Originally published on Fri December 6, 2013 11:36 am
This week, our friends at NPR's Tell Me More turned the spotlight on black leaders in the tech industry — a demographic that's underrepresented in the field, as Gene Demby explored when covering coders of color. The conversation continues on Twitter through Dec. 20, where tech thinkers will live-tweet their days and answer questions about the field.
And Brazil's state oil company, Petrobras, lost 15 percent of its market value this week - that's some $10 billion. NPR's Lourdes Garcia-Navarro reports from Sao Paulo on why oil analysts predict more trouble ahead for the oil giant.
The Labor Department on Friday said the nation's unemployment rate fell to 7 percent, a five-year low, as U.S. employers added 203,000 jobs to payrolls in November. In October, the unemployment rate was 7.3 percent.
And today's last word in business is: Madiba Shirts.
We've been remembering this morning that many impacts that Nelson Mandela had on the world in politics and race and reconciliation. He died yesterday in South Africa at the age of 95. But we cannot leave without mentioning his impact on fashion.
NPR's Planet Money team is manufacturing its own T-shirt. After the women's shirt was assembled in Colombia, they voyaged by container ship to Miami. The container, a big standardized box that moves easily from truck to ship to train, is the unsung hero of the global economy. It was invented in the 1950s and dramatically reduced shipping costs, ushering in a new era vastly different than the world retired stevedores remember.
Workers rallied in 100 cities on Thursday to raise awareness for increasing pressure to raise wages. The push comes as 19 cities and states already raised minimum wages. A report from Berkeley economists finds the low-wage fast food jobs are costing taxpayer billions of dollars in public assistance — everything from food stamps to Medicaid.
For the past three years, there's been a shortfall in the payroll taxes collected for Social Security. And as more baby boomers join the ranks of the 57 million people already receiving benefits, that deficit is bound to keep growing.
At the same time, the overall share of wages being taxed for Social Security is shrinking as the higher wages that are exempt have soared. The Social Security Board of Trustees predicts a nearly $3 trillion trust fund built up over decades will vanish within 20 years.
Originally published on Thu December 5, 2013 11:19 am
Ford unveiled its new Mustang on Thursday, in a splashy event that was undermined a bit by leaked photos that showed the new model's design. And the Mustang will be sold around the globe for the first time since the car was introduced nearly 50 years ago.
From Michigan Radio, Tracy Samilton filed this report for our Newscast unit:
Originally published on Thu December 5, 2013 10:23 am
The U.S. economy grew at an annual rate of 3.6 percent in the third quarter, according to data released Thursday by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. That's a rise from the second quarter, when the real gross domestic product tallied a 2.5 percent gain.
The pace of growth is the fastest since the first quarter of 2012, which clocked in at 3.7 percent.
Thursday's release is the "second" estimate for the third quarter, following up on data released in November that put the GDP's increase at 2.8 percent.
Originally published on Thu December 5, 2013 11:03 am
China says banks in the country are no longer allowed to trade in Bitcoin, the digital currency whose value has sharply risen this year. Chinese citizens, however, are not forbidden from using the currency.
The Bitcoin exchange rate took a hit following Thursday's news from China's central bank.
From Shanghai, NPR's Frank Langfitt filed this report for our Newscast unit: