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.

How many countries are in the European Union?

If you're like most Americans, you can only guess. Maybe it's a dozen. Maybe twice that. Who cares, really?

Economists do. They care a lot.

Most say the EU's current collection of 28 members adds stability to the global economy. If membership were to decline by just one — thanks to the proposed exit of the United Kingdom — then workers and companies all around the world would suffer, they argue.

Say you are one of the roughly 15,000 American steel workers who have been laid off — or received notice of coming layoffs — in the past year.

You and your boss would cheer any reduction in China's massive steelmaking capacity. Chinese steel has been flooding global markets and hurting profits for U.S. companies.

The Labor Department's May jobs report, released Friday, was surprisingly bad.

Economists scrambled to explain why they hadn't seen a hiring dropoff coming. Most had predicted about 160,000 new jobs for May, but in fact, only 38,000 materialized. That was the smallest increase since September, 2010.

In January 2009, as the U.S. economy was freezing up, employers were cutting roughly 800,000 jobs that month.

President Obama had just taken office and a few weeks later, he headed to Elkhart, Ind., where the unemployment rate was surging to 19 percent.

The key problem: Most jobs there were tied to the production of recreational vehicles. In the depths of the Great Recession, few Americans were buying expensive RVs.

If Congress were to approve the Trans-Pacific Partnership, it would help the economy, though not by all that much, the U.S. International Trade Commission said Wednesday.

By 2032, TPP would be increasing real GDP by nearly $43 billion annually, and supporting an additional 128,000 full time jobs.

"TPP would have positive effects, albeit small as a percentage of the overall size of the U.S. economy," the ITC concluded.

Apparently, Americans are tired of taking "staycations."

During the Great Recession, when layoffs and foreclosures were hitting hard, millions of people stayed home for summer vacation. Air travel fell off dramatically.

Studies have been showing for years that this country's middle class is shrinking.

Now, the nonpartisan Pew Research Center has added another dimension to the story: Its examination of government data shows the problem is not confined to the Rust Belt or Appalachia.

In fact, the middle is shrinking from coast to coast.

The pace of job creation slowed substantially last month, the Labor Department said Friday.

Employers added 160,000 employees in April, downshifting from the monthly average of 192,000 workers so far this year. That was a disappointment for many job seekers.

But the country does have one group enjoying lots of opportunities: newly minted college graduates. In fact, economists say this might be the best time to be graduating in a decade.

The Department of Transportation on Wednesday announced the recall of an additional 35 million to 40 million faulty air bag inflators made by Japan's Takata Corp., an auto-parts supplier.

Already, 28.8 million Takata inflators have been recalled. In all, this massive action will add up to the largest safety recall in U.S. history.

One of the economic legacies President Obama hopes to leave behind is an expansion of U.S. exports.

To do that, he wants to complete one trade deal with European countries, and another with Pacific Rim nations.

But well into his final year in office, Obama is facing stiff headwinds on trade.

The European deal, called the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, made news on Monday...but probably not the way the White House would have preferred.

International trade disputes used to be relatively simple.

One country would build up an industry to create jobs, and then dump excess products in another country at below-cost prices. Competitors facing unrealistically cheap imports would file "anti-dumping" complaints to seek government-backed protections.

Planning to squeeze cash out of your house this spring to do some remodeling?

You can relax a little. Interest rates on home equity loans, credit cards and car loans are likely to stay low for a while longer.

That's because the Federal Reserve Board's policymakers ended their meeting Wednesday without raising the benchmark short-term interest rate. If the benchmark had risen, then your borrowing costs probably would have been pointing higher too.

But you should be OK for now.

In this year's election cycle, international trade has emerged as a top campaign issue.

So journalists with NPR and several public-radio member stations set out this week to examine trade matters as part of our special election-year series: A Nation Engaged.

China has gotten very good at making steel. And making it and making it and making it.

In fact, that "excess" production is causing such a crisis for the global steel industry that the United States is joining an international push to try to cut the glut.

This week, NPR and some member stations will be talking about trade on the campaign trail and in communities around the country.

In this presidential election cycle, many Americans are casting votes based on their feelings about past trade deals, such as the North American Free Trade Agreement, and proposed deals, especially the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

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