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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6:32pm

Thu January 23, 2014
Economy

Study: Upward Mobility No Tougher In U.S. Than Two Decades Ago

Originally published on Fri January 24, 2014 5:32 pm

The study did reveal widespread disparity in upward mobility based on geography. For those hoping to climb the economic ladder, San Francisco is one of the best places to live, the study found.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

A new study finds that contrary to widespread belief, it's no harder to climb the economic ladder in the United States today than it was 20 years ago.

But the study did find that moving up that ladder is still a lot more difficult in the U.S. than in other developed countries.

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5:12pm

Tue January 14, 2014
Health Care

The Young And Restless May Cause Drama For ACA

Originally published on Tue January 14, 2014 6:33 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

After a slow start, the Affordable Care Act is now attracting customers at a healthier pace. The government said yesterday that 2.2 million people have signed up for health insurance under the state and federal exchanges. But there's a serious red flag. A disproportionate number of new enrollees are middle aged or older.

Here's NPR's Jim Zarroli on what that means for the program and for insurers.

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2:19pm

Tue January 7, 2014
Business

JPMorgan Chase Settles Madoff Case For $1.7 Billion

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 6:56 am

JPMorgan Chase & Co. has agreed to pay $1.7 billion to settle criminal charges accusing the bank of ignoring obvious warning signs of Bernard Madoff's massive Ponzi scheme.

2:30am

Mon December 23, 2013
Business

After Target's Data Breach, Customer Incentive Disappoints

Originally published on Mon December 23, 2013 9:06 am

Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Target is trying to get back in its customers' good graces after a massive data breach affecting some 40 million credit and debit account holders. The giant retail chain offered its customers a 10 percent discount over the weekend as an act of atonement, but business was said to be down anyway.

The breach affected customers who used their credit and debit cards at one of Target's 1,750 stores during a three-week period after Thanksgiving.

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6:56pm

Sun December 15, 2013
Europe

Ireland Exits Bailout Program, But Economy Still On The Mend

Originally published on Mon December 16, 2013 8:24 am

On Sunday, Ireland became the first country to formally exit the bailout program funded by the International Monetary Fund and the European Union.
Peter Muhly AFP/Getty Images

Ireland was one of the countries hardest hit by Europe's debt crisis. On Sunday, it passed a big milestone when the nation became the first country to formally exit the bailout program funded by the International Monetary Fund and the European Union.

After three years of the bailout program, it isn't hard to find signs of improvement in Ireland and of an economy coming back from the dead.

"Don't get me wrong, it's been bad in a lot of ways, but there's a silver lining in every cloud," says Conor Mulhall, a 41-year-old father of three.

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5:43pm

Sun December 1, 2013
Around the Nation

The Latest From The New York Train Derailment

Originally published on Sun December 1, 2013 7:55 pm

Transcript

ARUN RATH, HOST:

It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR West. I'm Arun Rath.

A commuter train derailed as it was heading into Manhattan this morning, killing four people and injuring more than 60. Witnesses say the train appeared to be going too fast as it rounded a curve just north of a train station in the Bronx. The National Transportation Safety Board is trying to piece together what happened.

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7:47am

Sat November 30, 2013
Health Care

A New Worry Looms Online For The Affordable Care Act

Originally published on Sat November 30, 2013 3:13 pm

Insurance companies say they are finding numerous mistakes on a digital form that's essential for signing up through HealthCare.gov.
AP

Saturday is the day the Obama administration promised it would have HealthCare.gov working smoothly for the majority of people who need to sign up for health insurance.

As the Obama administration scrambles to fix the glitch-plagued site, experts are beginning to worry about another problem that may further impair the rollout of the Affordable Care Act.

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5:03am

Wed November 27, 2013
Business

Men's Wearhouse Goes 'Pac-Man' On Joseph A. Bank

Originally published on Wed November 27, 2013 5:25 am

The retail company Men's Wearhouse has announced it is launching a takeover battle for rival Joseph A. Bank. What makes the effort unusual is that just last month Joseph A. Bank was trying to take over Men's Wearhouse. The turnaround is an example of what Wall Street calls a Pac-Man defense.

6:00pm

Fri November 22, 2013
Business

JPMorgan Says It Broke No Law. So Why Pay The $13 Billion?

Originally published on Sat November 23, 2013 1:20 am

The U.S. government says JPMorgan Chase & Co. knowingly sold faulty mortgage-backed securities in the years leading up to the financial crisis. The bank says it's broken no laws.
Emmanuel Dunand AFP/Getty Images

State and federal regulators have hailed Tuesday's $13 billion settlement with JPMorgan Chase & Co. over faulty mortgage assets it sold in the years leading up to the financial crisis as a big victory for the judicial system.

But like other big settlements to emerge from the financial crisis, the deal leaves unclear just what the bank did wrong.

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4:50am

Fri November 15, 2013
Business

Health Care Cancellation Cure Could Lead To Higher Premiums

Originally published on Fri November 15, 2013 10:49 am

The health care fix announced by President Obama on Thursday may be good news for some consumers, but it creates a big headache for insurance companies and regulators. An insurance industry trade group warns the last-minute change could destabilize the market and lead to higher premiums.

4:37am

Tue October 8, 2013
Law

Jury Selection To Begin For Trial Of Madoff Employees

Originally published on Tue October 8, 2013 8:26 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Nearly five years after Bernie Madoff was arrested for fraud, some of his former employees are about to go on trial in New York. The trial is expected to focus on how much the employees knew about Madoff's multibillion dollar Ponzi scheme. Jury selections gets under way today.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

NPR's Jim Zarroli reports.

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6:08am

Tue September 17, 2013
The Two-Way

JPMorgan To Get Whale Of A Fine For Trading Losses

Originally published on Tue September 17, 2013 9:38 am

JPMorgan Chase will reportedly pay a $700 million fine to settle allegations that it made risky trades out of its London office that led to more than $6 billion in losses.
Mark Lennihan AP

Authorities are set to slap banking giant JPMorgan Chase with a massive fine over the bank's huge trading losses in London last year, confirms NPR's Jim Zarroli.

Though details of the deal are still pending, several reports put the amount at more than $700 million. It comes on the heels of the bank's having recently paid $410 million to settle charges that it manipulated energy markets.

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3:46am

Thu September 12, 2013
Business

5 Years After Financial Crisis, Are Big Banks Still A Threat?

Originally published on Thu September 12, 2013 11:30 am

The headquarters of Lehman Brothers in Times Square in 2008, the year the financial services firm filed for bankruptcy.
Hiroko Masuike Getty Images

It's been five years since Lehman Brothers collapsed and touched off a banking crisis that is still being felt by the global economy. Today, the banking industry is a lot stronger than it was, but some critics say efforts to reform banking regulations have fallen short of their potential.

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5:27am

Wed August 21, 2013
Business

U.S. Retailers Vow To Upgrade Bangladesh's Safety Standards

Originally published on Wed August 21, 2013 12:03 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Some of America's biggest retailers announced new steps yesterday aimed at improving safety standards in Bangladesh's troubled garment industry. Wal-Mart and the Gap were among the companies that formed a group called the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety after the deadliest accident ever in the garment industry.

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5:27pm

Wed August 14, 2013
Law

Former JPMorgan Chase Traders Charged Over 'White Whale' Bets

Originally published on Fri August 16, 2013 8:40 am

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel.

Federal prosecutors have charged two former JPMorgan Chase traders with securities fraud. The two men worked in London. And they are part of the so-called London Whale case, which cost the company more than $6 billion. U.S. officials say the men lied about the value of some derivatives trades to cover up mounting lawsuits. More from NPR's Jim Zarroli.

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3:08am

Mon August 12, 2013
Parallels

Too Much, Too Fast: China Sees Backlash From Massive Growth

Originally published on Mon August 12, 2013 11:25 am

At a time when much of the world is mired in economic torpor, China still enjoys enviable growth rates. Yet there's no question that its economy is growing more slowly these days.

Just ask Yan Liwei, a salesman for a construction materials company, who was visiting a park in Shanghai this weekend.

"The number of new construction projects is declining somewhat. It's taking longer for many of our clients to pay us what they owe," Liwei says. "Many small and midsized developers are feeling a cash crunch."

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4:42am

Wed July 17, 2013
Business

Rising Interest Rates Worry Banking Industry

Originally published on Wed July 17, 2013 5:08 am

Five years after the start of the financial crisis, the U.S. banking industry continues to earn strong profits. On Tuesday, Goldman Sachs became the latest big bank to report better than expected earnings. But rising interest rates mean a riskier environment for banks.

2:28am

Mon July 1, 2013
Economy

Alabama County Files Plan To Exit Bankruptcy

Originally published on Mon July 1, 2013 10:57 am

Alabama's bankrupt Jefferson County has filed a 101-page plan that would force creditors to lose up to 70 cents on the dollar.

In 2011, the county underwent what's been called the largest government bankruptcy in U.S. history. It's in debt by about $4.2 billion.

Because of combination of corruption and poor management, the municipality was unable to repay money it borrowed to upgrade its sewage system.

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4:33am

Fri June 28, 2013
Business

Feds Sue Jon Corzine Over MF Global Collapse

Originally published on Fri June 28, 2013 7:13 am

Federal regulators have filed civil charges against former New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine in connection with the failure of his commodities firm, MF Global. The government says Corzine failed to stop the firm from dipping into customer funds during a financial crisis in October 2011.

5:48pm

Wed June 19, 2013
Economy

G-8 Nations Pledge To Crack Down On Corporate Tax Evaders

Originally published on Wed June 19, 2013 10:18 pm

Leaders take part in the G-8 summit in Northern Ireland on Tuesday. Their discussions included tax-avoidance issues.
Ben Stansall WPA Pool/Getty Images

The world's wealthiest nations are promising to fight what they call the scourge of tax evasion. This week's meeting of the Group of Eight industrialized countries concluded with a pledge to end the use of tax shelters by multinational corporations.

But there are still big questions about how they will make a dent in the problem.

In the aftermath of the global recession, countries all over the world have struggled with budget shortfalls. More and more of them have come to blame part of their revenue problems on one culprit — tax avoidance.

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6:20pm

Wed June 12, 2013
All Tech Considered

Net Giants Try To Quell Users' Jitters About Their Data

Originally published on Wed June 12, 2013 7:00 pm

Google, like Facebook, Microsoft and other Internet companies, is concerned that data requests from U.S. surveillance agencies could ultimately damage its reputation in the U.S. and overseas.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Companies like Google and Facebook are very much caught in the middle of the current debate about national security and privacy. Press reports have said the companies are required to turn over huge amounts of customer data to government agencies like the National Security Agency, but the companies are often barred from saying anything publicly about the requests they receive.

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5:23am

Tue June 11, 2013
Business

Data Leak Could Undermine Trust In Government Contractor

Originally published on Tue June 11, 2013 11:56 am

Federal contractor Booz Allen Hamilton, headquartered in McLean, Va., employed Edward Snowden, the computer technician at the center of the controversy over leaks involving the National Security Agency.
Michael Reynolds EPA/Landov

In recent decades, a quiet revolution has been transforming the way Washington works.

Because the U.S. government does not have the workforce to complete all of its tasks, it employs private companies like Booz Allen Hamilton to do the work for it. Booz Allen is the company where Edward Snowden, who said he leaked secrets about the National Security Agency, most recently worked.

Over the past 25 years, this contract workforce has grown and plays a major role in the U.S. government, says Paul Light, a professor of public service at New York University.

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5:54am

Mon June 3, 2013
Business

Trial To Start In Apple Price-Fixing Dispute

Originally published on Mon June 3, 2013 10:23 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And Apple faces off with the Justice Department beginning today in a federal court over a price-fixing dispute. Last year, the government accused Apple of conspiring with five major publishing companies to raise prices on electronic books.

NPR's Jim Zarroli reports.

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5:15pm

Tue May 28, 2013
Business

Cruise Industry Adopts Passenger 'Rights' As Incidents Mount

Originally published on Wed May 29, 2013 8:43 am

Damage on the Royal Caribbean ship Grandeur of the Seas is visible as the ship docks in Freeport, the Bahamas, on Monday.
Reuters/Landov

About 2,200 passengers were being flown back to Baltimore on Tuesday, a day after their cruise ship caught fire on its way to the Bahamas. There were no injuries aboard Royal Caribbean's Grandeur of the Seas.

But in the wake of the incident and others like it, the cruise ship companies have something of a black eye. The industry is now trying to reassure passengers it's OK for them to sail, adopting what it called a passenger "bill of rights."

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5:39am

Sun May 26, 2013
Around the Nation

Rebuilding Storm-Damaged New Jersey, One Boardwalk At A Time

Originally published on Sun May 26, 2013 2:00 pm

People walk on the boardwalk in Seaside Heights, N.J., on Friday. The Jersey Shore beaches officially opened for the summer, after rebuilding following the destruction left behind by Superstorm Sandy last fall. The storm caused $37 billion of damage in the state.
Julio Cortez AP

When Hurricane Sandy swept through New Jersey last year, it destroyed many homes and businesses. It also obliterated the boardwalks that are the center of social and economic life in the towns.

In the months since, many of these towns have rushed to rebuild their boardwalks, but not everyone thinks the money has been well spent.

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5:29pm

Thu May 9, 2013
Business

Bangladesh's Powerful Garment Sector Fends Off Regulation

Originally published on Tue May 14, 2013 5:41 pm

Garment workers sew T-shirts at a factory in Dhaka, Bangladesh, in 2009. Bangladesh, the world's second-largest clothing exporter, has lured clothing makers through a combination of low wages and light regulation.
AFP AFP/Getty Images

Eight people died Wednesday in a fire at a Bangladeshi sweater factory. This follows the much deadlier collapse of the Rana Plaza building, where more than 900 people died.

The deaths are taking place in a garment sector that has seen explosive growth over the past three decades. The country has managed to lure clothing-makers through a combination of low wages and light regulation.

As a manufacturing center, Bangladesh has little to recommend it. The roads are poor. There's no port to speak of. The electricity is notoriously unreliable. It's politically unstable.

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6:05pm

Thu April 25, 2013
Around the Nation

Making Room: Can Smaller Apartments Help New York City Grow?

Originally published on Thu April 25, 2013 8:16 pm

Some housing experts say New York's zoning code has discouraged the building of affordable housing by requiring that all apartments be at least 400 square feet. The city is interested in finding ways to rewrite the rules.
iStockphoto.com

New York City is notoriously crowded, and it's only getting more so. The city estimates it will have 1 million more people by the year 2030, many of them single. Where to place all these newcomers is a major challenge.

Mayor Mike Bloomberg has announced plans to put up an experimental building of micro-apartments that could be replicated throughout the city. And the Museum of the City of New York is looking at ways to make better use of the city's housing stock.

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4:14pm

Sat April 20, 2013
Explosions At Boston Marathon

MIT Officer Died Protecting His Community, In Job He Loved

Originally published on Sat April 20, 2013 5:30 pm

MIT campus police officer Sean Collier, 26, was shot and killed during an altercation with the two Boston Marathon bombing suspects Thursday night.
MIT Getty Images

The grisly week that began at the Boston Marathon Monday left one police officer dead.

As police closed in on the bombing suspects Thursday night, law enforcement officials say two officers were shot. One, transit police officer Richard Donohue, is in critical condition at Mount Auburn Hospital.

The other, Sean Collier of the MIT campus police, was pronounced dead Thursday night.

MIT says Collier had gone to respond to a report of an altercation on campus Thursday evening. Soon, word came over the police radio that he had been shot.

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5:56am

Thu April 18, 2013
Business

Despite Flaws, Harvard Economists Stand By Research

Originally published on Thu April 18, 2013 12:22 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Two prominent Harvard economists have admitted there are errors in an influential paper they wrote on government debt. This paper was widely cited in recent budget debates. But the economists insist their mistakes do not significantly change their research.

NPR's Jim Zarroli reports.

JIM ZARROLI, BYLINE: In their 2010 paper, Ken Rogoff and Carmen Rinehart argued that economic growth falls significantly when a country's debt level rises above 90 percent of its Gross Domestic Product or GDP.

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6:53am

Sat April 6, 2013
Economy

Sequester Pinches Long-Term Unemployed Even More

Originally published on Sun April 7, 2013 11:08 am

A crowd of jobseekers attends a health care job fair on Thursday in New York.
Mark Lennihan AP

Almost 5 million Americans are considered long-term unemployed, meaning they have been searching for work for at least six months.

This week, their plight is getting a bit tougher as the government cuts their unemployment benefits — part of the automatic reductions in federal spending that took effect recently.

On a recent day, about 40 people turned out at a Manhattan jobs center run by the New York Labor Department to get advice on looking for work. These are all people who have been out of work for at least 27 weeks.

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