A Job Boom That Left Many Out

Job growth in the United States was distinctly uneven for decades before the Pandemic hit, a fact that was emphasized this week when the Bureau of Labor Statistics released a list of when each county in the United States reached its highest employment, based on data from 1975 to 2020. It showed that only 27% […]


Only Two Months of Pain? Not Even Close

The Pandemic recession lasted two months, the National Bureau of Economic Research decided this week—more than a year after the supposed end of the recession in April 2020.  That is the shortest recession ever, according to the NBER, which has a list of 34 recessions going back to 1857. But this recession made up for […]


Jobs Easy To Get, They Say

Americans are more enthusiastic about the job market than they have been at any time in the past half century. And yet the official unemployment rate is well above what it was during comparable times in the past. The Conference Board, as part of its Consumer Confidence study, each month asks people what they think […]


Driving Inflation

The prices of used cars and trucks are up almost 30% over the past 12 months, contributing a substantial part of the inflation increase – the CPI was up 5% — that has worried investors.  Meanwhile, the price index for new cars and trucks rose 3.4%. Logically, you might not expect such a substantial divergence […]


The Year of the Pink Slip

How bad a year was 2020? During the year, the United States economy lost a net 9.4 million jobs — 6.2% of the jobs it had at the end of 2019. That is by far the largest annual decline since 1950. The years that included the financial crisis more than a decade ago had seen the largest losses of jobs, with a 3.7% decline in 2009 following a 2.6% fall in 2008. The year just ended was a little worse than the two of them combined.


What Do GDP Figures Show?

The United States, unlike many countries, releases its GDP figures as annual rates. That makes no sense now, when there are clearly forces at work that will not continue for quarters to come. It makes more sense to say the economy contracted 9.0% in the second quarter and expanded 7.1% in the third quarter.


The Jobs That Are Not Back

Friday’s employment report indicates almost half of the jobs that vanished in the Pandemic have been recovered.. But there are some industries where there has been hardly any recovery – and those are mostly businesses that will not come back completely until there is a widespread belief that COVID-19 is no longer a threat to what used to be considered normal activities.


Will the economy get worse?

Source: The Conference Board Remember the sunny forecasts when the Pandemic began? This was to be a brief recession, followed by a “V” shaped recovery. You could see that forecast in the consumer confidence numbers released each month by the Conference Board. The overall index is made up of two elements – present situation and […]


The Worst Recession On Record, By One Measure

It is tempting to look at the continued recovery of the labor market in July and be encouraged – even if there are indications that August may see a reversal. The unemployment rate of 10.2% is not only well below the peak of 14.7% reached in April, but it is now below the previous post-war […]


Squeezing States and Cities

One number stands out in today’s estimate of second quarter GDP, and it isn’t the overall real GDP decline of 32.9%, on an annualized basis, even though the headlines will focus on that figure. Instead, it is the much smaller decline of 8.2% in the nominal GDP for state and local government spending. That is […]


How’s President Trump doing on the economy?

The new Quinnipiac Poll, released Wednesday, finds that – for the first time this year – more people disapprove than approve of the way President Trump is handling the economy. Before the pandemic racked the economy, President Trump had expected the economy would be the basis of his re-election campaign – as he took credit […]


Will Older Workers Stay Home?

Many older Americans reacted to the financial crisis of 2008 by deciding not to retire. Some who had retired went back to work if they could do so. And that trend continued for the next decade. Now the question is whether that trend is over – another victim of the pandemic. The proportion of people […]