September 26, 2013
Suicide and the Economy

"We never spoke of them. Why would we?" Learning the the truth about my great-grandfather, and 40,000 Americans during the Great Depression
Read more. [Image: AP]

Suicide and the Economy

"We never spoke of them. Why would we?" Learning the the truth about my great-grandfather, and 40,000 Americans during the Great Depression

Read more. [Image: AP]

September 19, 2013
The Boom Towns and Ghost Towns of the New Economy

America’s economic map is ever changing. Great migrations—settlers westward; African Americans northward; urbanites outward to greener suburbs, then back again—have shaped the country’s history. Cities have heaved skyward; boom towns have come and gone.
Back in the spring of 2009, I wrote in these pages that the financial crisis would “permanently and profoundly alter the country’s economic landscape.” Some cities and regions “will eventually spring back stronger than before,” I predicted. “Others may never come back at all.”
It might have sounded apocalyptic, but tectonic shifts of this kind are not unprecedented. They are the geographic counterpart to what the economist Joseph Schumpeter dubbed “creative destruction”—the great gales of change that level some companies and industries, and give rise to others. As powerful as they might seem in the moment, it is only when we look back through the lens of history that the full extent of economic and geographic changes becomes clear.
Five years after the crash, with the national economy just beginning to return to something resembling normalcy, we can begin to trace the outlines of America’s emerging economic map—and take inventory of the places that are thriving, those that are declining, and those that are trying, in novel ways, to come back.
The American economy is enormous, and enormously complicated. It comprises scores of industries harboring hundreds of occupations, spread across more than 350 metro economies, large and small. A variety of measures can be used to divine the health and prospects of these different places—population growth, job growth, housing prices, and the unemployment rate are among the more common. Each of these measures has its uses, but some of them can conceal as much as they reveal. Population growth, for instance, tells you nothing about the skills and education of the people arriving; job growth says nothing about whether the new jobs are good or bad.
Read more. [Image: Kevin Van Aelst]

The Boom Towns and Ghost Towns of the New Economy

America’s economic map is ever changing. Great migrations—settlers westward; African Americans northward; urbanites outward to greener suburbs, then back again—have shaped the country’s history. Cities have heaved skyward; boom towns have come and gone.

Back in the spring of 2009, I wrote in these pages that the financial crisis would “permanently and profoundly alter the country’s economic landscape.” Some cities and regions “will eventually spring back stronger than before,” I predicted. “Others may never come back at all.”

It might have sounded apocalyptic, but tectonic shifts of this kind are not unprecedented. They are the geographic counterpart to what the economist Joseph Schumpeter dubbed “creative destruction”—the great gales of change that level some companies and industries, and give rise to others. As powerful as they might seem in the moment, it is only when we look back through the lens of history that the full extent of economic and geographic changes becomes clear.

Five years after the crash, with the national economy just beginning to return to something resembling normalcy, we can begin to trace the outlines of America’s emerging economic map—and take inventory of the places that are thriving, those that are declining, and those that are trying, in novel ways, to come back.

The American economy is enormous, and enormously complicated. It comprises scores of industries harboring hundreds of occupations, spread across more than 350 metro economies, large and small. A variety of measures can be used to divine the health and prospects of these different places—population growth, job growth, housing prices, and the unemployment rate are among the more common. Each of these measures has its uses, but some of them can conceal as much as they reveal. Population growth, for instance, tells you nothing about the skills and education of the people arriving; job growth says nothing about whether the new jobs are good or bad.

Read more. [Image: Kevin Van Aelst]

September 19, 2013
Our October issue is now online!
Don’t miss Amanda Ripley’s cover story on the case against high-school sports, Gregg Easterbrook on how the NFL fleeces taxpayers, Richard Florida on the boom towns and ghost towns of the new economy, Tina Rosenberg on Malcolm Gladwell, and much more.
With so many great stories to choose from, which will you read first?

Our October issue is now online!

Don’t miss Amanda Ripley’s cover story on the case against high-school sports, Gregg Easterbrook on how the NFL fleeces taxpayers, Richard Florida on the boom towns and ghost towns of the new economy, Tina Rosenberg on Malcolm Gladwell, and much more.

With so many great stories to choose from, which will you read first?

September 12, 2013
How to Stop the Next Financial Crisis: The Fed Might Be Our Last Great Hope

Five years ago, a massive failure on the part of financiers and financial regulators precipitated the fall of Lehman Brothers and nearly crashed the global economy. Today, investors, taxpayers, and elected officials are entitled to ask: Are we safer now? 
At one level, yes. We are both healthier and smarter. We are healthier because both banks and households have repaired their balance sheets, improving the economy’s ability to withstand future shocks. We are smarter, because we have discarded the myth that the Federal Reserve can easily clean up the fallout from financial excesses and replaced it with an attitude of vigilance and caution about financial excesses.
This raises another question: have we created public policies that make us safer? 
Read more. [Image: Reuters]

How to Stop the Next Financial Crisis: The Fed Might Be Our Last Great Hope

Five years ago, a massive failure on the part of financiers and financial regulators precipitated the fall of Lehman Brothers and nearly crashed the global economy. Today, investors, taxpayers, and elected officials are entitled to ask: Are we safer now? 

At one level, yes. We are both healthier and smarter. We are healthier because both banks and households have repaired their balance sheets, improving the economy’s ability to withstand future shocks. We are smarter, because we have discarded the myth that the Federal Reserve can easily clean up the fallout from financial excesses and replaced it with an attitude of vigilance and caution about financial excesses.

This raises another question: have we created public policies that make us safer?

Read more. [Image: Reuters]

September 9, 2013
A Recovery Unlike Any Other Recovery: America’s Strange, Shrinking Government

Decades from now, some lazy historian is in danger of confusing Obama for an anti-government radical.
Basically, he’s going to look at the president’s record of job creation and see that Obama presided over a historically bizarre period of private-sector job creation combined with public-sector-job destruction.
Adding last week’s meh jobs report to the pile of meh jobs reports, Bill McBride finds that this private sector employment recovery has been stronger than those under George W. Bush or his father. These are private sector jobs, only. (Obama’s record in BLUE.)
Read more.

A Recovery Unlike Any Other Recovery: America’s Strange, Shrinking Government

Decades from now, some lazy historian is in danger of confusing Obama for an anti-government radical.

Basically, he’s going to look at the president’s record of job creation and see that Obama presided over a historically bizarre period of private-sector job creation combined with public-sector-job destruction.

Adding last week’s meh jobs report to the pile of meh jobs reports, Bill McBride finds that this private sector employment recovery has been stronger than those under George W. Bush or his father. These are private sector jobs, only. (Obama’s record in BLUE.)

Read more.

September 6, 2013
Overdrive: How America’s Amazing Car Recovery Explains the U.S. Economy

There was a time, not so long ago, when cars supposedly personified the American character. Our aggression, our style, our rugged independence. In the last 30 years, the automobile has faded slightly in the American imagination, but today the car industry does, in fact, explain the American economy.

It is a surprisingly durable, fantastically productive juggernaut, whose success relies on the old, the rich, and foreign trade — and less on American workers.

To begin this story, let’s appreciate the big picture. The car economy, a small but mighty sliver of American industry, has been on a roll. Since 2009, car production has nearly doubled, accounting for between 15 and 20 percent of our whole recovery.
Read more. [Image: Reuters]

Overdrive: How America’s Amazing Car Recovery Explains the U.S. Economy

There was a time, not so long ago, when cars supposedly personified the American character. Our aggression, our style, our rugged independence. In the last 30 years, the automobile has faded slightly in the American imagination, but today the car industry does, in fact, explain the American economy.

It is a surprisingly durable, fantastically productive juggernaut, whose success relies on the old, the rich, and foreign trade — and less on American workers.

To begin this story, let’s appreciate the big picture. The car economy, a small but mighty sliver of American industry, has been on a roll. Since 2009, car production has nearly doubled, accounting for between 15 and 20 percent of our whole recovery.

Read more. [Image: Reuters]

September 5, 2013
Work, Forever: Why Interning at 60 is the New Retirement Plan

Millions of baby boomers […] don’t want or can’t afford to check out of the workforce at age 65. And many are seeking a transition into work that has a social impact. The San Francisco-based Encore.org helps older workers make that transition by pairing them with nonprofits in need of their private-sector expertise for a fellowship year. It’s an arrangement that fits the needs of all participants, and it has broader ramifications: As the population ages, keeping older workers in the workforce could boost the economy, alleviate retirement insecurity, and ease strain on the social-safety net.
In 2009, President Obama signed a law that—inspired by Encore.org’s model—allowed for the creation of federal fellowships for those 55 or older in every state. Funding has yet to be appropriated for the program, but that hasn’t stopped Encore.org from creating a 20-city network that placed 200 fellows last year. The organization estimates that 31 million Americans ages 44 to 70 want to find work with a bigger social impact. 
The era of long, vacation-style retirements is over, says Marc Freedman, CEO and founder of Encore.org. “That ideal is no longer attainable for individuals, and it’s not sustainable for society. Who can afford a balloon payment for 30 years of leisure?” he asks. Federal survey data show that most full-time workers actually retire in stages—switching to part-time work, or dipping in and out of the labor market as they age.
Read more. [Image: Reuters]

Work, Forever: Why Interning at 60 is the New Retirement Plan

Millions of baby boomers […] don’t want or can’t afford to check out of the workforce at age 65. And many are seeking a transition into work that has a social impact. The San Francisco-based Encore.org helps older workers make that transition by pairing them with nonprofits in need of their private-sector expertise for a fellowship year. It’s an arrangement that fits the needs of all participants, and it has broader ramifications: As the population ages, keeping older workers in the workforce could boost the economy, alleviate retirement insecurity, and ease strain on the social-safety net.

In 2009, President Obama signed a law that—inspired by Encore.org’s model—allowed for the creation of federal fellowships for those 55 or older in every state. Funding has yet to be appropriated for the program, but that hasn’t stopped Encore.org from creating a 20-city network that placed 200 fellows last year. The organization estimates that 31 million Americans ages 44 to 70 want to find work with a bigger social impact. 

The era of long, vacation-style retirements is over, says Marc Freedman, CEO and founder of Encore.org. “That ideal is no longer attainable for individuals, and it’s not sustainable for society. Who can afford a balloon payment for 30 years of leisure?” he asks. Federal survey data show that most full-time workers actually retire in stages—switching to part-time work, or dipping in and out of the labor market as they age.

Read more. [Image: Reuters]

August 28, 2013
The Tragic Trap of Longterm Unemployment

The nightmarish thing about longterm unemployment is that it’s self-perpetuating. The more time you’re out of work, the less likely employers are to even consider your resume. Because you are unemployed, you stay unemployed. 
But if you’re lucky enough to stop the cycle and find a job? Well, according to a recent Bureau of Labor Statistics report, there’s bad news on that front too. Chances are, you’ll take a steep pay cut, compared to your previous salary. 
Read more.

The Tragic Trap of Longterm Unemployment

The nightmarish thing about longterm unemployment is that it’s self-perpetuating. The more time you’re out of work, the less likely employers are to even consider your resume. Because you are unemployed, you stay unemployed

But if you’re lucky enough to stop the cycle and find a job? Well, according to a recent Bureau of Labor Statistics report, there’s bad news on that front too. Chances are, you’ll take a steep pay cut, compared to your previous salary.

Read more.

August 26, 2013
The Geography of Jobs: Smart Policies are Good, but Oil is Better

If you want to understand how to create jobs — not just a few at a time, but hundreds of thousands at once — look to Texas and North Dakota.
Together, these two states account for a little more than 8 percent of the country’s population — about one in 12 people. But they’re also responsible for 20 percent of net new jobs since the end of the recession. And, crucially, they account for “more than 100 percent of the increase in U.S. [oil] production since 2009,” James Hamilton writes.
The Great Plains have been relatively great throughout the recovery for many reasons — cheaper land, cheap wages, service sectors insulated from the housing-finance crisis that leveled parts of California, Florida, Arizona, and Nevada — but energy has helped a lot. It’s “not entirely a coincidence,” Hamilton wrote, that “the middle of the United States [has] been most successful in terms of connecting workers with jobs.”
Read more.

The Geography of Jobs: Smart Policies are Good, but Oil is Better

If you want to understand how to create jobs — not just a few at a time, but hundreds of thousands at once — look to Texas and North Dakota.

Together, these two states account for a little more than 8 percent of the country’s population — about one in 12 people. But they’re also responsible for 20 percent of net new jobs since the end of the recession. And, crucially, they account for “more than 100 percent of the increase in U.S. [oil] production since 2009,” James Hamilton writes.

The Great Plains have been relatively great throughout the recovery for many reasons — cheaper land, cheap wages, service sectors insulated from the housing-finance crisis that leveled parts of California, Florida, Arizona, and Nevada — but energy has helped a lot. It’s “not entirely a coincidence,” Hamilton wrote, that “the middle of the United States [has] been most successful in terms of connecting workers with jobs.”

Read more.

4:55pm
  
Filed under: Business Economy Jobs Texas Oil Oklahoma 
August 8, 2013
Uncertainty Isn’t Killing the Recovery

Sorry, Ben Franklin, but it turns out there are actually three certainties in this world: death, taxes, and Serious People blaming a bad economy on uncertainty.
Big businesses like to complain. Sometimes, they complain about taxes. Sometimes, they complain about rules. But mostly, they like to complain about uncertainty. More clarity about future taxes and regulations might make some businesses more likely to invest. But there is little reason to think that too little clarity is what’s keeping them from investing today.
Read more. [Image: Reuters]

Uncertainty Isn’t Killing the Recovery

Sorry, Ben Franklin, but it turns out there are actually three certainties in this world: death, taxes, and Serious People blaming a bad economy on uncertainty.

Big businesses like to complain. Sometimes, they complain about taxes. Sometimes, they complain about rules. But mostly, they like to complain about uncertainty. More clarity about future taxes and regulations might make some businesses more likely to invest. But there is little reason to think that too little clarity is what’s keeping them from investing today.

Read more. [Image: Reuters]

Liked posts on Tumblr: More liked posts »