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

Public Works on a Vast Scale?

I spent the last hours of last night watching the PBS “Human Experience” episode on the Civilian Conservation Corps. A few million people put to work: for long hours, living in Army barracks, with all but $5 of their pay having to be sent home every week. Gosh, sounds just right as part of FDR’s […]

Should Potential Employers have Access to Credit Scores ?

Robert Waldmann Oh good, Kevin Drum and Matthew Yglesias disagree. This is bound to be interesting. Drum remembers the good old days when liberals had less respect for the standard results of simple neoclassical economic models. The specific issue is that firms are using credit scores to decide who to hire. This can trap some […]

Job Creation Follow Up

For those interested in more information on job creation in the Employment Dynamics database these three article provide very good information. Cordelia Okolie, “Why Size Class Methodology Matters in Analyses of Net and Gross Job Flows.” July 2004 Monthly Labor Review Jessica Helfand, Akbar Sadeghi and David Talan, “Employment Dynamics: Small and Large Firms Over […]

Are you better off than you were a year ago? 28 States Say No.

The WSJ Economics Blog, discussing June 2010 unemployment rates by state, uses the headline “Most Regions Show Improvement“* I suppose we should be encouraged by the headline and not look at the text: Washington, DC and 16 states recorded jobless rates in excess of 10%. North and South Dakota continued to have the lowest rates […]

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 […]


The employment report was bad, as private payroll employment only rose 83,000. Moreover, the household survey showed a drop in employment of -350,000. The unemployment rate fell. But that is because the – 350,000 fall in household survey was offset by a -652,000 drop in the labor force. A labor force contraction is really bad […]

Employment Report

The employment report was basically more of the same and was very discouraging.Even though the headline number reported a large 431,00 increase in employment, most of this was temporary Census jobs. Private employment only increased 41,000, significantly less than in the previous few months. The unemployment rate fell, but that was just as much a […]

Trade-Offs and Revealed Preferences, Republican Leadership edition

Even more than Digby on CalPERS, the one piece everyone should read today is Charlie Stross on International Travel. Since this is an economics blog, let’s pull a key section: Here’s the rub: security is a state of mind, not a procedure. Procedures can’t cope with attackers, because they’re inflexible. If you search passengers for […]