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business

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

By some measures, the United States' economy is in great shape. President Donald Trump touts record low unemployment as evidence that things have never been better. His argument is bolstered by historic stock market increases over the last year.

And if Esther George has one word to describe her 2020 economic outlook, it would be "positive."

Segment 1: Research shows white-sounding names curry favor in academic settings.

Xian Zhao's name means something to him. It means something to his parents. That's why he won't adopt what he calls an "anglo name." But his own research suggests he might be missing opportunities because of that.

  • Xian Zhao, researcher, University of Toronto

Segment 2, beginning at 14:47: A recent Calvin Arsenia album is a milestone in his professional and personal growth.

Celia Llopis-Jepsen / Kansas News Service

Kansas City, Missouri — Time was, a fledgling tech company called CivicPlus had to explain to prospective customers why it was based in Kansas — and not some tech-heavy coastal city.

“We said, ‘Hey, you get Midwest values, but with Silicon Valley quality,’” recalled Ward Morgan, owner of the government software maker based in the college town of Manhattan. “It did throw people off to think that there was a tech company in Kansas.”

Today CivicPlus, founded in the 1990s, serves 3,500 cities and counties on two continents.

Segment 1: Flooded fields and fallout from trade wars could mean another rocky year for farmers.

Climate change, flooding, and bankruptcies are just a few of farming's biggest issues — a list that spans a country mile. With voices from Kansas and Missouri, representing small farmers and Big Ag, we dug through the biggest obstacles facing farmers going into 2020.

Frank Morris / KCUR 89.3

Over the past decade, the number of newspaper reporters has dropped by half. But in Johnson County, Kansas, one news site is bucking the trend, adding reporters and subscribers.

The Shawnee Mission Post, which covers about a quarter-million people from a small house on a tree-lined street in Prairie Village is on track to triple the size of its newsroom by embracing the much-maligned paywall.

Frank Morris / NPR and KCUR

Trucks and trains aren’t carrying as much as they did just a few months ago, and haulers are cutting back on orders for new trucks and rail cars. Despite this slump, Kansas City’s logistics industry is pushing ahead with an enormous expansion of warehouse space and other regional distribution hubs.

Rail traffic is down substantially from last year. Carloads are down by about 7%. Coal is down more than 14%, and metallic ores and metals are down even more.  

Segment 1: Johnson County activists say there are signs to look for when detecting illicit sex trafficking businesses.

The business of sex trafficking often operates through a powerful underground network. This is why an Overland Park couple believies it's so hard to stop the practice. Mike and Pam Jensen pointed to one contributing factor, treating women who are trafficked as criminals rather than victims. They also outlined signs of illicit massage parlors which are well known as sources of human trafficking.

File photo / Kansas City Business Journal

Cerner Corp. will lay off 255 of its U.S. employees in an effort to boost operating margins to 20% by the end of the year. Workers will be notified throughout the day on Wednesday, a spokeswoman said.

The Making Of Koch Industries

Aug 27, 2019

You won't see its name on many products but the Wichita-based conglomerate touches the lives of most Americans.

Charles and David Koch took their father's oil-refining business and converted it into the second largest privately held corporation in North America. Business writer Chris Leonard discussed what has been behind the brothers' success, their past transgressions against Native Americans and environmental law, and their influence on American politics.

Segment 1: Continuing developments still don't seal the deal for a merger of Sprint and T-Mobile

Last month the Justice Department gave final approval to the $26-billion deal between the communications companies. This week the Federal Communications Commission chair recommended going ahead with it. In the way is a lawsuit brought by 16 attorneys general looking to derail the proposed union. Learn what the success or failure of the merger could mean for Sprint and T-Mobile, urban and rural consumers and company employees.

Dave Kaup / Kansas City Business Journal

Waddell & Reed Financial Inc. has filed notice of its intent to lay off 158 employees.

On Tuesday, the Overland Park-based financial services company disclosed the planned cut in a WARN (Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification) Act filing.

Waddell & Reed signaled that cuts were coming on June 19, when it announced it would outsource processing of transactions to SS&C Asset Manager Solutions. SS&C's parent company acquired Kansas City-based DST Systems Inc., which had a long-term relationship with Waddell & Reed, in 2018.

Seg. 1: Recruiting Gen Z | Seg. 2: Fireflies

Jul 11, 2019

Segment 1: What changing recruitment techniques say about our changing culture.

Move over, millennials. The new new workforce is going to be made up of Generation Z, born in or after 1997. The incentives and benefits packages being offered to new recruits by major companies already reflect that generation's needs and values.

Segment 1: How a 1990s movie on DVD saved the life of a queer Kansas teen.

Savannah Rodgers is making a documentary about her obsession, as a 12-year-old, with the movie Chasing Amy.

Segment 1: How tariffs are affecting  business, food producers and consumers. 

In May, China issued tariffs on U.S. goods, and just about everyone in the Heartland is feeling the impact. 

Frank Morris / NPR and KCUR

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says he misses Kansas and would like to go back into business in the state someday. But at the Road to the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Overland Park Monday, the former congressman was cagey about his future in public office.

The annual conference gives business people a chance to rub elbows with potential funders in government, foundations and the private sector. Pompeo said it’s no coincidence that this year’s summit was in his home state.

Segment 1: "The state was funding 60 percent of the cost of education, the students and families were doing 40 percent. We've now seen an inversion of those ratios," according to KU chancellor.

More than 700,000 working-age adults in Kansas are operating in the labor force with no relevant postsecondary credentials, while the demand for highly skilled workers continues to rise. The Chancellor Doug Girod spoke to what universities, government and businesses can do to produce the workforce the future Kansas City metro will need.

Former Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke compared the national economy to a Looney Tunes character: magically floating in the air for a moment after running off a cliff before inevitably plummeting in 2020.

Peggy Lowe / KCUR 89.3

A few miles away from the Ford plant in Claycomo, Missouri, the assembly line at Knapheide Manufacturing Co. starts at the back door, where six brand-new white Ford Transit cargo vans are lined up, ready to snake through the line for their finishing touches.

Introduced in the U.S. in 2013, Transits have been popular, with an 8.2 percent increase in sales last year.

Segment 1: The crossroads of Super Bowl ads and social commentary.

After a year of socially-minded commercials from corporations like Nike and Gillette, this year's Super Bowl ads were comparatively tame. In this conversation, we look at how tensions around politics and identity played a role (or didn't) in the biggest marketing event of the year.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1:  Lee's Summit R-7 schools superintendent says achievement gap for some students ranges from 17% to 34%.

Eric Winkler

 

Segment 1: A new report shows mid-sized cities are better positioned to see faster growth.

Greg Echlin / KCUR 89.3

No matter how many different puzzle pieces fit together to make the Kansas City Chiefs a success this season, the perception is that it’s The Patrick Mahomes Show.

The starting quarterback has capitalized on not only being surrounded by high-level skill players, but also a marketing team that has positioned Mahomes to make good money — and for more than just himself.

Marsha Miller / LBJ Presidential Library

Segment 1: Black women-owned businesses are growing in Missouri.

A report released this year by the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City revealed the growth rate of startups owned by black women exceeds that of any other group. But despite that success, these entrepreneurs face a variety of challenges, including finding financing, advice and support.

Segment 1: It's never too late to travel back home, even when you're 90 years old.

We visit with a Kansas City filmmaker and actress about a locally-made movie exploring themes of aging, memories and wanderlust.

Carolina Hidalgo / St. Louis Public Radio

Less than two miles from the iconic Anheuser-Busch brewery in St. Louis, a startup with 11 employees is brewing small batches of beers with names like Dead Druid King (made with oak leaves instead of hops), Cucumber Pepper Kolsch and Ozark Common.

Earthbound Beer occupies the site of a 19th-century brewery and fills several thousand aluminum cans each month in the limestone cellars 25 feet underground where brewmasters once kept their kegs cool with ice from the Mississippi River.

Burns and McDonnell

Segment 1: How to analyze political ads.

As midterm election campaigns start to hit their stride, voters in Kansas and Missouri are sure to be inundated with any number of political advertisements. As a public service (and at the request of a listener named Mary Anne) we spoke with trusted, professional fact-checkers about what to keep an eye out for when attempting to separate the fact from conjecture.

Melody Rowell / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: The Queen of Soul passed away last week. We pause to remember her legacy.

 Aretha Franklin had musical connections in Kansas City. On this episode, we learn about that history and listen to a few of her most iconic songs.

TIMELINE: Sprint's 120 Years In Kansas City

May 11, 2018
Missouri Valley Special Collections, Kansas City Public Library, Kansas City, Missouri.

The Sprint campus in Overland Park, Kansas, was inaugurated in the late 1990s. It's a collegial brick complex surrounded by lawns and trees, and built to house about 14,000 employees. Today, more than 6,000 Sprint workers occupy the company's headquarters, and some of the space is leased to other businesses.

Segment 1: A ride-along with the police through homeless camps touched a nerve on social media.

Around the end of April, police officers and social service workers went searching for homeless camps in Kansas City's Northeast neighborhood. This "sweep out" of the camps elicited strong conflicting feelings. A journalist who went on a ride-along with the police on that day shares his perspective.

Julie Denesha / KCUR

Segment 1: A merger with T-Mobile could change Sprint's long-standing relationship to the metro.

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