John Ydstie

John Ydstie has covered the economy, Wall Street and the federal budget for NPR for two decades. In recent years NPR has broadened his responsibilities, making use of his reporting and interviewing skills to cover major stories like the aftermath of 9/11, Hurricane Katrina and the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal. His current focus is reporting on the global financial crisis. Ydstie is also a regular guest host on the NPR news programs Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Weekend Edition and Talk of the Nation.

During 1991 and 1992 Ydstie was NPR's bureau chief in London. He traveled throughout Europe covering, among other things, the breakup of the Soviet Union and attempts to move Europe toward closer political and economic union. He accompanied U.S. businessmen exploring investment opportunities in Russia as the Soviet Union was crumbling. He was on the scene in The Netherlands when European leaders approved the Maastricht Treaty, which created the European Union.

In August 1990, Ydstie traveled to Saudi Arabia for NPR as a member of the Pentagon press pool sent to cover the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. During the early stages of the crisis, Ydstie was the only American radio reporter in the country.

Ydstie has been with NPR since 1979. For two years, he was an associate producer responsible for Midwest coverage. In 1982 he became senior editor on NPR's Washington Desk, overseeing coverage of the federal government, American politics and economics. In 1984, Ydstie joined Morning Edition as the show's senior editor, and later was promoted to the position of executive producer. In 1988, he became NPR's economics correspondent.

During his tenure with NPR, Ydstie has won numerous awards. He was a member of the NPR team that received the George Foster Peabody for its coverage of 9/11. Ydstie's reporting from Saudi Arabia helped NPR win the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award in 1991 for coverage of the Gulf War. Prior to joining NPR, Ydstie was a reporter and producer at Minnesota Public Radio. While there, he was awarded the Clarion Award for his report "Vietnam Experience and America Today."

A graduate of Concordia College, in Moorhead, MN, Ydstie earned a bachelor of arts degree, summa cum laude, with a major in English literature and a minor in speech communications.

Ydstie was born in Minneapolis, and grew up in rural North Dakota.

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2:13pm

Fri June 6, 2014
Economy

In May Jobs Report, A Milestone: A Return To Pre-Recession Levels

Originally published on Fri June 6, 2014 5:29 pm

The May jobs report showed steady job creation. Payrolls expanded by 217,000, and unemployment held steady at 6.3%. And there was a milestone: The U.S. economy now has slightly more jobs than it did in December 2007, when the last recession began.

2:08pm

Wed June 4, 2014
Business

New Pollution Rules Leave Utilities Frustrated, As Details Remain Up In Air

Originally published on Wed June 4, 2014 5:18 pm

The Obama administration has proposed rules for limiting greenhouse gases, but many of the details must still be set by states, leaving utilities unsure about specifics they'll be expected to achieve.

2:30pm

Wed May 28, 2014
Health Care

Study Questions Need For Employer Health Care Requirement

Originally published on Wed May 28, 2014 4:17 pm

The employer mandate requires that businesses with 50 or more employees provide health insurance to their workers. A new study by the Urban Institute says the mandate should be eliminated.
Mutlu Kurtbas iStockphoto

When the Affordable Care Act was unveiled, business groups railed against the provision that requires companies with 50 or more employees to provide health insurance for their full-time workers.

The Obama administration responded by pushing back the deadline for the coverage, so it hasn't yet taken effect. Now support for this so-called employer mandate is eroding in some surprising quarters.

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3:29am

Sun May 18, 2014
Economy

The Merits Of Income Inequality: What's The Right Amount?

Originally published on Mon May 19, 2014 10:38 am

The Occupy Wall Street movement helped put the issue of income inequality in the spotlight. But economists say there's a balance.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

Income inequality is a big problem, many economists agree. But they also say some level of inequality is necessary for capitalism to work.

Inequality in the U.S. has risen to levels not seen since the 1920s. The top 1 percent pocket more than 20 percent of the nation's income, and the 400 richest people in the country own more wealth than everyone in the bottom 50 percent.

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2:08pm

Fri May 2, 2014
Economy

Positive April Jobs Report Blows Past Expectations

Originally published on Sat May 3, 2014 9:17 am

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel. U.S. employers were in a hiring mood in April. That's the takeaway from the government's monthly jobs report released today. It shows 288,000 jobs added to payrolls. That's the biggest monthly job growth in nearly two and a half years. NPR's John Ydstie has more on the report, which also included a big drop in the unemployment rate.

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2:00pm

Wed April 30, 2014
News

Slow Growth For U.S. Economy, But Fed Plans Are Full Speed Ahead

Originally published on Wed April 30, 2014 4:18 pm

The economy slowed sharply in the first quarter, with data released Wednesday showing that growth was barely positive. Federal Reserve policymakers wrapped up a meeting Wednesday with a statement saying the economy had actually picked up a bit in recent weeks. They voted unanimously to continue winding down their stimulus program.

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2:17pm

Fri April 4, 2014
Economy

In March Jobs Report, Market Awakens From A Winter Swoon

Originally published on Fri April 4, 2014 4:18 pm

The U.S. economy added 192,000 jobs in March, according to data released this morning. The unemployment rate refused to budge, though, holding steady at 6.7 percent.

2:01pm

Tue April 1, 2014
Health Care

Beyond The Fog Of Spin And Doubt: What Has ACA Achieved?

Originally published on Tue April 1, 2014 5:58 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block in Dallas.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel in Washington, where President Obama cheered the Affordable Care Act today.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Despite several lost weeks out of the gate because of problems with the website, 7.1 million Americans have now signed up for private insurance plans through these marketplaces.

(SOUNDBITE OF CHEERING)

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2:59pm

Wed March 12, 2014
Business

Health Care Law Helps Entrepreneurs Quit Their Day Jobs

Originally published on Thu March 13, 2014 4:37 am

The Affordable Care Act could encourage people to start new businesses by solving an age-old problem: job lock.
iStockphoto.com

The Affordable Care Act — which many see creating challenges for businesses — could benefit a particular group of business people: entrepreneurs.

Joshua Simonson was reluctant to give up his job at a Portland, Ore., area grocery store, New Seasons Market, which he says had provided excellent health care for him and his family. He had a pre-existing condition that has prevented him from getting insurance in the private market, but one key development helped convince him to quit and start a farm.

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2:09pm

Fri March 7, 2014
Economy

February Jobs Numbers Give Some Economists Reason To Smile

Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 5:29 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block. There was some positive economic news today. Job growth in February was stronger than expected. The government monthly employment report showed 175,000 jobs were added to the economy last month. There were also upward revisions for December and January. As NPR's John Ydstie reports, that improvement comes despite evidence that stormy winter weather may have restrained job growth.

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9:39am

Fri March 7, 2014
Economy

February Job Growth Beats Expectations; Jobless Rate Ticks Up

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

It was pretty clear that the recent bout of winter weather that many of us have seen was going to have an effect on job growth in February. The question was how much. And it turns out less than expected. That's the message from the government's monthly employment report that's out today. It found that U.S. employers added 175,000 jobs to their payrolls last month. As NPR's John Ydstie reports, it's more than expected.

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2:55am

Fri March 7, 2014
Around the Nation

Weather Expected To Effect February Jobs Report

Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 9:39 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

The recent bout of winter weather that many of us have felt has hit the U.S. economy. Winter storms cooled job growth in February. The only question is by how much. Economists, investors and job seekers are looking to today's employment report from the government for an answer. NPR's John Ydstie says their predictions have been dampened by the weather too.

JOHN YDSTIE, BYLINE: John Sylvia is the top economist for Wells Fargo. His forecast for job growth in February has been pounded down by the weather.

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2:37pm

Fri February 21, 2014
Economy

Meeting Minutes Show Human Side To Fiscal Crisis

Originally published on Fri February 21, 2014 5:53 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

The Federal Reserve today released transcripts of its meetings in 2008, back when the financial crisis was unfolding. The documents show Fed policymakers struggling to understand and respond to failing Wall Street banks and the global financial system in turmoil. NPR's John Ydstie has been reading through the transcripts and joins us now. Hey there, John.

JOHN YDSTIE, BYLINE: Hi, Audie.

CORNISH: So we've had these minutes, at least, right, from most of these meetings for years. What do we learn from the transcripts?

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3:56pm

Tue February 11, 2014
Economy

Fed Chair Promises Continuity Before Congress

Originally published on Tue February 11, 2014 6:00 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel.

Janet Yellen made her first appearance on Capitol Hill today as the new leader of the Federal Reserve. Her message was clear. There will be no sudden changes in Fed policy. As NPR's John Ydstie reports, Yellen said the central bank is likely to keep pulling back its big stimulus program despite concerns about the economy.

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9:26am

Fri February 7, 2014
Business

Jobs Report: Unemployment Ticks Down; Payrolls Tick Up

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm David Greene.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

I'm Renee Montagne. And this morning brought another surprisingly weak jobs report. The government says the U.S. economy added just 113,000 jobs in January. That follows just 75,000 jobs in December. Those numbers are way below the average monthly job creation for most of 2013 and it has lots of people worried the economy may be losing steam. NPR's John Ydstie joins us again to talk about it. Good morning.

JOHN YDSTIE, BYLINE: Hi, Renee.

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3:03am

Fri February 7, 2014
Economy

January Unemployment Numbers Expected To Rebound

Originally published on Fri February 7, 2014 9:26 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

On a Friday this is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm David Greene.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne. There's lots of anticipation about the government's monthly jobs report that will be released later this morning. Last month's job creation numbers were very disappointing - just 74,000 jobs added to the payroll - far below the recent monthly averages. NPR's John Ydstie joined us to talk about job creation and what it's telling us about the economy. Good morning.

JOHN YDSTIE, BYLINE: Hi, Renee.

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3:16am

Thu February 6, 2014
Economy

Reining In Health Care Costs Key To Trimming Deficit

Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 11:47 am

The Congressional Budget Office earlier this week said this year's deficit is likely to be about one-third the size it was in 2009, when the Great Recession bottomed out. A recovering economy is the main reason for the deficit's improvement, but moderating health care costs have also contributed.

Harvard economist and health policy specialist David Cutler says getting the federal government's finances under control is all about health care.

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3:16pm

Tue February 4, 2014
Health Care

Is Obamacare A Job Killer? New Estimates Suggest It Might Be

Originally published on Tue February 4, 2014 6:00 pm

A new front has opened in the political battle over the Affordable Care Act, with Tuesday's release of the Congressional Budget Office's annual budget and economic outlook. The economists updated an earlier estimate about how many workers would leave the workforce because they no longer needed a job to have health care coverage — revising upward from 800,000 people to over 2 million people. Republicans pounced on the higher number, and President Obama now finds himself playing defense.

4:13pm

Fri January 31, 2014
Economy

After Overcoming Early Obstacles, Yellen Assumes Fed's Top Job

Originally published on Fri January 31, 2014 5:51 pm

Janet Yellen smiles as President Obama announces her nomination for Federal Reserve chairwoman on Oct. 9.
Jewel Samad AFP/Getty Images

Ben Bernanke hands over the reins at the Federal Reserve to Janet Yellen on Friday. The Fed's vice chairwoman will be the first female ever to lead the nation's central bank. It's a position many view as the second most powerful in the country.

The world of central banking is largely a man's world. But Yellen has been undeterred by such barriers since she was in high school in Brooklyn. Charlie Saydah, a former classmate, says she was probably the smartest kid in the class. Yellen was "clearly smart, and she was smart among a lot of smart kids," he says.

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3:16pm

Wed January 29, 2014
Economy

A Fond Farewell To Fed Chairman Ben

Originally published on Thu January 30, 2014 9:00 am

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Ben Bernanke steps down this week as chairman of the Federal Reserve. The new chair, Janet Yellen, will take over on Saturday. After a two-day meeting, the message today from Fed policymakers was simple: Stay the course. The Fed released a statement saying it will continue dialing-back its stimulus.

NPR's John Ydstie has more on that decision and Bernanke's legacy.

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