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.

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 report on the phenomenon known as "reshoring" — the opposite of offshoring — shows that while a growing number of companies are returning to the United States to do their manufacturing, the trend is smaller and less significant to the economy than it appears.

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.

Growth is slowing all over the world right now, and that's especially true in Europe. Much of the continent is on the brink of another recession, and even the German economy is sputtering to a halt.

Some of the weakest countries, such as Spain and Italy, are actually experiencing deflation — a broad drop in incomes and asset values. It's a painful process that can be hard to reverse once it starts.

Europe's long, slow economic downturn has taken its toll on Javier Oroz Rodriguez, who owns a butcher shop in downtown Madrid.

The U.S. unemployment rate has been falling steadily over the years. Down from the recession peak of 10 percent in 2009, it reached 5.9 percent in September.

That's getting close to what economists call the natural unemployment rate — the normal level of joblessness you'd expect in a healthy economy.

But a lot of economists are asking whether the old rules about full employment still apply.

It was another stomach-churning day on Wall Street. At one point, the Dow industrials were down 460 points — a huge drop that followed four consecutive days of stock market losses.

The decline more than wiped out the year's gains. But then late in the trading day, tocks started to recover. And by the close, the Dow's loss was a little more than 1 percent.

Investors are worried about a global economic slowdown, the Federal Reserve's next move and even the Ebola virus.

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Burger King is buying Tim Hortons, the Canadian coffee-and-donut chain, in a deal valued at $11 billion. The new company will be headquartered in Ontario, Canada, allowing Burger King to take advantage of Canada's lower corporate tax rate. The relocation is bound to cause controversy in the U.S.

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The legal battle between Argentina and its creditors grinds on with no sign of a resolution anytime soon. The dispute pits the government against two New York hedge funds that specialize in buying distressed debt.

These hedge funds bought Argentina's bonds at fire-sale prices and now stand to make huge profits off the country's financial troubles. But they've encountered a lot of resistance from the government.

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Both the United States and Europe announced new economic sanctions this week against Russia for its role in the conflict in Ukraine. Among other things, Western companies will no longer be able to sell Russia new technologies to develop its oil fields.

The move comes at a time when oil exports have become more important than ever for the Russian economy.

President Obama says the sanctions are meant to send a strong message:

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Talks aimed at resolving Argentina's debt crisis have broken down in New York. A court-appointed mediator has declared that the country will go into default. It is the second time the country has defaulted in about 12 years.

With a midnight deadline looming, the government and its creditors walked away without a deal late Wednesday.

Argentina has been waging a protracted legal battle with a small number of bondholders. They want to be paid in full for bonds they purchased years ago.

Russia says it will appeal an unfavorable decision by a court in The Hague. The Permanent Court of Arbitration awarded $50 billion to shareholders of the defunct Yukos oil company. Russia seized the company in 2003 and put owner Mikhail Khodorkovsky in jail on tax and fraud charges.

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"Foreclosure, foreclosure, foreclosure."

Real estate broker John Susani drives down a Paterson, N.J., street where every third house seems to be abandoned or boarded up. During the boom years, money flooded into Paterson.

"The banking industry allowed everyone to be a homeowner; they gave mortgages to people [just because they were] breathing," Susani says.

In some cases, he says, home prices jumped as much as 50 percent. The homes on these streets aren't worth nearly that much anymore.

Citigroup has agreed to pay $7 billion to settle claims that it committed fraud when it sold mortgage-backed securities in the years leading up to the financial crisis. Most of the money will be paid to the U.S. Treasury, but some will be used to provide mortgage relief to struggling homeowners.

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Citigroup has agreed to settle allegations that it defrauded investors in the years leading up to the financial crisis. The settlement requires Citigroup to pay $7 billion. Two and a half billion will go toward mortgage relief for homeowners. Now, this settlement involves mortgage-backed securities the bank packaged and sold to investors, and it was announced this morning by U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. We're going to talk this through with NPR's Jim Zarroli who's on the line. Jim, good morning.

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And I'm Melissa Block. The clock is ticking for Argentina. Yes, in the World Cup, but here, we're talking about its effort to prevent another debt crisis. Argentina has until the end of this month to pay its bondholders or it risks going into default. As NPR's Jim Zarroli reports, the dispute hinges on one particular clause in the country's debt contracts that could cost the country billions of dollars.

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And I'm David Greene. Good morning. We begin this hour with more positive signs about the nation's economy. The Labor Department this morning said the U.S. unemployment rate fell to its lowest level in nearly six years last month, and employers added some 288,000 jobs to their payrolls. Here's NPR's Jim Zarroli.

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Banking giant BNP Paribas has agreed to pay American regulators nearly $9 billion dollars to settle charges of economic sanctions violations. It's the largest such fine ever imposed by the U.S. The bank will plead guilty to two criminal charges. It was accused of helping clients in Sudan, Cuba and Iran conduct business in the United States. NPR's Jim Zarroli reports.

This week the big medical device company Medtronic said it was moving its legal headquarters from Minneapolis to Ireland. It's part of a $43 billion merger with another medical company, Dublin-based Covidien.

The move is a tax-saving strategy called an inversion and it's growing more common in the corporate world.

U.S. companies make huge amounts of money overseas every year and much of it stays there, stashed away in foreign accounts.

The Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations is holding a hearing on problems in the financial markets caused by high-frequency trading firms.

The Chamber of Commerce says it tried to help Eric Cantor in his primary campaign, but Cantor refused the offer.

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