The recent news on retail sales and job claims, along with renewed outbreaks of COVID-19, seem to be suggesting that we are in for a long, dark winter. The zip in the economy seems to be gone. However, it is worth putting recent developments in perspective. The economy still has forward momentum. Recall that the … Continue reading The Ins and Outs of This Recovery
Many analysts are worried about the recovery losing steam, especially in the face of renewed outbreaks of COVID-19 and the absence of more fiscal stimulus. Yet the unemployment rate fell to 6.9 percent in October, down nearly 8 percentage points from its peak six months earlier in April. To put this information in perspective, it … Continue reading Has the Recovery Topped Out?
While income redistribution has always been a hot topic, the debate has become more intense in recent years. In part, this has reflected stagnation in median family income. Also, standard measures of income distribution had been showing growing inequality in the distribution of income. However, inequality decreased and median family income improved in 2018 and … Continue reading Redistribution: Votes Versus Income Shares
Analysts seem divided on where the economic recovery from the COVID shock stands. Some see recent news to be pointing to a still-vigorous expansion—a “V”-shaped recovery. But others read the news, including new COVID outbreaks, to be suggesting that the expansion is stalling out or even receding—that is, a “W” is unfolding. Putting the various … Continue reading The Economy: How Are Things Looking Now?
Headlines have stressed that payroll employment growth slowed again in August and that the decline in new claims for unemployment insurance stalled out. Does that mean that the economic recovery that began in the spring is fizzling out? Or is the economy rolling on? It is worth noting that that the August gain in employment … Continue reading The Economy: Rolling On
Initial claims for unemployment insurance jump and universities shut down campuses and return to all on-line classes—news pointing to a setback for the economy. In contrast, existing home sales surge and the stock market moves into record territory—news pointing to an ongoing rebound from one of the sharpest declines in history. What does it all … Continue reading The Economy: Sorting Through the Pluses and Minuses
“A billion here, a billion there, and pretty soon you are talking about real money.” Attributed to Senator Everett Dirksen (Illinois) One wonders how Senator Dirksen might react to the current federal budget outlook, given the nearly $3 trillion of red ink that has been spilled so far in the 2020 fiscal year and the wrangling … Continue reading A Trillion Here, a Trillion There: How Will the Federal Debt Problem Get Resolved?
The resurgence of COVID-19 and its impact on the reopening of businesses has gotten a lot of attention lately. Moreover, the news on initial claims for unemployment insurance staying in the 1.4 million per week range has generated concerns that the recovery has stalled out. Meanwhile, we have gotten a lot of information on the … Continue reading The Economy: Any Spring in its Step?
The recent news on the COVID-19 crisis has been mostly negative, suggesting that the recovery may be experiencing a major setback (the glass is mostly empty). However, a variety of reports on the economy recently have pointed to unexpected vigor (it’s mostly full). Granted, many of these reports are from June, before the recent COVID … Continue reading The Recovery: Is The Glass Mostly Full or Mostly Empty?
Many have puzzled over the rebound in the stock market during this period of COVID-19 struggles. The blue-chip S&P 500 stock price index is only 6 percent below its mid-February peak, having recovered more than 80 percent of its COVID-related losses. Moreover, the Nasdaq index—a barometer of the tech sector—has soared to new highs. Has … Continue reading Buoying the Market: An Era of Ultra-Low Interest Rates