Yuki Noguchi

Yuki Noguchi is a correspondent on the Business Desk based out of NPR's headquarters in Washington D.C. Since joining NPR in 2008, she's covered business and economic news, and has a special interest in workplace issues — everything from abusive working environments, to the idiosyncratic cubicle culture. In recent years she has covered the housing market meltdown, unemployment during the Great Recession, and covered the aftermath of the tsunami in Japan in 2011. As in her personal life, however, her coverage interests are wide-ranging, and have included things like entomophagy and the St. Louis Cardinals.

Prior to joining NPR, Yuki started her career as a reporter for The Washington Post. She reported on stories mostly about business and technology, and later became an editor.

Yuki grew up with a younger brother speaking her parents' native Japanese at home. She has a degree in history from Yale.

Updated at 4:15 p.m. ET

Fast-food executive Andrew Puzder withdrew his nomination to head the Labor Department on Wednesday as his support on Capitol Hill faltered. Facing criticism from both sides of the aisle, Puzder became the first Trump Cabinet pick whose nomination failed.

Puzder put out a statement on Wednesday:

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The Senate voted to confirm Steven Mnuchin as President Trump's Treasury secretary in a 53-47 vote Monday.

Mnuchin's approval came over the objections of some Democratic senators who pointed to Mnuchin's business record running a bank that hastily foreclosed on homeowners. It also drew fire from those who say that with the appointment of Mnuchin and other former bankers to key roles close to the White House, the administration is going back on its promise to get tough on Wall Street.

The promise of automated cars is that they could eliminate human-error accidents and potentially enable more efficient use of roadways. That sounds, at first blush, like self-driving cars could also mean traffic reduction and lower commute times.

But researchers aren't so sure.

Hesham Rakha is an engineering professor at Virginia Tech who studies traffic's flow — or lack thereof.

President Trump signed two directives on Friday, ordering a review of financial industry regulations known as Dodd-Frank and halting implementation of a rule that requires financial advisers to act in the best interests of their clients, according to a senior administration official who briefed reporters on condition of anonymity.

Trump himself made his intentions clear in a meeting with small business owners Monday. "Dodd-Frank is a disaster," Trump said. "We're going to be doing a big number on Dodd-Frank."

President Trump's nominee to be the next Labor secretary, Andrew Puzder, runs a fast-food empire. Now, as he awaits his confirmation hearings, current and former workers of CKE Restaurants — which operates chains like Carl's Jr. and Hardee's — are filing complaints alleging employment-law violations at his company.

Ceatana Cardona says she was sexually harassed by her shift manager when she worked nights as a cashier at a Hardee's in Tampa, Fla.

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Rarely has a U.S. president been so willing to use his platform as both bullhorn and cudgel to exert public pressure on individual companies.

But one of the hallmarks of President Trump's approach to economic policy since his election has been his willingness to publicly endorse — and shame — companies in order to advance his message.

In a tense hearing Thursday morning, the new administration's Treasury secretary nominee, Steven Mnuchin, faced scrutiny from Democratic senators concerned about him profiting handsomely off homeowners who lost their homes during the housing crisis.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau released a survey today that it says shows widespread tactics used by debt collectors to threaten consumers. The watchdog agency, which is considering strengthening regulations of the industry and its conduct, says more than a quarter of the consumers it surveyed felt threatened by the debt collectors.

President-elect Donald Trump took to Twitter again Thursday morning, this time to urge his followers to "Buy L.L.Bean," and support one of his campaign backers.

"Thank you to Linda Bean of L.L.Bean for your great support and courage," he tweeted Thursday. "People will support you even more now. Buy L.L.Bean."

When Donald Trump takes to Twitter, some companies shudder.

This week, Ford Motor Co. said it would scrap a $1.6 billion plant in Mexico in favor of expanding an existing one in Michigan. That happened on the same day the president-elect tweeted criticism of General Motors for manufacturing its Chevy Cruze vehicles in Mexico.

Ford and General Motors both reacted Tuesday to President-elect Donald Trump's continued criticism of U.S. companies manufacturing products in Mexico.

Ford announced it would cancel its $1.6 billion plans to build a plant in San Luis Potosi, Mexico, and instead invest an additional $700 million to expand an existing plant in Michigan to make autonomous and electric vehicles. That comes on the heels of another decision in November to keep production of some small SUVs at its plant in Kentucky.

The Great Recession ended 7 1/2 years ago, and job gains have been steady since, but greater demand for workers is only starting to increase pay.

The increases are still relatively modest, and the data are still mixed. In October, for example, the Labor Department reported average hourly earnings increased at a 2.8 percent rate — the highest since mid-2009, but wage growth slowed in November. A separate report this month showed the cost of labor — another measure of wage growth — increased especially during the spring of this year.

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President-elect Donald Trump rode to electoral victory in part on discontent with Washington. He promised to "drain the swamp" — referring to the nation's capital. And No. 2 on his "Contract With The American Voter," listing activities for his first 100 days, is a hiring freeze on all civilian federal jobs that aren't involved in public safety or public health.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up more than 1 percent Thursday at an all-time high of 18,807.88, as investors bet that the Donald Trump presidency will mean less regulation and more potential stimulus spending.

Come next Tuesday, millions of people will stand in line to vote; last presidential cycle, about 57.5 percent of eligible voters cast ballots. Still, that means nearly half did not. Many people stay away from the polls because they run out of time, or have a work conflict — in which case lacking paid time off to vote might be a factor.

Paid leave to vote is covered by a patchwork of laws around the country.

There aren't many things the two major presidential candidates agree on, but here's one: Both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump say they would spend more to rebuild the country's aging infrastructure.

Sounds, particularly those made by other humans, rank as the No. 1 distraction in the workplace. According to workplace design expert Alan Hedge at Cornell, 74 percent of workers say they face "many" instances of disturbances and distractions from noise.

"In general, if it's coming from another person, it's much more disturbing than when it's coming from a machine," he says, because, as social beings, humans are attuned to man-made sounds. He says overheard conversations, as well as high-pitched and intermittent noises, also draw attention away from tasks at hand.

Elizabeth Allen was at a happy hour for a San Francisco tech firm a couple of years ago, when a co-worker started forcing himself on her and the few other women at the party — again and again.

He was "giving us lots of hugs," Allen says, "trying to kiss me a few times; he grabbed my butt a couple of times." The women were outnumbered by men, some of whom looked on, bemused, as the women tried to signal their distress.

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Prepaid cards are a growing segment of electronic payment that often function like debit or credit cards, but currently aren't regulated like them. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau says it is changing that, requiring prepaid card providers to conduct some of the same credit checks and disclosures required of credit card providers.

"This rule closes loopholes and protects prepaid consumers," CFPB director Richard Cordray said today in a statement. "And it backs up those protections with important new disclosures to let consumers know before they owe."

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In its latest forecast, the International Monetary Fund says it sees global growth essentially moving sideways this year, with flat to slower growth in richer countries offsetting higher growth rates in emerging economies such as India.

The report comes ahead of the semiannual IMF and World Bank meeting set to kick off at the end of the week in Washington, D.C., where officials will discuss how economic policy might juice up their respective economies.

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It's once again time for the annual ritual of fear and loathing, also known as the performance review — at least for the companies that still do them.

Many have abandoned the old way of evaluating their employees in recent years. Last year, even General Electric — whose former CEO Jack Welch championed the system often known as "rank and yank" — did away with its annual review.

What's taking the old system's place? A hodgepodge of experiments, essentially.

Former Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson's $20 million settlement with Fox News was unusual in some ways; she received an apology from the network and her complaint resulted in the ouster of former Fox News CEO Roger Ailes.

At 4.9 percent, the nation's unemployment rate is half of what it was at the height of the Great Recession. But that number hides a big problem: Millions of men in their prime working years have dropped out of the workforce — meaning they aren't working or even looking for a job.

It's a trend that's held true for decades and has economists puzzled.

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