April 3, 2014 |
WASHINGTON -- Initial jobless claims unexpectedly increased last week but remained low in a positive sign for labor market growth before Friday's jobs report. About 326,000 people applied for first-time unemployment benefits in the week ended Saturday, the Labor Department said Thursday. The figure was up from 310,000 the previous week, the lowest level since September. Analysts had projected a smaller increase to 320,000 last week. PHOTOS: Richest and poorest cities in America The four-week average was little changed at 319,500 and pointed to an improved jobs situation in March.
April 2, 2014 |
The ongoing drought in California could dampen employment growth in coming years and have a ripple effect on several industries in the state, according to a UCLA report released Wednesday. Economists said in the quarterly forecast that arid conditions in 2013, the driest year on record for the Golden State, could diminish the fishing and manufacturing sectors in the state. However, the effect depends on whether the drought is "normal" or the beginning of "a long arid period. " California's employment could be suppressed about 0.2% during the next few years because of the drought, the report concluded.
March 25, 2014 |
Consumers are more optimistic about the economy than they've been in years, and that could help heat up the recovery after a deep winter chill. A closely watched barometer of consumer confidence surged this month to its highest level in more than six years. The report by the Conference Board on Tuesday added to indications that some weak economic data in recent months were caused by unusually bad weather and were not a harbinger of a more protracted slowdown. "Consumer confidence made significant progress in March, indicating that the winter economic blues … are somewhat behind us," said Chris Christopher, director of consumer economics at IHS Global Insight.
March 17, 2014 |
[This post has been updated, as explained below.] The restaurant industry's opposition to a higher minimum wage is hardly a secret--it's one of the top issues on the lobbying agenda of the National Restaurant Assn., the chain restaurants' Washington trade group. The mystery is why the industry seemed so loath to reveal its role in a round-robin letter signed by more than 500 economists, including four Nobel laureates, calling the proposed minimum-wage hike to $10.10 an hour a "poorly targeted anti-poverty measure.
February 18, 2014 |
Families boosted their borrowing late last year at the fastest pace since the global financial crisis, a sign that Americans are gradually reopening their wallets as they feel more secure in their jobs. Household debt jumped $241 billion to $11.5 trillion in the fourth quarter, the biggest increase since the third quarter of 2007, according to data released Tuesday by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. "This quarter is the first time since before the Great Recession that household debt has increased over its year-ago levels, suggesting that after a long period of de-leveraging, households are borrowing again," said Wilbert van der Klaauw, an economist at the New York Fed. The pickup in debt was a welcome development after a string of disappointing economic reports in the last few weeks.
February 7, 2014 |
Nobel Prize-winning economist Robert M. Solow has leveled a blast at a recent attempt by Harvard economist N. Gregory Mankiw to explain rising income inequality and the primacy of the 1% in the U.S. as the result of "just deserts" going to the talented people making important economic contributions to society. The tenor of Solow's approach can be gleaned from the opening words of his piece, which fault Mankiw's analysis for its "unstated premises, dubious assumptions and omitted facts.