The Morning Economic Report | WYPR

The Morning Economic Report

Free Trade - 10/17/16

Oct 19, 2016

While many people oppose the spread of free trade, the fact of the matter is that in recent years, trade volumes have already not been growing as they had been prior to the two thousand and eight financial crisis. 

A recent Bloomberg article focused on the city of Kalamazoo, Michigan, which like many cities has been staring at years of deficits. Often, when cities are having difficulty balancing budgets, they cut spending and/or raise taxes. 

Despite ongoing frustration with slow wage growth in many American households, recently released census data indicate that three point five million Americans were able to to stretch above the poverty line last year.  Much of this is due to faster wage growth among retailers, restaurants and hotels, the types of businesses that hire lots of entry level and near entry-level workers. 

Americans are moving from job to job more quickly these days, perhaps an indication of growing health in the U.S. labor market.  According to recently released Labor Department data, median employee tenure, which represents the length of time that the typical worker has been with his or her current employer, stood at four point two years in January. 

A recent report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine analyzes the economic and fiscal implications of immigration to the U.S.  Between the mid-nineteen nineties and twenty fourteen, the number of immigrants living in America increased by more than seventy percent, from fewer than twenty five million in nineteen ninety five to more than forty two million by twenty fourteen. 

Refugees - 10/10/16

Oct 11, 2016

There is a raging debate regarding whether America should be welcoming to refugees.  There are many considerations ranging from national security to humanitarian.  A new study by Harvard University’s George Borjas and the Center for Monetary and Financial Studies’ Joan Moras analyzes evidence from four earlier refugee surges and reminds us that there are important economic considerations as well. 

If you are a high school senior, you may be thinking long and hard about the institutions of higher education you may want to attend.  By now, you should have figured out that while money isn’t everything, it is an unavoidable aspect of our shared human existence. 

The Census Bureau recently released results of its twenty fifteen American Community Survey.  Among other things, the survey allows for comparisons of incomes city by city.  These data indicate that incomes are presently expanding most rapidly in the American south. 

One of the many policy debates regarding the functioning of the U.S. labor market is the question of how generous unemployment insurance benefits should be.  Those who favor generous benefits point out that the more money households are able to spend after losing a job, the more stable is macroeconomic activity, including during periods of recession. 

Americans don’t seem to agree upon much these days from the perspective of economic policymaking, whether the subject is taxes, regulation, interest rates, free trade or immigration.  But one area of growing consensus is infrastructure.