The U.S. economy grew by an annualized rate of 1.7 percent in the second quarter of 2013, according to gross domestic product data released Wednesday morning. The Commerce Department says the rise stems from business investments, particularly in buildings, and an upturn in exports and the civilian aircraft industry.
Penny Pritzker, one of the nation's richest people and a "longtime political supporter and heavyweight fundraiser," as TheChicago Tribune writes, is President Obama's choice to be his next secretary of commerce.
The president announced the news this hour at the White House. He also said that one of his economic advisers, Michael Froman, is his choice to be the next U.S. trade representative.
NPR's business news starts with two new cabinet appointments.
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MONTAGNE: This morning, President Obama appointed Penny Pritzker to run the commerce department.
DAVID GREENE, HOST:
Pritzker is an heiress to the Hyatt hotel empire. She also served on the president's Economic Recovery Advisory Board, and she is a long time financial backer of the president's political campaigns. Forbes ranks her as one of 300 richest Americans.
Half of all tomatoes eaten in the U.S. come from Mexico, and tomato growers in Florida aren't happy about that. In fact, they're willing to risk a trade war to reverse the trend.
At JC Distributing In Nogales, Ariz., one misstep and you're likely to get knocked over by a pallet full of produce. Forklifts crisscross each other carrying peppers, squash and especially tomatoes from trucks backed into the warehouse loading dock.
"This is a Mexican truck being unloaded," says JC President Jaime Chamberlain. "He's just waiting for his paperwork to get back."
The construction industry in the U.S. is staging a comeback. In one indicator, the Commerce Department announced Thursday that new homebuilding has reached its highest level in 4 1/2 years.
While that's a promising sign for the industry, more than 2 million construction jobs have been lost in the sector since employment hit its peak. While some might expect that means plenty of people are ready to fill the new jobs, many markets around the country are actually experiencing a shortage of construction workers.