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.

Ever since Hurricane Sandy ripped through the New Jersey coast, some of the hardest-hit towns have been closed altogether. Authorities say gas leaks and unstable buildings have made them too risky to visit.

This week, residents were allowed to enter Seaside Heights for a few hours each day to get a firsthand look at the damage. Many are struggling with whether to rebuild their homes.

Weighing The Cost

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House Republicans have released portions of a report on the collapse of MF Global, the commodities firm run by former New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine. The report chastises Corzine for taking excessive risk.

NPR's Jim Zarroli reports.

The health care industry is one of the most reliable sources of new jobs in the country. And in cities that suffer from high unemployment, the local hospital is often the biggest employer still standing. But the downturn in the economy has left some hospitals in perilous financial shape. In Waterbury, Ct,, the biggest hospitals are going through a painful process of outsourcing and layoffs.

Hurricane Sandy left a long trail of destruction across the New Jersey shoreline. And it did a lot more than just flood houses.

In towns like Seaside Heights and Belmar, Sandy wiped out the boardwalks that line the beach. In places like these, boardwalks served as the commercial center knitting the towns together, and residents are wondering where to go from here.

Until two weeks ago, the boardwalk was the place to hang out in Belmar, N.J. Ann Summer was walking along the water with her husband this weekend.

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The governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, also held a press conference yesterday, and gave a warning that Sandy could end up costing his state $33 billion in economic damage, which could worsen the state's already-perilous fiscal situation.

NPR's Jim Zarroli reports.

JIM ZARROLI, BYLINE: Cuomo said the initial estimates are that the storm will cost the region $50 billion in lost economic activity and infrastructure damage. And he said two-thirds of that will be borne by New York.

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And it was no ordinary Election Day either in Belmar, New Jersey, one of the beach towns that was badly damaged by Superstorm Sandy. Some of the regular polling places were flooded out and town officials had to come up with new ways to get voters to the polls. NPR's Jim Zarolli reports.

JIM ZAROLLI, BYLINE: These days the Belmar Town Hall has been turned into a kind of rescue center for displaced residents, a place where they can get food and clothing. And yesterday they could vote, too.

Much of the worst damage from Superstorm Sandy happened in New York's less touristy outer boroughs.

Some neighborhoods have been changed forever by the storm. Staten Island saw half of the city's fatalities. On Friday, residents sorted through waterlogged belongings and tried to figure out next steps.

Rosemarie Caruso lives a block from the water on the eastern shore of Staten Island. She says there have been hurricanes before and all they brought was a little flooding. She figured she could ride out Sandy.

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Sandy is likely to go down as one of the costliest storms in U.S. history. The initial estimates of the losses are anywhere from $20 billion to $50 billion. But as NPR's Jim Zarroli reports, the impact on the economy is more complicated than it may appear. Some companies will even make money.

JIM ZARROLI, BYLINE: Economist Greg Daco has been tallying the potential costs of Hurricane Sandy and he says there's no question it's going to hurt the economy more than it will help it.

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Hurricane Sandy made landfall in southern New Jersey and left a path of destruction all the way up the state. Just across the river from New York in Bergen County, water flowed over the top of a levee along the Hackensack River, and then it poured into the town of Moonachie.

NPR's Jim Zarroli went there today.

Rajat Gupta, a man who operated at the top levels of American business, was sentenced to two years in prison on Wednesday. He was convicted of insider trading in a case that grew out of the prosecution of hedge fund manager Raj Rajaratnam, who is now in prison.

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And I'm Audie Cornish. Now, some business news. This past Friday and again today, the Dow Jones industrial average fell more than 200 points. The drop occurred after several big U.S. companies turned in disappointing results. NPR's Jim Zarroli explains.

Citigroup CEO Vikram Pandit is stepping down. In a statement released Tuesday morning, he said the time was right for someone else to take the helm. Pandit, who is 55 years old, took the top spot at Citi in December of 2007, just as the financial crisis was beginning to unfold.

Over the past decade, Chinese companies have become major players in the global telecommunications market. This week the House Intelligence Committee issued a report that could interrupt that growth. The committee warned American companies not to do business with two of China's main telecom manufacturers, saying they posed a security threat.

Huawei Technologies is the miracle story of the Chinese high-tech industry, says telecommunications consultant Roger Entner.

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NPR's business news starts with another bank sued.

Wells Fargo has become the second major American bank to be sued over its conduct during the housing boom. The U.S. Attorney's office in New York alleges that Wells Fargo approved hundreds of millions of dollars in bad housing loans during the 10-year period leading up to the financial crisis.

NPR's Jim Zarroli reports.

Nicole Kotovos was searching for a way to start a new life when the idea struck her: She would go to her ancestral homeland of Greece and open an American-style bakery cafe. She would bring the cupcake fad to Athens.

What she didn't figure on was the historic downturn in the Greek economy.

The former New York TV producer arrived in 2008, just as the country's debt-mired economy was falling into a deep recession it still hasn't emerged from.

When the economic crisis erupted in Greece and the bottom fell out of the domestic wine market, the Kir-Yianni vineyard outside picturesque Naoussa decided to adapt. Like other wineries in Greece, it has increasingly tapped the export market, successfully marketing and selling wine in Europe, the United States and even China.

"If you ask me, this crisis has been good for us," says Stellios Boutaris, the son of the company's founder. "It's going to make us stronger."

Greece is in the fifth year of a painful recession, and it doesn't look like it's going to end anytime soon. One big problem the country faces is a shortage of strong companies that know how to compete on the world market. And nowhere is this more painfully apparent than in the challenges faced by the country's olive oil business.

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NPR's business news starts with a boost for the euro.

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INSKEEP: Opponents of the European currency have been dealt a big setback in the Netherlands. The center-right Liberal Party, which favors remaining in the eurozone, won the most seats in yesterday's parliamentary elections.

NPR's Jim Zarroli reports.

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When the European Central Bank holds its monthly meeting today, investors around the world will be watching nervously to see what the bank's head, Mario Draghi, says about interest rates. Draghi was recently quoted as saying he would do whatever it takes to keep Europe's debt crisis from growing out of control, and that could go beyond just cutting borrowing rates.

As NPR's Jim Zarroli reports, any European Central Bank plan to use its resources to prop up Europe's weaker economies will face strong opposition from the Germans.

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.

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A British bank has agreed to settle charges that it illegally laundered Iranian money. The settlement with Standard Chartered was announced by New York banking regulators, who'd brought the charges just a week ago. The bank still is under investigation by the federal government. NPR's Jim Zarroli has more.

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.

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And I'm Robert Siegel. The government said today that the U.S. economy continued to slow during the second quarter of the year. The overall U.S. growth rate fell to just 1.5 percent, as consumers cut back on purchases and spending by businesses, which has been a source of economic strength, also fell. NPR's Jim Zarroli tells us more.

Capital One Bank will pay $210 million to settle federal charges that it tricked credit card customers into buying costly add-on services like payment protection and credit monitoring. The case is the first enforcement action from the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

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.

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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?

Deborah Klein sits in a parked car, a pile of envelopes on her lap. She's looking for work as a pharmacy technician, and has come to a faded strip mall near Waterbury, Conn., to drop off resumes with employers.

"I hope they get in touch with me, they want to meet with me, and who knows — they may have a position," Klein says. "It may not be now, but if I put something in their hand, they have something to think about."

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

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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.

British drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline has agreed to pay $3 billion to settle charges that it illegally marketed some of its most popular drugs. U.S. officials say among other things, the company promoted an antidepressant to children that was approved only for adults.

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