Originally published on Tue August 14, 2012 4:29 pm
After months of sitting on their wallets, Americans went shopping in July. The uptick reported Tuesday is boosting economists' hopes for a reasonably strong back-to-school season. And retailers are looking for clues about how the holiday shopping season will turn out later in the year.
"This is a good report," Chris Christopher, an economist with IHS Global Insight, a forecasting firm, wrote in an assessment of the latest report. "It indicates that consumers came back after hunkering down" during the year's first half when sales were "dismal."
Farmers and ranchers continue to suffer from one of the country's worst droughts in 50 years. President Obama recently announced the government will buy up to $170 million of meat from farmers. But some say it's too little too late. Guest host Jacki Lyden speaks with Virginia farmer John Boyd and Harvest Public Media reporter Peggy Lowe.
July saw the largest retail sales increase in months, according to the Commerce Department. But not all the news is rosy. NPR Senior Business Editor Marilyn Geewax joins guest host Jacki Lyden to take a look at consumer spending and the "back to school" season.
The Federal Trade Commission has finalized a settlement with Facebook in which the social media leader agrees to get users' approval before making any privacy changes and agrees to periodic third-party audits for the next 20 years on how it handles user privacy.
We told you about this settlement back in November, but today, Reuters reports, after a period of public comment, the settlement has become official.
Originally published on Thu August 9, 2012 12:05 pm
As several news outlets had predicted last month would happen, Google is going to pay $22.5 million — the largest civil penalty the Federal Trade Commission has ever levied — to settle charges that it wasn't straight with users of Apple's Safari browser about how it would track their Web surfing.
A job fair featuring more than 100 employers drew an estimated 5,000 people seeking work in Birmingham.
People began lining up three hours before the event began Wednesday at the city's convention center. The job fair was put together by the office of Rep. Terri Sewell, whose district includes part of metro Birmingham and much of the state's impoverished Black Belt region.
A drop in natural gas prices is hurting balance sheets across the petroleum industry. The second-largest natural gas producer in the United States — Oklahoma City-based Chesapeake Energy — has been hit especially hard.
After 23 consecutive years of touting its increasing natural gas production, Chesapeake CEO Aubrey McClendon told investors during a conference call Tuesday that the company projects its gas output will drop about 7 percent in 2013.
Originally published on Mon August 6, 2012 2:36 pm
The following exchange has played out over and over in the last ten days:
Point: "NBC's coverage of the Olympics stinks, because everything is tape-delayed and cut to shreds, and also the announcers are awful and they only care about American athletes, and by the time I get to watch anything, I already know what happened."
Counterpoint: "People are watching in huge numbers."
NPR's business news starts with an airline refund.
Refunds are starting to arrive in the bank accounts of Southwest Airlines' customers who were billed multiple times for promotional fares booked on Friday. Some customers paid for their discounted air travel as many as 20 times, according to the Associated Press. The company blamed the problem on a computer glitch.
Originally published on Fri August 3, 2012 4:50 pm
Two days after Chick-fil-A set a one-day sales record thanks to a show of support for company President Dan Cathy and his outspoken stand against same-sex marriage, it's "National Same-Sex Kiss Day" for gay rights activists.