NPR Correspondent Marilyn Geewax on the Economy: ‘It’s complicated’

Journalists shared the harsh truths about the U.S. economy and how to cover them during the AAN annual convention last week in Detroit.

During the “Business Writing Workshop: Finding great stories in your local economy,” presented by the Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism, Marilyn Geewax, national economics correspondent and a business news editor for NPR, said the U.S. is now in its third year of economic recovery.

Despite this, a recent Washington Post-ABC News poll found that more than 75 percent felt the country is experiencing a new recession.

This has a lot to do with the unevenness of the economy, Geewax said. “What’s true in your neighborhood may not be true in others,” she said. “It’s complicated.”

The fact that there have been cuts in economic data collection federally doesn’t help.

We’re experiencing a “labor mismatch” where the available jobs require a unique skill-set not many have. For example, Geewax said there are not many people with the necessary training to do electrical work, such as power line maintenance, leading to those jobs going unfilled.

The cost of higher education and the debt incurred has also hindered the economy. As students accrue debt while in school, they are unable to get jobs and afford homes after they graduate. “Student debt is a real problem,” Geewax said.

Many will be feeling the Great Recession for the rest of their lives. “It’s a long recovery,” she said.

Yet, there are still some reasons to be optimistic, she said and referred to a recent project by NPR, “Looking Up: Pockets of Economic Strength,” that features stories on industries on the come up in this economy.

Geewax will also present these findings during a three-part, free webinar June 26 through June 28.

Mother Jones reporter Josh Harkinson was also on hand, providing his suggestion of “10 Economic Stories to Jump On Now.” Summaries and the full presentation is available at the Reynolds Institute’s site.