John Ydstie

John Ydstie has covered the economy, Wall Street and the federal budget for NPR for two decades. In recent years NPR has broadened his responsibilities, making use of his reporting and interviewing skills to cover major stories like the aftermath of 9/11, Hurricane Katrina and the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal. His current focus is reporting on the global financial crisis. Ydstie is also a regular guest host on the NPR news programs Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Weekend Edition and Talk of the Nation.

During 1991 and 1992 Ydstie was NPR's bureau chief in London. He traveled throughout Europe covering, among other things, the breakup of the Soviet Union and attempts to move Europe toward closer political and economic union. He accompanied U.S. businessmen exploring investment opportunities in Russia as the Soviet Union was crumbling. He was on the scene in The Netherlands when European leaders approved the Maastricht Treaty, which created the European Union.

In August 1990, Ydstie traveled to Saudi Arabia for NPR as a member of the Pentagon press pool sent to cover the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. During the early stages of the crisis, Ydstie was the only American radio reporter in the country.

Ydstie has been with NPR since 1979. For two years, he was an associate producer responsible for Midwest coverage. In 1982 he became senior editor on NPR's Washington Desk, overseeing coverage of the federal government, American politics and economics. In 1984, Ydstie joined Morning Edition as the show's senior editor, and later was promoted to the position of executive producer. In 1988, he became NPR's economics correspondent.

During his tenure with NPR, Ydstie has won numerous awards. He was a member of the NPR team that received the George Foster Peabody for its coverage of 9/11. Ydstie's reporting from Saudi Arabia helped NPR win the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award in 1991 for coverage of the Gulf War. Prior to joining NPR, Ydstie was a reporter and producer at Minnesota Public Radio. While there, he was awarded the Clarion Award for his report "Vietnam Experience and America Today."

A graduate of Concordia College, in Moorhead, MN, Ydstie earned a bachelor of arts degree, summa cum laude, with a major in English literature and a minor in speech communications.

Ydstie was born in Minneapolis, and grew up in rural North Dakota.

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6:19pm

Tue July 24, 2012
U.S.

Offshore Jobs Play Role In Campaigns And Economy

Originally published on Wed July 25, 2012 5:46 pm

President Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney have been trading attacks over the issue of American jobs being moved overseas.

The president has pounded Romney for the investments made by his former firm Bain Capital in the 1990s. Not to be outdone, the Romney campaign has suggested most of the money from the president's stimulus program went to create jobs overseas.

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4:53pm

Tue July 17, 2012
Economy

Bernanke: U.S. Economic Growth Is Slowing

Originally published on Tue July 17, 2012 5:16 pm

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke told lawmakers that progress toward bringing down the nation's high unemployment rate will be "frustratingly slow." He reiterated previous statements that the Fed stands ready to do more, but declined to be specific about what it would do. Bernanke also defended the Fed's role in addressing the manipulation of a benchmark interest rate by at least one big bank.

5:52pm

Fri July 13, 2012
Business

Documents Lift Veil On Bank-Rate-Rigging Scandal

Originally published on Fri July 13, 2012 10:24 pm

Police wait for protesters to appear at a branch of Barclays Bank in London on July 4.
Olivia Harris Reuters/Landov

As the financial crisis began to unfold in 2007, the New York Federal Reserve learned that some banks might have intentionally underestimated the rates they expected to pay for loans from other banks.

Documents the New York Fed released Friday, in response to a request from Congress, show that the banking regulator began to be concerned about the accuracy of LIBOR — or the London Interbank Offered Rate — late in 2007.

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3:22am

Wed July 11, 2012
Economy

Euro Currency Still Faring Well, For Now

Originally published on Wed July 11, 2012 12:42 pm

Over the last 13 years, the euro has been worth on average $1.21, only a penny less than its current price of $1.22 per euro.
Michael Probst AP

The euro touched a two-year low against the dollar Tuesday, as concerns about the eurozone debt crisis continued.

Despite a recession across much of the eurozone and even predictions of the currency's demise, however, the euro has held up relatively well during this crisis.

Over the last 13 year, it has taken on average $1.21 to buy a euro. Now, even in this midst of this crisis, it's worth virtually the same ($1.22).

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5:34pm

Wed June 27, 2012
Europe

European Union Tradeoff: Sovereignty For Stability

Originally published on Wed June 27, 2012 6:50 pm

In order to salvage its common currency, Europe is working toward a tighter fiscal union. That will require a tradeoff — sovereignty for economic stability. Over the next two days European Union leaders will try to come to an agreement to boost growth.

6:23pm

Wed June 20, 2012
Economy

Federal Reserve Cuts Back U.S. Growth Forecast

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel in Washington, D.C.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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4:46am

Wed June 20, 2012
Economy

Investors Look To The Fed For An Economic Boost

Originally published on Wed June 20, 2012 9:59 am

Transcript

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with the Fed in the spotlight.

U.S. stocks rallied yesterday largely on a belief among investors that the Federal Reserve will take further action to stimulate the economy. The Fed concludes a two-day meeting around noon today. Afterwards, Chairman Ben Bernanke will hold a news conference to explain the Fed's strategy.

As NPR's John Ydstie reports, there are several things the Fed could do to try to boost growth, but whether they'd be effective is debatable.

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4:22pm

Tue May 29, 2012
American Dreams: Then And Now

On The Economic Ladder, Rungs Move Further Apart

Originally published on Tue May 29, 2012 8:45 pm

Kevin Hill, a San Diego landscape designer, was doing well financially before the downturn. Now, he says he feels "lost."
John Ydstie NPR

America is the land of opportunity — that's the bedrock of the American dream. Many expect each generation to do better than the last.

That dream of economic mobility is alive and well for Pam Krank and her husband, Brian McGee. The two are proud owners of The Credit Department Inc., a successful business in the Minneapolis suburb of Mendota Heights.

"Mostly manufacturing companies around the world will hire us to study their customers and tell them how much ... unsecured credit they should grant to each customer," Krank explains.

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3:31am

Thu May 17, 2012
Europe

'Dire Consequences' If Greece Exits Euro

Originally published on Thu May 17, 2012 10:46 am

People walk past the Bank of Greece headquarters in Athens.
Louisa Gouliamaki AFP/Getty Images

Euros are being drained out of Greek banks at a rate of up to $1 billion a day this week. In the wake of the country's election turmoil, depositors are nervous about the heightened possibility of a Greek exit from the euro. If that were to happen, euros left in Greek banks could be worth much less than euros outside the country.

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11:04pm

Wed May 9, 2012
The Two-Way

Pew Study: Americans In The Northeast Have More Economic Mobility

Originally published on Thu May 10, 2012 4:48 am

A new study from the Pew Charitable Trusts finds economic mobility differs significantly across the United States. The report finds Americans are more likely to move up the economic ladder if they live in the northeast.

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3:17am

Tue May 8, 2012
Europe

Why The Markets Shrugged Off French Vote

Originally published on Tue May 8, 2012 7:41 am

A supporter of French President-elect Francois Hollande wears a mask of outgoing President Nicolas Sarkozy.
Thomas Coex AFP/Getty Images

The arguments for growth policies as opposed to austerity are taking center stage in Europe after the French and Greek elections.

His rhetoric aside, France's President-elect Francois Hollande is not rejecting austerity. In fact, he pledged to balance France's budget by the end of his five-year term, just one year later than his opponent, outgoing President Nicolas Sarkozy.

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6:29am

Sat May 5, 2012
Economy

On Jobs, Bad News Is Bad. The Good News Is Bad, Too

Originally published on Sun May 6, 2012 10:26 am

People wait in a line at a job fair on April 10, 2012, in Gresham, Ore. Employment grew by 115,000 last month, but the unemployment rate dip was likely due to people leaving the workforce rather than people getting hired, analysts say.
Rick Bowmer AP

For the second month in a row, weak job growth numbers unsettled nerves in the White House and on Wall Street.

It's obvious why the number of jobs added to the economy in April was disappointing. Employment grew by just 115,000. That followed a disappointing job gain in March. Together, the March and April average was only about half the 250,000 jobs added monthly in December, January and February.

Again, economists suggested the warm winter weather might have boosted job growth during the winter months, which left fewer jobs to be added in the spring.

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2:57pm

Sat April 21, 2012
The Two-Way

At The IMF, $430 Billion In Pledges Buys Leverage For Emerging Markets

Originally published on Mon April 23, 2012 6:09 am

The UK gave some support to the emerging market nations' quest for a greater role today at the IMF during the spring meetings of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund in Washington, D.C.

Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne said the UK's $15-billion contribution to the IMF's enhanced crisis fund could not be accessed until further progress is made on giving the emerging market a greater voice in how the is Fund is run.

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6:22am

Sat April 21, 2012
Europe

Emerging Markets Promise IMF Financial Firepower

Originally published on Sat April 21, 2012 10:46 am

International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde announced Friday that the IMF had raised $430 billion, surpassing its stated goal.
Charles Dharapak AP

International Monetary Fund officials and members of the G-20 nations announced Friday that member countries have pledged $430 billion to add to the Fund's crisis-fighting arsenal.

The Fund's managing director Christine Lagarde came into the annual World Bank-IMF spring meetings in Washington, D.C., with a goal of raising $400 billion from member states. She was clearly happy and relieved as she announced a number larger than that.

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3:00am

Tue April 17, 2012
Business

U.S. Has A Natural Gas Problem: Too Much Of It

Originally published on Tue April 17, 2012 7:43 am

Oil field workers drill into the Gypsum Hills near Medicine Lodge, Kan. Hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," to coax out oil and gas has led to a natural gas boom that the U.S. market is having trouble absorbing.
Orlin Wagner AP

There's a boom in natural gas production in the United States, a boom so big the market is having trouble absorbing it all.

The unusually warm weather this winter is one reason for the excess, since it reduced the need for people to burn gas to heat their homes. A bigger reason, however, is the huge increase in gas production made possible by new methods of coaxing gas out of shale rock formations.

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1:50pm

Thu April 5, 2012
Economy

Just How Strong Is The Job Market?

Originally published on Fri April 6, 2012 5:44 am

Job seekers attend a career fair in New York City. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke says the quick drop in unemployment might have been a reversal of overzealous cutbacks during the financial crisis.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

The monthly employment report Friday could help answer a key question about the economy: Will the recently strong job growth slow once employers finish replacing the people they fired during the depths of the recession?

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4:03am

Mon April 2, 2012
Business

Oil Scare Turns FedEx Onto Energy Efficiency

A FedEx hybrid delivery truck. In FedEx's fleet of over 90,000 vehicles, 408 are hybrid or electric, and 4,000 are fuel-efficient, lower-emitting "Sprinter" vans.
Courtesy of FedEx Corp.

The rising cost of oil isn't just a hit to the family budget. Businesses are hurt, too. Few are more affected than firms like FedEx. It deploys nearly 700 planes and tens of thousands of trucks and vans every day to deliver packages around the world. And few business leaders are more focused on finding alternatives to petroleum-based fuels than FedEx CEO Fred Smith.

Shortly after Smith founded Federal Express, the 1973 Arab oil embargo almost killed it. The experience imprinted Smith with a keen interest in the price and availability of oil.

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11:45am

Fri March 23, 2012
The Two-Way

Why Gas Prices Are Rising Even As Demand Is Down

The prices at a gas station in Los Angeles earlier this month.
Frederic J. Brown AFP/Getty Images

On Morning Edition this week we looked at "What's Making Americans Less Thirsty for Gasoline?"

Now let's examine another important question: "If our demand for gasoline is falling, why are prices in the U.S. rising?"

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5:04am

Thu March 22, 2012
Energy

What's Making Americans Less Thirsty For Gasoline?

Originally published on Fri March 23, 2012 7:03 am

Growing demand for more fuel-efficient cars and trucks, like these 2009 Dodge Journey crossover vehicles, has helped drive down gasoline consumption in the U.S.
David Zalubowski AP

The price of gasoline keeps rising for Americans, but it's not because of rising demand from consumers.

Since the first Arab oil embargo of the 1970s, the U.S. has struggled to quench a growing appetite for oil and gasoline. Now, that trend is changing.

"When you look at the U.S. oil market, you see that there's actually no growth," says Daniel Yergin, chairman of IHS Cambridge Energy Research Associates.

He says gasoline demand peaked in 2007 and has fallen each year since, even though the economy has begun to recover.

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8:00am

Sat March 17, 2012
Economy

Markets Hit Milestones; Goldman Sachs Gets Bashed

Transcript

JACKI LYDEN, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Jacki Lyden. Checking on your retirement and mutual fund statements is getting a bit less scary. The stock market cleared another hurdle this week with the S&P 500 closing above 1,400 for the first time in almost four years, and the Dow Jones Industrials up almost 25 percent from in recent low back in early October. NPR's John Ydstie is here to tell us what's driving the market. John, thank you for coming in.

JOHN YDSTIE, BYLINE: You're welcome, Jacki.

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12:01am

Wed March 7, 2012
Energy

Is U.S. Energy Independence Finally Within Reach?

Originally published on Wed March 7, 2012 8:17 pm

A worker hangs from an oil derrick near Williston, N.D. The state now produces 500,000 barrels of crude oil per day, and production continues to rise.
Gregory Bull AP

Rising gas prices have been the big energy story of the past several weeks. But many energy experts say that's a sideshow compared with the really big energy event — the huge boom in oil and natural gas production in the U.S. that could help the nation reach the elusive goal of energy independence.

Since the Arab oil embargo of 1973, energy independence has been a Holy Grail for virtually every American president from Richard Nixon to Jimmy Carter to Barack Obama.

But now, it might just be within reach.

The Shale Gale

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3:00pm

Wed February 29, 2012
Economy

Bernanke: Economic Growth Will Be Slow

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke acknowledged that the economy is improving on Wednesday, but he isn't convinced the recovery is self-sustaining. He reaffirmed the Fed's position that the economy will likely need super-low interest rates well into 2014.

3:13pm

Mon February 20, 2012
Economy

With Business Up, Owners Say Banks Lending Again

Originally published on Tue February 21, 2012 11:26 am

A big reason for the slow recovery has been that the nation's battered banks haven't been able or willing to lend. There are signs that's changing and that bank lending is helping to support stronger growth.

Paul Kasriel, chief economist at Northern Trust, a Chicago-based bank, say his reading of Federal Reserve data has convinced him that banks have finally taken the baton from the Fed and are now making credit more available.

"We've seen a sharp increase in business loans on the books of banks," he says.

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3:00pm

Fri February 3, 2012
Economy

Improved Job Figures Surprise Economists

Originally published on Fri February 3, 2012 6:54 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

January's weather looked like spring in much of the country, and today's monthly employment report suggests it's spring in the job market, too. As NPR's John Ydstie reports, the economy added 243,000 jobs in January, and the unemployment rate dropped for the fifth straight month.

JOHN YDSTIE, BYLINE: Nobody expected that job creation in January would be this strong, or that the unemployment rate would fall again to 8.3 percent – nobody including John Silvia, chief economist at Wells Fargo.

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12:01am

Fri January 13, 2012
Economy

In GOP Campaign, Private Equity Firms Draw Flak

Originally published on Fri January 13, 2012 12:20 pm

Was Mitt Romney a job-creating turnaround artist? Or was he, as some on the campaign trail have said, a "vulture capitalist"? That question has become a top issue in the Republican presidential primaries.

In the 1980s, Romney ran a private equity firm called Bain Capital. It's an industry where it's hard to avoid getting your hands dirty.

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3:54pm

Wed December 28, 2011
Economy

From Boom To Bust: The Year In Unemployment

Originally published on Wed December 28, 2011 7:32 pm

In April, the Brooklyn Job Fair drew thousands of participants, including nearly 80 employers. That same month saw unemployment jump to 9 percent from 8.8 percent in March.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

It may be hard to remember, but 2011 began with a bang on the jobs front. The White House seemed ready to break out the champagne when February's job growth report came out showing unemployment at the lowest in nearly two years.

But that celebratory mood didn't last long.

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3:00pm

Fri December 16, 2011
Law

SEC Charges Ex-Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac CEOs

The Securities and Exchange Commission is going after former top executives at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for allegedly committing securities fraud.

The mortgage giants had to be taken over by the government in 2008 and then propped up by taxpayers. The SEC says the officials misled investors about the firm's exposure to subprime mortgages

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12:01am

Mon December 12, 2011
Still No Job: Over A Year Without Enough Work

The State Of The Long-Term Unemployed

Originally published on Mon December 12, 2011 12:02 pm

People wait to see a career adviser at a training center operated by the New York Department of Labor in New York City. NPR and the Kaiser Family Foundation conducted a survey on the emotional, physical and financial effects of being without work for a year or more. Nearly 70 percent of respondents would like the government to offer more job training opportunities.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

Millions of Americans wake up each morning without a job, even though they desperately want to work. It's one of the depressing legacies of the financial crisis and Great Recession.

NPR and the Kaiser Family Foundation conducted a poll of people who had been unemployed or with an insufficient level of work for more than a year. The results document the financial, emotional and physical effects of long-term unemployment and underemployment.

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7:08am

Sat December 3, 2011
Economy

Behind Unemployment Figure, A Nuanced Outlook

NPR

The U.S. unemployment rate took a big tumble in November, from 9 percent to 8.6 percent, according to the government's monthly jobs data. Still, it's probably too soon pop the champagne corks. A combination of forces caused the big drop, some good and some bad.

Getting a big fall in the unemployment rate is always good news in the White House, but President Obama was careful not to gloat at an appearance Friday in Washington.

"This morning we learned that our economy added another 140,000 private sector jobs in November. The unemployment rate went down," he said.

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4:00am

Thu December 1, 2011
Europe

Will Eurozone Countries Give Up Control Of Budgets?

Originally published on Thu December 1, 2011 2:45 pm

European Central Bank Chief Mario Draghi speaks with Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti at EU headquarters in Brussels on Wednesday. European leaders will meet there next week to discuss their options for fixing the region's sovereign debt crisis.
JohnThys AFP/Getty Images

Next week, leaders of the euro area countries will gather in Brussels in an effort to take a bigger step toward ending the region's sovereign debt crisis. They hope that by agreeing to tougher penalties for countries that break the euro area's budget rules, they can entice the European Central Bank to do more to stem the crisis.

But the question is whether the eurozone countries are willing to give up control of their budgets.

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