Yuki Noguchi

Yuki Noguchi is a correspondent on the Business Desk based out of NPR's headquarters in Washington D.C. Since joining NPR in 2008, she's covered business and economic news, and has a special interest in workplace issues — everything from abusive working environments, to the idiosyncratic cubicle culture. In recent years she has covered the housing market meltdown, unemployment during the Great Recession, and covered the aftermath of the tsunami in Japan in 2011. As in her personal life, however, her coverage interests are wide-ranging, and have included things like entomophagy and the St. Louis Cardinals.

Prior to joining NPR, Yuki started her career as a reporter for The Washington Post. She reported on stories mostly about business and technology, and later became an editor.

Yuki grew up with a younger brother speaking her parents' native Japanese at home. She has a degree in history from Yale.

Pages

3:06pm

Fri June 14, 2013
Business

Housing Market Watchers Edgy As Mortgage Rates Keep Climbing

Originally published on Fri June 14, 2013 4:12 pm

Home values have been rising in recent months, but mortgage rates have taken a rapid turn upward as well. Some investors are worried that the housing recovery may stall if mortgage rates jump too quickly.
Gene J. Puskar AP

Mortgage rates have seen a relatively sharp rise this month. The average 30-year fixed-rate loan hit 4 percent earlier in June — a big jump from the record lows of recent years. Some investors are now concerned that the housing recovery could be stifled if rates continue to rise quickly.

The Federal Reserve has two main missions: to maximize employment and minimize inflation. Right now, there are few, if any, signs that prices for goods are spiking, and the job market is still crawling out of its long, deep slump.

Read more

12:56am

Mon June 10, 2013
Law

50 Years After The Equal Pay Act, Gender Wage Gap Endures

Originally published on Mon June 10, 2013 6:18 pm

President Kennedy passes out pens on June 10, 1963, after signing the Equal Pay Act.
Harvey Georges AP

On this day 50 years ago, President John F. Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act in an effort to abolish wage discrimination based on gender. Half a century later, the Obama administration is pushing Congress to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act, designed to make wage differences more transparent.

Some dispute the frequently cited figure that women are paid 77 cents for every dollar a man earns. But even those who argue the gap is narrower agree it's most prominent when a woman enters her childbearing years.

Read more

2:22am

Tue May 21, 2013
Business

JPMorgan Shareholders Consider Splitting CEO, Chairman Jobs

Originally published on Tue May 21, 2013 9:13 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

JPMorgan Chase holds its annual shareholder meeting today in Tampa, Florida, and the shareholders will vote on a key measure: a proposal to strip the CEO, Jamie Dimon, of his other title, chairman of the board. A growing number of companies have split the CEO and chairman roles.

Shareholder activists and corporate governance experts say having a balance of power at the top helps to reduce risk. The bank and its supporters disagree. NPR's Yuki Noguchi reports.

Read more

3:04pm

Thu May 16, 2013
Business

A 'Wake-Up Call' To Protect Vulnerable Workers From Abuse

Originally published on Fri May 17, 2013 11:35 am

For decades, Hill County Farms, also known as Henry's Turkey Service, housed a group of mentally disabled men in squalor in this former schoolhouse in Atalissa, Iowa. The EEOC won a judgment against the company for exploiting the men.
John Schultz/Quad-City Times ZUMAPRESS.com

Four years ago, 21 men with intellectual disabilities were emancipated from a bright blue, century-old schoolhouse in Atalissa, Iowa. They ranged in age from their 40s to their 60s, and for most of their adult lives they had worked for next to nothing and lived in dangerously unsanitary conditions.

Earlier this month, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission won a massive judgment against the turkey-processing company at which the men worked. The civil suit involved severe physical and emotional abuse of men with intellectual disabilities.

Read more

12:51am

Thu May 9, 2013
Business

Furloughs Only The Latest Blow To Federal Worker Morale

Originally published on Thu May 9, 2013 3:51 am

Federal employees demonstrate against the U.S. budget sequester, outside New York's Federal Plaza on Tuesday.
John Moore Getty Images

Federal workers say they don't have much to celebrate these days.

Furloughs began in April, exacerbating already low morale for many government agencies as budgets have tightened. Downsizing has meant more work for those who remain, and talk of further cuts has many worried about job security. This year is also the third that federal workers haven't received a pay increase, contributing to discontent.

Read more

1:07am

Tue April 30, 2013
All Tech Considered

When It Comes To Productivity, Technology Can Hurt And Help

Originally published on Mon May 6, 2013 1:27 pm

With instant messages buzzing, emails pinging and texts ringing, how can employers increase productivity in the workplace? Software companies are tackling the problem, tracking employees' computer time to find ways to improve their efficiency.
iStockphoto.com

Even when people think they're buckling down, studies show the average office worker wastes over a third of the day. There's Facebook, of course, and the email from a friend with a YouTube link. After all that, is it time to go get coffee?

Worker pay is the most expensive line item in the budget for most businesses, which means billions of dollars are going to waste.

But here's the silver lining: It turns out lack of productivity presents a big business opportunity.

Joe Hruska is pretty blunt about how much work anyone does in a typical day.

Read more

1:32am

Thu April 25, 2013
Business

Shifting Retail Landscape Tilts Support For Online Sales Tax

Originally published on Fri April 26, 2013 12:46 am

Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn. (left), leads a news conference about the Marketplace Fairness Act on Tuesday. The legislation would provide states with the authority to require out-of-state retailers to collect and remit taxes on purchases shipped into the states.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

The U.S. Senate may vote this week on the Marketplace Fairness Act, a bill that would allow states to collect sales tax from more online retailers. And as the political and retail landscape has shifted from the last time around, the Senate is expected to approve the measure.

The proposal to require online sellers to collect out-of-state sales tax has been kicked around for many years. For a decade, Amazon was a fierce opponent.

Read more

3:22pm

Fri March 29, 2013
Economy

As Housing Industry Builds Up, Other Sectors Follow

Originally published on Fri March 29, 2013 9:31 pm

Home Depot is hiring 80,000 employees for its spring season. As the housing market picks up, other industry sectors — like gardening, construction and furniture — move upward, too.
Jewel Samad AFP/Getty Images

When fortunes rise in the housing industry — as they currently are — it tends to lift sales for other businesses, too. Home construction, sales and prices are all improving. And according to many analysts, the market is gaining steam.

For nearly two decades, Scott Gillis has owned his own moving company, Great Scott Moving in Hyattsville, Md. Moving high season is just around the corner, which means Gillis is hiring.

Read more

1:07am

Wed March 20, 2013
Economy

For Some Ready To Buy, A Good Home Is Hard To Find

Originally published on Wed March 27, 2013 7:30 am

Bove gets text alerts of new homes coming on the market.
Lauren Rock for NPR

The first day of spring typically signals the high season for open houses and home sales.

The season seems to have arrived early in some places where homebuying is already frenzied, and in many markets, the pendulum has swung from an excess of homes on the market a few years ago to a shortage.

Read more

2:06am

Mon March 18, 2013
Business

U.S. Probes Abuse Allegations Under Worker Visa Program

Originally published on Mon March 18, 2013 10:38 am

Workers and labor organizers in New York City protest the alleged exploitation of students on J-1 summer work travel visas who worked at a Pennsylvania McDonald's, on Thursday.
Jess Jiang NPR

A group of foreign college students who came to the U.S. on cultural work exchange visas in December have been protesting their working conditions at a McDonald's in Harrisburg, Pa. In the process, they've wading into a debate about guest workers in the U.S.

The students include Jorge Rios, who says three months ago he eagerly did the legwork necessary to get a J-1 visa, used for student work exchange.

Read more

2:40am

Thu February 28, 2013
Business

Experts Boil Telecommuting Decisions Down To Flexibility Vs. Serendipity

Originally published on Thu February 28, 2013 10:04 am

iStockphoto.com

Yahoo touched off a debate about the effectiveness of telecommuting when it told employees last week that they may no longer work from home. The policy change was made, according to the company's internal email, to enhance workplace collaboration.

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, who happens to be a new mother, drew fierce criticism from those who say she should embrace, rather than reject, flexible work arrangements.

What exactly is lost and what's gained when people work from home?

Read more

1:21am

Tue February 26, 2013
Business

Technology Upends Another Industry: Homebuilding

Originally published on Tue February 26, 2013 7:44 am

The recession forced Mid-Atlantic Builders Executive Vice President Stephen Paul to cut the company's staffing. But he says the firm is being efficient with half the original number of employees.
Marie McGrory NPR

Years into the economic recovery, hiring remains slow. Many businesses learned to do more with less during the recession, so they don't need to bring on as many people now.

These new efficiencies have led to what economists call "labor displacement," which is taking place around the country. One business in Rockville, Md., is doing the same amount of work with half its original staff.

Two things are noticeably absent from the offices of Mid-Atlantic Builders: people and paper.

Read more

1:06am

Wed February 20, 2013
Shots - Health News

Money Replaces Willpower In Programs Promoting Weight Loss

Originally published on Wed February 20, 2013 4:23 pm

Peggy Renzi (middle) talks with her teammates Erika Hersey (left) and Erica Webster. The three are part of a team of nurses in the Bowie Health Center emergency room in Bowie, Md., who are working together to lose weight.
Gabriella Demczuk NPR

Sticking to a diet is a challenge for many people, but starting next year, Americans may have an even bigger, financial incentive to keep their weight in check. The new health care law includes a provision that would allow employers with more than 50 employees to require overweight workers who do not exercise to pay more to cover their insurance costs.

Some employers, inspired in part by the success of shows like The Biggest Loser, are already designing weight-loss programs that use money to succeed where willpower has failed.

Read more

8:51am

Wed February 6, 2013
Business

In Cost-Saving Move, Post Office Cuts Saturday Delivery

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

NPR's business news begins with an ending.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

GREENE: The U.S. Postal Service has just announced the end of first class mail deliveries on Saturday. It is part of an effort to slow enormous financial losses. And NPR's Yuki Noguchi has come into the studio to tell us what all this means for customers and the Postal Service. And Yuki, so when will my Saturday deliveries stop?

Read more

4:18pm

Wed January 30, 2013
Business

Grounding Of 787s Creates Doubts About 'Business As Usual' At Boeing

Originally published on Wed January 30, 2013 5:39 pm

Investigators are still looking into the cause of fires and overheating aboard Boeing's new 787s.
Shizuo Kambayashi AP

Boeing generated more cash than expected last year and reclaimed the top spot over rival Airbus as the world's biggest airplane maker.

But all that was overshadowed by the fact that its entire fleet of 787s is grounded after batteries on two of its planes either overheated or caught fire.

"For 2013, our first order of business, obviously, is getting the 787 back into service," Boeing CEO James McNerney says.

Read more

4:10pm

Thu January 17, 2013
Crisis In The Housing Market

Homebuilding Is Booming, But Skilled Workers Are Scarce

Originally published on Thu January 17, 2013 4:29 pm

New homebuilding reached a 4 1/2 year high in December, welcome news for an industry that lost 2 million jobs during the downturn. Despite those job losses, the sector is experiencing a labor shortage in some parts of the U.S.
Tony Dejak AP

The construction industry in the U.S. is staging a comeback. In one indicator, the Commerce Department announced Thursday that new homebuilding has reached its highest level in 4 1/2 years.

While that's a promising sign for the industry, more than 2 million construction jobs have been lost in the sector since employment hit its peak. While some might expect that means plenty of people are ready to fill the new jobs, many markets around the country are actually experiencing a shortage of construction workers.

Read more

1:24am

Thu January 10, 2013
Your Money

New Mortgage Rules Would Limit Risky Lending

Originally published on Thu January 10, 2013 1:04 pm

New federal mortgage rules come at a time when regulators and banks are trying to find a middle ground between overly lax and overly tight lending standards.
Mel Evans AP

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is releasing Thursday much anticipated new mortgage rules, which will restrict the kind of subprime lending practices that caused both the financial and housing sectors to crash five years ago.

The new rules come at a time when regulators and banks are trying to find a middle ground between overly lax and overly tight lending standards.

Read more

1:54pm

Wed December 26, 2012
NPR Story

Labor Force Participation At Lowest Point In 3 Decades

Originally published on Wed December 26, 2012 5:24 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

7.7 percent, that's the current unemployment rate. It's a full percentage point lower than this time last year. That sounds like progress, a modest number of new jobs are being added every month. But labor force participation, a measure of both people who are working and those who are actively looking for work, is at its lowest point in three decades.

Read more

2:54pm

Thu December 6, 2012
Economy

Businesses, Not Consumers, Sour On Economy

Originally published on Thu December 6, 2012 4:40 pm

Shoppers carry bags during Black Friday sales at the South Shore Plaza in Braintree, Mass. Right now, consumers are feeling positive, but the mood among businesses is at recession levels.
Allison Joyce Getty Images

When it comes to the economy, consumers and business owners have very different takes right now. Consumers are feeling positive, but the mood among businesses is at recession levels.

In a word, business owners are bummed.

"What we've found is that a lot of that optimism is not there right now," says Dennis Jacobe, chief economist for Gallup, which polled these small-business types just after the election.

Read more

12:22am

Wed December 5, 2012
Your Money

More Large Retailers Ease Customers' Path To Credit

Originally published on Wed December 5, 2012 7:09 am

Home Depot has long offered credit cards, partly to serve customers who have just suffered major house damage. The company has recently widened those efforts. Here, a Tampa, Fla., customer buys a generator and bottled water, preparing for Tropical Storm Isaac's arrival in August.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Retailers are finding more ways to offer their customers financial products — mortgages, loans and the like. In the past, people looked to banks for this kind of product. But big-box stores are trying to find new ways of getting money to those who cannot use banks, or want to avoid them altogether.

Costco may be best known for pallets of bottled water or bulk toilet paper that can last a family an entire year. But earlier this year, it also added mortgages to its growing array of financial offerings.

Read more

Pages