Hosted by Kai Ryssdal, our leading business news radio program and podcast is about providing context on the economic news of the day. Through stories, conversations and newsworthy developments, we help listeners understand the economic world around them. Marketplace makes sense of the economy for everyone, no econ degree or finance background required. Marketplace doesn’t just report on the numbers, we take it deeper, adding context to what’s happening in the stock market and how macroeconomic ...more


  • The challenges of a short-staffed bureaucracy

    Jan 22 2021

    If you closely read the directives coming out of the Biden administration, you’ll see that they’re mostly instructions for various federal agencies to do things — a bureaucratic to-do list, if you will. The problem is there are roughly 4,000 political appointments to be made in the federal government at the start of a new administration, 1,300 of which require Senate confirmation. On today’s show: the strange way we hand over control of the government. Plus, Biden moves to rais...more

  • “It only took a couple centuries, the first female secretary of the treasury”

    Jan 21 2021

    When then-President-elect Joe Biden announced his intent to nominate Janet Yellen for secretary of the treasury, he joked that “Hamilton” creator Lin-Manuel Miranda should write a musical about her. Naturally, we asked someone to write it. On today’s show: Indie rapper Dessa and her collaborators share “Who’s Yellen Now?” — a “Hamilton”-esque track about the economic icon. Plus, how a new president can undo his predecessor’s policies and how China is usi...more

  • President Biden’s first order of business

    Jan 20 2021

    As we recorded this episode, the inauguration festivities were winding down at the Capitol and President Joe Biden was getting down to business. Today we’ll talk about some of his first steps: a sweeping new immigration bill, his $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief plan, extended unemployment benefits and an executive order on workplace discrimination. Later, we’ll head across the pond to get a whiff of history.

  • 3 states, 3 economies. What can they tell us?

    Jan 19 2021

    We take a look at the unemployment pictures in Hawaii, Nebraska and South Florida. We also discuss what kind of economic challenges await the incoming Biden administration. Treasury nominee Janet Yellen sheds light on how the U.S. should approach its debt, and a French oil giant pivots to solar.

  • Will rent relief come soon enough?

    Jan 18 2021

    More than 14 million people are behind on rent in the United States, and the only thing keeping them in their homes is the CDC’s eviction moratorium — which is set to expire at the end of the month. $25 billion in emergency rental assistance is on the way from the latest Congressional relief package, and President-elect Joe Biden has proposed an additional $25 billion in assistance on top of that. But with the eviction moratorium set to expire, will the money come soon enough? Plus, the business...more

  • Biden’s $1.9 trillion plan for the economy

    Jan 15 2021

    We’re pretty much at the tipping point between the Trump and Biden economies. President-elect Joe Biden, set to officially take office Wednesday of next week, released his “American Rescue Plan” Thursday night. The $1.9 trillion proposal calls for ramped-up COVID-19 vaccine distribution and aid for Americans still struggling during the pandemic-caused recession. On today’s show: how the plan could impact the economic recovery. Plus, big banks are doing well and a conversa...more

  • Economic recovery: one step forward, several steps back

    Jan 14 2021

    In positive economic news, President-elect Joe Biden announced his “American Rescue Plan” Thursday — a $1.9 trillion proposal to stabilize the economy and get COVID-19 under control. But pandemic unemployment continues to be a tale of two economies. The unemployment rate among the highest-paid workers is around 5%, while the rate among low-wage employees is as high as 20%. Sustained unemployment could lead to increased homelessness, with one study predicting homelessness could be twice as high a...more

  • How those $600 checks are being spent

    Jan 13 2021

    It’s been a few weeks since the second round of COVID-19 relief started going out. Americans are spending those $600 checks on everything from tattoos and nice dinners to paying rent and electricity bills. The checks were meant to stimulate the economy, but also to provide economic relief to those seriously hurting during the pandemic. On today’s show: We check in with how a few people are using the money. Plus, how baby bonds could help close the racial wealth gap and why Netflix pl...more

  • Businesses big and small aren’t feeling great about the state of things

    Jan 12 2021

    The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the biggest American business lobbying group and a typically reliable supporter of conservative and Republican politicians, said Tuesday that President Donald Trump “undermined our democratic institutions and ideals” last week. A chamber leader also said some members of Congress “will have forfeited the support of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Period. Full stop.” Small business owners aren’t feeling great about things either, with optim...more

  • Corporate America is standing up to Trump

    Jan 11 2021

    Following last week’s armed insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, corporations are starting to pull financial support from President Donald Trump and certain Republicans. JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs are suspending political donations in general for at least six months. Blue Cross Blue Shield Association and Marriott are suspending donations specifically to Republicans who objected to the certification of the presidential election. And PGA of America pulled a championship tournament from a...more

  • Jobs, jobs, jobs

    Jan 08 2021

    The U.S. economy lost jobs for the first time since April, shedding 140,000 positions, the December jobs report showed. And long-term unemployment ticked up to 37% — quadruple what it was before the pandemic. It’s unclear if businesses will start hiring again anytime soon, as the COVID-19 rages across the United States. On today’s show: The worsening pandemic will continue to slow jobs recovery. Plus, how the vaccine rollout is going in rural America, and restaurant workers in Washin...more

  • A series of disconnects

    Jan 07 2021

    The stock market is not the economy; this we know. But the market seems completely disconnected from events happening in the United States. After Wednesday’s pro-Trump insurrection, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at a record high. And again Thursday, after 787,000 Americans filed first-time unemployment claims, markets closed at record highs. On today’s show: A look at the disconnects between the markets, the economy and our democracy. Plus, social media platforms are puttin...more

  • The ramifications of Trump supporters storming the U.S. Capitol

    Jan 06 2021

    Extreme supporters of President Donald Trump gathered for protests at the U.S. Capitol Wednesday, which turned violent as hoards of people broke into the U.S. Capitol Building. Lawmakers, in session to certify the 2020 presidential election, were forced into hiding and tear gas was deployed in the Capitol Rotunda. On today’s show: What this unprecedented day means for the U.S. economy going forward. Plus, more PPP loans are on the way and colleges are slow to reopen.

  • Small businesses are figuring out the year ahead

    Jan 05 2021

    As we enter the second calendar year of COVID-19 life, small businesses are taking stock and adjusting their pandemic plans. The economic crisis brought on by the pandemic has shuttered more than 160,000 small businesses. And a December survey found that 1 in 4 small business owners might have to close permanently in the next six months if economic conditions don’t improve. On today’s show: How the pandemic has altered small business owners’ plans — and lives. Plus, health care...more

  • Pandemic wage gains were just a fluke

    Jan 04 2021

    Wages have been rising during the COVID-19 pandemic, but economists say it’s just a fluke. While most higher-paid professionals have been able to work from home, millions of lower-paid service workers lost their jobs and income. And the gap between the haves and have-nots will widen even further as the economy recovers. On today’s show: Economists predict wages are likely to stagnate for returning service workers. Plus, Google’s employees unionize, and we check in on small busi...more

  • What we might see in the new year

    Jan 01 2021

    Relief is finally on the way in the form of $600 checks to Americans who qualify. But that might be too little, too late for those hurting the most during this economic crisis. On today’s show: A look at how more relief might play out with a new Congress and a new administration in the White House. Plus, Texas food banks say they could be short millions of pounds of food and Congress lets paid sick, family and medical leave mandate expire. Your support makes our reporting possible — become...more

  • Looking to 2021

    Dec 31 2020

    2020 is finally coming to a close. This year has been historic: the COVID-19 pandemic, a summer of long overdue racial reckoning, the 2020 election and the ongoing economic crisis. We’ll begin the new year with millions of Americans out of work. The highly anticipated Jan. 5 runoffs in Georgia will decide control of the Senate. And, like always, the fate of the U.S. economy rests in consumers’ hands — and wallets. On today’s show: We look back at the year that was, and how the ...more

  • Relief checks are starting to arrive

    Dec 30 2020

    The Treasury Department is starting to distribute the $600 relief checks Congress agreed to in the latest COVID-19 relief package, and the IRS said it began making direct deposits into bank accounts Tuesday. For those who don’t have an account on file with the agency, paper checks or prepaid debit cards will be sent out. On today’s show: Those prepaid cards have advantages and drawbacks. Plus, Congress finally bans surprise medical bills and how 2020 became the year of the hobby. You...more

  • How those $600 checks are likely to be spent

    Dec 30 2020

    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blocked an effort Tuesday by Democrats to raise the next round of relief checks to $2,000. So Americans will be getting $600 checks this time around. In the spring, people spent only about a third of the relief money. But nine months into the pandemic, millions of Americans are still out of work and unemployment benefits are dwindling; it might not be so easy to hold on to the money now. On today’s show: Americans are likely to spend their stimulus on...more

  • Trump finally signs the relief bill, but the delay is causing confusion

    Dec 28 2020

    President Donald Trump finally signed the COVID-19 relief bill Sunday, nearly a week after Congress passed the package. But two key federal unemployment programs lapsed during the delay, and that’s leading to some confusion around unemployment benefits. Now it’s unclear if people will end up receiving crucial unemployment benefit payments this week. Also, a look back at this year’s “she-cession,” what the relief package has to do with climate change and holiday sale...more

  • Working from home? Take a break … if you can

    Dec 25 2020

    With the COVID-19 relief bill still in limbo, we talk about how people working from home are attempting to take care of their mental health. It hasn’t been easy. Also, the travel industry is hurting, even during the holidays. Then we look at how a Black-owned puzzle company has managed to piece together success as a small business during the pandemic.

  • Still in limbo

    Dec 24 2020

    While Congress did finally pass a $900 billion COVID-19 relief package this week, President Donald Trump is refusing to sign it. Millions of Americans hold their breath as the programs keeping them afloat are about to expire; meanwhile, the president has gone to Florida. On today’s show: States are now fighting over which should receive workers’ income taxes as state and local budgets crumble due to the coronavirus. Plus, churches are filling gaps in the social safety net even more d...more

  • Where does the economy go from here?

    Dec 23 2020

    Congress finally got it together and passed a COVID-19 relief package this week. But let’s do some numbers. Consumer spending fell nearly half a percent last month — the first decrease since April. Personal income also fell by a little over 1% — the third decline in four months. And with more Paycheck Protection Program money on the way, small business owners haven’t forgotten that the first rollout wasn’t exactly smooth. On today’s show: Even with more COVID relief, the...more

  • Is Congress just kicking the can down the road?

    Dec 22 2020

    The $900 billion coronavirus relief package that Congress passed Monday is one of the largest stimulus bills in U.S. history. It includes special access to food stamps extended for six months, $300 per week in extra federal unemployment benefits  through March, and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance funded into April. Still, that’s just a “drop in the bucket” for one restaurateur whose business has struggled through the pandemic. On today’s show: Will this relief package be...more

  • Finally, some relief (probably)

    Dec 21 2020

    Congress at last reached an agreement on a second round of COVID-19 aid. The $900 billion package, if passed, will bring immediate relief to millions of Americans still struggling through the pandemic-induced financial crisis, including those who are months behind on rent. The deal also includes money for cultural institutions, like indie movie theaters. On today’s show: the impact of the coming relief money. Plus, when teachers should get the coronavirus vaccine and why one lender wants y...more

  • The pandemic’s toll on doctors

    Dec 18 2020

    At a time when health care workers are more crucial than ever as the pandemic rages in the United States, doctors are leaving the field. A quarter of doctors are considering retiring early, according to a new survey, and 8% of U.S. doctors have already closed their practices because of COVID-19. On today’s show: Why doctors are leaving medicine during the pandemic. Plus, a much-anticipated video game release goes down in flames, and a conversation with the Dallas Fed president. Your suppor...more

  • Even with another relief package, economic recovery is gonna take awhile

    Dec 17 2020

    Congress is reportedly nearing a deal on the second round of COVID-19 relief, eight months after the first and only pandemic-aid package. But even with nearly a trillion dollars in aid, we’re looking at a long, slow economic recovery ahead. On today’s show: If we make the same mistakes we did after the Great Recession, we’re in for businesses shuttering, high and long-term unemployment, and low-income Americans in dire straits. Plus, people won’t be donning sequined dress...more

  • A look at the state of retail, as holiday shopping wraps up

    Dec 16 2020

    Retail sales fell a bit more than 1% in November, which matters because that most likely includes the first wave of holiday shopping. And now that we’ve passed a lot of retailers’ holiday shipping deadlines, sales are likely to slow further. On today’s show: how the pandemic is affecting retailers and consumers alike. Plus, what the SolarWinds hack could mean for the U.S. economy and why fewer Americans are moving this year. Your support makes our reporting possible — become a ...more

  • How we’re getting through the pandemic

    Dec 15 2020

    Nine months into the pandemic, we’re looking at what people — and the economy — are doing to get through it. On today’s show: a conversation with the CEO of GoFundMe about how people have relied on the platform through the COVID-19 economic downturn. Plus, how hybrid home and in-office work models will affect commercial real estate. And a look at how poorer countries could get the COVID-19 vaccine more quickly. Your support makes our reporting possible — become a Marketplace Investor...more

  • Scott Kirby on the “end of the beginning”

    Dec 14 2020

    United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby said his industry was one of the first to be impacted by COVID-19 — “at the tip of the spear,” as he put it. And United revenue is going to be down 70% in the fourth quarter. But, as bad as it has been, he said we’re beginning to reach “the end of the beginning,” quoting Winston Churchill. On today’s show: a conversation with Kirby about how United has handled the pandemic. Plus, economies that controlled the virus are doing bet...more

  • “Get the money out now”

    Dec 11 2020

    That was journalist Catherine Rampell’s guess at what Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell is thinking about the economy right now. Congress has yet to come to an agreement on more COVID-19 relief for Americans who need it more than ever, as several pandemic aid programs are set to expire this month. The next three weeks are going to be rough. Plus, who qualifies as an essential worker when it comes to vaccine distribution and a look at how liability protections are holding up relief talks....more

  • The racial wealth gap can be boiled down to a simple ratio: 224-to-1

    Dec 10 2020

    An average single white man under 35 is 224 times as wealthy as the average single Black woman the same age, according to a new report. The report also found Black households held 4% of household wealth going into the pandemic, even though they account for a little over 13% of the U.S. population. On today’s show: That racial wealth gap is going to make pandemic recovery for Black Americans even harder. Plus, the case for extending unemployment benefits, and how one cheesemonger is trying ...more

  • The FTC wants Facebook and Instagram to break up

    Dec 09 2020

    Relationship status: it’s complicated. The U.S. government, along with 48 states and districts, sued Facebook today, alleging the social media giant bought or killed off its competition, resulting in an illegal monopoly. Now the Federal Trade Commission is demanding the company sells Instagram and WhatsApp. On today’s show: “Marketplace Tech” host Molly Wood explains what that means for Facebook and other tech giants. Plus, millions of Americans are on the brink of evicti...more

  • Bipartisanship is flourishing where there’s money to be made

    Dec 08 2020

    COVID-19 relief talks continue to hit snag after snag on Capitol Hill as each party fights for its priorities. But bipartisanship is flourishing elsewhere: lobbying. Around $3 billion a year is spent on lobbying, and the biggest, most lucrative lobbying firms in Washington are bipartisan. On today’s show: a look at the bipartisan business of political lobbying. Plus, Nielsen catches up with the streaming era and why Ikea is saying farewell to its catalog. Your support makes our reporting p...more

  • What a COVID baby bust means for the economy

    Dec 07 2020

    Millions of families lost income due to the pandemic this year, and that’s leading to tough financial decisions. A big one? Whether or not to grow their families. COVID-19 could lead to 300,000 to 500,000 fewer births next year. And that could mean big economic consequences for the workforce in the future. Plus, why retailers are opting for smaller sales this year and what fur sales have to do with a U.S.-U.K. trade deal. Your support makes our reporting possible — become a Marketplace Inv...more

  • The recovery is slowing down so much — soon it could be going backwards

    Dec 04 2020

    In more normal times, adding 245,000 jobs in November would be great. But the American economy is digging out of a nearly 10 million job hole, hundreds of thousands of people are leaving the workforce, and soon we could be back to losing jobs again. On today’s show, we’ll do the numbers. Plus: checking in on Fannie and Freddie, vaccine PSAs and PPP loan forgiveness.

  • Along with everything else, this pandemic is an infrastructure crisis

    Dec 04 2020

    We’ve been saying it for months: This pandemic is peeling back the layers of what’s broken in this economy and this country. Today, we’ll examine a medical system at its breaking point, an unpredictable retail landscape and the possibility of a double-dip recession. Plus: With new vaccines comes the risk of hackers. Your support makes our reporting possible – become a Marketplace Investor today to keep us going strong.

  • Where should more COVID-19 relief money go?

    Dec 02 2020

    A bipartisan group of senators proposed a $908 billion COVID-19 relief package Tuesday. The proposal comes after months of stalled negotiations on what the next package should be used for exactly. So on today’s show, we asked a few economists how the next round of relief money should be spent. Plus, an explanation of a physics theory that could help us understand post-pandemic recovery, and the role workplaces could play in coronavirus vaccine distribution. Your support makes our reporting...more

  • A clear disconnect between the Treasury and the Fed

    Dec 01 2020

    Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin testified before the Senate Banking Committee about the CARES Act — and it pretty much sounded like they were talking about two different economies. Powell focused on the big picture, while Mnuchin stuck to the letter of the law. And that could make passing more COVID-19 aid even harder. Plus: Most states have been underpaying pandemic unemployment benefits, and Capitol Hill is still overwhelmingly white. Your support make...more

  • Biden’s economic think tank

    Nov 30 2020

    President-elect Joe Biden’s team Monday released the names of three people who will be on his Council of Economic Advisers. Cecilia Rouse, a dean at Princeton, has been tapped to lead the council. If confirmed by the Senate, she’ll be the first Black woman to ever chair the CEA. On today’s show: a look at how Biden’s economic team is coming together. Plus, a Wall Street data merger, a look at COVID-19 in food deserts and what’s up with 5G.

  • The holiday shipping crunch is coming

    Nov 27 2020

    Hordes of crazed Black Friday shoppers storming big-box stores for once-a-year deals? Not this year. The coronavirus pandemic has caused a shift to online holiday shopping as people try to stay home and stay safe. And that surge in e-commerce means a delivery crunch could be coming. Plus, why another NBA season is starting so soon.

  • Holidaying from home

    Nov 26 2020

    Most of us have spent the majority of this year from home. Working from home. Learning from home. And now, holidaying from home. On today’s show: We check in with some workers who will be celebrating the holidays from their work-from-home offices. Plus, what it’s like to be a senior on fixed income during the coronavirus pandemic.

  • Hurtling toward a fiscal cliff

    Nov 25 2020

    Between Christmas Day and the end of the year, a whole slew of government relief programs put into place to help Americans through the pandemic are expiring and there’s no extension in sight. Unemployment assistance, food programs, eviction bans and paused student loan payments will all end before the new year. On today’s show: millions of Americans are about to go over a fiscal cliff. Plus, how the pandemic affected our helium supply and a look at how toy drives are navigating COVID...more

  • COVID restrictions are back, but there’s no aid in sight

    Nov 24 2020

    The coronavirus pandemic continues to worsen across the U.S., and states are starting to impose restrictions similar to those we had in the spring. One key difference this time: There’s no federal relief package. Without another round of something like the Paycheck Protection Program, the outlook for small businesses is bleak. On today’s show: We check in with restaurants preparing for lockdowns.  Plus, a look at the future of the Housing Department and why dating apps are popular du...more

  • The economic EGOT?

    Nov 23 2020

    TFC: The Treasury, the Fed and the Council of Economic Advisers. Janet Yellen is the first to capture this economic version of the EGOT as President-elect Joe Biden reportedly tapped the former Federal Reserve chair to lead the Treasury Department. Yellen, who was the first woman to lead the Fed, would be the first woman to serve as Treasury secretary. On today’s show: We take a look at what Yellen’s appointment means for the shaky U.S. economy. Plus, around 1 in 5 U.S. hospitals are...more

  • Why the Treasury wants its money back

    Nov 20 2020

    Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told the Federal Reserve Thursday that he wants his money back. Well, not his money, but rather $455 billion from the CARES Act. The money supported about a half a dozen Fed programs that stabilized credit markets. On today’s show: a look at what the Fed was using that money for, and what it could still do as the pandemic rages on. Later: California has new workplace safety rules, and home births are on the rise during COVID-19.

  • It’s about to get even harder for renters

    Nov 20 2020

    A report out from Harvard shows the economic fallout from the pandemic is hitting the lowest-income renters especially hard. And two policies that have helped keep renters in their homes — an eviction moratorium and extended unemployment benefits — are set to expire next month. On today’s show: the coming rental crisis. Plus, a conversation with the president of the New York Fed, and why Starbucks and Home Depot are raising employees’ wages.

  • Can unemployment insurance be fixed?

    Nov 18 2020

    The deluge of unemployment claims overwhelmed state unemployment systems across the United States at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Laid-off workers waited hours on hold, online application portals crashed and applications sat in the system for weeks or months in limbo. Antiquated equipment and systems have made it a challenge to get aid to the people who need it. On today’s show: Can we fix the unemployment system in the U.S.? Plus, Boeing’s 737 Max planes have been approve...more

  • The U.S. is excluded from a giant new trade deal

    Nov 17 2020

    China and 14 other countries — including economic powerhouses Japan and Korea — signed a trade deal over the weekend that covers a third of the global economy. One country not included? The United States. The U.S. has tried to deal with China’s influence over trade before. The Obama administration negotiated the Trans-Pacific Partnership with Pacific Rim countries, but President Trump torched that agreement at the beginning of his term. On today’s show: The U.S. is on the outside loo...more

  • Another round of lockdowns

    Nov 16 2020

    The coronavirus continues to surge across the U.S., with more than a 100,000 new cases each day over the past week. Washington, Oregon, New Mexico and the city of Chicago have all issued stay-at-home orders, and California Gov. Gavin Newsom said Monday the state is “pulling an emergency brake” on its reopening plans. On today’s show: We check in with the small businesses preparing for another round of lockdowns. Later, why cardboard boxes are in high demand and the odds of a fr...more