Wednesday, December 3, 2014

General Economics

Market Watch | U.S. productivity gain in third quarter raised to 2.3% from 2%
U.S. companies and workers were more productive in the third quarter than initially reported, but labor costs fell sharply for the second straight time in a sign that wages continue to lag behind. Productivity grew at a revised 2.3% annual pace instead of 2%, newly revised government figures show.
CNN Money | Americans pour $2 billion into Cyber Monday
While brick and mortar retailers have seen declining traffic and spending this holiday season, new numbers show their online counterparts are getting a boost.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Market Watch | Stock-market correction imminent
The stock market, as measured by the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index has been on a virtual tear — gaining over 250 points since the October lows; a mere seven weeks ago.
Mercatus | The Economic Situation, December 2014
The GDP data in my first chart, above, contain some good news (view chart here). The recently received 3.9 percent second estimate for 3Q2014 real GDP growth gave two quarters hand running with the pace exceeding the long term 3.14 percent average.

Wall Street Journal | What Black Friday and Cyber Monday Don’t Tell You About the Economy
The idea that holiday sales begin the day after Thanksgiving is no longer the case. The11% drop in early holiday shopping, estimated by the National Retail Federation, does not mean the U.S. economy is in trouble (and that’s a point the group itself makes).

Health Care

Market Watch | Sebelius says she never met with health adviser Gruber
Kathleen Sebelius says she never met with Jonathan Gruber, the economist under fire for comments he made about the Affordable Care Act.
Daily Signal | Americans Are Spending 42 Percent More on Health Insurance Than They Did in 2007
Data on consumer spending show that spending on health insurance surged 42 percent from 2007 to 2013, according to analysis by the Wall Street Journal. The rise reflects the increasing cost of health insurance and the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that everyone buy extensive health insurance.


Wall Street Journal | Fed’s Fischer: Decisions on Rates Remain Data-Driven
Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer on Tuesday said the timing of the first increase in interest rates remains dependent on broader economic data.


Market Watch | Workers more productive, but paychecks lag
U.S. companies and workers were more productive in the third quarter than initially reported, but labor costs fell sharply for the second straight time in a sign that wages continue to lag behind.
Market Watch | Private-sector hiring slowest in three months, ADP says
 Private-sector hiring declined in November to the slowest pace in three months, but maintained an encouraging trend of adding at least 200,000 jobs, according to data released Wednesday.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Fox Business | U.S. Private Sector Adds 208,000 Jobs in November
U.S. private employers added 208,000 jobs in November, falling short of economists' expectations, a report by a payrolls processor showed on Wednesday.


Market Watch | Congress poised to reinstate some tax breaks
Congress looks set to avert a clash over tax policy with a temporary patch to reinstate dozens of tax breaks that expired earlier this year.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
New York Times | Uncertainty in Washington Poses Long List of Economic Perils
As House Republicans mull another round of fiscal brinkmanship with President Obama, a dark cloud is threatening to return to otherwise clearing economic skies: fiscal and political uncertainty.
Daily Signal | Conservatives Push Short-Term Funding to Block Obama on Illegal Immigrants
Breaking with House Republican leaders, conservatives are pressing for a short-term plan to fund the government while blocking President Obama’s move to grant legal status to millions of illegal immigrants.
Mercatus | Government Spending Is a Bipartisan Problem: The Rise in Total Per Capita Mandatory, Discretionary, and Net Interest Spending
Since policymakers continue to put political considerations ahead of controlling spending, it’s worth looking at the ways the federal spending burden has risen. To do this, I separate federal outlays into three major categories: discretionary, mandatory, and net interest spending.