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Hear: Listening To Profits

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Tax Day Tea Party, San Francisco Steve Rhodes/Planet Money Flickr pool hide caption

itoggle caption Steve Rhodes/Planet Money Flickr pool

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On today's Planet Money:

— Major American banks have begun reporting, of all things, profits! Doug Elliot, former investment banker at JP Morgan and now banking expert with the Brookings Institute, reveals what you should make of those numbers. Hint: We're all still looking at a world of pain, but at least the decline seems to be leveling out.

Daniel Cross designs circuits for a struggling business that feels to him like a zombie company. Waiting for word of their fate hasn't been easy, he says, and the situation wasn't improved by a recent e-scolding from the supervisors.

Bonus: Y'all seeing what she's seeing?

Download the podcast; or subscribe. Intro music: Keane's "Spiralling." Find us: Twitter/ Facebook/ Flickr

Kate Floros writes from Missouri:

I have a Planet Monday indicator: 15%. This is the percent of billboards (49/323) on I-70 between Columbia, MO (where I live) and St. Charles, MO (outside of St. Louis, where I drove yesterday to buy running shoes).

First, I was shocked that there were 323 billboards on a 105 mile stretch of highway, and second, it seemed like there were an awful lot of empty ones when I drove to St. Louis in early April. When I headed in that direction yesterday, I did the count (subject to coder error). Though new to Missouri, I have driven this stretch of road several times, and on previous drives, the number of empty billboards seemed much smaller.

I'm thinking highway advertising is a casualty of the economic situation, though to be honest, I don't know what a normal number of empty billboards is.

We don't have much in the way of billboards where I live, so I can't weigh in here. Any more billboard counters out there?

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