Data suggest more opportunities are available to some groups that historically struggled to find jobs.
>Andrew Duehren reports: The unemployment rate among young Americans fell to its lowest level in more than 50 years this summer, though the share of young people looking for work remained well below its peak in 1989.
Of Americans between 16 and 24 years old actively looking for work this summer, 9.2% were unemployed in July, the Labor Department said Thursday, a drop from the 9.6% youth unemployment rate in July 2017. It was the lowest midsummer joblessness rate for youth since July 1966.
One of those finding work was Teandre Blincoe, 17, who placed in a job this summer in an information technology division at Humana, a health insurance company based in Louisville, Ky., by KentuckianaWorks, which has partnered with JPMorgan Chase & Co. to place low-income youth in summer jobs.
With his first job under his belt, Mr. Blincoe said he would feel more confident looking for employment in the future. “I have a really solid idea of how I can present myself and actually get a job.”
Low unemployment among young people shows that in a tight labor market more opportunities are opening to groups that historically have struggled to find jobs. Read the rest of this entry »
The U.S. stands to lose 80 million jobs to automation.
Thomas Phippen reports: The robotic labor revolution is coming quickly, and the workforce may not be able to adapt without long periods of unemployment, according to economists at the Bank of England.
“Economists should seriously consider the possibility that millions of people may be at risk of unemployment, should these technologies be widely adopted.”
“Economists should seriously consider the possibility that millions of people may be at risk of unemployment, should these technologies be widely adopted,” BOE economists Mauricio Armellini and Tim Pike wrote in a post on Bank Underground, a blog for bank employees, Wednesday.
Artificial intelligence (AI) “threatens to transform entire industries and sectors,” the authors write, arguing that with the speed of industries adopting technological developments won’t give the labor force time to adjust. Read the rest of this entry »
Mr. Grant confronts the subjectivity of economic measurement head-on in his book in an enlightening discussion of whether the 1921 depression was, in fact, a depression at all.
The Forgotten Depression: 1921 — The Crash That Cured Itself, by James Grant, Simon & Schuster, 2014.
Joseph Calandro Jr. writes: To better understand the current economic environment, financial analyst, historian, journalist, and value investor James Grant, who is informed by both Austrian economics and the value investing theory of the late Benjamin Graham, analyzes the Depression of 1920–1921 in his latest work, The Forgotten Depression: 1921 — The Crash That Cured Itself.
Grant understands that despite the pseudo-natural science veneer of mainstream economics the fact remains that economic value is inherently subjective and thus economic measurement is also subjective. Mr. Grant confronts the subjectivity of economic measurement head-on in his book in an enlightening discussion of whether the 1921 depression was, in fact, a depression at all.
Was It a Depression?
Grant concludes it was a depression, but mainstream economist Christine Romer, for example, concludes it was not a depression. As Grant observes, Ms. “Romer, a former chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors, presented her research, titled ‘World War I and the Postwar Depression,’ in a 1988 essay in the Journal of Monetary Economics. The case she made for discarding one set of GNP estimates for another is highly technical. But the lay reader may be struck by the fact that neither the GNP data she rejected, nor the ones she preferred, were compiled in the moment. Rather, each set was constructed some 30 to 40 years after the events it was intended to document” (p. 68).
In contrast, Mr. Grant surveys economic activity as it existed prior to and during 1920–21 and as it was evaluated during those times. Therefore, five pages into chapter 5 of his book, which is titled “A Depression in Fact,” we read that:
A 1920 recession turned into a 1921 depression, according to [Wesley Clair] Mitchell, whose judgment, as a historian, business-cycle theorist and contemporary observer, is probably as reliable as anyone’s. This was no mere American dislocation but a global depression ensnaring nearly all the former Allied Powers (the defeated Central Powers suffered a slump of their own in 1919). “Though the boom of 1919, the crisis of 1920 and the depression of 1921 followed the patterns of earlier cycles,” wrote Mitchell, “we have seen how much this cycle was influenced by economic conditions resulting from the war and its sudden ending. … If American business men were betrayed by postwar demands into unwise courses, so were all business men in all countries similarly situated.”
So depression it was … (p. 71)
- War finance (the currency debasement and credit expansion associated with funding war) has long been associated with economic distortion including World War I, which preceded “The Forgotten Depression.” Such distortions unfortunately continue to the present day.
- Scandal is also associated with booms and busts; for example, the boom preceding “The Forgotten Depression” had Charles Ponzi while the boom preceding “The Great Recession” had Bernie Madoff.
- The booms preceding both financial disruptions also saw governmental banking regulators not doing a very good job of regulating the banks under their supervision.
- Citibank famously fell under significant distress in both events.
- Both eras had former professors of Princeton University in high-ranking governmental positions: Woodrow Wilson was president of the United States at the beginning of “The Forgotten Depression” while Ben Bernanke was chairman of the Fed during “The Great Recession.”
- On the practitioner-side, value investor Benjamin Graham profited handsomely from the distressed investments that he made during “The Forgotten Depression” while his best known student, Warren Buffett, profited from the distressed investments that he made during “The Great Recession.”
The Crash That Cured Itself
Despite similarities, there are noteworthy differences between these two financial events. Foremost among the differences is the reason why “The Forgotten Depression” has, in fact, been forgotten: the government did nothing to stop it. Not only were interest rates not lowered and public money not spent, but interest rates were actually raised and debt paid down. The context behind these actions is fascinating and superbly told and analyzed by Mr. Grant. Read the rest of this entry »
‘Misery Index’ Worst in 40 Years
Paul Bedard writes: Don’t believe the happy talk coming out of the White House, Federal Reserve and Treasury Department when it comes to the real unemployment rate and the true “Misery Index.” Because, according to an influential Wall Street advisor, the figures are a fraud.
In a memo to clients provided to Secrets, David John Marotta calculates the actual unemployment rate of those not working at a sky-high 37.2 percent, not the 6.7 percent advertised by the Fed, and the Misery Index at over 14, not the 8 claimed by the government.
“That’s a horrific number”
CNBC’s Michelle Caruso-Cabrera announced the newly released report number. Only 74,000 jobs were created in December, a number that fell significantly short of the 200,000 anticipated created jobs.
`Outside of the federal government’s Bureau of Labor statistics, the Gallup polling organization also tracks the nation’s unemployment rate. While the BLS and Gallup findings might not always perfectly align, the trends almost always do and the small statistical differences just haven’t been worthy of note. But now Gallup is showing a sizable 30 day jump in the unemployment rate, from 7.7% on July 21 to 8.9% today.
This is an 18-month high.
At the end of July, the BLS showed a 7.4% unemployment rate, compared to Gallup’s 7.8%. Again, a difference not worthy of note. But Gallup’s upward trend to almost 9% in just the last three weeks is alarming, especially because this is not a poll with a history of wild swings due to statistical anomalies. Gallup’s sample size is a massive 30,000 adults and the rolling average is taken over a full 30 day period.
Gallup also shows an alarming increase in the number of underemployed (those with some work seeking more). During the same 30-day period, that number has jumped from 17.1% to 17.9%.
Since the topic of dependency has been in the news in the last 24 hours, I thought I would post this chart I made a few months ago showing that 49 percent of Americans live in a household that receives government benefits.
The data (from the third quarter of 2010, which is the latest available) comes from the Census Bureau. The red bar represents the percentage of the population living in a household receiving benefits from one or more federal and state programs. The green bar represents the share of the population receiving benefits from at least one means-tested program (a program that targets low-income people with non-welfare income) for food, housing, or children’s aid, etc. The blue bars give a breakdown of the population living in households receiving benefits from various federal programs. (Note that the bars do not add up to 100 percent because it is common for people to receive benefits from more than one program.)
Not surprisingly, spending on entitlement programs is one of the main drivers of U.S. debt as such programs have the most recipients. Specifically, 16 percent of the population lived in a household receiving Social Security benefits, and 15 percent in a household receiving Medicare benefits. Medicaid benefits had the largest share of dependents, with 26 percent of the population living in a household receiving such benefits…
Keep reading this post . . .
The president’s policies hammer young people most of all.
On November 4, 2008, voters hired Obama to fix the economy. But four years and $5 trillion in deficit spending later, the jobs haven’t come back. The unemployment rate rose to over 10 percent and rested in July (the most recent monthly figure available at press time) at 8.3 percent—all this despite a promise from the Obama administration that the stimulus package would keep unemployment below 8 percent. But if the Obama economy has been bad for the country at large, it has been disastrous for one cohort of Americans who provided the president with his decisive victory in 2008: young voters, who now face an unemployment rate 50 percent higher than that of the nation as a whole…