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.

Not looking hot on the jobs front

October 2, 2009

Data just out shows the pace of joblessness picked up in September, snapping what had been a steady improvement from “really terrible” to “at least it’s not as terrible as the prior month.” The drop in non-farm payrolls was even worse than Goldman Sach’s downwardly revised -250K forecast, coming in at -263K. But also take a look at July: revised to -304 from -276k. August was revised to -201K from -216K.

Not the final word in GM’s Magnum Opel

September 10, 2009

GM-OPEL/So German Chancellor Angela Merkel has got her way. After months of pressure from the German government, General Motors has finally caved in and agreed to sell a majority stake in Opel to Canadian car parts maker Magna and Russian backer Sberbank.

Scavenging for good news in the jobs data

September 4, 2009

Interpreting the employment numbers has become an exercise in scavenging for good news. After a year of beefy job losses, any sign that the pace of deterioration is slowing is certainly welcome. Were it not for the Obama stimulus package, we would probably be continuing to see job declines of closer to half a million a month.

Where the job seekers aren’t

September 3, 2009

Even in weak employment markets, the United States has typically had a trump card to play. The nation’s workers are legendary for their willingness to travel across the country for new opportunities.

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.

Turning point in jobs?

August 7, 2009

Sure they’re still cutting jobs, by nonfarm payrolls are shrinking at slower pace, down only 247K in July, and the unemployment rate actually fell to 9.4% from 9.5%. With other data showing a tentative turning point in housing and manufacturing moving toward expansion, this is starting to feel like the real deal.

Bracing for a glut of leisure time

August 6, 2009

The United States has been labeled “no vacation nation.” Americans are notoriously diligent compared with citizens of other rich nations — putting in long hours and often not even using the skimpy vacations to which they are entitled.

Just another record amount of Treasurys

August 5, 2009

I’m just getting a chance to look at the Treasury’s quarterly refunding announcement now, and no surprise here. It’s a record amount at $75 billion that will start to hit the market next week. All the details are here. Its decision to increase TIPs issuance also comes as no surprise after the Wall Street Journal flagged it here.

The danger of a lost generation

July 24, 2009

— Christopher Swann is a Reuters columnist. The views expressed are his own —