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Updated at 5:18 p.m. ET

President Trump on Friday announced higher tariffs on goods from China, hours after Beijing said it will slap tariffs on $75 billion of autos and other U.S. goods. Earlier in the day, he "ordered" U.S. companies to stop doing business with China though it was unclear whether he had the power to do that.

Frédéric BISSON / flickr creative commons

We've got no guests today. So much of the burden of making today's show any good at all rests with, well: you.

We can talk about pretty much whatever you want. The economy. Plastic bags. Greenland. The Little League Classic. 2020. Or 2020. Or 2020. Or 2020.

Connecticut's Jobless Rate Shrinks To 3.6 Percent In July

Aug 15, 2019
neetalparekh via flickr.com / Creative Commons

Connecticut’s unemployment rate dropped by slightly to 3.6 percent in July despite the loss of 100 jobs, the Department of Labor reported Thursday. That’s because the labor department also revised June job losses from 1,400 positions lost to just 800. 

Updated at 4:10 p.m. ET

The Trump administration is postponing some of its new tariffs on Chinese imports — a significant retreat in the trade war that has rattled financial markets on both sides of the Pacific.

Updated at 9:31 a.m. ET

The economy is slowing down, but it keeps creating jobs at a healthy pace. Employers added 164,000 jobs last month, as the unemployment rate held steady at 3.7%, the Labor Department said Friday. The jobless rate remains at a nearly 50-year low.

Analysts had expected about 165,000 jobs to be added in July and the unemployment rate to be 3.6%.

Frankie Graziano / WNPR/Connecticut Public Radio

Yale University has a $29 billion endowment, one of the largest in the world. The endowment invests in many things including fossil fuel companies.

This doesn’t sit well with some Yale students and faculty who are concerned about climate change. They’ve called on the school to divest that money from oil, coal, and gas companies. 

Yale University
Pixabay

Yale University is offering a voluntary wellness program to some employees. The catch? You have to share your health data and there’s a financial penalty if you don’t participate. Now, Yale is now being sued by some of it workers over this program. This hour, we take a look at the legal questions surrounding employer-sponsored wellness programs. Does your job offer one?

Later, we take a look at the cost of childcare in Connecticut. Paying for daycare can be as much or more than in-state tuition in this state. We hear from an economist and the Commissioner of the Office of Early Childhood.

Favarh

In the Farmington Valley, a nonprofit organization aims to break down silos and build bridges in the community through apartment housing. This hour, we learn about Favarh and its unique initiative to build a more integrated living experience for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Plus, at Quinnipiac University, students can apply to live not in a dorm but with residents at a Masonicare assisted living facility. We learn about the Students in Residence program, and we also hear from you. 

Hartford's Artists Collective is among the many arts organizations contributing to the Greater Hartford's "Arts Ecosystem"
Shana Sureck / WNPR

The Greater Hartford art scene is thriving in many ways, but challenges persist. That's the conclusion of a new comprehensive report.

Updated at 7:34 p.m. ET

Stocks rallied Wednesday as Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell testified about challenges facing the U.S. economy, adding to expectations that the central bank will cut interest rates later this month.

The Fed had hinted at such a cut in June.

Updated at 9:25 a.m. ET

Hiring rebounded strongly in June as U.S. employers added 224,000 jobs. That's well above the pace many forecasters were expecting, and a sharp pickup after a disappointing May.

A monthly snapshot from the Labor Department showed unemployment rose slightly, to 3.7%, as more workers entered the job market.

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Harriet Jones / WNPR

Last fall, after United Technologies Corp. announced it would spin off its Otis Elevator and Carrier divisions, then Governor-elect Ned Lamont vowed he would watch the Farmington-based conglomerate "like a hawk" to retain its workforce in Connecticut.

But this weekend's news that UTC would merge with Raytheon Co., and move its headquarters to Waltham, MA., came with little advanced notice to the Lamont administration.

Bossi / Creative Commons

This hour, we learn about efforts to construct a new casino in Bridgeport, Connecticut. We talk to Hearst Connecticut Media reporter Emilie Munson about a possible deal between the city and the state’s tribes, and consider the implications for MGM, which also has its sights on the Southwest region. 

Plus, the Trump administration has threatened to impose new tariffs on Mexico, raising questions for manufacturers, many of which have already felt the impact of the U.S.’ ongoing trade war with China. We take an in-depth look at this story with The New York Times’ Ben Casselman and a Connecticut-based economist.

Bob Best enthusiastically supports President Trump's tough policies against China and other countries.

"I'm not a big tariff guy. I'm a free trade guy," says Best, who manages a heating and air conditioning company in Kennesaw, Ga.

"But sometimes when the bully just doesn't listen, you've got to punch him in the mouth. And that's what he's doing."

Frankie Graziano / Connecticut Public Radio

In a time when thousands of jobs for skilled workers remain unfilled, Gov. Ned Lamont is saying to college graduates “we need you”.

Nicolas Raymond / Creative Commons

Connecticut has parted ways with its "Still Revolutionary" slogan to the relief of some residents. Now many are left wondering: How will the state move forward marketing itself to tourists?

This hour, we take an in-depth look at this question and we also hear from you. What local attractions or attributes would you like to see highlighted as part of a campaign to draw visitors to our state? 

Jesse Costa / WBUR

As the Stop & Shop strike stretches out past one week, some are starting to calculate its wider effect on the economy. Meanwhile, many of the striking workers themselves are waiting to hear if they have a chance to collect unemployment benefits.

Frankie Graziano / Connecticut Public Radio

New Department of Economic and Community Development commissioner David Lehman has begun raising his public profile, just days after his controversial nomination was confirmed by the state senate.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Connecticut's unemployment rate is at a 17-year low. The state has stockpiled $1.2 billion in its budget reserve fund. But it's still not in a position to go on anything resembling a spending spree.

Not with state Comptroller Kevin Lembo warning lawmakers against counting on a repeat of last year's spike in tax collections. Job gains in 2018 also were not nearly as robust as initially reported. And no one can rule out the possibility of an economic downturn lurking around the corner.

Updated at 10:35 a.m. ET

The U.S. economy added only 20,000 jobs — far fewer than expected — last month, the Labor Department said Friday. But the unemployment rate fell to 3.8 percent from January's 4 percent, and earnings growth picked up.

The increase in jobs was below the 180,000 projected by private analysts and the smallest gain since September 2017. February's increase was dramatically smaller than January's revised gain of 311,000 and December's revised 227,000.

Steven Millstein / Flickr

Saving money is not always an easy or fun thing to do on a consistent schedule. Bills can add up. Unforeseen expenses can take you by surprise. Luckily there are experts out there who can give you a hand when it comes to saving money and getting out of debt.

Katie Harp / Pexels

Do you have credit card debt hanging over your head? Or maybe you've been thinking you should start saving for retirement, but you aren’t sure how to pay for it?

This hour we sit down with NPR correspondent Chris Arnold, who covers personal finance and consumer protection. NPR’s new family of podcasts, Life Kit, gives listeners practical tips for navigating life challenges from parenting to healthy eating. Arnold hosts Life Kit’s podcasts about money. They are all about figuring out how to get your finances in order in a fun and approachable way.

Updated at 11:33 a.m. ET

The U.S. economy expanded at a solid 2.6 percent rate during the last three months of 2018, but growth was significantly lower than it had been earlier in the year, the government said Thursday.

For 2018 as a whole, the economy grew 2.9 percent, a touch below the Trump administration's projected target of 3 percent.

Frankie Graziano / Connecticut Public Radio

Legislators scrutinized the governor’s pick for commissioner of the Department of Economic and Community Development and senior economic advisor this week, highlighting his time as at the firm Goldman Sachs and the company’s role during the 2008 financial crisis.

Image of twenty dollar bills
Martin Vorel / Libreshot

Progressive lawmakers around the country have been rallying behind a call for a $15 minimum wage, and Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont has joined their ranks.

This hour, what would increasing the minimum wage by almost 150 percent over the next four years mean for businesses and workers here in Connecticut? We hear from an economist and get the takes of several local business owners on Democrats’ proposal to increase the minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2023.

alexandersr / Pixabay

This hour: the crisis in Venezuela. We take an in-depth look at the realities on the ground in the country and consider the future that lies ahead for its people.

Plus: We learn how a New London, Connecticut-based nonprofit is opening residents’ eyes to the diverse cultures of Latin America. 

Updated at 9:27 a.m. ET

Job growth picked up for the 100th consecutive month in January even as hundreds of thousands of federal workers were furloughed during the partial government shutdown, the Labor Department said Friday.

Employers added 304,000 jobs last month — topping analysts' expectations and the 223,000 average monthly gain in 2018. The string of job growth underscores the long economic expansion since the Great Recession.

Updated at 5 p.m. ET

The partial shutdown of the government reduced federal spending by about $3 billion and cut into overall U.S. economic growth, according to a report released Monday by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

The report says that because of the shutdown, which lasted from Dec. 22 through last Friday, about $18 billion in discretionary government spending was delayed. Most of the money will be spent later, now that the shutdown has ended.

Forever Stamps have gotten a lot more expensive, relatively speaking.

The price of a first-class Forever Stamp went up by a nickel Sunday, from 50 cents to 55 cents. That 10 percent increase "is the biggest price increase by total cents in the history of the Postal Service," according to The Associated Press.

The Postal Service has been running a multibillion-dollar deficit for years, and the price increase is an attempt to contend with a United States that just doesn't send as many letters as it used to.

Super Bowl tickets are super expensive, as always, but the average resale price is about $1,000 less than at this time last year.

And the price of admission to the big game has been dropping steadily since Sunday, when the Patriots won the AFC Championship. Again.

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