WNPR

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.

Since the civil rights era of the 1960s, Atlanta civic leaders have touted the slogan, "The City Too Busy to Hate."

Their message: We're focused on creating jobs and wealth, not resisting desegregation.

Turns out, many businesses liked that attitude. Atlanta held on to its longtime giants, such as Coca-Cola and Delta Air Lines, and become home to many more corporations, including UPS, Home Depot and Mercedes-Benz USA.

Very few companies make "supercars" that can rocket you from zero to 60 mph in a blink and then propel you to nearly 200 mph.

Porsche, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Aston Martin, Bugatti — and of course, Honda.

Honda?

The spring sprint is on: Con artists are racing to defraud income taxpayers ahead of April's filing deadline, and the Internal Revenue Service is scrambling to stay one step ahead.

The taxpayer identity-theft problem exploded between 2010 and 2012 and is still growing. But this year, Americans using "tax software may have noticed there were new sign-in requirements to access your account," IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said Thursday at a National Press Club luncheon.

This is the time of year when millions of travelers are making summer vacation plans. Analysts expected record numbers to book flights to international destinations.

Their outlook was so optimistic because global passenger traffic had shot up 7.1 percent in January, compared with last year, according to the International Air Transport Association. "The record load factor is a result of strong demand for our product," Tony Tyler, CEO of the trade group, said in a statement earlier this month.

Federal Reserve policymakers said Wednesday that the U.S. economy is chugging along at a decent pace with an improving job market.

Still, they fear risks from "global economic and financial developments."

So given that balance of good news and growing risks, the Federal Open Market Committee decided to take no action on the target range for the federal funds rate at the close of its two-day meeting.

As a Youngstown native, I have come to expect this.

Every presidential election year, candidates flock to Youngstown, Ohio, to use my hometown as a political backdrop.

It's a great place to talk about job losses. Steel mills used to line the Mahoning River for miles, churning out tens of thousands of jobs. Those jobs drove the city's population from 33,000 in 1890 to 170,000 in 1930. My grandparents came from Poland and Hungary to join in that boom.

In the mid-20th century, Youngstown became known for its union jobs and high levels of home ownership.

Over the past month, millions of YouTube viewers have watched what happens when a U.S. manufacturer announces a move to Mexico.

Click on the unsteady cellphone video, shot at a factory that makes air conditioning, heating and related equipment in Indianapolis, and you will see workers listening to a man in a suit.

He's telling them that their paychecks are headed to Mexico.

"I want to be clear, this is strictly a business decision," the man says.

If you don't hang out with lawmakers, economists and journalists in Washington, you probably think Democrats and Republicans disagree on economic policy.

They don't.

In Washington, there's actually a broad consensus about economic growth. These ideas have held sway for decades:

  • Globalization is inevitable
  • Technology boosts productivity
  • Immigration brings in fresh talent
  • Trade deals spur growth

Record numbers of airline passengers will soon be taking off for spring break, expecting to find fun.

But first, they'll have to get through the Transportation Security Administration screening at the airport. Definitely no fun there.

Both the TSA and Airlines For America (A4A), an industry trade group, say travelers should brace for long waits in epic lines. "It's a very serious concern," A4A Senior Vice President Sharon Pinkerton said on a conference call with journalists Wednesday.

Many Americans tell pollsters and politicians that they're angry. Why?

At least part of the answer might be tucked inside the February jobs report, released Friday by the Labor Department. Consider this:

If you've stopped for gas lately, you've probably noticed a price jump.

A week ago, the national average for a gallon of regular gas was around $1.70. Now it's about $1.80, according to GasBuddy.com, which tracks prices.

So rising gas prices must reflect shrinking oil supplies, right?

Nope.

If you have been watching the presidential debates, you may be very worried.

The other day, GOP candidate Ben Carson said the U.S. is "heading off the abyss of destruction." And on the Democratic side, Sen. Bernie Sanders said Americans "are worried to death about the future of their kids."

As winter starts to wind down, you may be stepping up your plans for a spring-break trip.

But have you checked airfares lately?

If you haven't looked since Christmas, you may be in for a surprise: Many fares are up. In fact, the largest U.S. carriers have nudged rates higher three times in recent weeks.

Farecompare.com, a fare tracking website, says airlines are charging $22 more for round-trip flights this year. Most of the hikes are hitting smaller cities and less competitive markets.

These things we know for sure:

  • The sun rises in the East.
  • The Earth is round.
  • Wal-Mart sales increase every year.

Oops. We'll need to scratch that last one.

On Wednesday, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. reported that that for the fiscal year ended in January, annual revenues totaled $482.1 billion — down 0.7 percent from the previous year's $485.7 billion.

For the oil industry, this is what passes for good news:

Iran said Wednesday that it would be great if other countries would limit their oil production to boost prices.

As for itself, Iran will continue to ramp up oil production.

That may not sound like much reason for celebration, but Iran's expression of support for multi-nation plan to restrain oil output was enough to give the energy market a boost. On the New York Mercantile Exchange, West Texas Intermediate crude oil gained $1.62, or 5.6%, to settle at $30.66 a barrel.

"Full employment" is a phrase economists use to explain how the job market recovers from a recession. We'll be hearing this phrase a lot as the Labor Department releases the latest jobs data on Friday. It's expected to show that employers added even more workers in January.

But the phrase doesn't tell the full story for millions of Americans either still out of work or who are looking for something better than part-time work.

What is full employment and what does it mean?

If you are getting spooked by plunging stock prices, you may be trying to figure out where the economy is heading.

Here's one new sign that better days are coming:

In the latest survey of business economists, most — 58 percent — say their companies plan to raise workers' wages this winter. That's the most upbeat wage outlook since mid-2014, according to the quarterly survey done by the National Association for Business Economics.

For six straight years, Americans watched their government's borrowing shrink.

Then last month, that trend towards less and less borrowing suddenly came to an end. Congress overwhelmingly passed a federal budget that included a $680 billion tax-cut package, which President Obama signed.

On Friday, Wall Street traders got the same treatment as the main character in The Revenant: A big fearsome bear attacked again and again.

By the close, stock prices were badly mauled. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 2.4 percent of its value, tumbling 391 points to close at 15,988.

The S&P 500 index dropped 2.16 percent to 1,880 and the tech-heavy Nasdaq composite index lost 2.7 percent to 4,488.

This day is starting out really nasty if you happen to be an oil driller — or a baby boomer who would like to retire with a nest egg.

Through the night and into the morning, the price of oil has been falling. You can now buy a barrel for less than $30. (Remember, it was nearly $115 as recently as June 2014.) The market for oil has been thrown into disarray because of worries about possible declining Chinese demand and surging Iranian supplies.

That means U.S. oil producers will continue to see their profits plunge and industry layoffs worsen.

Fair to say this was a brilliant day for Boston.

General Electric Co. announced on Wednesday that it will be moving its headquarters from Fairfield, Conn., to Boston, starting this summer.

That decision makes Boston the winner of an intense competition among dozens of cities — all hoping to become the hometown of one of the world's largest companies.

When President Obama first took the oath of office seven years ago this month, the U.S. economy was so battered that many economists were pondering the possibility of another Great Depression.

The fears were real: Employers were cutting 796,000 jobs; the auto industry was facing bankruptcy; private foreclosures and public debts were soaring.

After a week of gloomy news about China, the U.S. economy came shining through on Friday, offering a surprisingly bright jobs outlook for 2016.

The U.S. economy is on track for "higher productivity, good job gains — and the supply of potential workers expanding fast enough" to allow companies to grow in 2016, IHS Global Insight said in its analysis. "Optimism is a good way to cap off a solid year and start a new one."

Panic-driven stock selling. Financial turmoil. Commodity price crashes. Layoffs.

Sound familiar?

Those were among the troubles piling up as the economy was tanking in 2008.

And today, many of those same phrases are turning up in headlines: Stock prices are plunging; China is devaluing its currency; prices for oil and other commodities are tumbling; and miners and drillers are losing jobs all over the world.

Like cheap gasoline?

Then you're in luck. Experts say gas prices very likely will keep falling. That's because a report released Wednesday showed a sharp increase in gasoline inventories.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration said that last week, companies added another 10.6 million barrels of gasoline, creating the biggest surge in supply since 1993. That added to fears that supplies will far outstrip demand for a long time.

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