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.
How store brands went from shamed to chic
Store brands tend to thrive during times of economic stress, and they’re having a moment now. Today, we trace generic brands back to the inflation of the 1970s and hear how “private label” products have come to rival premium brands and attract devotees. Also on the program: the relevance of Federal Reserve meeting minutes, the analysts behind Wall Street expectations and the deeper digital lives of teens.
Consumer sentiment has an income divide
Walmart and Home Depot both reported sales were up 6.5% in the second quarter. While Walmart’s report indicates tough times for lower-income consumers, Home Depot’s shows middle to upper-income ones are feeling pretty good — even if they’re holding off on a new house. Plus: a new leader for Texas’ troubled power grid, dangerous heat for delivery drivers, and a new Florida law could make it harder for professors to retain tenure.
Apartments are going up, but rent isn’t going down yet
While it may not be the best time to be building (or purchasing) a single-family home, apartment construction has reached a 40-year high. All those new units could ease rent prices eventually, but rising labor costs and a supply chain backlog mean it won’t be soon. Plus: A look at “sticky” prices and how the oil and gas industry is betting on fracking as we try to reach net-zero carbon emissions.
Consumers get a confidence boost
The economy is a mixed bag right now. Inflation remains high but may have peaked. There’s talk of recession, but the labor market is holding up and wage growth is strong. And though consumer sentiment is relatively low, optimism appears to be rebounding. Today, we’ll read the economic tea leaves. Also: The economic case for a four-day school week, and a summer vacation in the Greek islands.
As housing costs climb, legislation targets homelessness
The pandemic and skyrocketing housing costs are pushing more people onto the streets. As shelters struggle to keep up, more cities and states are making it illegal to sleep outside. But housing advocates say that criminalizing homelessness is not a fix and could make it harder for people to find permanent shelter. Plus, what the producer price index tells us about inflation and how schools are dealing with chronic absenteeism.
Here’s what’s fueling that headline inflation number
Inflation clocked in at 8.5% annually in July, meaning that price gains have slowed but are still way up year over year. Today, we take a closer look at how gas prices can have an oversized impact on the consumer price index and why the costs of cooking at home are rising faster than your restaurant bill. Plus, the ongoing fight to expand tribal broadband access and the struggles of understaffed summer camps.