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
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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Economy
6:32 am
Sun May 27, 2012

Help Wanted. But Not For Mid-Level Jobs

Job seekers fill out applications at a job fair in the Queens borough of New York City earlier this month. Economists say jobs in the middle — in sales, administration and assembly, for example — are being squeezed.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

Originally published on Sun May 27, 2012 7:49 pm

Unemployment figures for May come out Friday. While the numbers will show how many jobs have been added or lost, they won't tell us much about the quality of positions filled or illustrate what economists already know: that the middle of the job market is hollowing out.

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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
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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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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NPR Story
4:41 pm
Mon April 23, 2012

How Long Will Social Security Last?

Originally published on Mon April 23, 2012 7:39 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block. The Social Security Trust Fund is being squeezed. It's now projected that the trust will no longer be able to fully fund benefits starting in 2033. That's more than two decades from now, but the new depletion date, as it's called, is three years earlier than last year's projections.

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NPR Story
4:47 am
Fri April 20, 2012

Federal Reserve Delays Enforcement of Volker Rule

Originally published on Tue May 15, 2012 4:31 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Some other news. The Federal Reserve and other banking regulators have granted banks a two-year grace period to come into compliance with the Volcker Rule. That's one of the provisions of the Dodd-Frank financial reform bill passed a couple of years ago. It restricts American banks from making trades that put the bank and depositor funds at risk.

But as NPR's Yuki Noguchi reports, regulators are struggling to iron out the details.

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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
12:01 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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Law
12:01 am
Thu February 16, 2012

Age Discrimination Suits Jump, But Wins Are Elusive

Jack Gross filed an age discrimination suit against his employer when he was demoted in 2003. He lost his case at the U.S. Supreme Court.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Originally published on Thu February 16, 2012 10:53 am

For older Americans looking for work, finding a job can be a tremendous challenge. Someone 55 or older will typically take three months longer to find employment than the average job seeker.

And with more people of all ages looking for work in the slow economy, age discrimination complaints are on the rise — but becoming harder to win.

Employment law experts say that has a lot to do with one particular case: Gross v. FBL Financial Services Inc.

'Persona Non Grata'

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Business
3:00 pm
Mon January 23, 2012

RIM Announces Management Shake-Up

Originally published on Mon January 23, 2012 6:25 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

I'm Robert Siegel. And it's time now for All Tech Considered.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SIEGEL: Today, reinventing RIM. Research in Motion makes the once ubiquitous BlackBerry. In recent years, it's watched the iPhone and other devices take a huge bite out of its market share.

As NPR's Yuki Noguchi reports, the Canadian company named a new CEO today and is hoping for a turnaround.

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Around the Nation
12:01 am
Wed January 18, 2012

Cruise Ship Disaster Puts Focus On Safety Concerns

The luxury cruise ship Costa Concordia leans on its side after running aground on the tiny Tuscan island of Giglio, Italy. One maritime workers union called the disaster a "wake-up call" highlighting long-standing safety concerns and what it sees as lax regulation.
Gregorio Borgia AP

Originally published on Wed January 18, 2012 7:50 am

The dramatic Costa Concordia accident off the coast of Italy is calling attention to the regulation of the cruise line industry. Experts say there are plenty of rules, but enforcement can be spotty.

Some of the survivors of last week's disaster described the rescue effort as chaotic and disorganized. The crew had not yet conducted a required emergency drill during the cruise.

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Technology
12:01 am
Thu January 12, 2012

Critics See 'Disaster' In Expansion Of Domain Names

mipan iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu January 12, 2012 5:28 am

Vast new tracts of the Internet are up for sale as of Thursday. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, known as ICANN, is forging ahead with plans to sell new domain categories despite some vocal opposition from regulators and advertisers.

Forget .com or .org — for a registration fee of $185,000, applicants can register a new suffix like .music, or perhaps a brand like .NPR. If you think of the Internet as virtual land, new continents are now on the block.

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Your Money
12:01 am
Wed January 11, 2012

Credit Card Arbitration Trumps Lawsuits, Court Says

Consumers who sign credit card agreements that feature an arbitration clause cannot dispute fees or charges in court, the Supreme Court ruled Tuesday. The 8-to-1 decision drew immediate fire from consumer advocates.

To get a credit card, a consumer generally must sign a detailed agreement. In the fine print, almost always, is an arbitration clause that says that if consumers want to dispute fees, they must do so through arbitration, not in court.

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Shots - Health Blog
12:01 am
Thu January 5, 2012

The Real Holiday Party For Weight Loss Firms? It's Now

Jenny Craig brand ambassador and singer Mariah Carey (left) poses with Dana Fiser (right),CEO of Jenny Craig, at a press conference in New York City in November.
Cindy Ord Getty Images

The New Year is almost always happy for the weight-loss industry. When the holiday gorging ends, the resolutions to shed those extra pounds begin.

Weight Watchers North America president David Burwick says the first week of the year is the biggest week in what is typically his company's most profitable quarter.

"This is our Super Bowl," he says. "The first week of January is our Super Bowl for Weight Watchers."

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Business
12:01 am
Fri December 30, 2011

Happy Holidays? Indeed, For Some Stuck At Work

Louise Tucker-Mitchell laughs on the phone with a customer at Enterprise Rent-A-Car at Reagan National Airport in Washington, D.C. She says she likes working the week between Christmas and New Year's, as it's calmer and a good time to catch up.
Sara Carothers NPR

It's the last workweek of the year, and just about half of American workers have been in the office.

If that sounds like a drag, well, meet Louise Tucker-Mitchell.

She works for Enterprise Rent-A-Car at Washington, D.C.'s Reagan National Airport. For her, at least, being stuck at work between the holidays is a secret pleasure.

Things are unusually quiet. Traffic is uncharacteristically light. "This is the free time when you can sort everything out and get it done," she says.

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Business
3:42 pm
Thu December 22, 2011

'Twas The Busiest Week All Year For Shipping

Bill Ferguson, a courier for FedEx, loads his truck at a sorting facility in Chicago on Dec. 12 — the company's busiest day in its history.
M. Spencer Green AP

Originally published on Thu December 22, 2011 7:36 pm

This week marks the busiest time of the year for shipping services like UPS, FedEx and the Postal Service. The post office handled 600 million cards and letters alone on Tuesday, and UPS says it is delivering 300 packages per second, on average.

At one FedEx facility in Washington, D.C., the logistics of last-minute shipping are on full display.

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U.S.
4:00 am
Fri December 9, 2011

Corzine Claims No Knowledge Of MF Global's Missing Money

Former MF Global CEO Jon Corzine testified on Capitol Hill on Thursday day. The former New Jersey Senator and governor was subpoenaed by a congressional panel that wanted to hear how MF Global wound up in bankruptcy. Corzine apologized repeatedly but denied knowingly breaking any rules.

Economy
12:01 am
Thu December 1, 2011

Recent Veterans Find Higher Jobless Rates On Return

Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, speaks on Capitol Hill about the Hire Heroes Act, which gives tax breaks to businesses that hire unemployed veterans. Vets that have served since 2001 face a higher unemployment rate than the population overall.
Brendan Smialowski Getty Images

The jobless rate has declined a bit in the last year, but among veterans who served in conflict since 2003, it is increasing. The unemployment rate for vets serving since the Iraq war began has risen 1.5 percentage points to more than 12 percent in the past year.

Many veterans say they face a tougher job market than civilians. Tom Tarantino spent a decade in the military, where he served in Iraq and led a platoon. But when he separated from the military in 2007, he spent nearly a year looking for a job.

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