Pertinent Category: Daily Economy

Good News, Sorta: Things Haven’t Gotten Worse

– February 18, 2016

If you’re a glass-half-full kind of person, the latest economic data should be a nice warm chocolate-chip cookie to dunk in your milk.

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Teaching High School Students About Unemployment

– February 17, 2016

How would you use a sampling distribution to measure unemployment? Students at Lee Middle and High School, in Lee, Massachusetts, recently learned this lesson with some help from the American Institute for Economic Research.

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Two Factors That Could Tip the Economy

– February 16, 2016

The U.S. economy remains in slow growth mode, with a reasonably low risk of recession in the next six to 12 months, but there are growing reasons for caution, according to the new February edition of Business Conditions Monthly, out today from the American Institute for Economic Research.

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Amid California Drought, Almonds Defy Economic Gravity

– February 12, 2016

Over the last several years, an ongoing drought has caused changes in California’s expansive agricultural economy. But a curious event has happened during this drought. Almonds require more water than many other crops in the area, and yet they are gaining a larger and larger share of agricultural production. This does not fit neatly with economic theory.

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Don’t Look to Congress to Solve Unemployment Disparities

– February 11, 2016

Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen got it half right yesterday when she answered a question about how the Fed can help reduce disparities in unemployment in the states. During Dr. Yellen’s testimony before the House Committee on Financial Services, she was questioned by a congressman from Minnesota about what the Fed can do to address the yawning gap between white and black unemployment in Minneapolis.  Unemployment among blacks in Minneapolis was 14 percent in December, while only 2.9 percent for whites. 

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International Business Times Jobs Story Features AIER

– February 10, 2016

Our Polina Vlasenko was prominently featured in this story by the International Business Times on the January jobs report released on Friday. The author, Owen Davis, quotes Vlasenko as saying the positive employment numbers probably show a durable trend. But she adds that there’s a reason wages haven’t been growing at a faster clip.

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Businesses, Workers Show Confidence

– February 9, 2016

In a season of mixed economic news, we received positive data this morning on job openings, as well as the number of people who are quitting their job, which tend to be good signs for the labor market.

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A Double Boost: Rising Wages, Slow Price Increases

– February 8, 2016

Wages – average hourly earnings – rose a decent 0.3 percent in January for production and nonsupervisory workers, and an even more impressive 0.5 percent for all workers. Both are up 2.5 percent from a year ago, about as strong a gain as we’ve seen in the current expansion, but well below the peak rates of about 4 percent per year in prior expansions. But that’s only part of the story.

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Good Signs, Hidden in the Jobs Report

– February 5, 2016

Despite a somewhat slower pace of jobs growth in January, there are signs of further improvement in labor market conditions. But to understand them, you need to look beneath the surface.

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Target Date Funds: In Defense of Investing Simplicity

– February 4, 2016

Target date funds are investment vehicles that have gained popularity with regular people but get mediocre marks from investment advisers. Offered by most fund families (Vanguard, T. Rowe Price, Fidelity, etc.), they are frequently included as an offering in 401(k) plans. According to Morningstar, investors had about $700 billion in target date funds at the end of 2014, although their growth is slowing. There’s a lot to like about target date funds.

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Green Companies Can Produce Competitive Returns

– February 3, 2016

Green investing doesn’t have to mean weaker performance. Quite to the contrary, sustainable corporate practices can signal stronger long-term prospects. So writes Sara Silver in “When Quants Take on Climate Change,” winner of the 2016 Women’s Economic Round Table (WERT) Business Prize

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Amid Mixed Economic Signals, One Reason for Optimism

– February 2, 2016

We like to keep our eye on corporate earnings reports for a simple reason: Earnings results can influence a company’s decision on hiring or firing, which impacts spending and the economy. So during a winter where we’ve noted that economic growth is somewhat fragile, we are looking for signs of softness in earnings reports, which could be a sign of further problems to come. This morning, our senior research fellow Bob Hughes said he’s been somewhat reassured by what he’s seen so far.

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