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Check out the Marketplace Reader, a digital audio magazine

Fri, 2014-03-28 00:41

We are always changing the way we work. But in the last decade, improvements in technology and communications, combined with companies' increased ability and inclination to outsource, have conspired to make radical changes to work in America. In the newest issue of the Marketplace Reader, we partnered with the New York Times Your Money section, we look at Work in America Today.

How it works

The Marketplace Reader is  an interactive e-book we've built combining some of Marketplace's best radio reporting with all the advantages of a long-form, multimedia digital magazine. You can read, listen or interact with our great stories and interviews on your own time, online or offline, on your iPad or iPhone. And it's just the latest of many ways you can experience the voices and personality of Marketplace on your mobile device.

To get the most out of your Marketplace Reader experience, activate the multimedia "Extras" before you start reading. To do that, click the "Extras" icon or tap on your device screen.

The extras include audio clips and full-length interviews, Google Maps, related web links presented in an in-app browser, PDF documents, and video. You'll see icons for these extras spread throughout each chapter. Click on the "Extras" icon to turn off the extras to read without interruption.

If a chapter is available as audio as well as text, you will see an Audio Book icon appear in the toolbar. Click play to listen. As the audio plays, the page will automatically scroll in unison so you can read along as you listen.

We hope you enjoy this new format as much as we enjoyed creating it for you. And please, share your feedback so we can improve and evolve it with each new issue.

What's the ROI for a college degree?

Fri, 2014-03-28 00:33

A report released this week tries to capture the return on investment of going to a specific university or getting a certain college major.

For example, a degree from Harvey Mudd College will cost you just under $229,500, according to Payscale’s fifth annual survey. But the return on that investment -- meaning how much money you’ll actually make because you attended Harvey Mudd -- is nearly $1 million dollars over 20 years.

Not surprisingly, engineering schools give the best return. But even the report's authors say future earnings shouldn't dictate a college choice. 

"What we’re trying to say is make sure that you go to the right school for that choice that you’re making," says Katie Bardaro, the lead economist on the report.

At the same time, college admissions counselors says they're seeing colleges offer more job-focused degrees.

Bridging the language barrier at movies

Fri, 2014-03-28 00:12

Movie studios depend more and more on Latino consumers. Research shows Hispanic customers attend movies more often than many other groups and spend more on concessions. But around 23 million Hispanics don't go to movies because they don't speak English.

MPAA

A new app called myLINGO allows movie-goers to listen to the Spanish-language soundtrack in sync with the movie.

"By having the app available for the Spanish-language, box office revenue can increase by $1.14 billion, which is ten percent of the domestic annual box office sales today," says myLINGO co-founder Olenka Polak. The company is giving away the Spanish-language download for the Cesar Chavez movie for free. After that, the app will cost $2 per download.

MPAA

 

Analyzing the health of the office

Thu, 2014-03-27 23:54

In an article for The Atlantic, Julie Beck looked at the "optimal office" and found that one factor in some of the issues we're having with our workspace's may be the "open office" movement, and the fact that "[b]y the turn of the century, roughly two-thirds of U.S. workers spent their days in open-plan offices." In her article, Beck writes:

"But as the layout became commonplace, problems emerged. A 2002 longitudinal study of Canadian oil-and-gas-company employees who moved from a traditional office to an open one found that on every aspect measured, from feelings about the work environment to co-worker relationships to self-reported performance, employees were significantly less satisfied in the open office."

She also looked into the prevalence of fluorescent light in most modern offices:

"The brightness of the lights in your office affects your emotional state. When the lights are brighter, one particular study found, people were more aggresive, they found other people more attractive, they felt better about good things and worse about bad things. Everything was sort of intensified."

In terms of the new office trend of standing at a desk, instead of sitting down.

"It's been pretty well documented that people who sit a lot have higher risk for premature death and various, other health risks. But the standing desk hasn't been studied enough, I think, because it's a newer craze that people are getting into. But there was one study that said that standing for more than eight hours a day, right on the edge of the amount of time most people spend at work, can cause back pain, for pregnant women there's a risk of pre-term birth. It's not necessarily the perfect solution."

Twitter to list which music is most tweeted about

Thu, 2014-03-27 14:27

Twitter is trying to get back in the music game after it's music app was pulled from the iTunes app store, which was a failure, by most accounts.

Now, Twitter and Billboard are going to release something called the "Billboard Twitter Real-Time Charts."

Continuously updated lists of the music that's being Tweeted in the United States. Which I get.

But also...why?

Twitter to list which music is most tweeted about

Thu, 2014-03-27 14:27

Twitter is trying to get back in the music game after it's music app was pulled from the iTunes app store, which was a failure, by most accounts.

Now, Twitter and Billboard are going to release something called the "Billboard Twitter Real-Time Charts."

Continuously updated lists of the music that's being Tweeted in the United States. Which I get.

But also...why?

Microsoft's move to openness

Thu, 2014-03-27 14:08

As of today, iPad users can download a version of Microsoft Office. This is something the company resisted for years, as it maintained a “closed system.” If you wanted to use Microsoft Office on a tablet, you needed a Microsoft tablet.

According to Colin Gillis, with BGC Financial, Microsoft’s reversal speaks to a broader trend. “It’s always going to be a battle between closed and open systems, but certainly in terms of market share, open systems win,” he says.

 

Report: Brookstone headed for bankrupcy

Thu, 2014-03-27 13:59

Bad news today for those who like to kill time in airports browsing in a Brookstone store: There's word via the Wall Street Journal that the company -- purveyor of massage chairs, memory foam slippers and robotic pets -- is getting ready to file for bankruptcy protection.

If you haven't been in a Brookstone in a while, here's what you're missing: Indoor/outdoor wireless speakers, remote control stunt helicopters and of course, a line of massage chairs.

The deluxe bluetooth-body scanning model goes for $4,600.

"That's just it; not a lot of people need the novelty stuff," says electrical engineer Curt Stanfield.

I found Stanfield at the mall in Towson, Maryland, checking out a $60 remote control car on his lunch break.

"I think, you know, especially if the economy's down or people are trying to be wise with their money, they're not going to be shopping in a place like Brookstone," he says, "I mean, it's a neat place. There's nifty things, but it's not a place I'm going to be taking my money."

Brookstone didn't get back to us for comment. But the Journal blames sagging sales and heavy debt for the bankruptcy filing.

Rajiv Lal teaches retailing at Harvard Business School, and says many stores are fighting the same battle; becoming essentially showrooms for Amazon. People try something out and then look online.

"Many times they would find something comparable at much lower prices, especially on the internet," says Lal, "And that's what becomes so difficult for stores like Brookstone to be able to close a sale."

Lal is working on a book called "Will Your Retail Store Survive?"

Spencer's apparently thinks Brookstone will. The Journal reports the company has no plans to close stores or cut staff and Spencer's has a history of reinvention.

According to Forbes, the catalog business that started in the 60s now makes about half its revenue from Spirit Halloween and its pop-up costume stores.

Here's a look at some of the most novel . . . novelties that Brookstone offered:

Sphero 2.0 App-Controlled Wireless Robotic Ball

$129.99

It’s a ball. That’s also a robot. That you control with your phone.

Kinetic Sand

$14.99

Sand at the beach too messy? Here’s sand that soft, stretchy, and slightly strange to the touch.

Video Camera Pen

$79.99

This pen takes HD video and holds an hour and a half of memory. No word on whether it was inspired by James Bond’s pen in Octopussy.

Quad Watch Winder

$199.99

How many watches do you need to wind at the same time? If the answer is four, then you’re the target market for the Quad Watch Winder.

OSIM uDivine S Massage Chair

$3,399.00

Brookstone is famous for selling massage chairs, and this one features something called 3D massage.

Towel Warmer

$89.99

If cold towels were somehow a problem for you, well, they won’t be a problem anymore when you have a device that warms towels.

Virtual Keyboard

$119.99

The virtual keyboard projects a laser keyboard onto any surface you’d like, meaning you won’t have to worry about phone keypads being too small for your fingers anymore.

No VR headset needed: This week's Silicon Tally

Thu, 2014-03-27 13:47

It's time for Silicon Tally. How well have you kept up with the week in tech news?

This week's guest is Jessica Lawrence, Executive Director of NY Tech Meetup.

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What's Up Europe? Germany and Poland have mixed feelings on Russia

Thu, 2014-03-27 13:15

After spending the first half of the week on Ukraine and Crimea, President Obama was in Rome on Thursday visiting with the Pope and taking a tour of the Coliseum.  Meanwhile, the International Monetary Fund has prepared an $18 billion aid package for Ukraine and Congress has voted to chip in another $1 billion.

Now that sanctions are in place, what is the climate like in Europe?

John Beauchamp is a reporter for Polskie Radio.  He said there’s not much cause for alarm in Poland, but tensions with Russia could have a long-term economic impact on the country.

 “In the first three months, from January to mid-March, we had a 7.3 percent year-on-year drop on exports to Russia,” said Beauchamp. “We’ve had, in the same period, a 6.3 percent year-on-year drop to Ukraine.”

Beauchamp said while these may sound like small numbers, they represent a one-fifth of Poland’s exports.

Economically, Germany wields the biggest stick in the situation in Crimea.  It is the European Union’s biggest exporter to Russia and has over $19 billion tied up in long term projects there.

 Thomas Marzahl is a freelance journalist stationed in Berlin. He said Germans are starting to worry about rising energy prices more than anything.

“Germans have seen their energy bills skyrocket over the last couple of years, even as worldwide energy prices have fallen,” said Marzahl. “Any sanctions that might be put on the Russian energy industry may hit the Germans and their pocketbooks.”

CSI High: Preparing students for the job market

Thu, 2014-03-27 13:14

In the latest installment of our ongoing series "American Futures," Atlanic national correspondent Jim Fallows recounts his trip to the southeastern tip of Georgia, where he explored a part of the education system that is oft overlooked - vocational school.

"Most discussion of education is either at the high end, where of course our universities are still dominant and we worry if that will continue, or the low end where we have understandable worries about basic literacy for a lot of students. But the part of education that prepares people for actual jobs, including those that are hardest to outsource and are not just low-wage entry level jobs, that's something we seem to act as if only the Germans or the Icelanders or the Japanese will pay attention to that." 

Camden County High School houses 2,800 kids, and while that size student body makes a heck of a good football team, it also produces a greater number of kids who won't go on to college. Fallows says the school has organized itself into a series of academies whose main purpose is to train those kids for good jobs.

"One of the academies is for government service and public service and things like that. There's a big law enforcement emphasis there. There's a man named Rich Gamble who worked for a long time as an NCIS investigator at a nearby naval base, and he trains the kids to do mock forensic and criminal work. His students wear these white lab coats and they go through the school and they stage some sort of mock crime. Then the rest of the students take plaster casts of the footprints and they take statements from witnesses and they prepare court documents, and the idea is to prepare people for this kind of skill in public or private work."

Of course, Fallows says, having 600 well-educated graduates presents Camden County with a unique problem, but it's not a bad one to have.

"In lots of places you will have jobs, but they don't seem to have enough well-trained people to fill them. In Camden County, Georgia, their pride is generating students who are prepared for lots of jobs in medical care or in public service or whatever with not enough jobs in the region. They feel as one teacher told me that they're supplying all of Florida and of course other parts of the country. The hope is that they're equipping their students to do things other than be caught in the low-end minimum wage trap. And in the longer run they're hoping this will equip them to develop some industry there to employ their own people."

Jim Fallows article about Camden County High School can be found here and in the latest issue of The Atlantic.

CSI High: Preparing students for

Thu, 2014-03-27 13:14

In the latest installment of our ongoing series "American Futures," Atlanic national correspondent Jim Fallows recounts his trip to the southeastern tip of Georgia, where he explored a part of the education system that is oft overlooked - vocational school.

"Most discussion of education is either at the high end, where of course our universities are still dominant and we worry if that will continue, or the low end where we have understandable worries about basic literacy for a lot of students. But the part of education that prepares people for actual jobs, including those that are hardest to outsource and are not just low-wage entry level jobs, that's something we seem to act as if only the Germans or the Icelanders or the Japanese will pay attention to that." 

Camden County High School houses 2,800 kids, and while that size student body makes a heck of a good football team, it also produces a greater number of kids who won't go on to college. Fallows says the school has organized itself into a series of academies whose main purpose is to train those kids for good jobs.

"One of the academies is for government service and public service and things like that. There's a big law enforcement emphasis there. There's a man named Rich Gamble who worked for a long time as an NCIS investigator at a nearby naval base, and he trains the kids to do mock forensic and criminal work. His students wear these white lab coats and they go through the school and they stage some sort of mock crime. Then the rest of the students take plaster casts of the footprints and they take statements from witnesses and they prepare court documents, and the idea is to prepare people for this kind of skill in public or private work."

Of course, Fallows says, having 600 well-educated graduates presents Camden County with a unique problem, but it's not a bad one to have.

"In lots of places you will have jobs, but they don't seem to have enough well-trained people to fill them. In Camden County, Georgia, their pride is generating students who are prepared for lots of jobs in medical care or in public service or whatever with not enough jobs in the region. They feel as one teacher told me that they're supplying all of Florida and of course other parts of the country. The hope is that they're equipping their students to do things other than be caught in the low-end minimum wage trap. And in the longer run they're hoping this will equip them to develop some industry there to employ their own people."

Jim Fallows article about Camden County High School can be found here and in the latest issue of The Atlantic.

Lady Gaga(s)

Thu, 2014-03-27 12:04

From the Marketplace Datebook, here’s a look at what’s coming up Friday:

  • The House Homeland Security subcommittee on Transportation Security holds a field hearing in Los Angeles. "Lessons from the LAX Shooting: Preparing for and Responding to Emergencies at Airports."
  • In Washington, the Commerce Department reports on personal income and spending for February.
  • Grab your popcorn and your Dramamine and both your dogs. "Noah" sails to the big screen.
  • Lady Gaga turns 28. Did you know that there is a Guinness World Record for the largest gathering of Lady Gaga Impersonators? That would be 121 impersonators at the 2011 Grammys.
  • And she has a long list of credits including "Footloose", "Bullets Over Broadway" and TV's "Law & Order." Actress Dianne Wiest turns 66.

Fighting food deserts takes more than fresh produce

Thu, 2014-03-27 11:48

Food deserts are communities where residents with little or no access to healthy foods, often because there is no full-service supermarket.  Food deserts are often found in low-income neighborhoods, and many cities in the U.S. have made efforts to bring fresh produce to these communities, which often have much higher rates of obesity, diabetes and other health problems. In California, public health officials are trying a new approach.

On a sunny morning in Boyle Heights, a predominantly Latino neighborhood in East Los Angeles, the sidewalk in front of the Euclid Market was packed with TV news cameras and city officials. The sign on the store read "Todo Lo Que Necesita," everything you need. Dr. Eric Walsh, the director of the Health Department in nearby Pasadena, stepped up to a podium and adjusted the microphone.  Next to him was a table covered with brightly colored packages of tobacco products and sweetened alcohol drinks.

"Well, I want to start by saying we ought to take pause and ask a very difficult and hard question," Walsh began. "Who do these products target? Why are they in the neighborhoods that they’re in? In fact, what we face today is a question about the new civil rights in America. That there are corporations and practices out there that are targeting the poorest, most vulnerable, least resourced people in our community. The blackest the brownest. So we have a responsibility in public heath to step up and address this."

The purpose of the news conference is to announce the results from a statewide survey, the first of its kind. Researchers visited more than 7,000 grocery stores in California, everything from small corner stores to big-box stores. The survey looked at how tobacco, alcohol and junk food are marketed.

The survey found that 71 percent of the stores carried alcohol, while 37 percent sold milk, and more than half did not carry fresh produce. The survey also found that unhealthy products were more prevalent and more heavily marketed in poor neighborhoods.

The news conference was held at the Euclid Market because it's participating in a Market Makeover project sponsored by UCLA and the University of Southern California. Store owners get a free remodel of their store if they agree to offer healthy products and take down ads for junk food, alcohol and tobacco.  Before the makeover, the first thing you saw when you walked into Euclid was a wall of potato chips. Now it’s a produce case. And the windows of the store are no longer covered with ads.

Maria Avila owns the Euclid Market. She says the store is beautiful now. Removing the ads from the windows brought more natural light in, and more life. Avila’s seen a slight uptick in sales.

But not everyone is convinced that these makeovers are good for business. The owner of a corner store a few blocks away had planned on participating in the makeover project, but said he changed his mind. He makes most of his money selling beer and junk food and he wasn’t convinced that people would buy produce even if he offered it.

And the owner is right. Stocking stores with produce is only part of the solution. People have to be motivated to buy it.

"Most of the people we are working with are either food stamp recipients or food stamp eligible," said Mary Otetra Garcia, who runs a nutrition and physical activity program in Pasadena. " People that are under the poverty level of 185 percent."

Garcia teaches classes on health and nutrition in a working class neighborhood with few places to buy healthy food.

"I always tell people, whatever your cultural food is it’s okay to have that, because the more American diet they adopt or their children adopt, the unhealthier they get," she said. "Studies have shown that people who come from other countries are healthier than the people that are here."

Maria Vargas participated in the program. She says it’s made a big difference in her families’ health. She buys potato chips and soda only for special occasions now, and doesn’t take the family to McDonald’s any more. Now she cooks most of her meals at home with her three children.

"They need to participate," Vargas said. "That’s the way they learn how we can cook different and healthy foods."

Asked what she made for dinner the night before, she replied, "Well,  you know when you do the Mexican rice, we do it steamed and I put tomato."

Joseph Garcia also took the class and has worked hard at changing his families’ eating habit, especially his eldest sons.

"I think with all of us at home, we weren’t crazy about the changes," Garcia said. "And I think a lot of of the family members don’t want to hear it. That you shouldn’t drink a lot of soda and eat a lot of fried things."

He said he worries a little bit about what his son eats when he's not at home. "I know that sometimes he will eat a hamburger around there. So I will find in the car a bag from Taco Bell or something. But he ends up doing alright for the most part."

Nearly all the restaurants in this part of Pasadena are fast food, mostly fried chicken and burger joints, a few small Mexican places. But fresh fruit was available from Alejandro Beltran, who sells mango, pineapple, cucumber and coconut, sliced and sprinkled with lime and chile, from a cart. He said business is pretty good.

"I sell to all social classes, different races, Latinos, Asians, Americans," he said.

Bletran pulled a chunk of pineapple from his cart and sliced it in half with his knife.  Everyone eats fruit, he said.

Waffle tacos, bacon milkshakes... it's a trend!

Thu, 2014-03-27 11:02

There's the Waffle Taco. Red Robin's got its bacon milkshake. KFC had the double down.

It's officially a trend. "We are seeing quite a bit of more indulgent, more interesting, and more innovative items coming out especially from fast food," says Darren Tristano with food industry research group Technomic.

But what are the ingredients behind these culinary chimeras?

1. "Whats driving it right now is that the quick service restaurant industry as a whole is not growing. The packaged food business is not growing. The need for innovation is critical right now" – Gary Stibel, The New England Consulting Group.

2. The need for buzz. Even if a flavor combo doesn't take off, it still creates hoopla. "If you shorten the product cycle and come out with new flavors that are only going to be a limited time thing, you effectively encourage more frequent trial by consumers" – R.J. Hottovy, restaurant analyst with Morning Star.

3. Millennials. Turns out they like to try new things, and they are helping fuel the trend. "It's a trend that has gained traction with younger consumers, and ultimately brands look to what's successful." “-- Darren Tristano with food industry research group Technomic

4. Laziness. Well maybe that's not fair. Busy-ness? Either way, Taco Bell's Waffle Taco is built to be portable and easy to deliver to the mouth. "What we have seen as a longer term trend is portability, the ability for the consumer in one hand have a sandwich and in the other hand steer their car or text." -- Darren Tristano with food industry research group Technomic.

Five food mashups to make your mouth water -- or your stomach turn

By Shea Huffman

Taco Bell's Waffle Taco is only the latest novelty food combination to hit the culinary market. There have been plenty of mashups from fast food chains, retail brands, and hipter chefs that have either provided the answer to our munchie-prayers, or unleashed abominations that nobody asked for.

1. The Cronut

 

(Via Wikimedia Commons)

Probably the most popular mashup in recent food history, the combination of croissant and doughnut took New York -- and subsequently your local doughnut shop -- by storm in the summer of 2013.

2. The Ramen Burger

The latest foodie trend out of New York is spreading as quickly as the cronut, and our taste buds couldn't be happier.

3. Doritos Locos Tacos

(Courtesy of Taco Bell)

Taco Bell actually has a fairly long history of . . . interesting food combinations. A taco shell covered in the popular tortilla chip's seasoning might not be appealing to those with more discerning palates, but for the fast food chain's target demographic, it was a no brainer.

4. Pop-Tart Ice Cream Sandwiches

(Courtesy of Carl's Jr.)

These fast food companies sure do know how to cater to their more . . . munchie-prone customers. The Pop-Tart Ice Cream Sandwich never made it out of test markets, but that can't stop you from getting out that ice cream scoop.

5. Baconnaise

(Courtesy of J&D Foods)

There's a reason this stuff comes up whenever someone talks about the obesity epidemic:

         

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PODCAST: College football to get unions?

Thu, 2014-03-27 07:37

The government revised upward its assessment of the economy; gross domestic product for October to December increased from a 2.4 percent annualized rate of growth to 2.6 percent. We consult Diane Swonk, chief finacial officer at Mesirow Financial in Chicago, for some perspective.

And, in his ruling, Peter Ohr, the regional director of the National Labor Relations Board wrote that there is abundant evidence student athletes are treated as employees. He cited the long hours (over 40 per week) spent training, wrote that athletes are paid, in the form of scholarships, and noted that Northwestern rakes in big bucks and prestige when the football team wins.

Even with a large research university and seaside real estate, it's hard for Santa Cruz to compete with Silicon Valley's pull on engineers and entrepreneurs. Every morning, more than 20,000 people leave Santa Cruz county and commute to work in the Valley. Sick of the commute, Santa Cruz tries own tech hub.

Latinos still reluctant to sign up for Obamacare

Thu, 2014-03-27 06:54

Visits to healthcare.gov are surging in these last days before the Affordable Care Act enrollment deadline. But government officials are worried that they aren’t getting enough of the right people to sign up. Latinos in particular are sorely needed to balance insurance pools. They tend to be younger and healthier than the general population. But states with the largest concentration of Latinos - like California - have been struggling to win them over.

“The news gives a lot of information, [but] it confuses people. They don’t know what is the truth,” says Larissa Bobadilla, a health outreach worker in Los Angeles.

Many Latinos are afraid that if they sign up for health insurance, their undocumented family members will get discovered, and deported. Others aren't convinced it's worth the money. 

People like Bobadilla are out trying convince them that it's okay. 

“They trust me,” she says.

They trust her because she's been on the streets of LA for 16 years working as a promotora, a health educator. Now the kids of people she helped years ago are coming to her to find out what's really going on with Obamacare.

This is exactly what California officials want - trusted members of the Latino community explaining health plans to potential customers in Spanish. 

The trouble is, the state is short thousands of these insurance counselors. 

Political wrangling at the federal level is partly to blame. That delayed the roll out of programs for training counselors. And that left no time to approve a Spanish training curriculum or a Spanish certification test. Bobadilla was lucky. She had enough English to get by. 

“I don't know, I feeling so nervous, feeling so-- frustration,” she says

But other promotoras in her community didn't pass the test, and they can't help anybody until they do. 

This shortage of people power isn't just limited to the streets. 

The state insurance exchange, Covered California, underestimated how many counselors it would need to staff its call centers. Many people who asked to speak to someone in Spanish got transferred to English-speaking agents. When there are too many calls, the system hangs up. 

Similar problems have plagued the website. 

“I visited it, with my brother’s help, and we tried to enroll. But it didn’t work,” says Maria Aurelia, a teacher from San Pablo, east of San Francisco. “I would much rather sign up – face to face. There’s more communication.”

These disasters in customer service are one of the main reasons Latino enrollment has been so far below expectations. 

So far, just 8 percent of people who enrolled in a health plan through California’s exchange by the end of last year speak Spanish as their first language. The state had been aiming for something closer to the representation of Spanish speakers in the state population — nearly 30 percent. (The federal government has not released demographic data on enrollees.)

California officials are worried about this shortfall because the economics of the new health care system depend on Latinos. Because Latinos tend to be younger and healthier than the population as whole, their premiums subsidize care for older, sicker people, which helps keep costs down for everyone else. That’s why officials have been been scrambling in recent weeks to hire more Spanish speaking customer service agents and make improvements to the system. 

But even that will do nothing to overcome another serious obstacle: Cost. Many plans run two, three hundred dollars a month. Sometimes more.

“Good price? Hundred dollars a month,” says construction worker Jose Rodriguez.

Maria Aurelia also says she would prefer a monthly payment of one hundred dollars for her family.

Research shows that only a quarter of Latinos are willing to pay more than $100 a month for health insurance, according to Hispanic market research group Santiago Solutions. Carlos Santiago, the group’s founder, says many Latino families have never had insurance, making it difficult to see the value in it at such a high cost.

“You kind of go wait a minute, am I really going to use this right away?” he says. “How much do I need that security right now, this year when I have all these other realities in my life.” 

The deadline to sign up is March 31 - though people who encounter technical problems with the website can get an extra two weeks to finish their application.

NLRB rules Northwestern football players can unionize

Thu, 2014-03-27 06:44

In his ruling, Peter Ohr, the regional director of the National Labor Relations Board wrote that there is abundant evidence student athletes are treated as employees. He cited the long hours (over 40 per week) spent training, wrote that athletes are paid, in the form of scholarships, and noted that Northwestern rakes in big bucks and prestige when the football team wins.

Ohr also highlighted the control that coaches have over athletes. Among the examples included in the ruling, are a number of restrictions placed on football players. 

  • Only upperclassmen are permitted to live off campus, and even then, they are required to submit a lease to their coach for his approval.
  • Athletes have to diclose detailed information to coaches about what they drive.
  • Travel policies restrict players from leaving campus in the 48 hours before finals.
  • Finally, they must abide by a social media policy that restricts what they can post on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. In fact, Ohr writes, "the players are prohibited from denying a coach's 'friend' request."

Filling in the gaps that Gross Domestic Product skips

Thu, 2014-03-27 02:09

The U.S. gets its latest reading on the economy today. Analysts are expecting growth in GDP to slow for the first three months of the year due -- in part -- to bad weather. Many people consider Gross Domestic Product the final word on how the economy is doing. But does the measure of money changing hands really tell us how well we are doing?

Kristen Lewis, co-director of Measure of America, joins Marketplace Morning Report host David Brancaccio to discuss her organization's alternative measure and how various localities and ethnic groups are faring.  Click on the audio player above to hear more. 

Filling in the gaps that Gross Domestic Product skips

Thu, 2014-03-27 02:09

The U.S. gets its latest reading on the economy today. Analysts are expecting growth in GDP to slow for the first three months of the year due -- in part -- to bad weather. Many people consider Gross Domestic Product the final word on how the economy is doing. But does the measure of money changing hands really tell us how well we are doing?

Kristen Lewis, co-director of Measure of America, joins Marketplace Morning Report host David Brancaccio to discuss her organization's alternative measure and how various localities and ethnic groups are faring.  Click on the audio player above to hear more. 

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