Scott Horsley | KUER 90.1

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, DC, with his dog, Rosie.

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said Thursday that the Trump administration is determined to make China play by the rules of international trade.

"You know how you get from here to there?" Kudlow told an audience at a pro-trade think tank in Washington. "You kick some butt."

That's not the kind of dry, technocratic language one usually associates with trade negotiations. But it's another example of how President Trump has turned international commerce into a highly unusual spectator sport.

Updated at 4:46 p.m. ET

Hiring slowed sharply last month, as U.S. employers added just 75,000 jobs. The unemployment rate held steady at 3.6%.

The monthly snapshot from the Labor Department suggests businesses are increasingly cautious in the face of the Trump administration's ongoing trade wars.

In the health care industry, there are few brands more well known than Johnson & Johnson. The maker of consumer staples ranging from Band-Aids to baby shampoo has faced a number of controversies in its 133-year history. Now it is contesting charges that it contributed to the nation's opioid epidemic.

When Courtney Hering started working at Kohler Co. seven years ago, she was continuing a long family tradition.

"My mother, she's been here 39 years," she says. "My dad worked here for 14 years. And my grandfather on my dad's side, he worked here as well."

These are prosperous times in America. The country is plump with jobs. Out of every 100 people who want to work, more than 96 of them have jobs. This is what economists consider full employment.

The economy has grown for almost 10 years, making it one of the longest economic expansions in U.S. history. And over that time, the job market has come back. It grew slowly at first, then steadily, finally reaching a point at which there are many more openings than job seekers.

The escalating trade war between the U.S. and China may be painful for American consumers and companies but Trump's supporters say the battle is long overdue.

Learn more by watching the video above.

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The Trump administration is preparing to add tariffs — or taxes — on virtually everything the U.S. buys from China. But the president offered reassurance that in some cases, waivers will be granted, so Chinese goods can be imported tax-free.

The administration has offered similar waivers from its steel and aluminum tariffs, putting the Commerce Department in the awkward position of literally picking winners and losers.

Trade negotiators from the U.S. and China wrapped up two days of what President Trump called "candid and constructive" talks on Friday but failed to reach agreement. The Trump administration raised the stakes for future negotiations by boosting tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports.

While the trade war with China is rattling financial markets around the world, another trade skirmish is about to play out in the supermarket — in particular, the produce aisle. The Trump administration is preparing to level a new tariff — or tax — on fresh tomatoes imported from Mexico.

Updated at 2:15 p.m. ET

U.S. employers added a better-than-expected 263,000 jobs in April, as the nearly decade-old economic expansion shows no signs of slowing. And the unemployment rate dropped to 3.6% — the lowest in nearly 50 years.

In March, the jobless rate was 3.8%. A monthly snapshot from the Labor Department showed solid hiring in services, construction and health care.

Updated at 8:42 a.m. ET

The Commerce Department says the U.S. economy picked up steam in the first three months of the year, after a rocky finish to 2018.

Gross domestic product grew at an annual rate of 3.2% in the first quarter, up from 2.2% at the end of last year. That's a significant turnaround from six weeks ago, when many analysts expected a slump in GDP growth to just 2% or less.

A pickup in consumer spending contributed to the improved outlook. Retailers enjoyed strong sales gains in March after a lackluster February.

The grounding of Boeing's troubled 737 Max aircraft could pinch U.S. economic growth, some analysts say, but the government reported Thursday that aircraft orders were strong enough last month to lift a key indicator.

Orders for durable goods jumped 2.7% in March, fueled in part by strong demand for commercial aircraft. The Commerce Department reported that orders for civilian aircraft soared 31%.

Here's a little encouragement for last-minute tax filers: Your chance of being audited by the IRS this year is as low as it has been in decades.

Years of budget cuts have hollowed out enforcement of the nation's tax laws. Now, even the Trump administration says those cuts may have gone too far.

Adjusted for inflation, IRS funding has been cut by about 25 percent since the beginning of the decade. And staffing for tax enforcement has fallen by nearly a third.

Updated at 12:41 p.m. ET

The Trump administration is preparing to slap tariffs on billions of dollars' worth of imports from Europe, in retaliation for what it calls unfair subsidies of Airbus jets. The proposed tariffs would cover not only aircraft but also wine, cheese, woolen suits and other signature European products.

Who says a dollar doesn't go as far as it used to?

When it comes to dollar bills, a new report from the federal government says they're lasting more than twice as long as they were at the beginning of the decade.

And that's upending an old argument about replacing the dollar bill with a $1 coin.

Updated at 8:45 a.m. ET

The U.S. labor market bounced back strongly in March after a lackluster showing in February.

U.S. employers added 196,000 jobs last month, the Labor Department reported Friday. That's a big improvement from February, when revised figures show just 33,000 jobs were added. But it's a slowdown from the last three months of 2018, when monthly job growth averaged 233,000.

President Trump said he wants to appoint former Godfather's Pizza CEO and Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain to the Federal Reserve Board.

"I find Herman to be an outstanding person," Trump told reporters during an Oval Office appearance with the vice premier of China on Thursday. "I would think he would do very well there."

Updated at 3:08 p.m ET

Frustrated by the large number of Central Americans who have been entering the country from Mexico, President Trump doubled down on his threat to close the Southern U.S. border.

"I'm ready to close it," Trump said Tuesday. "If we don't make a deal with Congress, the border is going to be closed, 100 percent."

Updated at 4:44 p.m. ET

Linda McMahon, the famous pro wrestling promoter who stayed largely out of the limelight as small business administrator, is quitting President Trump's Cabinet after more than two years on the job.

McMahon plans to join the pro-Trump superPAC America First Action, according to a source with direct knowledge of the situation.

"Linda McMahon has done an incredible job," Trump told reporters Friday at his Florida vacation home. "She has been a superstar."

The U.S. economy grew somewhat more slowly at the end of last year than initially thought. Forecasts suggest that slowdown will continue in 2019.

President Trump's pick for a powerful post on the Federal Reserve Board is drawing mounting criticism from economists of all stripes.

Trump said on Friday that he plans to nominate Stephen Moore, a campaign adviser and conservative pundit, to serve on the Fed's Board of Governors.

Updated at 4:16 p.m. ET

The Federal Reserve is signaling that it may be done hiking interest rates this year, amid signs of economic slowing.

With great power, comes great responsibility.

Or the chance to pull a practical joke.

Pranksters included some whimsical credits buried in the fine print of an annual White House economic report, making it seem that Peter Parker and Aunt May had joined the staff of the president's Council of Economic Advisers.

Updated at 5:55 p.m. ET

There aren't many people who can command attention at the White House, the classrooms of Princeton University, and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

Alan Krueger did all three.

Krueger, who served as economic adviser to former President Barack Obama, died over the weekend at age 58. The cause was suicide, according to a statement from his family, released by Princeton University where Krueger taught.

Updated at 4:56 p.m. ET

President Trump used his veto pen for the first time Friday, after Congress tried to reverse his national emergency declaration and rein in spending on a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Congressional critics do not appear to have the votes to override Trump's veto. So, as a practical matter, the administration can continue to spend billions of dollars more on border barriers than lawmakers authorized, unless and until the courts intervene.

Updated at 11:12 a.m. ET

A federal order grounding all 737 Max jetliners in the U.S. comes after repeated assurances from the manufacturer that the planes are safe.

Updated at 4:50 p.m. ET

President Trump's budget proposal for 2020 calls for $8.6 billion in new border wall funding, a signal that the White House is not backing away from a demand that triggered a 35-day government shutdown.

The border wall is just one flashpoint in the president's $4.7 trillion budget blueprint. Trump is also calling for a 5 percent boost in military spending along with deep cuts to domestic programs and foreign aid.

President Trump's longtime friend Tom Barrack has been getting a lot of attention lately — much of it not good.

Barrack was the chairman of Trump's inaugural committee, which is now under scrutiny by federal prosecutors.

He was roundly criticized for comments he made this month about the killing of Saudi journalist, Jamal Khashoggi.

In declaring a national emergency Friday, President Trump tried to underscore the urgency of what he calls a national security crisis along the U.S. border with Mexico, while at the same time downplaying the gravity of his response.

What started off as a strong holiday shopping season ended with a whimper, as consumers, rattled by a trade war and a government shutdown, tightened their belts. The Commerce Department said retail sales fell 1.2 percent between November and December, the sharpest drop in nine years.

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