Cardiff Garcia

Many economists and politicians argue that international trade has been a good thing. Countries that open themselves up for trade tend to be more peaceful, more efficient, and consumers can get cheaper and more varied goods. But it has also contributed to rising income inequality, as some workers lose out from the benefits of trade.

Today on The Indicator: how does trade affect inequality, and how did it get to be that way?

President Donald Trump just announced plans for a new round of U.S. tariffs on European products. The list includes aircraft materials, wine, cheese, motorcycles ... and even escargots. The new round appears to be retaliation for Europe's subsidies to planemaker Airbus. It's part of a spat that goes back nearly 15 years... and it's complicated. Because Europe has accused the U.S. of subsidizing its own planemaker, Boeing. Today on the show, a look at what's behind this latest round of proposed tariffs — and what this means for the economies of Europe and the U.S.

Happiness — it's something that most of us would say we seek in life, and there's plenty of differing opinion about what makes human beings happy: could it be love? Or family and friendships? Maybe it's money!

Happy Jobs Friday! Employers added 196,000 jobs to the economy in March, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. The unemployment rate is 3.8%, and wages grew by 3.2% since last March.

Plus, middle and high-wage industries have faster jobs growth than low-wage ones, but low-wage industries are seeing faster wage growth.

Peter Lorentzen is an economist at the University of San Francisco. He spoke with Cardiff Garcia about a paper he wrote on the effects of the Chinese government crackdown on corruption — and whether it was an attempt by Xi Jinping to consolidate his authority or a sincere effort to make the Chinese government bureaucracy work better.

Consumer confidence has been falling lately. Not by a ton, but it's at its second lowest rate in a year. It's measured by the Conference Board, which crunches a bunch of data and issues a Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) every month. Because consumer spending makes up roughly 70 percent of the economy, economists and politicians pay a lot attention to the way consumers feel, and regard the CCI as an important gauge of the health of the economy.

There's a big debate going on right now about the economy: whether it's headed for a downturn, or in good health. Today on The Indicator, Cardiff and Stacey lay out both sides.

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AILSA CHANG, HOST:

The global market for diamond jewelry is worth $80 billion a year. Money is flooding into this industry, but why when demand for diamonds isn't as lustrous as it once was? Cardiff Garcia and Sally Herships have more from the Planet Money podcast The Indicator.

We love getting listener mail! Seriously. And on today's episode, we're taking on some of your latest questions. For example: why does a dry cleaner in Maryland have its customers pay when they drop off their laundry, not when they pick it up? Is it better to buy a house or invest in the stock market? And we have more on the "Rip It" energy drink mentioned in our recent episode about dollar stores.

Some of the work we referenced in this piece:

Gabriela Saade is a 27-year-old economist living in Caracas. Every day, she pores over data about her country: poverty rates, population movement, government revenue. Today on the show, she gives us three indicators that tell us about the crisis happening in her country.

Music by Drop Electric. Find us: Twitter/ Facebook.

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