Spain’s house of cards

October 26, 2012

Looking at some of the recent trends in the euro zone debt market, one could be forgiven for thinking the region is doing alright.

Early hints of stronger unemployment numbers – that Wall Street economists missed

October 5, 2012

As traders and economists hash over the sharp and unexpected drop in the U.S.jobless rate to 7.8 percent, they might do well to review some key data points that offered early hints that at least some households were seeing improvement in the labor market. Wall Street analysts in a Reuters poll had forecast a rise in the unemployment rate to 8.2 percent.

Don Rajoy de la Mancha: Spain’s “quixotic” adventures

October 3, 2012


Spain will not seek aid imminently, says Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy. And by imminently, he means, not this weekend. Just the latest twist in a European crisis plot that now sees Spain as its primary actor.

U.S. recession signal from the Philly Fed

September 26, 2012

Will the U.S. economy continue coasting along at a slow but steady clip or does it actually risk tipping into a new recession? Tom Porcelli, economist at RBC Capital, says he’s concerned about a new trough from a little-watched Philadelphia Fed survey of coincident indicators.

Not enough jobs? Blame the government

September 10, 2012

The U.S. labor market has been adding jobs for two-and-a-half years, helping bring down the jobless rate from a peak of 10 percent in late 2009 to the current 8.1 percent rate. But recently, job growth has slowed to under 100,000 per month – not enough to keep the jobless rate on a downward path. Heidi Shierholz at the liberal Economic Policy Institute in Washington says this leaves the U.S. economy well short of achieving its full capacity:

Help not wanted: U.S. online job ads see biggest two-month decline since recession

September 5, 2012

U.S.job seekers saw online job ads dwindle this summer, according to a survey from The Conference Board. Advertised vacancies fell 108,700 in August to 4,684,800, the industry group said.

Fewer firings do not mean more hirings

August 9, 2012

Jobless claims fell unexpectedly last week to 361,000. Analysts were particularly heartened by the improvement because the latest figures were finally “clean” of recent seasonal adjustment quirks related to auto factory shutdowns. That’s the good news.

U.S. payrolls ‘wild card': public school teachers, employees

August 2, 2012

The “big wildcard” in making July payroll projections is the size of the swing in public school teachers and other school workers.

Like over-hyped Olympian, Fed set to disappoint

July 31, 2012

Pity the Federal Reserve. Like an over-hyped Olympian, the U.S. central bank enters this week’s policy meeting with sky-high expectations and a high probability of disappointment.

Excuses, excuses: The problem with ‘structural’ explanations for U.S. unemployment

July 11, 2012

It’s an arcane economics debate with all-too-real implications for U.S. monetary policy: Is high unemployment primarily the result of “structural” factors like skills mismatches and difficulties relocating, or is it largely due to insufficient consumer demand in a weak economic recovery?