Jim Zarroli

Jim Zarroli is an NPR correspondent based in New York. He covers economics and business news.

Over the years, he has reported on recessions and booms, crashes and rallies, and a long string of tax dodgers, insider traders, and Ponzi schemers. Most recently, he has focused on trade and the job market. He also worked as part of a team covering President Trump's business interests.

Before moving into his current role, Zarroli served as a New York-based general assignment reporter for NPR News. While in this position, he reported from the United Nations and was also involved in NPR's coverage of Hurricane Katrina, the London transit bombings, and the Fukushima earthquake.

Before joining NPR in 1996, Zarroli worked for the Pittsburgh Press and wrote for various print publications.

He lives in Manhattan, loves to read, and is a devoted (but not at all fast) runner.

Zarroli grew up in Wilmington, Delaware, in a family of six kids and graduated from Pennsylvania State University.

Bernie Madoff, who carried out one of the most notorious Ponzi schemes in history, has died while serving his prison sentence in North Carolina. He bilked thousands of investors out of their savings.

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This winter, millions of small businesses are barely surviving. Congress has approved another round of loans to help those businesses. But as NPR's Jim Zarroli reports, it won't be enough for those closest to the edge.

No one predicted what a tumultuous, stomach-churning year 2020 would be for the stock markets. And few foresaw how well it would end up.

Here are the highlights:

Stocks in meltdown

Between Feb. 12 and March 23, the Dow lost a stunning 37% of its value.

Economic benefits for victims of the pandemic will expire soon if Congress and the president don't act to extend or replace them.

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It took months, but late last night, Congress passed a spending package to help people and businesses struggling through the pandemic. It includes $900 billion in aid. And here's how Democratic Congressman Josh Gottheimer of New Jersey described it.

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When listeners in Fort Wayne, Indiana, tuned into Majic 95.1 in July, they heard something both unexpected and all-too-familiar. The station was playing Christmas music. In the heat of summer.

With the pandemic making life miserable for people, the station was looking for a way to appeal to listeners and boost its ratings, and Christmas songs can be a dependable way of doing so.

Updated at 10:33 a.m. ET

You probably think 2020 has turned out to be a pretty lousy year, what with the coronavirus pandemic, a global recession and unceasing partisan warfare in Washington.

Then again, you're not Jeff Bezos or Elon Musk.

Thanks to soaring stock prices at Tesla, the company Musk founded, the quirky South African-born entrepreneur has seen his personal wealth soar to unimaginable heights of $147 billion.

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This week in California, water became a commodity. That means it can be traded now just like oil or gold. It's a testament to how important water is in a state that's suffering from droughts and wildfires. Here's NPR's Jim Zarroli.

YouTube is filled with videos promising to teach you how to make big bucks trading stocks on your home computer. Matthew's videos tell you how to lose money.

A real estate agent and amateur investor, Matthew, who prefers his last name not be used because of how it might affect his career, made thousands of dollars trading stocks over the years, only to lose most of it day trading.

Now, in his YouTube videos, he cautions others about the perils of day trading at a time when stay-at-home measures have led millions to buy — and sell — stocks for the first time.

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Nasdaq wants to require the more than 3,000 companies listed on its stock exchange to improve boardroom diversity by appointing at least one woman and at least one minority or LGBTQ+ person to their boards.

Companies would have to report regularly on how many women and minorities sit on their boards and then follow that up by appointing at least one member of each group, under a rule submitted Tuesday to the Securities and Exchange Commission.

More than 150 business leaders are calling on President Trump to concede the election, saying the stalled transition is hurting the United States' reputation and impeding efforts to revitalize the pandemic-ravaged economy.

"Every day that an orderly presidential transition process is delayed, our democracy grows weaker in the eyes of our own citizens and the nation's stature on the global stage is diminished," said a statement signed by 164 chief executives that was released Monday.

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Updated at 6:27 p.m. ET

The Federal Reserve will comply with the Treasury Department's request to let key coronavirus emergency lending programs expire at the end of the year after the two agencies had earlier engaged in an unusual clash over the fate of the funds.

President Trump's slash-and-burn rhetoric against China may have brought few lasting economic benefits so far, but it has succeeded in one fundamental way: No administration can now afford to play nice with the United States' biggest rival.

Trump made hostility toward China a centerpiece of his "America First" trade agenda, launching bitter attacks against Beijing's policies and setting off a trade war by slapping tariffs on two-thirds of Chinese imports.

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Updated at 4:25 pm

Hopes for a vaccine have brought good times back to financial markets.

Stocks extended a recent rally Monday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 closing at record highs, after Moderna became the second drugmaker to tout progress toward developing an effective COVID-19 vaccine.

The Dow ended the day up 471 points, or 1.6%, and is now close to reaching 30,000 points for the first time. It appears to have put behind it for now a period of uncertainty ahead of the election that hurt markets.

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Euphoria broke out on Wall Street today following the news of that successful vaccine trial. The Dow and the S&P 500 soared to record highs early in the day before giving up some of their gains. But here's a twist. Stocks for companies that have benefited from stay-at-home orders, like Zoom, Netflix and Amazon - their share prices cratered. NPR's Jim Zarroli reports.

JIM ZARROLI, BYLINE: Stocks went gangbusters as soon as the market opened. There was no secret why.

Updated at 4:35 p.m. ET

Euphoria broke out Monday on Wall Street after promising news of a vaccine trial provided a major dose of hope for the global economy.

The powerful rally was sparked after Pfizer and its partner BioNTech said the experimental COVID-19 vaccine was more than 90% effective.

The stock market racked up its best week since April despite the turmoil of an election that's still unresolved.

While the major stock indexes mostly finished a bit lower Friday, the drop wasn't enough to offset four days of strong gains. The S&P 500 surged 7.3% for the week, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose about 1,800 points, an increase of 6.9%.

Updated at 4:23 p.m. ET

Wall Street seemed to love the prospect of a "blue wave" just a few days ago. Now that Democrats appear less likely to get the landslide they hoped for, investors are happy about that as well.

Stock prices began climbing early in the week, when polls showed that Democrats could capture both the Senate and the White House, giving them complete control of Washington.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished 1.6% higher on Monday and then rose more than 2% before polls closed on Election Day.

Stocks surged for a second consecutive day on Tuesday as investors bet wins by Democrats in elections would raise the chances for a comprehensive coronavirus relief package.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 554 points, an increase of 2.06%. It had risen 1.6% on Monday.

The broader S&P 500 index ended up 1.78%, while the Nasdaq composite index finished 1.85% higher.

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The Small Business Administration may have handed out billions of dollars in loans to businesses that falsely claimed to have been damaged by the coronavirus lockdowns, a report from the agency said on Wednesday.

Officials at the agency were so inundated with requests for disaster aid starting last March that they couldn't adequately vet the applicants, according to the report from the Office of SBA Inspector General Michael Ware.

Updated at 4:11 p.m. ET

Stocks fell sharply on Wednesday as a spike in coronavirus cases in the United States and Europe is raising the prospect of further lockdowns that could hurt the global economy.

At the close, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 943 points, a decline of 3.4%, and is in negative territory for the month. The S&P 500 fell 3.5%, its third consecutive decline, and is down over 8% from its record high in early September.

Montana's Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock waited until just before the filing deadline in March to announce he would take on incumbent Republican Steve Daines in the race for Senate.

It took a little more than a week for millions of dollars in campaign contributions to begin pouring into the sparsely populated state from outside, quickly flooding Montana's small broadcast markets with campaign ads, many of them decidedly negative.

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Updated at 5 p.m. ET

Stocks on Monday posted their worst day since early September amid a surge in coronavirus cases in the United States and Europe and declining optimism about another U.S. pandemic relief bill.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended the day down 650 points, or 2.3%, posting its biggest decline since Sept. 3. The other major indexes were also down, though not as much.

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