Tamara Keith

Tamara Keith joined NPR in 2009 as NPR's newest business reporter. Her coverage spans the business world, from the latest trends in housing and consumer spending to new developments in the ongoing financial crisis. In her work, Keith aspires to "make business stories relatable to all our listeners, not just those who read the Wall Street Journal." In early 2010, she was one of NPR's reporters on the ground in Haiti covering the aftermath of the country's disasterous earthquake.

Keith has covered the major stories of the global recession, including developments in housing and banking, as well as everyday business stories for national and local public radio news outlets. Over the course of her career, she has covered other major news events including wildfires in California and the coal ash spill in Tennessee.

Keith has deep roots in public radio, and got her start in news by writing and voicing essays for NPR's Weekend Edition Sunday as a teenager. After earning her a journalism graduate degree from the Graduate School of Journalism at UC Berkeley (where it was reported she was the youngest person to ever enroll), she went to work for NPR station KQED's California Report, where she covered topics including agriculture and the environment. She then went east to WOSU-AM in Columbus, Ohio, where she reported on politics and the 2004 presidential campaign. Then it was back to her home state of California where she reported again for KQED and KPCC/Southern California Public Radio. Tamara also refined her business reporting skills through work with American Public Media's Marketplace.

She is the recipient of numerous awards, including a first place trophy from the Society of Environmental Journalists for "Outstanding Story Radio."

In her spare time, she hosts and produces "B-Side Radio," an hour-long public radio magazine and podcast.

She is a recreational triathlete and half-marathon runner. Her husband is a cancer researcher and veterinarian.



Fri August 5, 2011
NPR Story

Unemployment Drops To 9.1 Percent

Job growth has faltered significantly in recent months. But, according to the Labor Department, there was a slight decrease in unemployment last month, falling to 9.1 percent. At the same time, employers added more new jobs than expected.


Fri August 5, 2011
NPR Story

Job Growth In Health, Retail and Manufacturing

The private sector created 154,000 jobs. There was growth in health, retail and manufacturing. But governments cut 37,000 jobs, and a lot of those were the result of the government shutdown in Minnesota. Steve Inskeep gets the latest from NPR's Tamara Keith.


Wed August 3, 2011

Deal Averts Default, But Doesn't Fix Debt Problems

The National Debt Clock, a billboard-size digital display showing the increasing U.S. debt, is seen in New York City on Monday. Congress passed a bill Tuesday that would raise the nation's debt limit.
Andrew Burton Getty Images

The bill passed Tuesday to raise the nation's debt limit and avoid default includes as much as $2.4 trillion in deficit reduction over the next decade.

"It's an important first step to ensuring that as a nation we live within our means," President Obama said.

The deal was hard-fought, with cuts some say will be painful, but experts say it doesn't come close to fixing the country's debt problems.

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Fri July 29, 2011

A Weak Economy Is Good For Military Recruiting

Justin Bock holds his daughter, Lina, at his graduation from basic training earlier this year. Bock decided to enlist in the Navy after both he and his wife, Ashley, were laid off.
Courtesy of the Bocks

The third in a three-part series.

The unemployment rate is high, greater than 9 percent. The military is in the midst of a record streak of recruiting success.

It's not a coincidence. A weak economy is good for the military.

'Sorry We're Not Hiring'

About a year ago, Justin Bock was about to join the Navy. He just didn't know it.

Justin and his wife, Ashley, both had solid jobs. So they bought a house in Martinsburg, W.V.

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Thu July 28, 2011
Around the Nation

Military Spouses Face Especially Grim Job Prospects

Stephanie Davis, shown with her husband, 2nd Lt. Charles Davis, says even though she's a special education teacher with two master's degrees, she's had trouble finding a job near Fort Hood in Texas.
Courtesy of Stephanie Davis

Second in a three-part series

In this economy, who in their right mind would quit their job and move to a new city where they don't have any contacts? That's exactly what thousands of military spouses do each year. They don't have a choice.

Stephanie Davis thought she had picked a field that would be portable: teaching.

"And I really loved it," says Davis. "I was at a great school, great district."

That is, until last year when her husband, 2nd Lt. Charles Davis, an Army officer, got orders to transfer to Fort Hood in Texas.

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Wed July 27, 2011
Around the Nation

Home-Buying Regrets: Two Military Families' Sagas

Sarah Bullard with her four children, Liam, Fay, Olivia and Joshua.
Bradley Campbell WRNI

First of a three-part series

It's lunchtime, and Sarah Bullard and her four kids gather around the island in the kitchen of their Bristol, R.I., home. Her husband, a Navy officer, is out of town.

This kitchen is what sold her on the house on a snowy December day.

"We walked through, and it was a cluttered mess," Bullard says. "And we sort of looked at each other and walked through into the kitchen, and my husband looked at me and was like, 'Uh-oh. This is it. It's a beautiful kitchen.' "

Read more


Thu July 21, 2011

New Consumer Protection Agency Faces Opposition

There's a new cop on the money beat: The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and it opens its doors Thursday. It was created by the Dodd-Frank financial overhaul, signed by the president one year ago.

The bureau will look out for the financial best interests of American consumers. And while it's popular with the public, it remains controversial.

The idea behind the consumer bureau was simple: If there's an agency to protect consumers from buying an exploding toaster, there should be one that protects them from signing up for an exploding mortgage.

Read more


Mon July 18, 2011
All Tech Considered

e-Geaux: Social Networking Without The Social Or The Networking

Courtesy of Pepys Inc.

Have you ever wanted to put a Facebook friend on autopilot?

Make them think you care without the time commitment of leaving a meaningful birthday message or the trouble of reading their ranting comments. A "like" here, a comment there — just enough to make it believable?

Well, Pepys Inc. has what you've been looking for. E-Breaux is part of the company's suite of Web solutions called e-Geaux (beta).

Read more


Tue July 12, 2011
The Road Back To Work

Hope: A Precious Commodity In This Job Market

Randy Howland, 51, of St. Louis, was unemployed for more than a year before landing a $10 an hour customer service job in February. Howland is now searching for a new job with better pay and hours.
Whitney Curtis for NPR

Part of an ongoing series

In the months since Randy Howland, 51, was first hired as a customer service representative, his excitement having a job — any job — has turned to defeat.

"This is an anniversary day," says Randy into a recorder he's using to keep audio diaries for NPR's Road Back to Work series. "I've had my $10 an hour job now for four months."

Read more


Thu July 7, 2011
Crisis In The Housing Market

The Cost Of Owning 150,000 Foreclosed Homes

A lawn maintenance worker mows the lawn of a foreclosed Lanham, Md., home. Fannie Mae spends tens of millions of dollars a year just on lawn maintenance for the more than 150,000 foreclosed properties on its books.
Tamara Keith NPR

When you are the nation's largest owner of foreclosed homes, even little things can get expensive fast. Such is the case for mortgage giant Fannie Mae, which as of March 31 had a mind-boggling 153,000 foreclosed homes on its books.

Read more


Fri June 24, 2011
National Security

Army Gen. Petreaus Would Retire To Head CIA

President Obama's nominee to head the CIA was on Capitol Hill Thursday for a confirmation hearing. The Senate Intelligence Committee asked Gen. David Petraeus about many things, including Obama's decision to withdraw troops from Afghanistan. Petreaus also told the panel that to do the CIA job properly, he would retire from the Army.


Wed June 22, 2011

U.S. Troops To Find Out How Many Will Leave Afghanistan

President Obama will announce his decision on how many American troops to withdraw from Afghanistan Wednesday night. In late 2009, the president had approved a "surge" force of 30,00 troops. At the time, he promised to begin bringing them home in July 2011. With that deadline approaching, a debate has emerged inside the White House about how many troops to pull out.


Mon June 20, 2011

Soldier Killed In Iraq Predicted He Wouldn't Make It

Originally published on Mon June 20, 2011 1:40 pm

Army Spc. Christopher B. Fishbeck of Buena Park, Calif., poses for a photo on a rooftop during his tour of duty in Iraq.
Courtsey of Fishbeck's Family

For U.S. forces in Iraq, the mission — set to end this year — remains dangerous.

Three weeks ago Monday, five U.S. soldiers were killed when militants fired rockets into Camp Loyalty on the eastern side of Baghdad. It was the deadliest attack on American troops in Iraq in more than two years.

Christopher Fishbeck, 24, was among those killed.

Read more


Mon June 13, 2011

After 40 Years, Pentagon Papers Declassified In Full

Originally published on Tue August 7, 2012 3:29 pm

The declassified Pentagon Papers released by the National Archives and the Nixon, Kennedy and Johnson Presidential Libraries.
Tamara Keith NPR

A.J. Daverede wheels a cart loaded with document boxes into his office at the National Archives.

"This is them," he says. "Eleven boxes constitute the entirety of the report of the Vietnam Task Force. You just start here: box one."

Forty years ago, on June 13, 1971, The New York Times published portions of these documents, better known as the Pentagon Papers. On Monday, for the first time, the government released all 7,000 pages of the report with no redactions.

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Tue June 7, 2011
National Security

U.S. Military Has New Threat: Health Care Costs

Defense Secretary Robert Gates has sought to raise rates on military health insurance paid by working-age retirees. This week, he spoke to troops at Forward Operating Base Walton in Kandahar, Afghanistan.
U.S. Navy Getty Images

Defense Secretary Robert Gates says that pension and health care costs are eating the U.S. military alive. And the Pentagon predicts that the cost of taking care of its troops and retirees will keep growing.

Retired Maj. Gen. Arnold Punaro gets a lot of hate mail, because he's talking about something a whole lot of people don't want to hear about: the rising costs of military health and pension benefits.

"We in the Department of Defense are on the same path that General Motors found itself on," he says.

Read more


Tue May 31, 2011

Arts-Funding Site Gets 'Kickstart' From Business Bids

David Jackson (left) and Dave Petrillo of Coffee Joulies brought in more than $300,000 using Kickstarter.
Paul Agus Courtesy of Coffee Joulies

The website Kickstarter has been around for two years now, helping artists, musicians and filmmakers fund their projects by getting lots of people to make small donations. Project that in the past had little hope of getting funding, suddenly have the cash they need. Recently, entrepreneurs have started using the site to launch new products, something the company's founders never imagined.

The Kickstarter formula is pretty simple and powerful. It starts with an idea, a specific project. Take X-Files: The Musical.

Read more


Mon May 30, 2011

Obama Taps Army General To Lead Joint Chiefs

President Barack Obama Monday nominated Army General Martin Dempsey to be Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Navy Admiral James Winnefeld to be Vice Chairman.

Dempsey, who is known as a thinker and a combat commander, has done tours in Saudi Arabia training the National Guard and in Baghdad at a time when the insurgency was gaining steam. He later led the effort to train the Iraqi military. More recently he served as Acting Commander of U.S. Central Command — the military position that oversees combat in both Afghanistan and Iraq.

Read more


Fri May 27, 2011

Consumer Agency: A Political Lightning Rod

Elizabeth Warren, assistant to the president and special adviser to the Treasury secretary on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, testifies before a House Oversight Committee hearing on Tuesday.
Saul Loeb AFP/Getty Images

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will on July 21 officially become the nation's newest government agency — and the only one with the singular aim of looking out for the best interests of consumers. The agency is controversial, and at the center of it all is the woman whom President Obama asked to set it up: Elizabeth Warren.

Read more


Thu May 12, 2011

Wiretaps Help Prosecutors Get Hedge Fund Manager Convicted

Wiretaps played an important role in the government's case against a billionaire hedge fund manager Raj Rajaratnam, who was convicted on 14 counts of securities fraud and conspiracy. The guilty verdict is being appealed, and it's expected the legal team will question whether the wiretaps were legal.


Tue May 10, 2011
Your Money

Banks, Retailers In Lobbying Race Over Debit Fees

The financial regulation overhaul passed last year created a new agency to protect consumers and promised sweeping changes for everything from Wall Street investment firms to Main Street banks. But a relatively small provision — added as an amendment late in the process — is now at the center of a massive lobbying effort pitting retailers against banks.

This is a multibillion-dollar fight about who should bear the cost when you swipe your debit card to buy a bag of Skittles, a cup of coffee or a television.

Read more


Fri May 6, 2011

Fingers Crossed That The Jobless Rate Doesn't Go Up

The Labor Department releases the monthly jobs report for April Friday morning. Over the past six months, the economy generated an average of about 150,000 jobs a month. And, the unemployment rate has fallen to eight-point-eight percent.


Mon April 25, 2011

Holly Petraeus: An Army Wife Takes Command

One of the first people hired to work at the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is a small, quiet, unassuming woman named Holly Petraeus.

And if the name sounds familiar, there's a good reason: She's married to Army Gen. David Petraeus, the U.S. commander in Afghanistan.

Read more


Sun April 24, 2011

Expectations Go Low For U.S. Growth



This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. Im Liane Hansen.

On Thursday, the government will release its initial estimate for Gross Domestic Product in the first quarter of this year. GDP is a key gauge of how the economy is doing, whether it's still recovering from the Great Recession. And in recent weeks, it seems economists have been in a race to downgrade their expectations.

NPR's Tamara Keith reports.

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Thu April 14, 2011
The Road Back To Work

Returning To Work: The Satisfaction Of Having A Job

Part of an ongoing series

The Labor Department reported on Wednesday that first-time claims for unemployment benefits jumped by 27,000 last week. That's a setback for a labor market that has been improving in recent months.

Read more


Mon April 11, 2011
All Tech Considered

Beyond Cute Babies: How To Make Money On YouTube

YouTube is best known for its viral videos of babies and cats. But there are thousands of decidedly less cute videos racking up the views. How-to videos are extremely popular and some of the creators are actually making serious money.

Read more


Sat April 9, 2011
Around the Nation

Tourists To Congress: Don't Pat Yourselves On Back

On the day that the government didn't shut down, tourists visited monuments and museums as planned. Many were happy about the deal, but they were not so enamored with the lawmakers who brokered it.