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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3:00pm

Fri January 6, 2012
Photography

A Digital Death? Why Kodak Stopped Clicking

Originally published on Sat January 7, 2012 1:11 am

Kodak's Steven J. Sasson holds the world's first digital camera, which he built in 1975, at Kodak headquarters in Rochester, N.Y., in 2005. The company is now trying to sell about a thousand patents for digital photography to prevent bankruptcy.
David Duprey AP

The end could soon be near for Kodak, and the iconic film manufacturer may have itself to blame.

Kodak, based in Rochester, N.Y., could be headed into bankruptcy over the next few weeks. The company has seen its profits plunge in recent years, largely because of the popularity of digital cameras.

Kodak is trying to move into new product lines like inkjet printers, but in the meantime it's attempting to raise cash by selling off some of the patents it's developed over the years.

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2:17pm

Fri December 30, 2011
Economy

Even Finish Masks Volatile Year For U.S. Economy

Originally published on Fri December 30, 2011 6:16 pm

A trader walks in New York City's financial district on Sept. 12, a day when stocks fell early based on fears that the Greek government would default, then rallied on news that China might buy Italian debt. This year, what sent the market into a tailspin often took place overseas.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

2011 was a year of crisis and revolution, and that took a big toll on the world's financial markets. In the United States, stocks lurched along for much of the year, losing and gaining ground over and over again.

Stock prices are ending the year just about where they were at the beginning, and anyone who invested in anything but the bluest of blue chip stocks probably didn't make much money. And yet, the flat trend lines masked a huge amount of volatility, says Jack Ablin, chief investment officer of Harris Private Bank.

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10:56am

Mon December 19, 2011
Europe

Tied To Trade, Dutch Economy Falls With The Tide

The flower auction house in Aalsmeer, the Netherlands, is one of the largest in the world — and a part of the country's strong export base. As Europe's debt crisis continues, the Dutch economy is feeling the effects of being heavily reliant on world trade.
Pan Zhi Xinhua /Landov

The debt crisis in Europe got under way in small, heavily indebted countries like Greece and Ireland, but these days it's also being felt in the wealthy heartland.

The Dutch government says the country probably slipped into a recession at the end of this year, and like other countries, it's having to consider budget cuts.

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6:26am

Sat December 17, 2011
Economy

SEC: Mortgage Execs Took Pains To Hide Risky Loans

Originally published on Sat December 17, 2011 1:10 pm

Robert Khuzami (right), director of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission's Enforcement Division, announces that the SEC is charging six former top executives of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac with securities fraud on Friday.
Win McNamee Getty Images

Ever since Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were taken over by the government in 2008, questions have swirled over who was responsible for their collapse. Friday, the Securities and Exchange Commission weighed in, filing fraud charges against former Fannie Mae CEO Daniel Mudd, former Freddie Mac CEO Richard Syron and four other former executives.

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3:00pm

Fri December 9, 2011
NPR Story

E.U. Moves Ahead With Economic Reforms Package

Originally published on Fri December 9, 2011 6:12 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

LYNN NEARY, HOST:

And I'm Lynn Neary. European officials are moving ahead today with a new package of economic reforms. That's after a long night of talks in Brussels. The effort to address the unyielding debt crisis has threatened European unity and one important country, the United Kingdom, has refused to sign off on the reforms. More on that in a moment, but first we hear about the new rules from NPR's Jim Zarroli.

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4:00am

Thu December 8, 2011
Europe

High Stakes For Europe, World Economy In Brussels

France and Germany are trying to persuade other European countries to sign onto a package of reforms aimed at shoring up the embattled euro. They're hoping to win agreement in time for Friday's big summit of European leaders in Brussels. A failure to reach agreement could send the wrong signal to the financial markets, which are already deeply worried about Europe's fiscal problems.

3:00pm

Wed November 30, 2011
NPR Story

Central Banks Act To Avert Banking Crisis

The major central banks of the world moved Wednesday to prevent a banking crisis in Europe. They're providing more liquidity to the European banking system in hopes that big banks there will remain solvent and continue to make loans. The coordinated move by the central banks sent stock markets soaring. But it will not even begin to fix Europe's fundamental economic problems.

4:56am

Tue November 29, 2011
Law

Judge Rejects Citigroup, SEC Settlement

Originally published on Tue November 29, 2011 12:16 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

In New York, yesterday, a federal judge rejected a settlement of a fraud case involving Citigroup. The Securities and Exchange Commission, which brought charges against the bank, had agreed to the $285 million deal. But Judge Jed Rakoff said he didn't believe the settlement was in the public interest. NPR's Jim Zarroli reports.

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3:48pm

Thu November 24, 2011
Europe

Avoiding The Tax Man Could Cost Italians Dearly

As the European debt crisis drags on, one question being asked is what will happen to Italy. The new government of Prime Minister Mario Monti is struggling to convince the financial markets that the country has a plan to pay its debts. Among other things, Monti says he will do something about Italy's long tradition of tax evasion, which is considered somewhat of a national sport.

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4:00am

Wed November 23, 2011
Business

Merck To Settle Charges Vioxx Was Illegally Promoted

Originally published on Wed November 23, 2011 4:56 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

The pharmaceutical company Merck has agreed to pay nearly a billion dollars to settle charges that it illegally marketed its painkiller, Vioxx. The drug was taken off the market in 2004 after questions were raised about its safety. NPR's Jim Zarroli reports.

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12:01am

Mon November 21, 2011
Business

Small Businesses Feel Crunch Of Italy's Debt Woes

Enrico Frare owns a small clothing company in Italy. He says it's so difficult to get credit in Italy right now some businesses are being forced to leave.
Jim Zarroli NPR

Enrico Frare isn't a well known name in Italian business. The 36-year-old runs E-group, a small clothing company in the commercial region around Treviso that makes winter sportswear.

But last month, Frare did something that attracted a lot of attention. He bought a full-page ad in Milan's main newspaper appearing in what might politely be called his birthday suit. The caption read: "Every day in Italy an entrepreneur risks losing his shirt."

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7:52am

Sun October 30, 2011
Economy

Where Europe's Bailout Falls Short

Originally published on Fri December 16, 2011 4:23 pm

Over the next few weeks, European leaders have a big task ahead of them. They have to begin fleshing out that big bailout plan unveiled to so much fanfare in Brussels this week. The plan represents the most comprehensive effort so far to resolve Europe's grinding debt problems, which have done so much damage to the world's financial markets this year, but some issues may require a global effort to solve.

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12:01am

Tue October 11, 2011
Economy

Recession Nips At The Heels Of A Slow-Poke Recovery

Originally published on Fri January 6, 2012 7:05 pm

The Labor Department announced last week that the U.S. economy grew by just 103,000 jobs in September. A number like that isn't even enough to keep up with population growth. The fact that the report was widely greeted as positive news suggests just how low expectations have sunk this year.

Since January, the U.S. economy has been hit by a series of external shocks that brought a modest recovery nearly to a halt. The slowdown, however, may have been under way even before the shocks took place.

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4:19am

Wed September 28, 2011
Herman Cain

Cain's Catchy 9-9-9 Tax Plan Draws Interest, Doubters

Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain speaks in Orlando, Fla., on Saturday. He won a GOP straw poll there with 37 percent of the vote.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Last weekend, pizza magnate Herman Cain did something that surprised the political world: He came in first in a Florida GOP presidential straw poll.

One way Cain has attracted the attention of Republican voters is with what he calls his 9-9-9 plan. It's a cleverly marketed idea for changing the nation's tax code.

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4:12am

Sun September 11, 2011
Reflecting On Sept. 11, 2001

After Burn Injuries, Sept. 11 Survivor Shows 'Strength'

Lauren and Greg Manning stand with their sons Jagger and Tyler (right) at the Central Park Zoo in 2010. Manning became a symbol of survival after the Sept. 11 attacks, where she suffered burns on more than 80 percent of her body.
Courtesy Lauren Manning

No company suffered on Sept. 11 as much as the bond broker Cantor Fitzgerald, which lost 658 people. One of the few employees to survive that day was Lauren Manning, who was in the lobby of the World Trade Center's North Tower when the first plane hit.

Manning had been rushing to an elevator and was instantly engulfed in flames that came into the lobby, leaving her with burns on more than 80 percent of her body.

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4:00am

Thu September 1, 2011
Business

Justice Department Blocks AT&T, T-Mobile Merger

AT&T says it's disappointed by the government's decision to block its acquisition of wireless rival T-Mobile. The Justice Department said Wednesday it would go to court to prevent the two companies from merging. The deal involves the country's second and fourth biggest wireless companies. U.S. officials say the deal would hurt competition and send wireless prices higher.

3:00pm

Sat August 27, 2011
Around the Nation

As Storm Looms, NYC Shuts Down Mass Transit

For the first time ever, the New York Public Transit System (busses, trains, subways) shut down Saturday. Local officials are preparing for the arrival of Hurricane Irene.

3:14pm

Thu August 25, 2011
Business

A 'Good Deal' For BofA, A 'Great Deal' For Buffett

Warren Buffett came to the rescue of Bank of America, the giant financial services company that faces a range of legal and financial problems. Buffett said Thursday he would invest $5 billion in the company and could buy more shares down the road. Buffett's decision to buy into Bank of America sent its share price higher, though the company still has to contend with big challenges.

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3:00pm

Fri August 19, 2011
Business

Is Computer-Driven Trading Causing Market Spikes?

Some market analysts are pointing to high-frequency and computer-driven trading as the source of increased volatility in the markets. They say it's time to restore the uptick rule, which was eliminated just a couple of years ago.

4:00am

Fri August 19, 2011
Economy

Weak Data, Economic Fears Provoke Stock Sell-Off

U.S. and European stocks plunged Thursday as investors worried the global economy might be slipping back into recession. The major U.S. market indexes were down sharply. Gold surged and oil fell. And safe haven money kept flowing into U.S. Treasuries.

2:52pm

Wed August 17, 2011
Business

Companies Sit On Cash; Reluctant To Invest, Hire

Originally published on Wed August 17, 2011 9:40 pm

Google plans to buy Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion in cash. At the end of 2010, Google was sitting on nearly $35 billion, and it's not alone.
Paul Sakuma AP

Google's plans to buy Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion might seem like a lot of money, but the Web giant can easily afford it. At the end of last year, Google was sitting on nearly $35 billion in cash.

And it's not alone. The U.S. economy may be slowing to a crawl, but a lot of individual companies are richer than ever. They're being cautious about how they spend their cash, though.

"Companies are generating and maintaining more cash than they have aggregate uses for," says Rick Lane, a senior vice president at Moody's.

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6:37am

Sat August 13, 2011
Economy

Nonprofits Watch Anxiously As Market Wobbles

Henry Street Settlement provides a range of social services for low-income New Yorkers, including a summer day camp for children. Corporate donations to the agency fell off after the 2008 financial crisis.
Will Deitz Henry Street Settlement

The turmoil on Wall Street threatens to wreak financial havoc on a lot of people and institutions — including the country's 1.2 million nonprofits. Charities of all sizes are only beginning to recover from the recession. Now many are wondering how they'll survive another market plunge.

Camp Henry on Manhattan's Lower East Side is run by the venerable Henry Street Settlement, which provides a range of social services for low-income New Yorkers. Executive Director David Garza says after the 2008 financial crisis, corporate donations to the agency fell off.

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5:25pm

Wed August 10, 2011
Economy

Fed May Need To Find New Tricks Up Its Sleeve

The Federal Reserve has issued one of its gloomiest pronouncements about the economy in a long time: It says it sees little prospect that growth will rebound much anytime soon, and that it's ready to keep interest rates low for the next two years.

The recent downturn leaves Fed officials without any of its obvious ways of fixing the economy, and analysts say it may need to try steps it hasn't taken before.

Joe Gagnon spent part of his career as a Fed economist, and Tuesday he saw something he thought he'd never see at the central bank.

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12:39pm

Mon July 18, 2011
Economy

Does Government Debt Really Weaken The Economy?

House Speaker John Boehner House Majority Leader Eric Cantor answer questions during a press conference on a balanced budget amendment at the U.S. Capitol July 14, 2011. Economists say many conservatives believe the answer to the economy's woes is a dramatic reduction in spending, but that could be risky.
Win McNamee Getty Images

These days, many conservatives argue that slashing the nation's debt should be lawmakers' top priority as they try to revive the U.S. economy. Adding too much debt has eroded consumer confidence, they say, and paying it down would help jump-start growth.

But economists say the relationship between government debt and the weak economy isn't so clear.

Addressing the deficit has become a central focus of economic policy in Washington, and politicians like House Speaker John Boehner often talk about the deficit and unemployment in the same breath.

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12:01am

Tue July 12, 2011
Economy

The Problem With A Slow-Growth Economy

President Obama tours the Automotive Training Program at the Northern Virginia Community College, Alexandria campus, in June, Va. Slower economic growth means fewer opportunities for U.S. companies, which in turn leads to less hiring.
Jim Lo Scalzo Pool/Getty Images

In the United States the recession officially ended two years ago, but in much of the country housing prices are still falling, jobs are hard to come by and growth remains weak.

A low growth rate is much more than just a number. Economists say that over time weak growth can have an insidious effect on a country's prospects and options in ways not everyone appreciates.

This was supposed to be the year the U.S. economy finally gained traction. Instead, it looks more and more like it's stuck in the mud, says former Federal Reserve member Alan Blinder.

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12:01am

Mon July 11, 2011
Business

Financial Markets Seem Disinterested in Debt Discord

Washington may be preoccupied with the debate over whether to raise the debt ceiling and the consequences of a default, but so far at least, the nation's financial markets seem to be taking the prospect in stride.

Although politicians from President Obama on down have been predicting for weeks that a debt default would wreak havoc on the global economy, interest rates on U.S. government debt remain near historic lows.

The 10-year Treasury bill, often seen as a barometer of investor sentiment toward the bond market, hovered around 3 percent on Friday.

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4:00am

Wed June 22, 2011
Business

JPMorgan Securities to Settle Fraud Charges

J.P. Morgan Chase will pay more than $150 million to settle charges the firm misled investors about the riskiness of the mortgage backed securities the firm was selling. The Securities and Exchange Commission says J.P Morgan Securities designed the packages to do poorly and then hid that fact from investors. The company neither confirms nor denies the allegations.

12:01am

Thu June 16, 2011
Business

IBM Turns 100: The Company That Reinvented Itself

A lot of companies try to instill loyalty in their employees. But it's safe to say few of them took it as far as IBM.

For years IBM employees had to learn company songs. Journalist Kevin Maney, who was commissioned by IBM to co-author Making the World Work Better, a history of the company, says it was part of the effort to build a corporate culture. That was something IBM founder Thomas Watson Sr. took very seriously.

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1:38pm

Fri June 3, 2011
Politics

What If We Don't Raise The Debt Ceiling?

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has frequently warned about the dangers of not raising the nation's debt ceiling.
Michael Nagle Getty Images

This week the White House has been lobbying Congress to raise the $14.3 trillion federal debt ceiling. Doing so would give the government the legal authority to borrow billions of dollars to pay its bills.

Although refusing to raise the ceiling would be an almost unprecedented move, some conservatives argue it's the only way to get federal spending under control.

The Treasury Department says that if the limit isn't raised by Aug. 2, the government will run out of money to operate.

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3:00pm

Thu May 19, 2011
World

Who In The World Should Run The IMF?

With Dominique Strauss-Kahn out of the picture, the job of heading the International Monetary Fund has temporarily fallen to his No. 2 man — an American named John Lipsky.

And so it was that Lipsky found himself giving a speech in Washington on Thursday that was originally supposed to be delivered by the departed Frenchman.

"I deeply regret the circumstances that have made it necessary for me to substitute for Dominique Strauss-Kahn," he said, during the speech. Strauss-Kahn is accused of trying to rape a maid at a Manhattan hotel.

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