As the U.S. economy struggles to recover from the financial crash, and Europe is buffeted by a series of banking crises, attention has focused on the presidents and prime ministers who've tried to cope with it all. Journalist Neil Irwin, an economics writer for The Washington Post, says there's an elite group of policymakers who can make enormously important decisions on their own, often deliberating in secret, and in many ways unaccountable to voters.
In what would seem to be a contradiction, a respected study says that the quality of service provided by U.S. airlines remained near an all-time high last year even as passengers' complaints soared 22 percent.
This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. Coming up, we'll hear the latest installment in our tweet poetry series, Muses and Metaphor, but first, we'd like to talk about an effort to add some flavor to the top ranks of restaurant kitchens in America's spiciest city.
Airbus is breaking ground on its new aircraft assembly plant in Mobile.
Top executives will be in the port city Monday for a ceremony to mark the start of construction on the Airbus plant at Brookley Aeroplex.
The $600 million factory is expected to employ 1,000 people once production of the Airbus A320 jet begins around 2015.
The state's first major Airbus supplier, Safran Engineering Services, is opening its new office in Mobile on Monday. The company plans to employ as many as 50 people at an engineering support facility.
Target has apologized for a poor choice of words. Susan Clemens was looking at a gray dress on the company's website, when she noticed how the color was described. Regular sizes were dark heather gray. Plus sizes - in the exact, same color - became manatee gray.
Manatees are walrus-like animals. They're also known as sea cows. Clemens tweeted her disgust, and it went viral. The company says from now on, they're just going to go with gray.
After a 15-month hiatus, the world's newest nation is pumping oil again. It's a key step toward mending relations with Sudan, its former civil war foe. And it's a crucial step if South Sudan is to avoid economic collapse.
Earlier this year, all 787 Dreamliners were grounded after overheating issues caused by its batteries led to electrical failures in two separate incidents. Boeing is analyzing flight data and submitting materials to the Federal Aviation Administration.
Car2Go vehicles lined up in Washington, D.C., as the company prepared to launch service there last year. The car sharing service is also in Europe and other American cities, including Seattle; Austin, Texas; Miami; and Portland, Ore.
Late last week, Amazon, which features reader reviews on its sales website, announced that it's buying Goodreads, a hugely popular reader review site. Now, the announcement jarred a lot of Goodreads fans and upset lots of reader-reviewers and authors too. Greg Bensinger has been covering the story for the Wall Street Journal. He joins us from KQED in San Francisco. Thanks so much for being with us.
GREG BENSINGER: My pleasure, hello.
SIMON: Why did Amazon want to inhale Goodreads so much?
Almost 5 million Americans are considered long-term unemployed, meaning they have been searching for work for at least six months.
This week, their plight is getting a bit tougher as the government cuts their unemployment benefits — part of the automatic reductions in federal spending that took effect recently.
On a recent day, about 40 people turned out at a Manhattan jobs center run by the New York Labor Department to get advice on looking for work. These are all people who have been out of work for at least 27 weeks.
California's economy is a study in contrasts. The state's unemployment rate — 9.8 percent — is tied with Rhode Island for the highest in the country. Parts of the state are still suffering mightily from the housing collapse. But there are also large pockets of job growth and revival.
It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Audie Cornish.
ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:
And I'm Robert Siegel.
At first blush, it might seem like good news from the Labor Department this morning: The unemployment rate that has been dropping in recent months fell again. It fell to 7.6 percent in March. But job growth was much weaker than expected. And the main reason that the rate went down is that a large number of people decided to leave the workforce. NPR's Yuki Noguchi joins us now. Hi, Yuki.