The Morning Economic Report | WYPR

The Morning Economic Report

Today, some people will enjoy treats, some will suffer tricks.  It’s not really that different from the functioning of the labor market.  A recent article by Josh Zumbrun asks us to imagine two workers who are the same age, gender, race, have similar educational backgrounds, live in the same community, work in the same occupation and industry. 

As pointed in a recent Bloomberg article, economists say the darndest things.  For instance, in a recent Wall Street Journal survey, a group of economists indicated that the odds of the next recession beginning within the next four years is nearly sixty percent. 

Twenty sixteen may be remembered for many things, including as the year of the stereotype.  Broad statements have been made about many groups of people this year.  Sometimes, these stereotypes are positive.  For instance, there is a conventional view that Asian Americans are generally pretty successful in school and in the workplace. 

There has been considerable focus placed upon financial literacy in America during the year following the Great Recession.  The notion among many observers was that too many Americans were unaware of the financial consequences of their decisions, including decisions to take on debt. 

When people talk about America getting older, they are typically speaking about its population.  But as pointed out by Bloomberg, that’s hardly the only thing in the U.S. that’s aging.  According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the average age of all fixed assets, including things like factories and hospitals, stands at twenty three years, the oldest in records tracing back to nineteen twenty five. 

There are a lot of men between the ages of twenty five and fifty four who aren’t in the labor force.  One of the reasons for this is that many men suffer from serious health conditions that represent major barriers to work.  According to Princeton labor economist Alan Krueger, they sometimes suffer physical pain, but also frequently from sadness and stress. 

More than ninety four million Americans eligible to work are not in the U.S. labor force, meaning that they don’t have a job and aren’t looking for one.  Many Americans view this statistic as an indication of national economic decline. 

The International Monetary Fund has been sending out a lot of warning signals about the global economy recently.  Here’s another.  According to the Fund, the world is awash in one hundred and fifty two trillion dollars of debt, an all time high that sits at more than double the amount of debt owed at the turn of the century. 

The International Monetary Fund is warning that ongoing sluggish global economic growth could bolster the emerging anti-trade backlash that has become a feature of political discourse in both the U.S. and Europe. 

There was a time when the notion of free trade was reasonably popular in America.  The North American Free Trade Agreement or NAFTA passed during the mid-1990s.