Marilyn Geewax

Marilyn Geewax is a senior editor, assigning and editing business radio stories. She also serves as the national economics correspondent for the NPR web site, and regularly discusses economic issues on NPR's mid-day show Here & Now.

Her work contributed to NPR's 2011 Edward R. Murrow Award for hard news for "The Foreclosure Nightmare." Geewax also worked on the foreclosure-crisis coverage that was recognized with a 2009 Heywood Broun Award.

Before joining NPR in 2008, Geewax served as the national economics correspondent for Cox Newspapers' Washington Bureau. Before that, she worked at Cox's flagship paper, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, first as a business reporter and then as a columnist and editorial board member. She got her start as a business reporter for the Akron Beacon Journal.

Over the years, she has filed news stories from China, Japan, South Africa and Europe. Recently, she headed to Europe to participate in the RIAS German/American Journalist Exchange Program.

Geewax was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard, where she studied economics and international relations. She earned a master's degree at Georgetown University, focusing on international economic affairs, and has a bachelor's degree from The Ohio State University.

She is a member of the National Press Club's Board of Governors and serves on the Global Economic Reporting Initiative Committee for the Society of American Business Editors and Writers.

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3:03am

Wed January 21, 2015
Business

To Drive Economy Toward Equality, Obama Requests More Spending

Originally published on Wed January 21, 2015 10:05 am

President Obama delivers his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress on Tuesday night.
Mandel Ngan AP

President Obama revved up quickly for his economic victory lap.

"After a breakthrough year for America, our economy is growing and creating jobs at the fastest pace since 1999," President Obama said less than a minute into his State of the Union address Tuesday night.

The lap was fueled by cheap gas: "We are as free from the grip of foreign oil as we've been in almost 30 years," he said.

Democrats roared.

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6:07am

Tue January 20, 2015
Economy

State Of The Union Will Tout Progress, But Is The Economy Fixed?

Originally published on Tue January 20, 2015 10:09 am

President Obama greets lawmakers as he leaves after delivering the 2014 State of Union address to a joint session of Congress.
Larry Downing AP

In so many ways, Jan. 20, 2009, was a frightful day to be taking the oath of office.

The U.S. economy was in free fall as Barack Obama rose to deliver his inaugural address. "We are in the midst of crisis," he said. "Homes have been lost, jobs shed, businesses shuttered."

Exactly six years later, Obama is returning to Capitol Hill to deliver a State of the Union address at 9 p.m. EST. He is expected to highlight the economic progress that has been made since that frigid Day One — and call for more changes.

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8:57am

Tue January 6, 2015
Business

How A Too-Strong Dollar Might Lead To A Too-Weak World

Originally published on Tue January 6, 2015 11:53 am

If the dollar gets too expensive, U.S. exports like heavy equipment made by Caterpillar can get priced out of the market.
Seth Perlman AP

It's flattering to be King of the Hill.

And these days, the U.S. dollar is wearing the crown. It has climbed to its highest point in 11 years, with global investors pushing it ahead of the euro and other major currencies.

But while it's a compliment to have a strong dollar, the honor is not without its downsides. When the dollar rises against other currencies, it increases risks to U.S. manufacturers.

So economists are looking for signs that a good thing may be starting to go too far. These questions and answers may help explain what's happening.

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9:04am

Mon January 5, 2015
Business

Housing In 2015: Four Reasons For Optimism (And One For Worry)

Originally published on Mon January 5, 2015 10:43 am

A builder works on the construction of new homes in Belmar, N.J. Increased hiring and a boost in consumer confidence are expected to lift the housing market this year.
Mel Evans AP

Six years ago, homebuilders and Realtors were facing brutal business conditions: millions of Americans were losing their jobs and homes.

As 2015 begins, hiring is strong and economic indicators are pointing up. Could this be the year when the housing market finally breaks out of its tepid recovery and takes off?

Economists see several reasons why 2015 might be a banner year for homebuying — and not just in San Francisco and Miami.

They also see One Big Factor that potentially could block a buying binge.

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7:55am

Mon December 29, 2014
Business

Looking To 2015, Economists See 5 Reasons To Celebrate

Originally published on Mon December 29, 2014 8:39 am

Target shoppers Kelly Foley (from left), Debbie Winslow and Ann Rich use a smartphone to look at a competitor's prices while shopping shortly after midnight on Black Friday, in South Portland, Maine.
Robert F. Bukaty AP

Each December, economists make predictions. And each new year, they get hit by unexpected events that make them look more clueless than prescient.

This year's bolt out of the blue was the plunge in oil's price, which no one saw coming.

Still, top economists' forecasts did get a lot right for 2014. One year ago, most were predicting healthy growth, tame inflation, low interest rates, rising stock prices and declining unemployment — and that's just what we got.

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6:47am

Mon December 22, 2014
Business

The 5 Business Stories That Made 2014 A Memorable Year

James Franco (left) and Seth Rogen, stars of The Interview, arrive for the film's Los Angeles premiere on Dec. 11. The comedy about a CIA plot to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was pulled from theaters after a cyberattack on Sony Pictures, the studio behind the film. The FBI said the attack was traced to the North Korean government.
Jim Ruymen UPI/Landov

As the year's end approaches, economists are looking back and assessing the news stories that shaped 2014.

Though their lists may vary, most analysts are pointing to five developments that had very big impacts on the U.S. economy. These were the biggies for 2014:

Oil Prices Plunge

No one saw this one coming. When 2014 began, a barrel of crude oil was selling for about $110. It hovered there until late spring, when the price ticked up to nearly $115.

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5:03am

Fri December 19, 2014
Book News & Features

3 Business Best-Sellers Show Inequality Is Now The Hot Topic

Originally published on Fri December 19, 2014 12:30 pm

Best-selling business books typically tell you how to get rich — either by becoming a better worker or investor, or perhaps by learning the secrets of successful entrepreneurs.

And in 2014, readers could find plenty of books promoting pluck and hard work, such as MONEY Master the Game and The Innovators.

But three books broke the pattern, generating headlines and big sales by focusing on unfair aspects of wealth creation.

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11:23am

Tue December 16, 2014
Business

Economists: Congress Gets A Hat Tip (Barely) For Its Efforts

Originally published on Tue December 16, 2014 8:59 pm

The Capitol's dome and Christmas tree are illuminated on Dec. 11 as Congress worked to pass a $1.1 trillion U.S. government-wide spending bill and avoid a government shutdown.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

As the latest Congress draws to a close, economists are looking back — and seeing little.

Lawmakers passed no measures addressing tax reform, trade, immigration or even the minimum wage.

But judged by the very low standards of recent years, the 113th Congress did manage to win at least light applause from economists who are watching as the curtain goes down.

Sure, Congress allowed a disruptive government shutdown in 2013 — but it avoided repeating that drama in 2014.

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3:06pm

Mon December 8, 2014
Economy

Some Liberals And Tea Partiers Unite To Oppose Trade Deals

Originally published on Mon December 8, 2014 4:15 pm

Protesters of varied stripes and political affiliations gathered outside the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative where negotiators from 12 nations were meeting to discuss the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
James Clark NPR

When it comes to environmental regulations, taxes and the minimum wage, business groups generally object to President Obama's positions, while liberals support him.

But one issue blurs the usual political lines: trade.

Just last week, Obama told the Business Roundtable he would push to complete massive trade deals with both Asian and European nations. "If we can get that done, that's good for American businesses," he said.

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2:09pm

Fri December 5, 2014
Business

2014: The Year When The Job Market Finally Turned The Corner

Originally published on Fri December 5, 2014 2:23 pm

A construction worker clears wood from a platform that spans the Penn Station railroad tracks in New York City on Nov. 18. Construction jobs rose by 20,000 according to the November jobs report.
Mark Lennihan AP

As 2014 winds down, you might want to save that calendar hanging next to the fridge.

Maybe even frame it.

After so many years of misery for the middle class, 2014 is now looking like the one that finally brought relief. The November jobs report, released Friday by the Labor Department, had blowout numbers showing a surge in job creation, an upturn in work hours and a meaningful boost in wages.

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11:01am

Mon November 24, 2014
Business

The Economics Of Thanksgiving 2014

Originally published on Thu November 27, 2014 11:39 am

Thanksgiving is remembered for feasts, family gatherings and ... awkward conversations.

You know what I'm talking about. You're back with relatives you haven't seen in years, and the conversation takes a frightening turn toward politics, religion or, worse, your love life.

You need help. You have to switch to a newsy but neutral topic. Here's a handy list of conversation changers you can use at any time.

Just start each sentence with, "Hey, did you know that ... " and here are the safe categories:

The Road

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3:18pm

Wed November 12, 2014
Economy

As U.S. Leads Growth, It Wants Others To Step Up

Originally published on Wed November 12, 2014 4:41 pm

U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew says the global economy is relying too heavily on just the United States for growth.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

The global economy rolls along more smoothly when it's not riding a unicycle. It needs additional wheels for momentum and stability.

That is, in effect, what Treasury Secretary Jack Lew is telling leaders of other advanced nations.

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5:03am

Tue November 11, 2014
Business

Politics And A Food Fight Are Stalling A Major U.S.-Asia Trade Deal

Originally published on Tue November 11, 2014 8:30 am

A Malaysian flag sits on a table among other flags during a news conference at the Trans-Pacific Partnership Free Trade Agreement talks in July 2012 in San Diego. Nearly two and a half years later, the deal remains incomplete.
Gregory Bull AP

Earlier this year, some trade supporters had predicted this week's APEC summit would bring a breakthrough on a comprehensive trade deal.

They had hoped that when the 21 global leaders met at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit, Obama would be able to use a smaller side meeting to conclude the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade deal involving the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, as well as eight Asian and Latin American countries.

But the deal wasn't reached, and there's no telling when it will be.

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3:31pm

Thu November 6, 2014
The Two-Way

Jet Fuel Is Down, But Not Enough For A Thanksgiving Fare War

Originally published on Fri November 7, 2014 7:29 am

A plane takes off over a departure board at Hartsfield-Jackson Airport in Atlanta last November. Airlines say they expect an uptick in Thanksgiving travel this year.
David Goldman AP

Airlines are paying less for jet fuel these days. But don't expect that price drop to translate into Thanksgiving travel bargains for you.

Rather than cut fares, airlines are turning fuel savings into cash for acquiring aircraft, upgrading software, rewarding workers and attracting long-term investors, according to John Heimlich, chief economist for Airlines For America, A4A, a trade group.

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10:16am

Wed November 5, 2014
Business

Thumbs Up For Higher Minimum Wages, And For Marijuana Industry

Originally published on Wed November 5, 2014 1:44 pm

Fast-food workers and activists demonstrate outside a Chicago McDonald's in July in favor of a higher minimum wage. Illinois voters on Tuesday called on the state Legislature to approve a $10 minimum wage.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Besides electing lawmakers Tuesday, voters settled ballot initiatives affecting everything from soda-pop taxes to fracking to marijuana sales.

The outcomes varied, but there was one economic issue that united voters. Overwhelmingly, they approved raises for minimum-wage workers.

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3:21am

Sat November 1, 2014
Your Money

5 Reasons Why Your Financial Outlook Just Got Better

Originally published on Fri November 7, 2014 4:49 pm

Gas prices below $3 per gallon add up to big savings for consumers.
Rich Pedroncelli AP

Look at your paycheck.

Chances are good you won't see much more there than you did in the summer of 2008 — just before the financial crisis hit. Average private-sector earnings are $24.53 an hour now, unchanged from 2008, after adjusting for inflation.

So most likely, you haven't felt yourself moving up for years.

Now, that may be changing.

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8:52am

Thu October 23, 2014
Economy

You're Enjoying Low Gas Prices, But Is It Really A Good Sign?

Originally published on Thu October 23, 2014 12:40 pm

Macy Gould shared this photo from Lexington, Ky., where the gas prices are under $3.
Macy Gould Instagram

All around the country, gasoline prices have been falling for weeks, down to an average of about $3 a gallon. Those lower prices are helping restrain inflation across the board.

On Wednesday, the Labor Department said its consumer price index barely inched up 0.1 percent last month. Over the past 12 months, the CPI has risen by 1.7 percent, roughly half of its historical average rate of increase.

That sounds great for consumers.

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3:53am

Wed October 22, 2014
Business

Halloween-Thanksgiving-Hanukkah-Christmas-New-Year Buying Begins

Originally published on Thu October 23, 2014 6:58 am

Candice Nelson fits her daughter Arya Kubesh with a Halloween hat at a store at Galleria Mall in Edina, Minn. Retailers are hoping Halloween will give them a good bounce into the peak spending time of the year.
Elizabeth Flores MCT/Landov

At any big-box store, you can find the annual holiday mash-up now on garish display: Halloween costumes are stacked next to the decorative turkey napkins and pre-lit Christmas trees.

It's time to celebrate the Halloween-Thanksgiving-Hanukkah-Christmas-New-Year season!

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7:27am

Fri October 17, 2014
Business

Predictions Of 'Peak Oil' Production Prove Slippery

Originally published on Sat October 18, 2014 10:52 am

Workers drill for oil in the Bakken shale formation outside Watford City, N.D., an area experiencing an oil boom.
Andrew Burton Getty Images

The dustiest portion of my home library includes the 1980s books — about how Japan's economy would dominate the world.

And then there are the 1990s books — about how the Y2K computer glitch would end the modern era.

Go up one more shelf for the late 2000s books — about oil "peaking." The authors claimed global oil production was reaching a peak and would soon decline, causing economic chaos.

The titles include Peak Oil and the Second Great Depression, Peak Oil Survival and When Oil Peaked.

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12:36pm

Wed October 8, 2014
The Two-Way

World Bank Says Ebola Could Inflict Enormous Economic Losses

Originally published on Thu October 9, 2014 4:43 am

A market area sat empty last month in Freetown, Sierra Leone, as the country's government enforced a three-day lockdown in an attempt to halt the spread of the Ebola virus.
Michael Duff AP

West Africa is a poor region, struggling to improve its economic growth.

It had been succeeding. Last year, Sierra Leone and Liberia ranked second and sixth among countries with the highest growth in gross domestic product in the world.

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3:51pm

Tue October 7, 2014
The Two-Way

Disease, War And Terrorism Are Dimming Economic Prospects, Especially In Africa

Originally published on Wed October 8, 2014 8:34 am

In a world already weighed down by too much debt, new troubles are bubbling up. The Ebola virus, terrorist attacks and war are undermining many countries, which means "downside risks have increased" for the global economy.

That gloomy assessment was released Tuesday by the International Monetary Fund. Its forecast for this year's average global growth slid to 3.3 percent, down 0.4 percentage point from April.

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5:06am

Fri October 3, 2014
American Made: The New Manufacturing Landscape

U.S. Manufacturing: A Remembrance And A Look Ahead

Originally published on Fri October 3, 2014 9:28 am

A worker cuts slabs of steel at a mill in Cleveland in 2004.
Ron Schwane AP

If it weren't for American manufacturing, I wouldn't be here today.

Literally.

A century ago, my grandfather moved from Poland to Youngstown, Ohio, to work in a steel mill. At the time, Ohio factories were cranking out steel slabs, tires and cars — building a mountain of wealth that the next generation could climb. And the generation after that.

But what will happen in the 21st century? Is the path that led to higher ground blocked now?

The answer is complicated.

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1:08pm

Sat September 27, 2014
Remembrances

Why Youngstown, Ohio, Loved 'Jimbo' Traficant

Former U.S. Rep. James Traficant, seen here during a House Ethics Committee hearing in 2002, served seven years in prison on federal bribery and racketeering charges. Traficant died on Saturday. He was 73.
Joe Marquette AP

On national holidays, I hang a beautiful American flag in my front yard. It's a keepsake flag that, at the request of a congressman, flew over the Capitol.

It was sent to me by Jim Traficant, the Ohio Democrat who spent 17 years representing my hometown in Congress. He spent seven more years in prison after being convicted in 2002 of bribery and racketeering. He was one of only four congressmen in history to be expelled from Washington.

That flag helps me understand why Traficant remained popular with so many people in Youngstown. It helps me appreciate rogue politicians.

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2:22pm

Tue September 23, 2014
Business

Move To Curb U.S. Corporate Tax Dodges Could Delay Reform

Originally published on Tue September 23, 2014 3:48 pm

U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew has announced rules aimed at discouraging U.S. companies from moving their headquarters overseas to cut their tax bills.
Win McNamee Getty Images

The Obama administration's effort to curb corporate inversions — the strategy of moving company headquarters overseas to dodge U.S. taxes — drew boos from business on Tuesday, and cheers from consumer and labor groups.

No surprise there. But the Treasury Department's rule tweaks to discourage tax-avoidance deals also united everyone on one point: The country needs comprehensive tax-reform legislation.

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4:26pm

Wed September 17, 2014
The Two-Way

Federal Reserve To Markets: Nothing To See Here; Move Along

Originally published on Wed September 17, 2014 5:23 pm

"There are still too many people who want jobs but cannot find them," Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said Wednesday.
Susan Walsh AP

The Federal Reserve's policymakers just eyeballed the economy and saw nothing new.

On Wednesday, they announced that wage and price hikes remain low, and that growth continues at a moderate pace. That means interest rates can stay superlow for a "considerable time," while the Fed's bond-buying program can wrap up next month, as expected.

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