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.
For Darden Restaurants, the company behind Olive Garden and Red Lobster, its earnings projections out last week were not pretty. Sales will fall, it said, and company CEO Clarence Otis called higher payroll taxes a "headwind."
After a two-year tax break, the payroll tax, which funds Social Security payments, went back up to 6.2 percent on Jan. 1. The 2-percentage-point increase is an extra $80 a month in taxes for someone earning $50,000 a year.
C. Everett Koop was the most outspoken and some would argue the most influential of all U.S. surgeon generals. [POST-BROADCAST CORRECTION: The correct plural form of the word is surgeons general.] He wore the uniform throughout most of the 1980s, and he turned an office with little power into a mighty platform - to educate Americans about AIDS prevention and the dangers of smoking.
C. Everett Koop died today at his home in Hanover, New Hampshire. He was 96. NPR's Joseph Shapiro looks back on his career.
It's been nearly two years since Oprah ended her daily show, and Chicago's been adjusting to the loss of the daytime talk queen. Although she left a huge void, there's no need to write an obituary for the TV talk genre in Chicago.
In the lobby of Chicago's NBC Towers, the crowd of excited fans gathered for a TV taping is reminiscent of the Oprah days of old. But instead of Oprah, they're lined up to see veteran comedian Steve Harvey's show.
"I like Steve's energy. I like his shows. He's funny. He covers all topics," says fan Deloris Neal.
Brooklyn Assemblyman Dov Hikind is facing a storm of criticism after he dressed as an African-American basketball player in blackface. Hikind wore the costume to a party at his house celebrating the Jewish holiday of Purim.
He posted a picture of himself on Facebook wearing an afro wig and an orange jersey.
Now, a story about heat, the sweaty, miserable kind. Heat plus humidity. Working outdoors or playing sports on a hot, muggy day can be dangerous, even deadly. And as the climate continues to warm, being outside will become even more challenging. Those are the findings of a new study in the journal Nature Climate Change.
As Kenya prepares for a presidential election next Monday, it's trying to prevent a recurrence of the last such poll, in December 2007, when more than 1,000 people were killed in postelection violence.
Last time, technology helped incite that violence. This time, the hope is that technology will help prevent a similar outburst.
Last time around, a text message came on Dec. 31, 2007, four days after a presidential election that many people in the Kalenjin tribe thought was rigged.
Originally published on Mon February 25, 2013 5:23 pm
To understand what's happening with federal judge vacancies, consider this: The Senate voted Monday night to approve the nomination of Robert Bacharach to sit on the federal appeals court based in Denver.
Bacharach had won support from both Republican senators in his home state, and his nomination was approved unanimously. But he still waited more than 260 days for that vote.
Fauja Singh has decided, at the age of 101, to put his feet up and rest.
Or, at least, to stop participating in long-distance races.
The Indian-born British citizen known as the "turbaned tornado" was among the competitors Sunday at a 10-kilometer race in Hong Kong. According to Sports Illustrated, he completed the 6.2-mile course in 1 hour, 32 minutes and 28 seconds.
Originally published on Mon March 11, 2013 12:22 pm
The McDonald's menu is a sacred document, like the Constitution. You can't just add things willy-nilly. It took hard work and sacrifice to add the Fourth Amendment, the McRib, and the Twenty-third Amendment, the Snack Wrap. Now, a new item called Fish McBites seeks ratification.
Miles: Fish McBites — for the bottom feeder in all of us.
Ian: I can't wait to wash this down with McDonald's new Chumrock Shake.
Originally published on Mon February 25, 2013 2:53 pm
The remains of a small continent have been hiding right under our noses for the past 85 million years or so.
That's according to a new study published Sunday in the journal Nature Geoscience. Scientists looked at lava sands from beaches on Mauritius to determine when and where the material might have originated.
The Supreme Court says it won't hear a case that would have let candidates solicit money from corporations. By doing so, the court is reaffirming one strict ban on corporate political money, three years ago after easing other limits in its controversial Citizens United ruling.
The Census Bureau announced Monday that it would drop the word "Negro" from its forms, after some described it as offensive. According to the Associated Press, the term will be replaced next year by black or African-American. From the AP:
Talks between the U.S., its allies and Iran about the Persian giant's nuclear ambitions are due to begin Tuesday in Almaty, Kazakhstan. As the time draws near, we're seeing stories about how each side will approach the discussions.
In its bid to reshape itself for the future, Yahoo is returning to a workplace culture of the tech industry's past. The Internet giant has reportedly notified its employees they'll no longer be allowed to work from home.
Originally published on Mon February 25, 2013 3:36 pm
Pour on the olive oil in good conscience, and add some nuts while you're at it.
A careful test of the so-called Mediterranean diet involving more than 7,000 people at a high risk of having heart attacks and strokes found the diet reduced them when compared with a low-fat diet. A regular diet of Mediterranean cuisine also reduced the risk of dying.
The findings, published online by The New England Journal of Medicine, come from a study conducted right in the heart of Mediterranean country: Spain.
Originally published on Tue February 26, 2013 1:19 pm
Usually when the United States Supreme Court refuses to hear a case, it does so without a lengthy opinion.
Today, however, Justice Sonia Sotomayor joined by Justice Stephen Breyer, issued a pointed rebuke of an assistant United States Attorney for the Western District of Texas.
The case involves a man who was arguing he did not know the two friends he was with intended to buy drugs. During the trial the assistant U.S. attorney, whom Sotomayor did not name, made a racist comment.
Tuesday marks one year since the fatal shooting of unarmed Florida teen Trayvon Martin. The case has drawn a lot of national attention and polarized America on issues of race and self-defense. Host Michel Martin checks in again with Trayvon's mother, Sybrina Fulton, and her attorney, Benjamin Crump.
Now, we turn to a giant in the arts world. You probably know the name, Anna Deavere Smith. You might know her from her role on "The West Wing" or as the no-nonsense old school hospital administrator, Gloria Akalitus, on the Showtime series, "Nurse Jackie."
(SOUNDBITE OF TV SERIES, "NURSE JACKIE")
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: How do you sleep at night putting someone out of a job?
I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. In a few minutes, we will speak with an artist who just won one of the American art world's biggest prizes. It was endowed by the famous sisters of silent movie fame. It comes with $300,000 attached. It was just awarded to Anna Deavere Smith, and we will speak with her in just a few minutes.
The new South Korean president, Park Guen-hye, steps into office at a particularly challenging time, with archnemesis North Korea's own recently installed leader rattling missiles and nuclear weapons in an apparent attempt to solidify his hold on power.