Local and national business news.

Out To Lunch: Giving
Dionne Grayson / It's New Orleans

In 2005, many of us in New Orleans found ourselves in a position we could never have imagined. Homeless. Our place of work closed down. Our insurance companies refusing to compensate us. And our government largely useless.

Until then it was just a cliché. But the kindness of strangers saved our lives. And our city. It is no exaggeration to say that in those dire days New Orleans was resurrected by good people and charitable organizations.

Insurance giant shakes ACA tree

17 hours ago
D Gorenstein

Here we go again: another round of ‘Is this the beginning of the end for Obamacare?’ It’s not a Supreme Court case this time, but an earnings call from the nation’s largest health insurer, UnitedHealth Group.

On Thursday morning, the company said it projects to lose $425 million selling plans on the Affordable Care Act exchanges, and executives said they are considering whether to pull out of those markets down the road.

Why some companies are using algorithms for hiring

19 hours ago
Kai Ryssdal

There's a new study out from the National Bureau of Economic Research which suggests that algorithms may be better at picking the right employee than hiring managers are — at least when it comes to employee retention. But according to Bloomberg’s Rebecca Greenfield, hiring managers shouldn’t necessarily be scared of algorithms. “I think they should think of them as their friends,” Greenfield said.

Click the above audio player to hear Greenfield's conversation with Marketplace host Kai Ryssdal about the advantages of algorithms.  

Tony Wagner

Millions of students around the country might not be able to read this story because their broadband connection is too slow to load it.

Marketplace for Thursday, November 19, 2015

19 hours ago

Selling the Affordable Care Act taking a toll on insurance giants; lawmakers propose restrictions on visas that may complicate travel; and closing the wage 118 years.

Lawmakers urge changes to Visa Waiver Program

19 hours ago
Andy Uhler

Since the Paris attacks, there's been mounting concern about who's getting into the United States. Some lawmakers want to tighten something called the Visa Waiver Program, which makes it easier for people from 38 foreign  countries. One proposal would make people who'd traveled to Syria and Iraq ineligible for those waivers. Another would introduce a waiting period. The U.S. travel industry doesn't like the idea.

Tracking terror funding enters a new era

20 hours ago
Tracey Samuelson

The sources of funding for the Islamic State are many and varied. The U.S. Department of the Treasury estimates ISIS looted between $500 million to $1 billion from banks in 2014. Earlier this year, the agency believes the extremist group was making about $40 million a month from the sale of oil. Additional hundreds of millions come from extortion, the taxes it levies on the people and businesses in the territory it controls, looting antiquities, and kidnapping for ransom.

How does the Treasury know about the items on this list?

Scott Tong

Right around now, the companies and regulators that make up the North American electricity system – i.e., the power grid – are undergoing a stress test. It is the second and final day of a “war game” on the grid.

Right now, the lights are out for thousands of North Americans. Virtually, that is.

That’s the idea of an exercise known as GridEx III. It’s the third time the electric industry has faced a set of pretend attacks. The latest simulation came Wednesday and Thursday. 

Atom Factory's Troy Carter: 'Music sells everything but music'

22 hours ago
Kai Ryssdal and Tommy Andres

Troy Carter is one of the biggest names in the music biz. He's perhaps most famous for helping to break Lady Gaga, but he's also behind the success of Eve, Meghan Trainor and John Legend, just to name a few. He is the founder and CEO of Atom Factory, a full-service talent management agency that has become famous for utilizing technology and social media. 

West Philadelphia born and raised

Kai Ryssdal

In light of this final note on the way out today, check back with me in 118 years, all right? 


The latest World Economic Forum Global Gender Gap report says that based on current trends, women won't start making the same pay as men for doing the same job until the year 2133. (This is worldwide.) 

Which is staggering, honestly.