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The Indicator from Planet Money

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A little show about big ideas. From the people who make Planet Money, The Indicator helps you make sense of what's happening today. It's a quick hit of insight into work, business, the economy, and everything else. Listen weekday afternoons.

Try Planet Money+! a new way to support the show you love, get a sponsor-free feed of the podcast, *and* get access to bonus content. You'll also get access to The Indicator and Planet Money Summer School, both without interruptions. sign up at plus.npr.org/planetmoney
1367 Episodes
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The tower of NVIDIA

The tower of NVIDIA

2024-06-2411:411

For a moment last week, semiconductor chip designer NVIDIA eclipsed Microsoft to become the world's most valuable company. How did it get there? Today on the show, David Rosenthal, one half of the tech podcast Acquired, explains how NVIDIA's founder Jensen Huang laid the groundwork for the company's meteoric rise, and why there may be obstacles ahead. Related episodes:The life and death spirals of social media networks (Apple / Spotify) The semiconductor founding father For sponsor-free episodes of The Indicator from Planet Money, subscribe to Planet Money+ via Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org. Music by Drop Electric. Find us: TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, Newsletter.Learn more about sponsor message choices: podcastchoices.com/adchoicesNPR Privacy Policy
Indicators of the Week are back! We are here, as always, to bring you the most fascinating snapshots from the week of economic news. On today's show, we're digging into the embattled aerospace company, Boeing. We look at how paying your rent with a Wells Fargo credit card is costing the bank millions of dollars a month. And we learn how much richer the Planet Money coffers are after we invested in the funds that track stock trading by congresspeople and their families on both sides of the aisle.Related Episodes:Invest like a Congress memberHelp Wanted at BoeingICYMI, preorder our new Indicator t-shirt at the NPR shop. For more ways to support our show, sign up for Planet Money+ where you'll get sponsor-free listening, bonus episodes, and access to even more Indicator merch.For sponsor-free episodes of The Indicator from Planet Money, subscribe to Planet Money+ via Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org. Music by Drop Electric. Find us: TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, Newsletter. Learn more about sponsor message choices: podcastchoices.com/adchoicesNPR Privacy Policy
When Diane Lewis' son, Jovaan, was sentenced to prison, she told him to call her every day. What he didn't know at the time is that those collect calls often meant Diane was unable to pay her other bills. Today on the show, how prison phone calls got so expensive, and the movement to make them free. Related listening: The Uncounted Workforce From Prison to the Workforce The Prisoner's Solution For sponsor-free episodes of The Indicator from Planet Money, subscribe to Planet Money+ via Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org. Music by Drop Electric. Find us: TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, Newsletter.Learn more about sponsor message choices: podcastchoices.com/adchoicesNPR Privacy Policy
There are some new funds that track stock trading by members of Congress and their family. So we thought, why don't we get in on that? Today on the show, we crack open the Planet Money Investment Jar to learn more about how our political leaders play the market, investing in funds tracking Democratic and Republican stock trades. Whether Congressional stock trading should be limited is a hotly debated matter. So to test whether lawmakers are beating the market, Dartmouth College economist Bruce Sacerdote and his co-authors pitted lawmakers' stock picks against reindeer at a Christmas-styled theme park. Trust us for this ride! It'll all make sense with some intriguing results. Related listening: Stock traders are trying to beat the market — by copying lawmakers WTF is a Bitcoin ETF? (Apple / Spotify) Planet Money's Toxic Asset Planet Money Summer School: Investing For sponsor-free episodes of The Indicator from Planet Money, subscribe to Planet Money+ via Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org. Music by Drop Electric. Find us: TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, Newsletter. Learn more about sponsor message choices: podcastchoices.com/adchoicesNPR Privacy Policy
Spud spat

Spud spat

2024-06-1711:441

The federal government classifies potatoes (whether they be baked, waffled, curly, fried) as a vegetable. Recently some nutritional scientists were questioning that logic as the feds updated their dietary guidelines for 2025.On today's episode, why potatoes have such sway on Capitol Hill and the real financial stakes spuds have in staying a veggie.For sponsor-free episodes of The Indicator from Planet Money, subscribe to Planet Money+ via Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org. Music by Drop Electric. Find us: TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, Newsletter. Learn more about sponsor message choices: podcastchoices.com/adchoicesNPR Privacy Policy
Indicators of the Week is back! This week, we've got indicators about oil gluts, big bucks for Ukraine and fewer bucks at Starbucks. (Apologies for the slurping.)Related episodes: How to get Russia to pay UkraineAn oil boom, a property slump and dental deflationICYMI, preorder our new Indicator t-shirt at the NPR shop. For more ways to support our show, sign up for Planet Money+ where you'll get sponsor-free listening, bonus episodes, and access to even more Indicator merch.For sponsor-free episodes of The Indicator from Planet Money, subscribe to Planet Money+ via Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org. Music by Drop Electric. Find us: TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, Newsletter. Learn more about sponsor message choices: podcastchoices.com/adchoicesNPR Privacy Policy
There are many anecdotal complaints about Google search not being what it used to be. A German computer scientist and his colleagues put this theory to the test recently focusing on product reviews. Today on the show, we bring their findings to Google's chief search scientist. Related episodes: How Fortnite brought Google to its knees (Apple / Spotify) Microsoft vs. Google: Whose AI Is better? (Apple / Spotify) For sponsor-free episodes of The Indicator from Planet Money, subscribe to Planet Money+ via Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org. Music by Drop Electric. Find us: TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, Newsletter. Learn more about sponsor message choices: podcastchoices.com/adchoicesNPR Privacy Policy
The Federal Reserve introduced a visual tool called the "dot plot" in 2012 to communicate where officials think interest rates should be in the coming years. The dot plot is eagerly dissected by Fed watchers looking for insight on future policy, but others think that the dot plot has become a visual example of just how little the Fed can predict where the economy is going. Today on the show, we decode the dot plot and hear why some think that the Federal Reserve's artistic exercise should be scrapped altogether. The Federal Reserve's latest dot plot (page 4)For sponsor-free episodes of The Indicator from Planet Money, subscribe to Planet Money+ via Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org.Music by Drop Electric. Find us: TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, Newsletter. Learn more about sponsor message choices: podcastchoices.com/adchoicesNPR Privacy Policy
Politicians on both sides of the aisle call the surge at the US Southern Border a "border crisis." One camp says we need to focus on addressing the conditions in other countries that cause people to leave. The other says we have to focus on deterrence and enforcement. But...what if both camps are actually ignoring a major piece of the picture? Today on the show, an overlooked cause and potential solution to the situation at our southern border that has nothing to do with the border at all.Related episodes:Why Venezuela is no longer in freefallWelcome to the USA! Now get to work.ICYMI, preorder our new Indicator t-shirt at the NPR shop. For more ways to support our show, sign up for Planet Money+ where you'll get sponsor-free listening, bonus episodes, and access to even more Indicator merch.For sponsor-free episodes of The Indicator from Planet Money, subscribe to Planet Money+ via Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org. Music by Drop Electric. Find us: TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, Newsletter. Learn more about sponsor message choices: podcastchoices.com/adchoicesNPR Privacy Policy
We are back to answer your questions that you, our listeners, have been sending. On today's show, is chicken actually getting cheaper? Why doesn't the Federal Reserve use different interest rates around the country? And: is election spending an indicator of economic health? If you have a question you'd like us to answer, email us at indicator@npr.org.Related episodes:Can an old law bring down grocery prices? (Apple / Spotify) How political campaigns raise millions through unwitting donorsHow mortgage rates get made The rat under the Feds hat (Apple / Spotify)The interest-ing world of interest rates (Apple / Spotify) ICYMI, preorder our new Indicator t-shirt at the NPR shop. For more ways to support our show, sign up for Planet Money+ where you'll get sponsor-free listening, bonus episodes, and access to even more Indicator merch!Music by Drop Electric. Find us: TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, Newsletter. Learn more about sponsor message choices: podcastchoices.com/adchoicesNPR Privacy Policy
Ghost jobs

Ghost jobs

2024-06-0709:032

Today's jobs report shows a slight rise in unemployment to 4%. And some frustrated job seekers are growing tired of applying for job after job with no replies, sometimes asking whether the listings are even real. And this isn't just vexing for applicants. It's also haunting economists when trying to figure out how much slack there is in the labor market, and whether interest rates should be raised or lowered. Today on the show: the rise of ghost jobs. Where they're happening and why. Related episodes: Not too hot, not too cold: a 'Goldilocks' jobs report The Beigie Awards: From Ghosting to Coasting For sponsor-free episodes of The Indicator from Planet Money, subscribe to Planet Money+ via Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org. Music by Drop Electric. Find us: TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, Newsletter.Learn more about sponsor message choices: podcastchoices.com/adchoicesNPR Privacy Policy
99.5 percent of megaprojects are either over time, over budget or have lower benefits than expected. What's going wrong? Today, we look at case studies from California's high speed rail project to the Sydney Opera House to consider the do's and don'ts of ambitious projects. Bent Flyvbjerg and Dan Gardner's book on megaprojects is How Big Things Get Done: The Surprising Factors that Determine the Fate of Every Project, from Home Renovations to Space Exploration and Everything In Between. Related episodes:Why building public transit in the US costs so much (Apple / Spotify) Planes, trains and bad bridges (Apple / Spotify) ICYMI, preorder our new Indicator t-shirt at the NPR shop. For more ways to support our show, sign up for Planet Money+ where you'll get sponsor-free listening, bonus episodes, and access to even more Indicator merch!Music by Drop Electric. Find us: TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, Newsletter. Learn more about sponsor message choices: podcastchoices.com/adchoicesNPR Privacy Policy
The United States has been a supporter of Israel since the nation's establishment in 1948. With the civilian death toll rising in the Israel-Hamas war, growing scrutiny is mounting over just how much the U.S. should support Israel's military. Today, a historical explanation for why the United States tied itself so closely to support for Israel. Related episodes:Protesters want schools to divest from Israel. How would that work? (Apple / Spotify) ICYMI, preorder our new Indicator t-shirt at the NPR shop. For more ways to support our show, sign up for Planet Money+ where you'll get sponsor-free listening, bonus episodes, and access to even more Indicator merch!Music by Drop Electric. Find us: TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, Newsletter. Learn more about sponsor message choices: podcastchoices.com/adchoicesNPR Privacy Policy
Maybe you've heard these things on social media, in the news, and take them as fact: More than half of the adults in the US live paycheck to paycheck, the trade deficit is always bad, and making the super wealthy pay their fair share will fix everything. Well, the truth isn't so simple. Today on the show: economic mythbusting. We take three factoids about the American economy and run them through the fact checkers.Related episodes:Is the federal debt REALLY that bad? (Apple/Spotify) Is the financial media making us miserable about the economy? (Apple/Spotify)ICYMI, preorder our new Indicator t-shirt at the NPR shop. For more ways to support our show, sign up for Planet Money+ where you'll get sponsor-free listening, bonus episodes, and access to even more Indicator merch!For sponsor-free episodes of The Indicator from Planet Money, subscribe to Planet Money+ via Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org. Music by Drop Electric. Find us: TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, Newsletter. Learn more about sponsor message choices: podcastchoices.com/adchoicesNPR Privacy Policy
MERCH! You asked for it. We got it. After rebranding our podcast earlier this year, we decided it was time to create our own merch. On today's show, a brief oral history of early merch, how to score an Indicator t-shirt, and the winning name of our new mascot. • Preorder the t-shirt now at shopnpr.org/indicator • Sign up for Planet Money+ to access more Indicator merch Related episodes: Name our mascot. No, really (Apple / Spotify) Planet Money Makes a T-shirtLearn more about sponsor message choices: podcastchoices.com/adchoicesNPR Privacy Policy
Indicators of the Week is back, where we dig into three economic snapshots from the global economy. This week, we are exploring consumers' ever so slightly improved perception of the economy, what's going on with carbon offsets, and why China is sending some pandas to U.S. zoos. Related Episodes:Actors back. Pandas gone. WeBankrupt. (Apple / Spotify) How Red Lobster got cooked and other indicators (Apple / Spotify) Emission Impossible (Apple / Spotify) For sponsor-free episodes of The Indicator from Planet Money, subscribe to Planet Money+ via Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org.Music by Drop Electric. Find us: TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, Newsletter. Learn more about sponsor message choices: podcastchoices.com/adchoicesNPR Privacy Policy
It's time for The Indicator Quiz! We test you, dear listener, on your knowledge of topics that we've covered on The Indicator!Today's quiz focuses on ch-ch-changes. (That's a David Bowie reference, kids!) We're covering changes in the economy, the environment, the rental market, you get the picture. We're even tossing in a question about an AI-resurrected rapper.Play along with us and see how you do!Are you interested in being a contestant on our next Indicator Quiz? Email us your name and phone number at indicator@npr.org and put "Indicator Quiz" in the subject line.Related Episodes: Hazard maps: The curse of knowledgeAI Tupac and the murky legality of digital necromancy The highs and lows of US rentsLearn more about sponsor message choices: podcastchoices.com/adchoicesNPR Privacy Policy
Eight times a year, we award regional Federal Reserve Banks with our coveted Beigie Award. While the anecdotes within the Beige Book offer us fascinating looks into the economy, to others, it can be difficult to make anything of the stories they tell. That's why we're giving out a special Beigie award today to some economists who found a way to use anecdotes to peer into our economic future.Regional Economic Sentiment: Constructing Quantitative Estimates from the Beige Book and Testing Their Ability to Forecast RecessionsFor sponsor-free episodes of The Indicator from Planet Money, subscribe to Planet Money+ via Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org.Music by Drop Electric. Find us: TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, Newsletter. Learn more about sponsor message choices: podcastchoices.com/adchoicesNPR Privacy Policy
Dental therapists have been practicing in other parts of the world for decades, but in the U.S. they are relatively few and far between. Like a hygienist, dental therapists can do cleanings as well as some procedures usually reserved for dentists, like simple extractions. They could also be the solution to getting underserved, rural communities better oral care. Today on the show, new momentum for dental therapy and why the American Dental Association is pushing back. Related episodes: The value of good teeth For sponsor-free episodes of The Indicator from Planet Money, subscribe to Planet Money+ via Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org. Music by Drop Electric. Find us: TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, Newsletter. Learn more about sponsor message choices: podcastchoices.com/adchoicesNPR Privacy Policy
Indicators of the Week is back! On today's episode, we discuss Red Lobster's bankruptcy, the rancid vibes of the U.S. economy, and a surprising shift in vices among Americans.Related episodes:Endless shrimp and other indicators (Apple / Spotify) Is the financial media making us miserable about the economy? (Apple / Spotify) For sponsor-free episodes of The Indicator from Planet Money, subscribe to Planet Money+ via Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org. Music by Drop Electric. Find us: TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, Newsletter. Learn more about sponsor message choices: podcastchoices.com/adchoicesNPR Privacy Policy
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Comments (208)

Patrick Neal

Liberal NPR does not once say the word "illegal" in their entire discussion.

Jun 12th
Reply

Gil Gurevich

It wasn't a civil war! Arabs attacked the jews and didn't agree to the 2 states solutions That was a really biased episode by my opinion

Jun 7th
Reply

Alex McNaughton

did they speed up the audio? it sounds off

Apr 7th
Reply

jeff stude

"older white Republican" mmmmm ok then

Mar 28th
Reply

G

I think we should not give the government more Social Security money simply because they mishandled the money we already gave them. Putting more money in the hands of those who will waste it will not solve the problem, and me paying 7.65% going up to 9.65% isn't fair to me and limits my investing power. I believe people can invest their money better than the govt can.

Mar 21st
Reply

steve

.

Mar 12th
Reply

steve

Shareholder Vote Exchange vote buying

Mar 12th
Reply (1)

Khalid Shamlan

Couple of points. 1. MBS didn't agree to sport washing accusations. He clearly said, if you named as such then it is fine as long as it adds to GDP😁 2. No normalization with Israel. This week announcement is as clear as Neom shores😂. We talk when Un resolutions are implemented based on '67 boarders. Final thought, US politicians push when their accounts are going down. We have seen change of harts when they are seeing benefits in Saudi Arabia. Seems that they haven't yet.

Feb 9th
Reply

Habia Khet

💚WATCH>>ᗪOᗯᑎᒪOᗩᗪ>>LINK>👉https://co.fastmovies.org

Feb 5th
Reply

Alex McNaughton

audio doubles up at around 7:30

Oct 12th
Reply

G

It’s really sad how woke NPR is. I’m highly conservative and I love NPR, but when they say things like they don’t like a song because they’re confused by the “conservative lyrics”…come on guys. These lyrics aren’t complicated. The lyrics voice frustration about high taxes, corrupt politicians, and no one caring about minors (you know, kids). What’s so confusing about that you leftist self-righteous paranoid democrats? The song referred to is Rich Men North of Richmond.

Oct 3rd
Reply

Matevz Groboljsek

Broken audio :(

Sep 17th
Reply

TH3N0RTHSID3

whoops forgot to include Darian's file

Sep 16th
Reply

Alex McNaughton

so bizarre, it's like they only recorded on one mic

Sep 16th
Reply

Aakash Amanat

I absolutely love "The Indicator from Planet Money"! This podcast has been a game-changer for me in terms of understanding complex economic concepts in a fun and engaging way. The hosts have a remarkable talent for breaking down intricate topics into easily digestible segments, which makes economics accessible to a wider audience. https://hubpages.com/@customise-sticker One thing I appreciate is how the show covers a wide range of subjects, from global trade and monetary policy to quirky and unexpected economic phenomena. The diverse range of topics keeps me coming back for more, as there's always something new and interesting to learn. https://www.behance.net/customise-sticker

Aug 21st
Reply

Cathy Muste

next time pick me for a guest!

Jul 12th
Reply

Alex McNaughton

one of the best episodes! great questions!

Jul 9th
Reply

Sara Peracca

how about a piece about public banks

Jul 2nd
Reply

Michele S

Anyone with access to their meter can buy a device to monitor their water usage. I got a Flume a couple years ago and it reported a leak shortly after it started.

Jun 16th
Reply

Anjali Chalisgaonkar

it will be nice if the links to the podcasts mentioned are added to the show notes

Jun 9th
Reply
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