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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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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4:45pm

Thu August 7, 2014
Business

White House Seeks Ways To Go It Alone In Keeping Companies Stateside

Originally published on Thu August 28, 2014 6:43 pm

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11:23am

Sat August 2, 2014
World

Sanctions Target Russian Oil, But Will That Persuade Putin?

Originally published on Wed August 27, 2014 12:48 pm

An oil refining factory owned by the Russian company Rosneft, outside the town of Achinsk, Russia, in 2013. The company says that hundreds of sites are being explored throughout the country as potential sources of oil and gas — but to tap those sites, Russia depends on Western companies.
Ilya Naymushin Reuters/Landov

Both the United States and Europe announced new economic sanctions this week against Russia for its role in the conflict in Ukraine. Among other things, Western companies will no longer be able to sell Russia new technologies to develop its oil fields.

The move comes at a time when oil exports have become more important than ever for the Russian economy.

President Obama says the sanctions are meant to send a strong message:

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5:29am

Thu July 31, 2014
Latin America

Argentina Is In Default. What Does That Actually Mean?

Originally published on Thu July 31, 2014 8:12 am

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4:08pm

Wed July 30, 2014
Latin America

Late Rally From Argentina Fails To Delay Default

Originally published on Wed July 30, 2014 10:09 pm

Argentina Economy Minister Axel Kicillof speaks during a news conference at the Argentina Consulate on Wednesday in New York. By the end of the day, a deal had not been reached with the country's creditors.
Stan Honda AFP/Getty Images

Talks aimed at resolving Argentina's debt crisis have broken down in New York. A court-appointed mediator has declared that the country will go into default. It is the second time the country has defaulted in about 12 years.

With a midnight deadline looming, the government and its creditors walked away without a deal late Wednesday.

Argentina has been waging a protracted legal battle with a small number of bondholders. They want to be paid in full for bonds they purchased years ago.

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4:13pm

Mon July 28, 2014
Europe

International Court Rules Against Russia In $50 Billion Decision

Originally published on Mon July 28, 2014 7:40 pm

Russia says it will appeal an unfavorable decision by a court in The Hague. The Permanent Court of Arbitration awarded $50 billion to shareholders of the defunct Yukos oil company. Russia seized the company in 2003 and put owner Mikhail Khodorkovsky in jail on tax and fraud charges.

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5:00am

Mon July 28, 2014
Latin America

Locked In U.S. Hedge Fund Battle, Argentina Faces Default

Originally published on Mon July 28, 2014 1:52 pm

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6:13am

Thu July 24, 2014
Economy

How High Debt From The Housing Collapse Still Stifles Our Economy

Originally published on Thu July 24, 2014 1:05 pm

An artist's installation shows pre-foreclosed homes in Newark, N.J., in July 2009 at the Queens Museum of Art in New York City.
Mario Tama Getty Images

"Foreclosure, foreclosure, foreclosure."

Real estate broker John Susani drives down a Paterson, N.J., street where every third house seems to be abandoned or boarded up. During the boom years, money flooded into Paterson.

"The banking industry allowed everyone to be a homeowner; they gave mortgages to people [just because they were] breathing," Susani says.

In some cases, he says, home prices jumped as much as 50 percent. The homes on these streets aren't worth nearly that much anymore.

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4:15pm

Mon July 14, 2014
Law

Citigroup Agrees To $7 Billion Fine For 'Egregious' Misconduct

Originally published on Mon July 14, 2014 6:24 pm

Citigroup has agreed to pay $7 billion to settle claims that it committed fraud when it sold mortgage-backed securities in the years leading up to the financial crisis. Most of the money will be paid to the U.S. Treasury, but some will be used to provide mortgage relief to struggling homeowners.

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