Reworking unemployment (oh, and the payroll tax cut)

From a front-page New York Times story today. Here are the details that were hidden in the fight over the payroll tax cut and the unemployment (UI) extension.  Congress and the President agreed on some shockingly good ideas, including importing the concept of "work sharing" from (no!) Europe.  The bill additionally expands “work sharing” programs thatContinue reading “Reworking unemployment (oh, and the payroll tax cut)”

Unemployment falls, surprising/pleasing pundits

The New Yorker is thrilled: This is the best piece of economic news that President Obama has received in many a moon. On CNBC’s Squawk Box, a former chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers said, “The trend I am seeing … is that things have turned around.” And he went on: “PeopleContinue reading “Unemployment falls, surprising/pleasing pundits”

Unemployment: The unheard fire bell in the night

Robert Schiller, one of this nation's most respected economists, writes today in The New York Times that the unemployment we face today could be ruinous for our society for years, perhaps decades, to come:  The stakes are very high here, and they are not just economic. As anger rises in today's economy, I'm reminded ofContinue reading “Unemployment: The unheard fire bell in the night”

A new American class: the involuntarily retired

Our local daily newspaper has an excellent story on a new class of unhappy Americans: the involutarily retired. Kim Lamb Gregory introduces the idea with a study, and then grounds it in Ventura County reality: "We are witnessing the birth of a new class — the involuntarily retired," said a report called "The Shattered American Dream."Continue reading “A new American class: the involuntarily retired”

How to understand the unemployment numbers

A slight fall in the number of new jobless claims has thrilled Wall Street. This is great news, and as I wrote in a long economic story a couple of weeks ago, there is reason to think a recovery is on the way.  But for perspective, lets look at the unemployment numbers geographically, courtesy ofContinue reading “How to understand the unemployment numbers”

Congress won’t extend unemployment benefits: LA Times

Veteran reporter Don Lee of the LA Times already knows that Congress won't extend unemployment benefits for the long-term out of work, even before the debate is joined:  Economists also worry that consumer spending may weaken. Confidence remains low, and unemployment benefits, which have helped prop up spending, probably won't be extended by lawmakers, givenContinue reading “Congress won’t extend unemployment benefits: LA Times”

Hardly Working: The economy today, by Steve Brodner

Steve Brodner, one of the hardest-working and most-talented pencil artists of our time, is moving away from his once-lovely Drawger site…but he's still putting up fascinating work on his own site.  To wit — Hardly Working, his depiction of the economy for lots and lots of us: Watch the full episode. See more NeedContinue reading “Hardly Working: The economy today, by Steve Brodner”

Media wakes up to underemployment on Labor Day

Give credit where it's due: both the Los Angeles Times and NPR's Scott Simon ran excellent stories about the difficulty of being unemployed or underemployed this Labor Day weekend. I especially liked the LA Times story, because so often reporting on this topic falls into the either/or trap; that is, either you have a full-timeContinue reading “Media wakes up to underemployment on Labor Day”

The heroism of the unemployed (well, almost)

According to the Federal Reserve, it's not true that benefits for the unemployed leads to more unemployment. In the words of the government economists: Our analyses suggest that extended UI benefits account for about 0.4 percentage point of the nearly 6 percentage point increase in the national unemployment rate over the past few years. ItContinue reading “The heroism of the unemployed (well, almost)”