News & Comment
Blogs and Opinion
Even The Chamber of Commerce is Critical of Chinese Currency Manipulation by Mike Elk, OurFuture.org | March 22, 2010Last week, I wrote about the growing bipartisan consensus to confront China on its illegal currency manipulation. read more »
China's Coming Surprise Announcement And My Bridge On eBay by Dave Johnson, OurFuture.org | March 22, 2010On April 15 the Obama administration is required to officially declare whether China is manipulating its currency. SInce China is manipulating its currency there is a great deal of pressure on the administration to say so. read more »
Stifling the Economy, One Argument at a Time by ROBERT E. LIGHTHIZER, The New York Times | March 22, 2010FRUSTRATED with years of delay and stonewalling, 130 members of Congress last week urged the Obama administration to punish China for manipulating the value of its currency to the detriment of American exports. But this issue does not stand alone; it is part of the larger, murkier world of international trade policy, centered on the Doha round of World Trade Organization negotiations. These talks, which began in 2001, long ago became a quagmire. read more »
China's "Human Face" on Opposition to a Higher Yuan by Dean Baker, prospect.org | March 22, 2010According to USA Today, China's government tried to put a "human face" on its opposition to raising the value of the yuan by presenting the case of a small business owner who is worried that he will lose his workers to better paying employers if the yuan rises in value. Of course, this is not exactly how the situation was described. read more »
- There's only one flatware factory left in the US, a former Oneida plant bought by Sherrill Manufacturing. In spite of the fact that there's a brisk market in flatware in the US, and that the facility is highly productive and state-of-the-art, the plant will be closed and 80 workers laid off. read more »
- So yesterday I looked on the bright side of the Senate's clean energy bill and proclaimed my delight that there is such a thing. Though naturally, this is not the whole story. read more »
- The other day I wrote about the huge impact from California's Toyota NUMMI plant closing, Toyota takes off with a ton of cash, we pay the costs, it's the way the system is set up -- by us. read more »
- Man China has had a really rough week. A bipartisan group of economists ranging from Paul Krugman to the conservative Fred Bergsten of the Peterson Institute have called for tariffs on China to fix the currency manipulation problem. read more »
- Tricky auto loans didn't cause the financial meltdown on Wall Street. Unscrupulous payday lenders didn't cost taxpayers a $700 billion "troubled asset" bailout. So fussing about whether U.S. Sen. Chris Dodd's financial reform legislation contains an independent Consumer Financial Protection Agency is like worrying about whether you'll lose your tool shed as a conflagration consumes your home. read more »
China: World's Biggest Bubble? by Andy Kroll, Mother Jones | March 18, 2010Is China, soon to surpass Japan as the world's second-largest economy, a massive, dangerous bubble? According to one man who's witnessed financial calamity at close range, the answer is an unabashed Yes. "As I see it, it is the greatest bubble in history with the most massive misallocation of wealth," said James Rickards at a recent conference in China, according to Bloomberg News. Rickards is the former counsel for the infamous hedge fund Long-Term Capital Management, an all-star, Nobel Prize-powered fund that proceeded to melt down in 1998 and almost drag the global economy down with it. (For more on LTCM, read Kevin Drum's "Capital City" cover story.) Whether his role helping save LTCM burnishes or blemishes his record is for you to decide, but his time there clearly colors his view of China today. Bloomberg reported that Rickards argued that "Chinese central bank’s balance sheet resembles that of a hedge fund buying dollars and short-selling the yuan." Echoing Rickards, a recent World Bank report warned of inflation and a property bubble in China. (Here's a PDF of the report's overview.) The World Bank suggested that China tighten up its overall monetary policy by raising interest rates to contain a housing bubble—something, you'll remember, former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan and current chair Ben Bernanke failed to do.) To be sure, there are some startling parallels between China's housing boom and the US' bubble circa 2003-2007. There's the economics—$560 billion of real estate was sold in China last year, the Times reported recently, an 80 percent increase from 2008—and the blinding details, too, like the home with crocodile skin bedposts and doors inlaid with Swarovski diamonds. Or the anonymous investor in Shanghai who bought 54 apartments in a single day. Or the $3 billion "floating city" in the north of China. The key question here is whether China's in a boom or inflating a bubble—and without a Chinese version of, say, the Case-Shiller housing index, it's hard to decipher what exactly is going on in the Middle Kingdom. read more »
Subsidized Jobs: A Faint Echo of the New Deal , stateline.org | June 18, 2010
In rural Winston County, Mississippi, Taylor Machine Works — best known for its Big Red forklifts — is the primary employer. After the recession hit in late 2008, the company shed nearly 200 of its 500 jobs and would not be rehiring anyone now if it weren’t for a subsidized employment program Mississippi launched with the help of federal stimulus money.
No Clear Path Forward After Jobs Bill Fails Again In Senate, Huffington Post | June 18, 2010
The Sagging of the Middle Class, economix.blogs.nytimes.com | June 14, 2010
The chart above captures the takeaway point of David Autor’s new report, “The Polarization of Job Opportunities in the U.S. Labor Market,” published by the Center for American Progress and the Hamilton Project. read more »
A Jobless Rate Still Unaffected by New Hiring, The New York Times | June 4, 2010
After hemorrhaging jobs for months, the economy is finally starting to add them. Yet the unemployment rate is not really budging because of people like Regina Myles. Ms. Myles, 51, has been out of work for three years. After a grueling job search yielded 150 interviews but no offers, she simply stopped looking last fall. read more »
U.S. Added 431,000 Jobs in May, Mostly From Census, The New York Times | June 4, 2010
Employers added 431,000 nonfarm jobs nationwide in May, the biggest increase in a single month in a decade, the Labor Department said Friday. But the bulk of the growth was in government jobs, driven by hiring for the Census, and private-sector job growth was weak. The unemployment rate fell to 9.7 percent nationwide, from 9.9 percent in April, the department said.
Economy Fueled By Census Hiring Adds 431K Jobs, But Few Positions Created In Private Sector, The Washington Post | June 4, 2010
Private employers dramatically cut back their rate of job creation in May, according to a government report released Friday that cast doubt on at least one aspect of the nation's economic recovery. read more »
Economic News Release, bls.gov | June 4, 2010
Total nonfarm payroll employment grew by 431,000 in May, reflecting
the hiring of 411,000 temporary employees to work on Census 2010, the
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Private-sector em-
ployment changed little (+41,000). Manufacturing, temporary help ser-
vices, and mining added jobs, while construction employment declined.
The unemployment rate edged down to 9.7 percent.
Fishermen Wait On Docks As Oil Gushes, The New York Times | June 3, 2010
This time of year, Eric Authement would normally be buying about 70,000 pounds of shrimp a day from the boats that line the Grand Caillou Bayou and spread their winglike nets in the bays, marshes, coastal waters and inlets along the coast. But in the last month, the shrimp processing plant his family has run for generations has been much quieter. Some days, he has bought next to nothing.
Does Washington Care About Unemployment?, theweek.com | June 2, 2010
In 1983, Ronald Reagan's Washington regarded high unemployment as a national emergency. Today, with unemployment kissing 10 percent, Barack Obama's Washington scarcely seems perturbed. Why? read more »
Job Outlook for Teenagers Worsens, The New York Times | June 1, 2010
This year is shaping up to be even worse than last for the millions of high school and college students looking for summer jobs. read more »