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.

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The Two-Way
9:45 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
3:04 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 5:03 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
6:00 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
10:01 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 6:17 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
1:13 pm
Mon February 20, 2012

With Business Up, Owners Say Banks Lending Again

Originally published on Tue February 21, 2012 9:26 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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Economy
1:00 pm
Fri February 3, 2012

Improved Job Figures Surprise Economists

Originally published on Fri February 3, 2012 4:54 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
10:01 pm
Thu January 12, 2012

In GOP Campaign, Private Equity Firms Draw Flak

Originally published on Fri January 13, 2012 10:20 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
1:00 pm
Fri January 6, 2012

Report Posts Stronger-Than-Expected Employment

Originally published on Fri January 6, 2012 3:58 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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Economy
1:54 pm
Wed December 28, 2011

From Boom To Bust: The Year In Unemployment

In April, the Brooklyn Job Fair drew thousands of participants, including nearly 80 employers. That same month saw unemployment jump to 9 percent from 8.8 percent in March.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 28, 2011 5:32 pm

It may be hard to remember, but 2011 began with a bang on the jobs front. The White House seemed ready to break out the champagne when February's job growth report came out showing unemployment at the lowest in nearly two years.

But that celebratory mood didn't last long.

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Law
1:00 pm
Fri December 16, 2011

SEC Charges Ex-Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac CEOs

The Securities and Exchange Commission is going after former top executives at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for allegedly committing securities fraud.

The mortgage giants had to be taken over by the government in 2008 and then propped up by taxpayers. The SEC says the officials misled investors about the firm's exposure to subprime mortgages

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Still No Job: Over A Year Without Enough Work
10:01 pm
Sun December 11, 2011

The State Of The Long-Term Unemployed

People wait to see a career adviser at a training center operated by the New York Department of Labor in New York City. NPR and the Kaiser Family Foundation conducted a survey on the emotional, physical and financial effects of being without work for a year or more. Nearly 70 percent of respondents would like the government to offer more job training opportunities.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

Originally published on Mon December 12, 2011 10:02 am

Millions of Americans wake up each morning without a job, even though they desperately want to work. It's one of the depressing legacies of the financial crisis and Great Recession.

NPR and the Kaiser Family Foundation conducted a poll of people who had been unemployed or with an insufficient level of work for more than a year. The results document the financial, emotional and physical effects of long-term unemployment and underemployment.

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Economy
5:08 am
Sat December 3, 2011

Behind Unemployment Figure, A Nuanced Outlook

NPR

The U.S. unemployment rate took a big tumble in November, from 9 percent to 8.6 percent, according to the government's monthly jobs data. Still, it's probably too soon pop the champagne corks. A combination of forces caused the big drop, some good and some bad.

Getting a big fall in the unemployment rate is always good news in the White House, but President Obama was careful not to gloat at an appearance Friday in Washington.

"This morning we learned that our economy added another 140,000 private sector jobs in November. The unemployment rate went down," he said.

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Europe
2:00 am
Thu December 1, 2011

Will Eurozone Countries Give Up Control Of Budgets?

European Central Bank Chief Mario Draghi speaks with Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti at EU headquarters in Brussels on Wednesday. European leaders will meet there next week to discuss their options for fixing the region's sovereign debt crisis.
JohnThys AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 1, 2011 12:45 pm

Next week, leaders of the euro area countries will gather in Brussels in an effort to take a bigger step toward ending the region's sovereign debt crisis. They hope that by agreeing to tougher penalties for countries that break the euro area's budget rules, they can entice the European Central Bank to do more to stem the crisis.

But the question is whether the eurozone countries are willing to give up control of their budgets.

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Business
9:20 am
Wed November 30, 2011

Central Banks Around Globe Move To Ease Fears

Originally published on Wed November 30, 2011 10:07 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

NPR's business news begins with a surprising move by central banks.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

INSKEEP: The Federal Reserve took action this morning, along with the major central banks in Europe and Japan, to ease credit for commercial banks. This is an effort to free up funding for European banks battered by the eurozone's sovereign debt crisis. NPR's John Ydstie reports.

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Social Entrepreneurs: Taking On World Problems
10:01 pm
Mon November 21, 2011

Selling Water, Health Care In The Developing World

In a Healthpoint clinic in the village of Mallan in Punjab, India, lab technician Navdeep Sharma draws Suba Singh's blood sample. Part of Healthpoint's business plan is to offer cheap diagnostic tests at its clinics. Diagnosing and treating people in a single visit is one key to delivering affordable health care.
Soma Vatsa for NPR

In rural India, deep in Punjab — about 90 minutes from the Pakistani border — getting clean drinking water is a challenge. Well water often has high levels of dangerous chemicals. Surface water is contaminated with pesticides and agricultural waste.

Getting adequate health care is equally challenging. Government hospitals are often far away, and lines are long.

Here, in places like a dusty rural town called Rajiana, a 2-year-old company called Healthpoint Services is trying to figure out how to bring clean water and health care to rural communities on a global scale.

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Social Entrepreneurs: Taking On World Problems
3:58 pm
Fri November 18, 2011

India Eye Care Center Finds Middle Way To Capitalism

Patients sit after their cataract surgeries at a hospital of the Aravind Eye Care System in Madurai, India.
Reinhard Krause Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Tue November 29, 2011 5:38 pm

At an Aravind hospital in Madurai, a city on India's southern tip, the waiting room is packed. A clinical assistant calls out the names of patients, and they're escorted to examination rooms. This hospital alone screens around 2,000 patients a day — and tour guide Shawas Philip says this day is busier than usual.

"We might break that record today — of the number of patients that are seen on a particular day. That's exciting," he says.

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Economy
10:01 pm
Thu November 17, 2011

Would Supercommittee Failure Roil Markets?

Analysts worry that failure by the supercommittee to reach a credible debt-reduction deal could upset financial markets, force up interest rates and hurt the economy.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Originally published on Fri November 18, 2011 2:34 pm

With Wednesday's deadline looming, the congressional supercommittee still seems far from an agreement, causing concern that failure could send financial markets into a spiral.

The bipartisan panel, charged with finding budget cuts or new revenues to reduce the deficit by at least $1.2 trillion over the next 10 years, is a child of the summer's debt-ceiling debate. It was an escape hatch for Congress and the president when they couldn't reach agreement on big deficit-reduction measures. That game of chicken helped to send the stock market sliding.

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Business
2:00 am
Wed November 16, 2011

House Panel Votes To End Fannie, Freddie Bonuses

The House Financial Services Committee voted on Wednesday to suspend nearly $13 million in bonuses paid to executives at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The measure would also prohibit future bonuses. The Senate is expected to take up similar legislation.

Economy
10:01 pm
Thu October 6, 2011

Does The Economy Need A Little Inflation?

Though most central bankers hate inflation, policies that promote inflation may boost the U.S. economy, some economists say.

Ken Rogoff, former chief economist at the International Monetary Fund, says the Federal Reserve's efforts to boost growth haven't worked and the central bank needs to be more forceful.

"They need to be willing, in fact actively pursue, letting inflation rise a bit more," says Rogoff, who is now a professor at Harvard. "That would encourage consumption. It would encourage investment. It would bring housing prices into line."

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World
12:34 pm
Sat September 24, 2011

World Powers Seek To Contain Europe Debt Crisis

Originally published on Mon September 26, 2011 10:14 am

World stock markets tumbled this week amid fears about Europe's debt crisis, and the subject dominated the discussions at the fall meetings of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund held this weekend.

Europe's sovereign debt problems, including the growing possibility of a default by Greece, have been festering now for more than a year. Investors in the financial markets are questioning the will and capacity of European governments to solve the problem. In the seminars and salons surrounding the meetings, financial heavyweights sounded the alarm.

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