John Ydstie

After campaigning with lots of populist and anti-Wall Street rhetoric, Donald Trump is seriously considering a veteran Wall Street financier, Steve Mnuchin, to be his Treasury secretary.

Mnuchin spent 17 years at Goldman Sachs, ultimately as a partner at the investment bank. More recently, he's headed a privately owned hedge fund, Dune Capital Management. Last April he became Trump's chief fundraiser, and he's now a member of the president-elect's transition team.

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The government has released its last jobs report before Election Day. It shows the U.S. economy improved in October. As NPR's John Ydstie reports, it was strong wage growth that grabbed the spotlight.

Chair Janet Yellen and her colleagues at the Federal Reserve didn't surprise anyone when they announced Wednesday they were not raising their benchmark interest rate. Fed policymakers decided to keep the federal funds rate in a range between one-quarter and one-half percent. That's where it's been since last December when the Fed lifted the rate a quarter of a point from near zero — where it had been left for seven years as the central bank tried to support growth coming out of the Great Recession.

So you think that beer you brewed in your kitchen is ready for prime time, and you're thinking, "Maybe I should take the plunge and set up a little craft brewery."

You're not the only one with dreams infused with hops and malting barley. During the past couple of years, new breweries were being launched at the rate of three a day in the U.S.

New District Brewing is one of them. It just popped up in a cinder-block building in an Arlington, Va., light-industrial park.

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The U.S. government, today, announced a broad-reaching $14.7 billion settlement in the Vokswagen emissions cheating scandal. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy outlined the heart of the agreement during a news conference this morning.

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Most election prediction models that try to forecast who's going to win the presidency take into account some measure of how the economy is doing. That's because generally if it's going strong in the six months or so before the election, history suggests the party currently in the White House will win. If the economy stinks, the party not in the White House takes over.

But, what if the economy is just so-so like it is now?

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The outlook for global economic growth got downgraded yet again, this time by economists with the International Monetary Fund's economists. In January, they thought the global economy would grow 3.4 percent this year, but they ratcheted that down to 3.2 percent in the latest version of their World Economic Outlook.

U.S. growth for 2016 got trimmed by the same amount in the report released Tuesday, down to 2.4 percent.

So what's going on? Here are five key factors from the WEO.

The revelations in the Panama Papers have generated anger and disgust. Politicians and leaders in countries from Russia to Iceland to the oil-rich Gulf States are implicated.

The irony is that while the shady world of shell corporations and offshore accounts is still massive — costing governments hundreds of billions of dollars a year — the global community has made significant strides toward reining it in.

In the past, falling oil prices have given a boost to the world economy, but recent forecasts for global growth have been ratcheted down, even as oil prices sink lower and lower. Does that mean the link between lower oil prices and growth has weakened?

Jason Bordoff, head of the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University, says there are still good reasons to believe cheap oil should heat up the world economy.

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As the old saying goes, the stock market has predicted nine of the last five recessions. In other words, sharply falling stock markets are crying wolf about half the time.

Dyke Messinger, who runs a small manufacturing company in Salisbury, N.C., thinks stock investors have been overreacting during this sell-off.

"It is bizarre to me when we see what we believe is good core strength in the U.S. market," he says.

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The U.S. government reports another month of solid job growth. It happened in November, when employers added 211,000 jobs, according to the government. That sets the stage for the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates later this month. NPR's John Ydstie reports.

The business community is well-represented at the United Nations climate summit underway in Paris — and it will be much more engaged in finding positive solutions than ever before.

It's a far cry from the first large-scale U.N. conference to address climate change, which took place in Rio de Janeiro in 1992.

In the past, in fact, business often was an obstacle to action on climate change and seen more as an enemy than a partner.

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The latest report on the labor market is a really good one. Employers added 271,000 jobs in October - far more than expected. So we’re going to talk through what happened with NPR's John Ydstie who's in our studios. John, good morning.

JOHN YDSTIE, BYLINE: Hi, Steve.

The idea of crowdfunding, raising money from lots of people on the Internet, got a boost from Washington on Friday. The Securities and Exchange Commission approved a system that allows small businesses and startups to solicit funding from small investors.

The first thing to realize about financial advice is that it's not free — and it often costs more than you think. That's what Morra Aarons-Mele found when she decided to find a financial adviser after she inherited an IRA from her father.

"I felt like I wanted an adviser because I was uncertain about — I never had any money before, frankly, and I really wanted to be a good steward of it," Aarons-Mele says.

Volkswagen has for decades been one of the most recognizable brands in the world. Only recently, it outsold Toyota and General Motors to become the No. 1 car company globally.

After admitting it cheated on emissions testing, VW is virtually certain to lose that top spot. VW top managers, in their single-minded quest to be the leader, very likely sowed the seeds of the company's downfall, analysts say.

Cybercrime is costing the global economy nearly half a trillion dollars a year, according to the insurer Allianz. It's a major threat to businesses, which are looking for ways to protect themselves. One option is cybercrime insurance.

Cyberthieves steal hundreds of millions of dollars a year from the bank accounts of U.S. businesses. And many business owners are surprised to find out their bank is not obliged to make them whole.

Dr. David Krier's Volunteer Voyages is one of the victims. Krier says he lost over $14,000 through fraudulent withdrawals from his business account, and he says his bank "refused to cover any of my losses."

There's a special significance to the monthly jobs report that will be released Friday morning. It could tip the balance for the Federal Reserve. Policymakers are weighing whether to raise the Fed's official interest rates later this month. It's something the Fed hasn't done since before the Great Recession.

Surveys of economists are predicting that job growth in August will be right around the current trend of about 220,000 new jobs a month, and they think the unemployment rate will tick down a notch to 5.2 percent.

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