Contrary smoke signals bedevil Brexit firefighting

August 17, 2016

An unexpected drop in the number of people claiming jobless benefit jars with other, grimmer survey data. Monetary policy has already been eased to manage any post-vote slowdown and a fiscal stimulus is likely. Clashing signals make it harder for policymakers to target such help.

Sports Direct scandal debunks UK employment glory

July 22, 2016

UK lawmakers have issued a damning report on the retailer and say working conditions hark back to Victorian times. Founder Mike Ashley has big problems to fix. But there’s a wider economic malaise if workers put up with such poor treatment even when the jobless rate is very low.

Merger “synergies” can’t just be code for job cuts

June 8, 2016

Most mega-deals leave companies with fewer staff, and higher sales and profit per head, a Breakingviews analysis shows. That’s capitalism. But the mood is changing, at least in pro-market Britain. Synergies do exist, but those reliant on cutting jobs may get harder to realise.

UK wage puzzle demonstrates breakdown of old laws

November 11, 2015

The textbook tradeoff between lower unemployment and higher inflation isn’t happening. Britain’s jobless rate is at its lowest since 2008 yet wage growth is actually slowing. Workers aren’t suffering now, but they must hope unemployment and inflation don’t start rising together.

Job data rarely work as gauge of economy’s health

November 6, 2015

U.S. employers did lots of hiring last month, but that means less than investors may think. Nonfarm payroll numbers are volatile, imprecise and prone to revision. They’re important mostly because traders, analysts and journalists give them outsized attention. A demotion is overdue.

Greece comes kicking and screaming to reform table

April 2, 2015

The Syriza government’s latest reform proposals include some concessions to its public creditors. The plan still lacks detail, and reneges on past promises. The government is fiddling while Athens burns, and the risk of an accidental euro zone exit is rising.

Enjoy UK’s economic idyll while it lasts

January 21, 2015

Britain seems to have reached the sunny uplands. Earnings are rising faster than prices, unemployment is falling and policy rate rises are off the agenda. But persistent disinflation casts a dark shadow. If prices stop rising, wage increases may also disappear.

America: land of phantom job openings

November 7, 2014

At 4.8 mln, it’s the most positions free since January 2001. Yet the hiring rate keeps falling. The largest gap is in low-wage roles. Comparatively high unemployment for less-educated workers suggests a skills deficit isn’t the problem. Companies just aren’t adding personnel.

Japan’s low unemployment masks overtime slump

October 14, 2014

The 3.5 percent jobless rate belies the severity of the sales tax increase in April. Blame it on Japan’s cuddly labour market: Employers facing a slump don’t let go of salarymen. Where their jitters do show up is in the market for overtime work, which is shrinking fast.

Ecuador economic “miracle” meets maturity

By Rob Cox
September 11, 2014

President Rafael Correa’s experiments in modern socialism helped the country cut poverty, grow and prosper. But his investment-led model has run its course. Now he has to soften his defiance of international norms, from the bond market to the World Bank, to keep progress alive.