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.

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A report obtained by NPR paints a bleak portrait of Puerto Rico's economic future, saying its deficit is much larger than previously thought.

"Puerto Rico faces hard times," says the report which was commissioned by the Government Development Bank and written by three former and current International Monetary Fund economists. It is to be released on Monday.

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Republicans are often seen as the party of business. So it's a little ironic that some of the most vocal opposition to the Export-Import Bank comes from conservative Republicans, such as Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan.

"If we're ever going to get rid of all the corporate connectedness, all the corporate welfare, you've got to start with the most egregious one and the most obvious one and that's the Export-Import Bank," he says.

Four major banks — Citicorp, JPMorgan Chase, Barclays and the Royal Bank of Scotland — have agreed to plead guilty to currency manipulation and pay over $5 billion in fines. Officials say that traders from the banks, who allegedly called themselves "the cartel," used secret codes to manipulate the exchange rate between U.S. dollars and Euros. Meanwhile, the Justice Department has taken the unusual step of tossing out what's called a deferred prosecution agreement against a fifth bank.

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It has been five years since the so-called flash crash on Wall Street raised big questions about computerized trading. What caused the flash crash has been a topic of debate ever since. U.S. officials revived the debate this week by arresting a little-known trader in London.

May 6, 2010 started out as an ordinary trading day on Wall Street. Then, at around 2:45 in the afternoon, the Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged nearly 600 points within the space of a few minutes, before correcting itself.

Officials of Comcast and Time Warner Cable met Wednesday with federal regulators to discuss the companies' proposed $45 billion merger. The deal would create a single company that would control large parts of the cable TV and broadband Internet markets.

A published report said recently that Justice Department staff members have decided to oppose the deal on antitrust grounds. But company officials are using a lot of firepower to get the deal approved.

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Earlier this month, the flooring retailer Lumber Liquidators got the kind of attention companies dread. CBS' 60 Minutes did a story saying the company's products have unsafe levels of formaldehyde, a known carcinogen.

This week, Wisconsin became the nation's 25th right-to-work state. It passed a law saying workers cannot be forced to join labor unions, or pay union dues, to keep a job.

There's a concerted effort in many states to pass laws that would weaken the power of labor unions. But unions and their allies are also fighting back in many places.

The Great Recession exacted a huge toll on people in every income group, and recovering from it has been a long and grueling process.

To some economists, the recovery has exacerbated the very real trend toward income inequality in the United States. French economist Thomas Piketty has noted that between 2009 and 2012 incomes have grown, but almost all of those gains have gone to the wealthiest 1 percent.

It's a claim that has been repeated often, but Steven Rose of George Washington University says it needs to be put in perspective.

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At Fieldale Farms in Gainesville, Ga., workers cut up chicken breasts and feed the parts into machines. The pieces are then marinated, breaded and eventually sold to restaurants.

The work here can be physically demanding. Not a lot of people want to do it — even though the average wage here is $16 per hour plus benefits.

Tom Hensley, the company president, says Fieldale Farms hires just about anyone who can pass a drug test.

"We hire 100 people a week. Because we have 100 people who quit every week, out of 5,000 employees," he says. "We're constantly short."

The number of Americans buying autos approached a record high last year. It's one more sign of how much the economy is improving.

But there's a big potential downside that's evoking comparisons to the subprime mortgage boom. Auto dealers are extending loans to a growing number of people with weak credit, and more of them are having trouble making payments.

When Chris Westervelt moved from Texas to Alaska to take a job, he decided to trade in his Mazda for a car that could handle snow and ice.

This year, there will be an important change in the way Americans use their credit cards. More banks will be issuing cards with small computer chips, a move they say will protect against credit card fraud.

But banks are stopping short of another step that will make credit card usage even safer. And a lot of retailers aren't too happy about it.

Among the changes to U.S. restrictions on Cuba President Obama announced Wednesday was a relaxation of the rules barring U.S. banks from doing business there.

Americans traveling in Cuba will now be able to use their credit cards and ATM cards, but many U.S. banks see the new rules as something of a legal minefield.

A trial gets under way in St. Louis on Monday that could have a big impact on the way companies select 401(k) plans for their employees.

Lockheed Martin is being sued for choosing retirement funds that shortchanged its employees and charged high fees. The case tests the limits of a company's responsibilities to its employees at a time when 401(k) plans have become a central part of the nation's retirement system.

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Wall Street bankers faced questions before Congress yesterday.

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They're executives from Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and JPMorgan Chase.

RATH: And they defended their banks in front of a Senate investigator.

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