Jim Zarroli | KUNC

Jim Zarroli

Jim Zarroli is a reporter who has covered business and the economy from NPR's New York bureau since 1996. In that position, he regularly covers a wide range of economic subjects, including employment, the stock market, the Federal Reserve System, deregulation, trade, and the media. His pieces can be heard regularly on Morning Edition and All Things Considered, and he is a contributor to NPR's On the Media.

Among the stories he has worked on recently are the accounting scandals at Enron, WorldCom, and other companies; the trials of Martha Stewart and Bernard Ebbers; the spread of tax shelters; the investigation of the insurance industry; the rise of oil prices; as well as numerous corporate mergers. As a reporter in New York, Zarroli also assisted in NPR's coverage of the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center, an experience that left an indelible mark on him.

Before covering business, Zarroli was a general assignment reporter for NPR. He also covered the United Nations during the first Gulf war and the Bosnia crisis. Zarroli started his radio career at WBUR-FM in Boston, and before that was a reporter at the Pittsburgh Press and the Associated Press. He has written for The Christian Science Monitor, The Los Angeles Times, and The Boston Globe.

Zarroli grew up in a small house in Wilmington, Delaware, with five siblings. He is a 1980 graduate of Pennsylvania State University, with a Bachelor of Arts in journalism. He loves traveling to new places, reading, gardening, and he likes most people except those who mistreat animals. He lives with his partner in New York and has two formerly stray cats.

Trevon Ellis spent years building up his north Minneapolis barbershop, the Fade Factory, luring customers with smart haircuts, snacks and friendly conversation.

It took just one terrible night to destroy it all.

"Inside is totally burned down," Ellis says. "Everything was burned to a crisp."

The recent wave of protests against police brutality has left a trail of chaos and destruction in many city neighborhoods, with countless businesses looted and damaged.

The coronavirus has taken a hatchet to municipal budgets everywhere, forcing cities and towns to lay off librarians, parks workers and even first responders like police and firefighters.

From big cities like Detroit to small towns like Ogdensburg, N.Y., workers are being furloughed, programs are being cut and major capital projects are being shelved.

Marshall Gilmore finally got what he'd been waiting for this month when the state of Mississippi allowed him to offer table service again at his restaurant, the Harvest Grill in Meridian.

Still, many of his tables sit empty, even at limited capacity, and he makes most of his money offering curbside food pickup.

"People are just a little apprehensive about getting out in public. This was a once-in-a-lifetime scare that we all just went through. So everyone's a little scared," Gilmore says.

Normally, spring is the time when Gillson Trucking's fleet of 150 trucks are at their busiest, transporting strawberries and lettuce from the farms of California's Central Valley to restaurants in the Northeast and Midwest.

But with most of the country's restaurants shut down indefinitely, the trucks are mostly sitting idle right now.

"The produce is available, but because of these restaurant chains has been closed down there are no buyers," says the Stockton, Calif., company's co-owner, Harsimran Singh.

Updated at 8:46 a.m. ET

The number of people forced out of work during the coronavirus lockdown continues to soar to historic highs. Another 4.4 million people claimed unemployment benefits last week around the country, the Labor Department said.

That brings the total of jobless claims in just five weeks to more than 26 million people. That's more than all the jobs added in the past 10 years since the Great Recession.

The coronavirus, we are sometimes told, is a great equalizer, preying on both the elite and the ordinary, the well-heeled and the downtrodden.

"It doesn't care about how rich you are, how famous you are," Madonna assures us in her latest video, sitting naked in bathwater laced with rose petals.

But being rich sure does let you ride out the pandemic in much more pleasant surroundings.

Over the years, the federal government has spent trillions of dollars more than it brings in, racking up big deficits even in good times, when it ought to be paring debt down.

Now, as it struggles to repair the damage from the coronavirus epidemic, it's getting ready to spend trillions more, pushing up this year's deficit above $3 trillion.

"It's mind-boggling. I never contemplated this," says Douglas Holtz-Eakin, president of the American Action Forum, who headed the Congressional Budget Office under President George W. Bush.

Updated at 10:51 a.m. ET

A record 3.28 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week as the coronavirus pandemic shut down much of the country. The Labor Department's report for the week ended March 21 was one of the first official indicators of how many people have suddenly been forced out of work nationally.

In the prior report, for the week ended March 14, initial claims totaled 282,000.

Updated at 4:10 p.m. ET

As odds of a global recession rise, governments and central banks around the world are racing to fend off the economic damage from the spread of the coronavirus.

Updated at 4:22 p.m. ET

An emergency interest-rate cut by the Federal Reserve failed to mollify investors worried about the coronavirus epidemic, and stocks once again plummeted.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended down 786 points, a drop of 2.94% after an especially volatile trading day.

All the major indexes have lost more than 10% of their value since their all-time highs, moving back into what the market calls a correction.

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