Chris Arnold

NPR correspondent Chris Arnold is based in Boston. His reports are heard regularly on NPR's award-winning newsmagazines Morning Edition, All Things Considered and Weekend Edition. He joined NPR in 1996, and was based in San Francisco before moving to Boston in 2001.

In recent years, Arnold has spent much of his time reporting on the financial crisis, its aftermath, and the U.S. economy's ongoing recovery. He has focused on the housing bubble and its collapse. And he's reported on problems within the nation's largest banks that have led to the banks improperly foreclosing on thousands of American homeowners. For this work, Arnold earned a 2011 Edward R. Murrow Award for the special series, The Foreclosure Nightmare. He's also been honored with the Newspaper Guild's 2009 Heywood Broun Award for broadcast journalism. He was chosen by the Scripps Howard Foundation as a finalist for their National Journalism Award, and he won an Excellence in Financial Journalism Award from N.Y. State's society for CPA's.

Arnold is also reporting on the now government-owned mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. In a series of stories in partnership with ProPublica, Arnold exposed investments at Freddie Mac that raised serious concerns about a conflict of interest between Fannie and Freddie's massive investment portfolios, and their mission to make home ownership more affordable. The stories generated widespread attention, and led to calls for an investigation by members of Congress.

Arnold was recently honored with a Nieman Journalism Fellowship at Harvard University during the 2012-2013 academic year. He joined a small group of other journalists from the U.S. and abroad and studied, among other things, economics and the future of home ownership in America.

Prior to that, Arnold covered a range of other subjects for NPR – from Katrina recovery in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, to immigrant workers in the fishing industry, to a new kind of table saw that won't cut your fingers off. He traveled to Turin, Italy, for NPR's coverage of the 2006 Winter Olympics. He has also followed the dramatic rise in the numbers of teenagers abusing the powerful and highly addictive painkiller Oxycontin – more than 1 out of 20 high school seniors report using the drug.

In the days and months following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, Arnold reported from New York and contributed to the NPR coverage that won the Overseas Press Club and the George Foster Peabody Awards. He chronicled the recovery effort at Ground Zero, focusing on members of the Port Authority Police department, as they struggled with the deaths of 37 officers - the greatest loss of any police department in U.S. history.

Prior to his move to Boston, Arnold traveled the country for NPR doing feature stories on entrepreneurship. His pieces covered technologists, farmers, and family business owners. He also reported on efforts to kindle entrepreneurship in economically disadvantaged areas ranging from inner-city Los Angeles to the Pine Ridge Indian reservation in South Dakota.

Arnold has worked in public radio since 1993. Before joining NPR, he was a freelance reporter working out of San Francisco's NPR Member Station, KQED.

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Business
3:09 am
Fri December 27, 2013

Cars Are Next Frontier For Sharing Services

Kevin Petrovic, 19, and his business partner, who's also 19, raised about $6 million from venture capitalists in Silicon Valley to launch FlightCar. The company is trying to make its mark with car-sharing for travelers.
Chris Arnold NPR

Originally published on Fri December 27, 2013 7:57 am

Following the popularity of companies like Airbnb, which rent out a client's house or apartment to people visiting the area, more companies are trying the idea with cars. Companies like Uber help find someone to drive you around like a taxi. Another will let you rent out your car like a Zipcar while you're at work.

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Economy
2:36 pm
Thu December 26, 2013

Manufacturing 2.0: Old Industry Creating New High-Tech Jobs

Unlike the smoky, eardrum-damaging factories of yesterday, today's manufacturing is going high-tech. That can mean more robots and automated machines than workers. But companies like Machine Inc. in Stoughton, Mass., are still growing and hiring.
Chris Arnold NPR

Originally published on Thu December 26, 2013 4:07 pm

As the U.S. economy continues to recover, it has been getting some help from an unexpected place. After decades of massive job losses, manufacturing firms have been steadily creating jobs — many of them well-paying. One particularly bright spot is a new generation of high-tech manufacturers.

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Economy
7:01 am
Fri December 13, 2013

Mel Watt: A New Captain For America's Housing Market

Rep. Mel Watt, D-N.C., listens as President Obama announces his nomination to head the Federal Housing Finance Agency. Watt was nominated in May, but Republicans blocked his confirmation until this week.
Jacquelyn Martin AP

Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 10:19 am

Seven months after his was nominated, the U.S. Senate this week confirmed former Rep. Mel Watt, D-N.C., to head the agency that oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the giant companies that control much of the mortgage market.

The vote occurred after Democrats changed the rules on filibusters — now the Senate can confirm presidential nominees with a simple majority.

For people who watch the U.S. housing market, Watt's confirmation is a very big deal that could mean easier credit.

Read more
Economy
3:01 am
Thu December 5, 2013

Pressure Mounts On Fast-Food Industry To Pay Workers More

Originally published on Thu December 5, 2013 2:05 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep.

Protests are planned at fast-food chain restaurants 100 American cities today. Unions are staging these protests as part of a campaign to press the industry to pay more than the minimum wage. In fact, organizers are calling for $15 per hour. In some cases, that would double the pay that workers get now, and the industry appears unlikely to do that voluntarily.

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The Two-Way
11:05 am
Fri November 29, 2013

Photos: Comet ISON May Have Survived Its Blistering Encounter

A view from NASA shows the Comet ISON streaming toward the sun (right) then emerging from the other side, dimmed.
ESA/NASA/SOHO/Jhelioviewer

Originally published on Fri November 29, 2013 2:29 pm

The Comet ISON appears to have survived after disappearing and being thought dead. New NASA photos show the comet emerging from behind the sun smaller and dimmer, but still throwing a big light trail.

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Shots - Health News
1:20 am
Wed November 27, 2013

To Changing Landscape, Add Private Health Care Exchanges

www.delightimages.com iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed November 27, 2013 9:30 am

We've been reporting a lot lately on the troubled rollout of President Obama's signature health care law. But at the same time, there are rumblings of a major shift in the way companies offer private health insurance to workers.

It involves what are called "private health care exchanges." These are similar to — but completely separate from — the public exchanges you've heard so much about.

Some experts say this new approach soon could change how millions of Americans receive their health care.

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Business
2:32 am
Wed November 20, 2013

DOJ Signals JPMorgan Deal Could Be Model For Other Cases

Originally published on Wed November 20, 2013 5:34 am

The Justice Department on Tuesday announced a landmark $13 billion settlement with JPMorgan Chase. That's the largest settlement the federal government has ever made with a single company. It's three times the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill settlement.

Health Care
4:28 pm
Thu November 14, 2013

Counting Who's Bought Into Obamacare Is Tougher Than You Think

Originally published on Thu November 14, 2013 5:29 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Robert Siegel.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish.

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Economy
5:14 am
Sat November 9, 2013

Job Creation Surpasses Expectations

Originally published on Sat November 9, 2013 9:24 am

The U.S. economy gained 204,000 jobs in October, nearly twice what most economists predicted. The unemployment rate figure went up, but that number was distorted because the Labor Department did its sampling during the federal government shutdown.

The State Of The American Small Business
1:57 am
Thu October 31, 2013

What Happens When The Pace Of Startups Slows Down

Is this coffee shop going to grow to be the next Starbucks?
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu October 31, 2013 10:45 am

Since the financial crisis hit five years ago, there aren't as many Americans starting new businesses. In uncertain economic times, it's harder for entrepreneurs and investors to take the risk.

And if you look back over the past 25 years, it turns out the overall trend is toward fewer new businesses getting started, too — and that's not good at all when the country needs more jobs.

The Next Google

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Business
2:23 pm
Thu October 24, 2013

Jury Finds Bank Of America Liable For Mortgages Fraud

Originally published on Thu October 24, 2013 4:25 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Audie Cornish.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block.

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Economy
3:35 am
Tue October 22, 2013

Shutdown-Delayed Jobs Report Is Released

Originally published on Wed October 23, 2013 8:42 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm David Greene.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep.

Let's talk about the latest employment numbers and what they mean. The economy, we're told by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, gained 148,000 jobs in September. The unemployment rate fell slightly to 7.2 percent. We're getting these numbers a couple of weeks late because of the government shutdown. NPR's Chris Arnold has been following the economy and the shutdown. He's on the line. Hi, Chris.

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Business
3:03 am
Mon October 21, 2013

What To Know About The Tentative JPMorgan Deal

Originally published on Tue October 22, 2013 1:37 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne. The Justice Department is on the verge of a $13 billion settlement with JPMorgan Chase. That would make it the biggest government fine involving a single company. It involves the allegedly improper sale of mortgage securities that led to the financial crisis of 2008. NPR's Chris Arnold has been following this and he joins us now. Good morning.

CHRIS ARNOLD, BYLINE: Good morning, Renee.

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Business
4:44 am
Sat October 19, 2013

Business Leaders Decry The Economic Cost Of Uncertainty

Originally published on Fri October 25, 2013 10:08 am

Running a company is like driving a car. You need to be able to see what's coming down the road. The dysfunction in Washington has created a fog, and when driving in the fog, you have to slow down.

That's basically what's happening at thousands of companies around the country.

Bob Mosey, chairman of the National Tooling and Machining Association, bemoans the "uncertainty of not being able to plan for the future."

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Economy
2:27 pm
Wed October 16, 2013

Economists Say Fiscal Fits And Starts Hurt U.S. Growth

Traders at the New York Stock Exchange on Wednesday. Stocks surged on Wall Street after Senate leaders reached a deal that would avoid a U.S. default and reopen the government after 16 days of being partially shut down.
Seth Wenig AP

Originally published on Wed October 16, 2013 5:45 pm

On Wednesday, the stock market cheered the debt ceiling deal in Congress. The Dow gained 206 points and all the major indexes closed higher.

Investors of course have been watching the showdown in Washington very closely, since a default could have been a global financial disaster. At the same time, economists are trying to figure out how much the jitters and uncertainty over all this has been hurting the economy.

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Economy
2:29 am
Mon October 14, 2013

U.S. Political Standoff Hangs Over IMF, World Bank Meetings

The world's top financial officials were in Washington, D.C. over the weekend for the annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. The partial government shutdown and the debt ceiling standoff were hot topics among the visiting world financial leaders.

Politics
6:05 am
Sat October 12, 2013

D.C. To IMF: 'Welcome To Crazy Town'

The International Monetary Fund and World Bank are holding their annual meeting this week. That means top finance officials and economists from all over the world are in Washington, D.C., during a display of brinksmanship from members of Congress.

Economy
3:37 pm
Wed October 9, 2013

Shutdown Leaves Would-Be Homeowners In Limbo

Originally published on Thu October 10, 2013 6:58 am

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

The longer the government shutdown continues, the more sectors in our economy are being affected. More and more, the housing market is feeling the pinch. Most economists think if the federal government reopens in the next few days, the damage won't be too bad. But already, some home sales are being delayed and even derailed, as NPR's Chris Arnold reports.

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Politics
3:24 pm
Fri October 4, 2013

Medical Device Tax Might Be Way To Get A Budget Passed

The health care law is partly funded by a tax on medical devices. Republicans and some Democrats from states with medical device companies want to repeal the tax. Leading Democrats say that's not happening if it's meant to scale back Obamacare. But the device tax could be an area of compromise later in a broader budget deal.

Business
3:06 am
Thu September 26, 2013

DOJ: 3 Brokers At ICAP Manipulated Libor Rate

Originally published on Thu September 26, 2013 3:31 am

Three former employees at the London-based brokerage have been charged by the Justice Department with participating in a criminal scheme to rig an interest rate that anchors the world's financial system. It's alleged that the three brokers from ICAP colluded with a trader at Swiss bank UBS.

Economy
3:18 pm
Tue September 17, 2013

Census Report Paints Troubling Economic Picture On Incomes

Raisa Ruiz (right) and her niece Mary Badels wait in line at the Manna Food Center, Gaithersburg, Md., on Sept. 13.
Chloe Coleman NPR

Originally published on Tue September 17, 2013 3:34 pm

For the first year since the recession, median household incomes did not decline in 2012. But it's hardly a reassuring picture. Incomes were flat despite the economic recovery and big gains in the stock market. That's a troubling aspect about today's labor market. It's four years since the official end of the recession and many households are worse off than when it started.

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Economy
3:12 pm
Fri September 6, 2013

Unemployment Rate Shrinks As Fewer People Look For Work

Originally published on Fri September 6, 2013 3:20 pm

Job growth fell short of expectations in August. Employers added only 169,000 jobs to payrolls, and gains for June and July were revised downward. The question is whether the mediocre job growth of recent months is troubling enough to convince the Federal Reserve to delay its plans to dial back its stimulus of the economy.

Business
1:38 am
Fri September 6, 2013

Rates Come Down On Jumbo Mortgage Loans

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri September 6, 2013 10:40 am

There is something new and different for home mortgages: Jumbo loans are being made at lower interest rates than traditional home loans. That's kind of like a first class airplane ticket being cheaper than riding in coach.

At first this seems crazy. For as long as anybody can remember, homeowners have had to pay a premium to get jumbo loans. That's because they're not guaranteed by the federal government. If they're not guaranteed, they're riskier, so they cost more in interest payments.

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Around the Nation
2:51 pm
Thu August 29, 2013

Fast Food Workers, Activists Protest For Higher Wages

Originally published on Thu August 29, 2013 4:01 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block.

Protesters took to the streets in more than 50 cities today, calling for better wages for fast food workers. Like the Occupy Wall Street movement, these demonstrations target income inequality and promote workers' rights. But today's demonstrators also have one very clearly stated goal. Their demand: $15 an hour wages for workers at, say, McDonald's and Burger King.

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Business
12:41 am
Thu August 22, 2013

As Housing Recovers, Lots Of Boats Rise In U.S. Economy

A worker at the Cataumet Sawmill in Falmouth, Mass., where the improved housing outlook has led to more hours for employees.
Chris Arnold NPR

Originally published on Fri August 23, 2013 10:02 am

In just the past week we've seen a bunch of signs that the housing recovery is gaining steam. Data out Wednesday showed that existing-home sales rose to their highest level in nearly four years, while prices were up 14 percent from a year ago.

Retailers Home Depot and Lowe's both reported strong earnings growth and attributed that to the housing rebound.

And most important for the economy, homebuilders are hiring more workers and building more houses.

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Business
3:13 am
Tue August 20, 2013

JPMorgan Chase faces Growing Legal Problems

Originally published on Tue August 20, 2013 4:25 am

On Monday, The Wall Street Journal reported the Justice Department is investigating the bank over improper energy trading. That follows the news that the anti-bribery unit of the Security and Exchange Commission is looking into whether JPMorgan hired the children of Chinese officials to help win business.

Economy
6:21 am
Sat August 10, 2013

Housing Market Shows More Signs Of Life

Originally published on Sun August 11, 2013 5:43 am

Transcript

CELESTE HEADLEE, HOST:

This week, the U.S. housing market showed a few more signs of life. New reports show home sales and prices rising. And those gains have been coming despite the recent rise in interest rates. Meanwhile, President Obama spoke out about changes he'd like to see in the mortgage market. We're joined now by NPR correspondent Chris Arnold who's been keeping an eye on all of this. Hi, Chris.

CHRIS ARNOLD, BYLINE: Hey, Celeste.

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Business
3:13 pm
Thu August 8, 2013

Fannie Mae Posts $10 Billion Profit In Second Quarter

Originally published on Thu August 8, 2013 4:56 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block.

Today, mortgage giant Fannie Mae announced it made a $10 billion profit this past spring. That's a remarkable turnaround considering the government had to bail out Fannie Mae, along with Freddie Mac, when the housing bubble burst five years ago. It's certainly good news for taxpayers. It's also good news for homebuyers who count on the two companies to back most of the country's home loans.

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Media
3:24 am
Wed August 7, 2013

Boston Hopes Red Sox Owner Can Turn Around 'Globe'

Originally published on Wed August 7, 2013 4:52 am

In Boston, a billionaire entrepreneur is buying the Boston Globe. John Henry is currently the owner of the Red Sox baseball team. He says he isn't interest in trying to influence the news — including the baseball coverage.

Law
5:25 pm
Tue August 6, 2013

DOJ Sues Bank Of America Over Mortgage-Backed Securities

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block. The Justice Department is bringing civil charges against one of the nation's largest banks. The government alleges Bank of America made false statements about the quality of $850 million worth of home loans. Those loans were then sold to investors. NPR's Chris Arnold reports.

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