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.

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Business
5:03 am
Wed January 21, 2015

To Drive Economy Toward Equality, Obama Requests More Spending

President Obama delivers his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress on Tuesday night.
Mandel Ngan AP

Originally published on Wed January 21, 2015 12:05 pm

President Obama revved up quickly for his economic victory lap.

"After a breakthrough year for America, our economy is growing and creating jobs at the fastest pace since 1999," President Obama said less than a minute into his State of the Union address Tuesday night.

The lap was fueled by cheap gas: "We are as free from the grip of foreign oil as we've been in almost 30 years," he said.

Democrats roared.

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Business
11:04 am
Mon January 5, 2015

Housing In 2015: Four Reasons For Optimism (And One For Worry)

A builder works on the construction of new homes in Belmar, N.J. Increased hiring and a boost in consumer confidence are expected to lift the housing market this year.
Mel Evans AP

Originally published on Mon January 5, 2015 12:43 pm

Six years ago, homebuilders and Realtors were facing brutal business conditions: millions of Americans were losing their jobs and homes.

As 2015 begins, hiring is strong and economic indicators are pointing up. Could this be the year when the housing market finally breaks out of its tepid recovery and takes off?

Economists see several reasons why 2015 might be a banner year for homebuying — and not just in San Francisco and Miami.

They also see One Big Factor that potentially could block a buying binge.

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Business
10:02 am
Mon December 29, 2014

Looking To 2015, Economists See 5 Reasons To Celebrate

Target shoppers Kelly Foley (from left), Debbie Winslow and Ann Rich use a smartphone to look at a competitor's prices while shopping shortly after midnight on Black Friday, in South Portland, Maine.
Robert F. Bukaty AP

Originally published on Mon December 29, 2014 10:39 am

Each December, economists make predictions. And each new year, they get hit by unexpected events that make them look more clueless than prescient.

This year's bolt out of the blue was the plunge in oil's price, which no one saw coming.

Still, top economists' forecasts did get a lot right for 2014. One year ago, most were predicting healthy growth, tame inflation, low interest rates, rising stock prices and declining unemployment — and that's just what we got.

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Business
1:23 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

Economists: Congress Gets A Hat Tip (Barely) For Its Efforts

The Capitol's dome and Christmas tree are illuminated on Dec. 11 as Congress worked to pass a $1.1 trillion U.S. government-wide spending bill and avoid a government shutdown.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Tue December 16, 2014 10:59 pm

As the latest Congress draws to a close, economists are looking back — and seeing little.

Lawmakers passed no measures addressing tax reform, trade, immigration or even the minimum wage.

But judged by the very low standards of recent years, the 113th Congress did manage to win at least light applause from economists who are watching as the curtain goes down.

Sure, Congress allowed a disruptive government shutdown in 2013 — but it avoided repeating that drama in 2014.

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Economy
5:06 pm
Mon December 8, 2014

Some Liberals And Tea Partiers Unite To Oppose Trade Deals

Protesters of varied stripes and political affiliations gathered outside the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative where negotiators from 12 nations were meeting to discuss the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
James Clark NPR

Originally published on Mon December 8, 2014 6:15 pm

When it comes to environmental regulations, taxes and the minimum wage, business groups generally object to President Obama's positions, while liberals support him.

But one issue blurs the usual political lines: trade.

Just last week, Obama told the Business Roundtable he would push to complete massive trade deals with both Asian and European nations. "If we can get that done, that's good for American businesses," he said.

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Business
3:38 pm
Fri December 5, 2014

2014: The Year When The Job Market Finally Turned The Corner

A construction worker clears wood from a platform that spans the Penn Station railroad tracks in New York City on Nov. 18. Construction jobs rose by 20,000 according to the November jobs report.
Mark Lennihan AP

Originally published on Fri December 5, 2014 4:23 pm

As 2014 winds down, you might want to save that calendar hanging next to the fridge.

Maybe even frame it.

After so many years of misery for the middle class, 2014 is now looking like the one that finally brought relief. The November jobs report, released Friday by the Labor Department, had blowout numbers showing a surge in job creation, an upturn in work hours and a meaningful boost in wages.

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Business
1:01 pm
Mon November 24, 2014

The Economics Of Thanksgiving 2014

Originally published on Thu November 27, 2014 1:39 pm

Thanksgiving is remembered for feasts, family gatherings and ... awkward conversations.

You know what I'm talking about. You're back with relatives you haven't seen in years, and the conversation takes a frightening turn toward politics, religion or, worse, your love life.

You need help. You have to switch to a newsy but neutral topic. Here's a handy list of conversation changers you can use at any time.

Just start each sentence with, "Hey, did you know that ... " and here are the safe categories:

The Road

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The Two-Way
5:31 pm
Thu November 6, 2014

Jet Fuel Is Down, But Not Enough For A Thanksgiving Fare War

A plane takes off over a departure board at Hartsfield-Jackson Airport in Atlanta last November. Airlines say they expect an uptick in Thanksgiving travel this year.
David Goldman AP

Originally published on Fri November 7, 2014 9:29 am

Airlines are paying less for jet fuel these days. But don't expect that price drop to translate into Thanksgiving travel bargains for you.

Rather than cut fares, airlines are turning fuel savings into cash for acquiring aircraft, upgrading software, rewarding workers and attracting long-term investors, according to John Heimlich, chief economist for Airlines For America, A4A, a trade group.

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Business
12:29 pm
Wed November 5, 2014

Thumbs Up For Higher Minimum Wages, And For Marijuana Industry

Fast-food workers and activists demonstrate outside a Chicago McDonald's in July in favor of a higher minimum wage. Illinois voters on Tuesday called on the state Legislature to approve a $10 minimum wage.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Originally published on Wed November 5, 2014 3:44 pm

Besides electing lawmakers Tuesday, voters settled ballot initiatives affecting everything from soda-pop taxes to fracking to marijuana sales.

The outcomes varied, but there was one economic issue that united voters. Overwhelmingly, they approved raises for minimum-wage workers.

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Economy
10:52 am
Thu October 23, 2014

You're Enjoying Low Gas Prices, But Is It Really A Good Sign?

Macy Gould shared this photo from Lexington, Ky., where the gas prices are under $3.
Macy Gould Instagram

Originally published on Thu October 23, 2014 2:40 pm

All around the country, gasoline prices have been falling for weeks, down to an average of about $3 a gallon. Those lower prices are helping restrain inflation across the board.

On Wednesday, the Labor Department said its consumer price index barely inched up 0.1 percent last month. Over the past 12 months, the CPI has risen by 1.7 percent, roughly half of its historical average rate of increase.

That sounds great for consumers.

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Business
5:53 am
Wed October 22, 2014

Halloween-Thanksgiving-Hanukkah-Christmas-New-Year Buying Begins

Candice Nelson fits her daughter Arya Kubesh with a Halloween hat at a store at Galleria Mall in Edina, Minn. Retailers are hoping Halloween will give them a good bounce into the peak spending time of the year.
Elizabeth Flores MCT/Landov

Originally published on Thu October 23, 2014 8:58 am

At any big-box store, you can find the annual holiday mash-up now on garish display: Halloween costumes are stacked next to the decorative turkey napkins and pre-lit Christmas trees.

It's time to celebrate the Halloween-Thanksgiving-Hanukkah-Christmas-New-Year season!

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Business
9:27 am
Fri October 17, 2014

Predictions Of 'Peak Oil' Production Prove Slippery

Workers drill for oil in the Bakken shale formation outside Watford City, N.D., an area experiencing an oil boom.
Andrew Burton Getty Images

Originally published on Sat October 18, 2014 12:52 pm

The dustiest portion of my home library includes the 1980s books — about how Japan's economy would dominate the world.

And then there are the 1990s books — about how the Y2K computer glitch would end the modern era.

Go up one more shelf for the late 2000s books — about oil "peaking." The authors claimed global oil production was reaching a peak and would soon decline, causing economic chaos.

The titles include Peak Oil and the Second Great Depression, Peak Oil Survival and When Oil Peaked.

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The Two-Way
2:42 pm
Wed October 8, 2014

World Bank Says Ebola Could Inflict Enormous Economic Losses

A market area sat empty last month in Freetown, Sierra Leone, as the country's government enforced a three-day lockdown in an attempt to halt the spread of the Ebola virus.
Michael Duff AP

Originally published on Thu October 9, 2014 6:43 am

West Africa is a poor region, struggling to improve its economic growth.

It had been succeeding. Last year, Sierra Leone and Liberia ranked second and sixth among countries with the highest growth in gross domestic product in the world.

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The Two-Way
5:51 pm
Tue October 7, 2014

Disease, War And Terrorism Are Dimming Economic Prospects, Especially In Africa

Originally published on Wed October 8, 2014 10:34 am

In a world already weighed down by too much debt, new troubles are bubbling up. The Ebola virus, terrorist attacks and war are undermining many countries, which means "downside risks have increased" for the global economy.

That gloomy assessment was released Tuesday by the International Monetary Fund. Its forecast for this year's average global growth slid to 3.3 percent, down 0.4 percentage point from April.

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The Two-Way
6:26 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

Federal Reserve To Markets: Nothing To See Here; Move Along

"There are still too many people who want jobs but cannot find them," Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said Wednesday.
Susan Walsh AP

Originally published on Wed September 17, 2014 7:23 pm

The Federal Reserve's policymakers just eyeballed the economy and saw nothing new.

On Wednesday, they announced that wage and price hikes remain low, and that growth continues at a moderate pace. That means interest rates can stay superlow for a "considerable time," while the Fed's bond-buying program can wrap up next month, as expected.

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The Two-Way
7:24 pm
Mon September 8, 2014

Harvard Study Says Economy Is 'Doing Half Its Job.' Guess Which Half

People wait to sign up for unemployment Sept. 3 at the Atlantic City Convention Center in Atlantic City, N.J., where thousands of workers at the closing Revel and Showboat casinos recently were laid off.
Mel Evans AP

Originally published on Tue September 9, 2014 11:36 am

Need more evidence that the U.S. economy is moving on two tracks? A new Harvard Business School study, released Monday, may confirm your fears.

The report, "An Economy Doing Half Its Job," involved a survey of 1,947 alumni. The Harvard-educated business leaders expressed concerns about U.S. competitiveness in the global marketplace. But they were far more optimistic about the future for U.S. corporations than for that of workers, the survey showed.

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Business
1:17 pm
Tue August 19, 2014

To Fight Inflation, Forget The Barbecue And Just Go For A Drive

Take that scenic drive, because gasoline prices have fallen this summer.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue August 19, 2014 2:17 pm

If you're on a tight budget, here's a plan for enjoying late summer:

1) Take the family for a sightseeing drive.

2) When you get home, have a beer.

Don't do this:

1) Invite neighbors over for grilled steaks.

2) Make milkshakes for the kids.

Such budget-savvy conclusions can be drawn from the inflation report released Tuesday by the Labor Department.

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The Two-Way
1:46 pm
Fri August 8, 2014

Shazam! Now You Look Like A Better Borrower

Fair Isaac Corp. says its FICO credit-score calculations will no longer include information about bills that have been paid off or settled with a collection agency.
Courtney Keating iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri August 8, 2014 5:47 pm

Credit scores can have a huge impact on your life, largely determining your ability to get a home mortgage, a car loan or credit cards.

Soon, tens of millions of Americans will find their three-digit credit scores levitating upward — and without having to pay any new bills.

What's the magic?

It's a simple trick: Fair Isaac Corp. said Thursday that it is changing its widely used FICO credit-score calculations. The company plans to lighten up on consumers, making it easier for millions of borrowers to look better on paper.

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The Two-Way
2:12 pm
Tue July 29, 2014

Chances Are Pretty Good That's A Bill Collector Calling

According to the Urban Institute report, the typical adult in trouble with bill collectors has a median debt of $1,350.
DNY59 iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue July 29, 2014 2:43 pm

In about one-third of U.S. households, the sound of a phone or doorbell ringing may trigger a desire to duck.

That's because roughly 77 million adults with a credit file have at least one debt in the collection process, according to a study released by the Urban Institute, a research group. A credit file includes all of the raw data that a credit bureau can use to rank a borrower's creditworthiness.

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The Two-Way
1:37 pm
Mon July 28, 2014

It May Be Summer, But For Economists, This Week Feels Like Christmas

Chiang Ying-ying AP

Originally published on Mon July 28, 2014 4:31 pm

This week is summer's sweet spot — the peak time for pool parties, fresh-picked berries and cool drinks. But for economists, it may feel more like Christmas — so much to unwrap!

Each day will bring new decisions and reports that could have a big impact on the nation's economy. So economists, investors and workers will have plenty to ponder. Here's what's happening this week:

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Business
6:23 pm
Mon June 30, 2014

How Many Companies Will Be Touched By Court's Contraception Ruling?

The Supreme Court said protecting the free-exercise rights of owners of corporations, such as Hobby Lobby Stores, protects religious liberty.
Ed Andrieski AP

Originally published on Mon June 30, 2014 6:46 pm

When the Supreme Court ruled Monday that "closely held" corporations don't have to pay for workers' contraception, you may have assumed the decision applied only to family-owned businesses.

Wrong. An estimated 9 out of 10 businesses are "closely held."

However, some benefits experts question just how many of those companies would want to assert religious views.

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The Two-Way
1:51 pm
Fri June 27, 2014

U.K. Loses Big Vote On The Future Of Europe — Now What?

On the sidelines of the EU summit in Brussels, U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron said the choice of Jean-Claude Juncker to head the European Commission marks "a bad day for Europe."
John Thys AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri June 27, 2014 2:30 pm

The European Union made history Friday by bringing three of Russia's neighbors — Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova — under its economic tent.

The eastward expansion of trade agreements will push European influence deep into a region that Russia would like to dominate. In light of recent Russian aggression in Ukraine, that's a big deal.

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Business
1:22 pm
Sat May 31, 2014

Regulators And Airlines Fight Over Fares, Fees And Fairness

The government wants airlines to be more up front with passengers about the total cost of tickets.
Karen Bleier AFP/Getty Images

This week, the Department of Transportation hit Southwest Airlines with a $200,000 fine for touting a fare that did not exist. The carrier had said in a TV ad that customers in Atlanta could fly to New York, Chicago or Los Angeles for just $59. But the bargain fare turned out to be too good to be true.

Southwest, which paid a fine for a similar problem last year, says the ad was a mistake. The airline pulled it as soon as the error was discovered.

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Business
5:29 am
Sun May 25, 2014

It's Geithner Vs. Warren In Battle Of The Bailout

In a war of words between Timothy Geithner and Elizabeth Warren over the bank bailout, who's the victor?
Mandel Ngan AFP/Getty Images

The financial crisis of 2008 caused such an enormous upheaval that future historians will long be asking: Who caused it? Who fixed it? Could it have turned out better?

Recently, two key players looked back: Former Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner wrote Stress Test, Reflections on Financial Crisis, and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren wrote A Fighting Chance.

The two reached opposite conclusions. Geithner believes the bank bailout proved its worth. Warren remains outraged that wealthy bankers have not been jailed.

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The Two-Way
5:28 pm
Fri May 23, 2014

Economist Piketty's Work Doesn't Add Up, 'Financial Times' Says

French economist and academic Thomas Piketty, in his book-lined office at the French School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences, in Paris, earlier this month.
Charles Platiau Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Fri May 23, 2014 6:16 pm

French economist Thomas Piketty became a publishing superstar this year by putting two and two together and concluding that the rich are getting richer.

His best-seller, Capital in the Twenty-First Century, uses mountains of data to calculate Western wealth over the past two centuries. He says the historical statistics, drawn from many sources, show unrestrained capitalism inevitably leads to immense income inequality.

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Business
3:59 pm
Thu May 15, 2014

Housing Is Perking Up, But Realtors Worry About Young Buyers

iStockphoto

Originally published on Mon May 19, 2014 5:25 pm

The U.S. housing market is strengthening after a tough winter, according to economists at a Realtors convention in Washington.

But even as the short-term outlook brightens, they remain worried about a long-term problem with "missing" young buyers.

"There really are serious issues in the first-time-buyer market," Eric Belsky, managing director of Harvard's Joint Center of Housing Studies, told the National Association of Realtors on Thursday.

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Business
2:28 pm
Fri April 25, 2014

Gasoline Prices Rise As U.S. Refineries Send More Fuel Overseas

With so much fuel headed elsewhere, the national average price for a gallon of regular gasoline is now $3.69, compared with $3.53 a month ago, according to AAA.
Rich Pedroncelli AP

The weather is warming and vacation season approaching.

And, just as predictably, the price of gasoline is rising. It does that every spring as refineries switch to more expensive summer blends.

But this year, the seasonal price bump is getting an extra bounce. Gasoline is costing consumers about 5 percent more than last year at this time, even though oil supplies are abundant. Why?

Experts say U.S. retail prices are nudging higher in large part because Gulf Coast refineries are sending more gasoline to other countries.

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Economy
10:20 am
Sun April 13, 2014

Frustrated With Congress, IMF Heads Leave D.C. With Budding Idea

The U.S., the IMF's most powerful member, has refused to sign off on reforms. On Saturday, global leaders suggested the IMF would turn to other options if Congress doesn't act by year's end.
Mandel Ngan AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun April 13, 2014 10:41 am

As far as looks go, Washington turned in a dazzling performance as host city for this past week's meetings at the International Monetary Fund and World Bank.

Cherry blossoms peaked, tulips popped, and the air carried the sweet scent of hyacinths.

But politics-wise, Washington let down its global guests. They came begging Congress to approve a package of IMF reforms, but are leaving Sunday with nothing.

"We are all very disappointed by the ongoing failure to bring these reforms to conclusion," Australia's Treasurer Joe Hockey told reporters.

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The Two-Way
5:38 pm
Thu April 10, 2014

German Fears About U.S. Spying Could Hurt Trade Deal

A carnival truck caricatures President Obama and the NSA spying scandal during a parade through Frankfurt, Germany, last month.
Frank Rumpenhorst EPA/Landov

Originally published on Fri April 11, 2014 10:52 am

Most Americans and Germans agree: More trade between the United States and the European Union would be a good idea.

But when you get down to details of a possible trade pact, suspicions pop up, according to a new poll conducted by the Pew Research Center in association with Germany's Bertelsmann Foundation.

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Economy
11:49 am
Thu April 10, 2014

Wonk Week In Washington: When Briefings Are Better Than Blossoms

Pedestrians walk by the International Monetary Fund headquarters in Washington, D.C., site of the IMF/World Bank spring meetings.
Shawn Thew EPA/Landov

Originally published on Thu April 10, 2014 1:58 pm

Let the senior-citizen tourists stare at the fluffy pink cherry blossoms.

Let the Midwestern seventh-graders tilt their heads back and gaze gape-mouthed at the Washington Monument.

Sure, this is a lovely week for them to be in Washington, D.C. It's April. It's gorgeous.

But no one is happier to be here this week than the wonks. And no, not the I-read-a-good-article-in-The-Economist wonk wannabes.

This week is for the true, serious wonks who just can't get enough of lecture halls, hearing rooms and soggy hors d'oeuvres.

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