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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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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6:50pm

Mon March 25, 2013
Economy

As Cardinal, New Pope Walked Fine Line On Economic Issues

Originally published on Wed March 27, 2013 5:59 pm

The former Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio walks outside the chapel during a Mass at the Barracas neighborhood in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 2003. Bergoglio, who became Pope Francis, is said to have the same position as his predecessors on economic matters.
AP

He took his name from a 13th century saint who gave up his wealth and threw in his lot with the poor. As cardinal in Argentina, he eschewed the trappings of power and privilege, taking public transportation and even cooking his own meals.

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5:12am

Fri March 15, 2013
NPR Story

JPMorgan In Hot Seat Over London Whale Losses

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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4:09pm

Mon March 11, 2013
Business

In Trendy World Of Fast Fashion, Styles Aren't Made To Last

Originally published on Mon March 11, 2013 5:36 pm

Prices at stores like Forever 21 are so low, "it's virtually impossible to walk out empty-handed," says Elizabeth Cline, who writes about fast fashion.
Michael Buckner Getty Images

When she got out of college and moved to New York, Elizabeth Cline liked to shop at vintage-clothing stores. They were the kinds of places tucked away on side streets in Manhattan and Brooklyn, where a lot of hunting and a little luck might reward you with a great, inexpensive cocktail dress that no one else had.

Then she discovered the world of "fast fashion" — chains like Forever 21, H&M and Zara — and it redefined her whole notion of bargain shopping.

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5:57pm

Wed February 27, 2013
All Tech Considered

As States Embrace Online Gambling, Questions Arise

Originally published on Wed February 27, 2013 6:35 pm

Internet gambling has become legal in New Jersey and Nevada, but experts say enforcement and regulations still need to be straightened out.
Jim Mone AP

Several states are rushing to establish a foothold in online gambling — an activity that federal officials were only recently trying to ban.

Just a while ago, the federal government actually viewed online gambling as a crime. Lately, the Obama administration has taken a more permissive stance. It now allows states to sell lottery tickets online.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie had expressed reservations about online gambling a month ago and had vetoed an earlier version of the bill. But in the end, the pressure to sign the legislation was just too great.

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6:36pm

Tue February 5, 2013
Business

S&P Lawsuit Puts Ratings Firms Back In The Spotlight

Originally published on Tue February 5, 2013 7:17 pm

In a lawsuit, the Justice Department alleges Standard and Poor's misled investors with fraudulent credit ratings. The agency could seek more than $5 billion in damages.
Henny Ray Abrams AP

The Justice Department said Tuesday it could seek more than $5 billion in damages from Standard & Poor's, the nation's biggest credit ratings company, a day after it sued the company, alleging that S&P defrauded investors by giving triple-A ratings to risky subprime mortgage investments.

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10:44am

Wed January 30, 2013
Economy

In 4th Quarter, Economy Shrank For First Time Since '09

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep, with Renee Montagne. Good morning.

Let's try again, shall we, to explain what it means when we hear that the U.S. economy shrank in the fourth quarter of 2012. As we've discussed elsewhere in the program, the decline was slight - just one-tenth of a percentage point - but it is the first contraction of the economy since the Great Recession officially ended in 2009. NPR's Jim Zarroli is with us once again in New York. Jim, good morning.

JIM ZARROLI, BYLINE: Good morning.

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5:26am

Sat January 26, 2013
Economy

Japan's Economic Plan May Be Bad News For Everyone Else

Originally published on Sat January 26, 2013 5:36 pm

Masaaki Shirakawa, the governor of the Bank of Japan, speaks before the press in Tokyo on Friday. The central bank announced new measures to stimulate the economy Tuesday.
Rie Ishii AFP/Getty Images

Moves taken by Japan's central bank are raising fears that the world could face what's called a "currency war." The measures, announced Tuesday, are designed to flood Japan's moribund economy with money and encourage businesses and consumers to spend more.

Steps like these have been tried again and again by countries all over the world — including the U.S. — in recent years, with mixed success.

What's Wrong With Pouring Money Into The Problem?

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6:06am

Tue January 8, 2013
Business

Settlements Underscore Damage Done In Housing Crash

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Some other news: Some of the biggest banks in the country have agreed to pay more than $18 billion to settle allegations of wrongdoing in their mortgage lending. That's today's "Business Bottom Line."

Bank of America said yesterday it would pay more than $10 billion to the mortgage company Fannie Mae because of bad loans sold during the housing boom. And in a separate settlement, 10 banks agreed to pay more than $8 billion in total, to settle claims that they made errors in foreclosing on people's homes. NPR's Jim Zarroli reports.

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4:15am

Mon December 31, 2012
Economy

Europe Fails To Stimulate Growth In 2012

Originally published on Mon December 31, 2012 12:52 pm

The U.S. economy grew at a steady though not very strong pace this year. But Europe slipped back into recession because of the ongoing debt crisis. European leaders took steps to stimulate growth, but it wasn't enough to reverse course.

The economic crisis that got under way five years ago was felt all over the world. But Mohammed El-Erian, CEO of the investment firm PIMCO, says different regions have healed at much different rates.

The year "2012 was another multispeed world globally, in the sense that different parts did different things," he says.

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4:18pm

Fri December 28, 2012
NPR Story

Major Port Strike Averted — For Now

Originally published on Fri December 28, 2012 5:06 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish. A strike has been averted at many of the nation's busiest shipping ports, at least temporarily. The union representing longshoremen at ports along the East Coast and the Gulf of Mexico have threatened to walk off the job starting Sunday. But as we hear from NPR's Jim Zarroli, port operators and the union have reached agreement on one of their most contentious issues.

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4:34am

Sat December 15, 2012
Shootings In Newtown, Conn.

Small Town Tries To Cope With Unimaginable Tragedy

Originally published on Sun December 16, 2012 1:43 pm

Mourners gather for a vigil service for victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting at St. Rose of Lima Roman Catholic Church in Newtown, Conn., on Friday night.
Andrew Gombert AP

Newtown, Conn., is a white-collar community an hour and a half northeast of New York City. It's the kind of place where crime is rare and the biggest thing that happens each year is the Labor Day parade.

Now the peace and quiet has been shattered, and residents are trying to make sense of what's happened.

Hours after the shootings that left so many people dead, St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church opened its doors for a prayer vigil. People filed through the streets and past houses decorated with Christmas lights.

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4:36pm

Fri December 7, 2012
Around the Nation

Unemployment Falls To Lowest Rate In Four Years

Originally published on Fri December 7, 2012 11:50 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish.

The nation's unemployment rate fell to 7.7 percent in November, that's the lowest it's been in four years. The Labor Department's latest jobs report released this morning showed employers added more jobs than expected.

But as NPR's Jim Zarroli reports, economists warn these new numbers aren't what they appear to be.

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6:06pm

Wed December 5, 2012
It's All Politics

Looming Spending Cuts Would Hit Hard All Over

Originally published on Wed December 5, 2012 6:09 pm

Alan Krueger, chairman of the president's Council of Economic Advisers, warns that consumer spending will drop if Congress and the White House fail to reach a deal on spending cuts and tax increases.
Jewel Samad AFP/Getty Images

Tax increases are only a part of what lies ahead if Congress can't come to an agreement to avert the fiscal cliff by the new year. Massive spending cuts will also kick in — and those cuts will be felt throughout the economy.

The current stalemate got under way two years ago when Congress, locked in a bitter partisan battle over whether to extend the George W. Bush-era tax cuts, passed what was known as the Budget Control Act of 2011.

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5:42pm

Fri November 16, 2012
Superstorm Sandy: Before, During And Beyond

Seaside After Sandy: Is Rebuilding Worth It?

Originally published on Fri November 16, 2012 8:07 pm

Ernest Shallo, of Carteret, N.J., throws a ruined air conditioner onto a pile of debris in front of a small home in Seaside Heights, N.J. Residents were allowed back in their homes for a few hours Monday, two weeks after the region was pounded by Superstorm Sandy.
Mel Evans AP

Ever since Hurricane Sandy ripped through the New Jersey coast, some of the hardest-hit towns have been closed altogether. Authorities say gas leaks and unstable buildings have made them too risky to visit.

This week, residents were allowed to enter Seaside Heights for a few hours each day to get a firsthand look at the damage. Many are struggling with whether to rebuild their homes.

Weighing The Cost

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3:33am

Tue November 13, 2012
Superstorm Sandy: Before, During And Beyond

Beach Towns Mourn Sandy-Ravaged Boardwalks

Originally published on Tue November 13, 2012 1:15 pm

Waves break Oct. 31 in front of a destroyed amusement park wrecked by Hurricane Sandy in Seaside Heights, N.J.
Mario Tama Getty Images

Hurricane Sandy left a long trail of destruction across the New Jersey shoreline. And it did a lot more than just flood houses.

In towns like Seaside Heights and Belmar, Sandy wiped out the boardwalks that line the beach. In places like these, boardwalks served as the commercial center knitting the towns together, and residents are wondering where to go from here.

Until two weeks ago, the boardwalk was the place to hang out in Belmar, N.J. Ann Summer was walking along the water with her husband this weekend.

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4:46am

Fri November 9, 2012
Business

Sandy's Effects 'Staggering' To New York's Economy

Originally published on Fri November 9, 2012 12:46 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

The governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, also held a press conference yesterday, and gave a warning that Sandy could end up costing his state $33 billion in economic damage, which could worsen the state's already-perilous fiscal situation.

NPR's Jim Zarroli reports.

JIM ZARROLI, BYLINE: Cuomo said the initial estimates are that the storm will cost the region $50 billion in lost economic activity and infrastructure damage. And he said two-thirds of that will be borne by New York.

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