After nearly a decade of severe economic decline, good fortune may finally be shining down on Berlin, N.H. A federal prison is set to open there in the next few months. That means $20 million will start washing into this city devastated by the collapse of the pulp-and-paper-mill industry. Residents and business owners say this Christmas is going to be a little bit brighter.
To help to fill orders during the holiday season, Amazon.com turns to "workampers." These are seasonal employees who travel around the country in RVs working temporary jobs. Lynn Neary talks with one such workamper, Irene Luft, who is wrapping up her job with Amazon.com.
In one FedEx warehouse, workers sift and sort through 166 packages per minute on long conveyor belts. More online retailers are offering later-guaranteed arrivals than ever. It's a procrastinator's paradise — even for the facility's manager, who says he hasn't started Christmas shopping yet.
The extension on federal jobless benefits is set to expire. If no deal is reached, 2 million people will see their benefits dry up by the end of January. Guest host Allison Keyes speaks with NPR Senior Business Editor Marilyn Geewax and Vincent Brandon, who has been unemployed since March.
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