I visited Toy Fair in New York City hunting for ideas for our summer series about kids' culture. One of the big takeaways was the increasing popularity of construction games such as Legos. Sales shot up nearly 20 percent last year. Now, it seems, every major toy manufacturer is scrambling to add new games geared toward kids building things.
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said Wednesday that a fall in the unemployment rate would not automatically trigger a rise in interest rates. He spoke to the media after the central bank issued a policy update.
The Federal Reserve will continue its program of purchasing $85 billion in securities and will leave the target interest rate for federal funds untouched to support the U.S. economy, the U.S. central bank said in a policy update issued Wednesday afternoon.
Here's a summary of the state of the U.S. economy from the Fed, which concluded two days of meetings today:
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. With school out, many college - and even some high school students - will spend the summer working as interns. It's a chance to beef up their resumes, gain on-the-job experience and make valuable contacts. Last week, a federal district court judge in New York issued a ruling that could change the system.
Originally published on Wed June 19, 2013 12:01 pm
We didn't plan it, but somehow, it has turned into Potato Week here at The Salt. The latest twist in the tater tales takes us to Capitol Hill.
Americans love to pile on the potatoes – we consumed a whopping 112 pounds per capita last year. But lately, the potato industry has been playing the part of jilted lover and taking its heartache to Congress.
According to the National Potato Council, the U.S. Department of Agriculture "discriminates" against fresh, white potatoes.
Next we're going to talk to a young entrepreneur who's all about hair. Leanna Archer was just nine years old when she launched her own line of natural hair care products. Her great-grandmother in Haiti had a special recipe for hair pomade and Archer used that recipe to begin a line of oils, hairdressings, and conditioners.
Alabama's Department of Revenue says the state's new private school tax credits don't apply to students who are already in private schools, even though they are zoned for a failing public school.
The department has been developing regulations to implement the Alabama Accountability Act, which the governor signed into law in March. State Revenue Commissioner Julie Magee said Tuesday the law is clear that the tax credits are to offset the cost of transferring students out of failing public schools, and it starts with the semester beginning in August.
Let's go next to California, where the largest public works project in the history of that state is running over budget, over time, and has lost the public's confidence. The new eastern span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, with a price tag of $6.4 billion, was scheduled to open on Labor Day. There's still time, but that deadline is in doubt, as questions are raised about safety.
Netflix offers children's programs which can be screened on computers or TVs. And it says streaming of those programs goes up over the summer, about 30 percent. It's not hard to figure out why - school's out. Screens are on. This month we're focusing on media for kids, and our media critic Eric Deggans says that Netflix - as well as its rival, Prime Instant Video from Amazon - are both trying to capture a big and growing market.
Some of the magic at Disney was always that you could pick a theme park - any theme park - and the price for a day pass would be the same. Well, no more. This month for the first time, Disney began charging more for a day in Magic Kingdom in Orlando than for its other parks.
Matthew Peddie, from member station WMFE, explains why.
MATTHEW PEDDIE, BYLINE: A one-day pass to the Magic Kingdom now costs $95 - compared to $90 for entrance to its other parks: Epcot, Animal Kingdom or Hollywood Studios.
A worker installs parts on a Chrysler SUV engine at the Jefferson North Assembly Plant in Detroit. Plants in the U.S. are now operating above 90 percent capacity, but automakers are wary of adding large numbers of new workers.
There is one basic question that keeps being asked about the U.S. auto industry: Is it on the rebound?
"People ask a lot, is the auto industry back?" says Kristin Dziczek, a director at the Center for Automotive Research. "And it depends on what scale you want to look at."
So if we're looking at scales, let's start with productivity. In this case, how many work hours it takes to build a car. Productivity in U.S. plants is 39 percent higher than it was in 2000. "Productivity has never been this high," Dziczek says.
A woman tries on a jacket at a Zara store in Madrid. Zara's parent company, Inditex, was among Spanish companies to sign fire and building safety agreements for their factories in Bangladesh following a deadly factory collapse in April, though Inditex was not directly involved in that incident.
Credit Susana Vera / Reuters/Landov
Spanish artist Yolanda Dominguez' latest art installation, <em>Fashion Victims, </em>conjures up images of the Rana Plaza garment factory collapse in Bangladesh.
A new study finds that while "receiving unearned preferential treatment does generate positive reactions, it is not always an entirely pleasurable experience." Examples include getting a free upgrade on a hotel room.
Whether it's a free upgrade on a hotel room or skipping ahead in the check-in line, many businesses give preferential treatment to some customers, hoping to make them more loyal. The practice often works — but a new study suggests that when we get perks we didn't earn, negative feelings can result. And they can make a surprise deal a little less sweet.