March 7, 2016
Well, Super Tuesday has come and gone, and the likely presidential candidates for each party look even more likely. No matter who wins the nominations, we need to start thinking about how to evaluate the candidates' economic strategies. Right now, those policies consist of not being a lightweight and not being a socialist. But eventually, policy will be discussed, and judging the validity of the ideas is not as easy as our political "leaders" imply. What seems logical may be nothing more than faulty thinking.
March 7, 2016
Has America's job market broken? Are we becoming a nation of part-timers? Of underemployed young people and can't-afford-to-be-retirees stitching together low-wage workweeks? That's one view of a "gig economy," in which - except for company owners - all our cars are taxis, our homes are hotels, and none of our weekly hours qualifies for company benefits. So we have to buy high-deductible health plans on the not-so-free market? "Gig work reflects the more flexible or fragmented work arrangements of many in today's labor market," namely Uber and Lyft drivers, TaskRabbit "freelance laborers," Upwork free-lancers, and Etsy salespeople, writes John Silvia, the Pennsylvania native who serves as chief economist at Wells Fargo & Co., in a recent report on the "gig" economy.
February 28, 2016
It is shocking, at least to me, that businessman Donald Trump appears on track to be the Republican nominee for president. Sen. Bernie Sanders' success in the Democratic race is equally surprising. Both candidates seemed on the far fringes of the presidential race just a few months ago. What's going on? "It's the economy, stupid. " There's no dispute that our economy has made big strides since the Great Recession. Businesses have added jobs for a record six consecutive years, and unemployment has fallen below 5 percent, which is roughly consistent with a full-employment economy.
February 21, 2016
As an economist, it is assumed I am an astute investor. The economy does determine the direction of the markets, right? Though that's true to some extent, investors must recognize that economic data provide current or even lagging indicators of activity, and are emotion- free. Meanwhile, the markets may be efficient, but that doesn't mean they don't move for periods of time on emotion, or on perceptions that don't match economic reality. That the economy and Wall Street may not be in sync is hardly an idea that requires a lot of research to back up. Just take the recent sharp decline in stock prices.
February 10, 2016
By Jim Lardner and Michael Kink Presidential candidates from Bernie Sanders to Donald Trump have condemned their tax-dodging. Investors have deplored their outlandish fees and poor returns. Showtime has made one of them the arch-villain of its new series Billions . Hedge-fund managers are finally getting the scrutiny they deserve for a range of shadowy practices that cannibalize the real economy and aggravate the problem of extreme and growing economic inequality. In theory, hedge funds are a way for wealthy and sophisticated investors to place high-risk bets in search of above-market returns.
February 5, 2016
GOV. WOLF was in Philadelphia on Thursday to tout his plan to provide an additional $200 million in subsidies to basic education, plus another $60 million in state money for pre-K for all children - a goal he shares with Mayor Kenney. Of course, we all know the problem with using these numbers. There is no guarantee the state Legislature will approve any of this new spending. In fact, the odds are against it. Forget about next year. The Legislature failed to approve the governor's call for an extra $360 million in additional funds for basic education this year.
January 15, 2016 |
The U.S. economy expanded across most of the country in the last six weeks as the job market showed strength that is failing to stoke broad wage pressures, a Federal Reserve survey showed. The central bank's Beige Book economic survey, which is based on reports from late November to early January by regional Fed banks, showed that two of the 12 Fed districts posted "moderate" growth and seven described the expansion as "modest. " Boston contacts were described as "upbeat," while the New York and Kansas City Fed districts reported "essentially flat" economic activity.
January 11, 2016 |
The nation's payrolls increased by 292,000 jobs in December, eight years after the beginning of the 2007 recession that crippled America's economy. The unemployment rate remained at 5 percent for the third month in a row, the U.S. Labor Department reported Friday. Not surprisingly, Labor Secretary Thomas E. Perez, who will be visiting a manufacturing plant in Philadelphia next week, liked the report. "What we see from the data, the job train sped into the new year. We have to make sure every worker has a seat on the train," Perez said in a phone interview.
December 29, 2015 |
A new study of Camden's food landscape identifies plenty of ways in which city leaders, local politicians, and large corporations can use access to food as a way to grow the city's economy. As several large corporations plan to move into Camden, the study recommends that the city find ways to tap into the growing daytime workforce, which could mean opening new restaurants as well as supporting and promoting existing ones. Anchor institutions, such as the city's universities and hospitals, could consider developing nutrition and voucher programs for residents and partnerships with local nonprofits.