“File Under Improving Economy, Not”

From reader Carol B:

Screen shot 2015-03-14 at 3.11.36 AM

And reader Scott, who was inspired Krugman’s assessment in his latest New York Times column, “US growth has improved lately”:

Atlanta Fed

Bloomberg improving economy

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


  1. participant-observer-observed

    This is int’l but insofar as City sleeps with Wall St, it may be relevant to see that City has a new boyfriend, getting front page coverage at the Taipei Times:

    Beijing welcomes UK’s move to join China-backed bank
    AFP and Reuters, BEIJING and TOKYO

    Beijing yesterday hailed Britain’s announcement that it would seek to join a Chinese-led development bank, after Washington voiced caution about the move.

    . . . .

    London’s move drew a cautious response from Washington, a rare note of discord in their “special relationship,” which follows criticism from the US about Britain’s cuts to defense spending.

    China and 20 other countries signed a memorandum of understanding to establish the Beijing-headquartered bank in October.

    “We believe any new multilateral institution should incorporate the high standards of the World Bank and the regional development banks,” US National Security Council spokesman Patrick Ventrell said.

    “Based on many discussions, we have concerns about whether the AIIB will meet these high standards, particularly related to governance, and environmental and social safeguards.”

    The bank has support from countries including India, Singapore, Malaysia, Cambodia, Pakistan, the Philippines, Uzbekistan and Vietnam.

    China’s official Xinhua news agency rapped the US for its skepticism, writing in a commentary yesterday that Washington “exhibited nothing but a childish paranoia towards China.”

    “It seems that the US government needs to be reminded that bias and a deep-rooted strategic distrust towards China are by no means helpful in forging a healthy relationship with the country,” Xinhua wrote.

    “It’s imperative for Washington to change its mindset,” it said.

    World Bank president Jim Yong Kim yesterday also welcomed the setting up of the China-backed bank.

  2. Greenbacker

    Underestimating the deflator fall is going to get these so called “forecasts” killed. That NOWGDP forecast is pure slop. Either get what Brent Crude declining 50% means or stop making the forecasts.

  3. CB

    This business of the economy falling off the cliff at the end of a president’s eight yrs is getting old. The presidency needs a new template.

  4. Llewelyn Moss

    If the US is at Full Employment and the Economy is at full steam ( as Obot lackeys keep telling us), then why is the Fed Funds rate still at 0%.

    Isn’t 0% Fed rate an indicator of an Economy On Life Support. Tell me why I’m wrong.

    1. Auburn Parks

      The FFR is nothing more than a reflection of the opinion of a handful of neo-liberal mainstream economists about the performance of the economy. And if we’ve learned anything since the GFC, its that mainstream economists are almost universally wrong in their models, perceptions, and remedies about how the economy and monetary system works. So I wouldnt put much stock in the FFR as forecasting if I were you.

      1. Phil Perspective

        That the FFR is still where it is is a sign of their incompetence. It also says that the economy isn’t going to pick up for the great majority of us any time soon.

    2. cassiodorus

      Employment-population ratio: 59.3%, where it was in July of 2009

      Employment-population ratio, 25-54: 77.3%, about where it was at the beginning of 2009

      There has, then, been only a limited recovery.

  5. timbers

    I work at a high end catering company I’ve returned to from time to time as needed for over 10 years as I look for full time employment. Their direct bartender hires earn about $18/hr but as they have a policy of only employing part time staff for most work except a few management positions, they frequently draw on agencies like the one you list above for large events, which charge them twice as much for these people (about $36/hour), though the temp workers are paid about $15/hr. If you bartend at certain events, you can make tips.

    They have an exclusive contract with JFK (John F. Kennedy) library, which as a “no tips” policy. They hang a “No Gratuities Allowed” plaque at events right next to pictures of the famous Democratic President John Kennedy having fun with his sail boat (I once asked “where is the NO PROFITS ALLOWED” plaque?”).

    EMK (Edward M. Kennedy) institute just opened last month right next door to JFK and I worked the event. A $20 tip appeared in my paycheck for that event. I thank the folks running Edward Kennedy’s place for actually thinking of us Little People as they enjoy their gourmet food (it is yummy food) and high end liquor. Thanks, Ted!

    Apparently there is a pissing match going on btwn JFK and EMK because us staff were told not to use the JFK parking lot for EMK events. Something to do with only 2 of 3 brothers have buildings in their names or something.

    Yesterday I had a phone interview with Monster for a temp to perm office reporting position. Last month I had an face to fact interview with Nature Works, a landscaping company in Walpole. I asked him how many people he had interviewed. He said “ten” and I noticed his add has appeared several times since my interview, so ten is probably an outdated number.

    I also had an interview with a home healthcare agency Right At Home with “Frank.” I sat down in his office and he asked 2 hostile questions regarding why I thought my financial background qualifies me for his part time book keeping position, said he wished he had looked at my resume before I came, I thanked him and immediately ended the interview within about 2 minutes. Apparently his other “book keepers” liked my resume and called me in, but he never look at it until I arrived and walked into his office.

    My mortgage and cars are paid for. That’s how I live. Life goes on.

      1. timbers

        Servers at the firm I work for make $15/hr, bartenders $18. If apply to a catering company directly, you can earn a few dollars more per hour than if you go thru one of the “temp agencies” that pay less, charge the catering firm much more (the markup to the catering firms is about double what the server is paid) and keep the rest for themselves. They exist to provide a reserve pool of workers for larger events or busy days. Boston area may pay a bit more being a more expensive area than most areas in the U.S. Also there is some variation in wages between the catering temp agencies. The draw back to this is individual firms have a smaller pool of work, so you likely get fewer hours. Many go to more than one firm directly and juggle work btwn the two or more firms they work directly for, or have other jobs.

        But even after maximizing all your options, you’re looking at very part time work (which almost completely disappears after Christmas holidays for about 2 months). 18$/hr part time in Boston area is not livable on it’s own.

        1. cwaltz

          My daughter was there for some sort of gamer convention and said it was stupid expensive there(Boston). $15-$18 an hour even part time in my region(SW VA) would probably be enough to live on, $12/hr not so much.

          1. timbers

            Keep in mind they do not allow full time hours. They seek to keep you well below 32hrs/week to avoid paying benefits and usually schedule for number of hours per week in the teens or twenties.

  6. Louis

    Sports talking heads like to pontificate about why a particular team lost, when it reality it’s quite simple: the other team scored more points.

    The economic talking heads keep pontificating about why consumer spending is down in an ostensibly improving jobs market: people don’t have as much money because the jobs being offered are a joke.

    On a more serious note, economics is more complicated than sports so the above statement may an oversimplification. Nonetheless, the ability of some economists to bury their heads in the sand never ceases to amaze me.

    1. bdy

      All true except the bit about economics being more complicated than sports. See-ball-hit-ball makes room for infinity levels of analysis but at the end of the day, debts that can’t be paid won’t be paid and we’re all just giving a hundred percent trying to take one for the team.

  7. Anonymous II

    Until the folks running our country learn the basics of Modern Money Theory (and devote themselves to putting into place the actions the theory teaches), we will be stuck on a slowly turning spiral of: more poverty, fewer jobs, more unemployment, increasing social, mental and psychological negative stress across the society.
    The idea behind the job guarantee (where the federal government facilitates the transfer of funds into the private sector via work programs to get unemployed folks working on things like infrastructure) is to keep the economy moving in counter cyclical fashion. The absolute numbers of people out of work are in the neighborhood of 90 million.

    While job programs are being implemented there are many ways to transfer funds to the private sector
    1. Increase the length and time of unemployment benefits.
    2. Increase eligibility for Medicaid programs-this transfers funds to the medical field but everyone benefits in the long run as there would be a chance that uninsured segments of the population would decrease in number.
    3. Increase benefits for Social Security-up the paycheck to social security recipients while decreasing the age limit. Make this so for Medicare as well.
    3.Move the minimum wage by $1.00/hr/yr increments until it is at $15.00/hr.
    4. Among the many public works programs that would help move the economy into high gear: a. construction of mass (rapid) transit systems in the 50 largest metropolitan areas. Expand this to connect all of the major urban areas on one system. Upgrade to the fastest technology possible.
    5. Lift (erase) the student loan debt for everyone.
    6. Total tuition paid college and grad school for anyone who can get admitted to college.
    7. Health care reform that cleans up the mess on the health care front.
    8. A single payer health care system that allows anyone who wants health care to enroll for a small enrollment fee-like paying for a theater ticket.
    9. Support for the performing arts and theater with scholarships for students and grants to qualified theaters and music venues.
    10. The list goes on.

    1. Anonymous II

      #1. Should read the amount ($) and length of unemployment benefits. Of course in a productive economy, this benefit would not be so crucial as it is now in a sluggish economy

    2. bdy

      For the record, they get it.
      See Dick Cheyney circa 2001: “deficits don’t matter”
      See QE round whichever.

      All MMT means to PTB is free money for those postioned to scoop it up. For those wh actually need job, uh, sorry neo-classist.

    1. TheCatSaid

      Can you have another go at posting that link please?
      It looks like something interesting!

  8. Elliott Gorau

    Anonymous 2
    That is a bold program you are proposing
    Do you believe debt equals equity?
    Anonymous 3

  9. willy

    Plenty of carpentry positions in the greater Boston area. 20 to 30$ per hr if you have a few years experience. Most of the work is in the rich towns. The huge winter helped. Jobs on craigslist paying 25$ per hr to shovel snow off flat roofs. Maintenance companies were billing residential customers 100$per man per hr to shovel snow off roofs. Most homeowners were happy to have someone agree to do the work.
    30$ per hr buys you a fairly decent life in some cheaper areas west and north of the city if the commuting doesn’t make you insane. The toughest people to work for are those in finance. Plenty of wealthy deadbeats.
    The r/e bubble in and around Boston is unbelievable. We make 100k per year and would never consider buying in this state or area. We have a 2 bedroom place and a doting Italian landlord for 1100 per month garage included. Prices 30 miles north west of Boston haven’t recovered much from 2009. They are still about 30% to high for the average family. Job security being what it is, it’s best to stay mobile. We are already doing the long distance landlord gig from our last move. archdruid is a pretty good read if you are looking to collapse in place. Meaning is where you find it I guess

Comments are closed.