Find the latest episode of "The Uncertain Hour" here. Listen
By The Numbers

Alibaba wants to give credit where credit is due

Tony Wagner Jan 28, 2015
74.5 million

How many iPhone shipments Apple reported in its first quarter. As Quartz reports, that number beats last year’s record by almost 50 percent, proving that bigger really is better.


The number of homes owned by Mitt Romney. According to the Boston Globe, Romney went on “something of a real estate spree” after losing the 2012 presidential election, buying a house in Utah and starting construction on two more while selling his condo in Massachusetts. Now Romney is taking steps to sell his lavish but unfinished house in La Jolla, California, possibly in anticipation of another run at the White House. Romney’s wealth was used to paint him as out of touch in the last election.


How much JPMorgan Chase charges inmates using prison-issued debit cards when they withdraw from out-of-network ATMs. That may not seem like much, but it can be devastating to someone like Greg Cavaluzzi, who only made $10 a month in federal prison. Plus, when newly released prisoners like Cavaluzzi have to deal with finances in the outside world, they tend to have less money and banking experience, and face many other barriers to reintegrating into society.


The average base salary of a physician’s assistant, which Glassdoor just named the “best job of 2015,” based on its troves of user-submitted data. This is the first time the website has released such a list, Forbes reported, and it was compiled by weighing current openings, average salary and other factors. Physician’s assistant is an especially desirable job because of its fairly high pay and low barrier to entry, compared to physicians.


The maximum price for driveway-clearing service from Plowz and Mowz, a service Bloomberg calls “Uber for snowplows.” The recent blizzard in the Northeast has put a spotlight on Plowz and similar private plowing businesses.

300 million users

Ant Financial, an Alibaba-owned company, will look into the spending and saving habits of its 300 million registered users in order to devise a new system of creditworthiness. As reported by the New York Times, the venture is called Sesame Credit Management, and will primarily use online data to assign a credit score from 350 points to 950 points. The system aims to address the difficulties many Chinese citizens face in building credit and receiving loans.

Marketplace is on a mission.

We believe Main Street matters as much as Wall Street, economic news is made relevant and real through human stories, and a touch of humor helps enliven topics you might typically find…well, dull.

Through the signature style that only Marketplace can deliver, we’re on a mission to raise the economic intelligence of the country—but we don’t do it alone. We count on listeners and readers like you to keep this public service free and accessible to all. Will you become a partner in our mission today?

Your donation is critical to the future of public service journalism. Support our work today – for as little as $5 – and help us keep making people smarter.