
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
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
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?...



Scary Stories From The Eek-conomy: Part II
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
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....


WeWork And The Future Of Co-Working
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?
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....

Housing: It's About More Than Money
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
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!
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
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
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
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....


The Cost Of Climate Change
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
We're seeing a lot of firsts in this economy. Some good, some not so good, some surprising....


Jobs Friday: Crunching The Numbers
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
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?...


What's Gonna Trip Us Up In Q4?
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....


The Probiotics Heist
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?...


How Much Are Thoughts And Prayers Worth?
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?...


Unsung Economists: Edith Penrose
Edith Penrose transformed our understanding of how businesses grow, and also lived a remarkable life full of adventure, intrigue, and tragedy....


The White Claw Tax Law Flaw
White Claw could be the hottest alcoholic beverage of the summer of 2019. You can thank tax policy for (some of) that....


The Olympic Bounce
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?...


Tech's Convenience Store
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
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....


America's Rare Earth Conundrum
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
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....

More Money, More Votes?
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?...


The Economics of Music Festivals
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
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....


Trump And Trade: The Point Of No Return?
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: Saving Women
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....



Currency Wars & A Pepperoni Problem
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
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
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
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?
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....


It's Check-Up Time, America!
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....


Waiting For The Tariff Storm
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?
An economic principle that has guided the Federal Reserve for decades is increasingly being questioned....

Rhino Bonds
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
Jared Bernstein has a shortlist of economic ideas that he thinks his colleagues have been getting wrong for decades....

Gold Rush 2.0
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
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
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?
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
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....

Japan's Worker Shortage
Japan's worker shortage has gotten so bad it's forced some companies to declare bankruptcy. The solution? Telling workers to work less....

Deutsche Bank Breaks The Pizza Barrier
One of the biggest international banks--Deutsche Bank--is laying off 18,000 workers and cutting costs to try and save itself from going under. How did things get so bad?...


Is LA Ready For A Big Earthquake?
Last week's California quakes have reinforced fears of "the big one", the high-magnitude trembler that seismologists say is inevitable. How ready is the city of Los Angeles?...