Ongoing Coverage:

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
8:55 am
Tue June 12, 2012

The Fed's Tough Job Gets Harder In Election Year

Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke hasn't said whether the central bank will act to further stimulate the economy.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Americans who fear the economy is losing steam would like to see the Federal Reserve turn up the heat.

That might happen when the central bank holds its next meeting June 19-20. The Fed could take steps to drive interest rates even lower, or create fresh piles of cash to stimulate growth.

But with the election season gearing up, the Fed's ability to act boldly may be restrained. That's because the monetary policymakers want to preserve the Fed's credibility as a nonpartisan entity.

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Family Matters: The Money Squeeze
5:20 am
Tue June 5, 2012

Baby Boom Money Squeeze Is Set To Get Tighter

Maryland resident Ida Christian, 89, began showing symptoms of Alzheimer's disease in 2009. Her daughter, Geneva Hunter, and granddaughter, Yolanda, decided to take a hands-on approach to Ida's care. Ida lives with Geneva, and Yolanda quit her job to become Ida's daytime caregiver.
Kainaz Amaria NPR

Originally published on Tue June 5, 2012 6:55 am

Part of the Family Matters series

Some financial problems have obvious solutions.

For example, colleges aren't graduating enough engineers. But as more students become wary of fat loans and slim job prospects, many may shift majors. Change is possible.

But that's not the case with this problem: The number of elderly Americans in need of expensive care is about to surge, and there's no stopping the calendar.

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Business
10:07 am
Fri June 1, 2012

Employment Growth Slows As Jobless Benefits Shrink

Aaron Moore completes a job application at a Los Angeles career fair on Thursday. Job growth has slowed sharply since the winter, the government said Friday.
Kevork Djansezian Getty Images

Originally published on Fri June 1, 2012 5:14 pm

May's higher unemployment rate and meager job creation couldn't have come at a worse time for people like Julia Gray. A Chicago-based writer and editor with a master's degree, Gray said she has been unemployed for 17 months. "The media world in Chicago is dead and deader," she said.

"I was collecting unemployment benefits for a while," she said. "It helped a great deal — it was incredibly important."

But now her benefits have run out, and her employment search goes on.

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Business
2:16 am
Tue May 22, 2012

Time To Move Grandma: What To Do With Her Home?

Frank Christian takes a break from packing in the dining room of his home in Glen Allen, Va., which he co-owned with his mother. The family recently sold the home in order to free up money for Ida's care.
Kainaz Amaria NPR

Originally published on Tue May 29, 2012 8:04 am

Making the decision to move a parent out of the homestead can hurt.

The house may be full of good ghosts and happy memories. But it also has too many steps and too much lawn to mow. So the time comes to pack up and move on.

A decade ago, at least one part of that transition wasn't so tough. When the for-sale sign went up, an eager buyer was likely to show up with a good offer. But today, families are facing a much more difficult real estate environment.

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Business
9:50 am
Fri May 18, 2012

JPMorgan's Troubles And The Price Of Eggs

Do complex Wall Street transactions ever do anything to help average people? To answer that question, we consider the case of an imaginary company, Chickens LLC, that's looking to grow.
Joern Pollex Getty Images

Originally published on Fri May 18, 2012 3:20 pm

Journalists have spent many days and millions of words hashing over the news that banking giant JPMorgan Chase lost billions of dollars trading "synthetic" derivatives.

I am one of those journalists who, more or less, can understand what the bank says it was trying to do, i.e., hedge against loan losses. But here's what I have a hard time explaining:

What does this kind of complex trading have to do with the price of eggs?

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Family Matters: The Money Squeeze
2:07 am
Tue May 15, 2012

Paying For College: More Tough Decisions

Kelley Hawkins (center) smiles at her daughter Carley (left) as her other daughter, Chelsea (right), looks on, in their family home in Harrisburg, Pa.
Kainaz Amaria NPR

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 9:48 am

Middle age is prime time for saving money. From your late 40s through early 60s, you're supposed to squirrel away cash to cope with health care costs in your old age.

But for millions of Americans, middle age also is the time when children are seeking help with higher-education bills, and elderly parents may be needing assistance with daily care.

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Family Matters: The Money Squeeze
2:14 am
Tue May 8, 2012

Long-Term-Care Insurance: Who Needs It?

AnnaBelle Bowers' long-time physician, Walter Watkin, gives her a kiss on the forehead at the end of her visit. When asked how long she had been coming to see him, he said, "Long enough for her file to be 2 inches thick."
Kainaz Amaria NPR

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 9:50 am

Americans routinely buy all sorts of insurance — for cars, homes, health and even pets and boats.

But when it comes to long-term-care insurance, relatively few sign up. Out of more than 313 million Americans, only about 8 million have any such protection, according to the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance. The low participation rate largely reflects the high cost of long-term-care insurance.

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Economy
2:35 pm
Fri May 4, 2012

'Dejected': Some Unemployed Give Up The Hunt

People wait at a job fair in New York City's Queens borough on Thursday. While millions of out-of-work Americans continue to seek employment, others have given up looking.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

The unemployment rate slipped a notch to 8.1 percent in April, but not because employers went on a hiring spree.

Instead, the jobless rate appeared to improve because fewer people were applying for positions. Last month, the civilian labor force shrank by 342,000 people.

Economists say many of those workforce dropouts were "discouraged" workers who moved to the sidelines after months, even years, of trying to nail down jobs.

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Business
1:57 am
Tue May 1, 2012

Discovering The True Cost Of At-Home Caregiving

Maryland resident Ida Christian, 89, began showing symptoms of Alzheimer's disease in 2009. Her condition demands around-the-clock care.
Kainaz Amaria NPR

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 9:51 am

Walk through any nursing home, and your first thought might be: "I need to take care of Mom myself."

Few people want to turn over a loved one to institutional care. No matter how good the nursing home, it may seem cold and impersonal — and very expensive. But making the choice to provide care yourself is fraught with financial risks and personal sacrifices.

Those who become full-time caregivers often look back and wish they had taken the time to better understand the financial position they would be getting themselves into.

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Family Matters: The Money Squeeze
2:29 am
Tue April 24, 2012

Preparing For A Future That Includes Aging Parents

Natasha Shamone-Gilmore (right) attends church with her husband, Curtis Gilmore (center), and her father, Franklin Brunson, 81. Shamone-Gilmore moved Brunson into her Capitol Heights, Md., home after he developed dementia.
Kainaz Amaria NPR

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 9:52 am

Planning a wedding is exciting.

Mapping out a vacation is fun.

Figuring how to afford care for your confused, elderly father? That one may never cross your mind — at least, not until you need more money to care for him.

"Never thought about it," Natasha Shamone-Gilmore, 58, says about her younger self. "Never ever."

She thinks about it a lot these days. Shamone-Gilmore, a computer trainer in Maryland, now shares a modest home with her husband, 24-year-old son and 81-year-old father.

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The Two-Way
11:36 am
Tue April 17, 2012

Former 'Car Czar' Rattner Gives Dodd-Frank A Qualified Endorsement

Steven Rattner — the "car czar" when the Obama administration was restructuring the auto industry in 2009 — today spoke in favor of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.

But it wasn't exactly a double thumbs up.

On a panel at an ideas conference in New York City, Rattner noted that before the financial crisis began in 2008, Wall Street was the "global leader in finance. ... But of course, it got out of control."

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Family Matters: The Money Squeeze
11:02 pm
Mon April 16, 2012

One Roof, Three Generations, Many Decisions

Ida Christian, who suffers from dementia, gets help from her granddaughter, Yolanda Hunter (left), in blowing out the candles on her birthday cake. Yolanda quit her lucrative job to become Ida's full-time caregiver.
Kainaz Amaria NPR

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 9:52 am

Part of the Family Matters series

The Great Recession slammed into all age groups, flattening the career dreams of young people and squeezing the retirement accounts of middle-aged savers. It financially crippled many elderly people who had thought they could stand on their own.

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The Two-Way
5:22 pm
Thu March 22, 2012

Or Maybe They're Just Throwing Darts

Lana Turner, center, is an interested listener as actress Ava Gardner leans over her to chat with Fernando Lamas, who is famous for saying, "It's better to look good, than feel good."
AP

Originally published on Thu March 22, 2012 6:14 pm

Why do economists keep getting it wrong?

For months, the job market's strength has been exceeding economists' predictions. It happened again today: the Labor Department's weekly report on first-time jobless claims came in at just 348,000 — the lowest level in four years.

Most economists had predicted about 355,000 people had applied for unemployment benefits in the week ended March 17. So why do they keep missing the mark?

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Looking Up: Pockets of Economic Strength
5:23 am
Sun March 11, 2012

Signs Of Recovery Emerge After A Long Downturn

While parts of the U.S. economy struggle, other sectors are seeing growth. Here, job seekers talk with recruiters at a career fair in Manhattan last month.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

Originally published on Mon March 12, 2012 9:08 am

Millions of Americans are still searching for jobs or facing home foreclosures. For them, the Great Recession drags on into its fifth year.

But for others, the U.S. economy is looking up.

Companies in certain sectors are buying equipment again and hiring workers. These pockets of strength — found in energy, technology, manufacturing, autos, agriculture and elsewhere — are helping invigorate the broader economy.

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The Two-Way
1:40 pm
Wed February 29, 2012

Will Fed Chairman Bernanke Be Right This Time?

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke during his congressional testimony today.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

No one ever said economic forecasting was easy:

On the last day of February 2007, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke told Congress that "the fundamentals are very strong" for the U.S. economy.

And about those problems starting to show up in the housing market? "We don't see it as being a broad financial concern or a major factor in assessing the course of the economy," he said back then.

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