Monday, January 12, 2015

General Economics

Market Watch | The biggest job creators in 2014 were....
White-collar businesses, health-care firms, restaurants, hotels and construction companies were the top job creators in 2014, a year that saw the biggest hiring spree since the end of the last century.
Bloomberg | Oil Whacks S&P 500 Earnings Growth
While stock investors wait for the benefits of cheaper oil to seep into the economy, all they can see lately is downside.
Bloomberg | U.S. Drivers Start 2015 With Cheapest Gas in Six Years
Drivers paid an average of $2.2021 a gallon for regular gasoline at U.S. pumps last week, the lowest level for this time of year since 2009, according to Lundberg Survey Inc.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Real Clear Markets | Krugman's Wrong About the Volcker/Reagan Inflation Triumph
Krugman recently wrote a column arguing that the decline of double-digit inflation in the 1980s was the decade's big economic event, not the cuts in tax rates usually touted by conservatives. Actually, I agree with Krugman on this. But then he asserted that Ronald Reagan had almost nothing to do with it. That's historically incorrect. Reagan was crucial.
Forbes | The Economic Impact Of Falling Oil Prices: 'Expansionary Disinflation'
Forget about the “secular stagnation” theory of an ailing U.S. economy. Accordingly to the Labor Department, payrolls grew at a seasonally adjusted increase of 242,000 in December adding to the soaring U.S. job growth of 2014 which represents the strongest annual job creation since 1999.
Wall Street Journal | The Myth of the Carbon Investment ‘Bubble’
Is there a new economic bubble—a “carbon bubble”—forming around oil, natural gas and coal investments? Proponents of the theory assert that the prices of fossil-fuel company stocks are substantially overvalued because their inventory of fossil-fuel resources cannot be brought to the surface and consumed if the world is to keep global emissions below certain carbon-dioxide thresholds.

Wall Street Journal | Of More Than 3,000 U.S. Counties, Just 65 Have Recovered From Recession, NACo Says
Seven years after the recession began, only one in 50 U.S. counties has fully bounced back, according to a study the National Association of Counties released Monday.

Health Care

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Wall Street Journal | How ObamaCare Harms Low-Income Workers
The primary purpose of the Affordable Care Act was to make health insurance affordable for people with modest incomes. Yet as the employer mandate begins to kick in for 2015, the law is already hurting some of the people it was intended to help. By this time next year, we may find that many workers who earn within a few dollars of the minimum wage have less income and less insurance coverage (as a group) than they did before the mandate began to take effect.


Market Watch | Zero-for-17: Fed can’t forecast jobless rate even with two-week head start
Like Peyton Manning’s passes against the Indianapolis Colts, unemployment forecasts from the Federal Reserve just keep missing the target.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Wall Street Journal | Dear Fed, Please Be Late To the Rate-Raising Party
At a joint meeting in December of the Federal Reserve Board’s Open Market Committee and Board of Governors, the possibility that interest rates would be increased this year gained further traction. Meeting minutes indicate that the Fed believes U.S. economic growth, which continues its long climb back, could trigger a change in monetary policy.

Wall Street Journal | How Is It That Economists Still Don’t Get Where Inflation Comes From?
This is not a great moment for either Phillips curve or monetarist strains of economic thought.


Market Watch | 36-year low in participation in jobs market isn’t just about boomers
As the participation in the workforce tied the lowest level in 36 years, one economist says it’s not the aging of the baby boomers that explains the decline since the Great Recession.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Market Watch | Why wages are not rising as job growth increases
It is safe to say that the U.S. labor market is now out of jobless-recovery territory and into the territory of wageless recovery.

Wall Street Journal | Was 2014 Really the Strongest Year of Job Growth Since 1999?
The U.S. economy added almost 3 million jobs last year, the most in a calendar year since 1999. But consider this: The American population is much bigger today than it was 15 years ago.


Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
The Daily Beast | What We Need Is a Seinfeld Congress
We often make New Year’s resolutions to improve our lives over the next twelve months. Regardless of the magnitude of the changes we desire, the best way to go about making progress is to commit to attainable goals rather than sweeping ones that we will likely abandon after a few weeks.
Forbes | Austerity Isn't Defined By Government Spending, But By The Deficit
This is an interesting little spat happening out in the econobloggingsphere, a shouting match about whether there’s been austerity or not. It started with Matt Yglesias, then Angus had a go at him and now Kevin Drum is making his own claims. And I would argue that no one is really looking at the correct numbers at all.
The Daily Signal | The Biggest Problem Politicians Are Tempted to Ignore
With so many high-profile, headline-grabbing issues facing the incoming Congress, lawmakers might be tempted to ignore one of the most persistent problems in Washington: overspending.