The Morning Economic Report | WYPR

The Morning Economic Report

You’ve heard it before – politicians and others railing against big government.  But data indicate that the era of big government has actually been fading.  For instance, as reported by Bloomberg, there are nearly fifteen million more workers on nonfarm payrolls now than there were at the end of two thousand and nine. 

Conventional wisdom suggests that the low skilled American worker is doomed.  On the one hand, technology and globalization has been reducing demand for their skills.  On the other hand, rents, medical expenses, tuition and other items are becoming more expensive. 

As many observers know, the global economy continues to disappoint, generating lower growth rates than historic norms.  Slow growth is nothing new – as indicated by writer Neil Irwin, the world has been experiencing slower growth for roughly the last fifteen years. 

There are probably people out there who haven’t met an economist.  This is not simply a reflection of the social skills of economists, but also the fact that economists spend much of their time communicating with one another.  Sometimes discussions are friendly, often they are adversarial. 

During a recent political convention, it was said that more than ninety percent of income gains in recent years have gone to the top one percent.  Recent data indicate that that’s not true, at least not anymore.  Still, the top one percent have done very well financially, so if you are looking for charitable causes, the top one percent in America should probably not be on the top of your list. 

Patience - 8/12/16

Aug 14, 2016

It is said that patience is a virtue.  Recent research indicates that it’s also good economics.  A recent survey of nearly six hundred people, all aged over seventy, reveals that more patient people grow richer and healthier than their more impetuous peers.  Patience boosts wealth by much more than marriage or religion. 

Economists have had roughly two weeks to think about that disappointing report from the Commerce Department regarding second quarter gross domestic product.  Having had time to reflect, we remain disappointed.  According to the government, the U.S. economy expanded just one point two percent on an annualized basis during the second quarter. 

During the second quarter of twenty sixteen, the U.S. homeownership rate declined to its lowest level in more than fifty years.  This is a reflection of many things, including the lingering impacts of the foreclosure crisis, financial hurdles to purchasing a home, and shifting demographics. 

The recent devastation in historic and beautiful Ellicott City, Maryland has helped to refocus attention locally on issues related to storm water management and the damage water can do.  While there remain many skeptics regarding global warming, a growing number of analysts suggest that the economic damage from rising sea levels could be massive. 

The U.S. government continues to indicate that the nation’s cars and trucks are well on their way to meeting fuel economy and emissions standards established for twenty twenty five.  Recently, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of Transportation, and the California Air Resources Board issued a report on standards.