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.

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12:48pm

Sun January 26, 2014
Politics

The Income Gap: How Much Is Too Much?

Originally published on Mon January 27, 2014 1:13 pm

John Moore Getty Images

In the debate over income inequality, the right and left seem to agree on one point: The U.S. is more the land of equal opportunity than the land of equal outcomes.

But what's the real relationship between the growing income gap and opportunity? A new report out last week has triggered more debate about the haves and the have-nots.

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11:15am

Fri January 10, 2014
Economy

Labor Department's December Report Shows Jobless Rate Dipped

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 12:45 pm

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Supporters of a minimum wage say it can be especially important at a time of relatively high unemployment, when workers have little bargaining power. This morning we'll get a fresh snapshot of unemployment in the U.S. when the government releases new jobs numbers. NPR's Yuki Noguchi came by to talk about what to expect. Yuki, good morning.

YUKI NOGUCHI, BYLINE: Good morning, David.

GREENE: So where does the job market seem to be going right now?

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4:59pm

Tue December 17, 2013
Business

GlaxoSmithKline To Stop Paying Doctors To Promote Its Drugs

Originally published on Wed December 18, 2013 12:31 am

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Today, one of the biggest drug companies in the world announced changes to its marketing practices. GlaxoSmithKline says the idea is to be more transparent about how it sells its drugs. Among the changes, the company will stop paying doctors to tout its products to other doctors.

As NPR's Yuki Noguchi reports, the public interest community says this is a step in the right direction for an industry that's faced many legal problems.

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3:17am

Tue December 17, 2013
Business

Economists, Unemployed Fret Over Long-Term Jobless Aid Lapse

Originally published on Wed December 18, 2013 12:30 am

Attendees of a job fair in California in October fill out paperwork.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Democrats in Congress are promising to try to retroactively extend emergency unemployment benefits after the new year. With the House already in recess, the benefits are expected to expire at the end of the month.

The Senate is still in Washington working on a bipartisan budget agreement passed by the House before it left town last week, but the bill does not include a benefits extension.

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6:21pm

Fri December 13, 2013
All Tech Considered

Twitter Critics Say It's Not Sensitive Enough To Cyberbullying

Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 7:01 pm

Twitter revoked its new blocking policy after backlash from users.
Leon Neal AFP/Getty Images

On Thursday, Twitter introduced — and later in the day, withdrew — a change to its "blocking" policy.

Thursday afternoon, the microblogging site started allowing users who had been blocked to continue to follow, respond to or retweet posts from people who had blocked them.

User response came swiftly. Many were outraged that the change allowed stalkers and abusers open access to their posts.

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4:50am

Mon December 2, 2013
Business

Companies Revisit 'Rank And Yank' of 1980s

Originally published on Mon December 2, 2013 1:27 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.

2:57am

Tue November 26, 2013
The State Of The American Small Business

Small Firms May Soon Turn To Crowdfunding To Sell Shares

Originally published on Tue November 26, 2013 1:28 pm

iStockphoto

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.

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3:42am

Mon October 28, 2013
Business

Moving In With Manufacturers, Amazon Delivers A New Approach

Originally published on Mon October 28, 2013 11:58 am

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

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.

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3:03am

Mon October 21, 2013
Shots - Health News

Enrollments For Health Care Exchanges Trickle In, Slowly

Originally published on Tue October 22, 2013 3:37 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.

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3:58am

Tue September 24, 2013
Business

When It Comes To Businesses, How Big Is Small?

Originally published on Wed October 16, 2013 4:41 pm

iStockphoto.com

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

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5:13pm

Mon August 19, 2013
Business

Some Investors Choosing U.S. Over Emerging Markets

Originally published on Mon August 19, 2013 6:58 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.

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3:00am

Thu August 1, 2013
All Tech Considered

Beyond .Com: Some See Confusion In Internet Domain Expansion

Originally published on Thu August 1, 2013 10:23 am

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

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.

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10:41am

Wed July 31, 2013
Economy

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.

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6:09pm

Tue July 16, 2013
Business

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

Originally published on Tue July 16, 2013 8:00 pm

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

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.

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5:51pm

Tue July 2, 2013
Your Money

As Mortgage Rates Rise, Homebuyers Face New Dilemma

Originally published on Tue July 2, 2013 8:12 pm

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

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?"

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5:28pm

Fri June 14, 2013
Business

Housing Market Watchers Edgy As Mortgage Rates Keep Climbing

Originally published on Fri June 14, 2013 6:12 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.

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2:56am

Mon June 10, 2013
Law

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

Originally published on Mon June 10, 2013 8:18 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.

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4:22am

Tue May 21, 2013
Business

JPMorgan Shareholders Consider Splitting CEO, Chairman Jobs

Originally published on Tue May 21, 2013 11:13 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.

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4:47pm

Thu May 16, 2013
Business

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

Originally published on Fri May 17, 2013 1:35 pm

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.

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2:51am

Thu May 9, 2013
Business

Furloughs Only The Latest Blow To Federal Worker Morale

Originally published on Thu May 9, 2013 5:51 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.

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6:19pm

Mon May 6, 2013
Business

Some Net Retailers Aren't Buying Online Sales Tax Proposal

Originally published on Mon May 6, 2013 9:00 pm

The Senate on Monday approved a bill to allow states to collect sales taxes from online retailers. Proponents say sellers will get help navigating tax collection, but many retailers says complying will be burdensome and opens the door for unforeseen problems.
iStockphoto.com

Congress is considering a bill that would allow states to collect sales taxes from online retailers. Proponents say a law is necessary to level the playing field with brick-and-mortar stores and to raise revenue for states.

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3:07am

Tue April 30, 2013
All Tech Considered

When It Comes To Productivity, Technology Can Hurt And Help

Originally published on Mon May 6, 2013 3:27 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.

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3:32am

Thu April 25, 2013
Business

Shifting Retail Landscape Tilts Support For Online Sales Tax

Originally published on Fri April 26, 2013 2:46 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.

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5:28pm

Tue April 9, 2013
Business

After Missteps, Does J.C. Penney Stand Another Chance?

Originally published on Tue April 9, 2013 7:34 pm

After an unsuccessful face-lift attempt by Ron Johnson, J.C. Penney will be led by former CEO Myron Ullman. Some analysts say this might be it for the retailer; others say it must "embrace" its customers to recuperate.
Mary Altaffer AP

A year and a half ago, J.C. Penney's then-brand new CEO Ron Johnson undertook what was supposed to be a transformation of the 110-year-old department store. Yesterday, the retailer cut his tenure short.

J.C. Penney lost nearly $1 billion last year as customer traffic dropped off.

Now, it's bringing back former Chief Executive Officer Myron Ullman to try to stanch the bleeding.

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4:46pm

Fri March 29, 2013
Economy

As Housing Industry Builds Up, Other Sectors Follow

Originally published on Fri March 29, 2013 11:31 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.

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3:07am

Wed March 20, 2013
Economy

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

Originally published on Wed March 27, 2013 9:30 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.

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3:21am

Mon March 18, 2013
Business

U.S. Probes Abuse Allegations Under Worker Visa Program

Originally published on Mon March 18, 2013 12:38 pm

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.

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4:42am

Thu February 28, 2013
Business

Experts Boil Telecommuting Decisions Down To Flexibility Vs. Serendipity

Originally published on Thu February 28, 2013 12:04 pm

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?

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3:21am

Tue February 26, 2013
Business

Technology Upends Another Industry: Homebuilding

Originally published on Tue February 26, 2013 9:44 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.

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3:06am

Wed February 20, 2013
Shots - Health News

Money Replaces Willpower In Programs Promoting Weight Loss

Originally published on Wed February 20, 2013 6:23 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.

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