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.

Financial planners all say: The sooner you start saving, the better off you'll be in retirement.

But that advice often goes unheeded by young workers focused on paying down student debt and car loans. And even for those who can afford to set aside a little cash, investing can seem complicated and risky.

For more than four years, the unemployment rate has been sliding down — from a 10 percent peak to today's 6.7 percent.

But does that reflect a fast-strengthening economy? Or is the rate falling only because so many people are dropping out of the workforce?

In coming weeks, members of Congress and the Federal Reserve Board will be making big policy decisions based upon their best understanding of those unsettled questions.

Christine Lagarde, who heads the International Monetary Fund, offered some positive comments about Congress on Wednesday.

Her assessment was a shade better than "faint praise," but something less than "Attaboy!"

Speaking at the National Press Club, Lagarde said she was pleased to see U.S. lawmakers have been moving forward "in a more orderly fashion" as they work on spending legislation.

Whether you had a job or were looking for one, December was a gloomy month.

The Labor Department said Friday that for December, employers added only 74,000 jobs — about a third as many as most economists had been predicting. That was the lowest level of job creation in three years — not exactly the news that 10.4 million job seekers wanted to hear.

Blue-collar workers, hit hard by automation and factory offshoring, have been struggling to find high-paying jobs.

One industry does offer opportunity: As baby boomers retire and drilling increases, oil and gas companies are hiring. They added 23 percent more workers between 2009 and 2012.

But the hiring spree has come with a terrible price: Last year, 138 workers were killed on the job — an increase of more than 100 percent since 2009.

Back in ye olden days — say, a decade ago — many holiday shoppers worried about using credit cards to buy gifts online. They feared their information would end up in the hands of computer hackers.

Turns out, walking into a store and swiping a credit card can be plenty risky, too.

Time and again, business leaders say the one thing they want out of Washington is more certainty.

But rarely do they get their wish.

In recent years, business owners have found themselves wondering whether their government would default on its debts, shut down national parks, change tax rules, cancel supplier contracts, confirm key leaders at federal agencies or hike interest rates.

Finally on Wednesday, they saw policymakers take two big steps toward a more certain future.


That's the number the Federal Reserve Board's policymakers wanted to see this year. Having an annual inflation rate of 2 percent would confirm that the U.S. economy is strengthening — workers are getting raises and companies are seeing enough customer demand to mark up prices.

But the 2 percent target turned out to be too high.

Unless Congress acts very quickly, some 1.3 million workers will lose their extended jobless benefits on Dec. 28.

Democrats were scrambling late Wednesday to link an extension of benefits to a budget deal that is expected to get a vote as soon as Thursday. But if the effort fails, they will come back at it in 2014.

"We're going to push here after the first of the year for an extension of emergency unemployment insurance when the Senate convenes after the new year," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said on Wednesday.

Twenty years ago, millions of Americans were cocking their ears — waiting to hear a "giant sucking sound."

They feared Mexico would begin vacuuming up U.S. manufacturing jobs as soon as President Clinton signed the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA, on Dec. 8, 1993.

Here's something you haven't heard in years: The U.S. economy had a great week.

When Americans drive to their Thanksgiving gatherings this week, they will have one more blessing to count: lower costs.

Gasoline is cheaper than last year. Turkey prices are down, too. And retailers are joining in, offering big discounts on TVs and other goods.

For people who watch every penny, this Thanksgiving will be a good time for pinching.

From the start, airline analysts had been predicting that an antitrust lawsuit would not stop the $11 billion deal to combine US Airways and American Airlines.

They saw the suit, filed in August, as a government negotiating tactic, not a deal-breaker.

On many economic issues, Americans are deeply divided. But when it comes to giving pay raises to minimum wage workers, voters overwhelmingly say: Do it.

That message jumped out Tuesday when more than 6 in 10 voters in New Jersey approved an increase in their state's minimum hourly wage. In January, the wage will rise to $8.25, well above the federal minimum of $7.25 an hour.

When many Americans hear the word "globalization," they think: "jobs going overseas."

And sometimes it does mean just that.

But as globalization knits nations closer together, foreign companies increasingly are creating jobs in the United States, not luring them away. Despite the Great Recession, slow recovery and political dysfunction in Washington, the United States remains a top destination for the world's wealth.

Look around. Do you see much inflation?

Gas prices are down more than 7 percent from last year. Grocery costs haven't budged lately. And — just in time for Halloween — the price of candy is down 2.3 percent from last year, according to the government's consumer price index released Wednesday.

When you invite guests over, you probably straighten up the house to make a good impression.

This week, the nation's capital is welcoming guests from all over the world. Thousands of finance ministers, central bankers, scholars and industry leaders are in Washington, D.C., for the annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank.

The next couple of days will bring fireworks, hot dogs — and a new unemployment report.

At least the first two will be fun.

As for Friday's job-market assessment, the Labor Department report likely will show little or no change in the 7.6 percent unemployment rate. "There is still a general weakness in the labor market," says Daniel North, economist with Euler Hermes, a credit insurance company.

Overtime or comp time? Which one suits you best?

Both you and your boss may agree it would be best for you to work a sixth day when a big project is due in March, and then take off for a long weekend in June. No big deal.

But under the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, private employers must pay time and a half to workers who put in more than 40 hours on the job in any one week.

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.

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.

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.

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.

A fierce drought has been scorching crops this summer, but it's still too soon to know exactly how much of a hole it will burn in your wallet.

Facebook is about to find out just how many people like it.

The wildly popular social networking media company decided Wednesday to begin allowing its many "friends" in the public to buy its stock — likely in late spring.

The company, which has more than 800 million users, filed documents with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission saying it is going forward with an initial public offering. The company set the price to bring in $5 billion with those initial shares, making this one of the biggest market debuts in history.