Jim Zarroli

Jim Zarroli is an NPR correspondent based in New York. He covers economics and business news.

Over the years, he has reported on recessions and booms, crashes and rallies, and a long string of tax dodgers, insider traders, and Ponzi schemers. Most recently, he has focused on trade and the job market. He also worked as part of a team covering President Trump's business interests.

Before moving into his current role, Zarroli served as a New York-based general assignment reporter for NPR News. While in this position, he reported from the United Nations and was also involved in NPR's coverage of Hurricane Katrina, the London transit bombings, and the Fukushima earthquake.

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

He lives in Manhattan, loves to read, and is a devoted (but not at all fast) runner.

Zarroli grew up in Wilmington, Delaware, in a family of six kids and graduated from Pennsylvania State University.

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Updated at 10:13 a.m. ET

New claims for unemployment benefits climbed to 281,000 last week as the coronavirus pandemic shuttered businesses and left people out of work, the Labor Department said Thursday. It was the highest level since Sept. 2, 2017, when they totaled 299,000.

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There's been a sharp spike in the number of companies laying workers off. A lot of states say they're suddenly flooded with unemployment claims. And as NPR's Jim Zarroli reports, some are not prepared for the onslaught.

The 20th century was an era of rapid and unprecedented improvement in public health all over the world.

In the United States alone, a person born in 1900 could expect to live to 49; by 2000, that person's great grandchildren were likely to see their 77th birthdays. Reaching old age is no longer an anomaly, and that is true for people of every race, ethnicity and social class.

Updated at 4:22 p.m. ET

An emergency interest-rate cut by the Federal Reserve failed to mollify investors worried about the coronavirus epidemic, and stocks once again plummeted.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended down 786 points, a drop of 2.94% after an especially volatile trading day.

All the major indexes have lost more than 10% of their value since their all-time highs, moving back into what the market calls a correction.

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Australia calls itself the Lucky Country, a nation so fortunate in geography and natural resources that it hasn't had a recession in nearly three decades.

But the deadly wildfires raging through large parts of the country are slowing tourism and other key sectors that contribute to its impressive economic growth.

In March 2009, Wall Street was a fearful and anxious place, where fortunes had been decimated and retirement funds deflated.

What few people could foresee in the depths of the Great Recession was that the stock market was also on the verge of a historic recovery, one that persists today. The decadelong run is also raising caution flags for some analysts who worry that investors are accepting too much risk.

Stocks are finishing 2019 on a remarkable upswing, with all of the major indexes hitting record highs and the S&P 500 up nearly 30% for the year.

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This was the year that President Trump's trade strategy began showing results - a revised NAFTA sailed through the U.S. House; the administration got a trade deal with China. But as NPR's Jim Zarroli reports, some of the thorniest trade problems remain unsolved.

Boeing CEO Steps Down

Dec 23, 2019

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If there's one company that can slow U.S. growth to a crawl, it's Boeing.

The aircraft and aerospace giant is so important to the economy — it's the No. 1 exporter — that its decision this week to suspend production of its troubled 737 Max airplane is expected to reverberate throughout the manufacturing sector.

Several analysts project that the move will slash economic growth by half a percentage point and eventually lead to layoffs.

China and the United States have agreed on what has been called the first phase of a trade deal.

As part of this Phase One agreement announced Friday, the U.S. suspended tariffs that were planned on $160 billion in Chinese imports that were set to take effect Sunday. The U.S. also halved the September 1 tariffs from 15% to 7.5% — they included all kinds of consumer products such as clothing and sports equipment.

Under the deal, China will purchase an unspecified amount of American products and has also agreed to "structural" changes, which have so far not been detailed.

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David Pierce was never someone who sat around watching life go by. He worked as a chef and had a catering business on the side. He sang in his church choir and did community theater, where he met his wife.

Then, in his mid-50s, doctors removed part of Pierce's foot, a complication of diabetes.

"My health just went, kind of really downhill. It really took a turn for the worse," says Pierce, sitting at his dining room table in his tidy home in Apalachin, N.Y. "I couldn't maintain even a part-time schedule."

When Gordon Sondland arrived at the Capitol last month to provide what would be pivotal testimony in the Trump impeachment inquiry, a reporter asked the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, "Are you here to salvage your reputation?"

"I don't have a reputation to salvage," Sondland shot back.

Until recently, Sondland, 62, had a pretty low profile outside his hometown of Portland, Ore., where he and his wife, Katy Durant, are big Republican donors and contributors to numerous arts and civic organizations.

The last time Samya Stumo's family heard from her, she had sent a text letting them know she was about to board an Ethiopian Airlines flight from Addis Ababa to Nairobi. She would write again when she got there, she promised.

But the 24-year-old from western Massachusetts was among 157 people who were killed when the flight crashed last March.

For her family, it was the start of a painful, grief-choked odyssey that has turned them and dozens of other families into reluctant activists, taking on federal regulators and Boeing over the crashes of two 737 Max airplanes.

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Democrats running for president next year have worked hard to differentiate themselves from President Trump on issues such as immigration, tax cuts and health care. When it comes to trade, that hasn't been so easy.

Trump, after all, came to office as a fierce critic of U.S. trade policy, arguing that previous administrations had been duped into signing free trade agreements that had cost Americans millions of manufacturing jobs.

The British pound sterling is the oldest currency still in use in the world, dating to the time when Britain was little more than a collection of warring fiefdoms regularly plundered by Vikings.

Since its first use in the eighth century, the pound has survived revolutions and world wars, the industrial age and Thatcherism, and today it remains a powerful reminder of the glory days of the British empire.

But over the years, the pound has lost a lot of its luster, and in the wake of the Brexit turmoil, some economists believe it will only keep losing value.

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At 74, Steven Hoffenberg spends a lot of time reflecting on his long and checkered past, which included a lengthy prison sentence for running a Ponzi scheme.

Since last weekend, he says his thoughts have increasingly turned to the man he says conspired with him in that scheme — the notorious sex criminal Jeffrey Epstein, who was found dead in his cell at New York's Metropolitan Correctional Center last Saturday.

Updated at 4:06 p.m. ET

Stocks continue to tumble around the world Monday after China allowed its currency to slide, in the latest sign of economic tensions between Beijing and Washington.

After falling more than 900 points earlier in the day, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 767 points, a drop of 2.9%. The blue chip index has fallen more than 6% from last month's all-time high, while the S&P 500 index lost ground for the sixth day in a row.

Technology stocks such as Apple and IBM were hit especially hard.

When Nancy Dunne goes to see her family outside Chicago, she likes to fly Southwest Airlines from Newark Liberty International Airport near her home in Maplewood, N.J.

Starting in November, she'll need to make alternate arrangements.

Last week, Southwest announced it would no longer fly to Newark. The grounding of the Boeing 737 Max after two deadly crashes in Ethiopia and Indonesia has caused the airline to cancel flights and consolidate routes into places such as Newark, which are less profitable.

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Updated at 10:00 p.m. ET

In a significant escalation of rhetoric, senior Trump administration officials accused Beijing of reneging on commitments it had already made in its on-going trade dispute with China, and they said they plan to increase tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese imports from 10% to 25% starting on Friday.

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