Jim Zarroli

Jim Zarroli is a business reporter for NPR News, based at NPR's New York bureau.

He covers economics and business news including fiscal policy, the Federal Reserve, the job market and taxes

Over the years, he's reported on recessions and booms, crashes and rallies, and a long string of tax dodgers, insider traders and Ponzi schemers. He's been heavily involved in the coverage of the European debt crisis and the bank bailouts in the United States.

Prior to moving into his current role, Zarroli served as a New York-based general assignment reporter for NPR News. While in this position he covered the United Nations during the first Gulf War. Zarroli added to NPR's coverage of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the London transit bombings and the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center.

Before joining the NPR in 1996, Zarroli worked for the Pittsburgh Press and wrote for various print publications.

Zarroli graduated from Pennsylvania State University.

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke made it about as clear as he could today he favors additional steps to stimulate the economy. But he stopped short of saying when the Fed might take action. Bernanke spoke at an economic conference in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. And as NPR's Jim Zarroli reports, he spent much of his time defending the steps the Fed has already taken to address the weak economy.

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney says he favors keeping all of the Bush-era tax cuts and then adding some more. To pay for these cuts, he would reduce or eliminate some of the tax deductions that many Americans have come to rely on. But his proposals are already facing a lot of resistance.

Ten years ago, Andres Cortez, a chauffeur in Los Angeles, might have been part of the hordes of people dabbling in day trading or haunting the online stock forums. He might have been bragging to his friends about the money he made in tech stocks, or learning how to margin trade at a night school.

Instead, he keeps his distance from stocks.

As he stands by his car and waits for a passenger downtown, Cortez says he has a little money he's put aside and is keeping it in a savings account, where it earns virtually nothing.

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has acknowledged that he had money in a Swiss bank account until 2010. Romney says he wasn't trying to hide the money, since he reported the account to the government.

Even so, he closed the account at a time when the federal government was in the middle of a major crackdown on offshore tax havens — a crackdown that has made it harder for Americans to hide their money overseas.

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney says he can do better than President Obama at finding jobs for unemployed Americans. One way he would do that is by bringing back personal re-employment accounts.

When people lose their jobs, one of the first places they turn to is their state unemployment office, where they can sign up for unemployment benefits; they often can enroll in some kind of retraining class as well.

In 2004, the Bush administration conducted an experiment to begin privatizing a small part of the federal retraining program.

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And the biggest bank in the U.S., JPMorgan Chase, says it has lost $4.4 billion from its failed hedging strategy involving a secretive trader. That's more than twice the bank's earlier estimate. The company released its second-quarter earnings report this morning, and NPR's Jim Zarroli is with us now to talk about them. Jim, what is the company telling investors this morning about that money?

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with a U.K. interest rate probe.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

WERTHEIMER: The former chief executive of Barclays is testifying before a parliamentary committee in Britain. Bob Diamond, who resigned yesterday, is being asked about the rate-setting scandal at the bank. He told lawmakers in the hearing today that it was an unfortunate series of events. Yesterday, Barclays released documents suggesting a Bank of England official may have pressured Barclays to lower its rates. NPR's Jim Zarroli reports.

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

Yesterday's ruling on health care took the financial markets by surprise. Stocks were mixed with some shares finishing the day sharply higher. By the end of the day, stock traders seemed to shrug off the ruling.

NPR's Jim Zarroli reports.

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Two dozen people on four continents have been charged with trafficking in stolen credit cards and bank account numbers. Eleven of the defendants were arrested in the U.S. They were caught after allegedly using a website set up by the FBI as part of a sting operation.

NPR's Jim Zarroli reports.

JIM ZARROLI, BYLINE: FBI officials said the arrests yesterday amounted to the largest coordinated international law enforcement action in history. It involved 13 countries in North America, Asia, Europe and Australia.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke told a congressional committee Thursday that the U.S. economy faces some significant risks, and Fed officials are still deciding what to do about it.

His remarks disappointed a lot of investors who want the Fed to do something to revive growth. Bernanke spoke at a time when interest rates on government debt are hitting lows not seen since the Great Depression.

A new Obama campaign ad says the Massachusetts economy actually fared poorly during Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's four years as governor, challenging the notion that Romney knows how to fix the nation's ailing economy.

The ad says that between 2003 and 2007, Massachusetts had one of the worst economic records in the country, lost 40,000 manufacturing jobs at "a rate twice the national average, and fell to 47th in job creation."

Friday's disappointing jobs report added to worries the recovery is in trouble. Only 69,000 new jobs were added to payrolls, and the unemployment rate moved higher, to 8.2 percent. Suddenly there is more talk about the Fed and what it might do to get the economy moving again. NPR's Jim Zarroli reports.

Republican Mitt Romney is running on the strength of his business background. He says he knows how to fix the economy, in part because of his success at Bain Capital. But history is not necessarily on Romney's side. Very few businesspeople have made it to the White House.

The transition from business to politics isn't necessarily an easy one.

Shares of Facebook on Wednesday made up a little of the ground they've lost since the company's troubled stock offering last week. But the company and its lead underwriter, Morgan Stanley, still face a lot of legal problems.

Some of the investors who bought shares of the company filed a lawsuit alleging that the two companies concealed information about Facebook's expected performance.

JPMorgan Chase is licking its wounds after announcing that it lost at least $2 billion in a hedging strategy that went terribly wrong. The announcement late Thursday sent the bank's shares tumbling more than 9 percent on Friday.

Meanwhile, regulators on both sides of the Atlantic have begun looking into what happened. And there were calls Friday for tighter restrictions on the kind of trades the bank engaged in.

The news keeps getting worse for Spain. This week came word that the country has fallen back into recession. Meanwhile, Spain's unemployment rate is the highest in Europe. Investors are once again fleeing the country and interest rates on government debt are climbing.

The numbers coming out of Spain these days are stark. The economy contracted at a 0.3 percent rate during the first part of this year. Housing prices are down 21 percent from their peak, and unemployment is nearly 25 percent.

The U.S. economy lost some steam during the first three months of the year. The Commerce Department said Friday that growth slowed to just 2.2 percent, down from 3 percent at the end of last year.

The good news was that the economy continued to grow during the first quarter of the year. But anyone who was waiting for growth to kick into a higher gear was disappointed once again. One reason for that was a slowdown in business investment — companies spent less on new equipment and software even though profits were surprisingly strong.

The walls of the Clock Shop in downtown Frankfurt, Germany, are lined with timepieces of every kind, from cuckoo clocks to digital watches. It's a testament to the store's 55-year history as a functioning business.

One of the things that has remained constant for much of that time is the store's relationship with its bank, owner Basia Szlomowicz says.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

The 2012 presidential election is approaching, and President Obama's fate may hinge on how well the economy fares over the coming months.

On the campaign trail, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has been highlighting the economy's weaknesses. The former Massachusetts governor has made a similar claim about the president, and the recession, at almost every campaign stop.

"I don't blame the president for the downturn," Romney told a crowd in New Hampshire earlier this year. "He didn't cause it. But he made it worse and made it last longer."

A tax-the-rich proposal named after Warren Buffett has little chance of passing this year, but that hasn't stopped the debate over what impact it would have.

Some economists are skeptical that a 30 percent minimum tax on people with million-dollar incomes — known as the "Buffett rule" — would do much to reduce the deficit or boost the economy. But the Obama administration says the proposal is necessary to make the tax code more equitable.

Just when it seemed to be gaining steam, the U.S. job market pretty much stalled in March. Employers added a net 120,000 jobs during the month, defying the higher expectations of a lot of economists. And though the unemployment rate fell, it did so for the wrong reasons.

Over the past few months, the economy has been adding jobs at a good, if not spectacular, pace, and all the signs suggested that trend had continued through March. As it happened, jobs increased at a rate that barely keeps up with population growth.

The turmoil in the housing market over the past few years has scared a lot of people away from homeownership. That means many people who can afford to buy are now renting. With so much demand for apartments, rents are once again on the rise. And in places like New York City, they're near record highs.

A few weeks ago Lauren Weitz got her first apartment in the city. Every night when she gets home from the office, she upholds a New York City tradition.

A former executive at the center of the meltdown of brokerage firm MF Global appeared before Congress on Wednesday to answer questions from lawmakers. Members of the House Financial Services Committee were hoping assistant treasurer Edith O'Brien would explain the actions of the firm's CEO, ex-New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine.

As gasoline prices rise, some Republicans are making a provocative claim about President Obama. They say higher energy prices are actually part of the administration's agenda and they point to some comments made by the president before he took office.

Presidential candidate Mitt Romney was the latest Republican to make the charge about President Obama, and he did so on Fox News Sunday this past weekend, saying, "There's no question that when he ran for office he said he wanted to see gasoline prices go up."

Pages