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.

U.S. health regulators acknowledged they miscalculated the amount of formaldehyde emitted from some of Lumber Liquidators' laminated floor products. Shares of the company fell sharply Monday on the news.

The Centers for Disease Control And Prevention says the risk of cancer is three times higher than it previously estimated, and it strongly urged Lumber Liquidators customers to take steps to reduce exposure to the substance. The company no longer sells the Chinese-made, laminate products.

As Bernie Sanders sees it, Wall Street got a big boost when U.S. taxpayers bailed out some of the largest financial institutions in 2008. Now it's time for Wall Street to return the favor.

Sanders has proposed something he calls a speculation tax, a small levy on every stock, bond or derivative sold in the United States.

The revenue would go toward free tuition at public colleges and universities and would also be used to pare down student debt and pay for work-study programs, as well as other programs, Sanders says.

Japan is venturing further into the terra incognito of negative interest rates, selling a 10-year government bond that actually costs its purchasers money over time.

In doing so, it joins a handful of European countries that have also lowered rates below zero.

The yield on the 10-year note sold by the Bank of Japan dipped to an unprecedented level of negative .05 percent, meaning that anyone who buys it will lose money.

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The Federal Reserve has decided to keep its benchmark interest rate where it is, even as Fed officials expressed somewhat more caution about global economic conditions.

In a statement issued after the end of policymakers' two-day meeting, the Federal Open Market Committee said the federal funds rate would stay at 25-50 basis points, where it was set at the Fed's December meeting.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is on a goodwill tour through Italy and France this week, trying to drum up investment for his country's sanctions-battered economy.

But Iran still faces challenges that make it hard for companies to do business with Tehran.

In a move that was loudly celebrated in Iran, the United States and other countries earlier this month agreed to lift an economic embargo that had been imposed in 2012 in an effort to curb Iran's nuclear program.

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ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Markets tumbled today, hard. It's a continuation of a recent rough patch on Wall Street. Already this year, both the Dow and the S&P are down more than 7 percent. NPR's Jim Zarroli joins us now to discuss the sour mood among investors. Hey, Jim

Lego says it is changing its guidelines for the purchase of large amounts of its iconic toy bricks, a policy that had generated a social media firestorm when used to block sales to Chinese artist Ai Weiwei.

The company said in a statement that it will no longer ask people who want to buy the bricks in bulk what they're using them for:

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Puerto Rico will default on bond payments worth about $37 million on Jan. 1, as it struggles to contend with a mountain of debt worth $72 billion, government officials said today.

Still, the commonwealth will be able to pay off most of the $328 million it owes on its general obligation debt — but that's only by clawing back some of the money from other government sources, Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla noted.

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