• Case Shiller: "Deceleration" in Housing Prices

    We like to track the Case-Shiller Home Price Indices because it gives us a good picture of one important economic indicator, nationwide and in specific metro areas.  And we like to pull out the data rather than react to headlines.  Sometimes the most accurate headlines fail to paint a clear picture. The latest report leads with "broad based easing of home price gains in July."  Accurate?  Yes.  But does it tell us a lot?  Not so sure.  Get your students to parse that language and you may be able to strike up an interesting conversation about a growth driven economy. 

    So let's look at the numbers.  Both the 10-city and 20-city composites increased 0.6 % in July.  The only city that did not see a gain in prices over June was New York.  17 of the 20 cities saw smaller gains than in June. 

    From the release:

    “The broad-based deceleration in home prices continued in the most recent data,” says David M. Blitzer, Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices. “However, home prices continue to rise at two to three times the rate of inflation. The slower pace of home price appreciation is consistent with most of the other housing data on housing starts and home sales. The rise in August new home sales -- which are not covered by the S&P/Case-Shiller indices – is a welcome exception to recent trends.

    “The 10- and 20-City Composites gained 6.7% annually with prices nationally rising at a slower pace of 5.6%. Las Vegas, one of the most depressed housing markets in the recession, is still leading the cities with 12.8% year-over-year. Phoenix, the first city to see double-digit gains back in 2012, posted its lowest annual return of 5.7% since February 2012.

    “While the year-over-year figures are trending downward, home prices are still rising month-to-month although at a slower rate than what we are used to seeing over the past couple of years. The National Index rose 0.5%, its seventh consecutive increase. At the bottom was San Francisco with its first decline this year and the only city in the red. New York tended to underperform over the past few years but it was on top for the last two months.”

    Read the full release here.

  • Planet Money: 'Why Raising Money for Ebola is Hard'

    The Ebola crisis has not abated.  Thousands have died, and the fight against the epidemic requires resources.  But this is not a crisis that has prompted significant giving from people around the world.  It isn't as though people never give money to tragedies in other countries.  Haiti is one example where Americans went to their wallets following a disaster (now, how that money is spent is another story).  In the latest Planet Money podcast, Zoe Chace and Robert Smith discuss the challenges of fundraising for the Ebola crisis compared to other tragedies. 

  • Stiglitz on EU Leaders Clinging to Austerity

    Joseph Stiglitz is disappointed in Europe's policymakers and their inability to change course.  "Austerity has failed," he writes.  And yet, the idea that austerity measures will assist recovery persists.  Perhaps, he notes, because the EU economy is no longer falling, leaders see austerity as working.  But he clearly does not.  From Project Syndicate:

    Viewed in these terms, austerity has been an utter and unmitigated disaster, which has become increasingly apparent as European Union economies once again face stagnation, if not a triple-dip recession, with unemployment persisting at record highs and per capita real (inflation-adjusted) GDP in many countries remaining below pre-recession levels. In even the best-performing economies, such as Germany, growth since the 2008 crisis has been so slow that, in any other circumstance, it would be rated as dismal.

    The most afflicted countries are in a depression. There is no other word to describe an economy like that of Spain or Greece, where nearly one in four people – and more than 50% of young people – cannot find work. To say that the medicine is working because the unemployment rate has decreased by a couple of percentage points, or because one can see a glimmer of meager growth, is akin to a medieval barber saying that a bloodletting is working, because the patient has not died yet.

    Extrapolating Europe’s modest growth from 1980 onwards, my calculations show that output in the eurozone today is more than 15% below where it would have been had the 2008 financial crisis not occurred, implying a loss of some $1.6 trillion this year alone, and a cumulative loss of more than $6.5 trillion. Even more disturbing, the gap is widening, not closing (as one would expect following a downturn, when growth is typically faster than normal as the economy makes up lost ground). Simply put, the long recession is lowering Europe’s potential growth. Young people who should be accumulating skills are not. There is overwhelming evidence that they face the prospect of significantly lower lifetime income than if they had come of age in a period of full employment.

    Read Europe’s Austerity Zombies here.

  • 'Left Behind: The Long-term Unemployed Struggle in an Improving Economy'

    The John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University has released the results of a comprehensive study of long-term-unemployed Americans.  In the report on the survey, Carl Van Horn, Cliff Zukin, and Allison Kopicki share grim details in what we already saw as a grim story--even as the economy improves, the lot of people who have been out of work for an extended period is not getting better.  Here is a brief excerpt from the report:

    The Heldrich Center’s survey finds that one in five workers — or nearly 30 million people — say they were laid off from a job in the past five years. Nearly 4 in 10 of these laid-off workers say they searched for a job for more than seven months before finding another one; one in five workers laid off during the past five years never found another job (see Figure 1). Of those who found another job, one in four say it was a temporary position.10 Americans who are currently unemployed and looking for new jobs report similar experiences. Over one-third say they have not been able to obtain a job for more than seven months, indicating that the ranks of the long-term unemployed may remain high for months or years even if the economy continues to improve.

    Laid-off workers who found another job seldom improved their financial situation: two-thirds say their new jobs either paid less than their previous one (46 percent) or paid the same (21 percent) (see Figure 2). Given these experienc- es, it is no surprise that nearly half (44 percent) of these reemployed workers say their new job was a step down for them compared to what they were doing five years ago. Just a quarter say their new job was a step up and only a third say they are receiving higher pay.

    Evidence of the widespread and far-reaching nature of the Great Recession is reflected in the demographic characteristics of currently unemployed and long-term unemployed Americans. Long-term unemployed workers are repre- sented in all age categories, educational levels, regions of the nation, and income strata. But a higher number of Americans between the ages of 45 and 59 say they have been out of work for more than six months during the past five years, as have a higher number of blacks.

    Two-thirds of all adults in the survey, including those who were laid off and those who never lost a job, say the recession had an impact on their own standard of living, a staggering number in American society (see Figure 3). Fully one-quarter (26 percent) describe it as a “major” change with another 41 percent saying it caused a “minor” change. Among the two- thirds having experienced a lifestyle change, 53 percent believe those changes will be permanent.

    While these are powerful indications of the negative consequences of the society-wide impact of the Great Recession, matters were even worse for the long-term unemployed. Over 8 in 10 of the long-term unemployed say the recession caused a change in their lifestyle, and more than half say they experienced major upheavals.

    Read the report here.

  • WSJ: How Low Can the Euro Go?

    The euro is getting beaten down by the dollar.  And nothing could make European Central Bank president Mario Draghi happier. Well, nothing except millions of new jobs and a total economic turnaround, that is.  But a lower value euro is a step. 

    Wall Street Journal reporters Andrew Peaple and Katie Martin discuss the dollar's strength, the euro's drop and the impact on the global economy:

  • New Home Sales Up, Existing Home Sales Slow Down

    We have some new data on home sales this week.  First, the Census Bureau reports that sales of new homes (single family) in August were 18% above July, and a whopping 33% above August 2013.  Read the release here.

    Meanwhile, existing-home sales slipped in August after a four month streak of gains.  Sales declined 1.8% in August, according to the National Association of Realtors.  From the release:

    Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says sales activity remains stronger than earlier in the year, but fell last month as investors stepped away. "There was a marked decline in all-cash sales from investors,” he said. "On the positive side, first-time buyers have a better chance of purchasing a home now that bidding wars are receding and supply constraints have significantly eased in many parts of the country.”

    Yun adds, "As long as solid job growth continues, wages should eventually pick up to steadily improve purchasing power and help fully release the pent-up demand for buying.”

    The median existing-home price2 for all housing types in August was $219,800, which is 4.8 percent above August 2013. This marks the 30th consecutive month of year-over-year price gains.

    Read the full release here.  And watch Yun discuss the release below:

  • Kauffman Sketchbook: 'Myth-busting Entrepreneurship'

    The Kauffman Foundation invests a lot of money in efforts to spark entrepreneurial thinking.  We're guessing then that Dane Stangler, as vice president of Research and Policy, has seen a fair amount of data about what constitutes solid entrepreneurship and what is little more than people using entrepreneurship as an empty buzzword.  In this Kauffman Sketchbook, Stangler shares four myths that stick out.  The first: the myth that "small business plays the most important role in growing the economy."  Learn the other three now:

  • Mercer MThink: Employee Benefits Around the Globe

    Once, and not very long ago, most companies had employees who all lived in the same country.  So they could establish benefits and guidelines based on shared cultural traditions.  The calendar, for example, followed a familiar pattern.  Now that more and more companies have employees in different places all over the world, policies have to figure out how to adapt to what may seem to be strange laws and social norms.  Mercer MThink has released a new report on employee benefits that might surprise you.  Here is a summary (full size graphic here):

    Read more here.

  • Fighting Poverty With The Microwork Model

    With her non-profit business, Samasource, Leila Janah is trying to fight the harms of the "birth lottery"--people getting trapped in poverty based on where they are born rather than on their work ethic.  In this Big Think interview, she talks about how new technologies are allowing her company to bring microwork to low income communities:

  • Justin Fox on 'The Disruption Myth'

    With all the talk of disruption, how come not a lot of disruption has taken place?  In the latest issue of The Atlantic, Justin Fox notes that "most metrics of dynamism and upheaval in American business have actually been declining for decades."  So is the debate over disruption a lot of talk keeping the business divisions of publishing houses afloat, or is there something more going on?

    It’s possible, of course, that the business-dynamism numbers fail to capture some of the economy’s actual dynamism. In the technology sector, many upstarts have in recent years opted to sell themselves to Google or Amazon and do their disrupting as part of an already large organization that has learned a thing or two from Foster, Christensen, and others about how to foment innovation. Furthermore, because several of the metrics are based on job counts, what we’re seeing may be less a decline in dynamism than the rise of new, technology-intensive companies that simply don’t need many workers. The messaging service WhatsApp, when Facebook bought it earlier this year for more than $16 billion, had just 55 employees.

    But it’s also possible that a decades long accretion of regulation has come to weigh on new-business formation and growth; that for all the tales of Silicon Valley swashbuckling, most Americans have become more cautious and less entrepreneurial; or that—and this argument springs straight from Christensen’s keyboard—the pressures of the financial market and a preoccupation with corporate financial metrics have left most businesses “afraid to pursue what they see as risky innovations” and focused instead on cutting costs.

    Still, some companies are pursuing risky innovations and disrupting established industries. Business publications are full of stories about them: Google and Uber and Amazon and Salesforce and Workday and many more. They just haven’t had a measurable impact on the overall economy yet. One group of economists says to give it a few years— the adoption of new technologies has always affected productivity in fits and starts, and the rise of smartphones and cloud computing and Big Data will show up in the numbers eventually. The other view is that today’s technological innovations pale in significance beside electricity and the internal combustion engine—they’ll have some positive impact, but growth will be slower than it used to be.

    Read the article here.

  • The Economist: The Benefits of Getting Rid of Cash'

    Is it finally time to get rid of cash?  We don't mean getting rid of all your money, just the physical bits.  Clearing our your pockets of change, freeing up room in your wallet--if you indeed feel like you still need one.  With bitcoin and other digital currencies increasing in popularity, the idea of dropping physical currency doesn't seem as far off as it might have just a year ago.  The Economist outlines some of the potential reasons for doing just that:

  • CPI Declines for First Time All Year

    After increasing every month prior this year, the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers decreased 0.2% in August, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  In fact, this is the first decrease since April 2013.  Declining energy prices, most notably a 4.1 percent decline in the gas index, was the leading factor.  From the Bureau of Labor Statistics release:

    The index for all items less food and energy was unchanged in August; this was the first month since October 2010 that the index did not increase. While the shelter index increased and the indexes for new vehicles and for alcoholic beverages also rose, these advances were offset by declines in several indexes, including airline fares, recreation, household furnishings and operations, apparel, and used cars and trucks.

    The all items index increased 1.7 percent over the last 12 months, a decline from the 2.0 percent figure for the 12 months ending July, and the smallest 12-month change since March. The index for all items less food and energy also rose 1.7 percent over the last 12 months. The food index has risen 2.7 percent over the span, while the energy index has increased 0.4 percent.

    Here's a look at the CPI for All Urban Consumers over the last year:

    Read the full release here.

  • Alex Blumberg's Startup

    Alex Blumberg is starting a business.  You may know Alex from his work as a reporter/producer for This American Life.  Or as part of the team that brought us arguably the best single radio program on economics, The Giant Pool of Money, and then launched Planet Money.  Now Alex is launching his business with partner Matt Lieber and they are letting us all follow along in the process.  Knowing Alex and Matt, we appreciate the lessons they will share from this experience.  It may get a little raw for people who have launched their own startups, but it is a valuable tool for anyone who wants to teach about that experience. 

    Here is the first episode:

    Follow the whole series here.

  • Robert Shiller Looks at Lessons from 1937

    At Project Syndicate Robert Shiller reminds us that the global politics and the global economy "took a turn for the worse" eight years after the stock market crash of 1929.  There are lessons from that history for policymakers today, and Shiller warns that we all must take people's concerns for their long term economic futures very seriously.

    There is a name for the despair that has been driving discontent – and not only in Russia and Ukraine – since the financial crisis. That name is the “new normal,” referring to long-term diminished prospects for economic growth, a term popularized by Bill Gross, a founder of bond giant PIMCO.

    The despair felt after 1937 led to the emergence of similar new terms then, too. “Secular stagnation,” referring to long-term economic malaise, is one example. The word secular comes from the Latin saeculum, meaning a generation or a century. The word stagnation suggests a swamp, implying a breeding ground for virulent dangers. In the late 1930s, people were also worrying about discontent in Europe, which had already powered the rise of Adolph Hitler and Benito Mussolini.

    The other term that suddenly became prominent around 1937 was “underconsumptionism” – the theory that fearful people may want to save too much for difficult times ahead. Moreover, the amount of saving that people desire exceeds the available investment opportunities. As a result, the desire to save will not add to aggregate saving to start new businesses, construct and sell new buildings, and so forth. Though investors may bid up prices of existing capital assets, their attempts to save only slow down the economy.

    “Secular stagnation” and “underconsumptionism” are terms that betray an underlying pessimism, which, by discouraging spending, not only reinforces a weak economy, but also generates anger, intolerance, and a potential for violence.

    Read the full article here.

  • Reasons to Worry About Declining Labor Force Participation

    We track the unemployment rate fairly closely.  But we also make sure with each jobs report to look at the labor force participation rate, because that helps us better understand how many people are without work.  In this video from the Brookings Institution, Justin Wolfers explains the significance of the decline in labor force participation--a decline that started before the global economic crisis and may very well continue:

  • OECD Interim Economic Assessment Projects Moderate Growth, Declining Unemployment

    Global economic growth is set to "continue at a moderate pace," according to the OECD's Interim Economic Assessment, released yesterday.  The projections from OECD researchers look fairly good for most developed nations and leading emerging markets.  The exception is Europe.  

    The euro area is projected to grow at a 0.8 percent rate in 2014 and a 1.1 percent pace in 2015. Growth prospects differ widely among the major euro area economies. Germany is forecast to grow by 1.5 per cent in both 2014 and 2015, France by 0.4 per cent in 2014 and 1 per cent in 2015, while Italy will see a -0.4 per cent drop in 2014 and a gain of just 0.1 per cent in 2015.

    Given the low-growth outlook and the risk that demand could be further sapped if inflation remains near zero,or even turns negative, the OECD recommends more monetary support for the euro area. Recent actions by the European Central Bank are welcome, but further measures, including quantitative easing, are warranted. Given the weakness of demand, European countries should also use the full degree of flexibility available within the EU’s fiscal rules.

    Here are some more projections (click here for interactive chart):

    Read more here.

  • Why Apple Bought Beats, A Lesson in Talent Acquisition

    We were always curious as to why Apple acquired Beats Audio, the Dr. Dre company known for making popular, top-line headphones.  For other companies, it would have seemed a no-brainer.  But Apple always seems a bit different, and the acquisition was a big buy.  Tim Cook shared his reasons as one small part of a far-ranging interview with Charlie Rose.  Take a look:

    Watch the full interview here.

  • Assessing the Potential Power of a 'Helicopter Drop' to Stabilise the EU Economy

    At VoxEU, Roberto Perotti looks at recent proposals to stave off the threat of deflation in the EU by implementing a "helicopter drop"--"a temporary deficit monetised by the central bank, leading to a permanent addition to the quantity of base money."  Tax cuts are one possible form, and it has become one popular proposal among weary policy makers.

    The key problem is that in most countries it is impossible to generate a credible commitment to reduce spending in the future, let alone by the staggering amounts required by a tax cut of 5% of GDP. Take the two biggest and most celebrated consolidation plans Europe has seen – Finland and Sweden in the 1990s. Over the period 1992–1996, Finland’s primary deficit should have been reduced by 11.4% of GDP, of which 12.1% in spending cuts; the corresponding figures for Sweden over the 1993–1997 period were 10.6% and 6.8% of GDP, respectively. The IMF took these enormous figures at face value in its recent database on discretionary changes in fiscal consolidations. However, in my own research I have shown that these cuts are based on the announced plans by the incoming governments. The reality turned out to be very different – at the end of the period, Finland cut its primary spending by a mere 0.4% of GDP, and Sweden by 3.6%.

    But one need not go so far back into the past. In almost one whole year of work, the spending review initiated by the Italian government in 2013 – without a doubt the most thorough and serious such attempt so far in Italy – has identified at most €10 billion (about 0.6% of GDP) of spending cuts, most of which are still highly controversial and subject to political approval. As of now, nobody knows what fraction will be effectively implemented, or when.

    Simply put, credible commitments to large spending cuts in the future cannot be made. The problem is compounded by the fact that the prospect of central bank monetisation creates an enormous moral hazard problem. For those who think this is just a theoretical curiosum, it might be useful to remember that the Italian sovereign debt crisis in late summer of 2011 started in earnest when the Italian government, after announcing that it would cut spending by about €3 billion – just 0.2% of GDP – reneged on its announcement immediately after the ECB started buying Italian government bonds.

    One could argue that, if things do not turn out as expected, one can always undo the tax cut. But a country like Italy has never experienced discretionary tax cuts of more than 0.5% of GDP. A swing back and forth of taxes by 5% of GDP would create political mayhem, and enormous economic uncertainty.

    Not all deficits are created equal – it is one thing to have a large, temporary deficit in a low-debt country with a history of fiscal responsibility and relatively strong and stable governments – like in the UK after the financial crisis – for the purpose of recapitalising the banking sector. It is a completely different thing to have a large deficit in a high-government-spending, high-debt country with a history of unstable governments and loose public finances, without a credible plan to reduce government spending in the future.

    Read the full article here.

  • Wharton Professors Describe the 'New Era in Banking'

    Wharton School professors Angel Berges, Mauro F. Guillén, Juan Pedro Moreno and Emilio Ontiveros have collaborated on a new book about the finance sector of today and the near future.  In A New Era in Banking: The Landscape After the Battle they detail the many ways that banks are fundamentally different from how they were before the dawn of the global economic crisis.  In this interview for Knowledge@Wharton, Guillén and Moreno talk about the major drivers of change, lessons already learned by banks, and lessons they will need to learn in order to adapt to the new era:

  • Gallup: Americans' Economic Confidence in 'Doldrums'

    Gallup's Economic Confidence Index started September at -17, fairly close to where it has been most summer, save for a drop to -21 in the middle of July.  On the one hand, the index remains pretty steady.  On the other, one now must wonder what it will take for a significant boost.

    From the report:

    Americans continue to be slightly more positive about current economic conditions than about the direction the economy is heading in. For the week ending Sept. 7, one in five Americans (20%) rated the economy excellent (2%) or good (18%), while 35% said it was poor. This resulted in a current conditions score of -15, just one point lower than the previous week. Meanwhile, 37% of Americans said the economy was getting better while 56% said it was getting worse, resulting in an economic outlook score of -19 -- up a point from the week before.

    Read the full release here.

  • Rethinking Deflation and Spending

    At MacroMania, David Andolfatto-vice president at the St. Louis Fed-wants us to think a little bit more about deflation.  He isn't trying to make us think it is okay, but he wants us to reconsider how bad it is.  He pulls out some interesting samples from history, and one example from present-day.  In his last example, he looks at the behavior of people who own bitcoins:

    I have some more evidence to contradict the notion of deflation discouraging spending (transactions). The evidence pertains to Bitcoin and the data is available here: Blockchain.

    Many people are aware of the massive increase in the purchasing power of Bitcoin over the past couple of years (i.e., a massive deflationary episode). As is well-known, the protocol is designed such that the total supply of bitcoins will never exceed 21M units. In the meantime, this virtual currency and payment system continues to see its popularity and use grow.

    One might think that given the prospect of continued long run deflation--i.e, price appreciation (it's hard to believe that holders of bitcoin are thinking anything else)--that people would generally be induced to hoard and not spend their bitcoins. And yet, available data seems to suggest that this may not be the case:

    Read Who's Afraid of Deflation? here.

    (H/t Mark Thoma)

  • Liberty Street Economics: Job Prospects for Recent Grads

    In the final post of their Liberty Street Economics series on the value of a college degree, New York Fed researchers Jaison Abel and Richard Deitz look at the job prospects of recent college grads.  Those prospects were not so great for many college grads during the Great Recession.  In order to see if they are much better, we need to look beyond unemployment data, Abel and Deitz say.  

    While more recent graduates are finding jobs, they aren’t necessarily finding good ones. Below, we plot the underemployment rate—that is, the share of graduates working in jobs that typically don’t require a college degree—for recent college graduates and college graduates as a whole. (As discussed in our recent Current Issues article, we classify a job as a “college job” if at least 50 percent of the people working in that job indicate that at least a bachelor’s degree is necessary; otherwise, we classify the job as a “non-college job.”) After falling during the economic expansion of the 1990s, the underemployment rate for both groups began rising in 2003 and has continued to climb, more or less, into 2014. It is possible that selection played a role in the rising underemployment rate, in that during both recessions of the 2000s, more people chose to go to college because job prospects were poor, reducing the quality of the average student. Nonetheless, the underemployment rate of recent college graduates now stands at 46 percent, compared with about 35 percent for college graduates as a whole.

    Although rising underemployment is certainly troubling, it is important to keep in mind that not all non-college jobs are the same. While there have been widespread stories of recent college graduates working as low-paid baristas, waiters, and retail clerks, many of the underemployed have actually found relatively skilled, well-paid, and career-oriented jobs that do not typically require a bachelor’s degree, such as dental hygienist, electrician, or mechanic. The chart below plots the share of underemployed college graduates working in these types of “good non-college jobs” (which we define as those with a full-time average annual wage of roughly $45,000 or more) as well as those working in “low-wage jobs” (those that tend to pay around $25,000 or less). Here, we see that there is a silver lining to the upward trend in underemployment among recent college graduates: since 2013, a larger share of recent college graduates have found good non-college jobs, while the share of recent college graduates working in low-wage jobs has held steady.

    Read the full post here.

  • Developing a New Intuition in Management Strategy

    It is time for us to reconsider a lot of assumptions. So say McKinsey analysts Richard Dobbs, Sree Ramaswamy, Elizabeth Stephenson, and S. Patrick Viguerie in a new article at McKinsey Insights.  Any management strategy that doesn't consider how rapidly technology is changing, how important emerging markets have become, and demographic shifts across the developed world is likely to be outdated before it is even implemented.  The key to success in global business will now be on developing a new "intuition," they say, that is in line with the shifts.  Here is an excerpt:

    Emerging markets are going through the simultaneous industrial and urban revolutions that began in the 18th century in England and in the 19th century in the rest of today’s developed world. In 2009, for the first time in more than 200 years, emerging markets contributed more to global economic growth than developed ones did. By 2025, emerging markets will have been the world’s prime growth engine for more than 15 years, China will be home to more large companies than either the United States or Europe, and more than 45 percent of the companies on Fortune’s Global 500 list of major international players will hail from emerging markets—versus just 5 percent in the year 2000.

    The new wave of emerging-market companies now sweeping across the world economy is not the first. In the 1970s and 1980s, many US and European incumbents were caught unaware by the swift rise of Japanese companies that set a high bar for productivity and innovation. More recently, South Korean companies such as Hyundai and Samsung have shaken up the leading ranks of high-value-added industries from automobiles to personal electronics. The difference today is that new competitors are coming from many countries across the world and in numbers that far outpace those of past decades. This new wave will be far tougher on some established multinationals. The shift in the weight of the global economy toward emerging markets, and the emergence of nearly two billion consumers who for the first time will have incomes sufficient to support significant discretionary spending, should create a new breed of powerful companies whose global expansion will take place on the back of strong positions in their home markets.

    Within those markets, the locus of economic activity is also shifting, particularly in China (Exhibit 1). The global urban population is growing by 65 million a year, and nearly half of global GDP growth between 2010 and 2025 will come from 440 cities in emerging markets. Ninety-five percent of them are small and medium-sized cities that many executives haven’t heard of and couldn’t point to on a map: not Mumbai, Dubai, or Shanghai, of course, but Tianjin (China) and Porto Alegre (Brazil) and Kumasi (Ghana), among many others. Hsinchu, in northern Taiwan, is already the fourth-largest advanced-electronics and high-tech hub in the China region. In Brazil, the state of Santa Catarina, halfway between São Paulo and the Uruguayan border, has become a regional hub for electronics and vehicle manufacturing, hosting billion-dollar companies such as WEG Indústrias.

    Read the full article here

  • Economist Live Chart: Rules, Enforcement, Bank Regulation Since the Global Economic Crisis

    There are plenty of people dissatisfied at what they see as insufficient punishment for financial institutions for their roles in the global economic crisis, and not enough regulatory changes to the financial sector.  And that can lead us to believe that nothing has been done.  But as this Economist Live Chart shows, the increase in both rules and enforcement actions has been quite significant.  

    What questions does this now raise for you about effectiveness of regulatory structures?

  • US Economy Keeps Adding Jobs, But Not Enough to Make Big Dent in Unemployment Rate

    The U.S. economy added 142,000 jobs in August.  That was enough to push the unemployment rate back down to 6.1%, according to the Department of Labor.  The labor force participation was at 62.8% (it was 62.9% in July).  Here's a look at the unemployment trends from the Bureau of Labor Statistics:

    Here are some of the key data from other areas we like to track in the monthly jobs report:

    The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers) was little changed in August at 7.3 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.

    In August, 2.1 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force , down by 201,000 from a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.) These individuals were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed because they had not search ed for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey.

    Among the marginally attached, there were 775,000 discouraged workers in August, little changed from a year earlier. (The data are not seasonall y adjusted.) Discouraged workers are persons not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available for them. The remaining 1.4 million persons marginally attached to the labor force in August had not searched for work for reasons such as school attendance or family responsibilities.

    Read the full report from the BLS here.