Thursday, May 1, 2014

General Economics

Bloomberg | Markit Index of Manufacturing in U.S. Fell to 55.4 in April
The Markit Economics final index of U.S. manufacturing eased to 55.4 in April from 55.5 a month earlier, the London-based group said today.
FOX Business | IMF Approves $17B Bailout For Ukraine
The International Monetary Fund's board signed off on a $17 billion two-year aid program for Ukraine on Wednesday to help the ex-Soviet republic's economy recover after months of turmoil.
CNN Money | One in three Americans are spending too much on rent
One out of three Americans now live in a housing market where rent for a three-bedroom home eats up more than 30% of the monthly median income, the traditional threshold for affordability, according to RealtyTrac. And in some cities, residents are doling out a much larger percentage of their paychecks.
Bloomberg | Consumer Spending in U.S. Jumps by Most in Five Years
Consumer spending surged in March by the most in almost five years as warmer weather brought shoppers back to auto-dealer lots and malls, a sign the U.S. economy gained momentum heading into the second quarter.
Market Watch | 30-year-mortgage rate declines to 4.29%
The average rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage declined to 4.29% in the week that ended May 1 from 4.33% in the prior week, according to a Thursday report from federally controlled mortgage-buyer Freddie Mac

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
WSJ | The Growth Deficit
Most commentators shrugged off Wednesday's GDP report of paltry 0.1% growth in the first quarter, blaming the weather and rightly pointing out that the second quarter looks much better. Yet no one should overlook that the news once again underscores the growth deficit that has defined the last five years. The White House wouldn't have to worry so much about redistributing wealth if the economy were producing more of it for everybody to share.
Fiscal Times | Don't Sweat the Terrible First-Quarter GDP Number
Economists drew a collective sharp breath Tuesday morning, when the Commerce Department announced that it measured first quarter growth in the U.S. economy at a sickly 0.1 percent annualized rate. The expectation had been that growth would clock in at 1.2 percent, so the figure came as a disappointment to many. - See more at:
Fortune | What is water worth?
Farmland is parched. Companies are worried. The global demand for water will soon outstrip supply. What's the solution? Simple, say some business leaders and economists: Make people pay more for the most precious commodity on earth.
Market Watch | 4 easy ways to boost the U.S. economy
The U.S. economy eked out a gain of 0.1% in the first quarter, the government said yesterday, as exports plummeted 12% and gross private investment tumbled 6.1%.
Investors | Obama's Economic Growth Gap Hits $1.5 Trillion
So much for those forecasts that 2014 would be a solid growth year. The meager 0.1% gain in the first quarter extends President Obama's miserable track record and puts his "recovery" $1.5 trillion below average.

WSJ | Natural Gas Has Been Called the Fuel of the Future Before
In 1886, a Pennsylvania state geologist, in an official review, declared natural gas “the fuel of the future”, offering 40% reduction in the cost of manufacturing compared with coal, and used by “3,000 families, 34 iron and steel mills, 60 glass factories, and 300 smaller factories and hotels.”

Health Care

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Washington Times | The Arkansas Obamacare bailout
Fans of Kathleen Sebelius, the lady who made Obamacare so wildly popular, say her greatest accomplishment was persuading red states to accept the Medicaid expansion. Alas, these states have been lured with false promises of flexibility and free money.
WSJ | The Coming Two-Tier Health System
With the unveiling of the Affordable Care Act's website, the public experienced a painful reminder of the consequences of the government's new authority over health care. While millions signed up for insurance, millions of others abruptly lost their existing coverage and access to their doctors because that coverage didn't fit new ObamaCare definitions.


CNN Money | Fed says economy improving a little
The Federal Reserve decided Wednesday to reduce its monthly bond purchases -- one of its key efforts to stimulate the economy -- to $45 billion starting in May, down from the prior rate of $55 billion.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Bloomberg | Fed to Keep Trimming Stimulus as Economy Shakes Off Stall
Growth “has picked up recently,” the Federal Open Market Committee said yesterday in a statement in Washington, hours after a government report showed gross domestic product barely expanded in the first quarter. “Household spending appears to be rising more quickly.”

WSJ | U.S. Inflation Ticks Up But Lags Far Behind Fed Target
Tucked inside Thursday’s report on consumer spending and personal income from the Commerce Department was the Fed’s preferred inflation measure, the price index for personal consumption expenditures. It rose 0.2% in March from the prior month, and was up 0.2% excluding the volatile categories of food and energy.


Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
WSJ | OECD Calls For Tax Overhaul To Tackle Income Inequality
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development Wednesday called for an overhaul of the tax system in developed economies to ensure the very rich pay a large share of their incomes, and help limit or roll back the sharp increase in income inequality that has occurred over recent decades.


CNN Money | Class of 2014 faces tough job market
It's been about five years since the recession officially ended, but there is still a sizable group of young high school and college grads who are idle. Known as "disconnected youth," these under 25-year-olds are neither working, nor enrolled in college.
Bloomberg | Jobless Claims in U.S. Unexpectedly Climb to Nine-Week High
Applications for U.S. unemployment benefits unexpectedly climbed to a nine-week high, underscoring the difficulty adjusting the data for seasonal variations such as the Easter holiday and spring recess at schools.
Market Watch | Planned layoffs rise in April: Challenger
Announced layoffs rose in April, but the year-to-date tally is down from the comparable period in 2013, according to data released Thursday by outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas.
Market Watch | American teens don’t want to work
The number of teens with summer jobs has fallen roughly 30 percentage points since the late ‘70s. In 1978, nearly three in four teenagers (71.8%) ages 16 to 19 held a summer job, but as of last year, only about four in 10 teens did, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics for the month of July analyzed by outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas .

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Fortune | Wanted: 1.4 million new supply chain workers by 2018
The logistics industry has a recruiting problem. It's huge, making up 8.5% of GDP, and growing fast. But to most job seekers, it's misunderstood — or invisible.

WSJ | Unemployment May Soon Drop to 3.8%, But Don’t Get Too Excited
Unemployment May Soon Drop to 3.8%, But Don’t Get Too Excited


WSJ | U.S. to Trim Size of Some Debt Auctions, as Fiscal Outlook Brightens
The U.S. Treasury Department on Wednesday said it would trim the size of government debt auctions in the coming months, a reflection of the country's brightening fiscal outlook.