And Brazil's state oil company, Petrobras, lost 15 percent of its market value this week - that's some $10 billion. NPR's Lourdes Garcia-Navarro reports from Sao Paulo on why oil analysts predict more trouble ahead for the oil giant.
The Labor Department on Friday said the nation's unemployment rate fell to 7 percent, a five-year low, as U.S. employers added 203,000 jobs to payrolls in November. In October, the unemployment rate was 7.3 percent.
And today's last word in business is: Madiba Shirts.
We've been remembering this morning that many impacts that Nelson Mandela had on the world in politics and race and reconciliation. He died yesterday in South Africa at the age of 95. But we cannot leave without mentioning his impact on fashion.
NPR's Planet Money team is manufacturing its own T-shirt. After the women's shirt was assembled in Colombia, they voyaged by container ship to Miami. The container, a big standardized box that moves easily from truck to ship to train, is the unsung hero of the global economy. It was invented in the 1950s and dramatically reduced shipping costs, ushering in a new era vastly different than the world retired stevedores remember.
Workers rallied in 100 cities on Thursday to raise awareness for increasing pressure to raise wages. The push comes as 19 cities and states already raised minimum wages. A report from Berkeley economists finds the low-wage fast food jobs are costing taxpayer billions of dollars in public assistance — everything from food stamps to Medicaid.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D- Mass., listens to testimony during a Banking Committee hearing on Nov. 12. In a Senate floor speech on Social Security last month, Warren said, "With some modest adjustments, we can keep the system solvent for many more years, and we could even increase benefits."
For the past three years, there's been a shortfall in the payroll taxes collected for Social Security. And as more baby boomers join the ranks of the 57 million people already receiving benefits, that deficit is bound to keep growing.
At the same time, the overall share of wages being taxed for Social Security is shrinking as the higher wages that are exempt have soared. The Social Security Board of Trustees predicts a nearly $3 trillion trust fund built up over decades will vanish within 20 years.
Originally published on Thu December 5, 2013 4:24 pm
A rendering of the world's largest vessel, the Shell Prelude, which comes in at just over 1,600 feet. It has just left its dry dock in South Korea, where it is being built. It will eventually head toward Australia, where it will be anchored off the coast and used as a liquefied natural gas facility.