Jim Zarroli

Jim Zarroli is a reporter who has covered business and the economy from NPR's New York bureau since 1996. In that position, he regularly covers a wide range of economic subjects, including employment, the stock market, the Federal Reserve System, deregulation, trade, and the media. His pieces can be heard regularly on Morning Edition and All Things Considered, and he is a contributor to NPR's On the Media.

Among the stories he has worked on recently are the accounting scandals at Enron, WorldCom, and other companies; the trials of Martha Stewart and Bernard Ebbers; the spread of tax shelters; the investigation of the insurance industry; the rise of oil prices; as well as numerous corporate mergers. As a reporter in New York, Zarroli also assisted in NPR's coverage of the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center, an experience that left an indelible mark on him.

Before covering business, Zarroli was a general assignment reporter for NPR. He also covered the United Nations during the first Gulf war and the Bosnia crisis. Zarroli started his radio career at WBUR-FM in Boston, and before that was a reporter at the Pittsburgh Press and the Associated Press. He has written for The Christian Science Monitor, The Los Angeles Times, and The Boston Globe.

Zarroli grew up in a small house in Wilmington, Delaware, with five siblings. He is a 1980 graduate of Pennsylvania State University, with a Bachelor of Arts in journalism. He loves traveling to new places, reading, gardening, and he likes most people except those who mistreat animals. He lives with his partner in New York and has two formerly stray cats.

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7:39am

Sun March 29, 2015
Asia

How Singapore Became One Of The Richest Places On Earth

Originally published on Sun March 29, 2015 10:33 am

A couple enjoys the view of Singapore's financial center. Conservatives saw Singapore as a free-market success story, but Lee Kuan Yew's government played a big role in the economy.
Wong Maye-E AP

Singapore has been called the 20th century's most successful development story.

"I don't think any other economy," says Linda Lim, an economist at the University of Michigan, "even the other Asian tigers, have that a good a statistical record of rapid growth, full employment, with very good social indicators — life expectancy, education, housing, etc. — in the first 20 years," she says.

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3:41am

Tue March 24, 2015
Business

For Banks 'Too Big To Jail,' Prosecutors Count On A Promise To Behave

Originally published on Tue March 24, 2015 2:49 pm

The logo of Swiss bank UBS is seen at the company's headquarters in Zurich. U.S. officials are investigating whether UBS and Barclays manipulated currency rates at a time when they were already operating under a deferred prosecution agreement for manipulating interest rates.
Arnd Wiegmann Reuters/Landov

Last week, a top Justice Department official issued a tough warning to banks and other corporations that repeatedly commit crimes. She said U.S. officials could do away with their deferred-prosecution agreements.

Such deals allow companies that have broken the law to escape criminal convictions by promising to clean up their act. A new book looks at the role these agreements play in the corporate world.

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6:05pm

Fri March 13, 2015
Business

Lumber Liquidators Defends Its Products After '60 Minutes' Report

Originally published on Fri March 13, 2015 8:00 pm

A man walks past a Lumber Liquidators store in Philadelphia. The retailer says it stands by its products and will pay for the safety testing of laminate floors.
Matt Slocum AP

Earlier this month, the flooring retailer Lumber Liquidators got the kind of attention companies dread. CBS' 60 Minutes did a story saying the company's products have unsafe levels of formaldehyde, a known carcinogen.

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4:54pm

Wed March 11, 2015
Business

Targeting Unions: Right-To-Work Movement Bolstered By Wisconsin

Originally published on Wed March 11, 2015 10:40 pm

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker became a Republican political star by taking on his state's public employee unions. This week he signed a bill that would weaken private-sector unions.
Cliff Owen AP

This week, Wisconsin became the nation's 25th right-to-work state. It passed a law saying workers cannot be forced to join labor unions, or pay union dues, to keep a job.

There's a concerted effort in many states to pass laws that would weaken the power of labor unions. But unions and their allies are also fighting back in many places.

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6:16pm

Tue February 17, 2015
Economy

Study Suggests Recession, Recovery Have Not Left The Rich Richer

Originally published on Fri February 20, 2015 2:56 pm

Maggie Barcellano prepares dinner in January 2014 at her father's house in Austin, Texas. Barcellano, who lives with her father, enrolled in the food stamps program while she works as a home health aide and raises her 3-year-old daughter. A study suggests that social safety nets, including food stamps, helped cushion income losses for middle- and working-class Americans during the recession.
Tamir Kalifa AP

The Great Recession exacted a huge toll on people in every income group, and recovering from it has been a long and grueling process.

To some economists, the recovery has exacerbated the very real trend toward income inequality in the United States. French economist Thomas Piketty has noted that between 2009 and 2012 incomes have grown, but almost all of those gains have gone to the wealthiest 1 percent.

It's a claim that has been repeated often, but Steven Rose of George Washington University says it needs to be put in perspective.

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6:26pm

Thu February 12, 2015
Business

Obama's Plan To Tax Overseas Earnings Draws Scrutiny

Originally published on Sun February 15, 2015 12:01 pm

American companies have about $2 trillion in overseas accounts — money they could be using to hire workers and pay dividends in the United States. But they're reluctant to do so, in part because of the way the U.S. tax system works.

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1:47am

Mon February 9, 2015
Business

Leaked HSBC Documents Shed Light On Swiss Banking Industry

Originally published on Mon February 9, 2015 4:59 pm

Kirsty Wigglesworth AP

A huge trove of leaked documents is shedding new light on the secretive Swiss banking industry.

The documents were downloaded by a former computer security expert at the giant bank HSBC, and they were released over the weekend by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.

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4:37pm

Tue February 3, 2015
Business

Standard & Poor's To Pay Over $1 Billion In Legal Settlement

Originally published on Tue February 3, 2015 6:28 pm

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12:27pm

Tue February 3, 2015
Law

Justice Dept. Settles S&P Lawsuit

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6:10pm

Thu January 29, 2015
Business

Some Businesses Say Immigrant Workers Are Harder To Find

Originally published on Fri January 30, 2015 10:07 am

Fieldale Farms in Gainesville, Ga., says it can't keep enough workers to meet demand for its poultry products, despite paying $16 per hour plus benefits.
Jim Zarroli NPR

At Fieldale Farms in Gainesville, Ga., workers cut up chicken breasts and feed the parts into machines. The pieces are then marinated, breaded and eventually sold to restaurants.

The work here can be physically demanding. Not a lot of people want to do it — even though the average wage here is $16 per hour plus benefits.

Tom Hensley, the company president, says Fieldale Farms hires just about anyone who can pass a drug test.

"We hire 100 people a week. Because we have 100 people who quit every week, out of 5,000 employees," he says. "We're constantly short."

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6:18pm

Fri January 23, 2015
News

Auto Loan Surge Fuels Fears Of Another Subprime Crisis

Originally published on Tue February 3, 2015 3:41 pm

Auto dealers are extending loans to a growing number of people with weak credit.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

The number of Americans buying autos approached a record high last year. It's one more sign of how much the economy is improving.

But there's a big potential downside that's evoking comparisons to the subprime mortgage boom. Auto dealers are extending loans to a growing number of people with weak credit, and more of them are having trouble making payments.

When Chris Westervelt moved from Texas to Alaska to take a job, he decided to trade in his Mazda for a car that could handle snow and ice.

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6:17pm

Wed January 7, 2015
Economy

Euro Falls To 9-Year Low Against U.S. Dollar

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6:37pm

Mon January 5, 2015
All Tech Considered

U.S. Credit Cards Tackle Fraud With Embedded Chips, But No PINs

Originally published on Tue January 6, 2015 11:00 am

To protect against fraud, U.S. banks will be issuing credit cards with small computer chips. But some experts say using a PIN to complete a transaction is more secure than a signature.
iStockphoto

This year, there will be an important change in the way Americans use their credit cards. More banks will be issuing cards with small computer chips, a move they say will protect against credit card fraud.

But banks are stopping short of another step that will make credit card usage even safer. And a lot of retailers aren't too happy about it.

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3:22am

Wed December 31, 2014
Parallels

Sanctions Intensify Russia's Free Fall Into Economic Crisis

Originally published on Wed December 31, 2014 11:39 am

President Vladimir Putin speaks in Moscow on Dec. 23. Russia's current economic crisis stems from Western sanctions and diving oil prices.
Maxim Shipenkov AFP/Getty Images

A year ago, Russia's economy was riding high. Today, the country is widely thought to be entering a recession, if it's not already there.

The plunge in oil prices has been the main culprit, but Russia's economy has had trouble regaining its footing because of sanctions imposed by the West after the annexation of Crimea. President Obama and other Western leaders were quick to condemn Russia when it annexed the Crimean Peninsula last March, and they struggled to find a way to show their outrage.

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6:32pm

Thu December 18, 2014
Economy

Opportunity, Caution Seen For U.S. Banks As Cuba Rules Ease

President Obama announces changes to U.S. policy on Cuba, including relaxing restrictions on U.S. banking in the country, in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday.
Doug Mills / Pool EPA/Landov

Among the changes to U.S. restrictions on Cuba President Obama announced Wednesday was a relaxation of the rules barring U.S. banks from doing business there.

Americans traveling in Cuba will now be able to use their credit cards and ATM cards, but many U.S. banks see the new rules as something of a legal minefield.

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3:36am

Tue December 16, 2014
Economy

'Reshoring' Trend Has Little Impact On U.S. Economy, Study Finds

Originally published on Sun January 4, 2015 4:13 pm

An "Assembled in the USA" stamp is seen at the side of a box containing a 32-inch television set May 29 in the warehouse of Element Electronics, in Winnsboro, S.C. For the phenomenon of "reshoring," or bringing overseas jobs back to the United States, the electronics sector has been a leader.
Chris Keane Reuters/Landov

A report on the phenomenon known as "reshoring" — the opposite of offshoring — shows that while a growing number of companies are returning to the United States to do their manufacturing, the trend is smaller and less significant to the economy than it appears.

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3:30am

Mon December 15, 2014
Your Money

Lockheed Martin Case Puts 401(k) Plans On Trial

Originally published on Mon December 15, 2014 7:16 am

Aerospace giant Lockheed Martin is being sued for choosing retirement funds that shortchanged its employees and charged high fees.
Peter Macdiarmid Getty Images

A trial gets under way in St. Louis on Monday that could have a big impact on the way companies select 401(k) plans for their employees.

Lockheed Martin is being sued for choosing retirement funds that shortchanged its employees and charged high fees. The case tests the limits of a company's responsibilities to its employees at a time when 401(k) plans have become a central part of the nation's retirement system.

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4:57am

Fri October 31, 2014
Parallels

Why Deflation Is Such A Big Worry For Europe

Originally published on Fri October 31, 2014 10:46 am

A farmer protesting falling prices dumps cauliflower in front of the prefecture building of Saint-Brieuc in northwestern France as police look on Sept. 24.
Fred Tanneau AFP/Getty Images

Growth is slowing all over the world right now, and that's especially true in Europe. Much of the continent is on the brink of another recession, and even the German economy is sputtering to a halt.

Some of the weakest countries, such as Spain and Italy, are actually experiencing deflation — a broad drop in incomes and asset values. It's a painful process that can be hard to reverse once it starts.

Europe's long, slow economic downturn has taken its toll on Javier Oroz Rodriguez, who owns a butcher shop in downtown Madrid.

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4:05pm

Fri October 17, 2014
Economy

Drop In Unemployment Raises Debate On Optimal Rate

Originally published on Fri October 17, 2014 6:26 pm

A notice in a store window in New York City announces a retail job opening. Now that unemployment has slipped below 6 percent, there's renewed interest in what the Federal Reserve's target for joblessness should be.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

The U.S. unemployment rate has been falling steadily over the years. Down from the recession peak of 10 percent in 2009, it reached 5.9 percent in September.

That's getting close to what economists call the natural unemployment rate — the normal level of joblessness you'd expect in a healthy economy.

But a lot of economists are asking whether the old rules about full employment still apply.

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5:11pm

Wed October 15, 2014
Economy

Turmoil Continues In Financial Markets As Dow Plunges

Originally published on Wed October 15, 2014 7:54 pm

A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on Wednesday. Stocks took a beating, with key indexes falling more than 2 percent before bouncing back slightly.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

It was another stomach-churning day on Wall Street. At one point, the Dow industrials were down 460 points — a huge drop that followed four consecutive days of stock market losses.

The decline more than wiped out the year's gains. But then late in the trading day, tocks started to recover. And by the close, the Dow's loss was a little more than 1 percent.

Investors are worried about a global economic slowdown, the Federal Reserve's next move and even the Ebola virus.

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9:42am

Mon October 13, 2014
Economy

French Economist Wins Nobel For Market Power And Regulation Research

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5:11am

Mon October 13, 2014
Business

Speculation Abounds Over Who Will Win Economics Nobel

Originally published on Mon October 13, 2014 9:42 am

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4:19pm

Wed September 3, 2014
Economy

Federal Regulators Impose Tough New Rules For Banks

Originally published on Wed September 3, 2014 7:04 pm

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4:12pm

Thu August 28, 2014
Business

JPMorgan's Been Hacked, But Answers — And Fraud — Are Hard To Find

Originally published on Thu August 28, 2014 7:28 pm

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4:45pm

Tue August 26, 2014
Business

BK's Big Deal Could Bring The King To Canada, Controversy Close Behind

Originally published on Tue August 26, 2014 8:07 pm

Burger King is buying Tim Hortons, the Canadian coffee-and-donut chain, in a deal valued at $11 billion. The new company will be headquartered in Ontario, Canada, allowing Burger King to take advantage of Canada's lower corporate tax rate. The relocation is bound to cause controversy in the U.S.

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4:06pm

Mon August 25, 2014
Business

To Make A Move North, Burger King Eyes Buying A Canadian Icon

Originally published on Tue August 26, 2014 2:08 pm

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4:06pm

Fri August 22, 2014
Parallels

Argentina Crisis Puts Focus On Role Of Distressed-Debt Funds

Originally published on Fri August 22, 2014 8:09 pm

A woman in Buenos Aires walks with her dog past a mural that reads "Vultures" in Spanish. The mural is a reference to the dispute between the Argentine government and U.S. hedge funds.
Victor R. Caivano AP

The legal battle between Argentina and its creditors grinds on with no sign of a resolution anytime soon. The dispute pits the government against two New York hedge funds that specialize in buying distressed debt.

These hedge funds bought Argentina's bonds at fire-sale prices and now stand to make huge profits off the country's financial troubles. But they've encountered a lot of resistance from the government.

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4:10pm

Thu August 21, 2014
Law

Bank Of America Settles With Feds And States For Record Amount

Originally published on Thu August 21, 2014 6:24 pm

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1:07pm

Thu August 21, 2014
Business

Bank Of America Settles Mortgage Case For $16.65 Billion

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4:09pm

Thu August 14, 2014
Europe

Once-Thriving Heart Of The Eurozone Stagnates

Originally published on Thu August 14, 2014 6:35 pm

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