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Tag Archives: Unemployment

What Happens When the Covid Relief Ends?

In the heady days of spring, when the United States was vaccinating 3 million people a day, President Biden predicted a “summer of joy.” But then the vaccination campaign stalled, and the Delta variant fueled a new wave of infections, hospitalizations and deaths.This didn’t have to happen. True, Delta’s contagiousness has led to rising caseloads almost everywhere. But America has pulled away from other advanced countries in hospitalizations and deaths:ImageAmerican...

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How Not to Create Jobs

Last Friday, as the clock ticked toward 10 a.m., many labor economists were poised at their keyboards like runners about to do a 100-yard sprint. You see, the Bureau of Labor Statistics was scheduled to release its latest monthly report on state employment and unemployment, and everyone wanted to crunch the numbers and learn what they showed.Why was this report different from any other report? In June, roughly half the states did something remarkable: They cut off enhanced unemployment...

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Labor and Population in Grand Forks

I love Mel Brooks’ movies and the questions Grand Forks keeps asking seem to recall the scene towards the end of Blazing Saddles when they rebuilt a town but forgot people. A share, and likely a significant share, of the labor market shortages and other issues comes down to the fact that we do not have the population in this town. The annual population estimate from the Census Bureau confirms this: It is also not as if this is something new really. If you look at the Bureau of...

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Afternoon roundup

The browser tabs...The Internet Archive will help improve access to a lot of books currently held by the National Library. Naturally, this upsets some people. Mike Joy wins a battle over what "natural levels" of nitrate in aquifers might mean.Places where the local schools are funded by higher levels of government wind up trying to privatize the public schools through zoning. Everything's tradeoffs though, eh? If schools are funded by the local communities, poor places get really bad...

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Krugman Wonks Out: Do Hiring Headaches Imply a Labor Shortage?

This article is a wonky edition of Paul Krugman’s free newsletter. You can sign up here to receive it. Don’t pay too much attention to today’s jobs report; it came in slightly below expectations, but given the noisiness of the data (and the extent to which the numbers are often revised), it told us very little that we didn’t already know.The truth is that two things are clear about the U.S. economy right now. It’s growing very fast, and adding jobs at a rapid clip; but the pace of job...

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Republicans Are Still Waging War on Workers

Has the Republican Party, which has championed the interests of big business and sought to keep wages low since the late 19th century, suddenly become populist? Some of its rising stars would have you believe so. For example, after the 2020 election Senator Josh Hawley declared that “we must be a working-class party, not a Wall Street party.” But while Republicans have lately attacked selected businesses, their beef with big companies seems to be over noneconomic issues. It bothers them a...

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Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Boom?

“If it rains, we might want to open our umbrellas,” said the Treasury secretary.“Oh my God, she’s predicting a torrential downpour,” shouted panicked pundits. OK, that’s not exactly what Janet Yellen said on Tuesday. Her actual words were, “It may be that interest rates will have to rise somewhat to make sure that our economy doesn’t overheat.” Her remark wasn’t a forecast, it certainly wasn’t an attempt to influence the Federal Reserve, and it was simple good sense.Still, she shouldn’t...

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Infrastructure and jobs

William Gropper, Construction of the Dam, 1938To many on the left, it's always 1933. Building "roads and bridges" will "create jobs," soaking up the mass army of unemployed desperate for work that they seem to see. Driving around though, I notice that we build roads with big machines, not lots of people. And construction jobs are high-skill jobs, not people with shovels. "Shovel-ready" itself is a misnomer. Nobody uses shovels on a construction site anymore, they use a backhoe. Neither...

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Andrew Yang Hasn’t Done the Math

Will Andrew Yang, the current front-runner, become New York City’s next mayor? If he wins, would he be any good at the job? I have no idea, although I’m skeptical about the latter.My guess is that the mayoral office needs an effective political brawler, not an intellectual, and Yang, who has never held office, owes his prominence largely to his reputation as a thought leader, someone with big ideas about economics and policy.What I do know is that Yang’s big ideas are demonstrably wrong....

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Ip on Bidenomics

Greg Ip has a great column in the WSJ on Bidenomics.  It's not long, it's so well written that it's hard to condense the good parts, and you should really read it all. There is an intellectual framework to Bidenomics, and with that a scarily more durable move on economic policy. There used to be "certain rules about how the world worked: governments should avoid deficits, liberalize trade and trust in markets. Taxes and social programs shouldn’t discourage work."By...

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