Reasons to be cheerful

November 11, 2009

By John M. Berry

John M. Berry, who has covered the economy for four decades for the Washington Post and other publications, is a guest columnist.

John Meriwether writes to investors (again)

October 23, 2009

This purports to come from the hedge fund investor John Meriwether but mysteriously carries a Nigerian postmark:

Playing politics with Social Security

October 19, 2009

By John M. Berry

The White House’s knee-jerk reaction to the news that inflation was so low that Social Security beneficiaries won’t get a cost-of-living increase next year was a seriously bad omen for long-term control of federal spending.

Kohn on V-shapes, housing, inflation and a whole lot more

October 13, 2009

Donald Kohn, the Fed’s number 2, has a lot to say about the economic outlook but not a whole lot new in terms of when the central bank will reverse course on its extraordinary easy monetary policy. Full speech at the National Association for Business Economics in St. Louis can be found here.

Been down so long, it looks like up

September 29, 2009

The latest S&P Case-Shiller home price data is feeding into the feel-good vibe of the moment, of mergers the Dow approaching 10,000 and other green shoots. The composite index of home prices for 20 U.S. metropolitan regions rose 1.6 percent in July from June — a stronger gain than expected and the third consecutive monthly gain. As the release notes, there have now been “six months of improved readings,” and this is giving some early support to stocks and the dollar.

As the Fed sleeps

September 23, 2009

It’s not even October and the Federal Reserve already appears to be going into policy hibernation.

A compelling case for carry in Treasuries

September 11, 2009

Under normal circumstances, U.S. Treasuries should probably be getting clobbered.

Barroso’s EU vision lacks levers for change

September 7, 2009

Could the European Union be among the big losers of the global financial crisis?

Despite signs that recession in Europe may be bottoming out, the 27-nation bloc risks emerging from the turmoil with its economic growth potential stunted, its public finances shackled by mountains of debt, and its international influence weakened.

Job declines slow, but unemployment rate jumps

September 4, 2009

The Labor Department’s August report on the jobs market has a bit of a good news/bad news slant to it. Job cuts slowed to “just” 216K, below expectations and better than last month’s 276K (up from the originally reproted 247K). But the unemployment rate, which is calculated through a distinct survey of households rather than businesses, jumped to 9.7% from 9.4% the previous month. You’ll remember that a slide back in July made some hopeful that maybe, just maybe, joblessness has stabilized.

ADP still showing steep job losses

September 2, 2009

The ADP national employment report showed job losses still huge in August, though better than July and the smallest decline it’s recorded since September 2008.