Yuki Noguchi

Yuki Noguchi joined NPR News in May 2008 as a correspondent. She is a general assignment reporter covering business for NPR's National Desk. She began reporting for NPR in Washington during hectic times, with the 2008 presidential race underway and as the economy started to experience severe turmoil. Her stories have ranged from declines in SUV sales at Carmax to profiles of important figures involved in the Wall Street bailout. Noguchi's pieces can be heard on Morning Edition, All Things Considered and Weekend Edition Sunday.

Before joining NPR, Noguchi worked at The Washington Post, first as a reporter and later as an editor. Starting in 1999, she covered economic development. Starting in 2000, she covered telecommunications and wrote stories about the major industry mergers, the Federal Communications Commission and the rise of some of the Internet giants. On the side, she also wrote about her love of swing dancing. Later, she covered consumer technology, writing features about people and their relationships with their gadgets. This was her favorite beat. Most recently, Noguchi directed the paper's coverage of national technology news. Prior to joining the Post, Noguchi reported on business and politics for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle and The Orlando Sentinel.

Noguchi's parents left Japan to study in the U.S. in the early 1970s. Noguchi and her younger brother grew up in St. Louis. She received her B.A. in history from Yale University. During a year off, she studied in Yokohama, Japan, and worked for Kyodo News Service in Tokyo. She is fluent in Japanese and speaks conversational German. She has forgotten the bulk of a class in Arabic.

Noguchi lives with her husband, Christopher Libertelli, in Bethesda, Maryland. Outside of NPR she practices yoga and still loves swing dancing.

Working on your own can have its rewards, such as being able to set your own hours. But being self-employed also brings with it the headache of handling taxes — something a traditional employer normally does.

"It's just excruciatingly difficult to manage our finances," says P. Kim Bui, who has been a freelance consultant off and on for two years.

In addition to the Web design and social media work she's hired to do, she must also manage all her own office functions, from accounting to payroll.

The attorney general of New York has reached an agreement with WeWork to eliminate or modify noncompete clauses from most of its employment contracts, which restricted workers' ability to find new jobs.

Noncompete agreements generally have been standard for executives and in high-tech, where companies are trying to protect intellectual property or trade secrets from being transferred to rivals.

An employee at the Federal Housing Finance Agency says that she secretly recorded conversations with director Melvin Watt that bolster her harassment, retaliation and equal-pay claims against Watt and the agency

In 2015, Simone Grimes had been filling two jobs — hers and one she had been promoted to. But she never got the pay increase she had been promised. That decision, she was told, would require the director to sign off.

After working at a call center for two decades, Linda Bradley's job came to an end about a year and a half ago. Since her layoff, she has combed online job sites every day looking for work — without much luck.

Bradley, who is 45 and lives near Columbus, Ohio, began suspecting age discrimination after someone at her union mentioned how recruiters often target online ads at younger candidates. "I thought to myself, 'Oh, that's why I wasn't seeing some of the ads that my daughter has seen on her Facebook,' " she says.

A basic tenet of economics is that when demand for something goes up, so does its cost. So, many economists wonder why today's high demand for workers hasn't translated into bigger increases in pay.

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell has called this a puzzle that defies a single or easy explanation. It isn't just, for example, that productivity has slowed, making it harder for businesses to justify paying more — though that is certainly a factor.

A federal appeals court handed workers in Birmingham, Ala., a significant win this week. The city is in a battle against state lawmakers over whether it has the right to raise its minimum wage.

The Birmingham workers and the Alabama legislature have been fighting in court since the city voted to increase its minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, from $7.25, in February 2016. That hike never took effect. The state legislature swiftly passed a law barring municipalities like Birmingham from setting their own minimum wage.

It's hard enough for employers to find workers to fill open jobs these days, but on top of it, many prospective hires are failing drug tests.

The Belden electric wire factory in Richmond, Ind., is taking a novel approach to both problems: It now offers drug treatment, paid for by the company, to job applicants who fail the drug screen. Those who complete treatment are also promised a job.

Seven national fast-food chains have agreed, under pressure, to eliminate a practice that limits their workers' ability to take jobs at other restaurants in the same chain, the Washington state attorney general announced Thursday.

Fast-food workers may be stuck in jobs for various reasons. In many cases, their employers prevent them from leaving to work for other restaurants within the same chain.

Now, 10 state attorneys general and the District of Columbia are taking on the issue with an investigation into eight national fast-food chains. At issue are "noncompete" clauses that limit where employees can work after they leave.

Updated 8:45 a.m. ET

The Labor Department on Friday reported another big month for job growth, with a larger than expected addition of 213,000 jobs for June.

The unemployment rate ticked up slightly to 4 percent as some people who had been on the sidelines moved back into the labor force.

The report underscores a familiar refrain: There are lots of jobs being created, but not enough people to fill them. That continues as employers consistently hire at robust rates and the unemployment rate keeps falling.

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