Aug 292015
 
The recovery: Still tepid

Good on us that the U.S. economy grew at an annual rate estimated at 3.7% in the April-May-June quarter rather than the 2.2% rate announced as the first estimate a month ago. But don’t get too excited. State and local government spending accounted for a higher-than-average share of the growth [continue reading . . . ]






Aug 192015
 
The next recession: Made in China?

If you haven’t read it, get to your library (or use your library card) to read Ruchir Sharma’s op-ed in the Wall Street Journal August 17 (Page A 11). He argues that with advanced economies stuck in slow-growth mode, the globe is “one shock away from recession” and that the [continue reading . . . ]






Jun 122015
 
Condemned to slow growth?

June marks the end of the sixth year since the Great Recession passed into history. At 18 months, it was the lengthiest recession since World War II, surpassing the 16 months of the other notably long-lived  post-war recessions, ended in March 1975 and November 1982. For duation, of course, the [continue reading . . . ]






May 132015
 
Rocking on the West Coast

One little-noticed consequence of the sharp fall in oil prices (see chart): The oil-and-gas states have been knocked out of the top spots when it comes to various measures of economic performance. West Coast states, where technology and exports rather than hydrocarbons are key drivers, are moving up the ladder. [continue reading . . . ]






May 102015
 
Good jobs report, but . . .

Friday’s jobs report showed the U.S. headline unemployment rate has fallen to 5.4%, the lowest since mid-2008. Good for us, but hold the applause. The underemployment rate, including those working part time involuntarily, remains relatively high (10.8%) for this stage of the recovery. It has been nearly six years since [continue reading . . . ]






Mar 182015
 
Managed depression

Why are interest rates so low? The best answer, says Martin Wolf, principal economics columnist of the Financial Times, is that the globe’s advanced economies remain in a “managed depression.” This is the phenomenon that former U.S. Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers has in mind when he writes and speaks about [continue reading . . . ]






Mar 092015
 

Is China done? Is the 66-year-old dictatorship of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) about to end? “Predicting the demise of authoritarian regimes is a risky business,” writes old China hand Dr. David Shambaugh in a not-to-be-missed essay (subscription required, or use your library card) in the Wall Street Journal March [continue reading . . . ]