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

Another View of the Data

While I applaud the cautious optimism of Spencer and Tom, I’m more inclined to quote Joseph Brusuelas: [T]he January payrolls added a dollop of Zen like logic to a recovery that is shaping up like no other. An additional 111,000 workers entered the labor force, yet the unemployment rate fell to 9.7% while private sector […]

Back to Zero

by Tom Bozzo The unexpected drop in the unemployment rate for January made me more than usually curious about the household survey results, and things there actually look OK for a change. The flat unemployment rate between November and December ’09 was the less-than-virtuous result of declining labor force participation pacing the decline in employment. […]

Those Low Rates

Via (what else?) Alea’s Twitter feed, John Taylor defends himself against Ben Bernanke: “The evidence is overwhelming that those low interest rates were not only unusually low but they logically were a factor in the housing boom and therefore ultimately the bust,” Taylor, a Stanford University economist, said in an interview today in Atlanta. It’s […]

I Blame This on the NHL

With all the talk of “Detroit,” you would think that Michigan would have lost the most employees, as a percentage of same, on the year. After all, the scariest graph of the U.S. MSAs isn’t scary for nothing. But the Regional and State Employment data is out for October (h/t CR), and there’s a different […]

Employment Policy

Robert Waldmann Larry Summers, who is very very good at provoking debate, said “It may be desirable to have a given amount of work shared among more people. But that’s not as desirable as expanding the total amount of work.” Paul Krugman responds here True. But we are not, in fact, expanding the total amount […]

Seasonal Posting: NYTFail, Part 2

First, David Leonhardt argued that this recession was good for workers. Now, Floyd Norris apparently has decided to mix and match data. (I wonder if the fact many NYT employees who are looking at their 45-day severance offers is having an effect on its economic coverage.) One of the standard “economist jokes” is about the […]

Vague Thoughts on The Theory of the Firm, the Business Cycle and Kurt Vonnegut

Robert Waldmann Don’t say you weren’t warned. I am trying to understand the effects of the switch from mechanically controlled machine tools to electronically controlled machine tools and then to digitally controlled machine tools. I don’t really know much about machine tools, but, then again, I don’t know much about firms or the business cycle […]

Consumer confidence: fluff or thrill

by Rebecca Wilder Thrill. The Conference Board reported that the August consumer confidence index (CCI) jumped 14% in August to 54.06. In contrast, the August University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment index (CSI) fell; but the two generally trend together, and the CSI is subject to revisions reported tomorrow. Confidence can be swayed by current political […]