Jobs or inflation — Is the Fed distracted?

May 9, 2012

The Federal Reserve doesn’t get much love from Washington these days but it did receive a rare bit of political backing on Wednesday as Democrats defended its role in promoting full employment as well as stable prices.

The U.S. productivity farce

May 4, 2012

Economists don’t agree on much but they do tend to converge on one idea – productivity improvements are the key to long-term prosperity. Except that who benefits from productivity increases matters as much as the efficiency gains themselves, according to two reports from the liberal Economic Policy Institute in Washington.

China bear Pettis says world coming around to his view

May 3, 2012

Few mainstream economists have been quite as downbeat on China as Peking University professor and noted China watcher Michael Pettis. Pettis has long held that the world’s No. 2 economy will grow at a maximum of 3.5 percent a year for the rest of the decade, well below a consensus call that appears to have settled into the 5-7 percent range. “And honestly, I think if I’m wrong, it will be to the downside rather than the upside,” he told Reuters.

Dr. Doom goes to Beverly Hills

May 3, 2012

When it comes to predicting a dark future, Nouriel Roubini – the NYU economist who earned the moniker Dr. Doom after he correctly predicted the financial crisis – is not about to let anyone get in his way.

Ferguson’s fury: Harvard historian decries female welfare recipients

May 2, 2012

Another panel, another group of rich guys talking about income inequality in America.

Europe in recession – an interactive map

April 30, 2012

Spain has become the latest European country to slip into recession joining the Belgium, Cyprus, The Czech Republic, Denmark, Greece, Italy, The Netherlands, Ireland, Portugal, Slovenia and the United Kingdom.

Put your rate hike where your mouth is

April 27, 2012

Jonathan Spicer and Van Tsui contributed to this post.

This week, for the second time ever, the U.S. Federal Reserve published policymakers’ forecasts for when the central bank should start raising rates. The chart suggested a split Fed, with three policymakers expecting a rate rise this year, three next year, seven in 2014 and four in 2015. That’s useful information, as far as it goes.

A penny more for gas, $1 billion less for Walmart

April 27, 2012

Jessica Wohl and Chris Reese contributed to this post.

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For every penny rise in the price of gas at the pump, U.S. customers of Walmart take a collective $1 billion hit to their disposable income.

More Americans find aging is a gateway to poverty

April 27, 2012

Over the last several years, more Americans have found that aging has left them in the clutch of poverty. Between 2005 and 2009, the rate of poverty among American seniors rose as they aged, as did the number of people entering poverty, according to a new report from the nonpartisan Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI).

Blame small government for U.S. GDP downer

April 27, 2012

Weak U.S. economic growth in the first quarter was driven in part by a pullback in business investment — but a sharp decline in government spending also played a role. Gross domestic product grew 2.2 percent, well short of the Reuters consensus forecast of 2.5 percent. Business spending fell 2.1 percent while government expenditures saw a 3 percent drop linked to lower defense spending. Consumer spending proved a bright spot in the report, climbing 2.9 percent. Still, there is concern that this too could fade because an unusually warm winter may have brought some spending forward.