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Scott Horsley

Scott Horsley is NPR's Chief Economics Correspondent. He reports on ups and downs in the national economy as well as fault lines between booming and busting communities.

Horsley spent a decade on the White House beat, covering both the Trump and Obama administrations. Before that, he was a San Diego-based business reporter for NPR, covering fast food, gasoline prices, and the California electricity crunch of 2000. He also reported from the Pentagon during the early phases of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Before joining NPR in 2001, Horsley worked for NPR Member stations in San Diego and Tampa, as well as commercial radio stations in Boston and Concord, New Hampshire. Horsley began his professional career as a production assistant for NPR's Morning Edition.

Horsley earned a bachelor's degree from Harvard University and an MBA from San Diego State University. He lives in Washington, DC, with his dog, Rosie.

The Trump administration ordered new economic sanctions against Iran Friday in response to the attack last weekend in Saudi Arabia. The sanctions target Iran's central bank and its sovereign wealth fund.

"This is very big," said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. "We've now cut off all sources of funds to Iran."

The move comes less than a week after an attack on a Saudi oil facility that temporarily cut off nearly 6% of the world's oil supply. While Houthi rebels in Yemen claimed responsibility for that attack, the administration suspects Iran was behind it.

Updated at 5:15 p.m. ET

The Federal Reserve cut interest rates Wednesday for the second time in seven weeks, in an effort to prolong the decade-old economic expansion in the face of rising headwinds.

The Fed lowered its target for the federal funds rate by a quarter percentage point, to a range of 1.75% to 2%. President Trump, who has been calling for deeper rate cuts, criticized the move as another "fail" by the Fed. Major stock indexes fell after the central bank's announcement but later recovered.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross is under the microscope again, amid fresh allegations of meddling with a government scientific agency.

The latest storm to engulf the secretary began Sept. 1, when weather forecasters in Birmingham, Ala., issued a tweet saying Hurricane Dorian posed no threat to their state.

Updated at 5:05 p.m. ET

U.S. employers added 130,000 jobs in August, according to a monthly snapshot from the Labor Department, signaling a slowdown in the pace of job growth.

Forecasters surveyed by the Reuters news service had predicted job gains of around 158,000.

The unemployment rate held steady at 3.7%.

The jobs total would have been lower without the addition of 25,000 temporary census jobs. Job gains for the two previous months were revised downward by a total of 20,000.

Updated at 4:50 p.m. ET

Manufacturing activity shifted into reverse in August for the first time in three years, as factory owners adjusted to the ongoing trade wars. An index compiled by the Institute for Supply Management showed a decline in nearly every measure, including new orders, production and employment.

A lot of American companies that make or buy products in China are starting to rethink that, as a new round of tariffs takes effect this weekend. But Robert D'Loren doesn't have to worry. As CEO of the Xcel Brands clothing company, he began moving production out of China some time ago.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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The Trump administration struck a tentative deal to lift tariffs on imported tomatoes from Mexico. But importers warn the agreement could still put protectionist roadblocks in the path of $2 billion worth of the produce.

Mexico supplies more than half the fresh tomatoes sold in the U.S., and imports have more than doubled since 2002. Florida growers, who used to dominate the market for tomatoes in the winter and spring, have long complained that Mexico unfairly subsidizes its tomato crop.

Congressional budget forecasters are predicting more red ink — nearly $1 trillion this year — as a result of the bipartisan spending agreement lawmakers struck this summer.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office now says the federal deficit will hit $960 billion in fiscal 2019 and average $1.2 trillion in each of the next 10 years.

Updated at 4:26 p.m. ET

The Trump administration is acting as a cheering section for the U.S. economy. And at least on Monday, investors were cheering along. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose nearly 250 points or 1%. The S&P 500 jumped 1.2% and the Nasdaq was up 1.35%.

President Trump and his team are downplaying warnings of slower economic growth, despite signals from the bond market that a recession could be looming. At the same time, the president is also calling on the Federal Reserve to cut interest rates again to help boost growth.

Updated at 4:32 p.m. ET

Investors paused to catch their breath Thursday, one day after the stock market suffered its worst drop of the year. Market indexes closed up modestly as investors digested mixed signals about prospects for the U.S. economy. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained nearly 100 points, or 0.4%. The S&P 500 rose 0.25%.

Updated at 4:10 p.m. ET

The Trump administration is postponing some of its new tariffs on Chinese imports — a significant retreat in the trade war that has rattled financial markets on both sides of the Pacific.

The United States has become the world's leading producer of oil and natural gas — reshaping the global energy economy from the shipping lanes of the Middle East to the factories of the Midwest.

President Trump hopes to call attention to that change on Tuesday when he tours a petrochemical plant in western Pennsylvania.

Federal agents carried out one of the largest immigration raids in recent history this week, arresting nearly 700 workers at chicken processing plants in Mississippi.

But you can still buy a rotisserie bird at your local supermarket tonight for less than $10.

So far, the government crackdown has had little effect on the wider food processing industry, a dangerous business that is heavily reliant on immigrant labor.

The U.S. and China opened a new front in their trade war this week, when China allowed its currency to fall, triggering a sharp drop in the U.S. stock market.

The seemingly modest adjustment in global exchange rates had a seismic effect on Wall Street confidence, rattling retirement accounts and prompting a new round of bellicose rhetoric from President Trump.

Both the market and the currency stabilized on Tuesday, but not before investors got a stomach-churning preview of what an escalating trade war might look like.

The Treasury Department formally labeled China a currency manipulator Monday, after Beijing allowed its currency to fall to an 11-year low. The tit-for-tat moves mark the latest escalation in the two countries' trade war, which triggered a sharp sell-off on Wall Street.

While President Trump has long accused China of tinkering with its currency to gain an unfair advantage on world markets, this is the first time in a quarter century the U.S. has formally accused Beijing of currency manipulation.

Higher prices will be coming to stores this fall, retailers warn, if President Trump follows through with his threat to slap new tariffs on Chinese imports.

The White House pressed the tariff threat on Friday, even as Trump announced a new agreement aimed at boosting beef exports to Europe. A day earlier, Trump threatened to set a new 10% tariff on $300 billion worth of products imported from China.

Updated at 9:31 a.m. ET

The economy is slowing down, but it keeps creating jobs at a healthy pace. Employers added 164,000 jobs last month, as the unemployment rate held steady at 3.7%, the Labor Department said Friday. The jobless rate remains at a nearly 50-year low.

Analysts had expected about 165,000 jobs to be added in July and the unemployment rate to be 3.6%.

Updated at 5:34 p.m. ET

The Federal Reserve is cutting interest rates for the first time in over a decade — a preemptive move aimed at extending the already record-long economic expansion.

The Fed on Wednesday lowered its target for the key federal funds rate by a quarter percentage point. The move should decrease the cost of borrowing, including for credit cards, auto loans and mortgages.

Updated at 11:15 a.m. ET Tuesday

U.S. trade negotiators opened a new round of talks in China on Tuesday. But there appears to be little pressure for a settlement, even as the year-old conflict begins to weigh on the global economy.

"We'll see what happens," President Trump told reporters Tuesday. "We're either going to make a great deal or we're not going to make a deal at all."

When Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez rolled out her "Green New Deal," calling for clean energy, universal health care and guaranteed jobs, one of the first questions she got was: How do you plan to pay for it?

The New York Democrat argued that ambitious programs can easily be financed through deficit spending.

President Trump has named Tomas Philipson as acting chair of his Council of Economic Advisers. Philipson, who is already a member of the council, is a University of Chicago professor who specializes in the economics of health care.

He previously served as a top economist at the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

Philipson takes over from White House economist Kevin Hassett, whose departure was announced on Twitter last month.

Updated at 7:34 p.m. ET

Stocks rallied Wednesday as Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell testified about challenges facing the U.S. economy, adding to expectations that the central bank will cut interest rates later this month.

The Fed had hinted at such a cut in June.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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Updated at 9:25 a.m. ET

Hiring rebounded strongly in June as U.S. employers added 224,000 jobs. That's well above the pace many forecasters were expecting, and a sharp pickup after a disappointing May.

A monthly snapshot from the Labor Department showed unemployment rose slightly, to 3.7%, as more workers entered the job market.

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The U.S. and China have agreed to restart trade talks, and the Trump administration will hold off for now adding new and costly tariffs on some $300 billion in Chinese imports.

President Trump announced the trade truce after an 80-minute meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit in Osaka, Japan.

"Basically we agreed today that we're going to continue the negotiation," Trump told reporters Saturday. "We're going to work with China on where we left off to see if we can make a deal."

Updated at 9:55 p.m. ET

President Trump issued a surprise invitation to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un for a handshake meeting this weekend along the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea.

The invitation came in a tweet, as Trump wrapped up meetings with other world leaders at the G-20 summit in Osaka, Japan.

Updated at 3:30 am ET

On his way to the Group of 20 summit in Japan, President Trump complained about all of its members that take advantage of the United States. But once he arrived in Osaka, he appeared to set aside those concerns, using a rapid-fire series of meetings to flatter his fellow leaders and boast about improving ties.

Summits like the G-20 being held this week in Japan are often a chance for geopolitical speed-dating. President Trump has meetings scheduled with at least eight world leaders over the next three days. None is more consequential than his sit-down Saturday with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

The two big, very different personalities will be jockeying for global power and economic might, with hundreds of billions of dollars in trade on the line.

Updated at 4:40 p.m. ET

The Federal Reserve left interest rates unchanged Wednesday but signaled it is ready to cut rates in the future if necessary to shore up a slowing U.S. economy.

The central bank's rate-setting committee said the economic outlook is still generally positive — with low unemployment and solid consumer spending. But trade tensions, a slowdown in manufacturing and sagging business investment have injected more uncertainty into the crystal ball.

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