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.

Pages

Economy
4:46 pm
Wed December 17, 2014

Fed: Interest Rates Could Rise As Early As May 2015

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 9:07 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Read more
Business
6:43 pm
Tue December 2, 2014

Holiday Shoppers Are Filling Their Carts, Online

Workers pack items Sunday at an Amazon fulfillment center in Tracy, Calif. Cyber Monday online sales jumped 8.5 percent over 2013.
Noah Berger Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Tue December 2, 2014 7:45 pm

This weekend, Will Falls decided to skip the local mall near Raleigh, N.C., and shop online instead.

"No standing in line, no finding a parking spot," he says. "Just get comfortable and go at it."

Millions of Americans did the same — Falls helped contribute to an 8.5 percent increase in online shopping Monday compared with 2013, according to data from IBM.

That growth stands in contrast to an 11 percent drop in sales reported by the National Retail Federation at brick-and-mortar stores over the Black Friday weekend compared with a year ago.

Read more
Shots - Health News
3:54 am
Tue December 2, 2014

Obamacare 'Glitch' Puts Subsidies Out Of Reach For Many Families

Don Benfield is trying to get health care coverage for his family. The options at work are too expensive, but his employer's option disqualifies him from Affordable Care Act subsidies.
Courtesy of Don Benfield

Originally published on Tue December 2, 2014 8:50 am

Don Benfield of Taylorsville, N.C., makes $11 an hour working for a mobile-home parts business, selling things like replacement doors and windows.

Benfield, 51, doesn't have health insurance.

"I haven't had health care insurance in years, simply because I haven't been able to afford it, especially with food prices, how they went up," he explains.

Benfield's employer does offer health insurance coverage, even though, with fewer than 50 employees, the business is not required to.

Read more
Shots - Health News
5:12 pm
Fri November 14, 2014

HealthCare.gov Head Says Site Is Tested And 'Ready To Go'

The second open enrollment period for buying health insurance under the federal Affordable Care Act starts Saturday.
Don Ryan AP

Originally published on Fri November 14, 2014 6:40 pm

It's being challenged in the Supreme Court. Members of the new Republican Congress want to repeal it. But Obamacare will get a second chance on Saturday, when enrollment opens again in the government-sponsored health exchanges.

The Obama administration is expecting over 3 million new enrollees and almost 6 million return customers. And while the system faces some challenges, the government says it's up to the task.

Read more
Business
4:42 pm
Wed November 12, 2014

Banking Giants Settle Currency Manipulation Charges

Originally published on Wed November 12, 2014 5:45 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Six big banks will pay more than $4 billion to U.S. and European regulators for more bad behavior, this time rigging foreign currency markets. Among the charges? That currency traders at the banks collaborated in online chat rooms to cheat customers.

Read more
Business
6:00 pm
Tue November 4, 2014

It's Still Too Early For Tanking Oil Prices To Curb U.S. Drilling

Ray Gerrish repairs a drilling rig near Watford City, N.D. Oil industry analysts predict that oil prices will have to remain low for at least several months before having a significant effect on U.S. production.
Jim Gehrz MCT/Landov

Originally published on Tue November 4, 2014 6:32 pm

Oil prices fell again Tuesday, to just below $76 a barrel before recovering slightly — one day after Saudi Arabia cut prices for the crude it sells in the U.S. market.

During most of the last quarter-century, that would have been viewed as a very positive development for the U.S. economy. But oil production here has increased so quickly in the past several years, the continuing price drops pose a potential threat to U.S. oil producers.

Read more
Law
4:55 pm
Mon October 6, 2014

Former Treasury Secretaries Head To Court For AIG Lawsuit

Originally published on Mon October 6, 2014 6:30 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Read more
Affordable Care Act
6:14 pm
Wed October 1, 2014

Obamacare's First Year: How'd It Go?

In New Jersey in March, Dianna Lopez of the Center for Family Services (right) speaks with Betsy Cruz, of Camden, N.J., about health insurance coverage during an Affordable Care Act information session.
Lori M. Nichols South Jersey Times/Landov

Originally published on Thu October 2, 2014 10:44 am

Exactly one year ago, the Obamacare insurance exchanges stumbled into existence. Consumers struggled to sign up for its online marketplace — and the Obama administration was pummeled. Eventually, HealthCare.gov's problems were mostly fixed, and two weeks ago, the administration announced 7.3 million people have bought insurance through it so far this year.

So, was the health exchanges' first year a success — or something less?

Ask President Obama, and he says you measure the Affordable Care Act's success this way:

Read more
Sports
4:59 pm
Tue September 23, 2014

Big Sponsors May Find It Hard To Break Up With The NFL

Anheuser-Busch's 2014 Super Bowl commercial was titled "Puppy Love." The company is one of several big sponsors that have expressed concern with the NFL.
AP

Originally published on Wed September 24, 2014 12:44 pm

NFL sponsors are not just advertisers; they're a select group of companies that together pay more than $1 billion a year to wrap their own brands in the NFL's aura.

Read more
Business
5:11 pm
Mon September 15, 2014

With Turmoil Roiling Abroad, Why Aren't Oil Prices Bubbling Up?

A soldier guards a pipe en route to the Kawergosk Refinery near Irbil, the capital of the autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq, in July. Fighting in northern Iraq forced the closure of the country's largest oil refinery, Baiji, and cut production from the Kirkuk oil field this summer.
Safin Hamed AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue September 16, 2014 8:32 am

The price of oil has been falling — a drop that you may already have noticed at the pump. Gasoline prices have dropped noticeably since June, and oil is now well below $100 a barrel.

That decline has happened even as conflicts have flared in or near oil-producing regions. Normally, oil prices are expected to spike higher amid turmoil — so why have they been trending lower?

Read more
Economy
4:44 pm
Fri September 5, 2014

A Disappointing Jobs Report May Mask Economy's Strength

Jessica Pimentel fills out an application during a job fair in Sunrise, Fla. The latest employment numbers indicate a slowdown in job growth, but many economists are skeptical that the economy is weakening.
Alan Diaz AP

Originally published on Fri September 5, 2014 8:39 pm

The latest employment numbers indicate a slowdown in job growth, but many economists aren't buying it.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics said Friday that only 142,000 jobs were added in August. That's way below what analysts had expected. And many economists don't think it represents the true strength of the U.S. economy.

Economists from across the country voiced skepticism about the government's data.

Read more
Economy
5:02 am
Fri September 5, 2014

How Close Is The Economy To Full Employment?

Originally published on Fri September 5, 2014 11:55 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Business
2:42 am
Fri August 15, 2014

Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Crosses Milestone

Donald Bowers Getty Images for Fortune

Originally published on Sat August 16, 2014 10:09 am

The most expensive stock on the New York Stock Exchange just got a little more expensive. A Class A share of Berkshire Hathaway is now worth more than $200,000.

On Thursday, shares closed up $3,500 at $202,850. The Omaha, Neb.-based company has a market value of more than $333 billion.

Berkshire Hathaway is the company created and run by Warren Buffett for nearly five decades now. The conglomerate owns more than 80 firms, including Geico Insurance, BNSF Railway and Dairy Queen.

Read more
The Salt
6:32 pm
Wed August 13, 2014

Shifting Climate Has North Dakota Farmers Swapping Wheat For Corn

Dan Selvig says wetter conditions helped convince his family to shift their plantings to corn.
John Ydstie NPR

Originally published on Thu August 14, 2014 11:29 am

Overall, climate change is predicted to hurt agriculture around the world. It could even threaten corn production in the Corn Belt.

But in North Dakota conditions are now better for raising corn, and that's a big benefit for farmers.

When I was growing up in Wolford, N.D., up near the Canadian border, wheat was king. It had been the dominant crop since the prairie was first plowed in the late 1800s. So it was kind of strange to go back this summer and find Larry Slaubaugh, a local farmer, filling his 18-wheeler with corn from a huge steel grain bin.

Read more
The Salt
5:20 pm
Tue August 12, 2014

Iowa's Corn Farmers Learn To Adapt To Weather Extremes

Farmer Seth Watkins (left) and agronomist Matt Liebman stand amid native prairie grasses near Des Moines, Iowa. The conservation strip is used to stop soil erosion.
John Ydstie NPR

Originally published on Thu August 14, 2014 11:32 am

Climate change is creating all kinds of challenges and opportunities for business. One of the sectors that feels the effects most immediately is agriculture. Already, weather patterns are making it more challenging to raise corn — even in Iowa — in the middle of the Corn Belt.

Seth Watkins raises corn and cattle in southern Iowa, and he recalls the memorable weather from 2012.

Read more
Europe
4:46 pm
Thu August 7, 2014

Russia Retaliates For Western Sanctions With Ban On Food Imports

Originally published on Thu August 28, 2014 6:43 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

Read more
Economy
4:01 pm
Fri August 1, 2014

In July Jobs Numbers, Fodder For Cautious Optimism

Originally published on Mon August 25, 2014 2:33 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Read more
Economy
4:08 pm
Wed July 30, 2014

Fast Growth Does Little To Budge Fed's Caution — For Now

Originally published on Thu July 31, 2014 7:30 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Read more
Business
4:59 am
Wed July 30, 2014

U.S. Judge Sides With Iraq, Blocks Kurds' Attempt To Sell Oil

Originally published on Wed July 30, 2014 8:07 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

As Iraq has been torn apart by sectarian violence, the country's Kurdish population has moved towards independence with income from oil.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Read more
Health Care
4:54 am
Wed July 23, 2014

What Do The New Obamacare Rulings Mean For People Getting Subsidies?

Originally published on Wed July 23, 2014 7:51 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Read more
Law
4:28 pm
Mon July 21, 2014

GOP Marks Dodd-Frank's 4th Birthday With Calls For Repeal

Originally published on Mon July 21, 2014 11:10 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Four years ago today, President Obama signed a massive overhaul of the nation's financial laws, The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. The law was a response to the Wall Street bailouts and regulatory failings that sparked the financial crisis and caused the great recession. As NPR's John Ydstie reports, the anniversary is being marked by calls from some to repeal parts of the law.

Read more
Economy
4:58 pm
Tue July 15, 2014

Despite Brightening Signs, Fed Is Likely To Stay The Course

Originally published on Tue July 15, 2014 7:23 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Read more
Economy
5:18 pm
Wed June 18, 2014

In Press Conference, Fed Chair Keeps Things Upbeat — And Vague

Originally published on Wed June 18, 2014 7:08 pm

Transcript

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

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I am Robert Siegel. Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen may have learned a lesson - don't get specific when talking about when the benchmark interest rate may go up. She made that mistake during her first news conference as Fed chief. Today she left it at it depends, and as NPR's John Ydstie reports, Yellen also gave a relatively upbeat assessment of the economy following a two- day meeting.

Read more
Economy
4:13 pm
Fri June 6, 2014

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

Originally published on Fri June 6, 2014 7:29 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.

Business
4:08 pm
Wed June 4, 2014

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

Originally published on Wed June 4, 2014 7:18 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.

Health Care
4:21 pm
Wed May 28, 2014

Study Questions Need For Employer Health Care Requirement

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

Originally published on Wed May 28, 2014 6:17 pm

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.

Read more
Economy
5:29 am
Sun May 18, 2014

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

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

Originally published on Mon May 19, 2014 12:38 pm

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.

Read more
Economy
4:21 pm
Fri May 2, 2014

Positive April Jobs Report Blows Past Expectations

Originally published on Sat May 3, 2014 11:17 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.

Read more
News
4:00 pm
Wed April 30, 2014

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

Originally published on Wed April 30, 2014 6:18 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.

Economy
4:30 pm
Fri April 4, 2014

In March Jobs Report, Market Awakens From A Winter Swoon

Originally published on Fri April 4, 2014 6:18 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.

Pages