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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Education
3:59 am
Mon March 17, 2014

Paying For College: No Easy Answers For Many Families

iStockphoto

Originally published on Mon March 17, 2014 6:32 pm

The math is clear: College pays off.

Among Americans ages 25 to 32, college graduates earned $17,500 more than high school graduates in 2012 — the largest pay differential ever, according to Pew Research. When it comes to earnings, "the picture is consistently bleaker for less-educated workers," the Pew study concluded.

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Business
8:49 am
Thu March 13, 2014

Overtime Pay Proposal Triggers A New Debate About Wages

Economists are divided about the White House plan to boost overtime pay for workers.
Doug Finger Gainesville Sun/Landov

Originally published on Thu March 13, 2014 2:56 pm

On Thursday, President Obama rolled out his plan for strengthening overtime pay protections for millions of workers. In his view, if more workers got fatter paychecks, they could spend more and stimulate the economy.

But if his critics are right, then employers would end up laying off workers to make up for the higher wage costs. And that would hurt the already painfully slow recovery.

Which scenario is right?

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Business
5:20 am
Sat March 8, 2014

Don't Run Out For Caviar Yet, But Wages Are Heading Higher

Construction companies added 15,000 jobs even though the weather was horrible in much of the country in February.
Sarah Glenn Getty Images

Originally published on Sat March 8, 2014 12:40 pm

  • Freezing Weather Put A Chill On Economy, Housing Market?

Friday's monthly employment report was encouraging — but not just for job seekers. People who already have work could find something to celebrate too: Hourly wages rose at a decent pace.

That's a welcome change for employees who have seen only very, very modest raises in this economic recovery.

The Labor Department said average hourly wages rose by 9 cents an hour in February, up to $24.31. With that bump, workers are now making 2.2 percent more per hour than they were a year ago.

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Business
7:46 am
Wed March 5, 2014

Obama's Budget: Magic Wand Or Club?

President Barack Obama delivers remarks on his 2015 budget plan Tuesday at Powell Elementary School in Washington.
Pool Getty Images

Originally published on Wed March 5, 2014 11:02 am

Think of the budget plan released Tuesday by President Obama as a magic wand. If he could wave it and make every line come true, how would the U.S. economy look?

Like this:

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Business
5:26 am
Sun March 2, 2014

Marching Into Spring, Realtors' Hopes Rise

Economists say strong home sales this spring could drive job creation, as well as boost personal wealth and consumer confidence.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Sun March 2, 2014 12:07 pm

For real estate agents, March Madness has begun.

The rush is on to throw out clutter, paint walls and clean carpets. Historic data show the peak time for selling homes is April through July, and that means this is the month for spring cleaning.

"Freshen up the landscape and add that mulch now," Dallas Realtor Jeff Duffey recommended in a phone interview. "Get your over-sized furniture out of the small bedroom and put more lamps in that dark room."

The economy has a lot riding on how well people obey Duffey's marching orders.

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The Two-Way
6:55 pm
Wed February 19, 2014

U.S. Government Will Back Loans For Nuclear Power

The containment vessel for a new nuclear reactor at the Vogtle nuclear power plant under construction near Augusta, Ga., in December 2012.
John Bazemore AP

Originally published on Thu February 20, 2014 6:05 am

Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz announced a multibillion-dollar loan guarantee Wednesday for building nuclear reactors in Georgia, underscoring the White House's plan for an "all of the above" energy strategy.

The two reactors will be the first built in this country in nearly three decades.

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The Two-Way
6:19 pm
Tue February 18, 2014

CBO: Minimum Wage Hike Could Boost Paychecks – And Cut Jobs

Darlene Handy of Baltimore holds up a banner at a rally supporting a pay measure in Maryland. More than 20 states have raised minimum pay rates above the federal level.
Jose Luis Magana AP

Originally published on Tue February 18, 2014 6:42 pm

Whatever you already believed about raising the federal minimum wage, you now have more ammo for your argument, thanks to a report released Tuesday by the Congressional Budget Office, titled "The Effects of a Minimum-Wage Increase on Employment and Family Income."

Yes, you're right: Raising the wage in steps to $10.10 an hour by 2016 would push employers to cut jobs — about 500,000 of them, says the CBO, the nonpartisan research arm of Congress.

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The Two-Way
6:10 pm
Thu February 13, 2014

Many Flights Canceled, But Fewer Fliers Stranded On Tarmac

Passengers wait in line at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport on Thursday. A major snowstorm has delayed flights from Atlanta to New York.
David Tulis AP

Originally published on Thu February 20, 2014 1:43 pm

Would-be air travelers sitting at home may be frustrated about their canceled plans. But most likely, they are happier than they would have been had they gotten trapped on an icy tarmac.

And that used to happen many hundreds of times a year before the Department of Transportation stepped in to reduce the frequency of passenger incarcerations.

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Business
4:40 pm
Fri February 7, 2014

Disappointing Jobs Data May Point To A Tougher 2014

Job seekers sign in before meeting prospective employers during a career fair at a hotel in Dallas last month.
LM Otero AP

Originally published on Fri February 7, 2014 6:03 pm

Friday's unemployment report confirmed what many workers already had suspected: Five years after the job market plunged off a cliff, the climb back remains a tough slog.

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Business
3:38 pm
Wed February 5, 2014

Which Way For Stocks? Investors Watch 'Worry Index' For Clues

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday afternoon.
Andrew Burton Getty Images

Originally published on Wed February 5, 2014 5:42 pm

Anyone who invests in the stock market knows share prices can go up — and down. That's why they call it a market.

Still, this year, price movements have been fast and furious — shocking investors and prompting many to fear "volatility."

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The Two-Way
12:14 pm
Tue February 4, 2014

U.S. Borrowing Is Less Of An Economic Worry, At Least For Now

Stock investors looking for a reason to feel optimistic about the economy may have found one this morning.

A new report shows the federal budget deficit has done some mad shrinking in recent years. Thanks to spending cuts, tax hikes and a stronger economy, the deficit in this fiscal year will be only $514 billion, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said Tuesday.

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The Two-Way
5:42 pm
Mon February 3, 2014

Stocks Head Lower; Investors Wonder What's Next

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange at the end of the trading day on Monday in New York City.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

Originally published on Mon February 3, 2014 6:44 pm

If your New Year's resolution was, "I am going to prepare for retirement by moving my savings into stocks," then you must be very sad now.

Broncos-fan-level sad.

On Monday, the Dow Jones industrial average plunged an additional 326 points, down about 2 percent to 15,373. That was the seventh triple-digit drop so far this year. Back on Dec. 31, the Dow was at 16,577.

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Energy
3:25 pm
Sat February 1, 2014

'A Global Bathtub': Rethinking The U.S. Oil Export Ban

A pipeline carries oil at the federal Strategic Petroleum Reserve facility near Beaumont, Texas. U.S. oil companies are urging an end to a 1970s-era ban on oil exports.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Mon February 3, 2014 10:00 am

When oil supplies ran short and gasoline prices spiked four decades ago, angry drivers demanded relief. Congress responded in 1975 by banning most exports of U.S. crude oil.

Today, domestic oil production is booming, prompting U.S. energy companies to call for a resumption of exporting. Many economists agree.

But would that bring back the bad old days of shortages? Would you end up paying more at the pump?

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Your Money
5:41 pm
Wed January 29, 2014

Need A Retirement Starter Kit? This Might Help

With new accounts called myRAs, the government would protect workers' savings from losses.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Mon February 3, 2014 2:56 pm

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.

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Economy
11:13 am
Tue January 21, 2014

Workers May Be Missing, Or Maybe Just Retiring

Is the economy strengthening, or is the jobless rate falling only because so many people are dropping out of the workforce?
iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue January 21, 2014 12:52 pm

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.

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The Two-Way
5:27 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

IMF's Lagarde: Any U.S. Budget Deal Is Better Than None

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.

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Business
2:46 pm
Fri January 10, 2014

What's Behind The Drop In Unemployment

Shoppers make a purchase at an outlet mall in Los Angeles. Employers added 55,000 jobs in the retail sector in December.
Gus Ruelas Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 3:20 pm

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.

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Business
9:01 am
Wed January 1, 2014

Most Economists Say Happy New Year — Really

Philips Lighting North America CEO and President Bruno Biasiotta rings the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday.
Seth Wenig AP

Originally published on Wed January 1, 2014 9:29 am

As the new year begins, most economists' annual forecasts are brimming with good cheer.

"The economic news remains broadly encouraging," the Goldman Sachs forecasters write in their 2014 outlook.

And the brighter prospects are not limited to this country. "The global economy is likely to emerge in 2014 with modest growth of 3.3 percent compared with 2.5 percent this year," according to Nariman Behravesh, chief economist at the forecasting firm IHS Global Insight.

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Business
4:21 pm
Fri December 27, 2013

On-The-Job Deaths Spiking As Oil Drilling Quickly Expands

Energy companies are adding workers, but fatal accidents are on the rise, too.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri December 27, 2013 7:15 pm

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.

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Business
7:05 am
Fri December 20, 2013

Shop On The Web Or In The Store; Each Has Risks

A customer prepares to sign a credit card slip Thursday at a Target store in Miami. The giant retailer says 40 million payment cards nationwide may have been compromised by data theft.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 20, 2013 8:37 am

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.

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Economy
11:05 am
Thu December 19, 2013

The Washington Two-Step: Dancing Back To Normal

Senate Budget Committee Chairman Patty Murray, D-Wash., and House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., unveil a budget deal Dec. 10 in Washington.
Jonathan Ernst Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Thu December 19, 2013 1:24 pm

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.

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The Two-Way
5:08 pm
Mon December 16, 2013

General Motors CEO: In The Bailout, Fair Is Fair

General Motors Chairman and CEO Dan Akerson speaks at the National Press Club on Monday in Washington, D.C.
Win McNamee Getty Images

Retiring General Motors CEO Dan Akerson made a case Monday for how losing should feel like winning — at least for U.S. taxpayers who lost more than $10 billion in a GM bailout.

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The Two-Way
6:37 pm
Wed December 11, 2013

Extended Unemployment Benefits On Track To Expire Dec. 28

A prospective job seeker gets information at a job resource fair for military veterans in Van Nuys, Calif., on Oct. 24.
Frederic J. Brown AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 9:38 pm

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.

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Business
4:04 pm
Tue December 10, 2013

GM Gives A Woman The Keys To Drive Its Future

Mary Barra speaks at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit earlier this year. General Motors has picked her to lead the company.
Rebecca Cook Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Tue December 10, 2013 5:29 pm

She's not the first woman to head a global corporation.

Ginni Rometty runs IBM, and Indra Nooyi heads PepsiCo. Don't forget Ursula Burns at Xerox and Meg Whitman at Hewlett-Packard. There's Marissa Mayer at Yahoo.

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Economy
5:35 am
Sun December 8, 2013

Economists Toast 20 Years Of NAFTA; Critics Sit Out The Party

A truck bearing Mexican and U.S. flags approaches the border crossing into the U.S., in Laredo, Texas.
Reuters /Landov

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.

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Economy
1:46 pm
Fri December 6, 2013

For Workers, A Week Stuffed With Good News

An auto worker tightens bolts on the wheel of a Focus at a Ford plant in Wayne, Mich. Reports this week showed increases in auto sales and manufacturing jobs.
Mira Oberman AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 6, 2013 4:40 pm

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

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Economy
2:09 pm
Sun November 24, 2013

Many Americans Will Be Giving Thanks For Lower Prices

Gas prices are down compared with last year, but slumping consumer confidence could dampen Thanksgiving holiday travel.
Julio Cortez AP

Originally published on Mon November 25, 2013 1:11 pm

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.

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The Kennedy Assassination, 50 Years Later
4:36 pm
Thu November 14, 2013

JFK's Lasting Economic Legacy: Lower Tax Rates

Originally published on Wed November 20, 2013 4:00 pm

As the young U.S. senator takes the oath to become president, he sets out to fix an economy struggling with rising unemployment, slumping profits and depressed stock prices.

He knows the deep recession could prevent him from advancing his broader domestic and diplomatic agenda. Yes — all true for President Obama.

But that's what John F. Kennedy faced as well. On his frosty Inauguration Day in January 1961, Kennedy had to start fulfilling his campaign pledge to "get America moving again." Like Obama, he would need to win over a deeply skeptical business community.

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Business
5:16 pm
Tue November 12, 2013

Airline Antitrust Deal Seen Boosting Competition At Airports

An American Airlines jet passes the Washington Monument as it lands at Ronald Reagan National Airport. That's one of seven airports where American and US Airways must now make room for low-cost competitors under a settlement with the Justice Department.
Mark Lennihan AP

Originally published on Wed November 13, 2013 4:21 pm

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.

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Business
1:06 pm
Fri November 8, 2013

What Really Got Measured In This Month's Jobs Report?

Graphic designer Tom Sadowski, 65, works from home in Sterling, Va., in October. Many experts believe the economy is becoming too complicated for the Bureau of Labor Statistics to measure accurately using current methods.
Manuel Balce Ceneta AP

Originally published on Fri November 8, 2013 2:58 pm

In October, private employers did a lot of hiring, but a government shutdown forced hundreds of thousands of workers to stay home.

Those federal furloughs offset 204,000 jobs created last month — enough to push the unemployment rate one tick higher to 7.3 percent, the Labor Department said on Friday.

Or maybe the end of that sentence should read: the Labor Department guessed on Friday.

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