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.
The cost of hygiene theater
We know now that it’s pretty rare for COVID-19 to spread through surfaces, and most Americans are at least partly vaccinated anyway, but that hasn’t stopped businesses from cleaning like they were last March. On today’s show, we’ll look at what that level of hygiene costs businesses — and why they’re still doing it. Plus, more on inflation and wages, along with a live wrap-up of the biggest news of the week.
Consumers aren’t worried about inflation … yet
Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said yesterday that the Fed is seeing some inflation — but it’s likely transitory inflation caused by, in part, the uneven reopening of the economy. But if you’ve been tuned in to the news lately, you know inflation is a big story. So what do consumers make of prices shooting up but the Fed taking no action? On today’s show: How consumers are making sense of all this inflation talk. Also on the program: One study says automation is to blame for stagnating wages, how it works when a company’s CEO is also chairman of the board and how a Los Angeles taqueria pivoted to survive the pandemic.
The psychological toll of long-term unemployment
We’ve spent every month since the start of this pandemic picking apart jobs numbers and unemployment claims. But there’s a lot happening in the labor force that isn’t captured in that data — like the toll long-term unemployment can take on those looking for work. A recent Pew survey says about half of unemployed adults in the U.S. are pessimistic about future employment and more than half have experienced mental health issues like anxiety or depression. On today’s show: We look at how these factors can create a less predictable back-to-work economy. Also on the program: What’s driving the housing shortage, how New Yorkers feel about COVID-19 restrictions lifting, and how the pandemic changed economic forecasting.
How the balance of power in the labor market is shifting
Businesses have been having a hard time finding people to hire, even though millions of Americans are still out of work. It seems like quite the conundrum. But that’s because half the story is left out, said Barry Ritholtz, chairman of Ritholtz Wealth Management. “Whenever I hear people say, ‘We can’t hire people,’ they’re leaving out half of the question, which is ‘at these wages,'” he said. On today’s show: How the pandemic changed the labor market. Also on the program: why retail sales are down, about that U.S.-EU truce on airplane subsidies and what lowering the Medicare eligibility age would mean for American health care.
Why inflation can be a self-fulfilling prophecy
Federal Reserve officials have some new inflation data to chew on before they head into a two-day meeting on interest rates tomorrow. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York released a consumer survey today that says consumers are expecting inflation above the Fed’s target of 2% over the next several years. On the show today: How inflation can be a self-fulfilling prophecy and why that makes it hard to set policy around it. Also on the program: Why restaurants say they need more financial aid, more companies are investing in cyber insurance, and Canada’s agricultural worker program is under scrutiny amid the pandemic.
How consumer behavior is affecting the economic recovery
The University of Michigan’s preliminary June consumer sentiment numbers came out today, and although Americans are a little more confident in the economy and the recovery than they were in May, they’re still worried about inflation and the rising prices of things like cars and homes. Does that change how people spend their money? We also take a look at how consumer demand changes when products are scarce due to supply chain shortages. Also on the show today: Some British executives are getting bonuses for good behavior, and whether the pandemic could change Americans’ attitudes when it comes to taking vacations.