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

By Stephanie Rogan
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

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.

Euro zone’s biggest problem is debt, not slow growth

By Edward Hadas
August 7, 2014

Growth is stumbling in Italy, Germany and elsewhere. That in itself would not be a huge problem – except that the sovereign debt mountain has kept growing even in “austere” years. This means states cannot spend their way out of trouble, and another crisis remains a real risk.

U.S. jobs rout should give fiscal hawks pause

July 8, 2011

The latest U.S. jobs report should give fiscal hawks pause. With economists expecting employment to rise by a modest 100,000 in June, the piddling increase of 18,000 proved a bitter blow for a country amid the throes of an austerity debate.

Over-reaction to BP Gulf spill costing U.S. jobs

By Christopher Swann
August 16, 2011

U.S. oil regulators may have swung from gung-ho to too cautious. Painfully slow drilling approvals mean America could be missing out on 230,000 jobs -- and tax revenue, too. Safety matters. But with unemployment and the deficit top national concerns, red tape should be kept in check.