Links 6/6/09

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Bats ‘recognise other’s voices’ BBC

Did a meteor bring down Air France 447? Discover

Does climate change affect economic growth? Melissa Dell, Benjamin Jones, and Benjamin Olken, VoxEU

How Pharma and Insurance Intend to Kill the Public Option, And What Obama and the Rest of Us Must Do Robert Reich

The return of Bretton Woods Two? (or Betton Woods 2.1?) Brad Setser

Revenge of the Nerd Newsweek (hat tip reader Richard). On quants and Paul Wilmott.

U.S. Jobs Propaganda Gets More Desperate Jeff Nielson

U.S. Pushed Fiat Deal on Chrysler Wall Street Journal

Alabama County Set to Halt Services, Shut Buildings Bloomberg. Jefferson County has been peculiarly loath to declare bankruptcy, and I suspect that a suit would expose the serious conflicts of interest (and no doubt worse) of the officials who entered into this deal.

Citi delayed raising $33bn in capital Financial Times

The Age of Diminishing Endowments Wall Street Journal

Surge in Labor Force Shows U.S. Workers Gaining Confidence Bloomberg. Reader Jerry shredded this headline: “I can’t believe their conclusions, and the inferences they draw from this stat. It’s absolutely mind-boggling.”

1. Did they not consider that perhaps people are becoming so desperate, they may need a job just to put food on the table or to afford some sort of meager shelter?

2. Did they consider any demographic factors that may be involved?

3. Did they read the BLS report this morning that showed incomes dropping among those who are working, perhaps driving their stay-at-home spouses into the labor pool?

4. What evidence do they have that people who quit looking are now reentering the labor pool because they are “gaining confidence their search will pay off”?

5. Did they not factor in that unemployment insurance lasts longer now, so people who ordinarily would drop off the rolls sooner are now included for a longer period of time?

6. Did they even consider that maybe, just maybe, millions of retirees who have lost their life savings have HAD to reenter the labor force to support themselves?

Antidote du jour:

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9 comments

  1. X

    The Bloomberg article comes off as completely insane from my perspective in Michigan. There is no sign of easing in the labor market or growing confidence among the unemployed here. Quite the contrary, many of the unemployed I know report that jobs have now dwindled to the point that it is hard to even find anything to apply for. One striking thing I have noticed is the help wanted section of the local paper. It used to go on for several pages in the late '90s. It is not even two full columns now (less than a quarter of one page) and a substantial portion of the few listings that remain are scam ads.

  2. duggedup

    My wife has a cleaning business on Cape Cod (Mrs.GreenCleans.com) and she has never been busier. 90% of her new clients are upper middle class couples where the spouse is returning to the work force. The last thing they want to do is clean the house after a hard days work.

  3. Valentine Michael Smith

    shadowstats does a good job of explaining how skewed unemployment numbers are. My unemployment benefits are just about to run out. In my world that makes me very very unhappy about having no income, but does not affect my "confidence" in the job market, though officially, as I understand it, I suddenly turn into a "discouraged" worker and am no longer seen as "unemployed."

    Cat iz great. Hiding under newspaper iz wrong place! Newzpaper iz scary! I iz hiding under bed!

  4. Dee

    Yves? Do you know how they calculate the entrepreneurs? Registration for a business license? Self-employed contractors that sort of thing.

    New entrepreneurs don't necessary earn income.

  5. Dan Duncan

    Why does Naked Cap decry an over-reliance on quantitative modeling when it comes to economic/financial forecasts (see the very good article: Revenge of the Nerd)…yet prostrates before the same quantitative modeling when it comes to economic forecasting in relation to the impact of climate change? [If you don't mind reading an article written with crayons, see the infantile, Social Studies 101 article, "Does climate change affect economic growth!?"]

  6. ScottB

    Valentine Michael Smith, as long as you are actively seeking work, you are counted as unemployed. Only about a third of the unemployed are collecting benefits.

    I looked at the Jeff Nielson post. The guy is simply irrational. He looks at a consistent data series and dismissed it out of hand because it doesn't agree with his world view. This kind of paranoia is not helpful.

  7. dlr

    Re Climate change and economic growth — go and find a old fashioned world globe, or just imagine one in your head. Look at the vast sweeps of Siberia, Alaska, Northern Canada, Greenland. All of those places are going to become more prosperous, more productive, more pleasant places to live because of global warming. It's going to be bad bad news for Florida and Bangladesh, and other places on the equator, but if you look at total square miles that will benefit vs. total square miles that will be worse off (or underwater) , global warming will be a very very good thing for the human race as a whole.
    Yes, we will lose some places to flooding, and other places may end up reverting to jungle, but look at the vast stretches of Siberia, Nothern Canada, etc, that are going to move into the temperate zone.

    Right now Canada can only support 10% of the population of the USA, despite being a considerably larger land mass. 100 years from now, if global warming stays on track, instead of being vast stretches of tundra and ice, Siberia, Alaska and Canada may have climates that resemble Kansas.

  8. Dee

    *It's going to be bad bad news for Florida and Bangladesh, and other places on the equator, but if you look at total square miles that will benefit vs. total square miles that will be worse off (or underwater) , global warming will be a very very good thing for the human race as a whole.
    Yes, we will lose some places to flooding, and other places may end up reverting to jungle, but look at the vast stretches of Siberia, Nothern Canada, etc, that are going to move into the temperate zone. *

    Almost Lundberg verbatim. Even he concedes climate change is here to stay. It's his interpretation of data and solutions which most have a problem with. I suggest you look up his references and give them a read before subjecting us to your mind numbing arguments.

  9. skippy

    Climate change is ever present through out this planets time line although the issue is its speed and the impacts there of. No matter which side of the coin one is on the ramifications of its speed will be quite destructive vs the perceived benefits for hundreds of years.

    skippy…most people have forgotten the most important skill ever…fire starting with out modern tools.

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