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 Tell Me More and 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 to 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 reporter for the Akron Beacon Journal.

Over the years, she has filed business news stories from China, Japan, South Africa and Europe.

Geewax was a 1994-95 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 in journalism from The Ohio State University.

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4:18pm

Fri June 22, 2012
Business

A Week Of Near-Calamities Erodes Confidence

Originally published on Fri June 22, 2012 4:24 pm

Vanessa Loren shops in Miami. An index of consumer sentiment dropped more than expected in June.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

When Moody's downgraded the credit ratings of most major U.S. banks on Thursday, you'd have thought Friday would be a tough day for bank stocks.

But bank stocks ticked up — largely because investors were relieved. They had feared the downgrades would be worse. The Dow Jones industrial average was recovering from Thursday's 250-point drop, the second-worst of the year.

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6:57am

Wed June 20, 2012
Business

The Fed In 3 Phrases: Decoding Bernanke And Co.

Originally published on Wed June 20, 2012 12:42 pm

Many economists are predicting Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and his fellow policymakers will continue to depress long-term rates.
Alex Brandon AP

The Federal Reserve — the nation's central bank — will end its two-day meeting on Wednesday by offering its assessment of the economy, and then declaring its latest plan for making things better.

Investors all over the world will be waiting to hear just how weak — or not — the Fed thinks the U.S. economy is. And they will be watching to see whether the bankers plan to continue trying to stimulate growth by extending two controversial programs, one known as Operation Twist, and the other as quantitative easing.

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8:44am

Fri June 15, 2012
Economy

Three Frightening Phrases You Should Understand

Originally published on Wed June 20, 2012 11:42 am

German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks during a press conference in Brussels.
John Thys AFP/Getty Images

The economy has so much going for it: low inflation, low interest rates, affordable homes, falling gasoline prices and 27 straight months of job growth. Good times, no?

No.

The economy is slowing, but not because of current conditions. The slowdown reflects the fear of what may be coming next. Economists say employers and investors are paralyzed by the uncertainty surrounding three huge problems: one in the United States, another in Europe and the third in China.

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7:07pm

Tue June 12, 2012
Your Money

Credit Card Debt Cut: The Reason May Surprise You

Originally published on Tue June 12, 2012 7:17 pm

iStockphoto.com

A Federal Reserve study showing that Americans lost wealth in the Great Recession turned up another, perhaps more surprising, result: Credit card debt fell sharply.

"The percentage of families using credit cards for borrowing dropped over the period; the median balance on their accounts fell 16.1 percent" between 2007 and 2010, the report concluded.

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12:06pm

Tue June 12, 2012
The Two-Way

Employers Could Fill Jobs If They Trained More, Complained Less, Prof Says

At any gathering of business owners, you're likely to hear about how hard it is to fill jobs because of a "skills gap."

Lots of employers say they want to hire welders, software engineers, nurses, oil-field workers and so many others, but can't find applicants with the right talents and education.

But Peter Cappelli, a professor of management at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School and director of its Center for Human Resources, says these complaints are largely bunk.

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9:55am

Tue June 12, 2012
Economy

The Fed's Tough Job Gets Harder In Election Year

Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke hasn't said whether the central bank will act to further stimulate the economy.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Americans who fear the economy is losing steam would like to see the Federal Reserve turn up the heat.

That might happen when the central bank holds its next meeting June 19-20. The Fed could take steps to drive interest rates even lower, or create fresh piles of cash to stimulate growth.

But with the election season gearing up, the Fed's ability to act boldly may be restrained. That's because the monetary policymakers want to preserve the Fed's credibility as a nonpartisan entity.

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6:20am

Tue June 5, 2012
Family Matters: The Money Squeeze

Baby Boom Money Squeeze Is Set To Get Tighter

Originally published on Tue June 5, 2012 7:55 am

Maryland resident Ida Christian, 89, began showing symptoms of Alzheimer's disease in 2009. Her daughter, Geneva Hunter, and granddaughter, Yolanda, decided to take a hands-on approach to Ida's care. Ida lives with Geneva, and Yolanda quit her job to become Ida's daytime caregiver.
Kainaz Amaria NPR

Part of the Family Matters series

Some financial problems have obvious solutions.

For example, colleges aren't graduating enough engineers. But as more students become wary of fat loans and slim job prospects, many may shift majors. Change is possible.

But that's not the case with this problem: The number of elderly Americans in need of expensive care is about to surge, and there's no stopping the calendar.

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11:07am

Fri June 1, 2012
Business

Employment Growth Slows As Jobless Benefits Shrink

Originally published on Fri June 1, 2012 6:14 pm

Aaron Moore completes a job application at a Los Angeles career fair on Thursday. Job growth has slowed sharply since the winter, the government said Friday.
Kevork Djansezian Getty Images

May's higher unemployment rate and meager job creation couldn't have come at a worse time for people like Julia Gray. A Chicago-based writer and editor with a master's degree, Gray said she has been unemployed for 17 months. "The media world in Chicago is dead and deader," she said.

"I was collecting unemployment benefits for a while," she said. "It helped a great deal — it was incredibly important."

But now her benefits have run out, and her employment search goes on.

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3:16am

Tue May 22, 2012
Business

Time To Move Grandma: What To Do With Her Home?

Originally published on Tue May 29, 2012 9:04 am

Frank Christian takes a break from packing in the dining room of his home in Glen Allen, Va., which he co-owned with his mother. The family recently sold the home in order to free up money for Ida's care.
Kainaz Amaria NPR

Making the decision to move a parent out of the homestead can hurt.

The house may be full of good ghosts and happy memories. But it also has too many steps and too much lawn to mow. So the time comes to pack up and move on.

A decade ago, at least one part of that transition wasn't so tough. When the for-sale sign went up, an eager buyer was likely to show up with a good offer. But today, families are facing a much more difficult real estate environment.

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10:50am

Fri May 18, 2012
Business

JPMorgan's Troubles And The Price Of Eggs

Originally published on Fri May 18, 2012 4:20 pm

Do complex Wall Street transactions ever do anything to help average people? To answer that question, we consider the case of an imaginary company, Chickens LLC, that's looking to grow.
Joern Pollex Getty Images

Journalists have spent many days and millions of words hashing over the news that banking giant JPMorgan Chase lost billions of dollars trading "synthetic" derivatives.

I am one of those journalists who, more or less, can understand what the bank says it was trying to do, i.e., hedge against loan losses. But here's what I have a hard time explaining:

What does this kind of complex trading have to do with the price of eggs?

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3:07am

Tue May 15, 2012
Family Matters: The Money Squeeze

Paying For College: More Tough Decisions

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 10:48 am

Kelley Hawkins (center) smiles at her daughter Carley (left) as her other daughter, Chelsea (right), looks on, in their family home in Harrisburg, Pa.
Kainaz Amaria NPR

Middle age is prime time for saving money. From your late 40s through early 60s, you're supposed to squirrel away cash to cope with health care costs in your old age.

But for millions of Americans, middle age also is the time when children are seeking help with higher-education bills, and elderly parents may be needing assistance with daily care.

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3:14am

Tue May 8, 2012
Family Matters: The Money Squeeze

Long-Term-Care Insurance: Who Needs It?

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 10:50 am

AnnaBelle Bowers' long-time physician, Walter Watkin, gives her a kiss on the forehead at the end of her visit. When asked how long she had been coming to see him, he said, "Long enough for her file to be 2 inches thick."
Kainaz Amaria NPR

Americans routinely buy all sorts of insurance — for cars, homes, health and even pets and boats.

But when it comes to long-term-care insurance, relatively few sign up. Out of more than 313 million Americans, only about 8 million have any such protection, according to the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance. The low participation rate largely reflects the high cost of long-term-care insurance.

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3:35pm

Fri May 4, 2012
Economy

'Dejected': Some Unemployed Give Up The Hunt

People wait at a job fair in New York City's Queens borough on Thursday. While millions of out-of-work Americans continue to seek employment, others have given up looking.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

The unemployment rate slipped a notch to 8.1 percent in April, but not because employers went on a hiring spree.

Instead, the jobless rate appeared to improve because fewer people were applying for positions. Last month, the civilian labor force shrank by 342,000 people.

Economists say many of those workforce dropouts were "discouraged" workers who moved to the sidelines after months, even years, of trying to nail down jobs.

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2:57am

Tue May 1, 2012
Business

Discovering The True Cost Of At-Home Caregiving

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 10:51 am

Maryland resident Ida Christian, 89, began showing symptoms of Alzheimer's disease in 2009. Her condition demands around-the-clock care.
Kainaz Amaria NPR

Walk through any nursing home, and your first thought might be: "I need to take care of Mom myself."

Few people want to turn over a loved one to institutional care. No matter how good the nursing home, it may seem cold and impersonal — and very expensive. But making the choice to provide care yourself is fraught with financial risks and personal sacrifices.

Those who become full-time caregivers often look back and wish they had taken the time to better understand the financial position they would be getting themselves into.

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3:29am

Tue April 24, 2012
Family Matters: The Money Squeeze

Preparing For A Future That Includes Aging Parents

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 10:52 am

Natasha Shamone-Gilmore (right) attends church with her husband, Curtis Gilmore (center), and her father, Franklin Brunson, 81. Shamone-Gilmore moved Brunson into her Capitol Heights, Md., home after he developed dementia.
Kainaz Amaria NPR

Planning a wedding is exciting.

Mapping out a vacation is fun.

Figuring how to afford care for your confused, elderly father? That one may never cross your mind — at least, not until you need more money to care for him.

"Never thought about it," Natasha Shamone-Gilmore, 58, says about her younger self. "Never ever."

She thinks about it a lot these days. Shamone-Gilmore, a computer trainer in Maryland, now shares a modest home with her husband, 24-year-old son and 81-year-old father.

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12:36pm

Tue April 17, 2012
The Two-Way

Former 'Car Czar' Rattner Gives Dodd-Frank A Qualified Endorsement

Steven Rattner — the "car czar" when the Obama administration was restructuring the auto industry in 2009 — today spoke in favor of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.

But it wasn't exactly a double thumbs up.

On a panel at an ideas conference in New York City, Rattner noted that before the financial crisis began in 2008, Wall Street was the "global leader in finance. ... But of course, it got out of control."

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12:02am

Tue April 17, 2012
Family Matters: The Money Squeeze

One Roof, Three Generations, Many Decisions

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 10:52 am

Ida Christian, who suffers from dementia, gets help from her granddaughter, Yolanda Hunter (left), in blowing out the candles on her birthday cake. Yolanda quit her lucrative job to become Ida's full-time caregiver.
Kainaz Amaria NPR

Part of the Family Matters series

The Great Recession slammed into all age groups, flattening the career dreams of young people and squeezing the retirement accounts of middle-aged savers. It financially crippled many elderly people who had thought they could stand on their own.

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6:22pm

Thu March 22, 2012
The Two-Way

Or Maybe They're Just Throwing Darts

Originally published on Thu March 22, 2012 7:14 pm

Lana Turner, center, is an interested listener as actress Ava Gardner leans over her to chat with Fernando Lamas, who is famous for saying, "It's better to look good, than feel good."
AP

Why do economists keep getting it wrong?

For months, the job market's strength has been exceeding economists' predictions. It happened again today: the Labor Department's weekly report on first-time jobless claims came in at just 348,000 — the lowest level in four years.

Most economists had predicted about 355,000 people had applied for unemployment benefits in the week ended March 17. So why do they keep missing the mark?

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6:23am

Sun March 11, 2012
Looking Up: Pockets of Economic Strength

Signs Of Recovery Emerge After A Long Downturn

Originally published on Mon March 12, 2012 10:08 am

While parts of the U.S. economy struggle, other sectors are seeing growth. Here, job seekers talk with recruiters at a career fair in Manhattan last month.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

Millions of Americans are still searching for jobs or facing home foreclosures. For them, the Great Recession drags on into its fifth year.

But for others, the U.S. economy is looking up.

Companies in certain sectors are buying equipment again and hiring workers. These pockets of strength — found in energy, technology, manufacturing, autos, agriculture and elsewhere — are helping invigorate the broader economy.

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2:40pm

Wed February 29, 2012
The Two-Way

Will Fed Chairman Bernanke Be Right This Time?

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke during his congressional testimony today.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

No one ever said economic forecasting was easy:

On the last day of February 2007, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke told Congress that "the fundamentals are very strong" for the U.S. economy.

And about those problems starting to show up in the housing market? "We don't see it as being a broad financial concern or a major factor in assessing the course of the economy," he said back then.

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4:33pm

Tue February 28, 2012
The Two-Way

Airline Trade Group: The Business Of Flying Is Tough

Originally published on Tue February 28, 2012 5:02 pm

For airlines, it ain't easy making a buck. In fact, even a penny is out of reach.

Airlines for America, a trade association for major U.S. carriers, says the industry earned less than half a penny in profits for every $1 of revenue generated during 2011.

The poor financial performance wasn't a fluke. Over the past decade, airlines have lost a collective $50 billion.

On Tuesday, the trade group said something has got to change. Association CEO Nicholas Calio sat down with journalists to explain a new industry push for a "National Airline Policy."

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8:49am

Mon February 27, 2012
Your Money

Warm Winter Is Helping Consumers Cope

Originally published on Mon February 27, 2012 2:14 pm

A woman takes in the sunshine while reading in Central Park on Feb. 1 in New York City, where temperatures topped 60 degrees.
Mario Tama Getty Images

The rapidly rising price of gasoline has not stalled the economic recovery — at least not yet. And one reason for that may be found in fields of daffodils.

This year's unusually warm winter has held down heating costs, helping consumers spend less on their monthly utility bills.

"Weather plays a big role" in determining what's left in your checking account as winter wraps up, said Jonathan Cogan, a spokesman for the Energy Information Administration.

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7:11am

Fri February 17, 2012
Economy

Does The Strengthening Economy Still Need Congress?

Originally published on Fri February 17, 2012 12:25 pm

Employment has been rising in recent months, but most economists say Congress should keep trying to boost consumer spending.
Mark Lennihan AP

Congress on Friday approved legislation to continue a payroll tax holiday and extend benefits for the long-term unemployed.

The goal is to make sure Americans have enough spending money to keep the recovery from faltering. President Obama is expected to sign the legislation.

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5:29pm

Wed February 15, 2012
The Two-Way

Robert Rubin: Economic Future Is Most 'Uncertain' He's Ever Seen

Former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin says the U.S. economic outlook is the most "uncertain" he has seen in his lifetime.

Given that he was born during the Great Depression (1938), and lived through the Cold War, the 1970s' inflation, a brutal 1980-82 recession and the recent global financial crisis, that may be saying a lot.

Rubin, who was President Clinton's Treasury secretary, is now co-chairman of the Council on Foreign Relations. He spoke Wednesday in Washington, D.C., at a conference called "American Competitiveness: What Works," sponsored by General Electric.

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1:53pm

Fri February 3, 2012
Economy

Have Economists Got It Wrong About The U.S.?

Originally published on Fri June 22, 2012 11:23 am

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke pauses during a hearing before the House Budget Committee on Feb. 28, 2007.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Five years ago, a subprime mortgage firestorm was melting down the U.S. economy, but most analysts didn't see it happening.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, testifying before Congress in February 2007, said the housing sector "is a concern, but at this point we don't see it as being a broad financial concern or a major factor in assessing the course of the economy."

If he and the vast majority of economists were blind to the economic and financial calamity taking shape then, could they also be missing the start of a huge economic boom now?

A boom? Really?

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2:12pm

Wed January 25, 2012
The Two-Way

Keystone Pipeline's Connection To Payroll Taxes? It's Up For Debate

Originally published on Wed January 25, 2012 3:36 pm

The Keystone XL pipeline is supposed to connect Canada to Texas. But does it also have to connect to a payroll tax holiday?

White House Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett, speaking today on NPR's Tell Me More, said no link should be made because the oil pipeline is not "germane" to legislation involving a tax holiday.

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12:32pm

Tue January 24, 2012
Business

Davos: A Super Bowl For Smart, Rich People

A guard stands next to a logo of the World Economic Forum at the Congress Center in the Swiss resort of Davos.
Fabrice Coffrini AFP/Getty Images

When winter reaches its dreariest depths each year, Americans cheer themselves by planning Super Bowl parties. They want to reconnect with friends, eat, drink and share observations about who is likely to win — or lose.

But if you are very smart or very rich or even better, both — then you break up the mid-winter blahs by going to Davos.

That's the Swiss town where the financially, intellectually and politically powerful convene each year to reconnect with friends, eat, drink and share observations about winning and losing.

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7:28am

Thu January 19, 2012
Business

So, Um, What Is A Private Equity Firm?

Originally published on Thu January 19, 2012 3:57 pm

Before entering politics in the 1990s, Romney co-founded Bain Capital, one of the nation's largest and most profitable private equity funds.
David L. Ryan Boston Globe via Getty Images

In the run-up to Saturday's GOP presidential primary in South Carolina, candidates have clashed over the role of Bain Capital — a firm that either creates or kills jobs, depending upon whom you believe.

Front-runner Mitt Romney sees the bright side. Before entering politics in the 1990s, he co-founded Boston-based Bain Capital, one of the nation's largest and most profitable private equity funds. He has said he created 100,000 jobs while at Bain.

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1:00pm

Thu January 12, 2012
It's All Politics

U.S. Chamber President Criticizes GOP's 'Intramural' Battle Over Bain

Originally published on Thu January 12, 2012 2:57 pm

U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Tom Donohue at a press conference Thursday in Washington.
Brendan Smialowski Getty Images

The "Battle Over Bain" has become a hot topic at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a key player in politics.

U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Tom Donohue says he is "disappointed" that some GOP presidential candidates are attacking front-runner and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney for his work at Bain Capital in the 1990s.

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3:38pm

Tue January 10, 2012
Business

The Optimists' Turn: EU's Crisis May Not Be So Bad

Originally published on Tue January 10, 2012 4:25 pm

A woman checks stock indexes of a bank in Milan. Some analysts say the turmoil in Europe may actually help the U.S. economy.
Luca Bruno AP

Europe's debt crisis is a huge threat to the U.S. economy. Or is it?

For many months, economists have been warning that Europe's debt troubles could spiral into a massive recession that drags down U.S. growth.

But some analysts say those fears may be wildly exaggerated. The U.S. economy has been "decoupling" from Europe for some time, and wouldn't be significantly harmed by any recession taking shape over there, they argue.

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