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

11:59am

Tue October 8, 2013
The Government Shutdown

Obama's Absence At Asia Summit Seen Hurting U.S. Trade

Originally published on Tue October 8, 2013 3:49 pm

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono speaks Tuesday at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit on the Indonesian resort island of Bali. President Obama missed the meeting due to the budget impasse in Washington.
Beawiharta/Pool EPA/Landov

Imagine a poker table.

At one seat, China's President Xi Jinping studies his cards. At another, Russian President Vladimir Putin is stroking his chin. Asian leaders fill the other seats, each trying to win the pot, which is filled — not with poker chips — but with jobs.

That's the kind of high-stakes game that played out this week in Indonesia, where global leaders got together to discuss trade relations. Their gathering ended Tuesday, and exactly who won what is not yet clear.

But this much is known: President Obama was not at the table.

Read more

4:51pm

Fri October 4, 2013
The Government Shutdown

The 'Faux Friday' Jobs Report: What Economists Can Guesstimate

Even without official Labor Department data, economists estimated jobs grew moderately last month.
Andrey Popov iStockphoto.com

Thanks to the federal government's partial shutdown, the Bureau of Labor Statistics skipped its monthly Big Reveal at 8:30 a.m. Friday.

There was no September employment report.

Without access to the BLS numbers, data junkies were left to scrounge around for lesser reports. Maybe if they could suck in enough small hits of other statistics, they could feel that old familiar rush?

Nope. Nothing can replace that BLS high.

Read more

11:45am

Thu October 3, 2013
The Government Shutdown

Without Key Jobs Data, Markets And Economists Left Guessing

Originally published on Thu October 3, 2013 1:32 pm

JPMorgan Chase trader Frederick Reimer works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. The government's monthly jobs numbers won't be released as scheduled Friday, leaving financial markets without key data to evaluate the economy.
Brendan McDermid Reuters/Landov

Stock investors and business journalists unite each month for one shared, suspenseful moment — the 8:30 a.m. release of the Labor Department's employment report.

The unveiling of the report — so rich with data on job creation, unemployment, wages and hours — can be counted upon to set off a tsunami of tweets. Economists jump in with instant analysis and politicians fire off press releases with reactions.

That market-moving report was due this Friday.

Read more

5:14am

Tue October 1, 2013
Business

Economists Say Shutdown Will Hurt, But Hard To Add It Up

Government workers protest the possibility of a federal shutdown in Chicago. Nearly 100 employees from federal agencies including the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Housing and Urban Development rallied in a downtown plaza Monday.
M. Spencer Green AP

After weeks of wondering what would happen, Americans now know:

1. Congress missed the midnight funding deadline for the new fiscal year, triggering disruptions in government operations.

2. That will slow economic growth, at least in the short term.

But just how far the damage will go is far from clear. Economists say they can't refine their predictions because they have no idea how long the shutdown might last or how many federal workers may be furloughed.

Read more

5:03am

Tue September 24, 2013
Business

Small Businesses: Big Concerns And High Hopes

Originally published on Wed October 16, 2013 4:37 pm

Since the recession ended, small businesses have started to rebound. But they still face headwinds.
iStockphoto.com

Safe to say, Americans love small business. Or at least the Idea of Small Business.

President Obama once told owners: "What you share is an entrepreneurial spirit, a tireless work ethic and a simple hope for something better that lies at the heart of the American ideal. Businesses like yours are the engines of job growth in America."

Read more

6:12pm

Wed September 18, 2013
Economy

The Fed's Surprising Decision: Should You Cheer Or Boo?

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke arrives to speak at a news conference Wednesday in Washington, D.C. The Fed cut its economic growth forecasts and said it would keep buying bonds in a bid to keep interest rates down.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

If you are trying to buy a home, you just got good news: The Federal Reserve said Wednesday it is not going to try to drive up long-term interest rates just yet.

Stock investors are happy for you. They like cheap mortgages too because a robust housing market creates jobs. To celebrate, they bought more shares, sending the Dow Jones industrial average up 147.21 to an all-time high of 15,676.94.

Read more

12:37pm

Wed September 11, 2013
Business

Maybe 'Muddling Through' Isn't That Bad For The Economy

Originally published on Wed September 11, 2013 5:15 pm

When the global financial system started to collapse five years ago, leaders from the Treasury Department, Congress and the Federal Reserve jumped up and started running.

Like men on a burning wooden bridge, they raced along, making crazy-fast decisions. They seized Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, bailed out big banks, saved automakers, slashed interest rates and funded a massive infrastructure-building project to stimulate growth.

But that was then.

Read more

3:20am

Mon September 2, 2013
Business

Trucker Shortage Worsens As Energy Sector Booms

Originally published on Mon September 2, 2013 4:45 am

Keith Ceynar transfers oil from his truck into a tank at a facility outside Alexander, N.D. An increasing amount of oil is being delivered by trucks.
Matthew Staver Landov

When goods arrive in Houston, they may come in containers stacked high on huge ships or strung out on long lines of rail cars. But to get to the customer, those goods need to be put on trucks and driven to their final destinations.

And now with the oil and gas sectors booming, the demand for truckers is soaring. The U.S. Energy Information Administration says oil delivered to refineries by trucks shot up 38 percent between 2011 and 2012.

Read more

10:54am

Fri August 30, 2013
Business

More Americans Are In The Mood To Travel For Labor Day

Labor Day weekend travel may rise by 4.2 percent to the highest level since before the recession, according to AAA Travel.
Scott Olson Getty Images

After years of sticking close to home, more Americans are eager to shake off the recession's remnants and have a final summer adventure, according to experts who track travel.

"We've noticed that vacation plans increased quite a bit in August," compared with June, said Chris Christopher, an economist who focuses on consumer markets for IHS Global Insight, a forecasting firm.

Read more

2:56am

Thu August 15, 2013
Business

Pent-Up Demand Is Boosting Home Sales, But Can It Last?

Originally published on Thu August 15, 2013 2:33 pm

Carpenters work on a housing site in Brandywine, Md., on May 31. Pent-up demand for homes could create jobs and help the struggling U.S. economy.
Gary Cameron Reuters/Landov

Six years ago, the U.S. housing market plunged off a cliff. Now prices are bouncing back up — sharply in many markets.

That has some real estate analysts saying 2013 may mark the turning point — when pent-up demand will revive the housing sector and boost the broader economy.

Read more

5:28pm

Tue August 13, 2013
Business

DOJ Suit Seen Delaying, Not Killing Big Airline Merger

A United Airlines jet takes off behind a US Airways jet at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport on Tuesday.
Win McNamee Getty Images

The government's decision Tuesday to oppose the merger of US Airways and American Airlines stunned airline analysts, but many predicted the deal eventually will win go through.

"Given that other airline mergers were approved, this was a surprise," University of Richmond transportation economist George Hoffer said. Other major carriers already have been allowed to combine forces, so "it's illogical to oppose this merger. This move comes a day late and a dollar short," he said.

Read more

12:22pm

Fri August 2, 2013
Business

U.S. Job Growth Slows A Bit As Wages Shrink

Originally published on Fri August 2, 2013 1:10 pm

Employees and supporters demonstrate Monday outside of a Wendy's fast-food restaurant in New York City to demand higher pay and the right to form a union. Incomes have been stagnant, especially for minimum-wage workers.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

Employers added 162,000 workers in July, and the U.S. unemployment rate slipped to 7.4 percent, the lowest level since December 2008, the Labor Department said Friday.

But while the number of jobs did increase, the hiring pace was slower than in the spring, marking a setback for unemployed Americans who had hoped for a better summer.

Read more

3:02am

Thu August 1, 2013
Business

As Back-To-School Shopping Begins, Consumers May Turn Frugal

Originally published on Fri August 2, 2013 6:01 pm

Chris Viehland helps her daughter Jenna try on shoes for the new school year at a Famous Footwear store in Fenton, Mo., Aug. 9, 2012.
Christian Gooden MCT/Landov

As August begins, retailers are stepping up sales promotions to attract back-to-school shoppers. And several states are offering tax-free shopping to encourage purchases.

But most economists say this year's sales will be slower than last summer's because consumers have been coping with more expensive gasoline and higher payroll taxes.

Read more

8:29am

Thu July 18, 2013
Economy

Part-Time Workers Say Schedules Are Getting More Erratic

Part-time jobs have been proliferating this year as employers hold back on hiring.
iStockphoto.com

In the 1980s, a popular fast-food commercial touted chicken-breast sandwiches — and mocked chicken nuggets sold by competitors.

In the ad, a competitor's doofus clerk explains nuggets. "All the parts are crammed into one big part," he said. "And parts is parts."

Read more

3:27am

Sun July 14, 2013
Business

Baggage Fees Turn Five Years Old; Passengers Turn Blase

Originally published on Sun July 21, 2013 12:41 pm

A traveler collects his bag from a luggage carousel in the Philadelphia International Airport in 2011. Baggage fees have helped financially desperate carriers stay aloft.
Matt Rourke AP

Hey, baggage fees — happy fifth birthday!

Even if passengers aren't eager to celebrate, airlines are. The fees, born in 2008, helped financially desperate carriers stay aloft as the U.S. economy was spiraling down.

"That was a watershed year that scared the bejeezus out of the airline industry," said Mark Gerchick, an aviation consultant who has just released a book, Full Upright and Locked Position. Even as ticket sales were sliding, jet fuel prices were shooting to historic highs.

Read more

12:48pm

Fri July 12, 2013
Business

Does The Canadian Rail Explosion Make Pipelines Look Safer?

Originally published on Fri July 12, 2013 1:48 pm

A police photograph shows burned and wrecked crude oil carrying rail tankers piled up in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, on Monday. Dozens of people died in the disaster.
EPA/Landov

When an oil-laden train derailed last weekend, it turned into an inferno that killed dozens in Lac-Megantic, a small town in Quebec.

This week, the Canadian tragedy is morphing into something very different. It is becoming Exhibit A in the political case for building pipelines — as well as for opposing them.

How could the same tragedy prove opposite points? Listen in to the debate:

Read more

2:32pm

Wed July 10, 2013
Business

Smithfield Says Pork Won't Change, But Some Aren't Buying It

Originally published on Thu July 11, 2013 10:08 am

A Smithfield ham at a grocery store in Richardson, Texas, in 2011. Some senators expressed qualms Wednesday about the intentions of Shuanghui International Holdings, which is buying Smithfield Foods.
LM Otero AP

Americans will get the same ham slabs and bacon slices they have enjoyed for generations, even after Smithfield Foods becomes a Chinese subsidiary, Smithfield CEO Larry Pope told Congress on Wednesday.

"It will be the same old Smithfield, only better," Pope said at a Senate Agriculture Committee hearing.

But several senators weren't buying the bacon-will-be-unbroken story once Hong Kong-based Shuanghui International Holdings owns Smithfield.

Read more

11:57am

Wed July 3, 2013
Business

Four Years Into Recovery, Are We Well Yet?

Originally published on Wed July 3, 2013 3:30 pm

Jeff Caldwell checks a vehicle on the assembly line at the Chrysler Jefferson North Assembly plant in Detroit in May. U.S. auto sales rose last month to their fastest pace since 2007.
Paul Sancya AP

The next couple of days will bring fireworks, hot dogs — and a new unemployment report.

At least the first two will be fun.

As for Friday's job-market assessment, the Labor Department report likely will show little or no change in the 7.6 percent unemployment rate. "There is still a general weakness in the labor market," says Daniel North, economist with Euler Hermes, a credit insurance company.

Read more

3:02am

Thu June 20, 2013
Business

If Supplies Of Oil Are Up, Why Is Gas Still Pricey?

Originally published on Thu June 20, 2013 8:00 pm

Jim White of Pennsylvania pumps gas at a BP station in Ocala, Fla., in April. The price of gasoline remains stubbornly high, which may put a crimp on summer travel plans.
Doug Engle Ocala Star-Banner / Landov

Supplies of oil have been surging this year, and U.S. drivers, who have been switching to more fuel-efficient cars, are using less gasoline.

That would seem to be the right economic combination to push down prices at the pump, but gasoline prices have remained stubbornly high this summer.

Even some people in the industry are wondering whether the law of supply and demand somehow has been repealed.

Read more

10:40am

Mon June 17, 2013
Business

Economists To G-8: Want Growth? Try This

Originally published on Mon June 17, 2013 12:13 pm

A 2013 Accord is ready to come off the line at the Honda automobile plant in Marysville, Ohio, in 2012. Accords built at the 4,400-employee plant are shipped to South Korea — an example of the importance of trade to manufacturing jobs.
Paul Vernon Reuters/Landov

If economists were cheerleaders, their favorite shout-out might be: "What do we want? Growth! When do we want it? Now!"

They won't actually shout those words, but they may be thinking them as global leaders meet this week for a G-8 summit. Economists are hoping that at the gathering in Northern Ireland, leaders of eight major economies will discuss expanding global trade and investment to spur job creation.

Read more

11:19am

Fri June 7, 2013
Economy

No Big Waves In The Labor Pool

Originally published on Fri June 7, 2013 1:44 pm

Shoppers walk along Broadway in New York City. Retailers added 28,000 in May amid signs of strength in consumer spending.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

June is a nice month for treading water — if you happen to be in a swimming pool.

But if you are in the labor pool and trying to make your way toward a job, a stronger current in the right direction would be appreciated.

Unfortunately, the jobs report released Friday by the Labor Department showed that the economy continues to drift along at a languid pace.

Read more

11:14am

Fri May 31, 2013
Business

Can A Huge Hog Deal Pose A National Security Risk?

Smithfield hams hang outside the Taste of Smithfield restaurant and gourmet market in Smithfield, Va. Shuanghui International Holdings plans to buy Smithfield Foods, the world's biggest hog producer.
Rich-Joseph Facun Reuters/Landov

Americans do love their bacon, but is that romance a national security issue?

Maybe.

This week, China's biggest pork producer announced plans to buy Virginia-based Smithfield Foods Inc. Republican Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa wants a national security review by an interagency panel known as the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S., or CFIUS.

Read more

3:21pm

Wed May 29, 2013
Business

What's Under Youngstown May Help What's On Top

Originally published on Wed May 29, 2013 7:18 pm

By leasing land for drilling, city leaders in Youngstown, Ohio, hope to generate funds to demolish vacant buildings.
M.L. Schultze for NPR

A century ago, when fiery steel mills were roaring to life in Youngstown, Ohio, builders were racing to put up homes, storefronts, barbershops and more.

Today, many of those buildings sit empty and rotting. With the mills mostly gone and the population down 60 percent from 1960, to just 67,000, the city needs millions of dollars to tear down roughly 4,000 vacant structures.

Read more

3:09pm

Thu May 16, 2013
The Two-Way

U.S. Airlines Forecast A Sunnier Summer

Originally published on Thu May 16, 2013 4:53 pm

More passengers are expected to fly on U.S. airlines this summer, an industry group said Thursday.
David McNew Getty Images

After a long bumpy ride that started five years ago, the domestic airline industry seems to be pulling up and smoothing out.

The number of passengers planning to fly this summer will tick up 1 percent from 2012, climbing back to the highest level since 2008, an industry group said Thursday.

The airlines' profit outlook is also brighter, as jet fuel prices have settled down a bit. Passenger complaints are quieting down, too.

Read more

11:12am

Mon May 13, 2013
Business

Comp Time Or Cold Cash. Which Would You Pick?

Originally published on Mon May 13, 2013 1:19 pm

Overtime or comp time? Which one suits you best?

Both you and your boss may agree it would be best for you to work a sixth day when a big project is due in March, and then take off for a long weekend in June. No big deal.

But under the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, private employers must pay time and a half to workers who put in more than 40 hours on the job in any one week.

Read more

1:53pm

Fri April 26, 2013
The Sequester: Cuts And Consequences

Flight Delays Push Congress To End Controller Furloughs

Travelers stand in line at Los Angeles International Airport on Monday. Congress moved quickly this week to give the Federal Aviation Administration flexibility to end air traffic controller furloughs that resulted in flight delays at several airports.
Damian Dovarganes AP

The U.S. Congress — a body not exactly known for its swift feet — raced Friday to complete legislation to help travelers avoid delays at airports.

The House voted 361-41 to approve legislation that the Senate passed without objection late Thursday. The bill gives the Federal Aviation Administration more spending flexibility to cut its budget while avoiding furloughs of air traffic controllers.

Read more

3:01pm

Thu April 25, 2013
The Two-Way

Still In The Middle Class, But Standing On A Banana Peel

Most U.S. workers fit snugly into the middle class, but they worry a lot about falling out of it, according to a poll released Thursday.

After years of watching home prices slide and job creation stall, 6 in 10 Americans say they fear tumbling from the middle class in the next few years, the Allstate-National Journal Heartland Monitor Poll suggests.

Read more

5:28pm

Mon April 22, 2013
Business

Airport Delays Raise Questions About Controller Furloughs

Passengers check their flight status at Los Angeles International airport on Monday. The FAA said staffing cuts were causing delays in the Eastern U.S.
Damian Dovarganes AP

Some air travelers faced delays Monday as furloughs of air traffic controllers began taking effect.

Read more

12:47pm

Sun April 21, 2013
The Changing Lives Of Women

An Exploration Of The Changing Lives Of Women

Graphic designer Kaleena Porter sits with her dog, Moby, in the living room of her new home in Washington, D.C.
Marie McGrory NPR

Many revolutions begin with the sound of explosions and marching boots.

Now, another revolution is shaking up the world, and it's moving forward to the beep of alarm clocks and the clack of heels heading out.

Legions of women around the world are leaving their homes to join the paid labor force. Worldwide, 4 in 10 paid workers are female; in the coming decade, an estimated 1 billion more women will enter the formal workforce, pushing up economic growth.

Read more

7:28am

Sun April 14, 2013
Business

Tax Tips For Procrastinators, And You Know Who You Are

Originally published on Mon April 15, 2013 12:40 pm

A customer goes over tax documents at a post office in New York City on last year's Tax Day.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Still haven't filed your taxes, eh?

Well, you have until 11:59 p.m. Monday to get it all done — or at least file for an extension that gets you off the hook until Oct. 15. To help all of you procrastinators, here are answers to a few of your questions.

If I'm filing by mail, can I come skidding into the post office at 11:58 p.m. and still make the deadline?

Read more

Pages