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Commerce Sec. Penny Pritzker on our export economy

Tue, 2014-09-02 11:07

American cities exported $1.4 trillion in goods and services in 2013, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday. That includes everything from manufacturing to secondhand goods, scrap, mining and agriculture.

Two states benefit most in dollars and in number of jobs from the export economy: Texas and California. That may not be a surprise, given the vast area and population in both places, but some of the cities showing growth from exports may be: Kansas City, Missouri; Youngstown, Ohio; Detroit. 

Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker joined Marketplace's Kai Ryssdal to dig into the findings. 

What kinds of jobs are being created by exports?
Of the goods jobs, 88 percent of them are manufacturing jobs that are created. Those are good jobs. But in general, the exporting jobs that are being created pay 13 to 18 percent more than the average job. We're very excited about that, and 1.6 million Americans have new jobs since 2009 because of exports. 

I ask this question against the backdrop of an economy growing at 4.2 percent on an annualized rate, we learned last week...
Isn't that exciting?

It's great news, but here's the thing, to your report: You can't export your way to growth, right? Because everything we export, somebody else has to buy. With the dollar at highs and with slowdowns in Europe and Asia, how confident are you that this export-led growth can continue?
I am confident. We have doubled exports to over 30 countries around the world. There are a lot of countries that want our goods and services, and one of the things we want to do is help our companies export, because that'll continue to support the kind of GDP growth we've been seeing. 

One of the things that happens when exports are a topic of conversation is that the Export-Import Bank comes up, that government agency that helps finance exports for a lot of American companies. There's a great political brouhaha right now in Washington over whether to renew the charter when it comes due. Why do we need the government to be helping in this way?
It's absolutely imperative that we reauthorize the Export-Import Bank, and I'll tell you why. Sixty other countries have export-import banks. The Export-Import Bank over the last five years has supported the creation of 1.2 million jobs in the United States. We can't afford not to have this tool in our tool chest. 

Speaking of who is doing these jobs, last time we spoke [January 2014], I asked you about the prospects for immigration reform. You said you were confident it would be done in the first half of this year. I'm going to give you the opportunity for a Mulligan here, Madam Secretary. 
Well, the reason for supporting immigration reform has not gone away. First of all, we have a moral responsibility to deal with the 11 million undocumented individuals living in our country. But we also have an economic opportunity that comes with immigration reform.

If you look from a more technology and STEM standpoint, we know that over 50 percent of students in most STEM fields that are getting a master's or Ph.D. are immigrants. So this is crazy. We're educating all these terrific young people, they're here in the country. If they want to stay, why shouldn't we encourage them to stay? It would be good for our businesses, too. They need this kind of talent. I know where we're at, but I believe that pragmatism and the reality will win out [...] and that we will get some kind of action on immigration reform. 

I won't ask you to speak for your boss, but do you anticipate that action to be executive action from the White House, most likely after the election?
Well you know what, since you hang out with my boss, I'll let you ask him that question. 

Narendra Modi's 100th day as prime minister

Tue, 2014-09-02 10:56

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi marks his first 100 days in office today, a period that offered high hopes for a pro-business administration.

"His election was indeed a time of great optimism, and I would say that not much has changed. A lot of that optimism continues to be," says Sruthijith KK, editor of Quartz India. "There is some concern that he hasn’t done enough, but there are enough indications that he is laying the groundworks slowly and steadily to be able to then leapfrog and do much bigger things."

KK says Modi plans to put a think tank in place to help figure out how the economy needs to be structured, and the different ways the states and central government can share revenues. However, that plan has not been established yet.

Listen to the full interview in the audio player above.

Eric Cantor gets a new job...on Wall Street

Tue, 2014-09-02 07:00

Former House Majority leader, Republican Eric Cantor, lost a June primary to a Tea Party conservative in a surprise upset. 

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, two thirds of former members of Congress end up in the lobbying business. Cantor, however, is doing something slightly different.

He will be vice chairman at boutique investment bank Moelis and Co. He will also be a managing director, and a member of its board. 

What, though, will he be doing?

“Strategic counsel,” according to the firm’s announcement. Cantor comes from a real estate law background, so he won’t be bringing a deep expertise in mergers and acquisitions, for example. But politicians do, it turns out, have skills.

“A politician is a very smart hire,” says Jeanne Branthover, managing partner with Boyden Global Executive Search. “Politicians are very strategic, they’re always looking into the future and looking at what should we do, what shouldn’t we do, what should our image be, our message, our brand."

A politician like Cantor also brings a Rolodex.

“When you think about an investment bank, so much of what they do is wealth and connections, and politicians are connected at very high levels and very important circles,” says Branthover.

“Money is a commodity, access and influence are not,” says Josh Crist, managing director at Crist Kolder Associates, an executive search firm. “Guys who have grown up on the investment side can access money, but may not be able to open the doors that a guy like Cantor can.”

So, for example, if Company A wants to expand by taking over Companies B and C, they might lean on Cantor to work any connections there.

“He’s seen C level, board level access for years given his fundraising responsibilities,” says Crist.

Cantor raised $1.4 million over the past two years, including $5,200 for his own campaign from his new boss, the founder of Moelis and Co, since April 2013.

PODCAST: Facebook targets India

Tue, 2014-09-02 03:00

First up, there's a lot of data this week. The most recent indicator is the Small Business Jobs Index. It seems small business hiring has slowed slightly. Today, we talk about the prospects for economic growth as we head into the fall. And when Eric Cantor was in congress, he was well-liked on Wall Street. The former House Majority Leader raised a lot of money from folks in the financial services sector. Soon, he'll join their ranks. Plus, Facebook says eighty-one percent of its "daily active users" are outside the United States and Canada. The social media giant is huge in India. It has well over a hundred million users there. And, it's growing. India could surpass the U.S., as Facebook's top market as early as next year. As it focuses on expanding in emerging markets, Facebook has a new advertising tactic, and it involves the strength of cell phone signals

 

 

 

Has the rise of the e-reader changed how we read?

Tue, 2014-09-02 02:00

All this week, Marketplace Tech is taking a closer look at technology and the ways in which it influences how we read.

Already, Marketplace Tech host Ben Johnson has spoken with Marketplace's LearningCurve reporter Adriene Hill on how tablets are being used in schools as education tools, and author Jason Boog about his new book, "Born Reading: Bringing Up Bookworms in a Digital Age." 

But how has technology changed the way adults read? Well, as you might expect, the answer is complicated. 

Click the media player above to hear Marketplace Morning Report guest host David Gura in conversation with Marketplace Tech host Ben Johnson.

The benefits of developing an Ebola vaccine

Tue, 2014-09-02 02:00

This week, the National Institutes of Health begins testing an Ebola vaccine in humans. Given the need to quickly stem the deadly outbreak in West Africa, global health officials hope to push a vaccine to market.

While there's currently a market for an Ebola vaccine, it’s small, and Ebola isn’t a disease that keeps popping up year-after-year. 

“It’s not all about economics,” says Dr. Carlos Del Rio, chair of the Department of Global Health at Emory University. He says developing the vaccine is also about building good PR for a company. “There’s a value to that publicity, right?”

Right, says Kenneth Kaitin, director of the Center for Drug Development at Tufts University. But Kaitin says there is also the potential for a huge payoff, especially for smaller companies. 

Think of it as a pharmaceutical version of “Cap and Trade.”

“A program that the FDA put in place several years ago gives a priority review voucher to any company developing a product for a neglected or tropical disease,” says Kaitin.

Ebola is a perfect exampleThat pharma company can sell the voucher to another drug maker. The “golden ticket” gets the purchaser a fast track to federal regulators for any other drug in its portfolio.

One voucher recently sold for more than $67 million.  

How Facebook helps advertisers target ads in India

Tue, 2014-09-02 02:00

The social media giant Facebook has well over 100 million users in India, a nation that could overtake the U.S. as the top Facebook market as early as next year.

To capitalize in emerging countries like India, Facebook is now providing advertisers with data on cell reception and connection. The information helps match ads to user technology. For example, Coca Cola could send a video ad to people in cities with 4G LTE, or turn it into a text ad for people in rural areas where connections are spotty and data networks are limited.

It’s a way to help advertisers better reach the population they’re addressing, says Anne Nelson, who specializes in international media development at Columbia University.

This is important because most users in places like India are on pay-as-you-go data plans, says Nathan Eagle, the CEO of Jana, a mobile marketing platform.

“Advertising for most people in these emerging markets ultimately is taking money out of their pockets,” he says.

With over a billion potential Facebook users in India, that's probably not the best way to make a first impression.

 

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