Well… is it?
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From a note Wednesday morning by ConvergEx (emphasis ours): Read more
Hugh Small is an independent economic analyst and management consultant, who was formerly with US-based firms Arthur D. Little and A. T. Kearney. He blogs at mature economy.org, and has a running thesis that mature economies must be assessed differently to developing economies because they share very different strategic goals.
Furthermore, once you factor in the subtle differences that apply to developed economies, things like the UK productivity puzzle begin to look a little less mysterious. Read more
You know what doesn’t often conjure images of economic happiness? The 1970s, that’s what. And the argument coming from some quarters right now is that Europe, or at least its periphery, is heading back into such a period of stagnation and chronic inflation with unemployment leading the way. Read more
If increased proportions of older workers are squeezing out some of the younger would-be workers there could be a significant downside in the longer term — ironically, due to the ageing population. Read more
Not the kind of youth sacrifice once practiced by the Aztecs, the Inca, and the Carthaginians in order please distant, fickle gods if course. We’ve moved on a bit since then.
Then again, it’s still the younger generation that generally draws the short straw in a crisis… Read more
Today’s China flash PMIs have been a little challenging to unpick. Inventories are down and input and output prices are up — but order backlogs are down, and so is employment, which HSBC notes is contracting at a faster rate. So the mountains of inventory are shrinking and price deflation (against trend) is no longer happening… but employment is down? Read more
Greek unemployment hit a new record high of 25.1 per cent in July, having climbed for 35 straight months. It’s now more than double the eurozone average of 11.4 per cent and youth unemployment — between 15 and 24 years old — has hit 54.2 per cent. That’s scary and pretty hard to argue with but there is always a bit of context available.
A few notes on the report as we make our way through it:
– This sentence caught our eye: Read more
Eurozone unemployment depression is naturally even more divergent on a regional level. Data released by Eurostat reveals just how divergent and paints a fairly consistent, and depressing, picture. So we have Salzburg in Austria sitting pretty with only 2.5 per cent of its populations in the jobless category while Andalucia in Spain has to grapple with a rate of 30.4 per cent. The youth unemployment divide is even starker – 54.4 per cent in Andalucia, Spain versus 4.3 per cent in Tubingen, Germany.
Overall, eight of the ten regions with the highest levels of unemployment were in Spain, while Greece played host to one and France another. The youth unemployment stats share the pain a little more equally between the same three countries. Austria and Germany dominate the opposite columns. Read more
Increasing unemployment disproportionately affects the young. While policymakers have been pre-occupied with sovereign and financial crises, the generation with no actual experience of holding down a job just had to wait. For how long will this spectre haunt economies?
Using statistics from the European Union Labour Force Survey for January 2012 (but November 2011 for Greece), the UBS Global Macro Team gives us the following headline unemployment rates in a note released earlier this week: Read more
FT Alphaville has written a fair amount about seasonal distortions in economic data but thought this latest piece of research from Nomura was worth highlighting
(mostly because it involves time-travel).
It pokes a small but important hole in the surprisingly low 348k new US claims for unemployment insurance which were filed in the week ending 11 February, the fewest since March 2008. Read more
A chart via Nomura to keep in the back of your head as you eagerly anticipate this Friday’s BLS employment situation report in the US:
Unemployment figures have highlighted the widening gap between Germany and many fellow eurozone members, a day after Angela Merkel secured a new treaty enshrining Berlin’s vision for tough fiscal discipline, the FT reports. Unemployment in the 17 euro countries climbed to 10.4 per cent in December, with the November rate revised upwards to the same rate, setting a fresh record since the introduction of the single currency in 1999. So-called “peripheral” members such as Spain and Greece recorded the highest rates, of 22.9 per cent and 19.2 per cent. On the other side of the Atlantic, worries over the job market and higher petrol prices dragged US consumer confidence lower this month, while house prices across the country fell as foreclosures continued to forestall a recovery in residential property, reports the FT. Confidence unexpectedly declined in January to 61.1 from 64.8 in December, the Conference Board said on Tuesday, missing economists’ expectations of a rise to 68. The index is measured on a scale of 100 pegged to the level of confidence in 1985.
So if you’re looking for a snappy corrective — here’s a précis of the opposite view, penned by Bob “the Bear” Janjuah of Nomura: Read more
The latest ADP numbers for private sector jobs in the US have demolished expectations: 325k jobs were created November-December against estimates that ranged from +145k to +225k.
With so much pessimism heading into 2012, we thought it would be prudent to discuss the possibility of positive surprises.
That’s the festive spirit of the economists at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, writing in a report released on Tuesday. Read more
The starkly contrasting economic trajectories of countries inside the eurozone were highlighted on Tuesday as Germany reported unemployment at 20-year lows while Spanish jobless figures rose for the fifth consecutive month, the FT reports. The number of Spanish jobseekers rose to 4.42m, while Germany’s jobless count fell to 2.976m. Another measure, based on household surveys, puts Spanish seasonally adjusted unemployment at 5.4m, nearly 23 per cent of the workforce. The comparable German figure decreased to 6.8 per cent in December from 6.9 per cent the prior month. The divergence of eurozone economies has been a source of tension since Europe’s sovereign debt crisis struck, with northern countries around Germany recording much stronger growth than their southern neighbours, whose less competitive economies have been further burdened by austerity measures to correct unsustainable fiscal policies.
Buoyed by the thrill of the new, investors tend to give growth-focused assets the benefit of the doubt at the start of a year. According to the FT’s Global Markets Overview, the beginning of 2012 looks to be following that trend. The FTSE All-World equity index is up 0.5 per cent, helped by a positive session in Asia, with commodities seeing buyers after global manufacturing activity dataover the past few days were generally a bit better than expected. The burgeoning risk appetite can be seen in a 0.4 per cent fall for the dollar index and a 1.4 per cent bounce for gold to $1,587 an ounce. European manufacturing figures still pointed to contraction in December, at 46.9, but at a slower pace than November’s 46.4. Activity improved most in Greece, though it remained at low levels, with improvements also seen in Italy, Spain and Germany. Data out on Tuesday, revealed that German unemployment fell more than forecast over the previous month, moving the jobless rate down to 6.8 per cent, and business confidence also increased. Bloomberg reports that exports of cars and machinery have boomed, while a mild winter helped jobs in construction.
Japan’s jobless rate rose more than expected in October, says Bloomberg, reaching 4.5 per cent in October compared to 4.1 per cent in September. Bloomberg’s survey of 29 economists’ came up with a median estimate of 4.2 per cent. Panasonic and TDK are cutting jobs as the yen’s continuing strength threatens erodes export profits, while the country continues to recover from the March earthquake and tsunami disasters. Bank of Japan Governor Masaaki Shirakawa on Monday indicated that 55,000bn yen of credit and asset-buying programmes will be expanded if necessary.
President Barack Obama’s $447bn jobs plan has failed its first test in Congress, after the Senate roundly rejected it in a first vote, says the FT. With 46 Republicans and two Democrats opposed to the bill, it fell well short of the 60 votes needed. The plan would cut payroll taxes and increase spending on infrastructure, paid for by a “millionaires’ tax”. Congressional rejection of the jobs bill might in fact be part of the White House’s plan, Politico says, with the defeat allowing the president to claim the high ground and blame Republican obstruction on jobs in the run-up to the 2012 elections.
Annual inflation in the Eurozone increased to 3 per cent in September, according to a flash estimate by the European Union’s statistics office, Eurostat. Economists had expected a reading of 2.5 per cent, the same as August, reports Bloomberg. The sudden increase is the fastest acceleration in almost three years. The release from Eurostat also showed that unemployment in the 27-nation block held steady at 10 per cent in August, reports Reuters.
According to a Bloomberg survey of global investors, the US Federal Reserve’s plan to reinvest $400bn of short-term debt into longer-term debt will not lead to a decrease in the unemployment rate. The survey involved 1,031 investors and 78 per cent of those polled thought that the move won’t help the 14m Americans who are currently unemployed.
More Americans live in poverty than since records began after the Second World War, according to census data, the FT reports. Some 46.2m lived below the poverty line in 2010, the US Census Bureau said, with poverty rates rising to 15.1 per cent, their highest since 1993. The data also show the stagnation in household incomes since the dotcom bust, Reuters says, with median incomes falling 2.3 percent to $49,445 per year, the lowest since 1996, adjusting for inflation. Census data on living standards have been criticised for failing to reflect advances in medicine and technology, the WSJ reports, but also show that the income gap between richest and poorest has not changed since 1999.