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Every weekday, host Kai Ryssdal helps you make sense of the day’s business and economic news — no econ degree or finance background required. “Marketplace” takes you beyond the numbers, bringing you context. Our team of reporters all over the world speak with CEOs, policymakers and regular people just trying to get by.

Episode Date
The cost of hygiene theater

We know now that it’s pretty rare for COVID-19 to spread through surfaces, and most Americans are at least partly vaccinated anyway, but that hasn’t stopped businesses from cleaning like they were last March. On today’s show, we’ll look at what that level of hygiene costs businesses — and why they’re still doing it. Plus, more on inflation and wages, along with a live wrap-up of the biggest news of the week.

Jun 18, 2021
Consumers aren’t worried about inflation … yet

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said yesterday that the Fed is seeing some inflation — but it’s likely transitory inflation caused by, in part, the uneven reopening of the economy. But if you’ve been tuned in to the news lately, you know inflation is a big story. So what do consumers make of prices shooting up but the Fed taking no action? On today’s show: How consumers are making sense of all this inflation talk. Also on the program: One study says automation is to blame for stagnating wages, how it works when a company’s CEO is also chairman of the board and how a Los Angeles taqueria pivoted to survive the pandemic.

Jun 17, 2021
The psychological toll of long-term unemployment

We’ve spent every month since the start of this pandemic picking apart jobs numbers and unemployment claims. But there’s a lot happening in the labor force that isn’t captured in that data — like the toll long-term unemployment can take on those looking for work. A recent Pew survey says about half of unemployed adults in the U.S. are pessimistic about future employment and more than half have experienced mental health issues like anxiety or depression. On today’s show: We look at how these factors can create a less predictable back-to-work economy. Also on the program: What’s driving the housing shortage, how New Yorkers feel about COVID-19 restrictions lifting, and how the pandemic changed economic forecasting.

Jun 16, 2021
How the balance of power in the labor market is shifting

Businesses have been having a hard time finding people to hire, even though millions of Americans are still out of work. It seems like quite the conundrum. But that’s because half the story is left out, said Barry Ritholtz, chairman of Ritholtz Wealth Management. “Whenever I hear people say, ‘We can’t hire people,’ they’re leaving out half of the question, which is ‘at these wages,'” he said. On today’s show: How the pandemic changed the labor market. Also on the program: why retail sales are down, about that U.S.-EU truce on airplane subsidies and what lowering the Medicare eligibility age would mean for American health care.

Jun 15, 2021
Why inflation can be a self-fulfilling prophecy

Federal Reserve officials have some new inflation data to chew on before they head into a two-day meeting on interest rates tomorrow. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York released a consumer survey today that says consumers are expecting inflation above the Fed’s target of 2% over the next several years. On the show today: How inflation can be a self-fulfilling prophecy and why that makes it hard to set policy around it. Also on the program: Why restaurants say they need more financial aid, more companies are investing in cyber insurance, and Canada’s agricultural worker program is under scrutiny amid the pandemic.

Jun 14, 2021
How consumer behavior is affecting the economic recovery

The University of Michigan’s preliminary June consumer sentiment numbers came out today, and although Americans are a little more confident in the economy and the recovery than they were in May, they’re still worried about inflation and the rising prices of things like cars and homes. Does that change how people spend their money? We also take a look at how consumer demand changes when products are scarce due to supply chain shortages. Also on the show today: Some British executives are getting bonuses for good behavior, and whether the pandemic could change Americans’ attitudes when it comes to taking vacations.

Jun 11, 2021
Why people are worried about inflation

Consumer prices rose a little over half a percent in May. Over the last year, prices are up 5% — the biggest 12-month increase since August of 2008. It’s unclear so far whether the price hikes we’re seeing are a short-term story or a long one. On today’s show, we look at what makes inflation so worrying. Also on the program: Why 5 million Americans are still receiving extended federal unemployment benefits, a look at the economic challenges of ramping up wind energy production, and a conversation about the Biden administration’s debt relief for Black farmers.

Jun 10, 2021
About those wine and cheese tariffs

President Joe Biden arrived in Europe on Wednesday, kicking off a week of meetings. One item high on his agenda: trade, especially the tariffs levied by the U.S. and European Union. Yes, those are still a thing, and U.S. consumers are still paying for them. If you’re fond of provolone or a fan of Bordeaux, you’ve felt their sting. On today’s show: What’s next for U.S.-EU tariffs. Also, the Senate is allocating $250 billion to technology R&D, a study finds work requirements for SNAP benefits don’t lead to more people working and Chinese families are stressed by the demands of extracurricular classes.

Jun 09, 2021
The racial gap in appraisals devalues homes owned by people of color

Explicit racial language was removed from the process of determining home values in the late 1970s, but a recent study found that a racial lens on appraisals still harms Black communities. On today’s show: How that gap is contributing to racial inequality. Also on the program: The Joe Biden administration announces a strategy to strengthen supply chains, labor and supply shortages are raising costs for consumers and Las Vegas is hosting its first major business convention since the pandemic.

Jun 08, 2021
What will it actually take to achieve global tax reform?

Representatives from G-7 countries agreed over the weekend to back a minimum corporate tax rate of 15%. A global minimum tax rate has a long way to go to get from theory to reality. But behind that theory is hundreds of billions in potential revenue from multinational corporations. On today’s show: What it would take to get to a global minimum tax. Also on the program: Why some states are dealing with a tax revenue surplus, the SelectUSA trade show is trying to bring foreign investors back to the U.S., and Mohamed El-Erian on inflation and the economic recovery.

Jun 07, 2021
Jobs are up, but the labor force participation rate is down

The U.S. economy added 559,000 jobs in May as the recovery from the pandemic recession continues. But there remain millions of Americans unemployed, and some have stopped looking for work entirely. This means the labor force participation rate has dropped to its lowest level since the late 1970s. On the show today: Why Americans aren’t reentering the workforce. Also on the program: Why Facebook decided to suspend former President Donald Trump for two years, why used car prices are surging, and what one teen worker is looking for in a job this summer.

Jun 04, 2021
The long-term challenges of long-term unemployment

Although the U.S. labor market has recovered dramatically from the peak of pandemic unemployment, millions of workers remain on the sidelines. Forty-three percent of jobless workers are long-term unemployed, and economists warn that elevated long-term unemployment may persist for years after this recession is behind us. Also on today’s show: How the airline industry sees the future; Ally Bank’s decision to permanently end overdraft fees; and we check back in with a pasta restaurant owner in New York City.

Jun 03, 2021
The jobs available aren’t necessarily the ones people want

The big economics story recently has been about why businesses are having trouble hiring workers when there are still millions of Americans who are unemployed. Employers are getting desperate while workers are in no hurry to go back to jobs with lousy compensation or bad work environments. At the same time, states are trying to push folks back into the workforce by cutting unemployment benefits and by requiring people to prove they’re actively looking for work. “There’s a big mismatch between what job seekers are looking for and what’s really available,” one expert said. On today’s show: the employer-employee mismatch. Also on the show: how one small business is dealing with supply chain issues, and how the role of videoconferencing could change in the post-pandemic workplace.

Jun 02, 2021
What’s going on with the American workforce?

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce said in a report released today that we are in a workforce crisis. There’s an all-time high of 8.1 million job openings — and there are not enough available workers able, or willing, to take those jobs. At the same time, teenagers are now employed at levels that haven’t been seen in more than a decade, and signs point to an even bigger teen job boom this summer. On today’s show, we take the labor market’s temperature. Also on the show: President Joe Biden is trying to tackle racial inequality in home appraisals, lumber shortages are making the reclaimed wood market hot, and how tough pandemic decisions are paying off for some restaurants.

Jun 01, 2021
Tourist destinations are bracing for post-pandemic summer crowds

This weekend traditionally marks the beginning of summer vacation season. It’s the moment when a lot of tourist destinations in the U.S. start to see crowds. And when folks who work at tourist attractions — and hotels and restaurants near them — start getting busy. On today’s show, we check in with businesses in South Dakota preparing for a busy summer season. Also on the show today: Restaurants are still struggling to attract workers, how rent relief efforts are going in Houston and a conversation about inclusivity in economics.

May 31, 2021
More than a year into the pandemic, rent relief is finally reaching those who need it

Come Tuesday, rent is due for millions of Americans. After more than a year of the pandemic, a lot of renters have fallen behind and are struggling to pay their rent. Congress appropriated $50 billion to help renters in the last two COVID-19 relief packages. So where is it? On today’s show: That money is just starting to make its way to tenants and landlords. Also, what’s in store for consumer spending this summer, alcohol-to-go will still be on the post-pandemic menu in some states and a small British theater company makes its way back to the stage.

May 28, 2021
What’s driving rental car prices so high?

Planning on renting a car this Memorial Day weekend? It’s going to cost you. A lot of people have been unpleasantly surprised lately when trying to book rental cars, with average rates now topping out around $134 a day. On today’s show: Three reasons why rental car prices are surging. Also on the show: Nearly half of U.S. states are cutting federal jobless benefits short, what corporate governance has to do with climate change, and we take a tour of a “ghost kitchen.”

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May 27, 2021
Women are bearing substantial burdens from long-term unemployment

It’s clear now that the pandemic has disproportionately affected women when it comes to employment. About 2.8 million women have left the labor force since COVID-19 hit in March 2020, compared to 2.4 million men. And there are a lot of obstacles preventing women from returning to work. On today’s show, we hear about one woman’s struggle to overcome long-term unemployment. Also on the show: Amazon is buying MGM Studios for $8.45 billion, how the role of chief sustainability officer is changing, and a look at the history of the Dow Jones Industrial Average on its 125th birthday.

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May 26, 2021
Why Black entrepreneurship surged during the pandemic

New-business formation exploded during the first year of the pandemic. But a paper  from the National Bureau of Economic Research finds that those new businesses were concentrated in Black neighborhoods and that Black Americans were more likely than white Americans to take steps toward entrepreneurship during lockdown. Also on the show today: overcoming fear as a first-time homebuyer, how the pandemic changed city streets and a new company is enabling anyone to buy and lock up pollution permits.

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May 25, 2021
Have businesses kept their promises for racial justice?

Tomorrow marks one year since George Floyd was murdered in Minneapolis. Protesters across the country demanded racial justice, and a lot of big companies said they were committed to racial equity. Banks, tech companies and major retailers pledged monetary investments, retail shelf space and increased diversity in many ways. One year later: Have those companies kept their promises? Also on the show: Memorial Day weekend could be a test for the movie industry, how the COVID-19 vaccine is affecting consumer spending, and the return of the power lunch in London.

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May 24, 2021
The Federal Reserve is thinking about a digital dollar

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said Thursday that the Fed will publish a report on central bank digital currency this summer. A central bank digital currency is kind of like Bitcoin, minus the chaos and volatility. So how would that work in the U.S.? Also on the show today: What shoe sales are telling us about the economic recovery, President Joe Biden is asking federal agencies to gauge the financial risk of climate change and the cash-free model might be here to stay.

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May 21, 2021
Why long-term unemployment starts at 27 weeks

Another 444,000 Americans filed first time unemployment claims last week, reaching the lowest level since March 2020. At the opposite end of the unemployment spectrum, 4.2 million Americans are long-term unemployed, meaning they’ve been jobless for 27 weeks or more. On today’s show: The history of long-term unemployment in the U.S. Also, businesses are now the most trusted institution in the world, expanding Medicaid could produce more than 1 million new jobs in 2022, and the U.S. and China clash over international tech standards.

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May 20, 2021
How disaggregated data leads to better policy

Economic policy doesn’t always tell the whole story. That’s why economists like Rhonda Vonshay Sharpe, president of the Women’s Institute for Science, Equity and Race, are pushing government agencies to disaggregate data by breaking it down into categories like race, gender and education level. On today’s show: How that data can create more equitable policy. Also, the semiconductor chip shortage is affecting household staples, a coalition of 200 businesses is trying to get women back into the workforce, and the rise of social trading apps.

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May 19, 2021
“We don’t have a day to lose”

The International Energy Agency released a report saying if the world wants to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, we’ll need to change a lot and change it fast. But is it doable? On today’s show: What needs to happen to reach net-zero carbon emissions. Also: Zoom happy hour has mixed reviews, housing starts were down in April, and one entrepreneur has made the best of the pandemic by following her passion and writing children’s books about Asian culture.

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May 18, 2021
Pipeline companies are trying to avoid regulation, despite major hack

More than 11,000 gas stations are still out of gas, including over half those in North Carolina and nearly 70% of the stations in Washington, D.C. This comes five days after the Colonial Pipeline resumed operations after a ransomware hack forced a shutdown. Congress will begin pushing forward a pipeline-security bill Tuesday to prevent future outages, but some say it lacks adequate safeguards. And pipeline companies aren’t exactly on board. Also on today’s show: AT&T is merging media operations with Discovery, public-transit systems try to lure riders back and a conversation about internet access with the acting chair of the Federal Communications Commission.

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May 17, 2021
What inflation, retail sales and relief payments are telling us about the economic recovery

We got some inflation news this week, with consumer prices up 4.2% year over year. Retail sales in April were flat: 0% growth. And the latest $1,400 round of stimulus checks boosted Americans’ bank accounts. On today’s show: What all that means for economic recovery. Also, how retail workers are navigating new mask guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, how Biden’s global tax plan will affect his beloved Ireland, and why a northern Michigan retailer is banking on a summer with lots of foot traffic.

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May 14, 2021
Labor shortage + desperate employers = rising wages

“They are desperate,” said one labor market expert. “They” being businesses struggling to find workers — despite the 10 million unemployed Americans — as the economy continues to open back up. So some businesses are offering higher wages, including Chipotle and McDonald’s. But the thing about raising wages: You can’t really “unraise” them. Also on the show today: Congressional earmarks are back, what love letters have to do with buying a house, and we check in with students who had their student loans paid off by a billionaire.

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May 13, 2021
Consumer prices jumped higher than expected

Consumer prices are up 4.2% year over year. That’s the highest yearly jump since the Great Recession. A lot of prices increased more than expected, including those in communications and apparel. But travel-related prices are on fire. Compared to March, the cost of renting a car went up 16%, airfare is up 10%, lodging is up almost 8% and used cars prices are up 10% — in one month. Also on the show today: Governments are trying to incentivize vaccination, retirements increased during the pandemic, and we take a trip to the mall with a fashion business expert.

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May 12, 2021
Small-business owners aren’t feeling great about the future

Make no mistake, there are a lot of positives in this economy — vaccinations continue, shops and attractions are reopening, consumer spending is strong. The Small Business Optimism Index from the National Federation of Independent Business had a small uptick in April, but it’s still at a pretty depressed level compared to pre-pandemic times. On today’s show: Why small-business owners’ outlook is “surprisingly glum.” Plus, Simon Property Group is betting on its tenants, Broadway is coming back and food commodities are getting pricier.

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May 11, 2021
States are starting to drop out of federal pandemic unemployment programs

Arkansas, Montana and South Carolina are pulling out of federal unemployment programs related to the pandemic. The Republican governors of the three states are saying the same thing: The benefits are too generous, and they’re preventing people from wanting to go back to work. But the U.S. economy is still down more than 8 million jobs since the pandemic arrived. On today’s show: Why states are pulling out of the programs and what it means for workers. Also: A pipeline hack reveals critical infrastructure vulnerabilities in the U.S., farmers in Texas are still reeling from the February freeze and how COVID-19 might change packaging for good.

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May 10, 2021
Making sense of a disappointing jobs report

Most economists expected something like 1 million new jobs in April. Instead, there were 266,000 added — which isn’t going to make much of a dent in recovering the 8 million jobs we’re still down. The hiring slowdown is happening in an economy that has a lot tilted in its favor, including trillions of dollars in relief for individuals, small businesses and local government. On today’s show, we make sense of April’s jobs numbers and ask what it’s going to take to juice the jobs market. Plus: why the Federal Reserve is pointing to risks in the current economy; how restaurants in Texas are finding it hard to attract staff; and a look at the water crisis in a rural Maryland community.

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The story about infrastructure in this episode contained an error that has been corrected. For more information, visit the episode page at

May 07, 2021
What’s driving the labor shortage?

We got some signs that the job market is improving: Initial claims for state unemployment benefits last week fell under half a million for the first time since the pandemic began. Continuing claims also fell sharply. But employers and trade groups are increasingly saying they can’t find workers to hire. On today’s show: Why this labor shortage is unusual. Also, the Biden administration is backing a temporary waiver on COVID-19 vaccine patents, what a flexible work future looks like, and why QR codes are the future of hospitality.

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May 06, 2021
Who has leverage in the labor market?

Friday’s jobs report marks one year since the release of one of the worst jobs reports in U.S. history; the economy had lost 20 million jobs in a single month. One year later, there are still millions of people unemployed, but data from payroll processors and online job search sites point to continuing job growth. Chris Hyams, CEO of Indeed, joined “Marketplace” host Kai Ryssdal to talk about how the labor market is recovering from the pandemic. Also on today’s show: Small businesses that closed at the beginning of the pandemic may never reopen, a new report warns that critical minerals for green energy might become scarce, and the European Union is raising the drawbridge on companies that get foreign subsidies.

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May 05, 2021
“I think I really began to question what is living”

The pandemic prompted a lot of people to think about their values and identities, and that includes what they do for a living. According to Prudential’s Pulse of the American Worker Survey, 1 in 5 workers changed their line of work over the last year. On today’s show: a look at the many Americans drastically changing their career paths. Plus, manufacturers are having difficulty filling job vacancies, rental car companies are having difficulty finding used cars, and church real estate is up.

May 04, 2021
The low-hanging fruit on Biden’s climate agenda

President Joe Biden has made dealing with climate change a top priority of his administration. While Congress and the White House hammer out the way that shows up in the big infrastructure package, there are relatively easy fixes that have bipartisan support. For example, phasing out the use of hydrofluorocarbons. HFCs are chemical refrigerants found in products we use every day — that do a lot of damage to the climate. Also on today’s show: More homeowners are paying their mortgage bills again, Verizon is selling Yahoo and AOL for $5 billion and how “green hydrogen” could be used to produce energy and steel with zero emissions.

May 03, 2021
It could take quite a while for the labor market to recover from COVID

The economic recovery is showing up in a big way: GDP is nearly back to pre-pandemic levels, and consumer confidence is improving as more Americans are vaccinated. There’s been a surge in consumer spending, driven by record-setting personal income — pumped by relief checks and more Americans getting back to work. About that “getting back to work” part. We’ll see the April jobs report next week, and it’s expected to be very strong. Still, the number of jobs in the U.S. economy is nowhere near pre-pandemic levels, and it could take a while to get there. Also on today’s show: how New York businesses are getting ready to reopen, more companies are incentivizing vaccination and how the U.S. is trying to reclaim its rare-earth mantle.

Apr 30, 2021
Do we really want to get back to a pre-pandemic economy?

The Commerce Department announced Thursday that in the first quarter of 2021 gross domestic product grew at an annualized rate of 6.4%. That’s within 1% of pre-pandemic GDP. It’s easy to look back at the pre-pandemic economy all starry eyed; unemployment was low and pay for low-wage workers was rising. But it wasn’t exactly a golden era for workers. On today’s show: Do we even want to go back to a pre-pandemic economy? Also: a look at the child care industry issues weighing on workers and parents, how reparations will help women build houses in Baltimore, and how a variable minimum wage could work.

Apr 29, 2021
Pent-up demand for a vacation

In a recent survey from the U.S. Travel Association, almost two-thirds of Americans said they “desperately” needed a vacation after the last year, and with vaccinations and accumulated paid time off, many of them just might get one. Employers prepare for the coming surge of employees using their PTO. On today’s show: how pent-up demand for a break might shape up. Plus, voting rights legislation prompts a flurry of political fundraising, live venues are finally able to tap into federal funding and what Friday’s consumer spending numbers could mean.

Apr 28, 2021
Why a Baltimore church is pledging half a million dollars in reparations

In 2018, Natalie Conway was assigned to Memorial Episcopal Church as a deacon. Conway, now 73, grew up in segregated west Baltimore, and she and her brother had been researching their genealogy. Not long after she arrived at Memorial, she discovered that her ancestors had been enslaved by Rev. Charles Ridgely Howard — the founding rector of the church she now serves. On today’s show: How that Baltimore church is grappling with its racist past. Plus, shipping containers are increasingly getting lost at sea, what slowing population growth means for the economy, and we check in with an Iowa farmer about surging prices for crops ahead of the planting season.

Apr 27, 2021
Investing in children and families is also infrastructure

President Joe Biden is expected to roll out the next part of his big infrastructure initiative this week, the American Families Plan. The plan calls for major additional investment in education and child care — part of the Biden administration’s argument that this support is necessary in a functioning economy. Also today’s show: Apple’s plan to spend more than $1 billion to build a new campus in North Carolina; what happens when a doctor doesn’t “match” with a residency; and why older single women are buying camper vans.

Apr 26, 2021
The stock market is … an idiot

That’s the conclusion of “Marketplace” host Kai Ryssdal after a market freakout yesterday. What spooked it? News that the Biden administration wants to jack up the capital gains tax rate. “Have traders heard of the United States Senate?” our host wondered. All that and more on today’s Weekly Wrap. Also on the show: Homebuyers are waiving contingencies in this hot housing market, Olympic gymnast Simone Biles is leaving Nike for a smaller athletic brand and the president says tackling climate change will create jobs.

Apr 23, 2021
U.S. trade rep: “We don’t exist in a vacuum”

Ambassador Katherine Tai, the United States trade representative, said the world economy needs to evolve in order to solve global problems like climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic. In an interview with “Marketplace” host Kai Ryssdal, Tai said we need to reimagine incentives to stop the “race to the bottom.” “We don’t exist in a vacuum,” Tai said. “These are collective challenges, and we only get through them if we can get through it collectively.” Also on today’s show: President Joe Biden said a “whole of government” approach is needed to fight climate change, why home construction costs exploded in the last year, and the USDA is extending its free lunch program.

Apr 22, 2021
How control over the pandemic will affect the stay-home economy

While we were stuck at home, sales of paint, furniture, exercise equipment and groceries went through the roof. But as vaccination continues and things open back up, we’re more likely to take a trip than to redo our floors. On today’s show: How the stay-home economy will change when the pandemic ends. Plus, how the plan for that new European soccer league was kicked to the curb; about that semiconductor shortage; and an interview with the CEO of Chipotle.


Apr 21, 2021
About China’s “poverty alleviation slow trains”

The Biden administration’s push to upgrade American infrastructure is partly motivated by seeing China’s sleek infrastructure, including bullet trains that go more than 185 mph. These speedy trains have gradually replaced the slower, green-colored carriages. However, in recent years, the Chinese government has designated 81 routes remaining from the Mao era for the poor. On today’s show: A look inside those trains. Plus, commercial construction faces a rocky year, Apple bets that users will opt in to be tracked and how a food business tied to the hotel industry is recovering from COVID-19.

Apr 20, 2021
Not having paid time off can be a barrier to getting vaccinated

As of today, all adults are eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine in the United States. The vaccine is free to the public, regardless of insurance. About half of all adults have received at least one dose in the U.S., and more than 200 million shots have been administered. But there are still challenges to getting more people vaccinated, including workers getting paid time off to make an appointment or deal with vaccine side effects. Also on today’s show: how businesses that have made it this far in the pandemic are doing, why lumber prices are skyrocketing and why there’s little affordable housing in wealthy Chicago neighborhoods.

Apr 19, 2021
Community pharmacists face challenges in vaccine rollout

Across the country, pharmacies are struggling with insufficient staffing and endless phone calls from people trying to make appointments. They run into other problems, too, like patients who think one dose of a two-dose vaccine is enough. Health care workers are feeling pressure to get this right — to make sure the vaccines are stored correctly, that no one is having an allergic reaction and that everyone’s questions are answered. On today’s show: We hear from three community pharmacists about their experience giving out COVID-19 vaccines. Plus, commercial landlords are looking to grocery stores to fill vacant space, Americans are really ready to travel again and historians weigh in on whether we’re in for another Roaring ’20s.


Apr 16, 2021
How walk-in clinics could help achieve vaccination equity

More than 123 million people have now received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and around 3 million doses are being administered every day. Four months into the vaccination campaign, however, there are still significant disparities by race and ethnicity. In nearly every state that’s reporting data, white residents are being vaccinated at higher rates than Black and Hispanic residents. On today’s show: In Philadelphia, there’s evidence walk-in clinics can help reduce those disparities. Plus, new data points to a strong economic recovery this year, President Joe Biden is imposing economic sanctions against Russia in response to December’s hacking attack, and the challenges of moving to a hybrid work model.

Apr 15, 2021
Will company culture come back after the pandemic?

The concept of “company culture” is saddled with certain imagery in the imaginations of Americans: The trust exercises of decades gone by, the freewheeling indoor playground layout of Google offices, the oppressive pressure to produce at any given law firm. A company’s culture is intangible — and often privately derided as an invention of PR — but it is very real. Has that survived a year of Zoom and Slack communication? Also on today’s show: Retailers are trying to hire tens of thousands of workers, why some companies didn’t sign a statement pushing back against a restrictive Georgia voting law, and boat builders are struggling to meet soaring demand.

Apr 14, 2021
Welcome to Zoom Town, USA

Over the past pandemic year, small, rural towns across the U.S. have been inundated with remote workers seeking beautiful landscapes and bigger houses. So common is the trend, the towns in question are being referred to as “Zoom towns.” On today’s show, we visit what may well be the Zoom town capital of California. Plus, why inflation numbers are gonna be wonky for a while, what’s behind the recent surge in retail investors and what happened to America’s public toilets.

Apr 13, 2021
Surging anti-Asian violence is taking a toll on Asian-owned businesses

It’s been a tough year for small businesses, as many were forced to alter business models and implement extreme safety precautions for employees and customers alike. While most businesses reported declines in revenue and employment, Asian-owned businesses in the U.S. were among the hardest hit. Now, with violence against Asian Americans on the rise, there’s an added economic and emotional toll. On today’s show, we hear from one business owner in Oakland, California, about her experience. Plus, the pushback against vaccine passports is growing, New York created a fund for undocumented workers, and why corporations are betting on “livestreamed shopping” to continue post-pandemic.

Apr 12, 2021