I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Now, we want to take some time to talk about retirement. Later this hour, we will hear from someone who decided to retire at the advanced age of 32 and - no, his last name is not Buffett or Rockefeller or Gates. We'll ask him why and, equally important, how he managed to do this. That's coming up later this hour.
We want to turn now to someone who is thinking about retirement in a very different way. Carl Seidman is in his early 30s, but just a few weeks ago, he quit his job as a consultant in Chicago and hopped on a plane to Chile. He's calling it his first retirement and he says you don't have to wait until you're 65 to retire either, and he's going to tell us more about that.
Retail sales rose an estimated 1.1 percent in February from January and were up 4.6 percent from February 2012, the Census Bureau says.
Kathy Bostjancic director of macroeconomic analysis at the The Conference Board research group, says in an analysis sent to reporters that the report's a sign that "consumer spending remains relatively robust." And since consumers buy about 70 percent of all goods and services, their willingness to spend is a key economic driver.
The expansion of an Illinois-based lighting company is poised to bring 275 new jobs to their plant in Muscle Shoals.
North American Lighting is planning a $36 million expansion and the Shoals Economic Development Authority agreed Tuesday to allocate $260,000 from its economic development fund toward the project. The Shoals Industrial Development Committee is set to meet Thursday to vote on whether approve the funding.
One American airport already has that wow factor, which brings us to today's last word in business, which is: First Class.
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
The Indianapolis International Airport was named the Best Airport in North America by the Airports Council International. They're right. It's nice. The annual Airport Service Quality awards are determined by year-round passenger satisfaction surveys.
In China, property prices continue to spiral upwards, despite government efforts to cool off the hot real estate market there. In recent weeks, there have been warnings that the Chinese housing bubble will burst, with dire effects on the broader economy and the entire world. Some don't see that happening, and one skeptic is Leta Hong Fincher. She is a sociology researcher who studies real estate in China. We reached her in Beijing.
Thank you for joining us.
LETA HONG FINCHER: Thank you for having me, Renee.
Now let's come back to the United States for this next story, because over the past few years, more than a dozen American airports - big and small - have renovated or added new terminals. The latest in Birmingham, Alabama opens today.
NPR's Russell Lewis reports on why so many airports are sprucing up.
RUSSELL LEWIS, BYLINE: With just hours before the new $200 million terminal was to open, it was a mad dash...
(SOUNDBITE OF DRILLING)
LEWIS: ...as workers drilled signs above the restaurants,
The Chinese solar company Suntech announced yesterday it will shut down its only factory here in the U.S.
As Peter O'Dowd reports from member station KJZZ, recent U.S. tariffs played a role in the plant's failure.
PETER O'DOWD, BYLINE: Suntech had been making solar panels in the Phoenix suburb of Goodyear for two years. But in that time, GTM Research analyst Shyam Mehta says the global price of solar panels had fallen by more than 60 percent.
Dunkin' Donuts plans to go green by committing to purchasing all of its palm oil from sustainable sources.
Credit Romeo Gacad / AFP/Getty Images
This palm oil mill uses energy produced by palm oil waste. It sits in one of the concession areas run by palm oil giant PT SMART (Sinar Mas Agro Resources and Technology) in Indonesia's West Kalimantan province, on the island of Borneo.
Dunkin' Donuts is changing its recipes — though you may not notice much difference the next time you bite into a cruller. In response to pressure from one of New York's top elected officials, the company recently announced that it will set a goal of using only 100 percent sustainable palm oil in making its donuts.
Alabama's school superintendent says the State Board of Education didn't relinquish control of school standards when it adopted the Common Core standards for schools statewide.
Superintendent Tommy Bice talked about the standards Tuesday because a state Senate committee is scheduled to consider a bill Wednesday that would repeal the standards. Critics of the national standards say they take away local control and give too much control to Washington.
If the cruise industry is smarting from some recent PR disasters, it's not letting on. Executives are gathered in Florida this week for Cruise Shipping Miami, a big conference. It's been a month since an engine fire on the Carnival Triumph knocked out the ship's power, leaving it stranded in the Gulf of Mexico. Cable networks seem to carry every moment of the drama, as the ship and more than 3,000 passengers were towed slowly to port.
He's the richest man you've never heard of: Amancio Ortega, founder of the Spanish clothing chain Zara. He's a notorious recluse who is rumored to wear the same plain shirt every day, but his Zara empire has come to define the concept of fast fashion.
One jobs number gets all the attention: The number of jobs lost or gained in the previous month.
That number is important. But focusing too much on the net change in jobs can be misleading. It gives the impression that a job is like a widget — it's something that gets made in a factory somewhere, and that we hope exists forever.
That's not how it works. Even in good economic times ,new jobs are constantly being created and old jobs are constantly being destroyed. (Of course, you do want the number of jobs created to exceed the number of jobs destroyed.)