Shane's Feed
Feb 14, 2014
via Counterparties

Megadrought

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On January 17, the governor of California declared a state of emergency due to the state’s megadrought. Most regions have only received 20-30% of their usual rain or snowfall this winter. This follows two straight less extreme, but still below normal, years of precipitation. According to US Trust’s Joseph Quinlan (via Steven Perlberg), California joins China, India, Australia, and the Middle East — all of which “are experiencing multiyear water challenges that threaten to slow or impair economic activity”.

Feb 14, 2014
via Counterparties

Megadrought

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On January 17, the governor of California declared a state of emergency due to the state’s megadrought. Most regions have only received 20-30% of their usual rain or snowfall this winter. This follows two straight less extreme, but still below normal, years of precipitation. According to US Trust’s Joseph Quinlan (via Steven Perlberg), California joins China, India, Australia, and the Middle East — all of which “are experiencing multiyear water challenges that threaten to slow or impair economic activity”.

Feb 12, 2014
via Data Dive

What we know about income inequaliy: America’s disappearing ‘middle-skill’ jobs and falling wages

There are a lot of things that “explain” inequality. Technology, finance, societal, and cultural changes have all played their part. In this series, Counterparties takes a look at the various things that correlate with rising income inequality in order to ascertain how we got to this economy and where we might go from here. For story tips/comments/complaints email us atCounterparties.Reuters@gmail.com.

America is losing middle class jobs — and middle class pay. Not only are “middle-skill” jobs disappearing as routine tasks become computerized (think everything people do in the television show “The Office”), but that job loss has contributed to stagnating wages, according to a recent paper by Michael Boehm of the University of Bonn.

Feb 11, 2014
via Counterparties

Trends with benefits

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Yesterday, the Obama administration announced it would delay a part of the Affordable Care Act’s employer mandate, giving companies with more than 50 employees at least another year, and as much as two years, to make sure they cover all of their employees. At a press conference today, reporters asked the President whether the delays mean that the administration “is in part trying to push Americans toward the individual health insurance market and decouple insurance from employment”.

Feb 7, 2014
via Equals

What we know about income inequality: Better marriages may mean more inequality

There are a lot of things that “explain” inequality. Technology, finance, societal, and cultural changes have all played their part. In a new series, Counterparties takes a look at the various things that correlate with rising income inequality in order to ascertain how we got to this economy and where we might go from here. For story tips/comments/complaints email us at Counterparties.Reuters@gmail.com.

Matt O’Brien wrote a good post last week on how the classic 1989 romcom When Harry Met Sally explains inequality. I’ll let him explain:

Feb 6, 2014
via Counterparties

Micro-bloginomics

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If Twitter wants to be the global town square, it needs a few more people than its current 241 million users, Mike Isaac writes. Twitter reported earnings yesterday and while revenue per user is up, growth has slowed to a crawl. Twitter’s stock price fell to $50 from $65 on Thursday, despite the fact that earnings actually beat analysts’ expectations. Matt Lynley has a good overview of the earnings call and Quartz has all the earnings charts.

Feb 4, 2014
via Counterparties

A healthy workforce

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A new CBO report includes a somewhat startling stat: by 2024, the Affordable Care Act will reduce the the number of people doing full-time work by 2.5 million, compared to what it would have been otherwise. The report finds that this further shrinkage in America’s workforce will come entirely from people choosing to work less. The law “allows people to quit jobs they only still have because they are afraid of losing insurance”, says Karl Smith.

Feb 4, 2014
via Data Dive

Is the US labor market doing better than we think?

What if the labor market America is actually much closer to a full recovery than we think? That’s the gist of a new post by Samuel Kapon and Joseph Tracy at the New York Federal Reserve. The authors examine the labor market’s employment-to-population ratio, which plummeted during the financial crisis and hasn’t recovered since, even as the economy has picked up steam.

Their general theory:  when corrected for the demographics of our aging workforce, the labor market looks a bit healthier than we previously thought. Here’s their chart:

Feb 3, 2014
via Data Dive

US sees moderate manufacturing growth in January

US manufacturing grew last month, although not as much as it had in the previous month. The US Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index (PMI), compiled by Markit, fell to 53.7 in January from an 11-month high of 55.0 in December. Anything above 50 indicates expansion.

Here’s what PMI has looked like over the last few years:

Reuters has more details on the report:

Output fell to 53.5, a four-month low, from 57.5. Some firms attributed the slower pace of growth to the extremely cold weather in large swaths of the country.

Jan 31, 2014
via Counterparties

Married, with correlation

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One of the more interesting debates to come out of the Raj Chetty study on mobility published last week is the question of whether we need “marriage promotion”. Does society need to encourage the formation of two-parent households for the good of the economy?