- 

The Wall Street Journal reports this morning that American Airlines and US Airways are in the final stages of a putting together a merger which could be announced as soon as next week. The combined airline would be the largest in the world.

The government reported this morning that worker productivity fell at the end of last year at the fastest pace in two years -- about 2 percent. Analysts say companies are hiring more and therefore don't have to lean so hard on their current workers.

A new report from the United Nations finds corruption is on the rise in Afghanistan and it's costing the country billions of dollars. The report says fully half of all Afghans are paying bribes.

The world's largest online retailer, Amazon.com, announced this week it will make its own virtual currency: Amazon coins.

And finally, to a job opening in Scotland. They're looking for someone to live on an uninhabited island for six months of the year according to the Daily Mail. They'll pay you about $35,000. Although the only store on the island is a gift shop...so bring your own food and drinking water. The internet connection is also said to be spotty.

“I think the best compliment I can give is not to say how much your programs have taught me (a ton), but how much Marketplace has motivated me to go out and teach myself.” – Michael in Arlington, VA

As a nonprofit news organization, what matters to us is the same thing that matters to you: being a source for trustworthy, independent news that makes people smarter about business and the economy. So if Marketplace has helped you understand the economy better, make more informed financial decisions or just encouraged you to think differently, we’re asking you to give a little something back.

Become a Marketplace Investor today – in whatever amount is right for you – and keep public service journalism strong. We’re grateful for your support.

Follow Jeremy Hobson at @jeremyhobson