Here's a number for you: 725. That's the minimum hourly wage in the United States, as set by the federal government. It hasn't budged in four-and-a-half years. President Obama is pushing to increase it. Some state and local governments are doing that on their own. As 2013 draws to a close, we're hearing about the year in numbers
Today, NPR's Scott Horsley on 725.
SCOTT HORSLEY, BYLINE: 725 is a number that Mary Coleman knows all too well.
MARY COLEMAN: I work at Popeye's here in Milwaukee. I make $7.25 an hour.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.
American economic numbers have been stronger lately. Consumer spending rose in November, according to the Commerce Department today. Last week, there were strong growth numbers and unemployment in November sank to a five-year low, seven percent. For many Americans that is not reassuring. We'll hear in this segment about those who are still not working and those making minimum wage.
At the last minute, the Obama administration gave consumers more time to sign up for health insurance starting Jan. 1. People will now have until the end of Christmas Eve, giving them an additional day. The administration hopes a late surge of enrollments will boost numbers, which have lagged far behind expectations. The insurance industry is hoping the same thing. But it is also expressing dismay over recent changes to the law that allow some people to opt out of the individual mandate or purchase plans otherwise prohibited under the law.
The economy grew really quickly this summer. At least, that's the government's best guess for now.
The BEA said Friday that GDP rose at an annual rate of 4.1 percent between July and September. That's the highest it has been in years. But in its previous estimate for summer growth, the government said the economy was growing at an annual rate of 2.8 percent.
It's time for our biweekly podcast, in which your NPR tech reporting team mashes together the themed reporting we do on a certain subject and produce one delightful, downloadable podcast.
This episode's theme is the changing economy and culture of the San Francisco Bay Area, thanks in large part to the latest tech boom there. We've explored it from several angles — housing, transportation and individual lives, and the stories are aggregated here, if you want to read them.
In 1907, the U.S. economy was in the grip of a financial crisis. Unemployment was up. The stock market was down.
People started panicking. They were lining up overnight to pull their money out of healthy banks. This can be deadly for an economy: Healthy banks have to shut down, businesses can't get credit, they lay people off, and the economy gets worse.
Target is trying to get back in its customers' good graces after a massive data breach affecting some 40 million credit and debit account holders. The giant retail chain offered its customers a 10 percent discount over the weekend as an act of atonement, but business was said to be down anyway.
The breach affected customers who used their credit and debit cards at one of Target's 1,750 stores during a three-week period after Thanksgiving.
As the U.S. recovers from the Great Recession, one fact that's emerging is that while jobs are coming back, most are either high- or low-paying. NPR's Kelly McEvers is reporting on the disappearing middle. Host Arun Rath talks with Kelly about her first piece of the project, a look at her hometown of Lincoln, Ill. They also discuss her upcoming work.