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.

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Updated at 5:06 PM ET

President Trump on Friday announced what he calls "phase one" of a larger trade deal with China.

As part of the deal, a tariff increase planned for next Tuesday will not be imposed. The U.S. was scheduled to raise tariffs on about $250 billion worth of goods on October 15 from 25% to 30%.

The specifics of the deal are still being hammered out, and they haven't been signed yet. President Trump said he hopes that will happen in the next month or so. The leaders of the U.S. and China are expected to meet in November.

The Trump administration has proposed a new rule governing the wages of tipped employees, after an earlier effort sparked a backlash from waitstaff, bartenders and other workers.

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Updated at 10 a.m. ET

U.S. employers added 136,000 jobs in September — a sign of continued resilience in the labor market amid growing signals that the economy is losing steam.

The unemployment rate fell to 3.5% — the lowest since December 1969 — but the pace of hiring has slowed from last year. The jobless rate was 3.7% in August.

Job gains for the two previous months were revised up by a total of 45,000.

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U.S. farmers, who have been hard hit by President Trump's trade wars, got some relief Wednesday, when Trump signed an interim trade deal with Japan.

The agreement calls for lower Japanese tariffs on U.S. farm exports such as beef and pork. It also locks in tariff-free digital commerce. But it does not address the president's threat to level punishing tariffs on imported cars from Japan. A top trade negotiator says Trump has no plans to act on that threat for now.

The search for the origin of the pencils led to a dusty factory in the Philippines.

An American investigator traveled there last year, trying to find out if the factory really produced the pencils, as a U.S. importer claimed, or was simply repackaging pencils from China, as a competitor suspected. Chinese pencils have long been subject to a stiff anti-dumping tariff, which would have more than doubled the importer's cost.

The Trump administration ordered new economic sanctions against Iran Friday in response to the attack last weekend in Saudi Arabia. The sanctions target Iran's central bank and its sovereign wealth fund.

"This is very big," said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. "We've now cut off all sources of funds to Iran."

The move comes less than a week after an attack on a Saudi oil facility that temporarily cut off nearly 6% of the world's oil supply. While Houthi rebels in Yemen claimed responsibility for that attack, the administration suspects Iran was behind it.

Updated at 5:15 p.m. ET

The Federal Reserve cut interest rates Wednesday for the second time in seven weeks, in an effort to prolong the decade-old economic expansion in the face of rising headwinds.

The Fed lowered its target for the federal funds rate by a quarter percentage point, to a range of 1.75% to 2%. President Trump, who has been calling for deeper rate cuts, criticized the move as another "fail" by the Fed. Major stock indexes fell after the central bank's announcement but later recovered.

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Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross is under the microscope again, amid fresh allegations of meddling with a government scientific agency.

The latest storm to engulf the secretary began Sept. 1, when weather forecasters in Birmingham, Ala., issued a tweet saying Hurricane Dorian posed no threat to their state.

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There are some fresh signs that the U.S. economy is slowing in the monthly jobs report out this morning from the Labor Department. Employers added only 130,000 jobs in August. Now, that's less than forecasters had expected, and it's a sharp slowdown from where we were this time last year. NPR's Scott Horsley is with me now in studio.

Hey, Scott.

SCOTT HORSLEY, BYLINE: Good to be with you, Noel.

KING: So this report comes at the end of a week where there were some mixed signals about the economy. What do we think it's telling us?

Updated at 5:05 p.m. ET

U.S. employers added 130,000 jobs in August, according to a monthly snapshot from the Labor Department, signaling a slowdown in the pace of job growth.

Forecasters surveyed by the Reuters news service had predicted job gains of around 158,000.

The unemployment rate held steady at 3.7%.

The jobs total would have been lower without the addition of 25,000 temporary census jobs. Job gains for the two previous months were revised downward by a total of 20,000.

A lot of American companies that make or buy products in China are starting to rethink that, as a new round of tariffs takes effect this weekend. But Robert D'Loren doesn't have to worry. As CEO of the Xcel Brands clothing company, he began moving production out of China some time ago.

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Congressional budget forecasters are predicting more red ink — nearly $1 trillion this year — as a result of the bipartisan spending agreement lawmakers struck this summer.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office now says the federal deficit will hit $960 billion in fiscal 2019 and average $1.2 trillion in each of the next 10 years.

The Trump administration struck a tentative deal to lift tariffs on imported tomatoes from Mexico. But importers warn the agreement could still put protectionist roadblocks in the path of $2 billion worth of the produce.

Mexico supplies more than half the fresh tomatoes sold in the U.S., and imports have more than doubled since 2002. Florida growers, who used to dominate the market for tomatoes in the winter and spring, have long complained that Mexico unfairly subsidizes its tomato crop.

Updated at 4:26 p.m. ET

The Trump administration is acting as a cheering section for the U.S. economy. And at least on Monday, investors were cheering along. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose nearly 250 points or 1%. The S&P 500 jumped 1.2% and the Nasdaq was up 1.35%.

President Trump and his team are downplaying warnings of slower economic growth, despite signals from the bond market that a recession could be looming. At the same time, the president is also calling on the Federal Reserve to cut interest rates again to help boost growth.

Updated at 4:32 p.m. ET

Investors paused to catch their breath Thursday, one day after the stock market suffered its worst drop of the year. Market indexes closed up modestly as investors digested mixed signals about prospects for the U.S. economy. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained nearly 100 points, or 0.4%. The S&P 500 rose 0.25%.

The stock market soared Tuesday on news that the Trump administration is postponing some tariffs on Chinese imports this fall, sparing popular consumer items such as cellphones and laptops until after the Christmas shopping season. It's only a partial reprieve, though. Other Chinese imports will still be hit with a 10% tariff on Sept. 1, as scheduled. The administration reportedly was guided by which products could most easily be obtained outside China. But there were still some head-scratchers on the tariff lists.

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The United States has become the world's leading producer of oil and natural gas — reshaping the global energy economy from the shipping lanes of the Middle East to the factories of the Midwest.

President Trump hopes to call attention to that change on Tuesday when he tours a petrochemical plant in western Pennsylvania.

Federal agents carried out one of the largest immigration raids in recent history this week, arresting nearly 700 workers at chicken processing plants in Mississippi.

But you can still buy a rotisserie bird at your local supermarket tonight for less than $10.

So far, the government crackdown has had little effect on the wider food processing industry, a dangerous business that is heavily reliant on immigrant labor.

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