Business

What Is Your Housing Situation? We Want to Hear From You.
Business

What Is Your Housing Situation? We Want to Hear From You.

“No society can be fully understood apart from the residences of its members.”I have that quote (from “Crabgrass Frontier,” the seminal history of America’s suburbs) taped to a wall behind my desk. It summarizes why I love covering housing for The New York Times and seem never to run out of things to write about. Housing is everything. It’s where we live and raise our families. It is most people’s largest store of wealth. Whether you own, you rent, or you sleep outside, where you hang your head defines much of your existence.Over the past few decades, and especially since the pandemic, housing has gone from a symbol of American strength to an everyday crisis. Aspiring homeowners are becoming forever renters. People live in increasingly crowded households, the supply of illegal housing has ...
Spring Training at Coachella: Can the M.L.S. Cash In on Its Preseason?
Business

Spring Training at Coachella: Can the M.L.S. Cash In on Its Preseason?

On a recent Wednesday afternoon, Dan Perkin and Scott Bissmeyer, work buddies on vacation, sat on metal bleachers watching the Portland Timbers play the San Jose Earthquakes in the first of four preseason Major League Soccer games that day.They had spent $125 each on V.I.P. day passes, which included food, drink and access to tents to keep cool. Self-described “M.L.S. road trippers,” they have visited numerous M.L.S. stadiums, and have watched teams in Tucson, Ariz., where as many as 11 clubs came together for preseason training in the past.But this year, with 12 M.L.S. teams — along with two from the United Soccer League and four from the National Women’s Soccer League — gathered at a 1,000-acre property outside Palm Springs, Calif., for preseason training, Mr. Perkin and Mr. Bissmeyer de...
U.S. Economy: Has an Era of Increased Productivity Returned?
Business

U.S. Economy: Has an Era of Increased Productivity Returned?

The last time the American economy was posting surprising economic growth numbers amid rapid wage gains and moderating inflation, Ace of Base and All-4-One topped the Billboard charts and denim overalls were in vogue.Thirty years ago, officials at the Federal Reserve were hotly debating whether the economy could continue to chug along so vigorously without spurring a pickup in inflation. And back in 1994, it turned out that it could, thanks to one key ingredient: productivity.Now, official productivity data are showing a big pickup for the first time in years. The data have been volatile since the start of the pandemic, but with the dawn of new technologies like artificial intelligence and the embrace of hybrid work setups, some economists are asking whether the recent gains might be real ...
Capital One to Acquire Discover in $35.3 Billion Deal
Business

Capital One to Acquire Discover in $35.3 Billion Deal

Capital One announced on Monday that it would acquire Discover Financial Services in an all-stock transaction valued at $35.3 billion, a deal that would merge two of the largest credit card companies in the United States.“A space that is already dominated by a relatively small number of megaplayers is about to get a little smaller,” said Matt Schulz, chief credit analyst at LendingTree.Capital One, with $479 billion in assets, is one of the nation’s largest banks, and it issues credit cards on networks run by Visa and Mastercard. Acquiring Discover will give it access to a credit card network of 305 million cardholders, adding to its base of more than 100 million customers. The country’s four major networks are American Express, Mastercard, Visa and Discover, which has far fewer cardholder...
The Great Compression – The New York Times
Business

The Great Compression – The New York Times

Robert Lanter lives in a 600-square-foot house that can be traversed in five seconds and vacuumed from a single outlet. He doesn’t have a coffee table in the living room because it would obstruct the front door. When relatives come to visit, Mr. Lanter says jokingly, but only partly, they have to tour one at time.Each of these details amounts to something bigger, for Mr. Lanter’s life and the U.S. housing market: a house under $300,000, something increasingly hard to find. That price allowed Mr. Lanter, a 63-year-old retired nurse, to buy a new single-family home in a subdivision in Redmond, Ore., about 30 minutes outside Bend, where he is from and which is, along with its surrounding area, one of Oregon’s most expensive housing markets.Mr. Lanter’s house could easily fit on a flatbed truc...
Money in College Savings Accounts Can Now Go Toward Retirement
Business

Money in College Savings Accounts Can Now Go Toward Retirement

Starting this year, some of the money in 529 college savings accounts can be used for retirement if it’s not needed for education.New rules under the federal law known as Secure 2.0 allow up to $35,000 in a 529 account to be rolled over to a Roth individual retirement account for the beneficiary of the 529 account if certain conditions are met.State-sponsored 529 accounts, named for a section of the tax code, are used to pay for education expenses — mainly college costs. Money deposited in the accounts grows tax free and can be withdrawn tax free to pay for eligible expenses like tuition, housing, food and books.The new Roth option is aimed at parents who may be reluctant to save in a 529 because they worry about having to pay income taxes and a penalty if for some reason the funds aren’t ...
Three Lessons From a Surprisingly Resilient Job Market
Business

Three Lessons From a Surprisingly Resilient Job Market

The pandemic created an economic crisis unlike any recession on record. So perhaps it shouldn’t be surprising that the aftermath, too, has played out in a way that almost no economists expected.When unemployment soared in the first weeks of the pandemic, many feared a repeat of the long, slow rebound from the Great Recession: years of joblessness that left many workers permanently scarred. Instead, the recovery in the labor market has been, by many measures, the strongest on record.In early 2021, some economists foresaw a surge in inflation. Others were skeptical: Similar predictions in recent years — in some cases from the same forecasters — had failed to come true. This time, however, they were right.And when the Federal Reserve began trying to tamp down inflation, there were warnings th...
Bob Edwards, Longtime Host of NPR’s ‘Morning Edition,’ Dies at 76
Business

Bob Edwards, Longtime Host of NPR’s ‘Morning Edition,’ Dies at 76

Bob Edwards, the host of NPR’s “Morning Edition” for nearly a quarter-century, whose rich baritone and cool demeanor imbued his radio broadcasts with authority in reaching millions of listeners, died on Saturday in Arlington, Va. He was 76.His death, at a rehabilitation facility, was from heart failure and complications of bladder cancer, his wife, Windsor Johnston, said.Mr. Edwards, a Kentucky native who knew from an early age that he wanted to be in radio, joined NPR in 1974, during the Watergate hearings. That year, he became a co-host of “All Things Considered,’’ the public broadcaster’s signature evening newsmagazine of interviews, analysis and features. Its success led to the spinoff “Morning Edition” in 1979.Mr. Edwards began as a 30-day temporary host of that program before going o...
Pro Sports in Las Vegas Aren’t Cheered by Everyone
Business

Pro Sports in Las Vegas Aren’t Cheered by Everyone

The history of Las Vegas has been marked by a relentless churn of hotels, casinos, theaters and restaurants. But only recently has the city’s landscape included major professional sports teams.The Golden Knights of the National Hockey League were the first to start play here in 2017. The Aces of the Women’s National Basketball Association started in 2018, and the National Football League’s Raiders arrived from Oakland in 2020. Last year, Major League Baseball’s Athletics were given the go-ahead to make the same Oakland-to-Las Vegas move, and the National Basketball Association is expected to add a team in the coming years.Las Vegas’s transformation into a pro sports town reflects not just the leagues’ interest in the city and their general embrace of sports betting, but also the power of t...
IBM Reopens Its Frozen Pension Plan, Saving the Company Millions
Business

IBM Reopens Its Frozen Pension Plan, Saving the Company Millions

Traditional pension plans haven’t come back. But the news from IBM might lead you to think so.Last month, IBM thawed out a defined benefit pension plan that it had frozen more than 15 years ago. The company has also stopped making contributions into employee 401(k) accounts.These moves are startling, because, on the surface, at least, IBM seems to be reversing a decades-long trend of corporations moving away from traditional pension plans. With the old plans, companies promised to pay employees retirement income that rewarded them for long years of service. But these plans were expensive, and IBM and hundreds of other firms instead began to emphasize 401(k)s that moved the primary responsibility for saving and investing to workers.IBM’s new approach is significant because the company has b...