Archive for category Journalism
This is going to be a huge issue
The unemployment rate rose from 9.8 to 10.2 percent in October, and nonfarm payroll employment continued to decline (-190,000), the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. The largest job losses over the month were in construction, manufacturing, and retail trade.
Household Survey Data
In October, the number of unemployed persons increased by 558,000 to 15.7 million. The unemployment rate rose by 0.4 percentage point to 10.2 percent, the highest rate since April 1983. Since the start of the recession in December 2007, the number of unemployed persons has risen by 8.2 million, and the unemployment rate has grown by 5.3 percentage points. (See table A-1.)
Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (10.7 percent) and whites (9.5 percent) rose in October. The jobless rates for adult women (8.1 percent), teenagers (27.6 percent), blacks (15.7 percent), and Hispanics (13.1 percent) were little changed over the month. The unemployment rate for Asians was 7.5 percent, not seasonally adjusted. (See tables A-1, A-2, and A-3.)
The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks and over) was little changed over the month at 5.6 million. In October, 35.6 percent of unemployed persons were jobless for 27 weeks or more. (See table A-9.)
The civilian labor force participation rate was little changed over the month
at 65.1 percent. The employment-population ratio continued to decline in October, falling to 58.5 percent. (See table A-1.)
The number of persons working part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers) was little changed in October at 9.3 million. These individuals were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find a full-time job.
The $24 billion economic package, which would also broaden tax breaks for businesses, cleared the House Thursday afternoon in a 403-12 vote and heads to President Barack Obama to sign into law. It passed 98-0 late Wednesday in the Senate.
Under the measure, the $8,000 tax credit for first-time homebuyers would be lengthened by seven months and expanded with a $6,500 credit for some prospective homebuyers who already own homes.
The nearly 2 million people who have lost or are in danger of running through their unemployment benefits before the end of 2009 would receive up to 20 weeks in additional benefits.
For those in states with unemployment rates above 8.5 percent, it would grant an additional six weeks on top of that. The extension is the fourth since last June, and could give some people up to 99 weeks of unemployment benefits, above the previous record of 65 weeks set in the 1970s, according to the Associated Press.
More after the jump – Source The NewsHour
Frontline have just put on a very important show, The Warning, that gets behind the regulatory screen. The informed citizen needs to be more skeptical.
WBUR is seeing a new story in Mass – the crisis is now affecting everyone.The crisis is growing in intensity and has momentum. The key is employment.
Also when you look at the end of the story, it also raises a new issue – the mega banks are protected but the local crisis is putting intolerable pressure on the local banks. It is the smaller banks that are failing.
The reason for these auctions is not the crazy interest-rate mortgages. It’s the recession. Nowadays, people are losing their homes the way they used to before the sub-prime crisis.
“Historically, people lost their home when they lost their job, they lost their health or they lost their spouse,” says Nick Retsinas, a housing market economist at Harvard University.
Unemployment is to blame again today. The number of foreclosure proceedings in Massachusetts has jumped an alarming 150 percent. (My emphasis)
In fact, people under foreclosure I talked to in Sudbury didn’t want to be interviewed for this story. They said they’re ashamed — to have lost their jobs; to have run out of savings; to not be able to make their payments.
Whitney Tilson, a Harvard Business School grad and money manager, said, “the number of distressed homes coming through the pipeline has actually never been greater than right now.”
Tilson says Sudbury is a good example of what this coming wave could do to the market. Only seven homes above $1,000,000 have sold in the town this year. Last year it was 43, and that was a bad year.
“The listed prices appear to show that prices are holding up, but that’s phony,” Tilson says. “So what breaks the logjam? The wave of foreclosures working their way through the pipeline.”
Foreclosed properties priced to sell will push housing prices down and push more homeowners under water and into foreclosure. And that could really hurt regional banks.
Unlike the sub prime mortgage crisis — which hammered national mortgage companies — in this instance, local banks carry more of these loans. When Massachusetts banks stand to lose as much as a few hundred thousand dollars a pop, they get more conservative about lending. Tilson says that will suppress economic recovery.
Where might the jobs come from that will be so essential to our future? Here is Bob Herbert’s conclusion in his Op Ed today:
“The past,” as William Faulkner told us, “is not dead. It’s not even past.” The lessons of the Works Progress Administration and the Civilian Conservation Corps of the 1930s are right in front of us, ready to be studied, analyzed, updated and applied to the present-day needs of the country.
If we’re serious about getting the U.S. back on track economically, we will have to take our heads out of the sand at some point with regard to the nation’s infrastructure. America has to be rebuilt, modernized and re-energized — from its water and sewer systems to its schools to the smart grid and the alternative energy sources that so many are talking about and beyond. That’s where the jobs are for the long term, and that’s the only route to a truly flourishing future.
These investments would be costly and require vision. Seeing them through would take an enormous collective effort by politicians and the public alike. But some variation on these themes is absolutely essential if the U.S. is to pull itself out of the economic quicksand and its long-term, potentially very tragic consequences.
Here is a find by Mark Ramsey – whose opinion I value more than most:
It’s Not About “Being Local”
When you can’t compete with the same headlines folks can get everywhere else, you focus on the local stories they can’t get anywhere else.
That’s how they did it at this small-town newspaper.
It’s not about “being local,” my broadcasting friends. It’s about mattering to your local community because what you do there is essential and irreplaceable.
Never confuse the two.
Here’s the video from the NBC Nightly News. Click the post title if the embed is invisible.
Here is Planet Money’s lead on Friday – Six Unemployed People For Every Opening
Do the math: On the last business day of August, the number of job openings in the U.S. was just under 2.4 million. The number of unemployed people hit 14.9 million that month, then climbed to 15.1 million in September. That means there about six unemployed people for every available job.
And it’s been that way for a while. “The job openings rate was little changed in August in all industries and regions,” reports the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the latest Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary. Flat, flat, flat.
This job market is just not warming up. Hiring fell in the private sector and in the government one. Hiring fell in every region except for the Midwest, where it rose by 45,000. In the West, hiring fell by 175,000. The quits rate, which includes people who voluntarily leave a job for any reason other than retirement or death, fell back to a record low of 1.3 percent — so low as to be meaningless.
So in the real world of the world as we live it – this is where we are
Even for many in work – there is less work and fewer hours
So the real work of getting us back to work has not yet begun. Here is Paul Krugman on this situation today in the NYT:
Anyone who thinks that we’re doing enough to create jobs should read a new report from John Irons of the Economic Policy Institute, which describes the “scarring” that’s likely to result from sustained high unemployment. Among other things, Mr. Irons points out that sustained unemployment on the scale now being predicted would lead to a huge rise in child poverty — and that there’s overwhelming evidence that children who grow up in poverty are alarmingly likely to lead blighted lives.
These human costs should be our main concern, but the dollars and cents implications are also dire. Projections by the Congressional Budget Office, for example, imply that over the period from 2010 to 2013 — that is, not counting the losses we’ve already suffered — the “output gap,” the difference between the amount the economy could have produced and the amount it actually produces, will be more than $2 trillion. That’s trillions of dollars of productive potential going to waste.
Wait. It gets worse. A new report from the International Monetary Fund shows that the kind of recession we’ve had, a recession caused by a financial crisis, often leads to long-term damage to a country’s growth prospects. “The path of output tends to be depressed substantially and persistently following banking crises.”
The same report, however, suggests that this isn’t inevitable: “We find that a stronger short-term fiscal policy response” — by which they mean a temporary increase in government spending — “is significantly associated with smaller medium-term output losses.”
So we should be doing much more than we are to promote economic recovery, not just because it would reduce our current pain, but also because it would improve our long-run prospects.
But can we afford to do more — to provide more aid to beleaguered state governments and the unemployed, to spend more on infrastructure, to provide tax credits to employers who create jobs? Yes, we can.
The conventional wisdom is that trying to help the economy now produces short-term gain at the expense of long-term pain. But as I’ve just pointed out, from the point of view of the nation as a whole that’s not at all how it works. The slump is doing long-term damage to our economy and society, and mitigating that slump will lead to a better future.
What is true is that spending more on recovery and reconstruction would worsen the government’s own fiscal position. But even there, conventional wisdom greatly overstates the case. The true fiscal costs of supporting the economy are surprisingly small.
You see, spending money now means a stronger economy, both in the short run and in the long run. And a stronger economy means more revenues, which offset a large fraction of the upfront cost. Back-of-the-envelope calculations suggest that the offset falls short of 100 percent, so that fiscal stimulus isn’t a complete free lunch. But it costs far less than you’d think from listening to what passes for informed discussion.
Look, I know more stimulus is a hard sell politically. But it’s urgently needed. The question shouldn’t be whether we can afford to do more to promote recovery. It should be whether we can afford not to. And the answer is no.