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.

The number of Americans filing for new state unemployment benefits dipped to 900,000 — down from the previous week but still high by historical standards, signaling the economic challenges facing the Biden administration.

The latest weekly data from the Labor Department was likely distorted somewhat by the ebb and flow of government relief programs, but the overall picture continues to show a struggling U.S. job market as President Biden takes office.

Janet Yellen, President-elect Joe Biden's nominee to lead the Treasury Department, made the case for aggressive economic relief, urging lawmakers to "act big" to fight the financial fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.

At her confirmation hearing Tuesday before the Senate Finance Committee, Yellen pressed lawmakers to pass the $1.9 trillion spending package that the incoming administration has proposed to keep families and businesses afloat as well as to accelerate vaccinations against COVID-19.

U.S. employers cut 140,000 jobs in December as the runaway coronavirus pandemic continued to weigh on the U.S. labor market.

It was the first monthly job loss in eight months. The unemployment rate held steady at 6.7%.

With thousands of Americans dying from COVID-19 each day, businesses that depend on in-person contact have struggled.

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If you're looking to buy a new handbag, some cognac or a lipstick, you could be looking at higher prices. That's because the Trump administration is putting new tariffs on goods from Europe.

NPR's Scott Horsley explains why.

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We have a brand-new year, which begins with the very same economy that we had yesterday. But what are the trend lines for 2021? NPR chief economic correspondent Scott Horsley joins us. Scott, Happy New Year.

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The wheels on the nation's buses aren't going round and round very much these days.

Demand for bus travel has fallen by more than 80% during the pandemic as public health authorities urge people to avoid travel where possible.

That is raising concerns about the potential long-term damage to an essential transport method for millions of lower-income Americans even as air travel has shown signs of picking up since the Thanksgiving holiday period.

And those who have to take the bus, for whatever reason, are finding fewer options, and often higher prices as a result.

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Unemployment claims jumped sharply last week as a surge in coronavirus hospitalizations and deaths put new pressure on the U.S. economy just before critical coronavirus aid programs are set to expire.

The Labor Department said 853,000 people filed new claims for state unemployment benefits during the week that ended on Dec. 5 — a sharp increase of 137,000 from the previous week.

Claims for a special federal program for gig workers and the self-employed, who ordinarily are not eligible for unemployment relief, also jumped, by 48%.

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China's economy is roaring back as Americans gobble up everything from its cellphones to its health masks, raising the stakes for trade relations with the United States as President-elect Joe Biden gets set to take over.

Data on Monday showed China notched a record $75.4 billion trade surplus in November after exports from China to the rest of the world jumped 21.1% compared to a year ago.

Updated at 9:24 a.m. ET

U.S. employers sharply scaled back their hiring last month as the coronavirus pandemic put new pressure on restaurants, retailers and other businesses.

The Labor Department said Friday that employers added just 245,000 jobs in November, down from a revised 610,000 in October.

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Get ready for one of the most unpredictable monthly jobs reports in a while.

The pandemic has come roaring back, filling hospitals with coronavirus patients, while restaurants and retail shops empty out.

That is expected to put a squeeze on job gains: Forecasters expect a report Friday from the Labor Department will show that U.S. employers added fewer workers in November than the 638,000 created a month earlier.

How much less is uncertain as the pandemic makes it hard to forecast economic indicators.

The pandemic rages on. More than 180,000 people tested positive for the coronavirus on Tuesday. States and cities are closing businesses. Nearly 800,000 people are applying for unemployment every week.

Despite all this, Congress has not passed an economic relief package since late April — and a set of vital relief measures helping millions of Americans avoid financial ruin and eviction are all set to expire this month.

New claims for unemployment benefits jumped last week for the second week in a row, signaling ongoing weakness in the job market as coronavirus infections continue to soar.

The Labor Department reported 778,000 people applied for state benefits in the week ending Saturday, an increase of 30,000 from the previous week.

Updated at 6:15 p.m. ET

The United States has had 77 Treasury secretaries in the last 231 years. So far, they've all been men.

That's about to change.

President-elect Joe Biden plans to nominate former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen to head the Treasury Department, a source close to the transition told NPR on Monday

If confirmed, Yellen would play a leading role in shaping economic policy as the United States continues to dig its way out of the deep hole caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

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Updated at 4:07 p.m. ET

After languishing for more than a year, Judy Shelton's controversial nomination to the Federal Reserve's board of governors appears poised for Senate confirmation in what is likely to be a narrow vote.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell moved to hold a vote sometime this week after Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, signaled her support for the nominee.

Shelton has attracted great scrutiny over views that place her well outside the economic mainstream.

What Brandon Fritze misses most this year is belting out Coldplay's "Yellow" at karaoke sessions with his friends.

"I was a big karaoke guy," said Fritze. "I'd be going to the karaoke bar pretty much every night. But since the pandemic started, the bar's been shut down and that wasn't an option. I don't think I've sung in eight months now."

Updated at 9:02 a.m. ET

U.S. employers added 638,000 jobs last month as the economy continued its slow recovery from the coronavirus recession. Job growth slowed for the fourth month in a row.

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When it comes to how the economy is emerging from the pandemic, voters couldn't be further apart.

A massive survey conducted by The Associated Press showed more than 4 in 10 Americans describe the economy as "good" or "excellent." And they voted overwhelmingly for President Trump.

Those who see the economy as "poor" or "not so good," on the other hand, were much more likely to cast their ballots for Joe Biden.

The U.S. economy grew at a record pace during the last three months, according to the last major economic report before the election.

Not many people are popping champagne corks, though, because GDP also shrank at a record pace during the previous three months. Despite the strong rebound in July, August and September, the economy has not yet recovered from the damage done by the coronavirus pandemic.

On its surface, economic growth data out this week will look like one for the record books. But dig in, and the picture is not as bright.

The Commerce Department is expected to report on Thursday record-setting growth in gross domestic product during the most recent quarter, reflecting pent-up demand as businesses reopened and consumers streamed back into the marketplace.

Throughout her years as a working mother climbing the corporate ladder, Farida Mercedes tried to be home for dinner with her kids. But until recently, she never imagined staying home full time.

"I respect stay-at-home moms. But it wasn't part of my DNA," said Mercedes, who spent almost two decades working for the cosmetics company, L'Oreal. "I love the hustle. I love being hungry and passionate. And I love my children. But I just couldn't see myself out of that."

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