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.

Federal Reserve officials are meeting this week to decide whether to continue easing up on economic stimulus measures. The pullback by the Fed so far is being felt around the world, especially in some emerging markets.

A new study finds that contrary to widespread belief, it's no harder to climb the economic ladder in the United States today than it was 20 years ago.

But the study did find that moving up that ladder is still a lot more difficult in the U.S. than in other developed countries.

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Over the past week or so, most of the country's banks have reported their profits for the last quarter of 2013. The numbers, mostly, have better than most analysts expected. After a rough few years, most big financial institutions are faring pretty well. But there's some debate about how sustainable the numbers really are.

NPR's Jim Zarroli reports.

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After a slow start, the Affordable Care Act is now attracting customers at a healthier pace. The government said yesterday that 2.2 million people have signed up for health insurance under the state and federal exchanges. But there's a serious red flag. A disproportionate number of new enrollees are middle aged or older.

Here's NPR's Jim Zarroli on what that means for the program and for insurers.

JPMorgan Chase has agreed with the U.S. government to settle criminal charges that it failed to report suspicious activity in Bernard Madoff's accounts. The settlement comes to $2.6 billion, but a representative for Madoff's victims says the amount is too small. Madoff bilked investors out of many billions of dollars while JP Morgan Chase was his primary bank.

JPMorgan Chase & Co. has agreed to pay $1.7 billion to settle criminal charges accusing the bank of ignoring obvious warning signs of Bernard Madoff's massive Ponzi scheme.

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2013 was a so-so time for the U.S. economy, but it was a banner year for the stock market. Investors poured money into stocks, driving up prices to record highs. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished the year up 26 percent. The S&P 500 did even better. NPR's Jim Zarroli looks at how the market defied expectations.

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Other signs of strength in the economy are sending interest rates higher. Yesterday, the yield on the 10-year Treasury note briefly rose above the psychologically important level of 3 percent.

NPR's Jim Zarroli has that story.

At the last minute, the Obama administration gave consumers more time to sign up for health insurance starting Jan. 1. People will now have until the end of Christmas Eve, giving them an additional day. The administration hopes a late surge of enrollments will boost numbers, which have lagged far behind expectations. The insurance industry is hoping the same thing. But it is also expressing dismay over recent changes to the law that allow some people to opt out of the individual mandate or purchase plans otherwise prohibited under the law.

Target is trying to get back in its customers' good graces after a massive data breach affecting some 40 million credit and debit account holders. The giant retail chain offered its customers a 10 percent discount over the weekend as an act of atonement, but business was said to be down anyway.

The breach affected customers who used their credit and debit cards at one of Target's 1,750 stores during a three-week period after Thanksgiving.

Ireland was one of the countries hardest hit by Europe's debt crisis. On Sunday, it passed a big milestone when the nation became the first country to formally exit the bailout program funded by the International Monetary Fund and the European Union.

After three years of the bailout program, it isn't hard to find signs of improvement in Ireland and of an economy coming back from the dead.

"Don't get me wrong, it's been bad in a lot of ways, but there's a silver lining in every cloud," says Conor Mulhall, a 41-year-old father of three.

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Federal regulators today approved a tough new set of restrictions on the kinds of trading that banks can do. The so-called Volcker rule largely prohibits FDIC-protected banks from trading securities for their own financial gain. It's part of the Dodd-Frank overhaul passed three years ago.

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And I'm Steve Inskeep. Federal regulators have unveiled the final version of what has come to be called the Volcker Rule. It's a big part of the financial reform that went into affect three years ago. It's taken all those years to come up with the language that will set new limits on the kinds of trading that banks can do and cannot do. NPR's Jim Zarolli joins us now to talk about this. Hi Jim.

JIM ZAROLLI, BYLINE: Hi.

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Officials of 159 countries have taken a big step forward in promoting global trade. This happened over the weekend at World Trade Organization talks in Indonesian.

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Here's NPR's Jim Zarroli.

JIM ZARROLI, BYLINE: The countries attending the WTO meeting agreed to a treaty that they say will lower trade barriers and speed up the passage of goods across borders. Officials say the deal could increase global trade by nearly a trillion dollars over time and also create millions of jobs.

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It has been almost 20 years since the U.S. Congress approved the North American Free Trade Agreement - New Year's Day to be precise. It was an agreement that was met with all kinds of controversy. Over the next few weeks, NPR will be airing a series of stories looking back at NAFTA. This morning, NPR's Jim Zarroli tackles one of the first assumptions about NAFTA, that it would send a wave of American jobs to Mexico, where labor is cheaper.

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A commuter train derailed as it was heading into Manhattan this morning, killing four people and injuring more than 60. Witnesses say the train appeared to be going too fast as it rounded a curve just north of a train station in the Bronx. The National Transportation Safety Board is trying to piece together what happened.

Saturday is the day the Obama administration promised it would have HealthCare.gov working smoothly for the majority of people who need to sign up for health insurance.

As the Obama administration scrambles to fix the glitch-plagued site, experts are beginning to worry about another problem that may further impair the rollout of the Affordable Care Act.

The retail company Men's Wearhouse has announced it is launching a takeover battle for rival Joseph A. Bank. What makes the effort unusual is that just last month Joseph A. Bank was trying to take over Men's Wearhouse. The turnaround is an example of what Wall Street calls a Pac-Man defense.

State and federal regulators have hailed Tuesday's $13 billion settlement with JPMorgan Chase & Co. over faulty mortgage assets it sold in the years leading up to the financial crisis as a big victory for the judicial system.

But like other big settlements to emerge from the financial crisis, the deal leaves unclear just what the bank did wrong.

President Obama met with state insurance commissioners to discuss changes to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Some commissioners are in a difficult spot because their states passed laws that prohibit policies that don't comply with the law. Now, the president says companies can keep offering non-compliant policies for another year if they want to.

A long-awaited deal between JP Morgan Chase and the Justice Department was finalized Tuesday. The bank — one of Wall Street's largest — agreed to pay a total of $13 billion to resolve a number of legal issues stemming from mortgage securities sold in the run-up to the financial crisis.

The health care fix announced by President Obama on Thursday may be good news for some consumers, but it creates a big headache for insurance companies and regulators. An insurance industry trade group warns the last-minute change could destabilize the market and lead to higher premiums.

The Justice Department approved an airline merger Tuesday that will create the world's largest carrier. AMR, the parent of American Airlines, and U.S. Airways agreed to divest a number of slots and gates at key airports in order to enhance competition.

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While large-scale government IT contracts have a terrible track record, Amazon is a company that has made its reputation for delivering on time. And it's always looking for more ways to shorten the time between online ordering and delivery. Well, today, Amazon announced it's partnering with U.S. Postal Service to expand Sunday delivery options.

NPR's Jim Zarroli reports that for the financially strapped Postal Service it's an opportunity to take a bigger role in the lucrative online retailing market.

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New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is celebrating an impressive reelection victory but he also suffered a defeat. Voters handily approved a measure to raise the state's minimum wage. That's a measure Christie had opposed.

As NPR's Jim Zarroli reports, New Jersey is the fifth state this year to raise the minimum wage.

The CEO of the firm that's about to take over the New York Stock Exchange has criticized alternative market trading. Jeffrey Sprecher said equity markets, including the NYSE, allow sophisticated traders to take advantage of small investors. He added such models are destined to fail and that people outside the markets have a sense things aren't fair.

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As we mentioned a few minutes ago, the hedge fund company SAC Capital has agreed to plead guilty to criminal charges of insider trading. The agreement with the Justice Department also calls for a huge fine, $1.2 billion. And as NPR's Jim Zarroli reports, the company will also be barred from taking money from outside investors.

Federal Reserve policymakers wrapped up their two-day October meeting Wednesday by announcing that they will maintain the Fed's $85 billion per month bond purchase program. The central bank's statement said that conditions in the labor market have "improved" and inflation is modest. But, in explaining the decision to maintain the stimulus, the statement pointed to a slowing housing market and said that fiscal policy is "restraining economic growth."

Janet Yellen is President Obama's choice to replace Ben Bernanke at the Federal Reserve. The announcement came Wednesday afternoon. If confirmed by the Senate, Yellen will be the first woman to lead the Fed.

The Treasury Department says it will begin running out of money to pay its bills by Oct. 17, if the partial government shutdown isn't over by then. That prospect worries the financial markets. Treasury debt plays a fundamental role in the global economy, and economists agree that a debt default would have dire consequences. But some Republicans insist that a default doesn't have to happen.

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