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

Business
3:50 am
Mon December 2, 2013

Companies Revisit 'Rank And Yank' of 1980s

Originally published on Mon December 2, 2013 12:27 pm

Longtime General Electric CEO and management icon Jack Welch popularized a management style in the 1980s that critics dubbed "rank and yank." The system ranks employees — with under-performers getting yanked from their jobs or the company. This old practice is in the news again. Microsoft recently did away with it. But other companies are embracing it.

The State Of The American Small Business
1:57 am
Tue November 26, 2013

Small Firms May Soon Turn To Crowdfunding To Sell Shares

iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue November 26, 2013 12:28 pm

Crowdfunding is popular among musicians, filmmakers and artists looking for a way to finance their next project.

Now the Securities and Exchange Commission is considering rules that, for the first time, would allow small companies to solicit investments over the Internet and sell shares to the general public.

For some small firms, these new rules come as welcome news.

Read more
Economy
3:24 pm
Thu October 31, 2013

Economic, Political Volatility Cloud Housing Recovery

Despite a strong housing market this year, experts say the recent economic drama has contributed to less stability in real estate.
Steven Senne AP

Originally published on Thu October 31, 2013 7:30 pm

Housing has been one of the bright spots in the economy this year. This week, a report showed that home prices in the top 20 cities continued their robust upward march in August. There are also far fewer foreclosure sales and other signs of distress in the market.

But the Federal Reserve expressed concern Wednesday about the slowing housing market. Pending home sales fell far more than expected. And housing experts are bracing for some volatility.

Read more
NPR Story
4:00 pm
Mon October 28, 2013

How Should Justice Distribute $4 Billion To Harmed Homeowners?

Originally published on Tue October 29, 2013 11:15 am

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

The Justice Department is negotiating a multibillion-dollar settlement with JPMorgan over its handling of mortgage-related securities during the financial crisis. The deal could be announced this week, and it reportedly includes $4 billion set aside for homeowners who lost substantial value on their homes. NPR's Yuki Noguchi reports on lessons learned from the payout of similar settlements.

Read more
Business
2:42 am
Mon October 28, 2013

Moving In With Manufacturers, Amazon Delivers A New Approach

Faster delivery is the new frontier of Internet competition.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon October 28, 2013 10:58 am

Amazon's business is built on three basic concepts: faster delivery, greater selection, and cheaper prices.

In service of that, it has built enormous warehouses staffed largely by robots that shuttle around, pulling goods out of bins at remarkable speed. It can take just a matter of minutes to go from order to shipment.

And lately it's pursuing a program where Amazon goes directly into manufacturers and manages their logistics and online retailing.

Read more
Shots - Health News
2:03 am
Mon October 21, 2013

Enrollments For Health Care Exchanges Trickle In, Slowly

Originally published on Tue October 22, 2013 2:37 pm

The Obama administration's hopes ran high that millions would flock to enroll for health insurance on state and federal exchanges established under the Affordable Care Act.

Those exchanges went online Oct. 1. The administration projected that half a million individuals or families would enroll within 30 days, according to The Associated Press.

But three weeks in, the data suggest the actual number of enrollments is lagging far behind that number.

Read more
Business
2:58 am
Tue September 24, 2013

When It Comes To Businesses, How Big Is Small?

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed October 16, 2013 3:41 pm

First in a series about small businesses in America.

Small businesses are celebrated and exalted as the hard-working, most deserving members of the political economy. They get tax breaks, and they're touted as the engines of job creation.

But a basic question: What is a small business? It turns out there is no one definition.

Classifications Of Small

Read more
Business
4:13 pm
Mon August 19, 2013

Some Investors Choosing U.S. Over Emerging Markets

Originally published on Mon August 19, 2013 5:58 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

For a long time, investors aiming for city profits have maintained that the smart money was on emerging markets. Economic growth in Brazil, Russia, India and China, the BRIC countries as they're known, has outstripped opportunities in the U.S. But in recent months, there is evidence that trend is starting to change. NPR's Yuki Noguchi reports investors are turning back to markets in the U.S. and other developed economies.

Read more
All Tech Considered
2:00 am
Thu August 1, 2013

Beyond .Com: Some See Confusion In Internet Domain Expansion

Suffixes like .org, .net and .com are the most common on the Internet today. But the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, which governs Web names, plans to add some 1,400 more, some ending in Arabic or Chinese characters.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu August 1, 2013 9:23 am

Starting this fall, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN, will begin rolling out 20 new suffixes, or top-level domains, every week. This will create new entrepreneurial opportunities, says ICANN CEO Fadi Chehade.

"Diversity to the domain name system is coming," he says.

Read more
Economy
9:41 am
Wed July 31, 2013

GDP Report Is Better Than Economists Expected

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

NPR's business news starts begins with some surprising economic growth.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

GREENE: The U.S. Commerce Department says the economy grew at an unexpectedly swift pace during the second quarter of the year. The Gross Domestic Product, or GDP, grew at an annual rate of 1.7 percent. That compares to the first quarter, when it grew at 1.1 percent. As NPR's Yuki Noguchi reports, this might mean the economy has not been hit hard by the automatic government spending cuts known as sequestration.

Read more
Business
4:03 pm
Tue July 16, 2013

D.C. Wage Rift Puts Spotlight On Wal-Mart's Urban Push

The scene in a Wal-Mart store in Alexandria, Va. Cities are a key growth area for retailers since suburbs are already saturated with big-box stores.
AP

Originally published on Tue July 16, 2013 7:00 pm

Wal-Mart's long-standing plans to come to Washington, D.C., are now up in the air. The City Council passed a living wage law that would require the world's largest retailer to pay $12.50 an hour, more than the city's current $8.25 minimum wage.

Read more
Your Money
3:30 pm
Tue July 2, 2013

As Mortgage Rates Rise, Homebuyers Face New Dilemma

Mortgage interest rates have spiked recently, causing unease among potential homebuyers.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue July 2, 2013 7:12 pm

A recent spike in mortgage rates has created a new predicament for potential homebuyers: Forge ahead and try to lock in now? Or hold off?

Dhruv Gupta was quoted a 3.5 percent rate in May while searching for a place to buy in the San Francisco area. Less than two months later, he's looking at 5.2 percent for the same loan. But this trend has not deterred Gupta.

"It's a fact of life," he says. "I mean I can't control them, so what do you do?"

Read more
Politics
4:46 am
Wed June 26, 2013

Senate Bill Would Do Away With Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac

Originally published on Wed June 26, 2013 10:13 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And I'm David Greene. Good morning. In the midst of the housing crisis in 2008, the mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were brought into government hands. And today, over 90 percent of mortgages are guaranteed by the U.S. government. That's a potential burden for taxpayers if mortgages fail. Yesterday, a bipartisan Senate bill was introduced to try to unwind the government takeover, as well as Fannie and Freddie. NPR's Yuki Noguchi reports.

Read more
Business
4:14 pm
Fri June 14, 2013

Housing Market Watchers Edgy As Mortgage Rates Keep Climbing

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

Originally published on Fri June 14, 2013 5:12 pm

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
Law
1:56 am
Mon June 10, 2013

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

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

Originally published on Mon June 10, 2013 7:18 pm

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
Business
3:22 am
Tue May 21, 2013

JPMorgan Shareholders Consider Splitting CEO, Chairman Jobs

Originally published on Tue May 21, 2013 10:13 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
Business
3:29 pm
Thu May 16, 2013

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

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

Originally published on Fri May 17, 2013 12:35 pm

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
Business
1:51 am
Thu May 9, 2013

Furloughs Only The Latest Blow To Federal Worker Morale

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

Originally published on Thu May 9, 2013 4:51 am

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
All Tech Considered
2:07 am
Tue April 30, 2013

When It Comes To Productivity, Technology Can Hurt And Help

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

Originally published on Mon May 6, 2013 2:27 pm

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
Business
2:32 am
Thu April 25, 2013

Shifting Retail Landscape Tilts Support For Online Sales Tax

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

Originally published on Fri April 26, 2013 1:46 am

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
Economy
3:46 pm
Fri March 29, 2013

As Housing Industry Builds Up, Other Sectors Follow

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

Originally published on Fri March 29, 2013 10:31 pm

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
Economy
2:07 am
Wed March 20, 2013

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

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

Originally published on Wed March 27, 2013 8:30 am

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
Business
2:21 am
Mon March 18, 2013

U.S. Probes Abuse Allegations Under Worker Visa Program

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

Originally published on Mon March 18, 2013 11:38 am

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
Business
3:40 am
Thu February 28, 2013

Experts Boil Telecommuting Decisions Down To Flexibility Vs. Serendipity

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu February 28, 2013 11:04 am

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
Business
2:21 am
Tue February 26, 2013

Technology Upends Another Industry: Homebuilding

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

Originally published on Tue February 26, 2013 8:44 am

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
Shots - Health News
2:06 am
Wed February 20, 2013

Money Replaces Willpower In Programs Promoting Weight Loss

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

Originally published on Wed February 20, 2013 5:23 pm

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
Business
9:51 am
Wed February 6, 2013

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
Business
5:18 pm
Wed January 30, 2013

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

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

Originally published on Wed January 30, 2013 6:39 pm

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
Crisis In The Housing Market
5:10 pm
Thu January 17, 2013

Homebuilding Is Booming, But Skilled Workers Are Scarce

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

Originally published on Thu January 17, 2013 5:29 pm

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
Your Money
2:24 am
Thu January 10, 2013

New Mortgage Rules Would Limit Risky Lending

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

Originally published on Thu January 10, 2013 2:04 pm

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

Pages