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The Indicator from Planet Money

NPR

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A little show about big ideas. From the people who make Planet Money, The Indicator helps you make sense of what's happening today. It's a quick hit of insight into work, business, the economy, and everything else. Listen weekday afternoons.

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The Measure Of A Tragedy

9:39 | Jun 19th, 2018

Venezuela's economy has collapsed, and the normal economic indicators have gotten so bad they're almost unfathomable. So one economist created an indicator to capture the awful human cost.

Donald Trump's Economic Strategy... Maybe?

9:57 | Aug 17th, 2018

Wall Street Journal Chief Economics Commentator Greg Ip explains President Donald Trump's emerging economic strategy.

Saving Women

9:09 | Jul 17th, 2018

Women invest far less of their paychecks than men do. Sallie Krawcheck spent her career on Wall Street and she says this is a problem we need to solve.

The Art Of The Trade War

9:50 | Jun 18th, 2018

The U.S. and China are on track for a trade war. Economists generally say that's a bad idea... but if the U.S. wants to get tough on China, what are some alternatives?

Money For Moms

9:31 | May 30th, 2018

After six years of preparation, an ambitious new experiment will study the effects of income on the development of infant brains.

Failing College

9:19 | May 10th, 2018

Colleges are seeing fewer and fewer students apply every year. To try and stay solvent and attract students, they're trying all kinds of things, from lazy rivers to M&A.

Morbidity, Peak Child, And Collective Pessimism

8:18 | Apr 5th, 2018

Five interesting facts about our world that you probably didn't know.

Sticker Shock: The State Of The American Car Industry

0:00 | Mar 5th, 2018

The average American car is now more expensive than it's ever been. And guess what? Sales of new cars are falling.

The Cost of Life in America

7:57 | Mar 1st, 2018

Over the past two decades, prices on average have increased. But certain things have gotten cheaper while others have gotten more expensive, and which is which can tell us a lot.

R.I.P. Jack Bogle, Democratizer Of Investing

9:53 | Jan 17th

John Clifton "Jack" Bogle, founder of the Vanguard Group, passed away yesterday at the age of 89. Today we look back at his life and career.

The Extremely Cautious Case For Extremely Mild Optimism

9:56 | Jan 16th

Interest rates are higher, global growth is slowing, and the government is at an impasse. But there are also reasons for near-term optimism about the U.S. economy.

Working Women: Why The U.S. Is Behind

9:46 | Jan 15th

When it came to the female labor force participation rate, America used to lead the world. But we've fallen behind. Today on the show: what happened?

10,000 Economists Walk Into A Bar

9:45 | Jan 14th

Which economic indicators do we pay too much attention to? Not enough? It's Overrated/Underrated: Economic Indicator edition

Shutdown Economics

9:57 | Jan 11th

The U.S. partial government shutdown is on track to be the longest in history. Whatever its political consequences, the economic costs to the private sector will increase the longer it lasts.

U.S.-China Trade: Where Are We Now?

9:46 | Jan 10th

Today on The Indicator: an update on the trade spat between China and the U.S.

Are We Ready For A Recession?

9:59 | Jan 9th

Some signals on the economic dashboard are warning we could be heading for a downturn within a couple of years. Are we ready to fight off a recession?

Don't Fear The Fear Index

9:45 | Jan 8th

2018 was one of the most volatile stock market years on record. And the market continues volatile today. But that's not necessarily a bad thing.

Jobs, Inflation And The Phillips Curve

9:54 | Jan 7th

The Fed chair and his two predecessors speak at a big conference about Friday's stellar jobs report, and why, despite what the Phillips Curve might predict, they're not too worried about inflation

Economists On Screen, Episode 4: Stockholm

10:00 | Jan 4th

The miniseries Stockholm tells the story of a group of friends, one of whom is a frontrunner for the Nobel Prize in economics. But there's a problem: he's dead.

Economists On Screen, Episode 3: Aaron Sorkin

9:59 | Jan 3rd

Aaron Sorkin is one of the few screenwriters who's not afraid of economics. He tried explaining the benefits of free trade in The West Wing, and took a stab at the Glass-Steagall Act in The Newsroom.

Economists On Screen, Episode 2: Jack Ryan, CIA Economist

9:49 | Jan 2nd

In Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan, the lead character is an economist in the CIA, tracking down terrorists by following their money.

Economists On Screen, Episode 1: Crazy Rich Asians

9:53 | Dec 31st, 2018

Explaining the game theory in the plot of the movie Crazy Rich Asians.

Indicators Of The Year: #MeToo

9:15 | Dec 28th, 2018

The #MeToo movement transformed the experience of women in the workplace. The strong job market helped some women feel secure enough to come forward... but for others, it still doesn't feel safe to speak up.

Indicators Of The Year: Opioids

9:54 | Dec 27th, 2018

The opioid problem has reached into all parts of American life, including the workplace. But the workplace could be key in addressing the problem.

Indicators Of The Year: Housing

9:59 | Dec 26th, 2018

2018 was a rough year for the housing market. We take a look at what happened.

Indicators Of The Year: Immigration

9:17 | Dec 24th, 2018

Applications for H-1B work visas fell 16 percent in 2018 from 2017. Does that mean the U.S. could lose its edge in attracting global talent?

Friends Of The Indicator, Pt 2

9:57 | Dec 21st, 2018

Our pals Josh Barro of New York Magazine and Jennifer Doleac from Texas A&M tell us what they're keeping an eye on in 2019.

Friends Of The Indicator, Pt 1

9:55 | Dec 20th, 2018

What are the best indicators for 2019? Some of our best friends tell us what they'll be watching.

You've Got Mail!

9:59 | Dec 19th, 2018

Depression severity, Australia's housing market and the minimum wage. You asked: here are some answers.

The Crypto Crash

9:03 | Dec 18th, 2018

Cryptocurrency had a rough 2018. The big cryptos lost about 80% of their value. So what happened? Is crypto poised for a comeback or are we talking tulips?

Lowlights Of The Year

9:29 | Dec 17th, 2018

We commemorate some of the darkest and funniest business and economic blackspots of the year.

Economics Of A Border Wall

9:28 | Dec 14th, 2018

President Donald Trump has made building a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico one of his signature issues. Today, the Indicator looks at the economics of a border wall.

Why Are There So Many Mattress Stores?

9:57 | Dec 13th, 2018

There are so many mattress stores in the America, and they always seem to be empty. So how can they afford the real estate? And how do they stay in business?

Economic Insecurity

7:59 | Dec 12th, 2018

The U.S. economy looks in fine shape — for now — but even a lot of Americans with jobs still struggle financially. Here are three Indicators to monitor economic insecurity in the U.S.

Citi Bike's Better Angels

9:47 | Dec 11th, 2018

How one bike-sharing company used behavioral economics to solve one of its most vexing problems.

Unto The Brexit

9:41 | Dec 10th, 2018

UK Prime Minister Theresa May's plan to exit the European Union has hit a wall. What happens now?

More Jobs, Less Pay

9:41 | Dec 7th, 2018

In honor of jobs day, we look at the jobs that used to be high-paying, that are now low-paying. What happened to these jobs? And what can it tell us about the U.S. economy?

The Fed's Mistake?

9:39 | Dec 6th, 2018

For years after the Great Recession, the Federal Reserve kept short term interest rates near zero percent. It began raising rates in 2015 — but did it jump the gun.

Paris Is Burning

9:43 | Dec 5th, 2018

What the yellow vest protests in Paris tell us about economic reform in France and the parallels with politics in the U.S.

Behind The Curve

9:54 | Dec 4th, 2018

When the yield curve inverts, people worry that it's a sign we're headed for recession. But its predictive reliability also depends on the way it inverts.

Trade War And Peace

9:40 | Dec 3rd, 2018

China and the U.S. have been locked in a trade war for most of 2018, but peace may be on the horizon.... at least a partial peace.

The Voyages Of The Starship Indicator

9:40 | Nov 30th, 2018

NASA has been taking a more hands-off approach to extra-planetary exploration. What will that mean for the economics of space?

Space Economics

9:58 | Nov 29th, 2018

From moon missions and space shuttles to public-private partnerships.

Do Sanctions Work?

9:22 | Nov 28th, 2018

Sanctions have become an increasingly common foreign policy tool for the U.S. How effective are they?

College Side Hustle

9:47 | Nov 27th, 2018

Colleges and universities are finding creative ways to make money.

Bonds, Rating Agencies And Chocolate

8:56 | Nov 26th, 2018

Marilyn Cohen talks bonds, rating agencies and the yield curve, in overrated, underrated.

See Stocks Run

9:58 | Nov 23rd, 2018

The stock market has been on a wild ride lately. Today, the Indicator looks at what's going on and whether we should worry for the economy.

The Price Of Your Turkey Dinner

9:02 | Nov 21st, 2018

We talk turkey with the American Farm Bureau about changes in the price of Thanksgiving Dinner.

The Ins & Outs Of The Minimum Wage

9:55 | Nov 20th, 2018

The minimum wage is a contentious issue. Some claim it's a job killer. But what does the research show?

Recession Indicators, Pt 2

8:05 | Nov 19th, 2018

Wondering whether we're poised to tip into a recession? The jobs market may point the way.

Recession Indicators, Pt 1

9:49 | Nov 16th, 2018

Are we heading into a recession? The Conference Board's Leading Indicator has ten ways to tell.

The Lucky Country

9:22 | Nov 15th, 2018

Australia hasn't had a recession in 27 years. Good policy? Or just good luck?

Oil Up, Oil Down

8:25 | Nov 14th, 2018

The decline in the oil price since the end of October has been stunning in its depth and speed, and follows more than a year of climbing. What changed?

The Problem With The Pink Tax

9:58 | Nov 13th, 2018

Women pay more than men for many consumer products. Today on the show: Why some economists still think that's a good thing.

Recession Suppression Needs Policy Aggression

9:59 | Nov 12th, 2018

The next global economic downturn could be even harder to reverse than the last one.

The 401(k) Turns 40

9:41 | Nov 9th, 2018

The 401(k) retirement plan turned 40 this week! Today on the show, we chronicle the rise of the 401(k), the fall of the pension, and talk to the man who started it all.

All Aboard The Bankmobile!

9:09 | Nov 8th, 2018

How one bank gave a whole new meaning to the term "mobile banking"

Your Lifetime Value Score

9:13 | Nov 7th, 2018

You may not know it, but companies are silently scoring you... and using that score to figure out how to treat you.

Stacey And Cardiff Answer To The People

9:53 | Nov 6th, 2018

We answer questions from our listeners and issue a couple of mea culpas.

Ode On A Grecian Tax

9:43 | Nov 5th, 2018

Taxes get a bad reputation, but they were central to the formation of representative government, says financial historian William N. Goetzmann.

How Companies Cope (With A Tight Labor Market)

9:40 | Nov 2nd, 2018

Wage growth has (finally) been accelerating, but what else are companies doing to bid for workers?

Why Ecuador Uses The Dollar?

9:53 | Nov 1st, 2018

One of our youngest listeners asked us why Ecuador changed its currency to U.S. dollars, so we found out!

Paranormal Profits

9:25 | Oct 31st, 2018

Horror movies are good business. Scary good. They are more likely to be profitable than any other kind of movie. Today on the show, we look at why.

The Best Day For Payday

9:01 | Oct 30th, 2018

Weekly, biweekly, or every month — which payday makes the most sense?

Judgement Bonds

10:00 | Oct 29th, 2018

Municipalities are increasingly going to the bond market to pay their court settlement costs.

Lotteries And Happiness

9:54 | Oct 26th, 2018

We assume that winning the lottery will make us happier. In some ways it does, in others — not so much.

Difficulty With The Deficit

9:59 | Oct 25th, 2018

The deficit normally shrinks when the economy is strengthening, but not now.

The Rise of the Machines

9:59 | Oct 24th, 2018

In just six years, robots could achieve parity with humans in the workplace, with machines working the same number of hours as people.

Of Wages And Warehouses

9:29 | Oct 23rd, 2018

Warehouse jobs are growing even faster than the rest of the booming labor market. Are they good jobs?

Short Shrift For Short Sellers

9:11 | Oct 22nd, 2018

Short sellers get a bad rap. Sometimes with good reason. But overall, they're an inevitable and useful part of a healthy financial system.

Tears For Sears

9:58 | Oct 19th, 2018

A storied American retailer has filed for bankruptcy.

Beating Bollywood

9:56 | Oct 18th, 2018

Amazon and Netflix are trying to take on India. But, so far a Hollywood ending, south-Asian style, has eluded them.

Gross Dank Product

6:13 | Oct 17th, 2018

Just because marijuana is now legal in Canada doesn't mean the market for it is easily quantifiable.

A Snapshot Of Poverty In America

9:09 | Oct 16th, 2018

The Supplemental Poverty Report provides a more accurate and nuanced picture of poverty in America.

Overrated/Underrated: Nobel Prizes, Conversations, And Our Descendants

9:52 | Oct 15th, 2018

Tyler Cowen rates Nobel prizes, blogs, and the importance of weirdness in conversation

The Economics of Apologies

9:39 | Oct 12th, 2018

Turns out nothing says 'I'm sorry' like cold, hard cash

China's Brave New World

9:48 | Oct 11th, 2018

China is piloting a so-called social credit system, which allots every citizen a certain number of points. If you do the "right thing" you can extra points. If you do the wrong thing, you can lose points and life can get very difficult.

Life On China's Blacklist

10:01 | Oct 10th, 2018

In China, if you don't pay back your loans, you could end up on a blacklist. When you're on it, you can't get a credit card or a plane ticket. Today on the show, we talk with someone on the blacklist.

China's Social Credit System

9:51 | Oct 9th, 2018

China has a problem: it's economy grew fast and that led to a trust problem. If someone doesn't pay back a loan, there's no real enforcement. But the solution might cause problems of its own.

The Iron Lotus

8:57 | Oct 8th, 2018

The reverse stock split is the Iron Lotus of the financial world. It looks complicated and absurd, and it often doesn't end well.

Who's Hiring?

7:29 | Oct 5th, 2018

Today on the Indicator: stolen jobs-day trends ... from our clever jobs-day friends!

What Comes Afta NAFTA

9:44 | Oct 4th, 2018

The US-Mexico-Canada trade agreement keeps in place the basic NAFTA framework, with a few twists.

What Happened To GE?

10:00 | Oct 3rd, 2018

General Electric used to be a household name — a pillar of the U.S. economy. Now, it's fighting to survive.

Zeitgeist-y Bubbles

9:49 | Oct 2nd, 2018

How financial bubbles reflect the particular psychology of the times in which they inflate.

D.C.'s Billion-Dollar Lawsuit

8:59 | Oct 1st, 2018

Washington, D.C. is being sued for a billion dollars... for gentrification.

The Case Of The Pricey Frito

9:28 | Sep 28th, 2018

Corn prices are falling, but the price of Fritos in the White House press corps break room is up by 20%. What's going on? Team Indicator is on the case!

Baby Got Buybacks

8:15 | Sep 27th, 2018

Companies are buying back stock from shareholders more than ever. Not everyone thinks that's a good thing.

Tariffs And Tourists And Trade Wars, Oh My!

9:56 | Sep 26th, 2018

The U.S. trade war with China escalated this week. The Trump administration might be underestimating how many options the Chinese government has for responding to American tariffs.

Less Risky Business

9:49 | Sep 25th, 2018

The psychological scars wrought by the 2008 financial crisis are taking a long time to heal. We're a lot more cautious, which has serious implications for the economy.

Saudi Arabia & The Paradox of Plenty

9:22 | Sep 24th, 2018

This week in history: Saudi Arabian oil and the creation of Aramco.

Rent!

8:49 | Sep 21st, 2018

Rents in America are leveling off. At last!

The Young And The Restless

8:26 | Sep 20th, 2018

Why boom and bust is part and parcel of the emerging economic experience.

The Psychological Effects Of The Financial Crisis, Lingering

8:40 | Sep 19th, 2018

We hear a lot about the effects of the financial crisis on the economy and markets, but what about the lasting effects it had on our psyches?

Work Work Work

7:12 | Sep 18th, 2018

The availability of work — the availability of jobs for people who want a job and even for people who didn't know they want a job — continues expanding.

Down Clown

9:31 | Sep 17th, 2018

Clowns and clowning have been suffering from a chronic branding crisis for decades. Can they fix it?

Handle With Care

9:56 | Sep 14th, 2018

In the midst of a deepening economic crisis, a reporter's dilemma.

The Price Of Rice In Japan

9:32 | Sep 13th, 2018

Demand for Japanese-grown rice is falling. But prices are still going up.

Free Tuition; False Economy?

9:41 | Sep 12th, 2018

Why free tuition may make for better politics than economics.

The Liars Of Romance

9:49 | Sep 11th, 2018

People lie when they're looking for a mate online. Today on the Indicator: the lies we tell online, and how often we tell them.

Call The Midwife Back

9:12 | Sep 10th, 2018

For more than three decades, it was illegal in Alabama to have your baby delivered by a midwife. But last year the state finally legalized midwifery and now it could lead to serious cost savings.

Your Jobs Questions, Answered

9:34 | Sep 7th, 2018

Martha Gimbel of the Hiring Lab at Indeed answers listener questions about the job market.

Why Aren't We More Productive?

9:52 | Sep 6th, 2018

Computing and the internet should make us more productive. Or should they?! It's an Indicator mystery.

NAFTA-splainer

9:56 | Sep 5th, 2018

Cardiff gets the lowdown on NAFTA from Soumaya Keynes of The Economist

Making The Case For Removing Tariffs

9:52 | Sep 4th, 2018

The next round of trade barriers with China could include a 25 percent levy on Chinese antiquities. One dealer went to Washington to tell Congress why that tariff could hurt our allies and ourselves.

The Original Bailout

10:00 | Aug 31st, 2018

In 1907, America's financial system ran into trouble. Trust in financial institutions evaporated, and contagion swept through the economy. Then John Pierpont Morgan stepped in.

Aging Up

9:58 | Aug 30th, 2018

Most people think the best time to start a business is when you're young, but is it?

Mind the Pay Gap

8:22 | Aug 29th, 2018

Why do men still make 20 percent more than women in the U.S.?

Hurricane Joseph & The Calculator That Time Forgot

8:33 | Aug 28th, 2018

Creative destruction is a fact of economic life that few products can resist. Graphing calculators are a notable exception.

The Measure Of A Tragedy

9:57 | Aug 27th, 2018

The Venezuelan economy has collapsed. Years of economic mismanagement and a deepening political crisis have led to a recession. Yet there's one indicator that can capture this economic catastrophe.

The Art of War. It's Not For Everyone

8:55 | Aug 24th, 2018

"The Art of War" by Chinese philosopher Sun Tzu, is one of corporate America's favorite books. But John McWhorter, a linguistics professor at Columbia, isn't convinced about its utility.

Beyond GDP

9:49 | Aug 23rd, 2018

GDP has been a great indicator, but it may no longer be enough.

The Underrated Economists

9:46 | Aug 22nd, 2018

Today's summer economics read is "What Would the Great Economists Do?" by Linda Yueh, who is a great economist herself.

Why People Can't Get Work Done At Work

9:53 | Aug 21st, 2018

Today's summer book recommendation offers a different approach to the modern workplace.

The Indicator Goes To The Beach With Tim Harford

9:51 | Aug 20th, 2018

In honor of the last stretch of summer, The Indicator has selected some economic beach reads! Books that will teach you something about economics and also pair well with a pina colada.

We Buy A Cryptokitty!

9:59 | Aug 16th, 2018

Today on The Indicator: Cardiff and Stacey go deep into the world of the blockchain... to buy a cartoon cat.

From Prison To The Workforce

10:16 | Aug 14th, 2018

People who've been to prison find it hard to get work once they're free. One solution to the problem may be a simple certificate.

Messy Desks, Light Bulbs & Dune

9:35 | Aug 13th, 2018

Tim Harford is the author of 'Fifty Inventions that Shaped the Modern Economy." We play overrated/underrated, and asked him about inventions, as well as messy desks.

Privacy Please: Why Public Companies Go Private (Or Vice Versa)

9:26 | Aug 10th, 2018

Today on the Indicator: why companies decide to be publicly-traded or privately-owned. It's all about control. And money.

The OG Yield Curve Whisperer

9:54 | Aug 9th, 2018

A conversation with Campbell Harvey, whose 1986 thesis first explained how the yield curve could predict the direction of the economy.

Trickle-down Economics: Pricing H2O

9:06 | Aug 8th, 2018

What's the best way to price water in a drought, to ensure people get what they need without breaking the bank?

Sanctions, Iran, And The Battle Over SWIFT

8:46 | Aug 7th, 2018

Today on the Indicator: How a small Belgian company wields enormous influence in global finance and diplomacy.

Tariffs, Now With Extra Cheese

9:59 | Aug 6th, 2018

The U.S. has been renegotiating trade deals and putting tariffs on different goods. Meanwhile, other countries are re-negotiating their trade agreements and some deals are leaving U.S. producers out.

Beating The Clock On Jobs (Summer) Friday

7:27 | Aug 3rd, 2018

Five indicators in five minutes — Let's gooooooooo!

Grey Poupon And The Cultural Divide

9:41 | Aug 2nd, 2018

Income inequality in the U.S. has been climbing for a while. Has it also been accompanied by a widening cultural gap between rich and poor?

What A Tariff Looks Like

10:05 | Aug 1st, 2018

What happens when a new tariff gets put in place? To really see the action, you have to go to Newark, New Jersey.

What's In Your Paycheck?

10:51 | Jul 31st, 2018

The pace of wage growth is one of the best indicators of economic health. But it can be measured with different methods. Each method tells a slightly different story about how the economy is doing.

Putin Vs. Russia's Economy

8:07 | Jul 30th, 2018

Russia has had a huge presence in the news lately. But its economy... not so huge. It's smaller than the economy of Texas. Today on the show, we look at what's been holding it back.

GDP, OMG!

9:54 | Jul 27th, 2018

The GDP got all sorts of attention today. The U.S. economy grew at a stellar rate of 4.1% in the second quarter. But what does that mean? And will it continue?

When Oracles Err

10:09 | Jul 26th, 2018

Warren Buffett, Mark Twain, and John Maynard Keynes all made enormous investment mistakes at some point in their lives. On today's show, those stories — and the lessons we can all take from them.

The Diamond-Water Paradox

9:29 | Jul 25th, 2018

The Diamond-Water Paradox poses the question: If we need water to survive and we don't need diamonds, why are diamonds expensive and water cheap?

Trump Vs. The Fed, Or Trump Vs... Trump?

9:46 | Jul 24th, 2018

President Trump broke with tradition by lamenting that rising rates are keeping the dollar strong and the trade deficit wide. But rising rates and a stronger dollar are the results of his own agenda.

Google's Mobile Monopoly

8:58 | Jul 23rd, 2018

The European Commission just slapped Google with a $5 billion fine for abusing its Android monopoly. How did it create the alleged monopoly? By making Android free.

The Market For Air

9:50 | Jul 20th, 2018

How something that's all around us came to be worth millions of dollars.

Three Indicators To Keep A (Side)eye On

8:07 | Jul 19th, 2018

Three worrying indicators to keep an eye on — less complicated than the yield curve, but something you can talk about at the water cooler.

Trade Wars And The Batman Problem

10:13 | Jul 18th, 2018

It may be too late to avoid a trade war between the U.S. and China, but there might be a simple way to stop the trade wars of the future.

Japan's Ninja Shortage

9:39 | Jul 16th, 2018

Japan's population is shrinking. It's harder and harder to find qualified people to fill a lot of jobs. Including ninjas.

We Hear You

9:51 | Jul 13th, 2018

We respond to your letters, tweets and messages: We talk Iran, yield curve and how to pronounce Hyundai.

The Last Straw

10:24 | Jul 12th, 2018

Starbucks, Ikea, Vancouver, Scotland: They've all banned plastic straws. The movement is meant to help reduce plastic waste in the ocean. But will it work, or will it backfire?

Fed Accounts For All!

9:25 | Jul 11th, 2018

Banks and other financial institutions have their own banking accounts at the Federal Reserve. Morgan Ricks argues that regular folks should have access to Fed accounts, too.

The Price of A Hyundai in Iran

8:58 | Jul 10th, 2018

President Trump recently announced strict economic sanctions in Iran. Today on the show, we talked to a young Iranian man about what it's like to live in the Iranian economy right now.

The Recession Predictor, Still Predictive?

8:46 | Jul 9th, 2018

Every time the yield curve has inverted since 1970, the economy has fallen into recession. It's getting close to inverting now, but it may no longer be the recession predictor it once was.

Jobs: 10 Questions in 10 Minutes

11:37 | Jul 6th, 2018

It's jobs Friday! For a comprehensive mid-year update on the labor market, we ask labor economist Betsey Stevenson ten questions in ten minutes.

The Long French Goodbye

9:36 | Jul 5th, 2018

A quirk in French labor law makes it especially difficult for a company to lay off its employees. It's a system designed to protect workers, but it also has consequences for the rest of the economy.

Star Spangled Indicator

9:10 | Jul 3rd, 2018

Flags: symbol of a country, patriotic rallying cry, and a telling economic indicator. Today on the show, a factory in China that makes American flags, and what it tells us about the modern economy.

The Problem With Unobservable Variables

9:55 | Jul 2nd, 2018

The unemployment rate is already below the Federal Reserve's estimate for maximum employment. But former Fed Governor Sarah Bloom Raskin says it may still have further to fall.

Dungeons & Dragons & Balance Sheets

9:36 | Jun 29th, 2018

Every year, the nation's biggest banks are subjected to stress tests, hypothetical disaster scenarios designed to test their balance sheets. But the stress tests could soon be getting less stressful.

Bubble, Bubble, Oil And Trouble

7:08 | Jun 28th, 2018

The price of oil continued climbing throughout this year, catching forecasters and consumers by surprise. What happened, and what might make it move in the second half of the year?

Happy Birthday, Smith v. Keynes

9:57 | Jun 27th, 2018

June marks the birthday of two of the most famous economists of all time: Adam Smith and John Maynard Keynes. Whose ideas are most relevant today? Stacey and Cardiff duke it out.

Sallie Krawcheck on #MeToo, Dodd Frank, & Cronuts

9:58 | Jun 26th, 2018

We play overrated/underrated with Sallie Krawcheck, Wall Street C-suite veteran and founder of Ellevest. She talks investing, women on Wall Street, and where to find the best BBQ.

The Beautiful Indicator

9:56 | Jun 25th, 2018

Team Indicator takes on the World Cup. We drink, we cheer, we watch the game and, of course, we bring our economic indicators.

MoviePass / Fail?

10:42 | Jun 22nd, 2018

If you pay MoviePass 10 dollars a month, you can go to the movies every day. Great for customers, but hard on a company's bottom line. Today on the show, what's the plan, MoviePass?

Teenage (Employment) Wasteland

10:48 | Jun 21st, 2018

The teen summer job is a vaunted tradition...one that is fading. Today's teenagers just aren't working as much as their forebears. And that could have serious implications for America's labor market.

The Plight Of The Living Dead

9:59 | Jun 20th, 2018

The Death Master File is a list kept by the government. It keeps track of everyone who has died. But what happens when you end up on the list while you're still alive?

Gettin' Giggy With It

9:58 | Jun 15th, 2018

Despite the proliferation of apps like Lyft, TaskRabbit, and Uber, a new government report found no growth in people primarily doing this kind of work. Here's how the "gig economy" is and isn't changing.

Trading Spaces

9:49 | Jun 14th, 2018

The New York Stock Exchange — that bastion of American capitalism — owes its existence to two dozen men, a buttonwood tree, and a coffee shop. Today on The Indicator: the history of Wall Street.

Dude, Where's My Trade War?

11:03 | Jun 13th, 2018

One way to think of President Trump's trade policy is as a sort of soap opera. Today, we catch you up on the latest dramatic twists and also answer a big, looming question: are we in a trade war?

CBO vs. POTUS

9:58 | Jun 12th, 2018

The Congressional Budget Office has a long history of disputes with the White House, including the current administration. But Alice Rivlin — the first-ever director of the CBO — says this time is different.

Let Them Eat Marshmallows

9:56 | Jun 11th, 2018

The marshmallow test is one of the most famous social experiments of all time, but we may be thinking about it all wrong.

Positively 23rd Street

9:49 | Jun 8th, 2018

Why is one of the busiest blocks in Manhattan littered with empty storefronts? And what does that say about the changing landscape of American retail?

When Retirement Advice Goes Viral

9:59 | Jun 7th, 2018

So how much should you have saved for retirement? We wanted to know, so we asked the guy who invented the 401k.

Social Insecurity

9:59 | Jun 6th, 2018

Social Security has traditionally paid for itself, with money leftover. Until this year. Social Security has a funding problem and it's getting bad quickly.

Do You Have $400?

7:08 | Jun 5th, 2018

The U.S. economy has been humming along in the last few years, but that momentum can mask the financial fragility of millions of people who are just one emergency away from financial disaster.

The Economics of Vaccines

8:42 | Jun 4th, 2018

Vaccines are expensive and time-consuming to develop and there's no guarantee the investment will ever pay off. This means promising vaccines often sit in laboratory freezers during major epidemics.

To Err Is Human, To Revise Divine

9:58 | Jun 1st, 2018

The monthly jobs report. Economists watch it, financial markets move on it, but it may not be as accurate as you'd think.

Internet a la Carte

10:51 | May 31st, 2018

A new study tries to put a dollar amount on free internet services... by looking at how much money it would take for people to give them up.

Banking's Regulation Rollback

9:15 | May 29th, 2018

Last week, Congress and President Trump passed a bill rolling back regulation put in place by the 2010 Dodd Frank banking reform bill. We look at what changed and what it means.

Earnings Calls Gone Wild

9:55 | May 25th, 2018

The earnings call is a peculiar Wall Street ritual, one that's almost designed to be boring. So when something interesting does happen it's news. Today, the lessons of those earnings calls gone rogue.

The Money Detectives

9:00 | May 24th, 2018

Recent news has cast a spotlight on a little-known regulatory agency quietly working behind the scenes of our economy. What is FinCEN and why is it so important?

Most Inane Deduction?

8:07 | May 23rd, 2018

The mortgage interest deduction is popular, but it has numerous distorting effects on the economy – and economists also say that it does exactly the opposite of what people think.

Women in Bondland

9:18 | May 22nd, 2018

Finance is notorious for being a boys club. Marilyn Cohen has worked in the bond market for 30 years. She talks about what it takes to succeed in her field and why there aren't more women.

Stacey And Cardiff Take On The Commencement Speech

9:32 | May 21st, 2018

Congrats, Class of 2018! Rather than listen to another meandering cliche-riddled commencement speech, let Stacey and Cardiff guide you through young-adult life with advice backed up by research.

Time Bandits

9:05 | May 18th, 2018

Timekeeping software is becoming the standard across the U.S. And it turns out, it can be used to steal workers' wages, a few minutes at a time.

SNAP Back To Reality

8:25 | May 17th, 2018

Congress may soon expand work requirements for people who receive benefits under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. But do these work requirements match the reality of work itself?

All Bets Are On

8:33 | May 16th, 2018

Thanks to a recent Supreme Court decision, legal sports betting may be coming to a city near you.

Rising Rates Vs. The Housing Market

8:13 | May 15th, 2018

Interest rates are on the rise for the first time in years. What that means for the housing market is far from obvious.

The Semiconductor Standoff

8:57 | May 14th, 2018

What one embattled smartphone-maker can tell us about China's plan to transform its economy

In Vino, Veritas by Numbers

9:31 | May 11th, 2018

Assigning a grade to a bottle of wine might seem counterintuitive, or even a little absurd, but wine scores have can have a big impact the people who sell wine — and the people who drink it.

Indicator and Beyond

9:18 | May 9th, 2018

It's the 100th Indicator! To celebrate, we look to the future... and to alternate futures. The Indicator takes a break from economics to tackle infinity.

The Good, The Bad and The Tax Cuts

8:21 | May 8th, 2018

The corporate tax cut passed in December was supposed to compel businesses to boost investment. Is it working, or are companies just passing the savings on to their owners?

The 'I' Of The LIBOR

9:53 | May 7th, 2018

The LIBOR interest rate was at the center of a huge international scandal back in 2012. Regulators believed it had to replaced. But is that even possible?

The Perks Of Counting The Wallflowers

9:19 | May 4th, 2018

It's jobs day! But the unemployment number might not be the most important thing to watch.

Baby Bubbles

8:31 | May 3rd, 2018

Housing markets are hot. But are they bubblicious?

Aging Up

9:51 | May 2nd, 2018

Most people think the best time to start a business is when you're young.

The Only Prescription Is More Transparency

9:33 | May 1st, 2018

Healthcare is expensive. Transparency in pricing might make it cheaper.

Inflation Target Acquired

8:28 | Apr 30th, 2018

The Federal Reserve has hit its inflation target. Now comes the hard part - staying at two percent.

The Homeless Count

9:04 | Apr 27th, 2018

The homeless population in Los Angeles County has been skyrocketing. A team from USC tried to figure out why.

California's Housing Conundrum

8:10 | Apr 26th, 2018

Almost everyone in California agrees that there's not enough housing in the state. But no one wants building in their backyard.

The Farm Labor Drought

9:31 | Apr 25th, 2018

Water isn't the only shortage California farmers are worried about. There's a labor drought, too.

When China's Ships Come In

8:31 | Apr 24th, 2018

A spat over tariffs is giving California ports pause.

The New Bond Villain

9:21 | Apr 20th, 2018

Concerns about the yield on the 10-year Treasury note going above three percent are overblown.

Amazon vs Trump Goes Postal

10:13 | Apr 19th, 2018

President Trump's objection to Amazon's deal with the Postal Service is based on dodgy data.

Lawn Chair Economics

8:56 | Apr 18th, 2018

China steals a lot of intellectual property from the U.S. The smartest thing for the U.S. to do in return might be ... nothing.

The Loan Ranger

9:14 | Apr 16th, 2018

Most people think you can't get rid of student loans in bankruptcy. Turns out most people are wrong.

Congress Does Not Compute

10:22 | Apr 13th, 2018

The percentage of congressional representatives with a background in computers: THREE

Unsung Indicators

7:07 | Apr 12th, 2018

Our show goes old school in this episode and brings you three under-appreciated economic indicators about things that affect us all.

Deficit Attention Disorder

9:03 | Apr 11th, 2018

The CBO projects the federal budget deficit could top 800 billion dollars this year... and reach a cool trillion by 2020. So ... what?

Tyler Cowen Rates America

7:49 | Apr 10th, 2018

Data, the humanities, and the suburbs: Tyler returns for another round of Overrated vs. Underrated

Mind The Pay Gap

8:24 | Apr 9th, 2018

Women still make less than men in the U.S. Exactly how much less is not necessarily a straightforward question.

Where The Jobs Are

8:17 | Apr 6th, 2018

Chinese tariffs could threaten more than 1.8 million American jobs.

Stop, Collaborate, And Listen

8:18 | Apr 4th, 2018

Cross-genre musical collaboration used be a small niche in the popular music scene. Today it's verging on domination.

The Original Bailout

9:53 | Apr 3rd, 2018

In 1907, America's financial system ran into trouble. Trust in financial institutions evaporated, and contagion swept through the economy. Then John Pierpont Morgan stepped in.

China, Tariffs, And The Hogs Of War

7:24 | Apr 2nd, 2018

The tariffs China just imposed on 128 American-made items will cost the U.S. about 3 billion dollars a year. That's not much to the nation, but it's a big deal if you make one of the products on the list.

Disability In Decline

8:12 | Mar 29th, 2018

A long-term trend of Americans withdrawing from the workforce due to disability has gone into reverse.

Dollars And Census

7:31 | Mar 28th, 2018

The census is more than a headcount. It determines how federal dollars are spent and how districts are represented in Congress.

Costly Care In America

6:58 | Mar 27th, 2018

Americans spend more on healthcare than people in other high-income countries, and it's not because we use more of it.

Dollars for Data

9:19 | Mar 26th, 2018

From Google Maps to Yelp to Instagram, the internet gives us access to all sorts of services without having to pay a cent. But are they really free?

The Oil Rig Count

7:30 | Mar 23rd, 2018

One of the best gauges of the state of the oil business is a pretty simple one: just count the drilling rigs.

Too Small To Fail

8:06 | Mar 22nd, 2018

Independent bookstores are experiencing a surprising renaissance.

Trump vs. Trudeau: Both Right, Both Wrong

8:48 | Mar 21st, 2018

Trump says we have a trade deficit with Canada. He's right... and he's also wrong.

A Brief History of Tariffs

8:32 | Mar 20th, 2018

The debate over tariffs is nothing new. In fact, it's as old as the country itself. A look at how the debate began.

The Reinvention Of The IPO

11:08 | Mar 19th, 2018

Having disrupted the music business, Spotify is trying the same trick with the stock market.

The Bear Necessities

8:02 | Mar 16th, 2018

The man who wrote the book on the collapse of Bear Stearns talks about what happened a decade ago and where we are today.

Calculated Risk, Calculated Caution

8:25 | Mar 15th, 2018

Bill McBride has been remarkably prescient about the big swings in the U.S. economy. And he's starting to get uneasy.

What Trade Organization?

7:59 | Mar 14th, 2018

The justification used by the Trump administration for its steel and aluminum tariffs is riskier for the global trading system than the tariffs themselves.

Bonds... Japanese Bonds

10:37 | Mar 13th, 2018

Team Indicator takes your questions, concerns, and James Bond-related car trivia.

Hurricane Joseph & The Calculator That Time Forgot

8:29 | Mar 12th, 2018

Creative destruction is a fact of economic life that few products can resist. Graphing calculators are a notable exception

The Jobs Report: Where The Ladies At?

7:51 | Mar 9th, 2018

Why has the share of women in the labor force been stagnant for almost two decades?

Let's Get Ready to Retail!

8:20 | Mar 8th, 2018

In the red corner: the uncontested retail champion of the world: WalMart. In the blue corner, the behemoth of online sales: Amazon.

A Child Prodigy, A Nervous Breakdown, and The Discovery of Romantic Poetry

7:20 | Mar 7th, 2018

What happens when a classical economist finds out the world is much more complicated than he thought?

Cobalt: Rare and Everywhere

12:22 | Mar 6th, 2018

Cobalt used to be a sideshow on the periodic table. Now it's the main event.

Oil's Magic Price

5:19 | Mar 2nd, 2018

There's a sweet spot for every oil well in America.

More Band For Your Buck

8:56 | Feb 28th, 2018

To understand the Trump administration's approach to trade tariffs, look no further than the humble rubber band.

The Case For Overshooting

8:28 | Feb 27th, 2018

We have a new Federal Reserve chair. His name is Jerome Powell. Here's what we can expect.

Productivity With A Side Of Chicken

8:30 | Feb 26th, 2018

Why productivity could be the most important data point in the economy...and how did KFC manage to run out of chicken?

Guns And The Trump Slump

7:25 | Feb 23rd, 2018

Today more than two thirds of the guns in America are owned by just 20 percent of gun owners. That's not always good for gunmakers.

The 28-Hour Work Week

6:56 | Feb 22nd, 2018

Imagine being able to work fewer hours during a difficult time in your life, without having to quit your job or interrupt your career. In Germany, for many workers, that's now a reality.

The Olympics, Afrofuturism and Sichuan Food

7:03 | Feb 21st, 2018

Our guest, Tyler Cowen, has smart insights into a ridiculously wide range of subjects. Our conversation is a lightning round that touches everything from Afrofuturist flicks to the mouth-numbing qualities of the Sichuan peppercorn.

The Spy Who Trolled Me

6:24 | Feb 20th, 2018

Russia spent 73 million Rubles a month to influence an American election. But what did they get for their money?

Craft Beer Hops the Shark

6:02 | Feb 16th, 2018

As craft beer exploded over the last decade, the hops business boomed. Then came the bust.

Overshooting, Tipping Points, and ABBA

5:57 | Feb 15th, 2018

How a classic econ book explains ABBA's costumes (among other things).

Stimulus Response

6:30 | Feb 14th, 2018

An economist from the Obama administration thinks the economy still needs stimulus. Will the Republican tax and spending bills provide it?

Sanctions on Ice

5:21 | Feb 13th, 2018

A story of sanctions, the Olympics, and a secret wing of the North Korean government.

Fear: The Index

7:15 | Feb 12th, 2018

An index that was invented to measure people's expectations about the stock market may be driving the market itself.

The Job Market Is Almost There

8:36 | Feb 9th, 2018

Today on the show: What our three favorite jobs numbers tell us about the state of the economy.

The Market for Stolen Passwords

6:53 | Feb 8th, 2018

A stolen Amazon password costs $10. Bank of America is $25. What a price list discovered on the dark web says about about the market for your stolen passwords.

Obama, Trump, And Trade

5:18 | Feb 7th, 2018

President Trump's new tariff on solar panels kicks in this week. But the story of where that tariff comes from goes back to the Obama administration.

Dow De Ching

5:34 | Feb 6th, 2018

The stock market's drop over the past few days wasn't weird. What was weird was what the market did for all of 2017.

Wells Fargo's Corset

5:19 | Feb 5th, 2018

The Federal Reserve just told Wells Fargo it can't grow. On today's show: Why that's a big deal for Wells Fargo, and for other big banks.

How Are They Doing Now?

5:35 | Feb 2nd, 2018

We look at three groups that got hammered especially hard during the recession and ask: How are they doing now?

What America Sells To The World

6:14 | Feb 1st, 2018

U.S. exports include airplanes, education and lots of blood.

Janet Yellen's Mystery Story

6:48 | Jan 31st, 2018

It's Janet Yellen's last week running the Federal Reserve. A speech she gave last year illuminates an economic mystery — and the boldness she brought to the Fed.

Weed GDP

6:04 | Jan 30th, 2018

When Canada decided to legalize marijuana, James Tebrake decided to learn everything he could about Canada's marijuana economy.

The Black Car Fund

6:57 | Jan 29th, 2018

There's lots of talk about the problems of the gig economy. On today's show, we talk about a solution.

Amazon, IPOs, and the Queen of the Demonweb Pits

7:16 | Jan 26th, 2018

We play overrated/underrated with Glenn Kelman, CEO of Redfin. Topics include home ownership, taking a company public, and twin telepathy.

A Mafia Story With a Twist

7:51 | Jan 25th, 2018

Today on the show: citrus, globalization, and the birth of the mafia.

A Long-Term Bet Gone Bust

6:30 | Jan 24th, 2018

Long-term-care insurance seemed like the next big thing. Then insurance companies started losing billions of dollars. What went wrong?

Google Selfies

5:24 | Jan 23rd, 2018

Today's Indicator: Your face. It's worth money. It's the next big thing. And, if you're like most of us, you're giving it away.

I Can't Believe It's Not Budget

5:57 | Jan 22nd, 2018

The government shutdown was a symptom of a bigger problem: Congress seems incapable of passing a proper budget.

The Rise and Fall and Rise of Oil Prices

7:04 | Jan 19th, 2018

Last summer, the price of oil was $44 a barrel. This week, it briefly hit $70. What happened? And what does it mean for the future of oil prices?

The Beigies

9:19 | Jan 18th, 2018

Welcome to the Beigies, the only awards show honoring the best economic stories in the Fed's Beige Book.

Saudi Arabia After Oil: An IPO, Tech Jobs, and Yanni

7:19 | Jan 17th, 2018

The young crown prince is trying to figure out how to save his country before the money runs out.

The Case For Earmarks

7:08 | Jan 16th, 2018

Congressional earmarks have a bad reputation. But, our guest argues, they're just what America needs.

The Recession Predictor

9:05 | Jan 12th, 2018

There's a warning sign for the economy with an amazing track record. It's not flashing now, but it's close enough to make us nervous.

Such Cryptocurrency. So Amaze.

8:10 | Jan 11th, 2018

Dogecoin, a bitcoin spinoff created as a joke, is now worth $1.4 billion. The coin's creator tells us how the joke became real — and explains why he has mixed feelings about the whole thing.

The War On Coal

4:35 | Jan 10th, 2018

President Trump's Energy Secretary, Rick Perry, had a plan to prop up the coal industry. This week, a federal commission—led by a Trump appointee—rejected it.

Why Quitting Is Awesome

6:08 | Jan 9th, 2018

The state of the American job market, as revealed by jobs numbers released this morning.

What To Do About Inequality

7:06 | Jan 8th, 2018

A lot of popular plans for boosting middle-class wages don't work as well as as they used to. Here are a few ideas that might work now.

Hidden Gems of the Jobs Report

6:06 | Jan 5th, 2018

Here are three illuminating but largely overlooked numbers from today's jobs report.

Just Another Manic January

5:55 | Jan 4th, 2018

It's going to be a huge month for economic policy.

Corruption, Protests, and the Price of Eggs in Iran

6:01 | Jan 3rd, 2018

Thousands of people are protesting in the streets of Iran. Part of the reason: the price of eggs just went through the roof.

The Next Debt Crunch

7:35 | Jan 2nd, 2018

The U.S. economy is doing great. Here's something to worry about.

The 50-Year Newspaper

7:22 | Dec 29th, 2017

Daily news coverage gives us a lopsided view of the world. What would the top stories be if we only got a news update once every 50 years?

Our Indicators Of The Year

9:10 | Dec 27th, 2017

Despite all the protectionist rhetoric, global trade grew really quickly this year. Also: a crazy, 80-year ride from sun god to TMI.

How Airfare Is Changing

5:41 | Dec 22nd, 2017

Why some routes are getting more expensive while others are getting cheaper.

Could The Republican Tax Bill Help Democrats Later?

6:58 | Dec 20th, 2017

The Democrats have been struggling with a problem for a while now. The new tax bill could ultimately help them solve it.

The Toll Also Rises

6:27 | Dec 18th, 2017

Basic economics says a new toll for commuters makes everybody better off. But what if basic economics is wrong?

Forget Neutrality

7:31 | Dec 15th, 2017

Most Americans have at most one choice for broadband internet. On today's show: How it got that way, and what it means for the debate over net neutrality.

Full Employment: Are We There Yet?

6:05 | Dec 13th, 2017

Why is it so hard to figure out when the economy is at full employment? And why does the Fed keep getting it wrong?

Bitcoin, Unemployment, and Mythical Beasts

7:25 | Dec 11th, 2017

Our guest, Tyler Cowen, has smart insights into a ridiculously wide range of subjects. Our conversation is a lightning round that touches everything from the stock market to dystopian novels.

Where's My Raise?

7:57 | Dec 8th, 2017

The unemployment rate is really low, but wages are barely rising. What's going on?

Loopholes And Deficits

6:36 | Dec 6th, 2017

Republicans have been complaining about deficits forever. This was their big chance to do something. Why didn't they?

Power Pinch

7:27 | Dec 4th, 2017

The history of sexual harassment training videos, and the surprising insight it gives us into the current wave of sexual harassment cases.

Coming Soon

1:00 | Dec 1st, 2017

A new podcast from the people who make Planet Money.