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, D.C.

Updated at 5:12 p.m. ET

The coronavirus pandemic is likely to trigger the sharpest recession in the United States since the Great Depression. An early signal of that came Wednesday, when the Commerce Department said the economy shrank at a 4.8% annual rate in the first three months of the year — the first quarterly contraction since 2014 and the largest since the Great Recession.

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Will Thompson and his wife Annie are expecting their first child this fall.

But because of restrictions at local hospitals, Thompson has not been able to accompany Annie to her prenatal doctor's visits, including one where they expect to learn their baby's gender.

Thompson chokes up talking about this: "My wife is an incredibly strong woman, and she's amazing. I just — I wish I could."

The Denver couple plan to ask their doctor to write "boy" or "girl" inside an envelope, so they can open it later, together.

Maxwell Kirsner used to build sets for a company that staged big events in New York City. Those events dried up suddenly in mid-March.

"I was laid off on Friday the 13th," he recalls.

The timing actually turned out to be fortunate, as Kirsner was able to apply for and start receiving jobless benefits before the huge wave of layoffs that soon followed, overwhelming unemployment offices.

His fiancée, Natalie Borowicz, and others who worked for the same company got pink slips a few weeks later. When we spoke, some were still waiting for their benefits to begin.

Get ready for another footrace, as struggling small businesses scramble to grab hold of a financial lifeline.

The federal government is restarting an emergency loan program for small businesses Monday, with $320 billion. The program burned through its first $349 billion in less than two weeks.

Perla Pimentel lives in Orlando, Fla., home to Disney World and other popular resorts. She was an event coordinator who suddenly found herself with no events to coordinate in March. The tourist mecca has been especially hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

"We could tell that the company was hurting because we were watching all of our clients cancel," she says. "You don't really expect it to happen to you."

NPR's global economics correspondent talks about the new relief package passed by the Senate, updates the latest unemployment numbers and answers listener questions about the economy.

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"You can't really have a concert if you can't have an audience," David Roode muses.

His career as a concert trombonist in Cincinnati went abruptly on hold when stay-at-home orders took effect in March.

"I had months of gigs that were just canceled."

Roode and his wife, a concert pianist, have done some recording while on lockdown in Cincinnati. And they've tapped into savings they typically rely on during the slower summer months.

Angelita Wynn has driven a school bus for six years.

Wynn was driving the kids back home on her afternoon run in Pittsburgh one day in March when she got word her job was going away. Over the radio.

"Our dispatcher came across the radio saying that school was closed, so that's how I found out," Wynn said. "And that's the last time I've been in the bus."

Her favorite thing about her job was the sense of freedom it offered, where driving can get you from one place to another. Her least favorite thing: It didn't pay a living wage.

Updated at 4:04 p.m. ET

$600 per week.

That's what the federal government is now offering to people who've lost their jobs because of the coronavirus.

For many workers and employers, that money is a godsend — a way to keep food on the table while also cutting payroll costs.

But the extra money can create some awkward situations. Some businesses that want to keep their doors open say it's hard to do so when employees can make more money by staying home.

While the president and his advisers talk about "reopening" the economy, there are parts of it that never closed.

Many factories are still operating around the clock, churning out the products we depend on during this pandemic, including food, face masks and toilet paper.

"I get a lot of ribbing locally in my neighborhood," says Jose de los Rios, who works at a giant Procter & Gamble plant in Mehoopany, Pa., where Charmin toilet paper is produced. "At least a third or half of my neighbors stop me and jokingly ask, 'Can I get them some?' "

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NPR's chief economics correspondent takes listener questions about the state of the economy and economic relief measures during the pandemic.

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President Trump has accused the World Health Organization of, quote, severely mismanaging and covering up the spread of the coronavirus in deference to China.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

The Treasury Department has begun sending $1,200 relief payments to people affected by the coronavirus. Electronic payments have already started landing in people's bank accounts. But the IRS has launched a pair of websites to speed payments to those who haven't already supplied the government with their bank information.

The coronavirus pandemic is likely to trigger the worst recession since the Great Depression — dwarfing the fallout from the financial crisis a dozen years ago, the International Monetary Fund warned Tuesday.

It predicts the global economy will shrink 3% this year, before rebounding in 2021. The expected contraction in the U.S. will be almost twice as sharp, the IMF said, with the gross domestic product falling by 5.9% in 2020. The IMF predicts a partial recovery in the U.S. next year, with the economy growing by 4.7%.

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NPR economics and science correspondents answer questions about the staggering unemployment numbers announced Thursday, and convey the latest updates from Thursday's White House briefing.

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Over the last three weeks, with businesses across the U.S. closing up in the fight against the coronavirus, nearly 17 million people have filed for unemployment.

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Updated at 11:07 a.m. ET

The Federal Reserve announced several new lending programs Thursday, designed to pump an additional $2.3 trillion into a U.S. economy that has been severely battered by the coronavirus pandemic.

"People have been asked to put their lives and livelihoods on hold, at significant economic and personal cost," Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said during a webcast organized by the Brookings Institution. "As a society, we should do everything we can to provide relief to those who are suffering for the public good."

The coronavirus has dealt a body blow to U.S. workers. So far, it's women who are paying much of the price.

The Labor Department says more than 700,000 jobs were eliminated in the first wave of pandemic layoffs last month. Nearly 60% of those jobs were held by women.

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As the United States tumbles into a coronavirus recession, the Federal Reserve is using its nearly unlimited power to generate cash to cushion the fall.

"The Fed is doing everything they can to keep financial markets functioning and credit available to households and firms," former Fed Chair Janet Yellen said during a forum organized by the Brookings Institution.

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Updated at 10:09 a.m. ET

For the first time in nearly a decade, the U.S. suffered a net loss of jobs as the coronavirus began to take hold in the country. But a monthly snapshot from the Labor Department shows only the first pinpricks of what will soon be a gaping wound.

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Factories in the U.S. are hunkering down like the rest of us.

Manufacturing activity slowed in March, according to a survey conducted by the Institute for Supply Management.

Production and factory employment fell sharply, as the coronavirus pandemic and other problems weighed on the factory sector. New orders hit their lowest level in 11 years.

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