Business & Education

Business & education news

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The U.S. economy added just 38,000 jobs in May, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in its monthly report — far fewer than the 160,000 that economists had anticipated.

NPR business editor Marilyn Geewax called the number "shockingly low."

The unemployment rate declined by 0.3 percentage points, the Bureau says, to 4.7 percent — but that can be attributed to people dropping out of the workforce, Marilyn says.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

One of my fondest childhood memories is of eating tomatoes. We picked them in the garden and ate them in sandwiches, sitting on a picnic table under the trees outside our house. That juicy, acidic taste is forever lodged in the pleasure centers of my brain.

For anyone with similar memories, supermarket tomatoes are bound to disappoint. Indeed, the classic supermarket tomato — hard, tasteless, sometimes mealy — has inspired countless bitter complaints.

Take a closer look at the tomato display in your local grocery store, though, and you'll notice some big changes.

The federal government is moving to ban virtually all sales of items containing African elephant ivory within the U.S. For a long time it's been illegal to import elephant ivory. This new rule extends the ban to cover ivory that's already here.

In an old brick mill building in Skowhegan, Maine, production line workers are cutting, stitching and gluing New Balance sneakers. The company calls them lifestyle shoes, better known for their looks than their athletic performance.

Maurice "Hank" Greenberg, who built AIG into an insurance-industry powerhouse only to be forced out under pressure from regulators, must stand trial for accounting fraud, New York's highest court has ruled.

The New York Court of Appeals ruled that state officials can try to recover millions of dollars in bonuses and interest from Greenberg, 91, and his co-defendant, Howard Smith, 71, former AIG chief financial officer.

A new congressional report shows that at least four automakers are still equipping vehicles with the type of Takata air bags that have been responsible for fatalities and injuries worldwide.

For years, Heartland Regional Medical Center, a nonprofit hospital in the small city of St. Joseph, Mo., had quietly sued thousands of its low-income patients over their unpaid bills.

But after an investigation by NPR and ProPublica prompted further scrutiny by Sen. Charles Grassley, the hospital overhauled its financial assistance policy late last year and forgave the debts of thousands of former patients.

At the White Rose Diner in Linden, N.J., owner Rich Belfer tosses a dozen round, thick slices of processed pork to sizzle on the grill. To Belfer, it's beyond dispute that those are slices of Taylor Ham.

"It's pork, it's spices, it's salt, it's water. It's common ingredients," Belfer says.

But the flavor is more difficult to explain. "I don't know if anybody can really describe it," he says. "It has a little smoky flavor. It has a little spice. It has a little original Jersey flavor in it."

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on Thursday is proposing new regulations to protect consumers from predatory lending practices that the CFPB's top regulator calls "debt traps."

Americans are being "set up to fail" by payday and auto-title lenders, Richard Cordray, the director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, tells NPR.

"The way these products are structured, it's very difficult to repay the loan, and therefore people end up borrowing again and again and paying far more in fees and interest than they borrowed in the first place," Cordray says.

Citing her company's problems, Forbes says it has sharply revised its estimate of the net worth of Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes. One year after Holmes topped the magazine's list of the wealthiest self-made women with a worth of $4.5 billion, Forbes now values her fortune at "nothing."

In January 2009, as the U.S. economy was freezing up, employers were cutting roughly 800,000 jobs that month.

President Obama had just taken office and a few weeks later, he headed to Elkhart, Ind., where the unemployment rate was surging to 19 percent.

The key problem: Most jobs there were tied to the production of recreational vehicles. In the depths of the Great Recession, few Americans were buying expensive RVs.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

The Food and Drug Administration is leaning on the food industry to cut back on the amount of sodium added to processed and prepared foods.

The FDA on Wednesday released a draft of new sodium-reduction targets for dozens of categories of foods — from bakery goods to soups.

Raise A Glass To Perry, Craft Cider's Pear Cousin

Jun 1, 2016

It was a cool morning in the spring of 2004 when Charles McGonegal, owner of AEppeltreow Winery in Burlington, Wis., bit into his first "perry" pear. Crunching into the tough, tannin-suffused fruit, he was smacked with such astringency that he instantly spit it out, letting the juice dribble down his chin. "Later that day, my lips were peeling and my throat was sore," he recalls. "There's a reason why medieval folks thought perry pears were poisonous — they're full of acids and tannins. They are not for eating.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Lorenzo Mendoza greets and kisses worker at his shuttered brewery in Caracas, Venezuela. He's trying to boost morale.

Mendoza is the chief executive of Venezuelan food giant Empresas Polar, which was founded in 1941 and is now the largest private company in this socialist country.

But Polar has come upon tough times. Many of its processing plants are running at half-speed, and thousands of employees have been furloughed since April, when all four of the company's breweries were shut down by a barley shortage.

On the corner of the busiest intersection in Omaha, Neb., there's a square cement building, wrapped on two sides with a flashing LED billboard promoting the high-tech equipment and classes inside.

"I thought it was a 3-D printer sales place," says Frank Fu, a high school student.

Earlier this year, Fu stumbled upon Do Space, a technology library providing free access to powerful PCs loaded with software used by businesses and artists. There are 3-D printers and laser cutters.

Copyright 2016 KCUR-FM. To see more, visit KCUR-FM.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

In 2007, Rick Kinder was working for a contractor, building a house in southern Colorado. The workers had just finished putting in all the doors, windows and sealing the house. Kinder and a colleague were working in the crawlspace, hanging insulation.

"And we just heard this big roar and then a big boom, and it threw us against the walls, and it just blew the whole top of the roof off," Kinder says.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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