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

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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7:19am

Sun May 15, 2011
Economy

For Half Moon Bay: One Step Forward, One Step Back

True to its small town feel, Half Moon Bay hosts the 37th Annual Safeway World Championship Pumpkin Weigh-Off. Here, Ron Root of Citrus Heights, CA celebrates winning first place — with his 1,535 pound pumpkin.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Half a century ago, before the picturesque seaside town of Half Moon Bay, California decided to incorporate, residents had to call the county sheriff's office to report crimes.

In fact, one big reason Half Moon Bay decided to incorporate was to have its own police force, says Mayor Naomi Patridge.

"It makes you a city, it really does," she says.

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4:00am

Fri May 6, 2011
Business

Commodity Prices Drop On Fears Of Slowing Economy

The price of virtually every majority commodity fell Thursday. Oil prices closed below $100 a barrel and silver fell 8 percent. Analysts say prices fell, at least in part, because of recent reports suggesting the economy might be slowing, which would mean less demand for commodities.

5:02pm

Thu April 28, 2011
Around the Nation

As Gas Prices Rise, Oil Company Tax Breaks Debated

Exxon Mobil said Thursday that its profits surged during the first three months of the year: The company said it earned $10.6 billion during that period — an increase of 69 percent.

These higher profits come at a time when gasoline prices are exceeding $4 a gallon in some states. So, in Washington, there's once again talk of eliminating some of the tax breaks the industry receives.

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12:01am

Thu April 21, 2011
Politics

Politicians Put A Positive Spin On Budget Battle Words

The budget battle is all about numbers: how much the government takes in, and how much it spends. But it's also a battle over words.

Both sides have put a lot of energy into coming up with new ways of describing old concepts. It's part of the process of selling their ideas to the public.

At the end of the day, the budget battle is political, and both sides choose their words carefully. Democrats, for example, don't like to talk about government spending, which has a bad connotation, so they talk about making investments in the country's future.

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12:01am

Mon April 11, 2011
Japan In Crisis

Major Power Shortages Loom Over Japanese Firms

The Japanese government says it may ask major businesses and institutions to reduce the amount of power they use by 25 percent this summer.

Parts of Japan have had rolling blackouts as a result of last month's earthquake and tsunami, which crippled a major nuclear reactor complex. But some Japanese businesses say the huge cuts being contemplated right now will be difficult to live with.

Most people in Japan have a story to tell about where they were on March 11.

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2:33pm

Wed April 6, 2011
Japan In Crisis

Crisis Stalls Japan's Toyota City As Automakers Wait

Like other Japanese manufacturers, Toyota has had to suspend production since the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. The impact is being felt acutely in Toyota City, where the company is based. Many small manufacturers there survive by selling parts to the automaker, and the shutdowns are already hurting the local economy.

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9:13am

Tue March 22, 2011
Economy

Silicon Valley Job Outlook Brighter, Still Cloudy

In California's Silicon Valley, the economy is finally showing signs of a turnaround. Social media companies like Twitter and Facebook are generating a lot of new excitement, and there's even been a slight uptick in hiring. Still, the recession has done considerable damage to the region's economy, and the unemployment rate remains high.

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