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.

Updated at 3:16 p.m. ET

The U.S. budget deficit soared to a record $3.1 trillion, following a massive surge in government spending aimed at containing the economic damage from the coronavirus pandemic.

The deficit for the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30 was more than triple that of fiscal 2019 and easily eclipsed the previous record of $1.4 trillion recorded in 2009.

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Updated at 4:35 p.m. ET

Stocks finished sharply higher after President Trump said he's open to stand-alone bills to aid airlines and small businesses, a reversal from statements he made earlier.

Sometimes, Melissa Michelson feels like she has created a monster when she hears from voters in the 2020 election.

"When they mention how many texts they get, I say, 'I am so sorry I feel personally responsible,' " says Michelson, a political science professor at Menlo College in California.

More than a decade ago, Michelson conducted an experiment to see if text messages could be used to increase voter participation in San Mateo County in California.

Stock prices dropped sharply Tuesday, erasing earlier gains, after President Trump called on his representatives to stop negotiating with Democrats on another coronavirus stimulus package until after the November election.

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JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon calls it "creative combustion": The serendipity that results when people work side by side, bouncing ideas off each other and coming up with innovative ways to address problems.

The problem is, in the era of the coronavirus pandemic, that type of in-person collaboration is pretty much what businesses have wanted to avoid.

But some CEOs are now willing to take a risk in search of some of that lost magic.

Ruby Jensen was living in a rented room in a Los Angeles house in June, when her landlady sent her a text that would upend her life.

Unhappy about the condition of the house, the landlady wanted Jensen and every other tenant to leave immediately. She was moving relatives back in, the text said.

Even in normal times, eviction requests have to proceed through the court system in California, said housing attorney Aimee Williams of the Castelblanco Law Group.

Americans tend to think World War II ended cleanly and neatly, with a raucous celebration in Times Square, followed by a pivot to the Cold War. The truth, needless to say, was more complex.

In Europe, the end of the war brought chaos, not closure, with hundreds of thousands of refugees filling the roads, hoping to return to homes that, in many cases, no longer existed.

Citigroup named retail banking head Jane Fraser as its next chief executive, making her the first woman ever to head a major U.S. bank.

Fraser will replace Michael Corbat, who unexpectedly announced his retirement after eight years on the job. He will leave the bank in February

"I am honored by the Board's decision and grateful to Mike for his leadership and support," Fraser said in a statement.

Updated at 5:02 p.m. ET

Stocks slid for the third session in a row as technology shares lost more ground and a steep drop in oil prices hit energy shares.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average slumped 632 points, or 2.25%, while the S&P 500 fell 2.8%.

The Nasdaq composite index retreated 4.1% and entered correction territory after falling more than 10% from last week's high.

Updated at 4:37 p.m. ET

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said the pace of jobs growth is rising faster than many people expected, but it may take years before the economy has fully recovered.

Updated at 5:12 p.m. ET

Stocks experienced their worst day since June, with a sudden plunge Thursday in big tech shares such as Apple and Amazon driving the S&P 500 index down 3.5% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average down 2.8%.

The dizzying drop in prices follows a string of record-high trading days, largely fueled by a few superstar tech stocks, such as Facebook, Apple and Amazon.

On election night 2016, Gretchen Sisson was so sure Hillary Clinton would defeat Donald Trump that she and her husband invited 80 people to their San Francisco home for a party. They even had a giant sheet cake made that celebrated suffragists and the Equal Rights Amendment. On the side was written, "Madam President."

That's not how it turned out. Trump won in a stunning outcome, and no one could bear to eat. Afterward, Sisson and her family ended up eating the cake themselves for weeks. It was, she says now, a lesson in hubris.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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When legendary investor Jack Bogle created the index fund in 1976, he saw it as a way to help ordinary Americans share in the riches of the entire U.S. stock market.

This year, index fund investors are making money all right. But it's come with some risks: Much of the gains are due to half a dozen ultra-hot technology stocks.

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The economy may be limping along, but the stock market keeps hitting new highs. Yesterday, the S&P 500 broke the record it set on February 19. It's been great for people's retirement funds, and what's driving the market forward are a few big tech stocks. NPR's Jim Zarroli reports.

JIM ZARROLI, BYLINE: For years, it's been gospel for average investors. If you want to invest in stocks, make sure to diversify by lots of different kinds of companies. Lu Zhang is a professor of finance at The Ohio State University.

President Trump loves talking about the booming stock market. It's not so clear Wall Street loves him back.

For the first time in a decade, deep-pocketed donors from the halls of finance are giving more money to Democrats than Republicans, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a research group that tracks money in politics.

Stuck at home this spring, University of Nebraska student Alexander Kearns spent his empty hours buying and selling stocks online, learning as much as he could about investing.

"He sounded like a kid that was really, really excited to be studying something that he found interesting," says Bill Brewster, his cousin by marriage.

What no one knew was that Kearns had been trading options on a popular app called Robinhood, and at some point appears to have mistakenly concluded he had lost more than $730,000.

Already a Wall Street superstar, Tesla turned a profit for the fourth straight quarter, an important milestone that will make it eligible to join the S&P 500 stock index for the first time.

The economy is tanking across the country, with layoffs and bankruptcies as far as the eye can see. But the richest sliver of the country continues to do quite well, thank you.

The latest evidence came Wednesday morning as Goldman Sachs, the bluest of blue-chip banks, said it's raking in money on Wall Street.

While other banks are warning about rising loan losses during the recession, Goldman, which tends to serve a higher-end clientele, is sounding a pretty optimistic note.

Updated at 12:45 p.m. ET

The dramatic collapse of the U.S. economy from the coronavirus is pummeling America's largest banks, raising new concerns about how much growth is slowing.

They fume and rage and demand their rights. Sometimes they even get violent.

In the age of COVID-19, most people practice social distancing guidelines when they go into stores and restaurants, putting on masks and standing 6 feet behind other customers.

Still, there are the nightmare customers — those who refuse to comply.

"I've had a lot of conflict. I've had a lot of pushback from people," says Brenda Leek, owner of Curbside Eatery in La Mesa, Calif.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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Stock prices took another nosedive Wednesday, amid fears that a spike in coronavirus cases in parts of the Sunbelt could force the economy into another lockdown.

The major stock indexes finished the day down more than 2%, as investors grappled with evidence that the economy may not rebound as fast as they'd expected.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 770 points, a drop of more than 2.7%.

Shares of companies that have been especially hard hit by the pandemic, such as homebuilders and cruise lines, lost ground, as did bank stocks.

Updated at 4:07 p.m. ET

Stocks plunged Thursday amid reports of a second wave of coronavirus cases, as well as a warning from Fed officials that the economy may take longer than first thought to recover.

After the coronavirus lockdowns forced it to shut down its 345 U.S. theaters, Texas-based Cinemark in April decided to do what a lot of companies have done: borrow money by selling bonds.

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The Federal Reserve is waging an unprecedented and historic effort to prop up the economy right now. It's doing this by flooding the nation with trillions of dollars. But that doesn't necessarily mean all the money is going to the right places. NPR's Jim Zarroli reports.

JIM ZARROLI, BYLINE: When the history of the COVID-19 crisis is written, it may turn out that the Federal Reserve did more than anybody else to keep the economy from collapsing.

It's counterintuitive.

At a time of roiling civil unrest and an unprecedented economic crisis, stock prices are chugging along quite nicely. In fact, they have rebounded sharply since the dark days of March.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average, which lost 37% of its value between Feb. 12 and March 23, has now regained more than two-thirds of the ground it lost. Same with the broader S&P 500 index.

Trevon Ellis spent years building up his north Minneapolis barbershop, the Fade Factory, luring customers with smart haircuts, snacks and friendly conversation.

It took just one terrible night to destroy it all.

"Inside is totally burned down," Ellis says. "Everything was burned to a crisp."

The recent wave of protests against police brutality has left a trail of chaos and destruction in many city neighborhoods, with countless businesses looted and damaged.

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