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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Economy
9:55 am
Wed February 6, 2013

With Gasoline Prices Rising, Consumers Are Having A Tough Year

Raul Rivero fills up in Miami. Having less take-home pay at the same time gas prices are rising could dampen consumer spending, economists say.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Wed February 6, 2013 11:30 am

Business leaders involved in homebuilding, oil drilling or automaking are happy about the way 2013 has kicked off. Lower- and middle-income consumers, on the other hand, are feeling like the year has kicked them in the head.

"Consumers have not rebounded with the arrival of the new year," says Ed Farrell, director of consumer insight at the Consumer Reports National Research Center. "Middle-income Americans were particularly hard hit this month and appear to be losing ground."

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Business
8:57 am
Fri February 1, 2013

Jobs Still Lag, But Homebuilding May Soon Help

A new home under construction in Pepper Pike, Ohio. This spring's jobs data could look much brighter if housing heats up.
Tony Dejak AP

Originally published on Sat February 2, 2013 2:43 pm

Here in the depths of winter, U.S. economic numbers aren't looking so hot. This week, new reports showed growth started to freeze up last fall, and the unemployment rate rose a bit in January, to 7.9 percent.

But most economists say you shouldn't let those cold facts fool you: This spring's data could look much brighter if the housing market continues to heat up.

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The Two-Way
3:57 pm
Wed January 23, 2013

Transportation Secretary: Duration Of Dreamliner Review Is Unknown

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood speaks during a news conference at the Transportation Department in Washington in January.
Susan Walsh AP

If you were dreaming of flying soon in a Boeing 787 Dreamliner, you have to wake up: Federal Aviation Administration isn't rushing its review of the grounded aircraft.

"We need to get to the bottom of the recent issues with the batteries in the 787 and ensure their safety before these aircraft can be put back in service," U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said today at an Aero Club luncheon in Washington.

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Economy
10:00 am
Thu January 10, 2013

Three New 'Cliffs' Threaten The Economy

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange Jan. 2. Financial market participants will be keeping a close eye on upcoming deadlines affecting the U.S. debt ceiling, scheduled automatic budget cuts and federal funding.
AFP AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 11, 2013 1:39 pm

Maybe you were hoping you'd never hear the phrase "fiscal cliff" again after Congress passed legislation Jan. 1 to address that tax-break-expiration deadline.

Sorry.

Three more cliff-type deadlines are fast approaching. They involve: 1) raising the federal debt ceiling 2) modifying automatic, across-the-board spending cuts and 3) funding the government to avert a shutdown.

The deadlines all hit between Valentine's Day and Easter, which means new rounds of chaotic congressional negotiations may start up just after the Jan. 21 presidential inauguration parade ends.

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Economy
12:40 pm
Fri January 4, 2013

As 2013 Begins, A 'Pretty Positive' Job Outlook

The health care sector added 45,000 jobs in December and is expected to see continued growth this year, economists say.
iStockphoto.com

If you're searching for work in this new year, the Labor Department's final jobs report for 2012 suggests: The trend is your friend in 2013.

The jobs outlook is actually "pretty positive," said John Challenger, chief executive officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, an employment consulting firm.

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U.S.
1:20 pm
Thu January 3, 2013

The Phantom Tax That Made The Deficit Look Better

The alternative minimum tax created a "useful fiction," as one analyst says, by appearing to shrink budget deficits.
Tim Boyle Getty Images

As Americans continue to sort out the contents of the fiscal cliff legislative package passed by Congress Tuesday, they are finding elements they like and some they hate.

There's one exception. Everyone is glad Congress finally found a permanent fix for the alternative minimum tax.

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Economy
11:28 am
Wed January 2, 2013

Economists See (OK-ish) Growth In 2013

Farmer Randy Dreher unloads corn from his combine during harvest north of Audubon, Iowa. Farm exports are booming and high global prices are helping growers despite the U.S. drought.
Gary Fandel/Iowa Farm Bureau AP

Originally published on Thu January 3, 2013 7:07 am

Suddenly, the new year is looking a bit brighter — at least in the eyes of most economists and investors.

On Day 1 of 2013, Congress voted to veer away from the "fiscal cliff" by passing a package of provisions that avoided broad tax hikes and big spending cuts. And on Day 2, stock prices shot up.

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Economy
9:30 am
Mon December 24, 2012

The 2012 Economy Brought Glad Tidings To Many

Construction workers build a home in Palo Alto, Calif. A real turnaround seemed to take hold in the housing sector in 2012 after years of fits and starts.
Paul Sakuma AP

Originally published on Mon December 24, 2012 11:56 am

After years of recession and slow recovery, maybe you didn't notice. But it turns out, 2012 was a fairly good year for the U.S. economy.

The Standard & Poor's 500-stock index has risen nearly 14 percent this year and the unemployment rate has fallen to 7.7 percent, the lowest point in four years. Inflation and interest rates have stayed low, allowing families to cut their debt loads.

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The Two-Way
4:31 pm
Mon December 17, 2012

Investors Shun Gun Makers As Gun-Control Talk Increases

Originally published on Tue December 18, 2012 10:00 am

(Scroll down for a Tuesday morning update.)

On Wall Street, investors appear to be listening closely to the growing talk in Washington about curbing assault weapons.

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It's All Politics
9:49 am
Tue December 11, 2012

Fiscal Cliff Calendar: What Happens When

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue December 11, 2012 11:39 am

As weary as many Americans grew of campaign commercials last month, they may be getting even more annoyed this month by endless talk of the fiscal cliff, the massive collection of tax increases and spending cuts set to take effect at year's end.

It's easy to understand the urge to stick fingers in ears and loudly chant "la-la-la-la." The budget problems are indeed complicated, and the negotiations tedious.

But resolving the mess is extremely important: Without a solution, every person who gets a paycheck or has investments will see his or her taxes rise.

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Economy
10:02 am
Fri December 7, 2012

A Good Jobs Report Might Be Bad For The Jobless

Judy Smith, of Dalton, Ga., looks over paperwork as she files for unemployment benefits in August after being laid off from a catering job. More than 2 million people who get extended benefits may lose them if Congress doesn't act soon.
David Goldman AP

Originally published on Fri December 7, 2012 11:49 am

The Labor Department's glad tidings Friday about the uptick in job creation last month might morph into bad news next month for many of the long-term unemployed.

That's because the boost in November hiring, with employers adding 146,000 jobs, might make it more difficult for Democrats to argue in favor of having Congress renew the extension of benefits for people out of work more than six months.

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The Two-Way
2:52 pm
Wed December 5, 2012

For The Aerospace Industry 'Fiscal Cliff' Represents A Red Alert

Originally published on Wed December 5, 2012 3:05 pm

It's red alert time for aerospace industry executives, workers and contractors.

As they mingled today at the Aerospace Industries Association's annual Year-End Outlook luncheon at a Washington Grand Hyatt, the bright red electronic digits kept counting down for them.

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Business
2:19 pm
Mon November 26, 2012

A Jolly Christmas? Retailers Count The Extra Days

Shoppers line up in a Best Buy store in Rockville, Md., during a Black Friday sale. Thanksgiving weekend sales jumped nearly 13 percent from last year, the National Retail Federation says.
Mandel Ngan AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue November 27, 2012 6:49 am

For merchants, the stars are lining up — at least so far.

Online shopping jumped more than 28 percent on Cyber Monday compared with a year ago, according to IBM Benchmark. And the National Retail Federation says Thanksgiving weekend spending shot up to $59.1 billion, nearly 13 percent more than last year's $52 billion.

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Your Money
10:56 am
Tue November 13, 2012

How The Alternative Minimum Tax Could Slam You

Customers line up at an H&R Block office in Nashville, Tenn., on April 17, the deadline for filing 2011 federal income taxes.
Mark Humphrey AP

Originally published on Tue November 13, 2012 11:29 am

Seriously, again?

Anyone who follows the adventures of the alternative minimum tax has to be getting sick of the many sequels. Again and again, this unpopular income tax threatens to hit middle-class families with large and unexpected tax increases.

And each time the threat reappears, Congress applies a "patch" to fix the problem temporarily. That makes the threat an annual event — along with the associated congressional hand-wringing and taxpayer confusion.

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Economy
3:30 am
Sun November 11, 2012

How The Fiscal Cliff Would Hit The Economy

President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner at the White House in July 2011. They are scheduled to meet at the White House again next week to discuss the looming fiscal cliff.
Carolyn Kaster AP

Originally published on Sun November 11, 2012 2:05 pm

This week, President Obama will meet with congressional leaders to begin working out a deal to avert a budget calamity commonly known as the fiscal cliff.

Economists are unanimous in saying that if the leaders fail to keep the country from going over the "cliff," both the stock and labor markets will fairly quickly go "splat."

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The Two-Way
1:14 pm
Wed November 7, 2012

Shake A Leg Or Throw A Fist? Which Will It Be On Capitol Hill?

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky (left) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada during their recent interview with CBS News' 60 Minutes.
CBSNews.com

Originally published on Wed November 7, 2012 2:44 pm

Shall we dance?

That's the key question for Congress now that another budget crisis is near. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev, today said he's ready to do a little two-stepping with Republicans to twirl away from the edge of the so-called fiscal cliff.

"It's better to dance than to fight," the former amateur boxer told reporters at a press conference. "Everything doesn't have to be a fight."

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It's All Politics
3:22 am
Wed November 7, 2012

After Election, Congress Turns To 'Fiscal Cliff,' Other Money Issues

If Congress fails to address the alternative minimum tax, millions of households could see their federal 2012 tax bills jump.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed November 7, 2012 8:40 pm

For months, Americans have been watching the presidential political drama play out nightly on the news. Now, with President Obama's victory, that story is ending.

But for the economy, an action thriller is just beginning.

Congress has just weeks to jump to the rescue of an economy moving closer and closer to the so-called fiscal cliff. That phrase refers to a $600 billion cluster of automatic spending cuts and tax hikes — all coming together at year's end.

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It's All Politics
12:11 am
Wed November 7, 2012

Business, Labor Groups Laud Obama Victory

Originally published on Wed November 7, 2012 12:17 am

Exit polls showed the economy was Issue No. 1 with voters in this presidential election. And it didn't take long for labor organizers and business leaders to start offering their thoughts on the re-election of President Obama.

Because of White House policies, the U.S. economy is "beginning to pick up steam," AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said in a statement. He cheered Obama's win and put congressional Republicans on notice that Democrats will focus on "ending the Bush tax cuts for the rich and opposing any cuts to Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid benefits."

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Economy
1:40 pm
Fri November 2, 2012

Sandy, Election Could Skew Future Jobs Reports

Workers clean up debris left by Superstorm Sandy in Long Beach Island, N.J., on Wednesday. The storm may lead to layoffs as business losses mount, but also could result in hiring related to rebuilding.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Originally published on Fri November 2, 2012 5:20 pm

Each month, the Labor Department issues an employment report. On Friday, that report showed job creation rose in October — and it revealed something more.

With its latest unemployment assessment, the government in effect took a BEFORE snapshot of the U.S. economy. It collected all of the data before Superstorm Sandy slammed into the East Coast and before the election outcome could be known. Each of those two events has the potential to change the AFTER outlook.

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The Two-Way
1:55 pm
Tue October 30, 2012

Keeping Sandy's Economic Impact In Perspective

A truck drives through a flooded street caused by Hurricane Sandy in New York City's Financial District on Tuesday.
Andrew Burton Getty Images

Originally published on Wed October 31, 2012 8:32 am

When Superstorm Sandy slammed into the East Coast on Monday, the fragile U.S. economy was just sitting there, stuck in a sluggish-growth mode.

Now, as the massive cleanup begins, business owners, workers and investors are wondering what impact the megastorm ultimately will have on their wallets. Did Sandy weigh down economic activity enough to drown the recovery? Or will the rebuilding efforts boost growth over the longer term?

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The Two-Way
2:42 pm
Mon October 29, 2012

Hurricane Sandy's Economic Impact Likely To Be Immense

Waves crash over a road as Hurricane Sandy comes up the coast Monday in Winthrop, Mass. Economists are predicting the storm will cost tens of billions of dollars.
Darren McCollester Getty Images

Originally published on Mon October 29, 2012 3:12 pm

Economists will need many days — maybe weeks or months — to assess the financial harm being done by Hurricane Sandy. But whatever the final figure, it will be huge, well into the tens of billions of dollars.

More than 60 million Americans are feeling the impact of the weather monster slamming New York, New Jersey, Maryland, the District of Columbia, Virginia, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and many other states. The howling mix of wind, rain and snow is causing massive direct losses, i.e., the destruction of private homes, stores, boats and cars.

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Business
11:36 am
Wed October 24, 2012

Mortgage Interest Deduction Could Be In Play

About 34 million taxpayers take the mortgage interest deduction, for a typical savings of approximately $600 a year.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed October 24, 2012 4:23 pm

In coming months, Congress will begin an epic struggle to get the federal budget deficit under control. One tax break almost certain to come into play is the mortgage interest deduction.

Both President Obama and his Republican rival, Mitt Romney, have suggested ways to scale back the deduction's value for wealthy taxpayers. And many economists are cheering them on, saying that now — when interest rates are low — would be a great time to reduce or even phase out the deduction.

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Business
11:08 am
Mon October 22, 2012

Can U.S. Still Lead In Economic And 'Soft' Power?

A Ford Focus on the assembly line in Wayne, Mich. "We have a lot going for us; we've got our problems, but others have problems that are as bad or worse," says Nariman Behravesh, chief economist at IHS Global Insight.
Bill Pugliano Getty Images

Originally published on Mon October 22, 2012 12:28 pm

At Monday night's foreign policy debate, the first round of questions for the presidential candidates will involve "America's role in the world."

The answers from President Obama and former Gov. Mitt Romney likely will focus on military readiness and anti-terrorism efforts. That's what most Americans would expect to hear, given that their country has been involved continuously in overseas combat since the terrorist attacks of 2001.

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Business
2:59 am
Fri October 19, 2012

Investors' Funds Are Recovering, But Not Their Nerves

Originally published on Fri October 19, 2012 8:14 am

Chicken Little was running wild 25 years ago today. But one could hardly blame the poultry for panicking.

On Oct. 19, 1987, the stock market plunged a record-setting 23 percent. The next day, the New York Daily News' front page screamed "Panic!" and a New York Times headline asked: "Does 1987 equal 1929?"

Turns out, the 1987 plunge was a mere stutter step. The Dow Jones industrial average, which closed at 1,739 that day, quickly bounced back. Within a decade, the stock-price average had nearly quintupled.

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The Two-Way
11:36 am
Tue October 16, 2012

Citigroup CEO's Exit Leaves Wall Street Scratching Its Head

Vikram Pandit on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on in June.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

Today's announcement that Vikram Pandit had abruptly resigned as chief executive of banking giant Citigroup has left competitors, analysts and media pundits stunned and sputtering.

"This comes as a huge surprise," William George, a Goldman Sachs board member, said in an interview on CNBC.

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Economy
9:30 am
Tue October 16, 2012

5 Questions 'Real' People Might Ask At The Debate

An audience member holds up his hand at a Mitt Romney town hall meeting in Dayton, Ohio, in March. Audience members will be allowed to ask questions at the second presidential debate, being held Tuesday night in Hempstead, N.Y.
Gerald Herbert AP

As this election year began, political pundits insisted the No. 1 issue would be the economy. They expected the candidates to offer voters detailed plans for encouraging job growth.

Now, with the election just three weeks away, many Americans are still scratching their heads, wondering what exactly President Obama and former Gov. Mitt Romney would do to improve the economy.

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Business
9:10 am
Thu October 11, 2012

Beep If You Understand Veep Buzzwords

Wind turbines dwarf a church near Wilson, Kan. The White House wants to extend a federal wind energy credit, but the Romney campaign wants to let it expire.
Charlie Riedel AP

Originally published on Thu October 11, 2012 10:07 am

When Vice President Joe Biden and U.S. Rep Paul Ryan face off during their only debate, tens of millions of Americans will tune in to hear them defend their running mates' records.

And that audience Thursday night also will hear lots of budget-related buzzwords, with meanings that may not be entirely clear. Those words are shorthand for policies that could have huge impacts on taxpayers and the annual $1 trillion budget deficit.

Brushing up on terms of the debate can help voters better understand what's really being said on the stage at Centre College in Kentucky.

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The Two-Way
2:49 pm
Wed October 10, 2012

JPMorgan Chase CEO: 'I Should Have Caught' $5.8 Billion Error

JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, wearing a dark suit possibly made of sackcloth, didn't hold back when discussing the derivative trades that led to massive losses for his company.

"We made a stupid error," he said before a lunchtime audience at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington on Wednesday. "We screwed up."

Then he got more specific: "I should have caught it ... I didn't."

The company estimates it lost $5.8 billion, thanks to a London-based trader, nicknamed the "London whale," who took large, risky positions in credit derivatives.

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Business
10:27 am
Fri October 5, 2012

One Jobs Report, Two Different Political Spins

Democrats say the economy is growing and jobs consistently are being added. But Republicans note that the pace is far too slow to absorb the more than 12 million people still looking for work.
Mladen Antonov AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri October 5, 2012 1:22 pm

With a new report showing the nation's unemployment rate fell to 7.8 percent last month, the Obama administration got good news Friday: Jobs are indeed growing. But, as Republicans noted, the pace remains well below the level needed to provide paychecks for the 12.1 million people seeking them.

The truth is, each party could find evidence to support either a positive or negative spin on the labor market, which is recovering — yet weak.

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Election 2012
5:35 am
Wed October 3, 2012

Before The Debate, Brush Up On Buzzwords

The General Motors headquarters in Detroit. The U.S. government bailout of GM and Chrysler has been a key economic issue in the presidential campaign.
Carlos Osorio AP

Originally published on Wed October 3, 2012 6:56 am

In their first debate Wednesday night, the two presidential candidates will explain their plans for fixing the U.S. economy.

Good luck.

The problems are complicated and long-standing, so the solutions may not be easy to spell out in the two minutes allowed for each answer under the debate rules.

But President Obama, the Democratic incumbent, and former Gov. Mitt Romney, his Republican challenger, will try, and about 60 million people are expected to tune in. This first debate will focus on domestic issues, with the economy topping the list of homefront problems.

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