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 Biden administration announced it’s putting $8 billion toward expanding the U.S. rail system. Travel by train is climate-friendlier than flying or driving, and in parts of Europe and Asia, it’s commonplace. So why has the U.S. been slower to build high-speed rail? Also in this episode: Amazon Fresh delivery tries out subscriptions, part-time workers find full-time employment and it’s tricky to predict labor demand for the holiday season.
Higher ed got its credit report card, and it’s not straight A’s
Fitch Ratings issued a warning this week that U.S. colleges and universities are likely to encounter economic headwinds — bond investors beware. Declining enrollment, higher wages for faculty and staff and 2008 recession-era debt are all at play. In this episode, why some colleges may be affected more than others. Plus, artificial intelligence is already behind the scenes in Hollywood, rent-free housing comes with a cost and an electronic music store bides its time.
How the podcast bubble burst
Podcasting took off in a big way in 2015. But just eight years later, waves of layoffs and cancellations have made the future of the medium uncertain. In this episode, we’ll explore why podcasts are tricky to monetize, what the future of the industry could look like and how public radio fits into the whole thing — with help from “On the Media” correspondent Micah Loewinger. Plus, restaurants shed jobs, the gender gap in science and tech persists and supply chain logistics are stabilizing.
The ghosts of debt ceilings past
Despite all the angst over the national debt limit, extensions and last-minute compromises aren’t unusual — since 1960, Congress has fought over the debt ceiling 78 times. Although the U.S. has never defaulted, there have been consequences. In this episode, why debt ceiling battles haunt the nation’s credit rating. Plus, the financial strain on regional theaters across the country, as told by Danny Feldman, head of the Pasadena Playhouse.
Whaddya mean capital got “more expensive”?
Seventeen percent of Spotify employees were laid off today in the company’s third round of layoffs this year. CEO Daniel Ek says a major reason for staff cuts is that capital has “become more expensive.” But how can money suddenly cost more? In this episode, why companies that grew by borrowing a bunch are scaling back in a high-interest-rate environment. Plus, gold isn’t the stable investment some think it is, 3D-printed houses could aid the affordable housing crisis and going splitsies on dinner is now en vogue.
Just keep it
Over half of major retailers now have a “return-less” refund policy — aka, they’ll pay you to keep not-quite-right items — according to a goTRG report. Returns cost retailers a lot, so why take stuff back? In this episode, big-box stores are adopting this practice (but not necessarily advertising it). Plus, the “endless shrimp” offer tanks Red Lobster profit, farmers try to monetize carbon-trapping agricultural methods and the manufacturing sector shrinks.