James Pethokoukis

Some terrible unemployment data

August 24, 2009

This from IHS Global Insight:

Although there are increasing signs that the economy has bottomed out, IHS Global Insight’s summer forecast shows that a job recovery is still a ways off for most of the nation’s metropolitan areas. Of the 363 metros in the country, just one—McAllen, Texas—will add more than 1,000 jobs this year. While most areas will begin increasing employment again in 2010, it will be tepid, with only 118 metros crossing the 1,000-job mark next year. Solid gains will not return for the majority of the country until 2011.

Too soon for a Bernanke victory lap?

August 24, 2009

It was a pretty upbeat Ben Bernanke that spoke over the weekend at the Fed conference. But a few cautionary statistics from Ed Yardeni:

How Obama could prevent a second recession

August 24, 2009

Is the light at the end of the tunnel an oncoming train? That’s the worry of many economists who fret that after a couple of quarters of moderate growth, the U.S. economy will either lapse into a state of torpor or relapse into recession. In a new Financial Times op-ed, Nouriel Roubini says that weak labor markets, weak banks, weak consumers, weak profits and weak trade creates a strong risk of just such a “W-shaped” economic scenario.

The U.S. economy in the second half … and beyond

August 19, 2009

ISH Global Insight is looking for a U-shaped recovery: 2 percent growth in 3Q, 2.4 percent in 4Q and then 1.8 percent next year. This would be typical following a banking crisis/recession.  I think this will make for a very unhappy electorate.

Oh, about that U.S. economic recovery …

August 17, 2009

What might stand in the way of a robust economic turnaround. Gary Becker outlines the following factors:

Reagan and the year that changed everything

August 15, 2009

The great Jason Trennert of the Strategas Group recalls the beginning of the Reagan bull market (in the WSJ) in August 1982 and points out some key differences between then and now:

Is Obama a bad economic cheerleader?

August 15, 2009

Dude, you’re bringing me down! Or so says economist Robert Brusca:

Obama has been saying bad things about the economy ever since he got in office. As economic data improved he focused on how bad things were, not on the improvement or the trend. When the Q2 GDP figure fell by only 1% in the quarter he said there would be many more months of recession to come. … His administration was talking about deficits and about raising taxes before the recession was even over; that was reckless.  Japan got into its lost decade of growth by fearing the size of its own fiscal debt and hiking taxes on consumers before the economy was strong enough to take it. Is that the model Obama is pursuing?

Where the U.S. economy is stranded

August 14, 2009

The economy is leveling off, the Fed says. I think of things this way, as if your ship sunk and you thought you were going to drown. But you struggle to shore on some island. You are happy to be alive but then realize you are stuck on an island. Kind of exactly like Castaway. But who knows what the tide will bring in.

About that surge in U.S. productivity …

August 11, 2009

(Lightly microblogging this week from the Great White North)

A bit of analysis (from IHS Global) on the 6.4 percent jump  in second-quarter business productivity from the world’s most competitive economy:

4 reasons why the July unemployment report was worse than you think

August 8, 2009

Lots of temporary jobs and discouraged job seekers are the story. From David Rosenberg at Gluskin Sheff on the unemployment report: