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.

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12:01am

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

The Impacts Of Long-Term Unemployment

Originally published on Mon December 12, 2011 2:55 pm

  • Hear Marilyn Geewax On 'Tell Me More'

The country has been trying to recover from the Great Recession for three years. But the U.S. job market remains weak, leaving roughly 5 million workers unemployed for a year or more.

The Kaiser Family Foundation teamed with NPR to conduct a survey, seeking to describe the experiences of those long-term unemployed workers. Here are some highlights of the survey findings.

The long-term unemployed tended to be low-wage workers.

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5:49pm

Wed December 7, 2011
The Two-Way

'Dr. Doom' Fears Another Financial Crisis Is Coming

Originally published on Wed December 7, 2011 7:16 pm

Nouriel Roubini.
Tony Ashby. AFP/Getty Images

The economist known as "Dr. Doom" for his 2008 recession prediction says the world may be headed for another financial crisis.

New York University professor Nouriel Roubini said Wednesday that Europe's debt troubles are so profound that the continent is falling into a "recession that will get worse and worse."

And a deep recession likely will lead to another financial panic that could spread around the world — an outcome that will be " very painful," he said.

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6:42am

Tue December 6, 2011
Business

Why Americans Spend Too Much

  • Hear Princeton Professor Sheldon Garon
  • Hear NPR's Marilyn Geewax's Interview With Professor Sheldon Garon

The 2008 financial crisis made it clear: Americans save too little, spend too much and borrow excessively, says Princeton professor Sheldon Garon. In Western Europe and East Asia, governments aggressively encourage people to save through special savings institutions and savings campaigns.

Garon has just released a new book, Beyond Our Means: Why America Spends While the World Saves. He discussed his findings with NPR:

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8:26am

Sun December 4, 2011
Economy

How Europe's Troubles Could Become Ours Too

Originally published on Sun December 4, 2011 3:04 pm

Daniel Kryger, left, works with fellow traders on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. If the European Union can't agree on a plan, its debt crisis could lead to the kind of financial chaos that economists say surely would hurt the United States.
Richard Drew AP

This week, European leaders will huddle in intense meetings, trying to work out a comprehensive plan to solve crushing debt problems.

Higher stakes are hard to imagine.

If all goes well at a summit in Brussels, the political leaders will make an announcement Friday, spelling out their long-term commitment to a plan to loosen a choking tangle of debt troubles. If they can't agree on a plan, the EU debt crisis could lead to the kind of financial chaos that economists say surely would hurt the United States.

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1:23pm

Mon November 28, 2011
Economy

Black Friday Sales Suggest A Strong Cyber Monday

Workers process orders at an Amazon.com fulfillment center n Swansea, Wales, as they prepare for their busiest time of the year.
Matt Cardy Getty Images

Shoppers stormed retail stores this past weekend, and now on Cyber Monday, many are clicking their way to more purchases.

"I am definitely a price-based shopper," said Sarah Kelly, a 28-year-old Washington, D.C., resident who bought a KitchenAid mixer Monday morning as a holiday gift. She also bought shoes, clothes and other presents after waking early to search for online coupons and shipping offers. "I only purchase if the shipping is free," she said.

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8:30am

Thu November 17, 2011
Politics

Automatic Cuts: Necessary Medicine Or Doomsday?

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has warned Congress that automatic across-the-board cuts to the Pentagon's budget would "invite aggression from U.S. adversaries."
Mark Wilson Getty Images

As the congressional "supercommittee" runs out of time to reach a deficit-cutting deal, the word "sequestration" is being spoken more and more in Washington.

Depending upon the speaker's political views, the word can be spit out as a curse word, or intoned as a blessing. But love it or hate it, "sequestration" may turn out to be a word that dramatically changes the world's most powerful military, and reshapes domestic programs for public health, education, the environment and much more.

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8:30am

Thu November 17, 2011
Politics

Supercommittee Scenarios: How The Debt End Game May Play Out

Originally published on Thu November 17, 2011 2:40 pm

Supercommittee member, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., third from left, holds his hand out at a hearing Oct. 26. From left are, Supercommittee Co-Chair Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., Baucus, Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, and Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

The congressional supercommittee — charged with developing a plan for cutting the nation's deficits by $1.2 trillion over 10 years — is days away from its Thanksgiving deadline.

But at this point, no deal is on the table, and pessimism is growing. Economists are worried: Failure to reach a deal would add yet another cloud of uncertainty to an already-dark outlook.

The supercommittee grew out of a heated fight in August in Congress over whether to raise the nation's debt ceiling.

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4:00am

Mon November 14, 2011
Europe

German Economy Shines As Euro Loses Luster

Workers prepare new Volkswagen Golf cars at a factory in Wolfsburg, Germany.
Sean Gallup Getty Images

As the debt crisis in Europe deepens, Americans may be feeling sorry for Germany.

They see that Germans, who generally work hard and spend carefully, are now being pushed to bail out their debt-ridden partners in the eurozone.

But there's another side to the story.

Turns out, sharing a common currency with a group of fiscal losers has its benefits. The German economy gained strength over the past two years in large part because the European debt crisis weakened the euro. That made German exports more attractive to customers around the world.

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8:51am

Sun November 13, 2011
Economy

Gen X Takes The Housing Hit; Boomers Only Grazed

Originally published on Fri May 18, 2012 11:11 am

Prices are about a third lower than they were in 2006, and they are continuing to drop in most cities. The National Association of Realtors says that this summer, prices fell nearly 5 percent compared with last year.
David J. Phillip AP

At this time five years ago, the white-hot U.S. housing market was starting to cool. Before long, it would slip into a deep freeze.

The thaw still hasn't come. The latest statistics show residential real estate prices are continuing to drop — a trend that could have a long-lasting impact on the net wealth of younger homeowners who bought property during the housing bubble.

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6:30am

Wed November 9, 2011
Politics

Political Math: Social Security Cuts Don't Add Up

Judy Moses, 71, prepares to be arrested during an Occupy Chicago protest against cuts to federal safety net programs, including Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, on Monday.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Conservative activists in the Tea Party want Congress to cut government budget deficits. At the same time, liberal protesters in the Occupy Wall Street movement want lawmakers to reduce wealth inequality.

Both goals could be achieved by doing one thing: reducing Social Security payments to retirees, the wealthiest demographic group in the country.

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11:39am

Fri November 4, 2011
Economy

Stores May Be Slow To Hire For The Holidays

NPR

The latest jobs report shows the U.S. economy is continuing to grow. But the pace is slow enough to suggest the holidays may not be very bright, especially for people seeking seasonal work.

Employers added a total of 80,000 jobs last month — about half the number needed to keep pace with population growth and begin pulling nearly 14 million job seekers back into the workplace.

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5:04am

Fri October 28, 2011
Business

In Europe's Crisis, U.S. Mostly An Observer

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao meeting in Berlin on June 28. During Europe's economic crisis, both China and the United States have stayed mostly on the sidelines.

Markus Schreiber AP

When Columbus sailed west in the late 15th century, he launched a long and lucrative relationship between Europe and the Americas. Family ties, economic bonds and shared military goals continue to knit us together.

But as the European debt crisis has deepened, it has highlighted this early 21st century shift: The United States is becoming more of a Pacific Rim country and less of a North Atlantic partner.

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12:45pm

Fri October 21, 2011
Europe

Hamilton's Lesson For Europe: Pay Your Debt

Because of Alexander Hamilton's insistence that the United States pay off its debt, investors came to see the nation as a stable place to do business, biographer Ron Chernow says.

Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

This weekend, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel will meet in Brussels with other European Union leaders. Their goal: to settle on a plan to pay the debts of struggling member nations.

Their meeting might go better if Alexander Hamilton's ghost could get a seat at the table.

Hamilton, one of the United States' Founding Fathers, was the fiscal genius who insisted that paying off debts of this union's member states would lead to economic greatness.

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6:07am

Sun October 16, 2011
Economy

Betting On Food Prices May Sell The Hungry Short

For speculators, food is a commodity to trade, not eat.

Scott Olson Getty Images

Speculators in the agricultural commodities markets are forcing grocery prices to rise too quickly and erratically, according to some top economists marking World Food Day on Sunday.

"Excessive financial speculation is contributing to increasing volatility and record food prices, exacerbating global hunger and poverty," wrote 461 economists, from more than 40 countries, in an open letter.

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1:53pm

Fri October 7, 2011
Economy

Thought The Economy Was Tanking? Not So Fast

Originally published on Sun October 9, 2011 7:06 am

The construction sector added 26,000 jobs in September, reversing a drop a month earlier.

Tom Pennington Getty Images

A few weeks ago, dismal economic reports seemed to be pointing to one conclusion: The economy was slipping into another recession. Investors fled the stock market, pundits predicted doom and political leaders pointed fingers, trying to fix blame for a faltering economy.

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12:05pm

Thu October 6, 2011
Economy

Debt Crises Not A Damper For Some U.S. Businesses

Despite concerns about Congress and the European debt crisis, most U.S business owners remain optimistic and expect growth to continue this year, the heads of both General Electric and FedEx said Thursday.

"There's still a lot of growth," GE CEO Jeff Immelt told about 600 executives attending a conference on middle-sized businesses. "It's a long, slow recovery...but it is getting better."

FedEx CEO Fred Smith agreed, saying that shipments of goods continue to reflect a growing economy. "We don't see a contraction," Smith said. "Just slow growth; steady as she goes."

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3:09am

Sun October 2, 2011
Politics

Federal Budget Uncertainty Weighs On Economy

Welcome to Fiscal Year 2012...such as it is.

On each Sept. 30, the nation wraps up its old budget, and on Oct. 1, it starts a fresh spending cycle. Or at least, that's what is supposed to happen.

But once again, Oct. 1 has come and gone, and the country still has no formal budget in place. Instead, Congress last week approved a stopgap funding bill to keep the government operating temporarily, just as it has done time and again since the 1970s.

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1:24am

Sun October 2, 2011
Politics

A Guide To The U.S. Budget Battles

Originally published on Sun October 2, 2011 10:28 am

This year, the annual budget fight has become especially muddled. That's because Congress and the White House are actually engaged in three different, but related, budget debates that are going on simultaneously.

Ultimately, the three battles involve just one question: How much money should government take in and spend? But the separate tracks involve different time horizons, and each problem has to be resolved in a different way.

Here is a fresh look at the three ongoing budget battles:

1. The Fiscal 2012 Budget

Background:

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5:29am

Sun September 25, 2011
Economy

Three Years After The Market Crash, A 'New Normal'

Three years ago this month, chaos ruled in financial markets.

Huge financial companies, such as Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch and AIG were stumbling, and government officials were scrambling to prevent a global financial meltdown. They threw together bailouts and pushed weak companies to merge with stronger ones.

The central bankers, Treasury officials and lawmakers eventually did manage to reassure investors enough to restore order in the financial system. However, the aftershocks of the crisis are still being felt today.

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5:09pm

Mon September 19, 2011
Politics

Tax Winners And Losers Under Obama's Deficit Plan

Originally published on Mon September 19, 2011 9:20 pm

Specialists on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange watch President Obama's televised speech on debt reduction Monday. Obama wants to require investment fund managers to pay at least the same percentage in taxes as middle-income Americans.
Richard Drew AP

If enacted, President Obama's deficit-reduction plan would increase tax revenues by about $1.5 trillion over the coming decade. The wealthiest taxpayers could see significantly higher taxes, but the vast majority of Americans would pay less, at least through 2012.

These are some of the groups that could see higher tax bills starting in 2013:

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1:55pm

Thu September 15, 2011
Europe

How The European Debt Crisis Could Spread

A giant logo of the euro can be seen outside the headquarters of the European Central Bank in Frankfurt, Germany.
AFP/Getty Images

The world's major central banks are so worried about Europe's debt crisis that they are moving to shore up eurozone banks. The troubled banks hold billions in sovereign debt of Greece, Spain, Portugal and other struggling countries.

Left unchecked, this crisis could spill over into the U.S. economy. Here's how Europe's troubles could migrate to the U.S. and the rest of the world.

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3:04pm

Fri September 9, 2011
Economy

Economists Weigh Effectiveness Of Obama Job Plan

Originally published on Fri September 9, 2011 3:05 pm

President Obama delivers a speech about creating jobs to a joint session of Congress Thursday as Vice President Biden (left) and House Speaker John Boehner look on.
Charles Dharapak AP

Economists have been looking over the $447 billion job-creation package President Obama proposed to Congress Thursday night. Predictably, the reaction was mixed, with most economists giving it a thumbs up, and many conservatives turning thumbs down.

Here are a few of the economists' opinions that were blogged, tweeted, reported or emailed around.

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9:55am

Fri September 9, 2011
Economy

Comparing Job Plans: No Shortage Of Ideas

A giant sign reading "jobs" hangs outside the U.S. Chamber of Commerce building in Washington, D.C.
Mladen Antonov AFP/Getty Images

In the 2012 election cycle, "Job No. 1" for any political candidate will be to lay out persuasive plans for generating more middle-income jobs.

In the more than two years since the Great Recession ended, job growth has been exceptionally slow. Today, 14 million U.S. workers cannot find jobs and the unemployment rate hovers at 9.1 percent. That's nearly twice the level that would reflect a healthy labor market.

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9:43am

Thu September 8, 2011
Europe

Europe's Shaky Finances Rattle U.S. Economy

In 1999, the core European Union countries created a common currency, the euro, which is used by about 327 million Europeans.
Sean Gallup Getty Images

For nearly two years, the Greek debt crisis has been causing financial and political turmoil in Europe.

Now, the widening European troubles are undermining U.S. stock prices and increasing the odds of a global recession.

The crushing debt loads incurred by Greece, as well as Italy, Ireland and others, have "badly rattled global financial markets," Nariman Behravesh, chief economist for IHS Global Insight, a forecasting firm, said Wednesday.

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6:38am

Sun August 28, 2011
Economy

Slow-Growth Economy Spikes Food Stamp Reliance

About 46 million people get government help in the form of food stamps when buying food. That's roughly 15 percent of the population.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

This week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is expected to release its latest update on the food stamp program. It's an important indicator of the nation's economic health — and the prognosis is not good.

Food stamp use is up 70 percent over the past four years and that trend is expected to continue.

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9:16pm

Sat August 13, 2011
Business

Gas Prices, Retail Sales Offer Economic Bright Spots

Shoppers stroll through Sawgrass Mills Mall during the first day of the back-to-school sales tax holiday on Friday in Sunrise, Fla. The Commerce Department said retail sales rose 0.5 percent in July.
Wilfredo Lee AP

It may seem hard to believe after such a tumultuous week on Wall Street, but economists do see a few bright spots.

For one, Americans with good credit scores can get some of the best housing bargains in decades. Freddie Mac's latest survey shows the average rate on 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages has dropped to 4.32 percent. That's down to the half-century lows set during the fourth quarter of last year.

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6:15am

Sun July 31, 2011
U.S.

Debt Battle Leads To Layoffs In Aviation And Beyond

Many factors have been holding down job creation this summer — everything from the extremely hot weather in many regions to the weak housing market in just about every city. Another factor dampening job growth has been the political battle over the nation's debt.

One example of how the Washington debate is hurting workers involves aviation. Amid the bickering over the debt ceiling earlier in July, Congress failed to pass a short-term extension of the Federal Aviation Administration's budget.

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12:00pm

Fri July 29, 2011
Your Money

What Happens To Average Joes If U.S. Defaults?

Host Michel Martin and NPR Senior Business Editor Marilyn Geewax check the facts behind the debt debates. Geewax explains how poor people would be both harmed and helped by government spending cuts, and how Americans can safeguard their credit if a U.S. default happens.

4:54pm

Tue July 26, 2011
Economy

On U.S. Debt, An Early-Warning Indicator Flashes Red

A week from now, the U.S. Treasury may default on some debts as it hits against a $14.3-trillion debt ceiling.

Despite that once-unthinkable possibility, financial markets appear calm. The stock market has not crashed and interest rates have held steady.

Still, one indicator is showing investors are getting nervous: the cost of insuring U.S. government debt against default is starting to spike.

"It's an early-warning indicator," says Otis C. Casey III, director of credit research for Markit Group Ltd., a London-based financial information services company.

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7:40am

Sun July 17, 2011
Economy

Consumers' Personal Debt Ceilings On The Rise Again

While consumers reduced credit card spending after the financial crisis hit, they are starting to raise their debt loads again.
iStockphoto.com

While Congress has been debating ways to lower the nation's debt ceiling, consumers have been quietly raising their own debt ceilings. Federal Reserve data show consumer debt has begun ticking up again after dropping during the recession.

In the years just before the financial crisis hit in 2008, Americans were borrowing more and more. In 2000, the total debt load for U.S. households was roughly $5 trillion. That shot to about $12.5 trillion by 2008, according to data compiled by the New York Federal Reserve Bank.

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