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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Business
3:20 am
Wed October 3, 2012

Homeowners Facing Foreclosure Get New Protections

Originally published on Wed October 3, 2012 9:14 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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Solve This
2:32 am
Tue October 2, 2012

Candidates Say Little On Difficult Issue Of Housing

Despite millions of troubled mortgages around the country, housing hasn't been a major issue in the presidential race so far.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Tue October 2, 2012 12:08 pm

Housing continues to be a big issue for the economy, and for many voters. But so far it hasn't been a major issue in the presidential campaign. Perhaps that's because both sides agree that there's no easy fix for the problem of millions of troubled mortgages.

The Problem:

Cathy Busby and her husband co-owned a realty office in Denver when they bought their house in 2006. The next year, the market for houses dried up, leaving them with little income as their house lost value.

Now, she says, she considers herself "poverty level."

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Economy
3:24 am
Fri September 14, 2012

Discouraged In Hunt For A Job, Many Stop Looking

A job fair was held at the The Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C., last month. The U.S. unemployment rate declined in August in part because the number of "discouraged workers" climbed.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Fri September 14, 2012 10:43 am

The U.S. population is growing. In normal times, the labor force — working or not — would be growing too. But these are not normal times, and the labor force is actually smaller than it was four years ago, meaning millions of people who should be there aren't.

The reasons people drop out of the workforce are myriad. People go back to school. Others have health issues or family priorities that keep them from looking for work. But some stop looking because they are discouraged.

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Crisis In The Housing Market
4:56 pm
Wed September 5, 2012

Democratic Convention Draws Troubled Homeowners

David Sole rode a bus from Detroit to the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., to protest how the Obama administration and the nation's banks have handled the foreclosure crisis.
Yuki Noguchi NPR

Originally published on Wed September 5, 2012 6:03 pm

Charlotte, N.C., host of the 2012 Democratic National Convention, is the nation's biggest financial center outside of New York. But Charlotte and surrounding Mecklenburg County have the highest foreclosure rates in the state, and many thousands of homeowners owe more on their homes than the properties are worth.

As thousands of Democrats converge in Charlotte for the convention, some troubled homeowners have also gathered, lamenting that the foreclosure crisis has not been sufficiently front and center in the presidential campaign.

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Business
6:42 am
Thu August 30, 2012

Mortgage Settlement Monitor Issues First Report

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Let's follow up on another story. Earlier this year, five big banks settled the so-called robo-signing case, admitting they rushed the foreclosure processes for thousands of homeowners. Now, those banks are working to forgive and modify $20 billion worth of home loans.

As NPR's Yuki Noguchi reports, yesterday was the first chance to look at how banks are handling this part of the settlement.

YUKI NOGUCHI, BYLINE: Joseph Smith's first full report wasn't due until November, but he was eager to keep the issue top of mind.

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Economy
1:46 am
Fri August 17, 2012

Low Mortgage Rates Boost 'Serial Refinancers'

Originally published on Fri August 17, 2012 1:35 pm

Refinance activity continues to boom, fueling the home-loan market. Low interest rates have created a class of "serial refinancers" — those lucky enough to borrow at lower rates — and given them new opportunities to spend their freed up cash.

Settlement attorney Robert Gratz never used to be on a first-name basis with his clients.

"In the past, our practice was such that you'd see people, and that was the end of it," he says.

Gratz now sees the same faces all the time, of clients refinancing again and again — these days in the mid-3 percent range.

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Business
2:23 am
Fri August 10, 2012

Why Evading U.S. Rules May 'Tempt' Foreign Banks

Police leave the Standard Chartered Bank's offices Tuesday in London. The bank has been accused of making billions of dollars' worth of transactions with the Iranian regime.
Matthew Lloyd Getty Images

Originally published on Fri August 10, 2012 1:42 pm

The allegations this week against London-based Standard Chartered Bank raise questions, not just about the bank's viability but also about the efficacy of U.S. laws when it comes to foreign banks. Standard Chartered allegedly violated U.S. sanctions against Iran, and regulators said the bank's executives lied to investigators as part of a cover-up.

The case serves as yet another reminder that U.S. regulations, which have strengthened since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, apparently did not deter foreign banks from laundering money through their U.S. operations.

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Crisis In The Housing Market
4:07 am
Tue July 31, 2012

Is Housing Recovery Real? Not Everyone Is Convinced

A construction worker carries lumber while working on new homes in San Mateo, Calif., in March. Homebuilding is at its highest level in nearly four years.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Tue July 31, 2012 4:08 pm

Housing, the sector that led us into the recession, now looks to be one of the brighter spots in the economy. Homebuilding is at its highest level in nearly four years. More homes are selling, and at higher prices.

The question, of course, is whether this is a solid enough foundation to sustain a full housing recovery.

Lawrence Yun, the chief economist for the National Association of Realtors, says housing woes are largely behind us.

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Business
3:09 am
Thu July 26, 2012

For Temp Workers, 'Temp' Looking More Permanent

Job applicants outside the Staffmark temp agency in Cypress, Calif., in 2005. Temp hiring is usually a harbinger of an improving job market, but some analysts say more employers may be considering temps as a more permanent staffing solution.
Ric Francis AP

Originally published on Thu July 26, 2012 5:11 pm

While the job market remains sluggish, temporary work is one area that's done very well in the economic recovery. Companies are keeping their temps longer and are even using them to fill professional and high-ranking positions.

The average daily number of temporary workers employed during the first quarter of 2012 was more than 2.5 million. That's up from a low of 2.1 million in early 2009, according to the American Staffing Association.

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Crisis In The Housing Market
2:20 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 10:04 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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Economy
3:00 pm
Fri July 6, 2012

U.S. Unemployment Rate Sticks At 8.2 Percent

Originally published on Tue July 10, 2012 3:46 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 big news from Washington today may not sound like big new. The unemployment rate remains stuck at 8.2 percent in June. Hiring was virtually flat compared to the prior months, with a meager 80,000 jobs added to the payrolls. But these days, the weak economy is increasingly a political story as NPR's Yuki Noguchi reports.

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Business
2:02 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 8:20 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
2:37 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 4:35 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
12:48 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 3:13 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
3:20 pm
Tue June 26, 2012

Sinking Under A $10,000 Monthly Mortgage Payment

Originally published on Wed June 27, 2012 5:50 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
3:03 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 5:21 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
4:03 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 6:29 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
5:32 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 6:49 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
1:50 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 5:17 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
2:29 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 8:49 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
4:39 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

Originally published on Tue May 15, 2012 4:46 pm

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
4:39 am
Fri May 11, 2012

Post Office Reports Another Quarter Of Losses

Originally published on Fri May 11, 2012 6:10 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
4:24 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 6:19 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
4:21 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 9:03 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
2:02 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 8:21 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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