Home values have been rising in recent months, but mortgage rates have taken a rapid turn upward as well. Some investors are worried that the housing recovery may stall if mortgage rates jump too quickly.
Mortgage rates have seen a relatively sharp rise this month. The average 30-year fixed-rate loan hit 4 percent earlier in June — a big jump from the record lows of recent years. Some investors are now concerned that the housing recovery could be stifled if rates continue to rise quickly.
The Federal Reserve has two main missions: to maximize employment and minimize inflation. Right now, there are few, if any, signs that prices for goods are spiking, and the job market is still crawling out of its long, deep slump.
The violin and viola that Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart played himself are in the United States for the first time ever. The instruments come out of storage only about once a year at the Salzburg Mozarteum in Austria. The rest of the time, they're kept under serious lockup.
Credit National Grange of the Order of Patrons of Husbandry
"A Gift for the Grangers" was a recruitment poster for the National Grange printed in 1873. Grange membership around this period was estimated by some to be as high as 2 million. Today it's less than 200,000.
Credit Jeff Brady / NPR
The Marys River Grange Hall near Philomath, Ore., was established in 1933. In 2009, a few remaining members were preparing to vote to shut the Grange down. But word spread and a group of new members interested in local and organic agriculture joined and have kept the hall operating.
Lots of passionate people are taking up farming these days, motivated by frustration with industrial farming, concerns about the environment, and a desire to build community and local food markets. Some of these new farmers have joined the Grange, a long-established fraternal organization for farmers with roots in social activism.
In Oregon, Granges dominated by this new generation have banded together in a coalition dubbed "Green Granges," which work together to advance the issues they care about.
Miguelo Rada doesn't seem like the kind of guy who'd have extra cash. He just spent 32 years in prison, he lives in a halfway house in West Harlem, and his current income comes only from public assistance.
He uses food stamps for food, wears hand-me-down clothes and buys almost nothing. He is also an unofficial bank.
"If somebody asks me, 'Can I borrow $20?' If I have it I'll say, 'Here!' " he says.
This kind of borrowing is one way people do what economists call "consumption smoothing" – basically making spending more regular, even when income is not.
Eric Glatt, a Georgetown Law student, poses on Wednesday, in Washington, D.C. Unpaid internships have long been a path of opportunity for students and recent grads. But a federal judge ruled this week that Fox Searchlight Pictures violated minimum wage and overtime laws by not paying interns who worked on production of the 2010 movie Black Swan. Glatt was one of the interns.
A federal court in New York has ruled that a group of interns at Fox Searchlight Pictures should have been paid for their work on the movie Black Swan. The decision may have broad implications for students looking for their first job.
Eric Glatt filed the federal lawsuit against Fox. He says everyone always told him taking an unpaid internship was the way to get his foot in the door in the film industry.
At Fox, he worked as an unpaid accounting clerk, he says — filing, getting signatures, running checks and handling petty cash — but he was working for nothing.
Ivan, a silverback gorilla who lived for 27 years in a Tacoma, Wash., shopping mall, chews on his finger at the Atlanta Zoo in 1996. The story was the inspiration for Katherine Applegate's book The One and Only Ivan.
Credit Erica Yoon / NPR
Katherine Applegate, pictured above at NPR in Washington, D.C., is the author of The Buffalo Storm, Home of the Brave and The One and Only Ivan. Along with her husband, she co-wrote the young adult series Animorphs.
The school year is drawing to a close, but NPR's Backseat Book Club has plenty of reading lined up for the summer. Our June pick is The One and Only Ivan, a Newbery Medal-winning book by Katherine Applegate. It tells the story of a gorilla who spent 27 years in a shopping mall in Tacoma, Wash. — and it's based on a true story.
Unmanned drones aren't just a tool for governments anymore. By as early as this year, the Federal Aviation Administration expects to propose regulations opening up the use of small, unmanned airborne vehicles — or drones — for commercial use.
Tens of thousands of these little, civilian drones are sold and piloted by hobbyists in the United States every year. Right now these drones are flown almost exclusively for non-commercial uses by enthusiast like Pablo Lema. Lema spends weekends flying his quardracopter around the San Francisco Bay.
Firearms manufacturers are pulling up stakes in at least two of the five states that enacted tough new guns laws following the school shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School last year.
In the months after those shootings, governors in New York, Connecticut and Maryland signed broad new bans on assault weapons. Delaware passed a law requiring universal background checks. Colorado adopted background checks and a ban on high-capacity magazines.