Marketplace from APM

Mon-Fri 6:30PM – 7PM
Kai Ryssdal

American Public Media's Marketplace presents news on business, economics, and money for the rest of us.

More info on Marketplace

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News
2:00 am
Mon May 25, 2015

Your funeral home may be ripping you off

Funeral homes have long been accused of scamming customers, who are spending lots of money when they’re grieving, and vulnerable.
Nancy Marshall-Genzer

Every year, the Federal Trade Commission, or FTC, does an undercover investigation, to make sure funeral homes are following the FTC’s funeral rule. 

They're supposed to give customers a price list immediately, and they're not supposed to sell unnecessary services.

The idea is for consumers, “to be able to take a deep breath and look at a document that says, 'This is what I’m going to pay,'" says Lois Greisman, who heads the FTC’s funeral enforcement. "'Can I really afford this?'”

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News
2:00 am
Mon May 25, 2015

PODCAST: Show me the money, airlines

A Southwest Airlines jet takes off from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. 
Matt Nesto

Asian stocks spring while most of the world's stock takes a breather. More on that. Plus, lower fuel prices have translated into huge savings for airline companies. Very little of those savings are being passed along to customers. So, what are the airlines doing with all of that money? And on a quest to invent a smart smoker, a Harvard engineering class is partnering with Williams Sonoma. We check in on their results.

News
1:00 am
Mon May 25, 2015

Cheaper fuel, cheaper flights. But not for you.

With the price of jet fuel at a low, the question is...where are the savings going?
Sabri Ben-Achour

A gallon of jet fuel will cost you around $1.66 a gallon these days. That’s down 40 percent from what it was this time last year.

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News
1:00 am
Mon May 25, 2015

At Harvard, even the meat smoker is smart

Peyton Nesmith, a teaching fellow, makes final preparations prior to the taste test between brisket cooked in a commercial competitor and one cooked by the Harvard smoker.
Sam Kaplan

On a quest to invent a smart smoker, a Harvard engineering class is partnering with Williams-Sonoma. Over the last few months, junior-year engineering students have smoked more than 200 pounds of brisket. The result? Well, as a self-admitted meat lover, I figured the only way to really know was to take a bite.

It wasn't hard to find the class. The mesquite aroma led me right to teaching assistant Peyton Nesmith. The Alabama native is tending a 300 pound, black, hour glass shaped ceramic smoker. The contraption is covered with wires, gadgets and gizmos.

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News
1:00 am
Mon May 25, 2015

Late springs warms up housing

Spring has sprung for the housing market.
Mitchell Hartman

Spring and summer are often a hopeful time for anyone involved in the housing economy. Houses show well; potential buyers go looking; homebuilders are building.

Bad winter weather in early 2015 made for a poor start to the year for housing. But figures for April suggest the housing economy might finally be on the rebound. “Improvement in housing really has been a missing piece to this recovery,” says Michael Baele, managing director of U.S. Bank’s wealth management division. “And we are encouraged to see some better numbers.”

Here are some key recent housing indicators:

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News
1:00 am
Mon May 25, 2015

Marketplace Tech for Monday, May 25, 2015

Marketplace
News
12:57 am
Mon May 25, 2015

The oil economy, as measured in hotdogs and U-Hauls

Brian Way, a U-Haul store manager, said the rental facility in Williston, N.D. had more customers leaving town than arriving. Way now works at a U-Haul in Fargo, N.D.
Annie Baxter

You can learn a lot about the economy in Williston, N.D., based on Mitch Petrasek’s recent hotdog consumption. 

When I met him in March outside the U-Haul where he was working in Williston, the capital of the state’s oil patch, he had eight dogs lined up on a grill.

“I'll eat two now, two for dinner and two for breakfast,” he says. The remaining two, he says, would be offered to his boss.

Petrasek’s diet did include a few other things, like power bars and granola bars — the kind of stuff that didn't need to be warmed up or refrigerated.

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News
12:00 pm
Fri May 22, 2015

Marketplace for Friday, May 22, 2015

News
12:00 pm
Fri May 22, 2015

Why the CPI doesn't figure in the Fed's calculations

Shoppers walk along Lexington Avenue in New York City in April. Consumer prices rose 0.1 percent last month.
Tim Fitzsimons

The Consumer Price Index rose by 0.1 percent last month, according to figures out Friday. You could think of it as one more piece of evidence in the "no inflation" pile.

The CPI is used for a variety of things, particularly in adjusting rent and wages, as well as "in private contracts to escalate values of money ... by the government ... to adjust social security, and so forth," says Steve Reed, an economist at the Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics who works on the CPI.

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News
12:00 pm
Fri May 22, 2015

Egg-tastrophe

The U.S. is looking to Europe to import eggs amid shortage.
Sally Herships

You may not know it, but we have an egg-tastrophe on our hands. Thanks to bird flu, an estimated 31 million chickens have been killed — that’s 10 percent of the country’s egg-producing poultry.

Randy Pesciotta, vice president of the egg department at Urner Barry, a commodity market news reporting service, says prices for wholesale eggs have almost doubled, and it's the wholesale market that's going to feel the pinch of higher prices first.

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