8:43 AM, Jul 30, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
After contracting in the 1st quarter, 2nd quarter GDP grew by an unexpectedly robust 4.0 percent. As CNBC reports:
Gross domestic product expanded at a 4.0 percent annual rate as activity picked up broadly after shrinking at a revised 2.1 percent pace in the first quarter, the Commerce Department said on Wednesday.
Good news. But, as the Wall Street Journal reports, this is not a powerhouse recovery:
But the figures also show that the economy grew at a slower pace than previously estimated during the three-year period that ended last year, expanding at an average annual rate of 2%, down from an earlier published estimate of 2.2%.
The U.S. economy remains stuck in second gear.
12:00 AM, Jul 26, 2014 • By IRWIN M. STELZER
Celebrating a fourth birthday and growing nicely. That’s the story of the Dodd-Frank law, designed to end a “too big to fail” banking system that forced taxpayers to bail out bankers who took not only their own banks but the entire financial system to the verge of collapse, and brought on a record recession. Dodd-Frank, which weighed in at over 2,000 pages at birth, has since put on 14,000 pages of implementing regulations, with more to come.
5:26 PM, Jul 18, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
Some jobs depend on there being lots of jobs and people having a little disposable income to blow on things like … well, the slots. Which is why, in Atlantic City, as Terrence Dopp of Bloomberg reports:
9:35 AM, Jul 17, 2014 • By FRANK LAVIN
The discussion over economic inequality in the United States seems to have captured the public imagination, at least on the political left. President Obama has called it “the defining challenge of our time,” and Secretary Clinton has deemed it “a cancer.” Given the shorthand manner in which politicians sometimes refer to policy matters it is not always clear if Obama and Clinton are referring specifically to inequality, the ratio or distribution of wealth in society, or to raw poverty—the fact that millions of Americans live in impoverished circumstances. There is a keen difference in which of these two approaches one takes to the challenge of alleviating misery. Here, I’ve devised a simple test to understand the issue:
For better or worse.12:00 AM, Jul 12, 2014 • By IRWIN M. STELZER
All good things must come to an end. And bad things, too, if you believe that the Federal Reserve Board’s bond buying program was a mistake. The minutes of its June 17-18 monetary policy committee meeting, published a few days ago, reveal that these purchases, largely credited with keeping long-term interest rates lower than they would otherwise have been, will come to an end in October.
10:22 AM, Jul 10, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
Initial claims came in at 304,000, slightly less than expected (315,000) and low enough to keep the low flame of optimism burning after last weeks good jobs number.
12:00 AM, Jul 5, 2014 • By IRWIN M. STELZER
After celebrating our Declaration of Independence from the British oppressor, we will return to work Monday having consumed 155 million hot dogs and, for some 41 million of us, bucked traffic jams, long security lines at airports, or storm-induced flight delays in order to visit family or whatever place attracts us in this huge country of ours.
12:46 PM, Jun 26, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
In the first quarter of 2014, GDP in the U.S. plunged at a 2.9% annual rate, and productivity—the inflation-adjusted business output per hour worked—declined at a 3.5% annual rate. This is the worst productivity statistic since 1990. And productivity since 2005 has declined by more than 8% relative to its long-run trend. This means that business output is nearly $1 trillion less today than what it would be had productivity continued to grow at its average rate of about 2.5% per year.
8:42 AM, Jun 19, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
Weekly first time unemployment claims came in almost exactly as expected (which, in itself, is sort of unexpected) at 312,000. One thousand less than economists were predicting and 6,000 less than last week. Which amounts to something like treading water. We aren’t drowning, but we aren’t getting any closer to shore, either.
12:00 AM, Jun 14, 2014 • By IRWIN M. STELZER
Until Eve’s encounter with the serpent, Adam did not spend a lot of time looking for work. Didn’t have to. Expelled from Eden and cursed with the necessity of earning his bread “in the sweat of his face,” he found work. Had to. Therein lies a partial, but only partial, explanation for one of the strange developments in America’s labor markets.
12:00 AM, Jun 7, 2014 • By IRWIN M. STELZER
It is mandatory for economists to point out that one data point does not make a trend. We then all-too-often fill space with, er, a discussion of one data point, most usually the monthly report on job creation. Not being one to defy convention, I will report that Friday’s jobs report was a yawner. The 217,000 new jobs created in May finally pushed total jobs above pre-recession levels, but the unemployment and labor force participation rates remained unchanged at 6.3 percent and 62.8 percent, respectively. No post-winter jobs growth spurt, at least not yet, but no reversal of recent growth either.
1:09 PM, Jun 6, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
Senator Jeff Sessions has released a statement that says, "7 Million People Have Left The Workforce Since The President Took Office." The statement is in response to today's jobs numbers.
"Today’s jobs numbers are only enough to tread even with population growth, maintaining unemployment at 6.3 percent. When you include discouraged workers, the unemployment rate doubles to an alarming 12.2 percent. There are still 3.2 million fewer full-time employed persons than there were in 2007," says Sessions.