NPR business news starts with healthier retirement accounts.
The nation's largest administrator of 401(k) accounts says the average account balance grew by 12 percent last year. Two-thirds of that growth is attributed to the surging stock market. The other factor is increased contributions from workers and their companies. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.
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And I'm Linda Wertheimer.
More now on this morning's merger announcement by American Airlines and U.S. Airways. The deal would create the biggest air carrier in the U.S., with an estimated value of $11 billion. The merger must still be approved by regulators. And since American Airlines is working its way out of bankruptcy, a federal bankruptcy judge will also have to OK the deal.
Our last word in business today is love, marriage and taxes. Just in time for Valentine's Day and tax filing season, the independent Tax Policy Center has updated its online marriage bonus and penalty calculator.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
The new numbers reflect the latest changes in the tax code. Couples considering a walk down the aisle might want to take a look at this before saying I do.
The boards of American Airlines and US Airways just approved a merger of the two airlines. But the deal still has to win the approval of antitrust regulators at the Justice Department — regulators who last month sued to stop a merger between the beer giants Anheuser-Busch InBev and Grupo Modelo, which brews Corona.
The antitrust division has dozens of economists on staff. Their job, essentially, is to figure out whether a merger would reduce competition so much that a company could raise prices without losing business to competitors.
Thursday is the last day of New York Fashion Week, and some cutting-edge design will be presented in the tents at Lincoln Center — literally. Standing on the runway will be computer programmer types rather than models. This follows an event that kicked off Fashion Week — something called a "hackathon."
A hackathon, explains Liz Bacelar, is a "fast-paced competition in which graphic designers, software developers and people with ideas, they come together to build an app in 24 hours. "
Three years after the devastating Port-au-Prince earthquake, one of the largest international relief projects in Haiti isn't anywhere near where the quake hit. It's an industrial park on the north coast halfway between Cap-Haitien and the border with the Dominican Republic.
Aid agencies are pouring millions of dollars into the project to encourage people to move out of the overcrowded capital and create jobs. Critics, however, say the jobs don't pay enough to lift people out of poverty.
In the 2010 model year, the most dependable cars and trucks were either new to the market or had been through a major redesign, according to a study by J.D. Power and Associates. The finding contradicts the traditional stance that consumers should let carmakers work out the bugs in a new model before they buy.
Now to the nation's capitol, where senators are considering the president's nominee to manage the country's finances. Jacob Jack Lew is slated to replace Timothy Geithner as secretary of Treasury, and the Senate Finance Committee posed questions to him today. As NPR's John Ydstie reports, everyone was on their best behavior. It was nothing like the slugfest Geithner had at his confirmation four years ago.