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

Economy
2:24 am
Fri September 28, 2012

Easy Money May Boost Economy But At What Cost?

Specialist David Pologruto works at his post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on Sept. 13, as Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke holds a news conference in Washington. The world's central banks are easing credit, putting more money into the global economy.
Richard Drew AP

Originally published on Fri September 28, 2012 11:31 am

The world's central banks are pumping cash into their economies, pushing down interest rates in hopes the ready cash and lower rates will boost borrowing and economic activity. Everyone agrees the action is dramatic and unprecedented, but there's disagreement over whether they will do more harm than good.

Economists know very well the trillions of dollars being added by the central banks to the global economy can be risky.

"These are risks about long-term rises in inflation, housing bubbles potentially building up," says Jacob Kirkegaard of the Peterson Institute.

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Economy
6:42 am
Tue September 25, 2012

IMF's Lagarde: Uncertainty Slows Global Recovery

International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde delivers remarks at the Peterson Institute for International Economics on Monday in Washington, D.C. Lagarde said there are a number of factors eroding growth.
Paul J. Richards AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue September 25, 2012 11:00 am

Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund Christine Lagarde says recent actions by the European Central Bank mark a positive turning point in Europe's financial crisis. But she warned that uncertainty elsewhere will continue to slow the pace of the global recovery.

Back in July, the IMF was forecasting world growth of just under 4 percent for next year. The group's economists will issue a new forecast in a couple of weeks. Lagarde said the new projection still foresees a gradual recovery, but it will shave a few tenths of a percent off global growth.

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Economy
1:03 am
Thu September 13, 2012

Fed Stimulus Expected, But Remedy May Not Be Right

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke in a hearing of the Joint Economic Committee on Capitol Hill in June.
Brendan Smialowski AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu September 13, 2012 8:02 am

Federal Reserve policymakers are meeting in Washington, trying to decide whether — and exactly how — to boost the sluggish economy. Many analysts are expecting the Fed to take action, but they're also beginning to question whether another stimulus program will have any effect.

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Election 2012
1:59 pm
Sun September 9, 2012

Critics Say Ryan's Record Belies Tough Deficit Talk

Paul Ryan waves as he takes the stage at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., on Aug. 29. Ryan has been celebrated as a deficit hawk with bold vision, but some critics have called his record on deficit-reduction "dismal."
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Sun September 9, 2012 4:08 pm

Paul Ryan has a reputation as a deficit hawk. Mitt Romney's running mate has proposed budgets that cut non-defense spending significantly, and advocated controlling Medicare costs by making it a voucher program. But critics argue there's a lot in the Wisconsin congressman's record that undermines his deficit-hawk reputation.

When Ryan gave the GOP response to President Obama's State of the Union address last year, he restated his commitment to debt and deficit reduction.

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It's All Politics
3:49 pm
Tue August 14, 2012

Ryan's Mission For Fed: Focus On Prices, Not Unemployment

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., shakes hands with Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke at the close of the committee's hearing on the state of the economy in February 2011.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Thu August 16, 2012 12:07 pm

Mitt Romney's new running mate has authored some provocative policy proposals to cut budget deficits and overhaul Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. But Rep. Paul Ryan has also been an advocate for a different course for the central banking system of the United States, the Federal Reserve.

For the past 35 years, the Fed has had a dual mandate from Congress: to set interest rates at levels that will both foster maximum employment and keep prices stable. Put another way, the Fed's goals are to get unemployment as low as possible while keeping inflation in check.

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U.S.
5:30 pm
Tue July 24, 2012

Offshore Jobs Play Role In Campaigns And Economy

Originally published on Wed July 25, 2012 4:46 pm

President Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney have been trading attacks over the issue of American jobs being moved overseas.

The president has pounded Romney for the investments made by his former firm Bain Capital in the 1990s. Not to be outdone, the Romney campaign has suggested most of the money from the president's stimulus program went to create jobs overseas.

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Economy
2:22 am
Wed July 11, 2012

Euro Currency Still Faring Well, For Now

Over the last 13 years, the euro has been worth on average $1.21, only a penny less than its current price of $1.22 per euro.
Michael Probst AP

Originally published on Wed July 11, 2012 11:42 am

The euro touched a two-year low against the dollar Tuesday, as concerns about the eurozone debt crisis continued.

Despite a recession across much of the eurozone and even predictions of the currency's demise, however, the euro has held up relatively well during this crisis.

Over the last 13 year, it has taken on average $1.21 to buy a euro. Now, even in this midst of this crisis, it's worth virtually the same ($1.22).

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Europe
4:13 pm
Wed June 27, 2012

European Union Tradeoff: Sovereignty For Stability

Originally published on Wed June 27, 2012 5:50 pm

In order to salvage its common currency, Europe is working toward a tighter fiscal union. That will require a tradeoff — sovereignty for economic stability. Over the next two days European Union leaders will try to come to an agreement to boost growth.

Economy
4:34 pm
Wed June 20, 2012

Federal Reserve Cuts Back U.S. Growth Forecast

Originally published on Wed June 20, 2012 5:23 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel in Washington, D.C.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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Economy
6:06 am
Wed June 20, 2012

Investors Look To The Fed For An Economic Boost

Originally published on Wed June 20, 2012 8:59 am

Transcript

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with the Fed in the spotlight.

U.S. stocks rallied yesterday largely on a belief among investors that the Federal Reserve will take further action to stimulate the economy. The Fed concludes a two-day meeting around noon today. Afterwards, Chairman Ben Bernanke will hold a news conference to explain the Fed's strategy.

As NPR's John Ydstie reports, there are several things the Fed could do to try to boost growth, but whether they'd be effective is debatable.

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American Dreams: Then And Now
3:22 pm
Tue May 29, 2012

On The Economic Ladder, Rungs Move Further Apart

Kevin Hill, a San Diego landscape designer, was doing well financially before the downturn. Now, he says he feels "lost."
John Ydstie NPR

Originally published on Tue May 29, 2012 7:45 pm

America is the land of opportunity — that's the bedrock of the American dream. Many expect each generation to do better than the last.

That dream of economic mobility is alive and well for Pam Krank and her husband, Brian McGee. The two are proud owners of The Credit Department Inc., a successful business in the Minneapolis suburb of Mendota Heights.

"Mostly manufacturing companies around the world will hire us to study their customers and tell them how much ... unsecured credit they should grant to each customer," Krank explains.

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Europe
2:31 am
Thu May 17, 2012

'Dire Consequences' If Greece Exits Euro

People walk past the Bank of Greece headquarters in Athens.
Louisa Gouliamaki AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu May 17, 2012 9:46 am

Euros are being drained out of Greek banks at a rate of up to $1 billion a day this week. In the wake of the country's election turmoil, depositors are nervous about the heightened possibility of a Greek exit from the euro. If that were to happen, euros left in Greek banks could be worth much less than euros outside the country.

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The Two-Way
10:04 pm
Wed May 9, 2012

Pew Study: Americans In The Northeast Have More Economic Mobility

Originally published on Thu May 10, 2012 3:48 am

A new study from the Pew Charitable Trusts finds economic mobility differs significantly across the United States. The report finds Americans are more likely to move up the economic ladder if they live in the northeast.

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Europe
2:33 am
Tue May 8, 2012

Bond Market Shrugs Off France's Presidential Vote

A supporter of French President-elect Francois Hollande wears a mask of outgoing President Nicolas Sarkozy.
Thomas Coex AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue May 8, 2012 6:41 am

The arguments for growth policies as opposed to austerity are taking center stage in Europe after the French and Greek elections.

His rhetoric aside, France's President-elect Francois Hollande is not rejecting austerity. In fact, he pledged to balance France's budget by the end of his five-year term, just one year later than his opponent, outgoing President Nicolas Sarkozy.

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Economy
5:37 am
Sat May 5, 2012

On Jobs, Bad News Is Bad. The Good News Is Bad, Too

People wait in a line at a job fair on April 10, 2012, in Gresham, Ore. Employment grew by 115,000 last month, but the unemployment rate dip was likely due to people leaving the workforce rather than people getting hired, analysts say.
Rick Bowmer AP

Originally published on Sun May 6, 2012 9:26 am

For the second month in a row, weak job growth numbers unsettled nerves in the White House and on Wall Street.

It's obvious why the number of jobs added to the economy in April was disappointing. Employment grew by just 115,000. That followed a disappointing job gain in March. Together, the March and April average was only about half the 250,000 jobs added monthly in December, January and February.

Again, economists suggested the warm winter weather might have boosted job growth during the winter months, which left fewer jobs to be added in the spring.

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The Two-Way
1:55 pm
Sat April 21, 2012

At The IMF, $430 Billion In Pledges Buys Leverage For Emerging Markets

Originally published on Mon April 23, 2012 5:09 am

The UK gave some support to the emerging market nations' quest for a greater role today at the IMF during the spring meetings of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund in Washington, D.C.

Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne said the UK's $15-billion contribution to the IMF's enhanced crisis fund could not be accessed until further progress is made on giving the emerging market a greater voice in how the is Fund is run.

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Europe
5:22 am
Sat April 21, 2012

Emerging Markets Promise IMF Financial Firepower

International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde announced Friday that the IMF had raised $430 billion, surpassing its stated goal.
Charles Dharapak AP

Originally published on Sat April 21, 2012 9:46 am

International Monetary Fund officials and members of the G-20 nations announced Friday that member countries have pledged $430 billion to add to the Fund's crisis-fighting arsenal.

The Fund's managing director Christine Lagarde came into the annual World Bank-IMF spring meetings in Washington, D.C., with a goal of raising $400 billion from member states. She was clearly happy and relieved as she announced a number larger than that.

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Business
2:00 am
Tue April 17, 2012

U.S. Has A Natural Gas Problem: Too Much Of It

Oil field workers drill into the Gypsum Hills near Medicine Lodge, Kan. Hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," to coax out oil and gas has led to a natural gas boom that the U.S. market is having trouble absorbing.
Orlin Wagner AP

Originally published on Tue April 17, 2012 6:43 am

There's a boom in natural gas production in the United States, a boom so big the market is having trouble absorbing it all.

The unusually warm weather this winter is one reason for the excess, since it reduced the need for people to burn gas to heat their homes. A bigger reason, however, is the huge increase in gas production made possible by new methods of coaxing gas out of shale rock formations.

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Economy
12:50 pm
Thu April 5, 2012

Just How Strong Is The Job Market?

Job seekers attend a career fair in New York City. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke says the quick drop in unemployment might have been a reversal of overzealous cutbacks during the financial crisis.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

Originally published on Fri April 6, 2012 4:44 am

The monthly employment report Friday could help answer a key question about the economy: Will the recently strong job growth slow once employers finish replacing the people they fired during the depths of the recession?

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Business
3:03 am
Mon April 2, 2012

Oil Scare Turns FedEx Onto Energy Efficiency

A FedEx hybrid delivery truck. In FedEx's fleet of over 90,000 vehicles, 408 are hybrid or electric, and 4,000 are fuel-efficient, lower-emitting "Sprinter" vans.
Courtesy of FedEx Corp.

The rising cost of oil isn't just a hit to the family budget. Businesses are hurt, too. Few are more affected than firms like FedEx. It deploys nearly 700 planes and tens of thousands of trucks and vans every day to deliver packages around the world. And few business leaders are more focused on finding alternatives to petroleum-based fuels than FedEx CEO Fred Smith.

Shortly after Smith founded Federal Express, the 1973 Arab oil embargo almost killed it. The experience imprinted Smith with a keen interest in the price and availability of oil.

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The Two-Way
10:45 am
Fri March 23, 2012

Why Gas Prices Are Rising Even As Demand Is Down

The prices at a gas station in Los Angeles earlier this month.
Frederic J. Brown AFP/Getty Images

On Morning Edition this week we looked at "What's Making Americans Less Thirsty for Gasoline?"

Now let's examine another important question: "If our demand for gasoline is falling, why are prices in the U.S. rising?"

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Energy
4:04 am
Thu March 22, 2012

What's Making Americans Less Thirsty For Gasoline?

Growing demand for more fuel-efficient cars and trucks, like these 2009 Dodge Journey crossover vehicles, has helped drive down gasoline consumption in the U.S.
David Zalubowski AP

Originally published on Fri March 23, 2012 6:03 am

The price of gasoline keeps rising for Americans, but it's not because of rising demand from consumers.

Since the first Arab oil embargo of the 1970s, the U.S. has struggled to quench a growing appetite for oil and gasoline. Now, that trend is changing.

"When you look at the U.S. oil market, you see that there's actually no growth," says Daniel Yergin, chairman of IHS Cambridge Energy Research Associates.

He says gasoline demand peaked in 2007 and has fallen each year since, even though the economy has begun to recover.

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Economy
7:00 am
Sat March 17, 2012

Markets Hit Milestones; Goldman Sachs Gets Bashed

Transcript

JACKI LYDEN, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Jacki Lyden. Checking on your retirement and mutual fund statements is getting a bit less scary. The stock market cleared another hurdle this week with the S&P 500 closing above 1,400 for the first time in almost four years, and the Dow Jones Industrials up almost 25 percent from in recent low back in early October. NPR's John Ydstie is here to tell us what's driving the market. John, thank you for coming in.

JOHN YDSTIE, BYLINE: You're welcome, Jacki.

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Energy
11:01 pm
Tue March 6, 2012

Is U.S. Energy Independence Finally Within Reach?

A worker hangs from an oil derrick near Williston, N.D. The state now produces 500,000 barrels of crude oil per day, and production continues to rise.
Gregory Bull AP

Originally published on Wed March 7, 2012 7:17 pm

Rising gas prices have been the big energy story of the past several weeks. But many energy experts say that's a sideshow compared with the really big energy event — the huge boom in oil and natural gas production in the U.S. that could help the nation reach the elusive goal of energy independence.

Since the Arab oil embargo of 1973, energy independence has been a Holy Grail for virtually every American president from Richard Nixon to Jimmy Carter to Barack Obama.

But now, it might just be within reach.

The Shale Gale

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Economy
2:00 pm
Wed February 29, 2012

Bernanke: Economic Growth Will Be Slow

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke acknowledged that the economy is improving on Wednesday, but he isn't convinced the recovery is self-sustaining. He reaffirmed the Fed's position that the economy will likely need super-low interest rates well into 2014.

Economy
2:13 pm
Mon February 20, 2012

With Business Up, Owners Say Banks Lending Again

Originally published on Tue February 21, 2012 10:26 am

A big reason for the slow recovery has been that the nation's battered banks haven't been able or willing to lend. There are signs that's changing and that bank lending is helping to support stronger growth.

Paul Kasriel, chief economist at Northern Trust, a Chicago-based bank, say his reading of Federal Reserve data has convinced him that banks have finally taken the baton from the Fed and are now making credit more available.

"We've seen a sharp increase in business loans on the books of banks," he says.

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NPR Story
2:00 pm
Fri February 3, 2012

Jobs Numbers Surprise Economists

Originally published on Fri February 3, 2012 5:54 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

January's weather looked like spring in much of the country, and today's monthly employment report suggests it's spring in the job market, too. As NPR's John Ydstie reports, the economy added 243,000 jobs in January, and the unemployment rate dropped for the fifth straight month.

JOHN YDSTIE, BYLINE: Nobody expected that job creation in January would be this strong, or that the unemployment rate would fall again to 8.3 percent – nobody including John Silvia, chief economist at Wells Fargo.

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Economy
12:50 pm
Tue January 31, 2012

GOP Candidates Reopen Debate Over Gold

If president, Newt Gingrich says he would appoint a monetary policy commission to reconsider returning to the gold standard.
Michal Cizek AFP/Getty Images

The glitter of gold has provided some added luster to the Republican primaries in the past couple of weeks, as Newt Gingrich recently suggested it might be a good idea to re-establish the link between the value of the dollar and gold.

"I would appoint a commission to look into gold and to look into hard money, because a dollar you save today ought to be worth a dollar 30 years from now," Gingrich said while recently campaigning in South Carolina.

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Economy
11:01 pm
Thu January 12, 2012

In GOP Campaign, Private Equity Firms Draw Flak

Originally published on Fri January 13, 2012 11:20 am

Was Mitt Romney a job-creating turnaround artist? Or was he, as some on the campaign trail have said, a "vulture capitalist"? That question has become a top issue in the Republican presidential primaries.

In the 1980s, Romney ran a private equity firm called Bain Capital. It's an industry where it's hard to avoid getting your hands dirty.

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Economy
2:00 pm
Fri January 6, 2012

Report Posts Stronger-Than-Expected Employment

Originally published on Fri January 6, 2012 4:58 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel.

Today, new evidence that the pace of job growth is picking up. The government's employment report for December showed 200,000 jobs added to payrolls. The unemployment rate continued its downward trend falling to 8.5 percent.

And while that may be welcome news, as NPR's John Ydstie explains, the December report could be overstating job growth.

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