Marilyn Geewax

Marilyn Geewax is the senior business editor for NPR's National Desk. Besides assigning and editing business stories, Geewax regularly discusses economic issues on Weekend Edition Sunday.

Geewax was previously the national economics correspondent for Cox Newspapers' Washington Bureau. Before coming to Washington in 1999, she worked for the Cox flagship paper, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, first as a business reporter and then as a columnist and editorial board member. She has also reported for the Akron Beacon Journal.

In 2004, Geewax earned a master's degree at Georgetown University, where she focused on international economic affairs. During 1994-1995, she studied economics and international relations at Harvard as a Nieman Fellow. She was also a Davenport Fellow at the University of Missouri, and earned a bachelor's degree in journalism from The Ohio State University.

From 2001 to 2006, Geewax taught a business journalism class as an adjunct professor at George Washington University.

Pages

8:03am

Tue July 28, 2015
The Two-Way

Drawing A Line From The Chinese Stock Market To Your Wallet

Originally published on Tue July 28, 2015 1:03 pm

A Chinese worker is seen at a construction site in Beijing. Economic changes in China and in other places have reduced demand and prices for commodities like the metal in the building's structure.
AP

A mega-economic story is playing out globally. It involves U.S. interest rates, the Chinese stock market and jobs in Minnesota, Arizona and North Dakota.

And your wallet, too.

No kidding. It's all related. To see how, let your mind wander back.

Read more

10:13am

Sat July 18, 2015
Business

From Highways To Trade Deal, What Big Business Wants By Christmas

Originally published on Sat July 18, 2015 2:47 pm

It could be a bumpy road ahead for Congress — not least because, well, they'll have to find ways to fund fixes for old, bumpy roads.
trekandshoot iStockphoto

Temperatures soar, flowers bloom and the sun rises early. On these long summer days, there still seems to be plenty of time for achieving your 2015 goals.

But not if you are a business lobbyist. For you, time is short.

Here's what you want by Christmas: a Pacific Rim trade deal; an updated No Child Left Behind Act; revival of the Export-Import Bank; long-term highway funding and a completed federal budget.

Read more

6:18pm

Mon July 13, 2015
The Two-Way

Tired Of Greek Reruns? Understandable, But A New Season Is Beginning

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras speaks with reporters after meeting with eurozone leaders in Brussels on Monday. The leaders reached a tentative agreement on a bailout program that provides cash in exchange for changes in the way the Greek government operates.
Geert Vanden Wijngaert AP

Is news coverage of Greece wearing you down? Too many deals and deadlines?

It's no wonder. The "Greek debt crisis" has been in progress for nearly six years, making it easy to assume that we're seeing just another crazy episode in a long-running drama.

But European leaders are saying this time it really is different. Here's why:

Read more

10:13am

Sat July 11, 2015
Economy

Stocks Manage To Bounce, But Commodity Prices Are Swooning

Originally published on Sat July 11, 2015 12:46 pm

The freighter American Mariner discharges its load of iron ore in Cleveland last November. Prices for iron ore and other commodities have plunged amid economic uncertainty in China and Europe.
Mark Duncan AP

After a nerve-rattling plunge, stocks in Asia, Europe and the United States managed to end the week ahead of where they started.

But not so for industrial commodities. Their prices just keep heading south — creating more worries for miners, but good news for many manufacturers and consumers. The price drops could even help depress interest rates for all sorts of borrowers.

Before considering the impacts, first check out the magnitude of the changes. These are approximate prices, compared with one year ago:

  • Copper: $2.55 a pound, down from $3.27
Read more

5:24pm

Wed July 8, 2015
The Two-Way

A Day Filled With Market Jitters, But Not Panic

A trader claps on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange at the close of the day after trading was paused for nearly four hours due to a "technical glitch" on Wednesday.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

If you were looking for reasons to be nervous, Wednesday provided lots of them, like these:

-- Chinese stocks plunged again, with the Shanghai Composite Index falling another 5.9 percent.

-- The Greek debt crisis remained unresolved, with European officials still scrambling for a solution.

-- Many raw-material prices continued their slide — with the Bloomberg Commodity Index down 26 percent from last year.

Read more

4:45pm

Thu July 2, 2015
Economy

So Far, So Good For The Economy. But What About The Second Half?

Originally published on Thu July 2, 2015 5:36 pm

A worker welds parts in fans for industrial ventilation systems at the Robinson Fans Inc. plant in Harmony, Pa., in February. Hourly wages in the U.S. remained unchanged last month.
Keith Srakocic AP

Maybe it seems like just yesterday that you were storing away your holiday decorations.

Maybe it actually was yesterday because life gets busy and tasks get put off, and before you know it, half the year is over and you're scrambling to catch up.

So in case you have been too busy to pay close attention, here's what we now know about the just-ended half of this year's economy:

Read more

5:20pm

Tue June 30, 2015
The Two-Way

Debate Begins: New OT Rules Will Raise Wages — Or Kill Jobs

President Obama has proposed a rule requiring requiring overtime pay for more workers. The plan has drawn fire from many employers.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

Business groups and labor unions sharply disagreed today over the potential impact of a proposed change to the federal rule governing overtime pay.

In coming months, the two sides will submit comments in writing to the Labor Department to try to shape the rule's final wording, but the verbal sparring already has begun.

Business leaders say hiking overtime pay would reduce hiring, while unions say the change would stimulate the economy by raising incomes for about 5 million Americans.

Before laying out the different reactions, we'll look at what happened today:

Read more

5:23pm

Mon June 29, 2015
The Two-Way

If The Mess In Greece Is All Greek To You, Then Read This

Originally published on Tue June 30, 2015 10:59 am

The EU and national flags fly in the foreground of the Parthenon, as Greek voters prepare to decide whether to continue negotiating for more international loans.
Getty Images

"It was Greek to me."

Shakespeare used that phrase in one of his tragedies to suggest that a complicated matter was beyond understanding.

Many Americans may be muttering those words again as this week's Greek tragedy plays out.

The situation in Athens really is complicated, but it's also important. So let's walk through the basics together, and then consider what it might mean to Americans.

Here's what has happened so far:

-- The Greek government has way too much debt and can't pay its creditors.

Read more

1:27pm

Thu June 25, 2015
The Two-Way

Congress Signs Off On Trade Bills, Handing Obama A Huge Win

Originally published on Thu June 25, 2015 4:14 pm

The U.S. House voted 236-138 Thursday to tie a bow on President Obama's package of trade-related legislation — giving him final approval on everything he wanted.

The Senate already had signed off on all of it, granting: 1) enhanced trade negotiation powers to the president, 2) aid for displaced workers and 3) trade incentives for sub-Saharan Africa.

Thursday's vote marked a stunning victory for Obama by clearing his path to completing the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade deal involving the United States, Japan and 10 other Pacific Rim nations.

Read more

4:50pm

Wed June 24, 2015
The Two-Way

Senate Passes Fast-Track Trade Legislation, 60-38

Originally published on Mon July 6, 2015 12:03 pm

The Senate handed President Obama a huge victory Wednesday afternoon, giving him final approval of legislation that enhances his power to negotiate trade deals.

The bill needed just 51 votes, but passed 60-38, making it look almost easy.

But earlier this month, the legislation granting Trade Promotion Authority seemed likely to die because of fierce opposition from many Democrats and some Republicans. Various legislative maneuvers were employed to set back the measure.

Read more

1:43pm

Tue June 23, 2015
The Two-Way

Senate Votes To Advance The White House Trade Agenda

Originally published on Tue June 23, 2015 4:58 pm

The Senate voted 60-37 Tuesday to advance President Obama's trade agenda — setting up a big victory for the White House and a painful loss for labor unions.

This latest Senate vote clears away procedural hurdles for legislation granting Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) to Obama. That power allows the president to negotiate trade pacts and then put them on a so-called fast track through Congress. With TPA in place, Congress would take a simple yes-or-no vote on any trade deal, with no room for amendments.

Read more

11:36am

Tue June 23, 2015
Business

Airlines Vs. Airports: A Dogfight Over Fees Imposed On Fliers

Originally published on Tue June 23, 2015 2:35 pm

A plane takes off from New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport on May 25. Airports want Congress to raise passenger fees to pay for improvements.
Trevor Collens AFP/Getty Images

You'd think everyone in the aviation industry would be on the same page about improving air travel. Surely they all want more modern aircraft and upgraded airports, right?

They do. But airlines and airports are in a political dogfight this summer over who should be getting more of your money for improvements.

Read more

3:45pm

Wed June 17, 2015
The Two-Way

Yes, Your Car Loan Will Still Be Cheap As Fed Holds Rates Low

Originally published on Wed June 17, 2015 4:48 pm

Lincoln Mercury vehicles at a dealership lot in Sterling Heights, Mich.
Paul Sancya AP

The Federal Reserve's policymakers Wednesday held steady on interest rates — and gave no specific time frame for when they might change course.

That was the expected outcome of their two-day meeting.

But this changed: The policymakers seemed a bit more optimistic about the U.S. economy. Their statement said that while inflation is very low, "economic activity has been expanding moderately."

Read more

12:00pm

Tue June 16, 2015
The Two-Way

U.S. House Votes To Buy Time For Obama's Trade Agenda

Originally published on Wed June 17, 2015 5:10 pm

Updated at 2:55 p.m. ET

This afternoon, the U.S. House voted 236 to 189 to give itself six more weeks to sort out tangled legislation involving trade.

The House Republican leaders prodded their members to approve a rule change that extends time for a second vote on one part of a trade package. This portion, called Trade Adjustment Assistance, failed on Friday.

Read more

12:05pm

Fri June 12, 2015
The Two-Way

Dealing Blow To Obama, Efforts To Pass Trade Plan Fail In The House

Originally published on Mon June 15, 2015 1:14 pm

President Obama walks with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi as he visits Capitol Hill on Friday.
Carolyn Kaster AP

Dealing a big blow to President Obama's agenda, the House of Representatives failed to pass a key element of a package of bills that would have given Obama the ability to fast-track a trade deal with Pacific Rim nations.

The House began by voting on a bill that would provide funding for training Americans who would lose their jobs because of the trade deal. Failing to attract enough Democratic votes, the body rejected the measure by a large margin.

Read more

2:30pm

Fri June 5, 2015
Economy

Teens Hoping For More Jobs, Higher Wages This Summer

Originally published on Mon June 8, 2015 3:10 pm

José Moncada, 16, signed up for a summer youth employment program in New York City. He said hopes to earn enough to help his family, which lives on less than $30,000 a year.
Kaomi Goetz for NPR

Recipe for a good summer-job market: First, hire a lot of people in May. Second, give workers raises, and third, push down gasoline prices. Mix it all together — and pour out hope for teen workers.

"Having a job makes me feel really excited. I can put my own money in my pocket instead of asking my parents for money all the time," said José Moncada, a 16-year-old job seeker in New York City.

Moncada and other teens may have caught a break Friday when the economy followed that seasonal employment recipe precisely.

Read more

7:18pm

Fri May 15, 2015
The Two-Way

Big 3 Airlines Say Foreign Competitors Are 'Dumping' Seats In U.S.

Originally published on Fri May 15, 2015 7:45 pm

A Qatar Airways plane loads cargo on Feb. 3, 2013, at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York. The big three U.S. airlines — Delta, United and American — say Persian Gulf carriers like Qatar Airways, Emirates Airlines and Etihad are "dumping" seats in the U.S.
Robert Nickelsberg Getty Images

Many U.S. passengers who have been wedged into coach-class seats on long flights might welcome more flying options — even if that competition were to come from overseas.

But the chief executives for Delta, United and American airlines say it's not fair if such competition involves big government subsidies given to state-backed carriers.

Read more

5:24pm

Wed May 13, 2015
It's All Politics

The Morning After: Lawmakers Vote To Reduce Amtrak Funding

"Starving rail of funding will not enable safer train travel," Rep. Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., told the House Appropriations Committee Wednesday. Rep. Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, admonished Democrats: "Don't use this tragedy in that way," he said. "It was beneath you."
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Transportation funding was going to get plenty of attention this week in Washington — even before an Amtrak train derailed about 140 miles to the north.

This is National Infrastructure Week, so lobbyists, labor leaders and activists started swarming Capitol Hill on Monday, seeking funds for roads, bridges and other projects related to transportation.

Read more

2:33pm

Wed May 6, 2015
The Two-Way

Fed Chair Yellen's Warning Adds To Recent Market Jitters

Originally published on Wed May 6, 2015 6:06 pm

Federal Reserve chief Janet Yellen's remarks Wednesday made a lot of investors blink. But there's something to keep in mind before you sell based on her advice.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Both stock and bond markets had already been having a rough week, and then on Wednesday, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen added to the jitters.

She warned that stock valuations are "generally quite high," and that "there are potential dangers there."

So if you happen to be an investor who wants to buy low and sell high (and really, who doesn't?), then you might take Yellen's comment as a suggestion that it's time to sell.

And that's just what happened: Measures of U.S. stock prices all slipped — down about 0.7 percent by midday.

Read more

5:01pm

Wed April 29, 2015
Business

Japan's Abe Pushes The Pacific Trade Deal Onto Center Stage

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe speaks during a joint press conference at the White House with President Obama on Tuesday. Abe is urging U.S. lawmakers to approve a trans-Pacific trade deal.
Mandel Ngan AFP/Getty Images

President Obama's plan for creating a Pacific Rim trade zone has been hovering in the wings, waiting for the right moment to demand attention.

On Wednesday, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pushed it out on to center stage during a dramatic joint meeting of the U.S. House and Senate. He urged Congress to approve the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP.

Read more

1:07pm

Tue April 14, 2015
The Two-Way

Cheap Oil Fuels Global Growth. Now If We Just Had Roads And Bridges

Originally published on Tue April 14, 2015 6:05 pm

Men work on an oil pump during a sandstorm in the desert oil fields of Sakhir, Bahrain, in January.
Hasan Jamali AP

The global economy won't sink this year, thanks to the oceans of cheap oil keeping it afloat.

That's the bottom line of the World Economic Outlook, released Tuesday by the International Monetary Fund. The 2015 pace of economic growth will tick up to 3.5 percent, helped along by lower energy costs and weaker currencies.

Read more

7:03am

Tue April 14, 2015
It's All Politics

'Clintonomics' Ruled The 1990s; 'Hillarynomics' Would Be Different

Originally published on Tue April 14, 2015 2:47 pm

Hillary Clinton begins to speak as her husband, former President Bill Clinton, moves to take a seat after introducing her at the Clinton Global Initiative on Sept. 22, 2014, in New York.
Mark Lennihan AP

If you are under 30, this may be hard to imagine, but in the late 1990s, the economy was a job-generating machine.

In 2000, the final year of Bill Clinton's presidency, the unemployment rate fell as low as 3.8 percent. Then, within a decade of his White House departure, the rate was up to 10 percent.

Those two numbers explain why the name "Clinton" remains magic for many. People who got jobs, bought homes and invested money two decades ago associate "Clintonomics" with good times.

Read more

4:49pm

Wed April 8, 2015
The Salt

The Latest Item On McDonald's Shifting Menu: A $5 Burger

Originally published on Wed April 8, 2015 6:39 pm

The new Sirloin Third Pound burgers will be offered at McDonald's starting later this month, for a limited time.
Courtesy of McDonald's

McDonald's has been struggling in recent years to keep pace with fast-casual chains like Five Guys and Chipotle Mexican Grill.

So the fast-food giant is testing different menu options to lure back customers. Starting later this month, McDonald's diners will be able to choose a $4.99 sandwich — the Sirloin Third Pound burger.

Read more

2:19pm

Fri April 3, 2015
The Two-Way

For U.S. Workers, The March Of Progress Slows Down

The big question hanging over the U.S. economy: Did job growth just take a rest during the harsh winter, or is it shifting to a much slower pace?
David Goldman AP

Dear March,

We got your news that employers added just 126,000 jobs on your watch. Hate to say it, but you have disappointed everyone. No doubt you'll say you were under the weather — literally. Sure, it was cold, but still ... Let's hope April does better.

Sincerely,

America

On Friday, the Labor Department's report on weak jobs growth left economists scrambling to explain what went wrong in March.

Read more

9:57am

Fri April 3, 2015
The Two-Way

If A Caller Says, 'I Am With The IRS,' He's Not

Originally published on Fri April 3, 2015 11:57 am

The Internal Revenue Service says the number of IRS-related phone scams is on the rise.
gmutlu iStockphoto.com

True story: The other day, I attended a speech by IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, who said phone scammers are swarming the country in the run-up to April 15, aka Tax Day.

These criminals call taxpayers and insist they must "immediately give up their personal information or make a payment," Koskinen warned. Don't fall for it.

Read more

2:46pm

Thu March 26, 2015
The Two-Way

Census Data Prove It: We Prefer Sunshine And Golf Carts

Originally published on Fri March 27, 2015 3:17 pm

If you live in a town still dotted with dirty piles of old snow, this is not going to come as good news:

The U.S. Census Bureau today listed the nation's fastest-growing metro areas. And it turns out, Americans prefer Florida's sunshine, lakes and beaches to your cloudy, cold climes.

Read more

5:11pm

Thu March 12, 2015
Business

Obama, Unions On Opposite Sides Of The (Fast) Track For Trade Deals

Originally published on Thu March 12, 2015 6:06 pm

Shipping containers at the Port of Los Angeles. Unions are stepping up their efforts to thwart White House plans for passing foreign trade deals on a "fast track" through Congress.
Nick Ut AP

This week, labor leaders made sure President Obama knows that when it comes to foreign trade, they are living on opposite sides of the track — the "fast track," that is.

That's a term describing a president's broad power to negotiate a trade agreement — and then put the final package on a "fast track" through Congress. Lawmakers can give it a yes-or-no vote, but can't amend or filibuster the deal.

Read more

12:03am

Tue March 10, 2015
Business

The Numbers Add Up To This: Less And Less Opportunity For Poor Kids

Originally published on Tue March 10, 2015 1:57 pm

An employee at the American Disposables Inc. factory works on the assembly line in October 2009 in Ware, Mass. The state has seen rapidly expanding income disparity in the past 50 years as highly educated tech and financial workers have seen big gains and inflation-adjusted income has shrunk for the poorest residents.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

In this country, all children are supposed to have a shot at success — a chance to jump "from rags to riches" in one generation.

Even if riches remain out of reach, then the belief has been that every hard-working American should be able to go from poverty to the middle class.

On Tuesday, a book and a separate study are being released — both turning up evidence that the one-generation leap is getting harder to accomplish in an economy so tied to education, technological know-how and networking.

Read more

9:22am

Sat March 7, 2015
Economy

More Jobs, Less Inflation Drive Down 'Misery' — So Where's The Joy?

Construction workers in Washington, D.C., in December. The latest jobs report will further drive the "misery index" to its lowest level in more than half a century. But economists say meager wages and big debts are still problems.
Paul J. Richards AFP/Getty Images

For decades, economists have tracked the "misery index," a simple formula that adds the unemployment rate to the inflation rate. The result equals how miserable — or not — you feel.

On Friday, the Labor Department released February's jobs report, and the good numbers will further drive down the misery index, already at its lowest level in more than a half-century, thanks to falling oil prices.

Read more

1:16pm

Mon March 2, 2015
The Two-Way

Wages And Prices: A Welcome Breakup

Originally published on Mon March 2, 2015 1:49 pm

Bigger paychecks plus lower prices add up to more buying power for consumers.
DNY59 iStockphoto

A new government report confirms: Wages and prices are going their separate ways.

This breakup is helping consumers on the rebound from recession.

Fresh evidence of the split came Monday in the Commerce Department's monthly report on personal spending, income and saving. It showed paychecks are fatter, prices are leaner and Americans are saving more.

Read more

Pages