March 13, 2014
The Fed Absolutely Shouldn’t Give Up on the Long-Term Unemployed

re the long-term unemployed just doomed today or doomed forever?
That’s the question people are really asking when they ask if labor markets are starting to get “tight.” Now, it’s hard to believe that this is even a debate when unemployment is still at 6.7 percent and core inflation is just 1.1 percent. But it is. The new inflation hawks argue that these headline numbers overstate how much slack is left in the economy. That the labor force is smaller than it sounds, because firms won’t even consider hiring the long-term unemployed. That our productive capacity is lower than it sounds, because we haven’t invested in new factories for too long. And that wages and prices will start rising as companies pay more for the workers and work that they want.

In other words, they think that the financial crisis has made us permanently poorer. That the economy can’t grow as fast as it used to, so inflation will pick up sooner than it used to—and we need to get ready to raise rates. (Notice how that’s always the answer no matter the question).
There are only two problems with this story: There’s not much evidence for it, and we should ignore it even if there is. It’s pretty simple.
Read more. [Image: Reuters]

The Fed Absolutely Shouldn’t Give Up on the Long-Term Unemployed

re the long-term unemployed just doomed today or doomed forever?

That’s the question people are really asking when they ask if labor markets are starting to get “tight.” Now, it’s hard to believe that this is even a debate when unemployment is still at 6.7 percent and core inflation is just 1.1 percent. But it is. The new inflation hawks argue that these headline numbers overstate how much slack is left in the economy. That the labor force is smaller than it sounds, because firms won’t even consider hiring the long-term unemployed. That our productive capacity is lower than it sounds, because we haven’t invested in new factories for too long. And that wages and prices will start rising as companies pay more for the workers and work that they want.

In other words, they think that the financial crisis has made us permanently poorer. That the economy can’t grow as fast as it used to, so inflation will pick up sooner than it used to—and we need to get ready to raise rates. (Notice how that’s always the answer no matter the question).

There are only two problems with this story: There’s not much evidence for it, and we should ignore it even if there is. It’s pretty simple.

Read more. [Image: Reuters]

January 16, 2014
The Growth of the College Grads in Dead-End Jobs (In 2 Graphs)

The college graduate fresh off campus and stuck working as a barista has been a sort of stock tragic figure of these post-recession years. But how many B.A.’s are really out there toiling in dead-end jobs? A new report from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York offers us an answer this week, which I think can be summed up as: Fewer than you probably think, but definitely more we’re used to.
Read more. [Image: Reuters]

The Growth of the College Grads in Dead-End Jobs (In 2 Graphs)

The college graduate fresh off campus and stuck working as a barista has been a sort of stock tragic figure of these post-recession years. But how many B.A.’s are really out there toiling in dead-end jobs? A new report from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York offers us an answer this week, which I think can be summed up as: Fewer than you probably think, but definitely more we’re used to.

Read more. [Image: Reuters]

January 10, 2014
The Three Weirdest Things About the Weirdest Jobs Report Ever

There was good news: The unemployment rate dropped to 6.7 percent, the lowest since October 2008.
There was bad news: The economy added just 74,000 jobs, the lowest since January 2011.
And there was confounding news: The participation rate—the share of people working, or looking for work—fell to its lowest point since 1978.
So, yeah, this was the weirdest jobs report in recent memory. Let’s un-weird it, as much as possible.
Read more. [Image: Reuters]

The Three Weirdest Things About the Weirdest Jobs Report Ever

There was good news: The unemployment rate dropped to 6.7 percent, the lowest since October 2008.

There was bad news: The economy added just 74,000 jobs, the lowest since January 2011.

And there was confounding news: The participation rate—the share of people working, or looking for work—fell to its lowest point since 1978.

So, yeah, this was the weirdest jobs report in recent memory. Let’s un-weird it, as much as possible.

Read more. [Image: Reuters]

December 30, 2013
No, Rand Paul, There’s No Reason to Cut Unemployment Benefits

Rand Paul says he cares about the unemployed.

He says it’s “our moral obligation as a society to take care of those who cannot take care of themselves.” That “no one asserts that the problem [of long-term unemployment] is people not wanting to work.” Rather “the problem is not in the minds of the unemployed, but in the minds of employers.”

So why does he want to end unemployment benefits for people who have been out of work for 6 months or longer? Well, Paul cites my work on long-term unemployment as a justification—which surprised me, because it implies the opposite of what he says it does.

Now, we clearly have a long-term unemployment problem. The question is why. Paul says it’s all about incentives. He thinks extending unemployment benefits does a “disservice” to the unemployed by encouraging them to stay unemployed for too long. And as a “big-hearted” member of a party that cares about the jobless, he wants to protect them from making such mistakes—by cutting their benefits, of course.
But Paul misreads my work to try to back up his argument.
Read more. [Image: Reuters]

No, Rand Paul, There’s No Reason to Cut Unemployment Benefits

Rand Paul says he cares about the unemployed.

He says it’s “our moral obligation as a society to take care of those who cannot take care of themselves.” That “no one asserts that the problem [of long-term unemployment] is people not wanting to work.” Rather “the problem is not in the minds of the unemployed, but in the minds of employers.”

So why does he want to end unemployment benefits for people who have been out of work for 6 months or longer? Well, Paul cites my work on long-term unemployment as a justification—which surprised me, because it implies the opposite of what he says it does.

Now, we clearly have a long-term unemployment problem. The question is why. Paul says it’s all about incentives. He thinks extending unemployment benefits does a “disservice” to the unemployed by encouraging them to stay unemployed for too long. And as a “big-hearted” member of a party that cares about the jobless, he wants to protect them from making such mistakes—by cutting their benefits, of course.

But Paul misreads my work to try to back up his argument.

Read more. [Image: Reuters]

December 9, 2013
Rand Paul Couldn’t Be More Wrong About Unemployment Insurance

Sen. Rand Paul thinks the long-term unemployed have had too much cake. That what they really need is a swift kick in the you-know-what. And, in his compassion, he wants to give it to them.
It’s about the incentives, Paul said yesterday on Fox News. If you pay people not to work, they won’t. And if you want them to work, you should stop paying them not to. So extended unemployment benefits “do a disservice to workers, causing them to become part of this perpetually unemployed group.” (Emphasis added). In other words, we just have to stop coddling the jobless, and they’ll find jobs … even though there are three of them for every opening.
Read more. [Image: Reuters]

Rand Paul Couldn’t Be More Wrong About Unemployment Insurance

Sen. Rand Paul thinks the long-term unemployed have had too much cake. That what they really need is a swift kick in the you-know-what. And, in his compassion, he wants to give it to them.

It’s about the incentives, Paul said yesterday on Fox News. If you pay people not to work, they won’t. And if you want them to work, you should stop paying them not to. So extended unemployment benefits “do a disservice to workers, causing them to become part of this perpetually unemployed group.” (Emphasis added). In other words, we just have to stop coddling the jobless, and they’ll find jobs … even though there are three of them for every opening.

Read more. [Image: Reuters]

December 4, 2013
You Can’t Fix Income Inequality Without Fixing Unemployment

President Obama’s speech today on income inequality was long and eloquent, but if I could boil it down to a one-sentence summary, it would be this: 
Large-scale efforts to protect the economy’s neediest have a triumphant history in America.
Jump back a 100 years. Our problems are different—and much worse. 
Read more. [Image: Reuters]

You Can’t Fix Income Inequality Without Fixing Unemployment

President Obama’s speech today on income inequality was long and eloquent, but if I could boil it down to a one-sentence summary, it would be this: 

Large-scale efforts to protect the economy’s neediest have a triumphant history in America.

Jump back a 100 years. Our problems are different—and much worse.

Read more. [Image: Reuters]

November 5, 2013
How Washington is Wrecking the Future, in 2 Charts

Policymakers have left public investment fall to its lowest level since 1947, keeping unemployment high today and growth low tomorrow.
Read more. [Image: Reuters]

How Washington is Wrecking the Future, in 2 Charts

Policymakers have left public investment fall to its lowest level since 1947, keeping unemployment high today and growth low tomorrow.

Read more. [Image: Reuters]

November 4, 2013
Will Studying Math Make You Richer?

Students who advance further in high school math have higher wages and are less likely to be unemployed, according to a new study from the Cleveland Fed. So when Noah Smith and Miles Kimball say there is a “math person” in all of us, listen up.
The study shows that advancing past Algebra II correlates strongly with finishing high school, graduating from college, and thriving in the workforce. Here’s your money chart, with “low-math” students to the left and “high-math” students to the right. 
Read more.

Will Studying Math Make You Richer?

Students who advance further in high school math have higher wages and are less likely to be unemployed, according to a new study from the Cleveland Fed. So when Noah Smith and Miles Kimball say there is a “math person” in all of us, listen up.

The study shows that advancing past Algebra II correlates strongly with finishing high school, graduating from college, and thriving in the workforce. Here’s your money chart, with “low-math” students to the left and “high-math” students to the right.

Read more.

October 24, 2013
The Goldilocks Curse: How America’s Jobs Creation Story Got So Boring

Each month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the previous month’s job numbers. Each Jobs Day, the economic followers get very, very excited—as well we should. Employment is the beating heart of an economy. It’s the point of growth. But in the last few years, something happened to this growth story that’s difficult to express, as a journalist, because we’re really not supposed to use the word I’m about to use.
Job growth became boring. Not the issue, but the story.
Let’s draw the camera lens back to early 2009, the first year of Obama’s presidency, and the nadir of our employment recession. When you look at our month-by-month job figures, they’re spiky like a silhouette of stegosauruses standing head to tail. Particularly that big jump and fall in 2010 due to temporary Census workers. This story doesn’t look so boring. In fact, it looks unpredictable.
Read more.

The Goldilocks Curse: How America’s Jobs Creation Story Got So Boring

Each month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the previous month’s job numbers. Each Jobs Day, the economic followers get very, very excited—as well we should. Employment is the beating heart of an economy. It’s the point of growth. But in the last few years, something happened to this growth story that’s difficult to express, as a journalist, because we’re really not supposed to use the word I’m about to use.

Job growth became boring. Not the issue, but the story.

Let’s draw the camera lens back to early 2009, the first year of Obama’s presidency, and the nadir of our employment recession. When you look at our month-by-month job figures, they’re spiky like a silhouette of stegosauruses standing head to tail. Particularly that big jump and fall in 2010 due to temporary Census workers. This story doesn’t look so boring. In fact, it looks unpredictable.

Read more.

September 23, 2013
Why the Poor Don’t Work, According to the Poor

Why the Poor Don’t Work, According to the Poor

Liked posts on Tumblr: More liked posts »