John Ydstie

John Ydstie has covered the economy, Wall Street and the federal budget for NPR for two decades. In recent years NPR has broadened his responsibilities, making use of his reporting and interviewing skills to cover major stories like the aftermath of 9/11, Hurricane Katrina and the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal. His current focus is reporting on the global financial crisis. Ydstie is also a regular guest host on the NPR news programs Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Weekend Edition and Talk of the Nation.

During 1991 and 1992 Ydstie was NPR's bureau chief in London. He traveled throughout Europe covering, among other things, the breakup of the Soviet Union and attempts to move Europe toward closer political and economic union. He accompanied U.S. businessmen exploring investment opportunities in Russia as the Soviet Union was crumbling. He was on the scene in The Netherlands when European leaders approved the Maastricht Treaty, which created the European Union.

In August 1990, Ydstie traveled to Saudi Arabia for NPR as a member of the Pentagon press pool sent to cover the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. During the early stages of the crisis, Ydstie was the only American radio reporter in the country.

Ydstie has been with NPR since 1979. For two years, he was an associate producer responsible for Midwest coverage. In 1982 he became senior editor on NPR's Washington Desk, overseeing coverage of the federal government, American politics and economics. In 1984, Ydstie joined Morning Edition as the show's senior editor, and later was promoted to the position of executive producer. In 1988, he became NPR's economics correspondent.

During his tenure with NPR, Ydstie has won numerous awards. He was a member of the NPR team that received the George Foster Peabody for its coverage of 9/11. Ydstie's reporting from Saudi Arabia helped NPR win the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award in 1991 for coverage of the Gulf War. Prior to joining NPR, Ydstie was a reporter and producer at Minnesota Public Radio. While there, he was awarded the Clarion Award for his report "Vietnam Experience and America Today."

A graduate of Concordia College, in Moorhead, MN, Ydstie earned a bachelor of arts degree, summa cum laude, with a major in English literature and a minor in speech communications.

Ydstie was born in Minneapolis, and grew up in rural North Dakota.

Pages

Business
4:38 am
Thu May 23, 2013

When Will Fed Officials Ease Off The Accelerator?

Originally published on Fri May 24, 2013 12:54 pm

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with some of the shine off the stock market.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

Read more
Economy
6:40 pm
Wed May 22, 2013

Bernanke: Economy Still Too Shaky To End Low Interest Rates

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

You're listening to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News.

For those who closely follow decisions made by the Federal Reserve, today's marquee event was the testimony of Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke. He appeared on Capitol Hill before the Joint Economic Committee of Congress. And some lawmakers asked Bernanke about concerns of chaos in the financial markets once the Fed stops pumping money into the economy. NPR's John Ydstie explains.

Read more
Business
4:24 am
Tue May 21, 2013

CEO Cook To Defend Apple Before Senate Committee Hearing

Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks during an introduction of the iPhone 5 in San Francisco on Sept. 12. The Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations says Apple is paying billions of dollars less than it should in taxes each year, taking advantage of technicalities in U.S. and Irish tax laws.
Eric Risberg AP

Originally published on Tue May 21, 2013 11:13 am

Giant technology firm Apple is paying billions of dollars less than it should in U.S. taxes each year, according to a report by the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. In a hearing Tuesday in Washington, D.C., Apple CEO Tim Cook will defend the company.

The subcommittee's report says Apple avoids the tax payments mainly by shifting profits to three subsidiary companies in Ireland. The investigation found Apple is taking advantage of technicalities in U.S. and Irish tax laws to avoid paying any tax on a huge portion of its profits.

Read more
Business
5:25 am
Fri May 17, 2013

Obama Names OMB Controller As Acting IRS Commissioner

On Thursday, President Obama named Daniel Werfel, 42, acting IRS commissioner. The announcement comes a day after the resignation of Steven Miller, who got caught up in the controversy over the IRS targeting Tea Party groups.

Business
6:19 am
Wed May 15, 2013

Budget Deficit Outlook Improves Since February

Copies of President Obama's budget plan for fiscal 2014 are prepared for delivery at the U.S. Government Printing Office in Washington in April. The Congressional Budget Office has sharply cut the outlook for the federal deficit.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Wed May 15, 2013 11:22 am

As the economy improves, the federal budget deficit is growing dramatically smaller. The Congressional Budget Office has sharply revised its estimates from just a few months ago, knocking off $200 billion in red ink for the current fiscal year. Some temporary factors are being cited for the projected improvement.

Read more
Economy
5:27 pm
Thu May 2, 2013

Housing Recovery Lifts Other Sectors, Too

Chevy trucks line the lot of a dealer in Murrysville, Pa. Sales were up by double digits at Chrysler, General Motors and Ford last month.
Gene J. Puskar AP

Originally published on Thu May 2, 2013 6:00 pm

The government's employment report for April comes out Friday. It's an important measure of the economy's health and the advance signals have been mixed. One report this week showed layoffs falling to a five-year low, but another suggests disappointing jobs creation.

At least one sector is providing some positive news for the job market: housing.

Read more
Business
7:49 pm
Thu April 25, 2013

Regulators Warn Banks On Direct-Deposit Loans

Regulators are warning some of the nation's largest banks to stop offering loans that are hard to distinguish from those given out by storefront payday lenders.
CX Matiash AP

Originally published on Thu April 25, 2013 8:16 pm

Consumer advocates call them "debt" traps. The banks that offer them call them direct-deposit advances and describe them as available funds for short-term emergencies.

But the cash advances have many of the negative characteristics of payday loans. And on Thursday, U.S. bank regulators took a step toward protecting consumers from the risks they pose. The regulators proposed standards for "deposit-advance products."

Read more
Economy
4:42 am
Wed April 17, 2013

IMF Trims Its Global Growth Forecast

Originally published on Wed April 17, 2013 2:46 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

The International Monetary Fund has trimmed its forecast for global growth.

NPR's John Ydstie reports the outlook was adjusted downward, largely because so much of Europe is still in recession.

JOHN YDSTIE, BYLINE: The IMF projects the Euro area economy will shrink three-tenths of a percent this year, but return to positive growth next year.

Meanwhile, the IMF forecast, called the World Economic Outlook, predicts the U.S. will grow just under two percent this year and around three percent in 2014.

Read more
Business
5:49 pm
Thu April 11, 2013

Japan's Big Stimulus Move Shocks Globe's Market Watchers

Passersby watch share prices spike in Tokyo on April 4, the day Japan's central bank announced a massive purchase of government bonds. The bank hopes the scale of the effort will boost Japan's slow-moving economy.
Yoshikazu Tsuno AFP/Getty Images

Currency traders were stunned last week by aggressive action from Japan's central bank. The Bank of Japan embarked on a bond-buying program that, by one measure, is twice the size of the extraordinary moves by Ben Bernanke and the Federal Reserve in the United States. The BOJ's move is an effort to shock the Japanese economy out of more than a decade of sluggish growth and deflation.

Read more
Economy
3:07 am
Fri March 29, 2013

Cyprus' Crisis Frames Eurozone As 'Work In Progress'

Banks in Cyprus reopened to customers for the first time in nearly two weeks Thursday, albeit with strict restrictions.
Petros Giannakouris AP

Originally published on Fri March 29, 2013 11:14 am

On the second day since Cyprus reopened its banks, depositors continue to face restrictions on getting at their money. ATM withdrawals are limited to 300 euros a day, and there are limits on how much cash travelers can take abroad.

Read more
Business
4:38 am
Fri March 22, 2013

Census Bureau: Americans Burdened By High Debt

Originally published on Fri March 22, 2013 10:55 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with high debt and low wealth.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

INSKEEP: Since the financial crisis, many Americans have been saving money and paying down debt. Many are in better financial shape than a few years ago. But when you look at the longer term, it is clear that Americans as a whole have not regained all the ground they lost.

The Census Bureau compared Americans in 2011 with their wealth and debt burdens in that seemingly long-ago year, 2000.

NPR's John Ydstie reports.

Read more
Economy
4:58 pm
Wed March 20, 2013

Federal Reserve To Hold Interest Rates Low Until Unemployment Improves

Originally published on Wed March 20, 2013 6:43 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block.

Read more
Business
6:04 pm
Tue March 19, 2013

Odd Political Bedfellows Agree: Banks Still Too Big To Fail

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., questions Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke during a Senate hearing last month. Senators from both ends of the political spectrum argue that financial reforms are insufficient to protect taxpayers from potential risks posed by large banks.
Gary Cameron Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Tue March 19, 2013 7:51 pm

Amid Washington's dysfunction, one issue has united some liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans: a common concern that "too big to fail" is alive and well.

Despite the Dodd-Frank financial reforms, these lawmakers believe the nation's largest banks still pose a threat to the economy and that the government will step in to bail them out if they get in trouble.

Read more
Economy
5:35 pm
Wed March 6, 2013

Time For The Fed To Take Away The Punch Bowl?

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke testifies before the Senate Banking Committee in Washington last month. Some analysts wonder if he and other policymakers have kept interest rates too low for too long.
Carolyn Kaster AP

Originally published on Thu March 7, 2013 11:49 am

The stock market's long climb from its recession bottom has some people concerned it may be a bubble about to burst — a bubble artificially pumped up by the Federal Reserve's easy-money policy. That's led to calls — even from within the Fed — for an end to the central bank's extraordinary efforts to keep interest rates low.

Read more
Economy
5:16 am
Fri March 1, 2013

Economists Debate Sequestration's Effect On Economy

Originally published on Fri March 1, 2013 1:47 pm

The Congressional Budget Office estimates the automatic budget cuts that go into effect Friday will shave 0.6 percent from the economy's annual growth rate. That might not be a big worry if the economy were growing at 3 or 4 percent. But growth is a paltry 2 percent, so the impact may be noticeable.

Economy
6:12 am
Fri February 15, 2013

Eurozone Economies Declined In 2012

Originally published on Fri February 15, 2013 8:39 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with Europe's rocky economy.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

WERTHEIMER: It was a tough three months for the eurozone at the end of last year. The area fell deeper into recession.

And as NPR's John Ydstie reports, it's expected to remain in recession well into 2013.

JOHN YDSTIE, BYLINE: The output of the eurozone fell six-tenths of a percent in the final three months of last year, according to a report from Eurostat. The decline translates to an economy contracting at a 2.3 percent annual rate.

Read more
Business
6:05 am
Thu February 14, 2013

Lew Expected To Be Confirmed As Treasury Secretary

Originally published on Fri February 15, 2013 3:05 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

Jack Lew, President Obama's pick for Treasury secretary, appears headed toward confirmation by the full Senate. He fared well during his confirmation hearing at the Senate Finance Committee yesterday.

But as NPR's John Ydstie reports, Lew did get some pointed questions from Republicans about his brief career in the private sector as an executive of Citigroup.

Read more
Politics
6:51 am
Sat January 12, 2013

What Would Obama Do (If There's No Debt Ceiling Deal)?

Originally published on Sat January 12, 2013 12:08 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon.

You might've chuckled a bit this week, if you heard about the trillion-dollar platinum coin plan, to perhaps address Washington, D.C.'s debt ceiling stalemate. But it will certainly be no laughing matter if the U.S. Congress refuses to raise the borrowing limit, and the U.S. government defaults on its debt. Global financial markets would likely plummet.

NPR's John Ydstie reports on some of the options the president has if he and Congress cannot reach an agreement.

Read more
Economy
3:44 am
Fri January 11, 2013

Geithner Began With 'Smoldering' Economy; What Does He Leave?

In this handout image provided by the White House, President Obama talks with Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner at the United Nations on Sept. 23, 2010.
The White House Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 11, 2013 8:35 am

Outgoing Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has had a bruising four years. He took office when the U.S. economy was plunging into the worst recession since the Great Depression.

Nominating Jack Lew as Geithner's successor Thursday, President Obama praised his departing Treasury secretary for helping to get the economy back on track.

Read more
Business
6:37 pm
Tue January 8, 2013

After The 'Fiscal Cliff,' Businesses Say Some Uncertainty Remains

U.S. employers added 155,000 jobs in December, a steady gain that shows hiring held up during the tense negotiations to resolve the fiscal cliff. But the unemployment rate remained at 7.8 percent last month.
Damian Dovarganes AP

Originally published on Tue January 8, 2013 7:23 pm

Businesses complained that the uncertainty surrounding the "fiscal cliff" froze their decisions about hiring and expanding, which hurt the economy. Washington has now managed half a deal, which settles tax issues, at least for the time being. But has that removed enough uncertainty to boost some business hiring and investment?

Read more
Economy
4:18 pm
Fri December 28, 2012

Reading The Economic Tea Leaves For 2013

A housing revival will be key to an economic recovery in 2013, analysts say.
Jonathan Ernst Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Fri December 28, 2012 5:06 pm

The U.S. economy was a bit of a disappointment in 2012. During the early months of the year, job creation was surprisingly strong, but by the end of the year, uncertainty about the election and the "fiscal cliff" slowed the economy's forward motion. So will 2013 look any better?

Mark Zandi of Moody's Analytics says that while Washington likely will steer us away from the fiscal cliff at the last minute, some elements of the deal will be a drag on the economy early in 2013.

Read more
Economy
5:32 pm
Wed December 26, 2012

The Fed Boosts The Economy, But What About The Risks?

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke speaks during a news conference in Washington on Dec. 12. Some economists worry the Fed has set the stage for inflation as well as stock and housing bubbles by keeping interest rates low.
Kevin Lamarque Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Wed December 26, 2012 7:24 pm

The Federal Reserve continued to keep its foot on the accelerator in 2012, using unusual tactics to try to boost economic growth. But there's disagreement among economists about whether the Fed's policies were effective or whether the risks to the economy outweighed the rewards.

Read more
Economy
4:55 pm
Fri December 21, 2012

Failure To Avert Fiscal Cliff Could Damage World's Confidence In U.S.

Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 9:21 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block. It's time for Plan C. Washington's efforts to avoid massive tax hikes and spending cuts come January 1st seem to be in disarray. Last night, House Speaker John Boehner failed to get enough Republicans to go along with what he called his Plan B. NPR's John Ydstie talked with members of the business community about whether that failure is seen as a setback or clears the way for more productive negotiations.

Read more
Business
4:53 am
Thu December 13, 2012

Fed To Keep Short-Term Interest Rates Low

Originally published on Thu December 13, 2012 9:03 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

In the U.S., the Federal Reserve now says it intends to keep its benchmark interest rate exceptionally low until the unemployment rate reaches six and a half percent. It's the first time the Fed has named a specific thresh-hold for when it would begin raising interest rates.

NPR's John Ydstie has more.

Read more
Around the Nation
6:54 am
Sat December 8, 2012

Unemployment Rate Drops, But Picture Not All Rosy

Originally published on Sat December 8, 2012 7:37 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Turns out that Superstorm Sandy didn't do as much damage as many expected, to the nation's unemployment predicament. At least, that's what the government's monthly data on the jobs market told us yesterday. As NPR's John Ydstie reports, analysts and businesses are already looking past that report, to the dangers to jobs posed by the fiscal cliff.

Read more
Economy
4:36 pm
Fri December 7, 2012

Answering Your Questions On The Fiscal Cliff

Originally published on Fri December 7, 2012 11:50 pm

We asked listeners what they wanted to know about efforts to head off the package of tax hikes and spending cuts set to go into effect Jan. 1, 2012. Today, we get answers from Scott Horsley, Tamara Keith and John Ydstie.

Business
5:12 am
Thu December 6, 2012

Obama, Business Roundtable Disagree Over Taxes

President Obama is lobbying the CEOs of the nation's largest companies to support him as he tries to reach a budget deal with Republican lawmakers. The president met Wednesday with members of the Business Roundtable. The group urges the extension of Bush-era tax cuts for everyone, including the wealthy.

Politics
6:05 pm
Tue December 4, 2012

Social Security's COLA At Stake In 'Fiscal Cliff' Talks?

Originally published on Wed December 5, 2012 10:34 am

The Republican plan to avert the "fiscal cliff" that the White House rejected Monday includes at least one element that's likely to produce controversy: a proposal that would, among other things, affect the cost of living adjustment for Social Security.

Read more
It's All Politics
6:05 pm
Fri November 30, 2012

Raising Taxes On The Rich: Canny Or Counterproductive?

Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y. (right), shown at a news conference Thursday on Capitol Hill with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, is arguing for raising taxes on the wealthy as part of a deal to avoid the fiscal cliff.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Fri November 30, 2012 6:44 pm

As negotiations continue in Washington over a plan to avoid the fiscal cliff — that combination of tax hikes and spending cuts scheduled for Jan. 1 — one big sticking point is whether to raise tax rates for high-income Americans.

Congress and the White House constructed the cliff last year, thinking it would force them to focus on solving the deficit problem. But they're still battling over what approach makes the most sense.

Read more
It's All Politics
5:04 am
Fri November 30, 2012

How Much Income Taxes Could Rise: A Breakdown Of The Options

House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio speaks to reporters on Capitol Hill Thursday after private talks with Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Fri November 30, 2012 10:46 am

"No substantive progress has been made." That's what House Speaker John Boehner had to say Thursday about efforts to avoid automatic spending cuts and tax increases at year's end.

The administration's lead negotiator, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, met with congressional leaders from both sides of the aisle Thursday, looking for an agreement on the hazard Congress and the White House created last year to focus their minds on deficit reduction.

Read more

Pages