Posted by Kendall Harmon

t's not exactly "The Golden Girls," but for Marcia Rosenfeld, it'll do.

Rosenfeld is among thousands of aging Americans taking part in home-sharing programs around the country that allow seniors to stay in their homes and save money while getting some much-needed companionship.

"It's a wonderful arrangement," said the white-haired Rosenfeld, who when asked her age will only say she's a senior citizen. "The way the rents are these days, I couldn't stay here without it."

She shares her two-bedroom, $1,000-a-month Brooklyn apartment with Carolyn Allen, a 69-year-old widow who has suffered two strokes and no longer wants to live alone.

Agencies that put such seniors together say the need appears to be growing as baby boomers age and struggle to deal with foreclosures, property taxes and rising rents. The typical situation involves an elderly woman, widowed or divorced, who has a house or an apartment with extra room and needs help with the upkeep.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the Elderly* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingHousing/Real Estate MarketPersonal FinanceThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted July 23, 2014 at 3:30 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Ms. Yellen, in downplaying concerns about financial stability, said the economic recovery remained incomplete and the Fed’s help was necessary.

“Too many Americans remain unemployed, inflation remains below our longer-run objective and not all of the necessary financial reform initiatives have been completed,” Ms. Yellen told the Senate Banking Committee.

Ms. Yellen’s testimony is likely to reinforce a sense of complacency among investors who regard the Fed as convinced of its forecast and committed to its policy course. She reiterated the Fed’s view that the economy will continue to grow at a moderate pace, and that the Fed is in no hurry to start increasing short-term interest rates.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeHousing/Real Estate MarketLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketPersonal FinanceThe Banking System/SectorThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--The U.S. GovernmentFederal Reserve* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

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Posted July 15, 2014 at 12:47 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The high number of involuntary part-time workers is consistent with an average workweek that was unchanged at 34.5 hours for the fourth straight month in June, says Bernard Baumohl, chief global economist of The Economic Outlook Group.

"It stands to reason that if the economy is improving, we would see employees put in more time on the job," Baumohl says. "This is usually a leading indicator of both future hiring and pay increases."

Instead, he notes, the economy has been running in place this year. Second-quarter growth will likely offset a 2.9% first-quarter contraction caused partly by bad weather.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate LifeLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted July 6, 2014 at 3:20 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

They’re living at home in growing numbers. They're not buying homes, which creates ripple effects throughout the housing market. They’re having more babies out of wedlock than in it. Why can’t millennials get it together?

The first and most obvious answer is “jobs.” If you can’t find a stable job, it’s hard to move out of Mom’s basement. It’s hard to commit to a mortgage or a spouse. It's hard, in other words, to launch into the middle-class life that constitutes the American Dream.

Millennials are some of the biggest victims of the financial crisis. Those without a college degree face high rates of unemployment, while those who have a sheepskin are more and more likely to be underemployed in a job that doesn’t require their degree. Even if the student loan crisis has been overstated, the rising cost of college tuition certainly doesn’t help.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenMarriage & FamilyPsychologyReligion & CultureSociologyYoung Adults* Economics, PoliticsEconomyLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted June 26, 2014 at 3:11 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Despite Americans being more secure in their jobs and more comfortable with their debt since the recession ended, their savings capacity remains weak even among those with highest-income household. Only 46% of those with annual income of $75,000 or above have enough savings to cover six months of expenses.

“People are not making progress. Incomes are stagnating and expenses are high,” said Greg McBride, Bankrate.com’s chief financial analyst. He said that many people are still struggling with payments from the past years and high household costs.

The report also indicates that the segment of the population aged between 30 and 49 are the most likely to have no emergency fund compared with younger people. “That is alarming because those are the people with a house, two cars and a dog but still with no emergency savings. You need emergency savings,” he added.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeHousing/Real Estate MarketLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketPersonal FinanceThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted June 25, 2014 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

One in five people in their 20s and early 30s is currently living with his or her parents. And 60 percent of all young adults receive financial support from them. That’s a significant increase from a generation ago, when only one in 10 young adults moved back home and few received financial support. The common explanation for the shift is that people born in the late 1980s and early 1990s came of age amid several unfortunate and overlapping economic trends. Those who graduated college as the housing market and financial system were imploding faced the highest debt burden of any graduating class in history. Nearly 45 percent of 25-year-olds, for instance, have outstanding loans, with an average debt above $20,000. (Kasinecz still has about $60,000 to go.) And more than half of recent college graduates are unemployed or underemployed, meaning they make substandard wages in jobs that don’t require a college degree. According to Lisa B. Kahn, an economist at Yale University, the negative impact of graduating into a recession never fully disappears. Even 20 years later, the people who graduated into the recession of the early ’80s were making substantially less money than people lucky enough to have graduated a few years afterward, when the economy was booming.

Some may hope that the boomerang generation represents an unfortunate but temporary blip — that the class of 2015 will be able to land great jobs out of college, and that they’ll reach financial independence soon after reaching the drinking age. But the latest recession was only part of the boomerang generation’s problem. In reality, it simply amplified a trend that had been growing stealthily for more than 30 years. Since 1980, the U.S. economy has been destabilized by a series of systemic changes — the growth of foreign trade, rapid advances in technology, changes to the tax code, among others — that have affected all workers but particularly those just embarking on their careers. In 1968, for instance, a vast majority of 20-somethings were living independent lives; more than half were married. But over the past 30 years, the onset of sustainable economic independence has been steadily receding. By 2007, before the recession even began, fewer than one in four young adults were married, and 34 percent relied on their parents for rent.

These boomerang kids are not a temporary phenomenon. They appear to be part of a new and permanent life stage.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenMarriage & FamilyYoung Adults* Economics, PoliticsEconomyLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted June 23, 2014 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Archbishop of Canterbury has warned that the impetus for reforming the banking system is fading, even though taxpayers risk having to bail out the biggest banks – six years after the financial crisis.

“The elephant in the room is that banks are still too big to fail,” Justin Welby said in a speech to the New City Agenda group at the House of Lords on Tuesday. “It is going to take some time to fix this and I hope it will stay front and centre of people’s minds.”

Mr Welby, who was an outspoken member of the parliamentary commission on banking standards, was asked by a JPMorgan Chase banker in the audience if the wave of banking regulation since the crisis had removed the risk of a taxpayer bailout.

The archbishop resisted this idea. “If JPMorgan had to go into insolvency, are we seriously saying it would not cause a systemic crisis? Do we really think the US government would say: ‘No, we are not going to put a penny into this’?”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate LifeThe Banking System/SectorThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted June 18, 2014 at 7:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Four years ago, 6.8 million Americans were out of work for six months or longer. Half as many are now. That might sound like good news, but it isn't.

Nearly four-fifths of those who became long-term unemployed during the worst period of the downturn have since migrated to the fringes of the job market, a recent study shows, rarely seeking work, taking part-time posts or bouncing between unsteady jobs. Only one in five, according to the study, has returned to lasting full-time work since 2008.

The plight of these millions is now at the center of a contentious debate among top U.S. officials over how to spur jobs without stirring inflation.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalization* Economics, PoliticsEconomyLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--The U.S. GovernmentFederal Reserve* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted June 18, 2014 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A 2011 study of the long-term unemployed published by the Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University also found that half of participants experienced shame and embarrassment that led them to isolate themselves from friends and associates. Among the long-term unemployed, 31.1 percent reported spending two hours or less with family or friends the previous day, versus 21.5 percent among short-term unemployed adults.

Long-term unemployment is not just a mental health crisis; it’s also a spiritual crisis. And the church is the only institution in American that can adequately respond. “Fortunately, the church is in a unique place to explain Christ’s restoration of work,” says Michael Jahr, “the meaning of suffering, and the hope and peace that result from putting our trust in him.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted June 11, 2014 at 4:30 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

[Book authors Mian and Sufi] argue that, rather than failing banks, the key culprits in the financial crisis were overly indebted households. Resurrecting arguments that go back at least to Irving Fisher and that were emphasised by Richard Koo in considering Japan’s stagnation, Mian and Sufi highlight how harsh leverage and debt can be – for example, when the price of a house purchased with a 10 per cent downpayment goes down by 10 per cent, all of the owner’s equity is lost. They demonstrate powerfully that spending fell much more in parts of the country where house prices fell fastest and where the most mortgage debt was attached to homes. So their story of the crisis blames excessive mortgage lending, which first inflated bubbles in the housing market and then left households with unmanageable debt burdens. These burdens in turn led to spending reductions and created an adverse economic and financial spiral that ultimately led financial institutions to the brink.

This interpretation resolves the anomalies that Mian and Sufi highlight. Households do not spend while they are still overly indebted, which precipitates slow growth even after banking is restored to health. Spending slowdowns are caused by household over-indebtedness, so of course they precede problems in the banking system. And, when consumers do not spend, businesses have less need to borrow to finance investment, inventories or receivables.

Their analysis, presented with far more depth and subtlety than I have been able to reflect here, is a major contribution that furthers our understanding of the crisis. It certainly affects what I will examine in trying to predict and forestall future crises. And it should influence policies aimed at crisis prevention by demonstrating the insufficiency of keeping financial institutions healthy and by making a case for macroprudential measures directed at preventing runaway growth in household debt.

Read it all (my emphasis).

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBooksHistory* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifePersonal FinanceThe Banking System/SectorThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--The U.S. GovernmentFederal ReserveTreasury Secretary Timothy Geithner* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted June 8, 2014 at 11:04 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

This year’s college graduates will have to be more creative to land a job they want.

The unemployment rate for college graduates ages 22 to 27 fell to 5.6 percent in 2013 from 6.4 percent at the recession’s peak in 2009. Among 22-year-old degree holders who found jobs in the past three years, more than half were in roles not requiring a college diploma, said John Schmitt, a labor economist for the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington.

Many graduates have traveled nontraditional pathways to find employment in their desired fields. Rory Molleda, 22, started an unpaid internship at Washington’s D.C. United soccer team a week after finishing Guilford College in Greensboro, North Carolina, a year ago.

Forty job applications later, he networked his way to a paid position at another company that wasn’t exactly what he wanted. In January, he landed his “dream job” as a team operations coordinator for D.C. United and said he feels lucky.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationYoung Adults* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate LifeLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

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Posted June 5, 2014 at 11:24 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The bond markets have grasped something that continues to elude many economists. We live in a confused world. Yet the underlying story is simple. The US middle continues to hollow out, even as the economy continues to grow.

But the latter’s upside is limited by the crisis in the former. Unless the middle class starts to post healthy income gains, we will be stuck in what has been annoyingly named the “new normal”.

Neither the Democratic nor the Republican party – nor most of their European counterparts – appears to have an answer. President Barack Obama pushes for a higher minimum wage, which would certainly help the poorest sections of the US labour force. But it would do nothing to fix the central problem. And Republicans keep arguing for lower taxes on the wealth creators. Ditto. They have argued each other to a standstill.

Both parties might find it instructive to look north to Canada, which has endured its harshest winter in 20 years.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeCredit MarketsHousing/Real Estate MarketLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketPersonal FinanceStock MarketThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--Politics in GeneralHouse of RepresentativesOffice of the PresidentSenate* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted June 1, 2014 at 12:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A rebound in house prices and near-record-low interest rates are prompting homeowners to borrow against their properties, marking the return of a practice that was all the rage before the financial crisis.

Home-equity lines of credit, or Helocs, and home-equity loans jumped 8% in the first quarter from a year earlier, industry newsletter Inside Mortgage Finance said Thursday. The $13 billion extended was the most for the start of a year since 2009. Inside Mortgage Finance noted the bulk of the home-equity originations were Helocs.

While that is still far below the peak of $113 billion during the third quarter of 2006, this year's gains are the latest evidence that the tight credit conditions that have defined mortgage lending in recent years are starting to loosen. Some lenders are even reviving old loan products that haven't been seen in years in an attempt to gain market share.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingHousing/Real Estate MarketPersonal FinanceThe Banking System/SectorThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted May 30, 2014 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Nearly 10 million U.S. households remain stuck in homes worth less than their mortgage and a similar number have so little equity they can't meet the expenses of selling a home, trends that help explain recent sluggishness in the housing recovery.

At the end of the first quarter, some 18.8% of U.S. homeowners with a mortgage—9.7 million households—were "underwater" on their mortgage, according to a report scheduled for release Tuesday by real-estate information site Zillow Inc. Z +3.48% While that is an improvement from 19.4% at the end of last year and a peak of 31.4% 2012, those figures understate the problem.

In addition to the homeowners who are underwater, roughly 10 million households have 20% or less equity in their homes, which makes it difficult for them to sell their homes without dipping into their savings.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsEconomyHousing/Real Estate MarketPersonal FinanceThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--Politics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted May 20, 2014 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Twenty percent of Americans name unemployment or jobs as the most important problem facing the country in May, up from 14% who mentioned these issues in April. Dysfunctional government (19%) and the economy in general (17%) also rank among the top problems.

Read it all

Filed under: * Culture-WatchPsychology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketPersonal FinanceThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

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Posted May 19, 2014 at 11:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Americans made more progress in repairing their postrecession finances and have increased their overall borrowing, yet they are also showing an aversion to credit cards and new mortgages that could hinder the economic recovery.

Household debt—including mortgages, credit cards, auto loans and student loans—rose $129 billion between January and March to $11.65 trillion, new figures from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York showed Tuesday. That was the third consecutive quarterly increase.

Behind the uptick: Mortgage balances—which make up the bulk of U.S. household debt—rose $116 billion to $8.2 trillion, thanks in part to fewer people going into foreclosure, which drags down mortgage debt. Auto-loan balances grew $12 billion to $875 billion. Student-loan balances increased $31 billion to $1.1 trillion, maintaining its place as the fastest-growing debt category.

Read it all and the picture of the incredible graph on student loan explosion is there.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenHealth & MedicineMarriage & FamilyPsychologyStress* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingHousing/Real Estate MarketLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketPersonal FinanceThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted May 14, 2014 at 8:08 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The freeway exits around here are dotted with people asking for money, holding cardboard signs to tell their stories. The details vary only slightly and almost invariably include: Laid off. Need food. Young children.

Mary Carmen Acosta often passes the silent beggars as she enters parking lots to sell homemade ice pops, known as paletas, in an effort to make enough money to get food for her family of four. On a good day she can make $100, about double what she spends on ingredients. On a really good day, she pockets $120, the extra money offering some assurance that she will be able to pay the $800 monthly rent for her family’s three-bedroom apartment. Sometimes, usually on mornings too cold to sell icy treats, she imagines what it would be like to stand on an exit ramp herself.

“Everyone here knows they might have to be like that,” said Ms. Acosta, 40, neatly dressed in slacks and a chiffon blouse, as she waited for help from a local charity in this city an hour’s drive east of Los Angeles. Both she and her husband, Sebastian Plancarte, lost their jobs nearly three years ago. “Each time I see them I thank God for what we do have. We used to have a different kind of life, where we had nice things and did nice things. Now we just worry.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMarriage & Family* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeHousing/Real Estate MarketLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketPersonal FinanceThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--Politics in General* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted May 11, 2014 at 4:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the Elderly* Economics, PoliticsEconomyHousing/Real Estate MarketPersonal FinanceThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

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Posted May 5, 2014 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Johnsons both work, earning $90,000 between them, not a princely sum but one that places the couple squarely in the middle of household incomes for the Washington region. But for the Johnsons and many other American families, being middle class means living paycheck to paycheck.

The couple’s retirement savings are meager. The college fund? Nonexistent.

The Johnsons, whose blended family includes three children under 18, are part of a drawn-out, disquieting shift that is recasting what it means to be middle class in America.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenMarriage & Family* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingHousing/Real Estate MarketLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketPersonal FinanceThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--Politics in General* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

2 Comments
Posted April 27, 2014 at 11:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Mortgage lending declined to the lowest level in 14 years in the first quarter as homeowners pulled back sharply from refinancing and house hunters showed little appetite for new loans, the latest sign of how rising interest rates have dented the housing recovery.

Lenders originated $235 billion in mortgage loans during the January-March quarter, down 58% from the same period a year ago and down 23% from the fourth quarter of 2013, according to industry newsletter Inside Mortgage Finance.

The decline shows how the mortgage market is experiencing its largest shift in more than a decade as an era of generally falling interest rates that began in 2000 appears to have run its course.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsEconomyHousing/Real Estate MarketPersonal FinanceThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

4 Comments
Posted April 25, 2014 at 12:55 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

At a time when the still sluggish economy has sent a flood of jobless young adults back home, older people are quietly moving in with their parents at twice the rate of their younger counterparts.

For seven years through 2012, the number of Californians aged 50 to 64 who live in their parents' homes swelled 67.6% to about 194,000, according to the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research and the Insight Center for Community Economic Development.

The jump is almost exclusively the result of financial hardship caused by the recession rather than for other reasons, such as the need to care for aging parents, said Steven P. Wallace, a UCLA professor of public health who crunched the data.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenMarriage & FamilyMiddle Age* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate LifeLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketPersonal FinanceThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--Politics in General* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted April 23, 2014 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The recovery from the recession has been nasty, brutish and long. It also is shaping up as one of the most enduring.

The National Bureau of Economic Research, the semiofficial arbiter of business cycles, judges that the U.S. economy began expanding again in June 2009, just over 58 months ago. That means the current stretch of growth, in terms of duration, is poised to drift past the average for post-World War II recoveries.

Yet after almost five years, the recovery is proving to be one of the most lackluster in modern times. The nation's 6.7% jobless rate is the highest on record at this stage of recent expansions. Gross domestic product has grown 1.8% a year on average since the recession, half the pace of the previous three expansions.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistory* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeHousing/Real Estate MarketLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--Politics in General* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted April 21, 2014 at 2:44 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Apartment vacancy rates have dropped so low that forecasters at Capital Economics, a research firm, said rents could rise, on average, as much as 4 percent this year, compared with 2.8 percent last year. But rents are rising faster than that in many cities even as overall inflation is running at little more than 1 percent annually.

One of the most expensive cities for renters is Miami, where rents, on average, consume 43 percent of the typical household income, up from a historical average of just over a quarter.

Stella Santamaria, a divorced 40-year-old math teacher, has been looking for an apartment in Miami for more than six months. “We’re kind of sick of talking about it,” she said of herself and fellow teachers in the same boat. “It’s like, are you still living with your mom? Yeah, are you? Yeah.” After 11 years as a teacher, Ms. Santamaria makes $41,000, considerably less than the city’s median income, which is $48,000, according to Zillow.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchUrban/City Life and Issues* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingHousing/Real Estate MarketPersonal FinanceThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted April 16, 2014 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

There was a time when hitting a fresh cycle low in initial jobless claims was something to cheer. That doesn’t seem like the appropriate response this cycle. The labor backdrop at present is punctuated not by the fact that layoffs are diminishing, but rather by the sheer lack of hiring. We have gone through this calculus ad nausea but it bears repeating. The pace of hiring (as measured by the hiring rate, which is hiring relative to employment) at present is not just lower than the previous cycle low, it also shows a stunning lack of momentum. Make no mistake, the level of hiring is trending in the right direction, but at best the pace is quite modest. Part of the problem is the difficulty filling job openings…while the hiring rate remains weak by any standard, the ratio of hires-to-job openings continues to print cycle lows and remains at levels that are more consistent with a very tight labor backdrop
--RBC Capital Market’s Tom Porcelli as quoted this afternoon by Barrons

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate LifeLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted April 10, 2014 at 3:06 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

South Carolina's unemployment rate plummeted to 5.7 percent in February from 6.4 percent in January, the largest one-month decrease since the state starting tracking jobless numbers in 1976, the Department of Employment and Workforce said Friday.

It was the ninth consecutive month the figure has declined.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate LifeLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--Politics in GeneralState Government* South Carolina* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted March 28, 2014 at 4:31 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

America’s long-term jobless face huge obstacles in returning to steady full-time employment, with just 11 per cent succeeding over the course of any given year, according to new research that raises alarm bells about structural problems in the US labour market.

The study by Alan Krueger, a Princeton University economist who served as a top economic adviser to Barack Obama between 2011 and 2013, shows that even in good times and in healthy states the long-term jobless are “at the margins” of the labour market with little hope of regaining their footing.

A big spike in long-term unemployment – defined as joblessness extending beyond 26 weeks – has been one of the defining features of the US recession and its aftermath. There were 3.8m long-term unemployed in February 2014, according to the latest labour department data, more than double the pre-financial crisis level of 1.9m in August 2008. The share of the jobless who have been out of work for more than six months has nearly doubled over that timeframe, from 19.8 per cent to 37 per cent.

Read it all (if necessary another link may be found there).

Update: There is more from the Washington post there.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalizationHealth & MedicineHistoryPsychologyScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate LifeLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--Politics in General* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted March 21, 2014 at 7:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

There have long been stark economic differences between Fairfax County and McDowell. But as their fortunes have diverged even further over the past generation, their life expectancies have diverged, too. In McDowell, women’s life expectancy has actually fallen by two years since 1985; it grew five years in Fairfax.

“Poverty is a thief,” said Michael Reisch, a professor of social justice at the University of Maryland, testifying before a Senate panel on the issue. “Poverty not only diminishes a person’s life chances, it steals years from one’s life.”

That reality is playing out across the country. For the upper half of the income spectrum, men who reach the age of 65 are living about six years longer than they did in the late 1970s. Men in the lower half are living just 1.3 years longer.

This life-expectancy gap has started to surface in discussions among researchers, public health officials and Washington policy makers.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchPovertyPsychology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingHousing/Real Estate MarketLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketPersonal FinanceThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--Politics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted March 20, 2014 at 3:09 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

U.S. business leaders, encouraged by the recent break in Washington's budget gridlock, are increasingly looking to boost spending. But that probably won't come in ways that would drive rapid hiring or economic growth, according to a new Business Roundtable survey of top CEOs....

Nearly half of CEOs surveyed by the Washington trade group said they expect to boost U.S. capital spending in the next six months, compared with only 39% eyeing higher spending three months ago. But while 72% of CEOs see an increase in sales in the next six months, only 37% expect to boost U.S. employment, according to the survey released Tuesday. Forty-four percent see their U.S. payrolls unchanged.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate LifeLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted March 19, 2014 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Surging prices for food staples from coffee to meat to vegetables are driving up the cost of groceries in the U.S., pinching consumers and companies that are still grappling with a sluggish economic recovery.

Federal forecasters estimate retail food prices will rise as much as 3.5% this year, the biggest annual increase in three years, as drought in parts of the U.S. and other producing regions drives up prices for many agricultural goods. The Bureau of Labor Statistics on Tuesday reported that food prices gained 0.4% in February from the previous month, the biggest increase since September 2011, as prices rose for meat, poultry, fish, dairy and eggs.

Globally, food inflation has been tame, but economists are watching for any signs of tighter supplies of key commodities such as wheat and rice that could push prices higher.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchDieting/Food/Nutrition* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate LifePersonal FinanceThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--* General InterestWeather

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Posted March 18, 2014 at 5:09 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The articles are entitled Employment of young workers has plunged as older workers remain in entry-level jobs and A Dead End--few leaving stepping-stone jobs. Read them both.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate LifeLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketPersonal FinanceThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--* South Carolina* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted March 15, 2014 at 9:31 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Jeanina Jenkins, a 20-year-old high-school graduate from St. Louis, is stuck in a $7.82-an-hour part-time job at McDonald’s Corp. that she calls a “last resort” because nobody would offer her anything better.

Stephen O’Malley, 26, a West Virginia University graduate, wants to put his history degree to use teaching high school. What he’s found instead is a bartender’s job in his home town of Manasquan, New Jersey.

Jenkins and O’Malley are at opposite ends of a dynamic that is pushing those with college degrees down into competition with high-school graduates for low-wage jobs that don’t require college. As this competition has intensified during and after the recession, it’s meant relatively higher unemployment, declining labor market participation and lower wages for those with less education.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationYoung Adults* Economics, PoliticsEconomyLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--Politics in General

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Posted March 13, 2014 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The share of new homes being built as rental apartments is at the highest level in at least four decades, as an improving jobs picture spurs younger Americans to form their own households but tighter lending standards make it more difficult to buy.

Residential construction—a pillar of the economy and employment—is starting to ramp up again overall, but in previous years the growth was driven by single-family homes. Last year, according to census data, construction was started on a little less than one million new residential units, and about one in three of those was a rental in a multifamily building, the highest share since data began in the mid-1970s. Single-family homes accounted for about two-thirds of housing starts last year, down from their peak of 87% in 1993 and about 80% in the years leading up to the recession, the census data showed.

The move toward apartment construction reflects the convergence of several trends. Mortgage credit is still tight. Also, Americans have seen muted wage gains, and others have high student-debt loads, forcing people who otherwise would have bought homes to rent instead.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeHousing/Real Estate MarketPersonal FinanceThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

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Posted March 10, 2014 at 3:09 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A leading German institute has called for full-blown quantitative easing by the European Central Bank (ECB) to head off a deflation spiral, marking a radical shift in thinking among the German policy elites.

Marcel Fratzscher, head of the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW) in Berlin, demanded €60bn (£50bn) of bond purchases each month to halt the contraction of credit and avert a Japanese-style trap.

"It is high time for the ECB to act. Otherwise Europe risks falling into a dangerous downward spiral of sliding prices and declining demand", he wrote in Die Welt.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalization* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeEuroEuropean Central BankThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--* International News & CommentaryEurope--European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted March 10, 2014 at 9:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Gallup's U.S. Job Creation Index increased slightly in February to +21 from +19 in December and January. The index now exceeds the +20 average for 2013 and is the highest February reading since the beginning of the 2007-2009 recession.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

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Posted March 6, 2014 at 1:39 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The economy finished 2013 on a weaker footing than first thought, the government said on Friday, heightening concern that the United States is in the midst of another of the periodic slow patches that have dogged the recovery over the last five years.

The Commerce Department now estimates the economy grew at an annual pace of 2.4 percent in October, November and December, down from an initial estimate of 3.2 percent. The revised figure also represents a substantial slowing from the pace of growth in the third quarter, which totaled 4.1 percent. The department is scheduled to provide one more estimate of growth during the fourth quarter on March 27.

The downward revision comes after new data showing lackluster retail sales, inventory adjustments and a slightly less impressive trade balance late last year. Disappointing reports on job creation in December and January have also prompted fear of continued weakness into the spring of 2014.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeHousing/Real Estate MarketLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketPersonal FinanceThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--The U.S. Government* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted March 1, 2014 at 8:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Americans have a new No. 1 problem. Nearly one in four Americans mention jobs and unemployment as the most important problem facing the country, up from 16% in January. The government and politicians had topped the list since the government shutdown in October.

Prior to last fall, either jobs or the economy had led the "most important problem" list going back to February 2008, and these two have regained their top spots in the Feb. 6-9 poll.

Healthcare continues to rank among the top problems, with 15% naming it, unchanged from January. Mentions of the federal debt/budget deficit are stable at 8%, despite Congress' increasing the debt ceiling in February.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate LifeLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted February 18, 2014 at 7:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Like other 20-somethings seeking a career foothold, Andrew Lang, a graduate of Penn State, took an internship at an upstart Beverly Hills production company at age 29 as a way of breaking into movie production. It didn’t pay, but he hoped the exposure would open doors.

When that internship proved to be a dead end, Mr. Lang went to work at a second production company, again as an unpaid intern. When that went nowhere, he left for another, doing whatever was asked, like delivering bottles of wine to 27 offices before Christmas. But that company, too, could not afford to hire him, even part time.

A year later, Mr. Lang is on his fourth internship, this time for a company that produces reality TV shows. While this internship at least pays him (he makes $10 an hour, with few perks), Mr. Lang feels no closer to a real job and worries about being an intern forever. “No one hires interns,” said Mr. Lang, who sees himself as part of a “revolving class of people” who can’t break free of the intern cycle. “Is this any way to live?”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchPsychologyYoung Adults* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate LifeLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted February 18, 2014 at 6:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Underemployment, as measured without seasonal adjustment, was 18.6% in January, up from 17.2% in December, and up from 17.5% in January 2013. Gallup's U.S. underemployment rate combines the percentage of adults in the workforce who are unemployed (8.6%) with the percentage of those who are working part time but looking for full-time work (10.0%). An increase in unemployment mainly explains the increase in underemployment vs. December, partly attributable to more out-of-work Americans now reporting they are looking for work.

Read it all and please note that U-6 happily fell from 13.1% to 12.7% in the BLS report on Friday

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate LifeLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--Politics in General* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted February 10, 2014 at 3:20 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A hiring chill hit the U.S. labor market for the second straight month in January, reflecting employers' reluctance to take on new workers despite some of the nation's strongest economic growth in years.

U.S. payrolls rose a seasonally adjusted 113,000 in January after December's lackluster gain of 75,000 jobs, marking the weakest two-month stretch of job creation in three years, the Labor Department said Friday.

Yet the unemployment rate ticked down to 6.6%—the lowest level since late 2008. The decline came because more people found jobs last month as opposed to last year when it fell in part because of unemployed Americans abandoning their job hunts and dropping out of the labor force.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsEconomyLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

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Posted February 8, 2014 at 9:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

[Mark] Riley's frustration is widely shared. More than one in six men ages 25 to 54, prime working years, don't have jobs—a total of 10.4 million. Some are looking for jobs; many aren't. Some had jobs that went overseas or were lost to technology. Some refuse to uproot for work because they are tied down by family needs or tethered to homes worth less than the mortgage. Some rely on government benefits. Others depend on working spouses.

Having so many men out of work is partly a symptom of a U.S. economy slow to recover from the worst recession in 75 years. It is also a chronic condition that shows how technology and globalization are transforming jobs faster than many workers can adapt, economists say.

The trend has been building for decades, according to government data. In the early 1970s, just 6% of American men ages 25 to 54 were without jobs. By late 2007, it was 13%. In 2009, during the worst of the recession, nearly 20% didn't have jobs.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMenMiddle Age* Economics, PoliticsEconomyLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

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Posted February 6, 2014 at 2:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The economy had its best second half in a decade, indicating that the U.S. is on firmer footing. But the current expansion remains slow, and the pace of growth still is weak historically.

Read it all and look at the three charts carefully.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistory* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeHousing/Real Estate MarketLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

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Posted February 1, 2014 at 5:35 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

More than five years later, there is still no answer to perhaps the most critical question raised by the man-made disaster: How much did it all cost?

In July, three economists at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, Tyler Atkinson, David Luttrell and Harvey Rosenblum, gave it a shot, at least as far as the United States economy goes.

...their examination offers a panoramic view of the variety of ways in which the financial crisis diminished the nation’s standard of living. At a bare minimum the crisis cost nearly $20,000 for each American. Adding in broader impacts on workers’ well-being — an admittedly speculative exercise — could raise the price tag to as much as $120,000 for every man, woman and child in the United States. With this kind of money we could pay back the federal debt or pay for a top-notch college education for everyone.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenHistoryMarriage & FamilyPovertyPsychology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeHousing/Real Estate MarketLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketPersonal FinanceThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--The U.S. GovernmentFederal ReserveThe National DeficitPolitics in General* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted January 22, 2014 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The US Federal Reserve was being complacent by planning for years of below-target inflation, warned Minneapolis Fed President in a clarion call for more economic stimulus.
“We’re running the risk of being content with inflation running consistently below our target. That’s inappropriate,” said Narayana Kocherlakota, who votes on Fed monetary policy this year, in an interview with the Financial Times. “Right now we’re sitting with an outlook for inflation that even by 2016 . . . is not getting back to 2 per cent.”

Mr Kocherlakota’s remarks illustrate the growing anxiety about low global inflation that led Christine Lagarde, head of the International Monetary Fund, to warn this week that “rising risks of deflation” could be disastrous for the world’s economic recovery – calling it the “ogre that must be fought decisively”.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistory* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeHousing/Real Estate MarketLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketPersonal FinanceThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--The U.S. GovernmentFederal ReservePolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted January 17, 2014 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

More Americans, 42%, say they are financially worse off now than they were a year ago, reversing the lower levels found over the past two years. Just more than a third of Americans say their financial situation has improved from a year ago.

These results come from Gallup's annual "Mood of the Nation" poll, conducted Jan. 5-8. Gallup has found that Americans' economic confidence, self-reported consumer spending, and perceptions of job creation improved in 2013. Despite Americans' more positive views of the overall U.S. economy in 2013, nearly two-thirds believe their personal financial situation deteriorated or was stable over the past year.

Though down from mid-2013, the percentage of Americans saying they are financially better off than a year ago is nearly in line with the historical average (38%), spanning 1976-2014. On the other hand, the share of Americans saying they are financially worse off compared with a year ago is, by historical standards, high -- eight percentage points above the average. The record high of 55% occurred in May and September 2008, the year (and, in the latter case, the month) of the global financial meltdown.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenMarriage & FamilyPsychology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeHousing/Real Estate MarketLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketPersonal FinanceThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

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Posted January 16, 2014 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The U6 unemployment rate tabulates not only people without work who are seeking full-time employment but also counts "marginally attached workers and those working part-time for economic reasons."

Please take the time to study this graph of U-6 at the top and look carefully at the other numbers. What do you see? Seasonally adjusted U-6 unemployment is now
still higher than it was in November of 2008, over 5 years ago. While there has been improvement from the worst levels of the great recession, it is hardly anywhere near what could be called healthy.

Those of you who are data hounds (like yours truly) will perhaps appreciate the table here; there is much more material at the BLS website--KSH.

Filed under: * By Kendall* Culture-WatchHistory* Economics, PoliticsEconomyLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--The U.S. Government

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Posted January 10, 2014 at 4:30 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In a blow to hopes that the economy was finally gaining momentum, the government reported on Friday that employers added jobs last month at the slowest pace in three years, although some experts cautioned that wintry weather in many parts of the country may have skewed the data.

In December, employers added just 74,000 jobs, the Labor Department said, well below the 200,000 gain many economists had been looking for. The latest figures were a reversal from healthier monthly payroll gains in the fall that had convinced many economists – as well as policy makers at the Federal Reserve – that the labor market was on a more solid footing.

The unemployment rate did fall to 6.7 percent from 7 percent in November, the lowest since November 2008. But that was largely because of people dropping out of the work force rather than finding jobs.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate LifeLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

1 Comments
Posted January 10, 2014 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

American consumers in 2013 were more upbeat than at any time in the previous six years as views on the economy, finances and the buying climate improved.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index...averaged minus 31.4 for 2013, the highest since 2007, when it was minus 10.5. The weekly index fell for the first time since mid-November, dropping to minus 28.7 for the period ended Dec. 29, from minus 27.4.

An improved job market, higher stock prices and rising home values lifted sentiment at the end of the year and helped drive holiday retail shopping. Stronger wage and employment growth would help propel bigger gains in confidence and encourage Americans to boost spending, which accounts for almost 70 percent of the economy.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchPsychology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeHousing/Real Estate MarketLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketPersonal FinanceStock MarketThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

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Posted January 3, 2014 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

While plenty of baby boomers, born from 1946 to 1964, have become affluent and many elderly around the U.S. face financial hardship, the wealth disparity of this father and daughter is emblematic of a broad shift occurring around the country. A rising tide of graying baby boomers is less secure financially and has a lower standard of living than their aged parents.

The median net worth for U.S. households headed by boomers aged 55 to 64 was almost 8 percent lower, at $143,964, than those 75 and older in 2011, according to Census Bureau data. Boomers lost more than other groups in the stock market and housing bust of 2008, and many also lost their jobs in the aftermath at a critical point in their productive years.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyChildrenMarriage & FamilyMiddle AgePsychology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyHousing/Real Estate MarketLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketPersonal FinancePensionsStock MarketThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--The U.S. GovernmentMedicareSocial Security

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Posted December 18, 2013 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The department of finance has said California’s debt was paid down to less than $28-billion (U.S.). But that doesn’t include government employee pension and health benefits that have been promised but not funded. Stanford University estimates that unfunded pension liabilities are as much as $497-billion.

Meantime, a report by the Pew Center suggests that unfunded state retiree liabilities are $77-billion and growing. Most agree that until California deals with these two areas, it will only be pecking away at its monstrous fiscal challenges. It’s difficult to imagine state legislators not having to deliver some extremely unpleasant news to tens of thousands of government employees in the coming years.

Despite its financial woes, California continues to talk about a high-speed rail line between Los Angeles and San Francisco that would cost tens of billions. On another front, the state ruled against allowing fracking for oil and gas despite having the largest shale deposits in the country. Many believe this one move alone could have helped release California from the grips of financial despair.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsEconomyPersonal FinancePensionsThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--Politics in General

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Posted December 14, 2013 at 9:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Workers’ pay is hardly growing, with average hourly compensation only rising 38 cents, or 1.2%, over the last year.

Including both wages and benefits, employers paid an hourly average of $31.16 to each worker in September, compared with $30.78 a year ago, according to a Labor Department report released Wednesday. Wages and salaries made up nearly 70% of total compensation.

The agency’s quarterly report measures the average costs of wages, salaries and benefits for employees in the nonfarm private sector and state and local government workers. It doesn’t include people who work for the federal government or are self-employed. Benefit costs include paid leave, such as vacation or personal time, and the legally required benefits of Social Security, Medicare, unemployment insurance and workers’ compensation.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate LifeLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketPersonal FinanceThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted December 12, 2013 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Americans see little prospect that President Barack Obama and Congress can get much done beyond keeping the government open for the next few months.

A Bloomberg National Poll finds 78 percent of respondents say the political gridlock in Washington will hurt the nation’s economy in 2014.

Large majorities say they want the government to ensure the new health-care law functions well, that policy makers agree to revise the tax code, and that an accord is reached to provide a pathway to U.S. citizenship for undocumented immigrants.

Yet most doubt those things can be accomplished in the current political environment...

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchPsychology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeHousing/Real Estate MarketLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketPersonal FinanceThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--Politics in GeneralHouse of RepresentativesOffice of the PresidentPresident Barack ObamaSenate* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted December 12, 2013 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Wall Street faces more intensive government scrutiny of trading after U.S. regulators issued what they billed as a strict Volcker rule today, imposing new curbs designed to prevent financial blowups while leaving many details to be worked out later.

The Federal Reserve, Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and three other agencies formally adopted the proprietary trading ban. The rule has been contested by JPMorgan Chase & Co., Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and their industry allies for more than three years.

Wall Street’s lobbying efforts paid off in easing some provisions of the rule. Regulators granted a broader exemption for banks’ market-making desks, on the condition that traders aren’t paid in a way that rewards proprietary trading. The regulation also exempts some securities tied to foreign sovereign debt.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCredit MarketsCurrency MarketsStock MarketThe Banking System/SectorThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--Politics in General* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted December 10, 2013 at 4:18 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

As the Affordable Care Act's deadline for getting health insurance approaches, 30% of U.S. adults still say that they, or a family member, have put off medical treatment in the past year because of the cost. This figure has been stable since 2005, but is higher than it was between 2001 and 2004.

Uninsured Americans are more than twice as likely as those who have Medicare, Medicaid, or private insurance to say they put off medical treatment. Fifty-nine percent of the uninsured have done so, compared with roughly one-quarter of those with Medicare or Medicaid (22%) or private health insurance (25%).

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & Medicine* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifePersonal FinanceThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--Politics in GeneralHouse of RepresentativesOffice of the PresidentSenate* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted December 10, 2013 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A federal bankruptcy judge granted Detroit unprecedented powers Tuesday to shed billions of dollars in debt, including the ability to slash city employee pensions despite a state constitutional provision protecting them.

In approving the nation’s ­largest-ever municipal filing, Judge Steven Rhodes cleared the way for Detroit’s emergency manager to develop a plan to reorganize the city’s estimated $18 billion in debt. Beyond cutting worker pensions and retiree health benefits, the city could stiff bondholders and sell city assets such as its water and sewer authority and its priceless art collection.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeHousing/Real Estate MarketLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketThe Banking System/SectorThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--Politics in GeneralCity Government* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted December 4, 2013 at 8:46 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

U.S. borrowers are increasingly missing payments on home equity lines of credit they took out during the housing bubble, a trend that could deal another blow to the country's biggest banks.

The loans are a problem now because an increasing number are hitting their 10-year anniversary, at which point borrowers usually must start paying down the principal on the loans as well as the interest they had been paying all along.

More than $221 billion of these loans at the largest banks will hit this mark over the next four years, about 40 percent of the home equity lines of credit now outstanding.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsEconomyHousing/Real Estate MarketPersonal FinanceThe Banking System/SectorThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted November 26, 2013 at 11:28 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

American workers are living with unprecedented economic anxiety, four years into a recovery that has left so many of them stuck in place. That anxiety is concentrated heavily among low-income workers such as Stewart.

More than six in 10 workers in a recent Washington Post-Miller Center poll worry that they will lose their jobs to the economy, surpassing concerns in more than a dozen surveys dating to the 1970s. Nearly one in three, 32 percent, say they worry “a lot” about losing their jobs, also a record high, according to the joint survey, which explores Americans’ changing definition of success and their confidence in the country’s future. The Miller Center is a nonpartisan affiliate of the University of Virginia specializing in public policy, presidential scholarship and political history.

Job insecurities have always been higher among low-income Americans, but they typically rose and fell across all levels of the income ladder. Today, workers at the bottom have drifted away, occupying their own island of in­security.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalizationPsychology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketPersonal FinanceThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

0 Comments
Posted November 26, 2013 at 7:01 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

..before realtors get too confident about the future, it is worth looking at some sobering research from the International Monetary Fund, buried deep inside this autumn’s Global Financial Stability Report. This analysis, which looks at mortgage real estate investment trusts (M-Reits) – which invest in packages of mortgage bonds – did not make headlines when the IMF met last month, because M-Reits are a fairly specialist sector. That is a pity, given that the IMF says the rapidly expanding world of M-Reits has the potential to deliver nasty surprises if, or when, US interest rates rise.

Most notably, even a modest increase in rates could spark fire sales of mortgage-backed bonds, which would raise mortgage interest rates sharply for consumers. And that could not just hurt housing markets but produce knock-on waves of instability in other areas of finance.

“Rapid M-Reit deleveraging has important spillover implications,” the IMF report warns.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalizationHistory* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeCredit MarketsHousing/Real Estate MarketStock MarketThe Banking System/SectorThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--The U.S. GovernmentFederal Reserve* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

1 Comments
Posted November 8, 2013 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The title of a new paper from three economists at the Federal Reserve is bloodless: "Aggregate Supply in the United States: Recent Developments and Implications for the Conduct of Monetary Policy"

But its conclusions are chilling.

The paper offers a depressing portrait of where the economy stands nearly six years after the onset of recession, and amounts to a damning indictment of U.S. policymakers. Their upshot: The United States's long-term economic potential has been diminished by the fact that policymakers have not done more to put people back to work quickly. Our national economic potential is now a whopping 7 percent below where it was heading at the pre-2007 trajectory, the authors find.

Read it all from The Washington Post.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsEconomyThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

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Posted November 6, 2013 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Gallup Economic Confidence Index rose six points last week to -30. While this marks the second straight week of improvement since the end of the federal government shutdown, confidence is still well below the -15 reading Gallup found in mid-September, in the weeks before the shutdown. It remains sharply lower than the -3 reached earlier this year.

The latest results are for the week ending Oct. 27, based on interviews with more than 3,500 U.S. adults. The index represents Americans' net optimism about the economy, combining their views about current economic conditions and their perceptions of the economy's direction. The index has a theoretical maximum of +100 if all Americans think the economy is "excellent" or "good" and improving, and a theoretical minimum of -100 if all believe the economy is "only fair" or "poor" and getting worse.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchPsychology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeHousing/Real Estate MarketLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--The U.S. GovernmentPolitics in General* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted October 30, 2013 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The bishops might have been promoting a strictly Democratic line, but U.S. Senate Chaplain Barry Black was more ecumenical. Amid the shutdown, Rev. Black offered a daily prayer in the Senate chamber asking God to “save us from the madness. We acknowledge our transgressions, our shortcomings, our smugness, our selfishness, and our pride.” Later he condemned the “hypocrisy of attempting to sound reasonable while being unreasonable.” His listeners in one party no doubt assumed he was talking about the other side.

It is one thing to spiritually shame politicians, as Rev. Black did. Trying to do their jobs is another. The bishops and other clergy in the Circle of Protection go well beyond their competencies when they make such policy prescriptions. Speaking about the moral issues of the day is certainly within their pastoral purview, but the bishops’ calls to raise revenues (aka taxes), for instance, or eliminate “unnecessary” military spending are not.

Bishops routinely assert their authority as “pastors and teachers,” as Bishops Blaire, Gomez and Pates did, but according to the tradition of their own church, they have no teaching authority when it comes to politics.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeCredit MarketsCurrency MarketsHousing/Real Estate MarketLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketTaxesThe Banking System/SectorThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--The U.S. GovernmentBudgetMedicaidMedicareSocial SecurityThe National DeficitPolitics in GeneralHouse of RepresentativesOffice of the PresidentPresident Barack ObamaSenate* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

3 Comments
Posted October 25, 2013 at 11:11 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Almost half of all American women (40%) with children under the age of 18 are the primary or sole source of income in their families, according to a major Pew survey released this year. Back in 1960, the share was just 11%. It is a huge social shift.

Once, American mothers were dubbed "soccer moms". Then, after 9/11, we got to know the "security moms". Today's generation are the "breadwinner moms".

But to lump all these millions of women together is simplistic. This story of financial revolution is really two stories.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenMarriage & FamilyWomen* Economics, PoliticsEconomyLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketPersonal FinanceThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted October 19, 2013 at 10:35 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

....the Federal Disability Insurance Program...serves nearly 12 million people -- up 20 percent in the last six years -- and has a budget of $135 billion. That's more than the government spent last year on the Department of Homeland Security, the Justice Department, and the Labor Department combined. It's been called a "secret welfare system" with it's own "disability industrial complex," a system ravaged by waste and fraud. A lot of people want to know what's going on. Especially Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma.

Tom Coburn: Go read the statute. If there's any job in the economy you can perform, you are not eligible for disability. That's pretty clear. So, where'd all those disabled people come from?

The Social Security Administration, which runs the disability program says the explosive surge is due to aging baby boomers and the lingering effects of a bad economy. But Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, the ranking Republican on the Senate Subcommittee for Investigations -- who's also a physician -- says it's more complicated than that. Last year, his staff randomly selected hundreds of disability files and found that 25 percent of them should never have been approved -- another 20 percent, he said, were highly questionable.

Read it all or better still watch the video.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesMiddle AgePsychology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketPersonal FinanceThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--The U.S. GovernmentBudgetMedicareSocial SecurityThe National Deficit* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

5 Comments
Posted October 10, 2013 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

1. The shutdown is unlikely to last long. In the past government shutdowns typically lasted a few days, with the most being 21 when the Republican Congress, led by Newt Gingrich, took on Bill Clinton in 1995.

This stance defies logic. If the reform law is so flawed, why not try to make it better? Why not wait till the law takes full effect and its failure becomes obvious, at which point it could be repealed through less destructive means—without endangering the entire economy?

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalization* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeHousing/Real Estate MarketLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketThe Banking System/SectorThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--The U.S. GovernmentPolitics in GeneralHouse of RepresentativesOffice of the PresidentPresident Barack ObamaSenate

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Posted October 1, 2013 at 7:32 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The US home-ownership rate has dropped to an 18-year-low at about 65 per cent – down from a peak of 70 per cent before the crash – and economists say it is set to fall as low as 60 per cent. Some industry watchers are now asking if the US, after a multi-decade push towards home ownership, is shifting towards being a nation of renters.

“With the housing bubble bursting, the home-ownership rate was always going to drop. In some respects this has been healthy as the country has been reversing some of the excess. Not everybody should have been homeowners,” says Michael Gapen, senior economist at Barclays. “But there is now an open question about where it will settle.”

Read it all (if needed another link may be found there. ).

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenMarriage & FamilyPsychology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyHousing/Real Estate MarketPersonal FinanceThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted September 24, 2013 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Angela Merkel won a landslide personal victory in Germany's general election on Sunday, but her conservatives appeared just short of the votes needed to rule on their own and may have to convince leftist rivals to join a coalition government.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsEconomyCredit MarketsCurrency MarketsEuroEuropean Central BankThe Banking System/SectorThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--Politics in General* International News & CommentaryEurope--European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010Germany* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted September 23, 2013 at 5:50 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A barrage of new statistics on American living standards offers some grounds for optimism. A typical American household’s income has stopped falling for the first time in five years, and the poverty rate has stopped rising. At last, it seems, the expansion is strong enough at least to stabilise ordinary people’s incomes.

But the main message is a grim one. Most of the growth is going to an extraordinarily small share of the population: 95% of the gains from the recovery have gone to the richest 1% of people, whose share of overall income is once again close to its highest level in a century. The most unequal country in the rich world is thus becoming even more so.

You do not have to be an egalitarian to worry about this trend. Although some degree of inequality is good for an economy, creating incentives to work hard and take risks, the recent concentration of income gains among the most affluent is both politically dangerous and economically damaging.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenHistoryMarriage & FamilyPoverty* Economics, PoliticsEconomyPersonal FinanceThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--Politics in General* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted September 22, 2013 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Between 2000 and 2012, the number of people in Penobscot County [Maine] receiving Social Security disability benefits skyrocketed, rising from 4,475 to 7,955 — or nearly one in 12 of the county’s adults between the ages of 18 and 64, according to Social Security statistics.

The fast expansion of disability here is part of a national trend that has seen the number of former workers receiving benefits soar from just over 5 million to 8.8 million between 2000 and 2012. An additional 2.1 million dependent children and spouses also receive benefits.

The crush of new recipients is putting unsustainable financial pressure on the program. Federal officials project that the program will exhaust its trust fund by 2016 — 20 years before the trust fund that supports Social Security’s old-age benefits is projected to run dry.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & MedicineMiddle AgePsychology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--The U.S. GovernmentBudgetMedicareSocial SecurityThe National Deficit

0 Comments
Posted September 21, 2013 at 9:01 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Federal Reserve lost its chance for a "freebie" by deciding not to begin scaling back its $85-billion-a-month bond-buying program because the markets had already factored in the taper, hedge fund pro Stanley Druckenmiller told CNBC on Thursday....

Druckenmiller argued that the Fed's lack of action will make it much harder for the next central bank chairman to start tapering.

Read it all (the full video of the interview is highly recommended if you have the time).


Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeHousing/Real Estate MarketLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--The U.S. GovernmentFederal Reserve

0 Comments
Posted September 19, 2013 at 7:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Seeing a more uneven economic climate than they expected and the potential for fiscal discord in Washington, Federal Reserve officials got cold feet Wednesday and decided to keep their signature easy-money program in place for the time being.

The move, coming after Fed officials spent months alerting the public that they might begin to pare their $85 billion-a-month bond-buying program at the September policy meeting, marks the latest in a string of striking turnabouts from Washington policy makers that have whipsawed markets in recent days.

Read it all

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalization* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeCredit MarketsCurrency MarketsHousing/Real Estate MarketLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketStock MarketThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--The U.S. GovernmentFederal Reserve

0 Comments
Posted September 19, 2013 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

More Americans are struggling to afford food -- nearly as many as did during the recent recession. The 20.0% who reported in August that they have, at times, lacked enough money to buy the food that they or their families needed during the past year, is up from 17.7% in June, and is the highest percentage recorded since October 2011. The percentage who struggle to afford food now is close to the peak of 20.4% measured in November 2008, as the global economic crisis unfolded.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenDieting/Food/NutritionMarriage & FamilyPoverty* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeHousing/Real Estate MarketLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketPersonal FinanceThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

0 Comments
Posted September 18, 2013 at 5:31 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Census Bureau is out with the annual report on incomes and poverty. And while you might think that after years of stagnant incomes and elevated poverty rates, we would be inured to the depressing facts contained therein, it still somehow has the power to shock.

For my money, the most depressing fact about the economy is not the fact that household incomes were basically flat in 2012 (the real median household income was down to $51,017 from $51,100 in 2011, a statistically insignificant change). It wasn't even the fact that 15 percent of the U.S. population was living in poverty, according to the official, flawed definition of the term.

Nah, the most depressing result comes when you look at the longer view of household incomes in the United States.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenHistoryMarriage & Family* Economics, PoliticsEconomyLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketPersonal FinanceThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

1 Comments
Posted September 17, 2013 at 4:58 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Earlier today, I spoke with Larry Summers and accepted his decision to withdraw his name from consideration for Chairman of the Federal Reserve.

Larry was a critical contributor to the radical deregulation that was one of many causes of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. It was in no small part because of his lack of expertise, false wisdom, and inept leadership that the economy crashed and burned and even today is still failing to be to back to its full growth potential.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistory* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCredit MarketsCurrency MarketsStock MarketThe Banking System/SectorThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--The U.S. GovernmentFederal ReservePolitics in GeneralOffice of the PresidentPresident Barack Obama* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

1 Comments
Posted September 15, 2013 at 6:14 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Ever since the euro crisis broke in late 2009 this newspaper has criticised the world’s most powerful woman. We disagreed with Angela Merkel’s needlessly austere medicine: the continent’s recession has been unnecessarily long and brutal as a result. We wanted the chancellor to shrug off her cautious incrementalism and the mantle of her country’s history—and to lead Europe more forcefully. She is largely to blame for the failure to create a full banking union for the euro zone, the first of many institutional changes it still needs. She has refused to lead public opinion, never spelling out to her voters how much Germany is to blame for the euro mess (nor how much its banks have been rescued by its bail-outs). We also worry that she has not done enough at home: in recent years no country in the European Union has made fewer structural reforms, and her energy policies have landed Germany with high subsidies for renewables and high electricity prices.

And yet we believe Mrs Merkel is the right person to lead her country and thus Europe. That is partly because of what she is: the world’s most politically gifted democrat and a far safer bet than her leftist opponents. It is also partly because of what we believe she could still become—the great leader Germany and Europe so desperately needs.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalization* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCredit MarketsCurrency MarketsEuroEuropean Central BankThe Banking System/SectorThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--Foreign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEurope--European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010Germany

0 Comments
Posted September 15, 2013 at 3:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

If the drop is mainly driven by demographics -- aging baby boomers retiring -- then the lower unemployment rate gives a true picture of the amount of slack left in the labor market. If the contraction instead is caused by discouraged job-seekers giving up their search, then the jobless rate doesn’t reflect the true state of the market....

Central bank economists are divided over how much of the fall in the workforce is structural and thus not likely to be reversed.

“There is disagreement within the system,” said Geoffrey Tootell, senior vice president and director of research at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistory* Economics, PoliticsEconomyLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--The U.S. GovernmentFederal Reserve

0 Comments
Posted September 9, 2013 at 3:20 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The long, slow recovery in the U.S. job market is leaving ever-more Americans on the sidelines—and complicating the calculus for Federal Reserve policy makers weighing when the economy can get by with less help.

Employers added 169,000 jobs in August, the Labor Department said Friday, a bit more than in July, and the unemployment rate fell to 7.3%, the best mark of the recovery.

But beneath such positive numbers lay evidence of a job market stuck in second gear. The government revised down its estimate for June and July hiring by a combined 74,000 jobs, and a disproportionate share of the jobs that are being added are in low-paying sectors such as restaurants and retail.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate LifeLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted September 6, 2013 at 4:20 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

For those left behind by the long, slow economic recovery, time is running out.

More than four years after the recession officially ended, 11.5 million Americans are unemployed, many of them for years. Millions more have abandoned their job searches, hiding from the economic storm in school or turning to government programs for support. A growing body of economic research suggests that the longer they remain on the sidelines, the less likely they will be to work again; for many, it may already be too late.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryPsychologyScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate LifeLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

1 Comments
Posted September 6, 2013 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

“Unfortunately, we seem to be entering another of those periods of elevated risk,” economists at Bank of America Merrill Lynch wrote last week. Researchers at RBC Capital Markets sounded even more bleak. “Just when you thought the U.S. economy was ready to break out of its lackluster 2 percent growth pace that has dominated the recovery,” they wrote, “reality hits.”

More economic turbulence would be particularly tough for poor and middle-class American workers, who are still struggling amid the historically weak growth following the recession. The typical worker’s income has fallen since the recession ended more than four years ago, and the economy, still far from full employment, is creating far more low-paying jobs than good-paying ones. Polls show that workers remain discouraged by the economic picture, with more than half believing the United States is still in recession.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate LifeLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketPersonal FinanceTaxesThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--The U.S. GovernmentBudgetThe National DeficitPolitics in GeneralHouse of RepresentativesOffice of the PresidentPresident Barack ObamaSenate* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted September 3, 2013 at 4:48 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The market for quality jobs may be cooling. The 21% of Americans who say now is a good time to find a quality job is down from 25% in July -- and the most negative reading this year. Now, 76% say it is a bad time to find a quality job, up from 70% in July.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchPsychology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

1 Comments
Posted August 27, 2013 at 4:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A current success story on the agency’s Web site is that of Carolina AAC, a company that received $10.4 million in late 2010 to build a concrete manufacturing plant in Bennettsville, S.C.

“This project will create approximately 197 new jobs in Marlboro County,” the Agriculture Department’s Web site says. Such a figure would make Carolina AAC the program’s third-largest borrower in terms of jobs created.

But Carolina AAC said in a January 2011 news release that only 36 jobs would be created at the project. And even that has not come to pass. Currently, 10 people work at the company, according to Charles Paterno, its managing member. Troubling for taxpayers is that the government backs 90 percent of the loans and they are in liquidation.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsEconomyLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--The U.S. Government

0 Comments
Posted August 25, 2013 at 12:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

U.S. small-business owners are more optimistic now than at any time since late 2008. The Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index improved to +25 in July, from +16 in the second quarter. The latest result, while not as high as pre-recession levels, is the highest index score since the third quarter of 2008.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Culture-WatchPsychology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate LifeThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

0 Comments
Posted August 21, 2013 at 4:31 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Is 27 the new 18 when it comes to living at your parents' house?

According to the US census Bureau, at least 1 in 4 N.J. adults, ages 18-31 live at home and 42% are 24 or older. Experts call it an "epidemic" of millennials leaching off their parents, but does a bad economy and student loan debt crisis justify the situation?

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenMarriage & FamilyYoung Adults* Economics, PoliticsEconomyLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

0 Comments
Posted August 21, 2013 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Love and marriage. They’re hitched together, traditionally. But more and more today they’re being forced to lead separate lives.

A good marriage can yield all kinds of emotional benefits, including happiness, companionship, and even better health, according to some studies. Marriage also can serve as a strong economic foundation, with each partner supporting the other’s efforts to provide for the family.

But a new study suggests another, more detrimental link between money and marriage: Joblessness or other economic insecurity leads to fewer marriages. That not only deprives those individuals of the benefits of marriage, in a broader context it deprives society of the benefits of marriage as well.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenMarriage & Family* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeHousing/Real Estate MarketLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketPersonal FinanceThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted August 18, 2013 at 1:01 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Down the block, we spotted my friend Pastor Steve, the proprietor of a storefront church on an otherwise entirely abandoned block. Driving by, I’d noticed the motley assortment of characters hanging out front and an unruly garden taking up much of the vacant corner lot next door, and eventually I stopped by and introduced myself. It turned out that most of the folks out front were struggling addicts and prostitutes and criminals from the neighbourhood.

Pastor Steve had gone through his own period of felonious hard living – heroin, pills, booze, glue-sniffing, bank-robbing, you name it – before being saved and then called to the ministry. A rangy white guy in his early sixties, Pastor Steve had an obvious love for a certain era of countercultural accoutrement which had somehow managed to survive this spiritual journey intact. He had a bushy handlebar moustache and flowing grey hair, the curly ends of which spilled to his chest, and favoured cowboy boots, earrings with topaz beads, and the sorts of silver rings you might buy at a Native American souvenir stand. On his motorcycle, a parishioner had painted a picture of Chief Joseph, “who was one of the main, awesome Indians”, in Pastor Steve’s words. He continued, “After we’d been here a while, I got stories coming back to me that people in the neighbourhood thought we were a motorcycle gang. They saw me, saw the Harley, and they thought the building was filled with weapons and we were here to take over.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchDrugs/Drug Addiction* Economics, PoliticsEconomyThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--Politics in GeneralCity Government* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

1 Comments
Posted August 12, 2013 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Beth Glover was a juror on the trial of former Goldman Sachs trader Fabrice Tourre. When the lawyers were discussing the mortgages tied to the securities at the center of the case, Glover realized that, for all intents and purposes, they were talking about her mortgage.

"When they were looking at the subprime mortgage groupings, I think I would have been in one of those," Glover told me. "I didn't have as great as FICO score at that time."

Glover's an Episcopal priest. She says she saw the devastation the financial crisis caused to her parishioners. They lost homes and jobs. Church programs had to be cut for lack of funds.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate LifeStock MarketThe Banking System/SectorThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

0 Comments
Posted August 11, 2013 at 12:22 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Every human being enjoys a basic right to be respected, not because of any title, position, prestige, or accomplishment but first of all because we are created in the image and likeness of God. From an ethical and moral perspective we embrace the exhortation of St. Paul "to anticipate one another in showing honor" (Rom 12:10). Today's competitive culture challenges us to strive for victory and advantage, but for St. Paul the challenge is to build each other up and honor one another's innate dignity.

Labor Day is an opportunity to take stock of the ways workers are honored and respected. Earlier this year, Pope Francis pointed out, "Work is fundamental to the dignity of a person. . . . It gives one the ability to maintain oneself, one's family, to contribute to the growth of one's own nation." Unfortunately, millions of workers today are denied this honor and respect as a result of unemployment, underemployment, unjust wages, wage theft, abuse, and exploitation.

Even with new indicators of some modest progress in recovery, the economy still has not improved the standard of living for many people, especially for the poor and the working poor, many of whom are unemployed or underemployed.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted August 8, 2013 at 6:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Even as the U.S. stock market continues to rise, Americans' confidence in the economy has dropped to its lowest level since late April. Gallup's Economic Confidence Index registered -13 for the week ending July 28. This is essentially unchanged from -12 during the prior two weeks, but is 10 points lower than it was in early June. Still, consumers' confidence remains higher than it was in early March, after automatic federal budget cuts took effect.

While Americans' confidence has generally retreated since early June, from a longer-term perspective, the current index score is still one of the best Gallup has measured since January 2008.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchPsychology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

0 Comments
Posted July 31, 2013 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

For those over 50 and unemployed, the statistics are grim. While unemployment rates for Americans nearing retirement are lower than for young people who are recently out of school, once out of a job, older workers have a much harder time finding work. Over the last year, according to the Labor Department, the average duration of unemployment for older people was 53 weeks, compared with 19 weeks for teenagers.

There are numerous reasons — older workers have been hit both by the recession and globalization. They’re more likely to have been laid off from industries that are downsizing, and since their salaries tend to be higher than those of younger workers, they’re attractive targets if layoffs are needed.

Even as they do all the things they’re told to do — network, improve those computer skills, find a new passion and turn it into a job — many struggle with the question of whether their working life as they once knew it is essentially over.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the Elderly* Economics, PoliticsEconomyLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

2 Comments
Posted July 29, 2013 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

When Greece ran into financial trouble three years ago, the problem soon spread. Many observers were mystified. How could such a little country set off a continental crisis? The Greeks were stereotyped as a nation of tax-dodgers who had been living high on borrowed money for years. The Portuguese, Italians and Spanish insisted that their finances were fundamentally sound. The Germans wondered what it had to do with them at all. But the contagion was powerful, and Europe’s economy has yet to recover.

America seems in a similar state of denial about Detroit filing for bankruptcy.... Many people think Motown is such an exceptional case that it holds few lessons for other places. What was once the country’s fourth-most-populous city grew rich thanks largely to a single industry. General Motors, Ford and Chrysler once made nearly all the cars sold in America; now, thanks to competition from foreign brands built in non-union states, they sell less than half. Detroit’s population has fallen by 60% since 1950. The murder rate is 11 times the national average. The previous mayor is in prison. Shrubs, weeds and raccoons have reclaimed empty neighbourhoods. The debts racked up when Detroit was big and rich are unpayable now that it is smaller and poor.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchUrban/City Life and Issues* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeCredit MarketsHousing/Real Estate MarketLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketPersonal FinanceTaxesThe Banking System/SectorThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--Politics in GeneralCity Government* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted July 26, 2013 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The economy may be sputtering along. But it hasn’t been in recession for more than four years. More than half of Americans think it still is.

A majority of people — 54% — in a new McClatchy-Marist poll think the country is in an economic downturn, according to the survey conducted last week and released Tuesday.

One bright spot: July’s figure marks the lowest proportion of Americans who have held that view since 2008. About a third of those surveyed don’t think the economy is in a slump, while 8% are unsure, according to the poll. In March, 63% thought the economy was in recession.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchPsychology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyHousing/Real Estate MarketLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketPersonal FinanceThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

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Posted July 24, 2013 at 8:05 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

One of the best new books out there – “something close to a non-fiction masterpiece,” according to a New York Times reviewer – is The Unwinding by George Packer....The book’s author is not an American declinist. There have been other unravellings; rebuilds inevitably follow. But the context is different now. America’s greatest century is behind it. Its degree of dominance will likely never be the same.

In response to all this, how does Canada, the big neighbour to the north, position itself?

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsEconomyThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.Canada

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Posted July 23, 2013 at 3:01 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Americans tend to think of poverty as urban or rural—housing estates or shacks in the woods. And it is true that poverty rates tend to be higher in cities and the countryside. But the suburbs are where you will find America’s biggest and fastest-growing poor population, as Elizabeth Kneebone and Alan Berube of the Brookings Institution explain in their book “Confronting Suburban Poverty in America”. Between 2000 and 2010 the number of people living below the federal poverty line ($22,314 for a family of four in 2010) in the suburbs grew by 53%, compared with just 23% in cities. In 2010 roughly 15.3m poor people lived in the suburbs, compared with 12.8m in cities

Suburban poverty began to rise before the recession. As American cities have grown safer and richer, homes there have become less affordable. During the subprime bubble, many people with bad credit scores got mortgages and moved to the suburbs. A shift towards housing vouchers and away from massive urban projects encouraged people in subsidised housing to make the same move. Immigrants, too, chased the American dream of neat lawns and picket fences. Now 51% of immigrants (who are more likely than the native-born to be poor) live in suburbs, compared with just 33% in cities.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenMarriage & FamilyPoverty* Economics, PoliticsEconomyPersonal FinanceThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

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Posted July 20, 2013 at 1:14 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The bankruptcy of Detroit, confirmed in 16 pages filed at 4:06 p.m. Thursday, marks an epic fall for an iconic American city even as it opens a new chapter whose ending is decidedly uncertain.

No one really knows how the largest municipal bankruptcy in the nation’s history will end and when — not Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr, who recommended the step Tuesday, not his lawyers, and not Gov. Rick Snyder, who said he approved the filing “as a last resort to return this great city to financial and civic health for its residents and taxpayers.”

“This decision comes in the wake of 60 years of decline for the city, a period in which reality was often ignored,” the governor wrote in his authorization. “Without this decision, the City’s condition would only worsen. With this decision, we begin to provide a foundation to rebuild and grow Detroit.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchUrban/City Life and Issues* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCredit MarketsThe Banking System/SectorThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted July 19, 2013 at 4:06 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Two-thirds of the way through George Packer’s harrowing and magisterial account of post-2008 America, we meet a Florida boat builder named Jack Hamersma – a rough-hewn, working-class guy who’d climbed up the economic ladder only to find himself drawn into the maelstrom of the real-estate speculation that destroyed huge tracts of suburbia in the wake of the Lehman Brothers collapse.

Like thousands of naïve speculators – the 1920s-era shoeshine boys with the hot stock tip – Hamersma’s savings were tied up in a heavily mortgaged house that lost most of its value after the bubble burst. With repo men circling and foreclosure looming, he retained Matthew Weidner, a small-time Florida lawyer (think Paul Newman in The Verdict) to defend him against the venality of a banking sector that imploded after an orgy of deregulated and frequently fraudulent greed.

The lawyer was able to keep the lenders from foreclosing on Hamersma. But as lawsuit dragged on, Hamersma’s life unwound into insolvency and costly cancer diagnoses. “That happened a lot to Weidner’s clients – the job, the house, their health, usually in that order,” writes Packer, a New Yorker staff writer, novelist and playwright. “Weidner watched Jack shrink before his eyes, dropping a hundred pounds until, three years after that first consultation, he limped into the office one afternoon to discuss his case, wasted legs sticking out of his shorts, a canvas bag hanging over his shoulder, from which a drip tube extended under a bandage on his chest.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBooksHealth & MedicineHistory* Economics, PoliticsEconomyHousing/Real Estate MarketLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

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Posted July 14, 2013 at 1:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The official unemployment rate is 7.6%. However, if you start counting all the people who want a job but gave up, all the people with part-time jobs that want a full-time job, all the people who dropped off the unemployment rolls because their unemployment benefits ran out, etc., you get a closer picture of what the unemployment rate is. That number is in the last row labeled U-6.

U-6 is much higher at 14.3% [and note that month over month U-6 ROSE from 13.8% to 14.3%]. Both numbers would be way higher still, were it not for millions dropping out of the labor force over the past few years.

Read it all and he also has more on this today. I have emphasized the importance of U-6 as the best gauge of the employment situation over and over and over again--KSH.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsEconomyLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

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Posted July 8, 2013 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

"The recovery has basically been a recovery for a tiny fraction of the population," said Geoffrey Godbey, professor emeritus at Pennsylvania State University and co-author of "Time For Life: The Surprising Ways Americans Use Their Time." "What you're seeing is people who might want more work but aren't getting it," he said.

Read it all (emphasis mine).

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsEconomyLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

3 Comments
Posted June 21, 2013 at 4:14 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Federal Reserve chairman, Ben S. Bernanke, said on Wednesday that the central bank intended to reduce its monetary stimulus later this year — and end the bond purchases entirely by the middle of next year — if unemployment continued to decline at the pace that the Fed expected.

Mr. Bernanke said that the Fed planned to continue the asset purchases until the unemployment rate fell to about 7 percent, the first time that the Fed has specified an economic objective for the bond-buying. The rate stood at 7.6 percent in May.

The Federal Reserve also struck notes of greater optimism about the economic recovery, saying in a statement released after a two-day meeting of its policy-making committee that the economy was expanding “at a moderate pace,” the job market was improving and risks to the recovery had “diminished since last fall.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeCredit MarketsHousing/Real Estate MarketLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketStock MarketThe Banking System/SectorThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--The U.S. GovernmentFederal Reserve

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Posted June 20, 2013 at 4:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Amid speculation that the Federal Reserve soon might start scaling back its stimulus efforts, the International Monetary Fund cautioned that a pullback before next year could hurt economies worldwide.

Highlighting its concern Friday, the IMF lowered its forecast for U.S. economic growth next year to 2.7% from an earlier projection of 3%.

The IMF also criticized U.S. fiscal policy, calling for the repeal of the automatic federal spending cuts, known as the sequester, and urging lawmakers to act promptly to raise the nation's debt limit.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketTaxesThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--The Fiscal Stimulus Package of 2009The U.S. GovernmentBudgetPolitics in GeneralHouse of RepresentativesOffice of the PresidentPresident Barack ObamaSenate

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Posted June 15, 2013 at 8:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Next up, the employment population ratio:

June 1985 - 59.8%
May 2013 - 58.6%

Many economists consider the employment population ratio to be THE most important indicator for the labor market, and it's interesting to note that we are currently 1.2% under the rate posted in June of 1985, which is quite a difference.

Next up - the labor force participation rate:

June 1985 - 64.6%
May 2013 - 63.4%

Again, another significant difference.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistory* Economics, PoliticsEconomyLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

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Posted June 14, 2013 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Fewer Americans are now optimistic about their future personal financial situations, with 57% saying they will be better off in a year, down from 66% who said so last October. Optimism still surpasses pessimism, as 29% expect to be worse off a year from now -- although that is up from 11% who said so last fall.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchPsychology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeHousing/Real Estate MarketLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--Politics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

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Posted June 13, 2013 at 5:25 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Shifting government finances are likely to take an even bigger bite out of growth over the next few years than many now expect, economists at the San Francisco Fed warned Monday.

In a research note, Brian Lucking and Daniel Wilson write fiscal policy headwinds will subtract one percentage point from growth over the next three years beyond the normal fiscal drag that usually comes during times of recovery. If not for the current and likely future stance of fiscal policy, the economy would be growing at a faster rate, which would allow for more robust job growth and, presumably, a more normal stance of monetary policy for the Federal Reserve.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistory* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--The U.S. GovernmentBudgetFederal ReservePolitics in General

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Posted June 3, 2013 at 12:50 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]




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