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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Crisis In The Housing Market
3:20 am
Fri July 13, 2012

County Considers Eminent Domain As Foreclosure Fix

Half of San Bernardino County's 300,000 mortgages are underwater. In an attempt to ease the mortgage crisis, the Southern California county is considering taking control of some of those properties by eminent domain.
Robyn Beck AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri July 13, 2012 11:04 am

County and city officials in San Bernardino, Calif., are considering a controversial plan: using the power of eminent domain to take over "underwater" mortgages, where the value of the home is worth less than the original loan. Taking on those properties, officials say, would allow the homeowners to refinance those troubled loans.

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Business
3:02 am
Fri July 6, 2012

For Some Businesses, Daily Deals Have A Dark Side

Creative Hands is a therapy center in Washington, D.C., that used daily deals when it opened last year. Instead of bolstering revenue, the deals left Creative Hands' owner in the red.
Ebony Bailey NPR

Originally published on Mon July 30, 2012 9:20 pm

Groupon and Living Social have sold tens of millions of daily deals and are now a major force in retail. But they rely heavily on getting businesses to offer their goods and services at deep discounts. In exchange, businesses hope for payoff in the form of return customers.

Sometimes, though, the flood of extra business causes more problems than it solves.

Deal-Hungry Crowd

Ailie Ham had just opened Creative Hands Massage in Washington, D.C., when she decided to offer deals through Living Social and Groupon last year.

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Business
3:37 pm
Wed July 4, 2012

Ex-CEO: Barclays Isn't The Only Bank At Fault

Former Barclays CEO Bob Diamond leaves Parliament amid a crowd of reporters in London on Wednesday. Diamond, who resigned Tuesday, was questioned about a growing interest-rate manipulation scandal.
Matthew Lloyd Getty Images

Originally published on Wed July 4, 2012 5:35 pm

The fallen leader of Barclays Bank got on the hot seat before members of the British Parliament on Wednesday. Robert Diamond, an American, resigned Tuesday as CEO of the bank — the latest executive to lose his job over an interest-rate manipulation scandal.

The scandal has not only consumed Barclays, it also threatens to engulf other international banks — and high-ranking government officials, too.

Diamond started his career at Barclays on Independence Day, exactly 16 years ago. On Wednesday in London, he set off some fireworks all his own.

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Judging The Health Care Law
1:48 am
Fri June 29, 2012

Business Owners Mixed On Health Care Ruling

Protesters stand outside the U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday. The court's ruling upholding the federal health care law is expected to have wide-reaching implications for businesses.
Kris Connor Getty Images

Originally published on Sat June 30, 2012 4:13 pm

Depending on whom you ask, the Supreme Court's decision to uphold the federal health care law will either help businesses grow or it will make them more hesitant to hire.

Thursday's decision to uphold the law, including the provision requiring individuals to buy insurance, has some far-reaching implications in the business world.

Dan Danner, CEO of the National Federation of Independent Business, a business lobby that helped bankroll the suit seeking to strike down the law, said the 5-4 decision was unambiguously bad for business.

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Crisis In The Housing Market
4:20 pm
Tue June 26, 2012

Sinking Under A $10,000 Monthly Mortgage Payment

Originally published on Wed June 27, 2012 6:50 pm

The nation's housing crisis has touched countless people. Increasingly, the well-off are among them.

Housing counselors around the country say they are seeing more people struggling to keep their million-dollar homes. It's a twist on a familiar story of hardship — but one that involves some very big numbers.

Moving Up, Falling Down

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Crisis In The Housing Market
4:03 am
Thu June 21, 2012

Bidders Get Feisty Over Foreclosed Homes

Daily auctions are held on foreclosed properties in front of the county courthouse in Corona, Calif. About 80 bidders, representing investors, show up to bid on properties.
Yuki Noguchi NPR

Originally published on Thu June 21, 2012 6:21 am

For-sale homes in California are sparse, even in areas with high foreclosure rates. It has led to buyers like Jennifer Bryant, who is willing to throw money at just about anyone willing to sell her a house.

Since February, Bryant has made 35 offers on homes in Riverside, only to be elbowed out by other bids. With few houses available and many bidders chasing these properties, she feels she has, at most, an hour to consider each house.

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Business
4:48 pm
Wed June 6, 2012

Good Times For Airlines, So Where Are The Deals?

A Delta Air Lines flight takes off from the Ronald Regan National Airport in Washington, D.C. As the price of oil trickles down, the airline industry is projected to have a historic good year.
Jewel Samad AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed June 6, 2012 7:29 pm

The rest of the economy may not be doing great, but airlines are expecting a banner year. Profitability is up and fuel prices are declining, but that's not necessarily great news for consumers.

When Robert Herbst, a former pilot and industry consultant for many years, says the skies are blue, it sounds pretty convincing. And from Herbst's projections, this may be a historic year for the airline industry.

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Around the Nation
2:50 am
Thu May 24, 2012

Teaching Teens To Build Hammers Home A Message

Domingo Williams, a participant in the Sasha Bruce Youthwork program, gathers wood to help rebuild a gutted house in the Southeast neighborhood of Washington, D.C.
Emily Bogle NPR

Originally published on Thu May 24, 2012 6:17 am

Teenagers in Washington, D.C., face tough odds getting a job. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly half of those looking for work can't find it — the highest rate in the country.

Sasha Bruce Youthwork, an organization that works with troubled teens in the district, is trying to address that problem by training young people in the construction trades.

The group has enlisted an army of volunteers and a handful of trainees for what it calls a "blitz build" — an effort to rebuild a gutted house in a single day.

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The Salt
3:29 am
Thu May 17, 2012

Betting Better Fake Chicken Meat Will Be As Good As The Real Thing

Those who've tried it say fake chicken salad looks and tastes like the real thing.
Yuki Noguchi NPR

Originally published on Thu May 17, 2012 9:49 pm

Beyond Meat, a new company based in Maryland, has come up with an alternative to chicken meat that it claims is a dead ringer for the real thing. And unlike other meat alternatives on the market, this one aims to be cheap as well as tasty.

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Business
5:23 am
Wed May 16, 2012

Majority Of Shareholders Still Support JPMorgan Chase

Originally published on Wed May 16, 2012 6:47 am

JPMorgan Chase hosted its annual shareholder meeting in Tampa Tuesday, and it was the first chance for shareholders to weigh in on the banks problems. News the bank lost at least $2 billion in a botched trading strategy gave fresh fodder to critics who want banks to be more tightly regulated.

Business
5:46 pm
Tue May 15, 2012

Shareholders Press JPMorgan Over Risk-Taking

Protesters are seen behind a banner with a picture of JPMorgan Chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon outside a shareholders meeting Tuesday in Tampa, Fla.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

JPMorgan Chase faced more critics Tuesday, this time from some of its own shareholders at its annual meeting in Tampa, Fla. This comes after the bank disclosed it lost at least $2 billion last week in a bungled trading strategy.

The Securities and Exchange Commission is looking into the surprise loss, and the Justice Department has now reportedly opened a preliminary probe.

JPMorgan executives let shareholders do some venting at Tuesday's meeting.

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Business
4:42 pm
Mon May 14, 2012

Resignations Begin At JPMorgan After $2 Billion Loss

Originally published on Mon May 14, 2012 7:49 pm

JPMorgan Chase's chief investment officer resigned over the weekend and will retire. The bank made the announcement Monday morning, but didn't comment on other expected resignations. Last week JPMorgan surprised the markets with a $2 billion trading loss. That loss has revived interest in the Volcker Rule, which is supposed to reduce risk by prohibiting "proprietary trading."

NPR Story
5:14 am
Fri May 11, 2012

Postal Service Still Searching For Ways To Stem Losses

Originally published on Fri May 11, 2012 7:10 am

The Postal Service announced Thursday that it lost more than $3 billion during the first three months of the year. Post office officials are pushing Congress to give it more authority to cut some of its burgeoning costs.

Economy
5:24 pm
Wed May 9, 2012

Foreclosure Review Is Free, But Few Borrowers Apply

A foreclosed home in Los Angeles. More than 4 million homeowners nationwide are eligible for an independent review of their foreclosure process, but only a small percentage have applied to the program.
Damian Dovarganes AP

Originally published on Wed May 9, 2012 7:19 pm

It's been more than six months since government regulators and banks first extended an offer to 4.3 million homeowners facing foreclosure: to review, at no cost, the foreclosure process to check for any possible errors or misrepresentations.

Homeowners stand to collect compensation of as much as $100,000 if errors are found. But thus far, only a tiny percentage of those eligible have signed up.

'Not Enough Folks Have Signed Up'

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Business
5:21 am
Tue May 8, 2012

Mortgage Update

Bank of America is offering to reduce an average $150,000 in principal for borrowers who qualify, a bank official says.
Chuck Burton AP

Originally published on Tue May 8, 2012 10:03 am

Bank of America is offering about 200,000 homeowners a chance to wipe out a big chunk of their mortgage debt. The offers are part of the settlement Bank of America and other major banks reached with state and federal regulators earlier this year, and it's one of the biggest principal forgiveness opportunities so far.

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Crisis In The Housing Market
3:02 am
Thu April 26, 2012

For Some, 'Frustration' Over Mortgage Settlement

A sign stands in front of a bank-owned home in Las Vegas. Housing counselors say the $25 billion mortgage settlement between major banks and the states has yet to make an impact in communities around the U.S.
Jae C. Hong AP

Originally published on Thu April 26, 2012 9:21 am

Earlier this month, a judge approved a settlement between five major banks and nearly all of the state attorneys general. The banks admitted to taking shortcuts — or "robo-signing" documents — as they pushed through some foreclosures.

Most of the $25 billion settlement is supposed to go toward reducing mortgage payments for some troubled homeowners. But lots of other programs have promised to help struggling homeowners in the past, and results have been disappointing.

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Digital Life
11:47 am
Mon April 9, 2012

An Online Shopping Passion Keeps Them Clicking

Anne and Andrew Houseman say they don't mind all the boxes that come with their online purchases.
Courtesy of Anne and Andrew Houseman

If there's a new frontier in online shopping, Anne Houseman has settled there.

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Crisis In The Housing Market
4:50 pm
Wed March 28, 2012

Spring Brings Some Green Shoots In Housing Market

A recently sold home in Palo Alto, Calif. Home inventory is declining nationwide, and real estate agents say they are seeing more interest among would-be buyers.
Paul Sakuma AP

Originally published on Fri March 30, 2012 2:14 pm

Housing prices are still declining, but many analysts see some signs for optimism in the housing market. The mild spring has brought buyers out earlier than usual, and real estate agents are busy.

Doug Azarian is one of them. One of his clients recently signed a deal on a $1.5 million house in Cape Cod, Mass. — a contemporary waterfront property with three bedrooms.

"The buyers came in, and they loved it from the minute they walked in the door," Azarian says.

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Shots - Health Blog
8:34 am
Tue March 27, 2012

Uninsured Will Still Need The Money To Meet The Mandate

A bulletin board in New York's Jamaica Hospital offers advice for uninsured patients.
Seth Wenig AP

Originally published on Tue March 27, 2012 7:32 pm

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court hears its second day of testimony about the Affordable Care Act. At issue is a central tenet of that law: whether it's legal to require individuals to purchase health care.

But apart from the legal debate, there are questions about the economics of the mandate. Some — like Peggy Bodner of Portland, Ore. — worry it may be difficult to find the money to pay for health insurance, even with government subsidies.

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Crisis In The Housing Market
12:01 am
Fri March 16, 2012

Foreclosure Influx Causes Backlog In Some States

A padlock hangs from a door of a foreclosed home in Islip, N.Y. The time a foreclosure will take from start to finish varies widely from state to state.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

Real estate is about location, location, location. And foreclosure is no different. Depending on the state, it can take an average of three months or three years to process a foreclosure. And the disparity in how states deal with foreclosures is getting bigger.

The fate of thousands of troubled homeowners in Central Florida rests in the hands of Lee Haworth, foreclosure administrative judge for Florida's 12th Judicial Circuit. "We were hit pretty hard," Haworth says.

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Business
4:15 pm
Thu March 8, 2012

Small Businesses Staying Lean, Wary Of Hiring

Robby Richardson crafts handmade stirrups for Nettles Country in Madisonville, Texas. The company would like to hire more workers, but can't afford to.
Courtesy of Nettles Country

Originally published on Thu March 8, 2012 6:11 pm

Optimism is growing about the U.S. jobs market. Fewer people are applying for unemployment benefits, and hiring is up. The lion's share of new jobs are coming from small and medium-sized firms. But even if the economy comes roaring back, many small businesses aren't likely to hire with wild abandon.

"It's a huge commitment, when you're a very small firm, to add someone," says Kate O'Sullivan, director of content for CFO magazine. "And I think that the outlook is still not completely firm."

Doing More With Less

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Crisis In The Housing Market
5:40 pm
Wed February 29, 2012

Fannie, Freddie Won't Write Down Mortgage Principal

Many experts say reducing mortgage principal can help troubled homeowners stay in their homes. But two of the nation's largest mortgage holders, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, have not signed on to the idea.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Despite some green shoots in the economy, the housing sector remains weak. With 11 million Americans still underwater on their mortgages, some housing experts believe it's time for more dramatic solutions.

The idea of reducing the principal on the loans of underwater homeowners used to be a fringe concept, embraced by a few outliers. Today, many policymakers believe principal reduction is necessary to keep some troubled homeowners afloat.

But so far, the nation's biggest mortgage holders, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, haven't embraced the idea.

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Business
3:31 am
Wed February 29, 2012

Identity Theft A Growing Concern For Businesses

Fake business listings and other forms of business identity theft are a growing concern, causing real business owners to worry about protecting reputations and losing customers.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

You've heard of identity theft — someone using a person's credit information or a Social Security number for ill-gotten gains. Well, experts say similar crimes are also affecting businesses.

Business identity theft involves posing as a legitimate business in order to get access to credit lines or steal customers. Experts believe that the practice has become more prevalent in the past two years.

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Business
12:01 am
Wed February 22, 2012

New Consumer Agency Eyes Bank Overdraft Fees

Customers use Bank of America ATMs in New York. The head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau says it is looking into ways to help consumers limit their exposure to banks' overdraft fees.
Mark Lennihan AP

Originally published on Wed February 22, 2012 9:49 am

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau says it's looking to overhaul rules on overdraft fees. The new agency will be seeking data from banks about how they handle overdrawn accounts, and how they assess fees. The agency plans to use this information to help consumers limit their exposure to these costly charges.

The CFPB estimates that last year, banks made between $15 billion and $22 billion from overdraft fees.

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Around the Nation
3:19 pm
Wed February 1, 2012

What Retirement? Seniors Are Getting Back To Work

Ella Washington, 83, works as a receptionist three days a week at Holly Hall Apartments, a housing complex for disabled and elderly people in Silver Spring, Md.
Emily Bogle NPR

At 75, many people imagine they'll be retired and spending their time playing cards or on a golf course. But according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of working seniors is actually on the rise. In fact, it's more than doubled since 1990.

Ella Washington decided to go back to work at 83. Today, she's a receptionist in training at a senior living home outside Washington, D.C. She's hoping it will be a stepping stone to a real job, which she's been looking for since 2005.

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