Relevant and even prescient commentary on news, politics and the economy.

Household saving rates in the US, UK, and Germany: (possibly) light at the end of the tunnel

Menzie Chinn at Econbrowser breaks down US import data by sector to argue the following (see entire article here): What is clear is that consumer goods do not vary that much; now, part of auto and auto parts is going to satisfy consumer demand as well, and here we do have some evidence in support […]

Nope, it’s not enough for the weakest of the "Zone"

Spanning the period April 14, 2010 to June 7, 2010, the euro lost 12.5% in value against the $US (this is not a trade-weighted measure of the currency value, but it’ll do). As the currency tumbled, Q2 nominal export income grew quickly over the quarter for the top 5 economies in the Eurozone: Germany, 6% […]

The compensationless recovery

New York Times David Leonhardt argues that real wages are rising, so those resilient workers that remain employed will benefit from the bounce-back in “effective pay”. The problem with this insight is twofold: first, the expansion phase of real hourly compensation, a broader measure of total earnings, is falling; and second, sitting atop a mountain […]

Another illustration of the struggling US labor market: teen employment

This recession caused a severe disruption in the labor market for teen employment. The chart below illustrates the unemployment rate alongside the employment-to-population ratio for those aged 16-19 years. The visual is quite striking: at the peak of the business cycle, December 2007, the difference between the employment-to-population ratio over the unemployment rate was roughly […]

The answer is the domestic private sector

Jim Hamilton used the Federal Reserve Flow of Funds data to present a question: who will buy “the additional $8 trillion in net new debt that would be issued over the next decade under the CBO’s alternative fiscal scenario.” I thought that the analysis was curious and too “partial”. If one believes the deleveraging story, […]

Relative employment is shifting

Today Statistics Canada released impressive June employment figures from its Labour Force Survey (LFS). In case you missed it, the April gains, +109,000 new jobs, set a record. And the June gains, +93,000, were nearly as spectacular. (Note: the unemployment rate for Canada in the chart to the left is through May, not June)Canada’s labor […]

Crib notes for G7 unemployment rates

Unemployment rates across the G7 illustrate a broad-based labor recovery. Fantastic – now let’s get to the underlying stories. (Note: The US is the first to release the June 2010 figures. All other unemployment rates, except for the UK, are current as of May 2010.) Germany, France, and Italy: Germany’s labor market is ostensibly improving, […]

Yield curves in Japan and the US: similar but not the same

Andy Harless presents the case for a double dip (second recession) – I would re-order #1 and #2 on that list – and that for a sustained recovery. #6 of Andy’s case for a sustained recovery (he calls it Case Against a Second Dip) caught my attention, pointing me to an earlier Paul Krugman article […]

Another blow to the US labor force

The Senate voted down the American Workers, State, and Business Relief Act of 2010, 57 to 41 (see an earlier version of the CBO’s estimate here for a breakdown of the Bill). The emergency extensions to weekly unemployment benefits will now expire, leaving many without government support as the labor market improves at snail speed. […]