Listen

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, D.C.

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.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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.

Loading...

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.

Updated at 6:41 p.m. ET

Ronald Reagan's former budget director, David Stockman, calls Art Laffer "the greatest Fake Economist to ever come down the pike."

Laffer helped popularize the notion that tax cuts pay for themselves through faster economic growth.

It almost never works out in practice. But Laffer and his namesake curve remain darlings of Republican politicians.

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said Thursday that the Trump administration is determined to make China play by the rules of international trade.

"You know how you get from here to there?" Kudlow told an audience at a pro-trade think tank in Washington. "You kick some butt."

That's not the kind of dry, technocratic language one usually associates with trade negotiations. But it's another example of how President Trump has turned international commerce into a highly unusual spectator sport.

Updated at 4:46 p.m. ET

Hiring slowed sharply last month, as U.S. employers added just 75,000 jobs. The unemployment rate held steady at 3.6%.

The monthly snapshot from the Labor Department suggests businesses are increasingly cautious in the face of the Trump administration's ongoing trade wars.

In the health care industry, there are few brands more well known than Johnson & Johnson. The maker of consumer staples ranging from Band-Aids to baby shampoo has faced a number of controversies in its 133-year history. Now it is contesting charges that it contributed to the nation's opioid epidemic.

During and after the Great Recession, people turned to disability rolls in large numbers to make ends meet. This accelerated what had been going on for a generation, as the federal government's disability insurance program saw steady growth.

When Courtney Hering started working at Kohler Co. seven years ago, she was continuing a long family tradition.

"My mother, she's been here 39 years," she says. "My dad worked here for 14 years. And my grandfather on my dad's side, he worked here as well."

These are prosperous times in America. The country is plump with jobs. Out of every 100 people who want to work, more than 96 of them have jobs. This is what economists consider full employment.

The economy has grown for almost 10 years, making it one of the longest economic expansions in U.S. history. And over that time, the job market has come back. It grew slowly at first, then steadily, finally reaching a point at which there are many more openings than job seekers.

The escalating trade war between the U.S. and China may be painful for American consumers and companies but Trump's supporters say the battle is long overdue.

Learn more by watching the video above.

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

The Trump administration is preparing to add tariffs — or taxes — on virtually everything the U.S. buys from China. But the president offered reassurance that in some cases, waivers will be granted, so Chinese goods can be imported tax-free.

The administration has offered similar waivers from its steel and aluminum tariffs, putting the Commerce Department in the awkward position of literally picking winners and losers.

Trade negotiators from the U.S. and China wrapped up two days of what President Trump called "candid and constructive" talks on Friday but failed to reach agreement. The Trump administration raised the stakes for future negotiations by boosting tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports.

Pages