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.



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.



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.



Former Goldman Sachs board member Rajat Gupta was found guilty today of conspiracy and securities fraud. Prosecutors had accused Gupta of passing on inside information about the firm to hedge fund tycoon Raj Rajaratnam. NPR's Jim Zarroli reports.

JIM ZARROLI, BYLINE: The verdict came on only the second day of deliberations. Gupta was acquitted of two charges but convicted of four others. The 63-year-old Indian-born Gupta is the most prominent business leader convicted so far in the government's ongoing insider trading investigation.

The chief executive of JPMorgan Chase, Jamie Dimon, was on Capitol Hill Wednesday, where he tried to explain his company's recent multibillion-dollar trading losses. Dimon told the Senate Banking Committee that the losses were indefensible. He also said the company may try to recover some of the compensation paid to the traders who were responsible.



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


And I'm Audie Cornish. The chief executive of JPMorgan Chase, Jamie Dimon, went to Capitol Hill today. There, he tried to explain his company's recent multibillion-dollar trading losses, but he did not try to defend them. That's because he told the Senate Banking Committee the losses were indefensible. Dimon also said his company may try to recover some of the compensation paid to the traders who were responsible. NPR's Jim Zarroli reports.

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.

The Congressional Budget Office is warning the U.S. economy could fall back into a recession if Washington doesn't address the looming fiscal crisis. The Bush-era tax cuts are supposed to expire as is a temporary reduction in the payroll tax. Meanwhile, deep cuts in federal spending are supposed to take place if Congress and the White House can't agree on a debt-reduction plan.

The insider trading trial of Rajat Gupta is underway in New York. Gupta is a former Goldman Sachs board member, who prosecutors say provided inside information to hedge fund manager Raj Rajaratnam. Gupta's lawyer told the jury that the case against his client was based on guesswork and speculation.



A giant of American business goes on trial in New York today. Rajat Gupta is accused of insider trading. He's the one-time chief executive of the consulting firm McKinsey and Company and a former board member of Goldman Sachs.

Prosecutors allege he passed on information about Goldman to billionaire Raj Rajaratnam, who's already in prison for insider trading.

NPR's Jim Zarroli is covering this story from New York. Hi, Jim.


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.

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The turmoil in Europe appears to have died down, at least for now. Interest rates have fallen except for Spain. European Central Bank officials say they have contained the crisis — even if a recession occurs. But not everyone is so sure, and the recent rise in interest rates in Spain is making some investors nervous.

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."



The Federal Reserve has released the results of its much-anticipated stress test of the nation's biggest banks. The Fed says most of the nation's 19 biggest financial institutions passed the tests, although four did not. To find out what this means, we turn to NPR's Jim Zarroli. Jim, first, why is the Fed running stress tests? What are they supposed to show about the banks?

Support for Rick Santorum's presidential campaign has been driven by his conservative stances on social issues. He has taken unyielding stands against abortion and same-sex marriage.

But on economic matters, his record is more mixed. And some conservatives say that on issues like government spending and trade, he has at times betrayed free-market principles.

For example, when Congress voted to approve the North American Free Trade Agreement — a cause dear to the hearts of conservatives — Santorum, then a Pennsylvania representative, was among those voting against it.

Stock prices rebounded somewhat Wednesday, one day after their biggest sell-off of the year. What caused prices to plunge Tuesday was an all-too-familiar problem: the Greek debt crisis.

European officials have cobbled together a deal to keep Greece from defaulting, and investors all over the world who hold Greek bonds are weighing their options. They're worried about what could happen if they reject the deal.

The White House says restoring the U.S. manufacturing sector is an essential part of getting the economy back on track.

GOP candidate Rick Santorum wants to see tax breaks for manufacturing companies, and the Obama administration proposed something similar last week. But economists say tax breaks may not be the best way to help manufacturers right now.

Over the years, the steady loss of good factory jobs is a big reason why wages have stagnated for people who never went to college, says Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research.

President Obama's plan to overhaul the nation's corporate tax system would sharply cut the taxes that U.S. companies pay. But it would also eliminate many of the loopholes that help them pare down what they owe.

White House spokesman Jay Carney says the proposal unveiled Wednesday should appeal to both Democrats and Republicans, by doing what both sides "say is important to do ... which is lower the rate, broaden the base [and] eliminate the underbrush of unnecessary subsidies and loopholes and special provisions that complicate the tax code."