Business

9:54am

Thu December 26, 2013
The Two-Way

Jobless Claims Fell Sharply Last Week

A "help wanted" sign earlier this year in the window of a clothing store in Pasadena, Calif.
Kevork Djansezian Getty Images

Just as last week's figures may been distorted by temporary factors related to the holiday season that made things look worse than they really are, the word Thursday that there's been a sharp drop in claims for unemployment insurance needs to be accompanied by the same sort of caveat.

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7:47am

Thu December 26, 2013
The Two-Way

Apologies, Promises From UPS And FedEx About Delivery Delays

Originally published on Thu December 26, 2013 8:28 pm

UPS delivery man Vinny Ambrosino was dressed for the holiday season on Tuesday as he delivered packages in New York City. Not all the things ordered for Christmas got to their destinations on time.
Carlo Allegri Reuters/Landov

Update at 8:20 p.m. ET. Amazon, UPS, Offer Refunds:

The Washington Post reports:

"Amazon and UPS said Thursday they would offer refunds to customers who did not receive their Christmas orders on time, after a surge in last-minute online shopping caught the shipping giant off guard."

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4:40am

Thu December 26, 2013
Business

Pacific Northwest Suffers After China Bans Shellfish Imports

Originally published on Thu December 26, 2013 10:23 am

A geoduck farm near Totten Inlet, Washington.
KBCS/Bellvue/Seattle/Flickr

China has closed its doors to all shellfish imports from an area that stretches from northern California to Alaska. The state of Washington says it's losing as much as $600,000 a week.

Among the shellfish not being harvested is the geoduck, a long-necked clam that can fetch up to $150 per pound in China. It's a major export for the Pacific Northwest.

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4:38am

Thu December 26, 2013
Business

Drug Stores Rx For Profits: Offer More Than Prescriptions

Originally published on Thu December 26, 2013 7:49 am

Earnings are skyrocketing at drug stores — Walgreens alone saw its earnings grow nearly 70 percent in the last quarter. Drug stores no longer handle just prescriptions and selected sundries. Big chains now compete with grocery stores and sandwich shops. Consumers are also shopping there for holiday gifts.

4:30am

Thu December 26, 2013
Business

Chinese Military Uncovers Secret Tunnel

Originally published on Thu December 26, 2013 7:49 am

The underground passageway goes from the city of Shenzhen to Hong Kong. It's outfitted with concrete walls, interior lighting and rail tracks, presumably intended to transport goods. Chinese authorities believe a gang intended to use the tunnel to smuggle cell phones and other electronics to Hong Kong — which has lower tariffs than the mainland.

4:30am

Thu December 26, 2013
Business

Frustrated Documentary Maker Opens Cafe In West Bank

Originally published on Sun December 29, 2013 8:16 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

In the Israeli-occupied West Bank, economic growth has been slowing this year. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has proposed an ambitious plan to lure large-scale foreign investment. But details of his plan remain under wraps. Small businesses make up the vast majority of companies in the West Bank.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

NPR's Emily Harris has this profiles of one new one.

EMILY HARRIS, BYLINE: Before opening a cafe, Palestinian Tariq el-Ayyan worked on documentary films.

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4:30am

Thu December 26, 2013
Business

Southwest Airlines Lags In On-Time Arrivals

Originally published on Thu December 26, 2013 7:49 am

Southwest Airlines finished last in on-time arrivals in October — the last month for which statistics are available. According to the Department of Transportation, Southwest's on-time arrival rate was 78.8 percent. It was the second month in a row the airline came in at the back of the pack.

4:30am

Thu December 26, 2013
Business

The Secret Protectionism Buried Inside NAFTA

Originally published on Thu December 26, 2013 7:49 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Now NPR's Zoe Chase, from our Planet Money Team, reminds us about one industry that played a big role in NAFTA's passage: men's underwear.

ZOE CHACE, BYLINE: Now you're used to the labels: made in Mexico, made in China, made in Bangladesh. But back in the '80s, when they were first talking about NAFTA, about half of American clothing was made in America, by people like this.

BERTHA MARR: Graduated from the eighth grade, then went straight on in to working at Fruit of the Loom.

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4:30am

Thu December 26, 2013
Business

Wave Of Illegal Immigrants Gains Speed After NAFTA

Originally published on Thu December 26, 2013 7:49 am

The North American Free Trade Agreement, known as NAFTA, turns 20 next week. Hailed as a boon for regional trade, it had some undesirable effects. It hastened a trend away from small farmers, and speeded illegal immigration to the U.S.

4:47pm

Wed December 25, 2013
Economy

Rising Home Prices Are Good News For Owners, Not So Much For Buyers

Originally published on Thu December 26, 2013 1:39 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Robert Siegel. And now, the latest in our series Number of the Year. We're taking numbers and exploring what they tell us about the year that was 2013. Today, NPR's Yuki Noguchi reports on the number 13. That is the estimated percentage of how much home prices have risen this year.

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