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.

Friday's unemployment report confirmed what many workers already had suspected: Five years after the job market plunged off a cliff, the climb back remains a tough slog.

Anyone who invests in the stock market knows share prices can go up — and down. That's why they call it a market.

Still, this year, price movements have been fast and furious — shocking investors and prompting many to fear "volatility."

Stock investors looking for a reason to feel optimistic about the economy may have found one this morning.

A new report shows the federal budget deficit has done some mad shrinking in recent years. Thanks to spending cuts, tax hikes and a stronger economy, the deficit in this fiscal year will be only $514 billion, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said Tuesday.

If your New Year's resolution was, "I am going to prepare for retirement by moving my savings into stocks," then you must be very sad now.

Broncos-fan-level sad.

On Monday, the Dow Jones industrial average plunged an additional 326 points, down about 2 percent to 15,373. That was the seventh triple-digit drop so far this year. Back on Dec. 31, the Dow was at 16,577.

When oil supplies ran short and gasoline prices spiked four decades ago, angry drivers demanded relief. Congress responded in 1975 by banning most exports of U.S. crude oil.

Today, domestic oil production is booming, prompting U.S. energy companies to call for a resumption of exporting. Many economists agree.

But would that bring back the bad old days of shortages? Would you end up paying more at the pump?

Financial planners all say: The sooner you start saving, the better off you'll be in retirement.

But that advice often goes unheeded by young workers focused on paying down student debt and car loans. And even for those who can afford to set aside a little cash, investing can seem complicated and risky.

For more than four years, the unemployment rate has been sliding down — from a 10 percent peak to today's 6.7 percent.

But does that reflect a fast-strengthening economy? Or is the rate falling only because so many people are dropping out of the workforce?

In coming weeks, members of Congress and the Federal Reserve Board will be making big policy decisions based upon their best understanding of those unsettled questions.

Christine Lagarde, who heads the International Monetary Fund, offered some positive comments about Congress on Wednesday.

Her assessment was a shade better than "faint praise," but something less than "Attaboy!"

Speaking at the National Press Club, Lagarde said she was pleased to see U.S. lawmakers have been moving forward "in a more orderly fashion" as they work on spending legislation.

Whether you had a job or were looking for one, December was a gloomy month.

The Labor Department said Friday that for December, employers added only 74,000 jobs — about a third as many as most economists had been predicting. That was the lowest level of job creation in three years — not exactly the news that 10.4 million job seekers wanted to hear.

As the new year begins, most economists' annual forecasts are brimming with good cheer.

"The economic news remains broadly encouraging," the Goldman Sachs forecasters write in their 2014 outlook.

And the brighter prospects are not limited to this country. "The global economy is likely to emerge in 2014 with modest growth of 3.3 percent compared with 2.5 percent this year," according to Nariman Behravesh, chief economist at the forecasting firm IHS Global Insight.

Blue-collar workers, hit hard by automation and factory offshoring, have been struggling to find high-paying jobs.

One industry does offer opportunity: As baby boomers retire and drilling increases, oil and gas companies are hiring. They added 23 percent more workers between 2009 and 2012.

But the hiring spree has come with a terrible price: Last year, 138 workers were killed on the job — an increase of more than 100 percent since 2009.

Back in ye olden days — say, a decade ago — many holiday shoppers worried about using credit cards to buy gifts online. They feared their information would end up in the hands of computer hackers.

Turns out, walking into a store and swiping a credit card can be plenty risky, too.

Time and again, business leaders say the one thing they want out of Washington is more certainty.

But rarely do they get their wish.

In recent years, business owners have found themselves wondering whether their government would default on its debts, shut down national parks, change tax rules, cancel supplier contracts, confirm key leaders at federal agencies or hike interest rates.

Finally on Wednesday, they saw policymakers take two big steps toward a more certain future.

Retiring General Motors CEO Dan Akerson made a case Monday for how losing should feel like winning — at least for U.S. taxpayers who lost more than $10 billion in a GM bailout.

Unless Congress acts very quickly, some 1.3 million workers will lose their extended jobless benefits on Dec. 28.

Democrats were scrambling late Wednesday to link an extension of benefits to a budget deal that is expected to get a vote as soon as Thursday. But if the effort fails, they will come back at it in 2014.

"We're going to push here after the first of the year for an extension of emergency unemployment insurance when the Senate convenes after the new year," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said on Wednesday.

She's not the first woman to head a global corporation.

Ginni Rometty runs IBM, and Indra Nooyi heads PepsiCo. Don't forget Ursula Burns at Xerox and Meg Whitman at Hewlett-Packard. There's Marissa Mayer at Yahoo.

Twenty years ago, millions of Americans were cocking their ears — waiting to hear a "giant sucking sound."

They feared Mexico would begin vacuuming up U.S. manufacturing jobs as soon as President Clinton signed the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA, on Dec. 8, 1993.

Here's something you haven't heard in years: The U.S. economy had a great week.

When Americans drive to their Thanksgiving gatherings this week, they will have one more blessing to count: lower costs.

Gasoline is cheaper than last year. Turkey prices are down, too. And retailers are joining in, offering big discounts on TVs and other goods.

For people who watch every penny, this Thanksgiving will be a good time for pinching.

As the young U.S. senator takes the oath to become president, he sets out to fix an economy struggling with rising unemployment, slumping profits and depressed stock prices.

He knows the deep recession could prevent him from advancing his broader domestic and diplomatic agenda. Yes — all true for President Obama.

But that's what John F. Kennedy faced as well. On his frosty Inauguration Day in January 1961, Kennedy had to start fulfilling his campaign pledge to "get America moving again." Like Obama, he would need to win over a deeply skeptical business community.

From the start, airline analysts had been predicting that an antitrust lawsuit would not stop the $11 billion deal to combine US Airways and American Airlines.

They saw the suit, filed in August, as a government negotiating tactic, not a deal-breaker.

In October, private employers did a lot of hiring, but a government shutdown forced hundreds of thousands of workers to stay home.

Those federal furloughs offset 204,000 jobs created last month — enough to push the unemployment rate one tick higher to 7.3 percent, the Labor Department said on Friday.

Or maybe the end of that sentence should read: the Labor Department guessed on Friday.

When many Americans hear the word "globalization," they think: "jobs going overseas."

And sometimes it does mean just that.

But as globalization knits nations closer together, foreign companies increasingly are creating jobs in the United States, not luring them away. Despite the Great Recession, slow recovery and political dysfunction in Washington, the United States remains a top destination for the world's wealth.

Look around. Do you see much inflation?

Gas prices are down more than 7 percent from last year. Grocery costs haven't budged lately. And — just in time for Halloween — the price of candy is down 2.3 percent from last year, according to the government's consumer price index released Wednesday.

When it finally came out Tuesday, the September jobs report — delayed for 18 days by the government shutdown — showed a labor market moving forward. But the pace was slow enough to prompt many economists to view it as a letdown.

Job growth "is disappointing, given that employment is still down by about 1.8 million from its peak prior to the recession," Gus Faucher, senior economist with PNC Financial Services Group, said in his analysis.

In recent weeks, economists have been worrying about the negative impact of the now-ended government shutdown and potential debt crisis.

But away from Capitol Hill, the economy has been getting a big boost: Gasoline prices have been declining, week after week. In some parts of the country, a gallon of unleaded regular gasoline is now down to less than $3 a gallon — a price most Americans haven't seen in three years.

And any time the pump price starts dropping, consumer spirits start rising.

Following the economy can be confusing.

But at least one thing has long been certain: the Bureau of Labor Statistics will release its monthly jobs report at exactly 8:30 a.m. on a Friday.

Next week, Tuesday will feel like a Friday.

That's because late Thursday afternoon, the BLS updated its post-shutdown schedule for data releases. The new schedule shows that the long-delayed and much-anticipated September employment report will come out on Tuesday.

Talk to economists about the government shutdown's impact on their forecasts and you'll hear this phrase again and again:

Flying blind.

For economists and investors, "at this moment, we are flying blind," said Alan Greenspan, former chairman of the Federal Reserve and now president of Greenspan Associates LLC, a consulting firm.

Greenspan is not alone in feeling a little lost without the compass of government reports.

When you invite guests over, you probably straighten up the house to make a good impression.

This week, the nation's capital is welcoming guests from all over the world. Thousands of finance ministers, central bankers, scholars and industry leaders are in Washington, D.C., for the annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank.

Starting a new job is always tough. You want early success to prove you really were the right pick.

That's especially true if you happen to be the first woman to hold that job. Ever.

So when President Obama on Wednesday nominated Janet Yellen to lead the Federal Reserve, she might have had two reactions: 1) Yippee and 2) Uh-oh.

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