economy

President Obama visited Alabama to talk about economics. The Commander-in-chief arrived in Birmingham aboard Air Force One for a speech at Lawson State Community College.

The President told the crowd what’s good for the middle class is good for America. The White House is criticizing a budget plan in congress which includes tax breaks for the wealthy.

Mr. Obama also targeted Pay Day Loan operations which charge high interest rates…

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A new study of Alabama's agricultural and forestry industries says they contribute more than $70 billion annually to Alabama's economy and account for 22 percent of the state's workforce.

The Alabama Agribusiness Council and other groups joined Gov. Robert Bentley in releasing the study Tuesday.

Bentley said the last similar study was done in 1989, and the new study by Auburn University shows how important agriculture and forestry are to Alabama's economy.

President Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney have been trading attacks over the issue of American jobs being moved overseas.

The president has pounded Romney for the investments made by his former firm Bain Capital in the 1990s. Not to be outdone, the Romney campaign has suggested most of the money from the president's stimulus program went to create jobs overseas.

Alabama Jobless Rate Up to 7.8 percent in June

Jul 20, 2012

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama's unemployment rate rose to 7.8 percent in June, an increase that state officials are calling seasonal.

The Alabama Department of Industrial Relations released the state's jobless rate on Friday. It was up four-tenths of a percent from May's unemployment rate of 7.4 percent, but it's still well below the jobless rate from a year ago.

For Stockton, Calif., Bankruptcy 'Freezes Everything'

Jul 20, 2012

Many cities around the country are faced with growing costs and shrinking revenue. Despite making sweeping cuts, Stockton, California recently became the largest city to file for bankruptcy. Host Michel Martin talks with Stockton Mayor Ann Johnston about how she's managing a city that's operating in the red.

Six Policies Economists Love (And Politicians Hate)

Jul 19, 2012

Tuesday's show presented the common-sense, no-nonsense Planet Money economic plan — backed by economists of all stripes, but probably toxic to any candidate that might endorse it.

You can still listen to the show, but we've had some requests for a post with our six-step plan spelled out in brief.

So here they are, along with a few words about each of the economists who helped craft it:

A First As A Public Company, Microsoft Reports Quarterly Loss

Jul 19, 2012

Microsoft made a $6.2 billion accounting adjustment this quarter that threw it into negative territory for the first time as a public company, the AP reports.

Microsoft took the charge mostly based on the acquisition of aQuantive, an online advertising company Microsoft acquired in 2007.

As MSNBC reports, the "charge was an acknowledgement that the company's struggling online services division — which lost about half a billion dollars in the previous quarter — is a significant financial drag on the company." Microsoft, remember, is the owner of the search engine Bing.

On Wednesday, investors paid Germany to hold on to their money for a couple years.

That's right: Germany got to borrow more than 4 billion euros (about $5 billion), and instead of Germany paying interest to its lenders, the lenders are paying Germany. This a lot like Citibank paying you a smidgen to carry a balance on your credit card or to take out a loan (without also charging you interest).

There was a 34,000-increase in the number of Americans filing first-time claims for jobless benefits last week, the Employment and Training Administration reports.

It says 386,000 people filed claims, up from 352,000 the week before. "The 4-week moving average was 375,500, a decrease of 1,500 from the previous week's revised average of 377,000."

How A Bloated Wall Street Can Hurt Growth

Jul 16, 2012

We all know an out-of-control financial sector can cause acute and long-lasting problems, thanks to the recent financial crisis. But is there also a more chronic drag on the economy when the finance crowd gets too thick?

One recent paper (PDF) suggests so, and tries to quantify just how much a bloated financial sector can hurt economic growth.

William Greider is a national affairs correspondent for The Nation.

Number of Alabamians on food stamps growing again

Jul 9, 2012
ajmexico / Flickr

Nearly one in five Alabama residents is getting food stamps, and the number is growing again after declining for a few months.

The number of Alabamians on food stamps peaked at 916,000 in December and then began declining slightly each month. It reached a low of 902,000 people in April.

Then, in May, the number rose to nearly 907,000 people on food stamps. That's the equivalent of 19 percent of Alabama's residents.

The increase coincided with Alabama's unemployment rate going up in May after declining for several months.

New Republic: The Exile Of John Maynard Keynes

Jul 9, 2012

Robert Skidelsky is John Maynard Keynes's biographer and a member of the British House of Lords.

What ever happened to the TED spread?

Jul 9, 2012

Over the last week or so, we've been watching the scandal over manipulation of LIBOR, perhaps the single most important global interest rate: See Robert Smith's piece on Morning Edition, and Tuesday's podcast.

Raising Minimum Wage: A Help Or Harm?

Jul 8, 2012

Back in 1912, Massachusetts became the first place in America to introduce a minimum wage, but it would take another quarter century before a national minimum wage was set.

President Franklin Roosevelt made it law in 1938, that any hourly worker had to be paid at least 25 cents an hour. It was revolutionary, and very few countries had anything like it.

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