Every weekday, host Kai Ryssdal helps you make sense of the day’s business and economic news — no econ degree or finance background required. “Marketplace” takes you beyond the numbers, bringing you context. Our team of reporters all over the world speak with CEOs, policymakers and regular people just trying to get by.
Shipping logjams are polluting portside communities
California’s portside neighborhoods, which are home to many low-income residents and communities of color, have long suffered from polluted air. But supply chain bottlenecks have worsened that pollution, which has been linked to cancer, heart disease and asthma. Though community advocates have pushed for emissions reductions, demand for goods that filter through the port is still at a record high. Also on the show today: A chat with Visa’s CEO about the future of digital payments; economists weigh in on how omicron could affect the market; and why it can be hard to find a public bathroom.
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Food banks are being squeezed by inflation too
Food banks saw increased demand at the height of the pandemic. Now, as inflation limits what your buck can buy at grocery stores, demand is rising yet again. But food banks are dealing with those higher costs too, as well as supply chain issues that mean longer wait times for their orders and fewer donations. Also on today’s program, how Substack has changed the media landscape, what the omicron variant might mean for consumer confidence and why the U.K. aspires to be a green hydrogen powerhouse.
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In case you forgot: COVID still runs this economy
The coronavirus omicron variant caused stock market jitters on Friday. While the strain’s impact on global health remains to be seen, if omicron is similar to the delta wave, we can expect travel and consumer spending to take a big hit. How it might affect inflation is unclear. Plus: Black Friday spending is up but still below pre-pandemic levels; millennials are sidelined in the homebuying market; and schools prepare to use federal pandemic relief.
Next-day delivery is so pre-pandemic. Cue ultra-fast delivery.
Whereas next- or same-day delivery services transformed the way people shopped at the height of the pandemic, there’s a new kid in town: companies that will deliver an order in under 20 minutes. While the services have made it to densely populated urban areas in the United States, the market is particularly booming in the United Kingdom. Victoria Craig takes us to London, where — for super-fast delivery apps — competition is fierce, investment is booming and pathways to long-lasting profit are uncertain. Plus: The Weekly Wrap, a sky-high battle for 5G and a Black Friday look at consumer spending.
Bemidji, Minnesota has paid teleworkers to move there. How is it playing out?
At the height of the pandemic, dozens of small communities saw an opportunity to recruit people who could work from anywhere — by paying them to move. Today, Dan Kraker takes us to Bemidji, Minnesota, where a program offers people $2,500 to telework there. The solution has proved mutually beneficial, offering newcomers a slower, more budget-friendly pace of life while helping a smaller town grow. Plus: The glass bottle shortage comes to a liquor store near you, the 30th anniversary of a major economic database and the young engineer behind an operations-friendly headscarf.
Inflation and unemployment stats tell a complicated story
We got a feast of economic figures the day before Thanksgiving: First-time unemployment claims are at a 52-year low. But a key index shows inflation is at a 31-year high. Consumer spending is up too, yet consumer sentiment is at its lowest point in a decade. What the heck is going on? On today’s show, we’ll tell you how the economic recovery can look anything but linear. We’ll also hear about the big number of small-scale labor actions, the infrastructure bill’s potential impact on holiday travel routes and a new initiative by the Department of Labor aimed at assisting home care workers.