Important Distinction: Giving People Tax Cuts Is NOT Giving People Money; It's ***THEIR*** Money
HT: Paul Ringstrom
Professor Mark J. Perry's Blog for Economics and Finance
The American Staffing Association (ASA) Staffing Index for temporary and contract employment activity improved by 24.7% for Week 37, the first week of September (data here). This marks the 21st week in a row with percentage gains in the staffing index above 20% compared to the same week in 2009 and the 30th straight week of double-digit percent increases vs. 2009.
From Joseph Vranich:
According to the recent Census Bureau report (historical data here), the poverty rate in the U.S. increased to 14.3% in 2009 from 13.2% in 2008 and 12.5% in 2007 (see chart above). A few items of interest:
"Local hospitals or hospital systems are extending their reach by agreeing to run retail clinics at Walmarts (NYSE: WMT) in their communities. Hospital officials see the clinic as a way to reach customers who need affordable care during extended hours and give those who do not have a family physician access to care."
The Federal Highway Administration reported today that travel on all roads and streets in the U.S. increased by +0.8% in July 2010 compared to the same month last year. Total travel for the month of July was an estimated 270 billion vehicle miles, the highest travel volume for the month of July on record. On a moving 12-month total basis, the annual vehicle-distance traveled through July was 2,983 billion miles, the highest 12-month total since September 2008, 22 months ago (see chart above).
From Jeff Jacoby:
From the paper "The Welfare Implications of Rising Price Dispersion" by Chicago economists Christian Broda and John Romalis:
In today's NY Times, Tyler Cowen presents a case for monetary expansion as a way to help the economy recover:
Enough with the doom and gloom about homeownership. Brett Arends in the WSJ presents 10 reasons why it's a good time to buy a home. Reason #1 is that you can get a great deal and Reason #2 is that mortgages are cheap. In other words, relative to income levels, housing affordability remains at historically high levels (see chart above). In July, a potential home buyer with the median family income of $60,498 had about 161% of the qualifying income necessary ($37,392) to qualify for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage at 4.9% and purchase the median priced existing single-family home at $183,400, with a 20% down payment. Monthly payments for that hypothetical home would be only $779 (principal and interest), see details here.
Following an ongoing pattern that I have reported previously, North Dakota set more new records in July for monthly oil production (see top chart above, data here) and employment (see bottom chart above, data here).
The chart above shows weekly initial jobless claims, both unadjusted (data here) and on a seasonally-adjusted, and four-week moving average basis (data here). As Scott Grannis pointed out several days ago: "Actual claims have been falling steadily since early July, and have now reached a two-year low (see chart above). Claims are actually lower now than they were for the same week two years ago."
From this week's report from the American Association of Railroads:
According to this new Census Bureau report "Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2009," there were 50.67 million uninsured Americans in 2009, up from 46.34 million in 2008.
As I reported yesterday, according to the Council of Graduate Schools' latest report (Table 2.13), there are four out of 11 graduate fields of study where men are over-represented by enrollment: Business, Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science, and Physical and Earth Sciences, seven fields where women are over-represented: Arts and Humanities, Biology, Education, Health Sciences, Public Administration, Social and Behavioral Sciences, and Other Fields.
Here's a little editing fun of Harold Meyerson's article in today's Washington Post:
The Federal Reserve reported today that U.S. industrial production increased in August for the sixth straight month, and for the 13th time in the last 14 months (see top chart above, data here). From the most recent trough of 88.5 in June 2009, output at America's factories, mines and utilities has increased by more than 9%, and over the last 12 months by 6.2% (see bottom chart above). August marks the 8th consecutive month of year-over-year growth in industrial production (every month this year), following 21 straight months of year-over-year declines going back to April of 2008.
I reported yesterday that global trade reached a 26-month high in June, and today's report from the Port of Los Angeles provides additional statistical evidence of an ongoing boom in international trade activity. Shipping volume reached a 46-month high in August of 763,837 Twenty-foot Equivalent Units (TEUs), the highest monthly shipping activity since October of 2006 (see chart above), and the fourth highest monthly volume in history.
From a letter sent to President Bush by Barney Frank, Nancy Pelosi, Maxine Waters and 73 other Congressional Democrats on June 28, 2004:
The College Board released data today on SAT scores for college-bound seniors in 2010, here are some highlights of the results relating to the 2010 SAT Mathematics test:
According to the Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis, world industrial production increased in June for the 15th straight month after declining in 11 out of 12 months between April 2008 and March 2009 (see chart above). Compared to last June, world output has improved by 10.4% year-over-year, and June was the sixth consecutive month of double-digit percentage increase over the same month in 2009. For the last two months, world production levels (135.1 in May and 135.3 in June) have been above the previous peak of 134.4 reached in March 2008, suggesting that there has been a complete recovery in world output from the global recession in 2008 and 2009.
1. "When we call a capitalist society a consumers’ democracy we mean that the power to dispose of the means of production, which belongs to the entrepreneurs and capitalists, can only be acquired by means of the consumers’ ballot, held daily in the marketplace.”
The 1959 RCA TVs pictured above sold for $150 retail, which would be about 72 hours of work then at the average hourly manufacturing wage of $2.05. At today's hourly wage of $18.52, that amount of work (72 hours) would be equivalent to $1,350 in today's dollars. Today you can get a 19 inch LCD HDTV for as little as $138, which would be only 7.5 hours of work at the average hourly wage.
Nebraska is now the 13th state to report an improvement in August tax revenues, thanks to the expansion of economic activity:
From the NY Times:
The graph above (Census data here) highlights the #1 reason why medical costs have risen, and will continue to rise: Out-of-pocket payments for medical costs have been falling for the last fifty years, and are projected to continue to decline, and will fall below 10% by 2017. By way of comparison, out-of-pocket payments accounted for almost half (46.78%) of total medical costs in 1960. When we're spending less than 10 percent of our own money on health care costs, one outcome is almost 100% inevitable: health care costs will continue to rise, and there's nothing about Obamacare that will change that.
CARSON CITY, Nev. — "One Nevada gubernatorial hopeful sees a speedy fix to Nevada's budget crisis. Nonpartisan candidate Eugene "Gino" DiSimone believes people would pay for the privilege to drive up to 90 mph on designated highways — and fill the state's depleted coffers.
The three charts below help tell part of the "higher education bubble" story by looking at student loan volume using data from the Department of Education. The first chart shows the actual gross student loan volume from 1994 to 2007, and the projected student loan volume from 2008 to 2017. Here's what happening:
HENDERSONVILLE, Tennessee -- "The U.S. hotel industry reported increases in all three key performance metrics during the week of 29 August-4 September 2010, according to data from STR. In year-over-year comparisons, occupancy increased 7.5 percent to 57.4 percent, average daily rate (ADR) was up 2.1 percent to $94.37, and revenue per available room rose 9.7 percent to $54.16.
BLOOMBERG -- "Lumber prices climbed, extending a rally to a three-month high, on signs of optimism in the U.S. economy (see chart above, data here).
"A man who chooses between drinking a glass of milk and a glass of a solution of potassium cyanide does not choose between two beverages; he chooses between life and death. A society that chooses between capitalism and socialism does not choose between two social systems; it chooses between social cooperation and the disintegration of society. Socialism is not an alternative to capitalism; it is an alternative to any system under which men can live as human beings."
Over the last 200 years going back to 1809, the chart above shows that the growth in real GDP per capita in the U.S. has been amazingly constant at an average of 2% year, with fluctuations around that long-term secular trend. The National Bureau of Economic Research has documented 33 recessions since 1857, including a few major ones that are easily identifiable in the chart above: a) three severe contractions in the 1865-1880 period following the Civil War (with the third one lasting more than five years) and accompanied by a 20-year period of below-average economic growth, and b) the Great Depression with two official recessions (August 1929 to August 1933; and May 1937 to June 1938) and a ten-year period of below trend growth in output.