What have you always wondered about the economy? Tell Us

Mitchell Hartman

Senior Reporter

SHORT BIO

I am a staff reporter for Marketplace covering the economy, economic indicators, employment, labor and workforce.

What was your first job?

I had a job every summer during college running the receiving dock in a large sheet metal factory in North Jersey that made cans. My first job in journalism was as an editorial clerk at the Philadelphia Inquirer after graduating college in 1985.

What do you think is the hardest part of your job that no one knows?

Marketplace has among the tightest deadlines and the most demanding expectations for daily news stories of any national public radio newsroom IMHO.

What advice do you wish someone had given you before you started this career?

If you love your job, stick with it. If you're really good at something, keep doing it.

In your next life, what would your career be?

Bodhisattva (in the Mahayana Buddhist tradition, a being on the brink of enlightenment who could end the cycle of rebirth and gain nirvana but chooses to return out of compassion for other beings). Seriously, if I came back in a next life, it would confirm this teaching and I would care more about being in harmony with the universe than having another career. If I had to choose a career (and just be a bodhisattva on the side, I guess), I'd be a public radio reporter again.

Fill in the blank: Money can’t buy you happiness, but it can buy you ______.

Tickets.

What is something that everyone should own, no matter how much it costs?

Health insurance.

What’s something that you thought you knew but later found out you were wrong about?

Being a parent would constrain my choices and box me in. It did, but I didn't care.

What’s your most memorable Marketplace moment?

Emceeing a Sotheby's auction of literary memorabilia from the Beat Generation — I sold Jack Kerouac's last shot glass for high six figures. (As David Brancaccio was oft-required to say on air after segments like this: “It was a joke!”)

What’s the favorite item in your workspace and why?

Eve Epstein, my former editor and now office mate in the Marketplace Portland bureau at All Classical Portland.

Latest Stories (1,620)

Job postings tell two different stories of recovery so far

Mar 5, 2021
Job postings have rebounded for occupations in manufacturing and construction, but not in hospitality or travel.
Jed Kolko, an economist for the job site Indeed, said job postings are now about 6% higher than pre-pandemic levels, and "being above last year's baseline is certainly better than being below last year's, but it doesn’t mean things are back to normal."
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

After nearly a year, weekly unemployment claims remain high

Mar 4, 2021
These persistently high jobless claims indicate a lot of labor market volatility.
Every week since the pandemic shutdowns started in March 2020, there have been more new unemployment claims filed than in any single week during the Great Recession.
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

How might putting a price on carbon work to curb emissions?

Mar 3, 2021
One way to pay directly for the cost of climate damage from fossil fuels is to impose a tax on carbon.
More expensive fuel discourages consumers from burning as much and encourages fuel efficiency.
Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Manufacturing is on a roll, but labor, some supplies run short

Mar 2, 2021
Demand for manufactured goods like automobiles and appliances is starting to create bottlenecks in production.
"It’s just this weird transition from COVID to post-COVID, and one of the near-term impacts is likely to be a little bit of a pop in inflation," said economist Ben Ayers at Nationwide.
Chandan Khanna/AFP via Getty Images

High-income taxpayers help some states stay above water

Mar 1, 2021
Overall, state revenue is down 1.9%, but 22 states have higher revenue than a year earlier. Tech and Wall Street have helped.
Chris Hondros/Getty Images

Fed and Treasury chart path back to "full employment"

Feb 24, 2021
Fed Chair Jerome Powell and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen peg the actual unemployment rate at around 10%, higher than the official 6.3%.
Federal Reserve Chair Powell testified on Capitol Hill about the U.S. labor market.
Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Inflation hits gasoline, lumber and meat

Feb 19, 2021
There isn't a lot of inflation in the U.S. economy overall, but some commodities are spiking higher as the economy recovers.
The price of lumber has nearly tripled through the pandemic, according to the National Association of Home Builders. Above, a wheel loader moves logs in Deer Lodge, Montana.
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
A city employee reminds a woman to wear her face mask on Sept. 7, 2020 in Manhattan Beach, California, amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Chris Delmas/AFP via Getty Images

State and local governments could get $350 billion in pandemic aid

Feb 18, 2021
Is it too much? Not enough? Just right? And what's the best way to spend it?
The proposed $350 billion in aid to state, county, municipal and tribal governments is meant to offset losses from pandemic shutdowns and job losses.
Drew Angerer/Getty Images