July 20, 2014

 

In early June, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray signed a bill into law that will raise the city’s minimum wage to $15-an-hour. At more than double the federal level, Seattle’s new wage floor will become the highest in the country once it is fully implemented. Large businesses have until 2017 to reach the $15 mark while small businesses can wait as late as 2021. In both cases, wages will be slowly raised in the intervening years to make the process Continue reading

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June 12, 2014

Recent federal banking regulations have placed limits on the fees that financial institutions can charge for things like overdrafts and credit card transactions. Although this has been good news for consumers and merchants, the new rules have reduced revenue streams for banks across the country. As a result, many institutions are looking to make up the difference through additional sources of income, such as Western Union branches.

The more than 160-year-old money-wiring firm sells its services to 52,000 locations throughout Continue reading

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March 31, 2014

The slow reemergence of American manufacturing has been touted by politicians on both sides of the aisle as an essential force in the recent economic recovery. But in many cases, the manufacturers driving production across the nation aren’t American at all. In fact, Honda recently announced that it built and shipped more cars from the U.S. than it imported here from Japan.

According to Honda executives, the company’s current status as an American exporting power wasn’t the intention when it Continue reading

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January 19, 2014

Although the American economy is slowly recovering, the job market is not. Low and minimum wage work has driven much of the recovery while mid-level jobs that disappeared during the recession have failed to rematerialize. Confronted with this bleak “new normal,” many people in both the private and public sectors have called for an increase to the federal minimum wage. Advocates for change point to cases like that of Anthony Goytia, who must supplement his salary as a Wal-Mart clerk Continue reading

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January 12, 2014

When people think about the average American college student, their minds often wander to images of fresh-faced teenagers hitting campus right out of high school on their parents’ dime. But in reality, only one-third of the nation’s more than 20 million students enrolled in two- and four-year universities fit that description.

Though it may not surprise seasoned professors, the idea of the “traditional” college student is becoming increasingly outdated. According to recent data collected by the U.S. Department of Education, Continue reading

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November 11, 2013

 

It’s a sad fact that nearly 49 million Americans live without health insurance while millions more scrape by with lackluster coverage. With the Affordable Care Act getting off to a rough start and months to go before its full implementation, the nation’s underinsured must often make due with the limited resources at their disposal. In fact, according to Consumer Reports one of the cheapest and most common ways for people to get the care they need is to barter Continue reading

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November 1, 2013

In the fall of 2013 the U.S. came perilously close to defaulting on its debt. Already reeling from a two-week government shutdown, lawmakers were able to come together at the eleventh hour to raise the debt ceiling through February 7, 2014. If it had failed to do so, then for the first time in history the U.S. would have been unable to pay the interest on Treasury bonds. This would have sent global markets into disarray while almost certainly setting Continue reading

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October 1, 2013

The Dow Jones Industrial average is often considered a bellwether for the economy. This stock index of 30 large publicly traded American companies offers a snapshot of the nation’s fiscal wellbeing for analysts and day traders alike. Regardless of its popularity, however, the Dow is hardly perfect. Deciding which companies comprise the index is a delicate process that sometimes omits major players. For instance, a couple years ago we shared a story in the newsletter about Apple’s absence from the Continue reading

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September 14, 2013

 

For emerging economies, investment from foreign powers has long been a contentious topic. In fact, as recently as last year protestors lined the streets of India’s major cities against a series of reforms designed to open the country’s retail sector to foreign direct investment (FDI). The laws would allow companies like Wal-Mart and Tesco to buy up to 51% stakes in local businesses. The proposed reforms inflamed the fears of many Indians who felt that the economy would become Continue reading

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September 5, 2013

 

A peculiar statistic has been puzzling economists ever since the economy began its recovery. Retail sales have climbed steadily over the last four years despite the fact that gains in reported income have stalled. So if people still aren’t getting paid more, where is this disposable cash flow coming from? According to some, one need not look further than the underground economy.

Then again, the sum total of unreported U.S. income isn’t a thing you can easily track on Continue reading

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