Fresh audio product

Just added to my radio archive (click on date for link): March 11, 2021 Brianna Rennix on the condition of migrants at the US–Mexico border • Gianpaolo Biocchi on creating a social housing authority in the US (paper here, NYT article here)

Employment report

As the job market loses steam, and Congress dithers over a new bailout package, Americans are having a harder time paying their bills. First the job market. Employers added 245,000 jobs in November, the least since the recovery from the March–April crash. As the graph below shows, that recovery has been losing momentum since June, when employment rose by 4.8 million. What looks to be happening is that the easy recalls after the initial shutdown have happened, and with the giant stimulus of the CARES Act receding, there’s not much fuel for… Read More

Fresh audio product

Just added to my radio archive (click on date for link): April 30, 2020 Lauren Sandler, author of This Is All I Got, on homelessness in NYC • Cathy Cowan Becker, author of this review of the Jeff Gibbs–Michael Moore documentary Planet of the Humans, on why it’s so bad

Fresh audio product

Just posted to my radio archive (click on date for link): February 21, 2019 Daniel Aldana Cohen, author of this article, on the role of housing in a Green New Deal • Joel Whitney, author of this article, on the CIA’s history as a purveyor of fake news

Was there a housing boom? Yes.

Matt Yglesias, striking that contrarian tone beloved of bloggers (something you’d never find here, of course!), declares that there was no housing boom. Or, more precisely, though there was a boom in house prices, there was no boom in construction. To make this point, Yglesias uses one on those ubiquitous St. Louis Fed graphs, this one of the history of housing starts since 1970. Sure enough, it sorta supports his point. But this is only a very partial view. Here’s a fuller one. First of all, the boom wasn’t just about new houses—there… Read More

Radio commentary, September 23, 2010

Summers • recession over! — except in housing and jobs • Zuckerberg & the charter scam Summers back to Harvard So Larry Summers is leaving as head of Obama’s National Economic Council. Everyone who talks about Summers assures us that he’s a very smart fellow, though he left Harvard, where he was president for five years, a financial wreck. (Background here, here, and here.) He’d advised the endowment to borrow heavily to speculate in derivatives that went sour, yielding billions in losses. But, as everyone will tell you, Larry is very smart. He did help… Read More

Radio commentary, April 15, 2010

Recession fatigue (cont.) I said last week that the preliminary reports on March shopping showed Americans rediscovering their lust to buy, following almost two years of born-again prudence. Those early returns, which were based on sales numbers coming from the major chain stores, have now been confirmed by the official word from the Census Bureau, compiler of the monthly retail sales figures. The Census stats are based on a much broader survey of the retail universe, which includes not only big national names like Target and Wet Seal, but also local chains,… Read More

Radio commentary, March 25, 2010

Not much in the way of economic news since last we spoke. The U.S. economy continues to flatline, which only looks good next to the collapse of 2008 and 2009. The Chicago branch of the Federal Reserve puts out a monthly National Activity Index (CFNAI), a composite of 85 separate indicators, that’s a good a single measure of the state of the economy that we have. When it’s at 0, the economy is expanding at its historical average; below 0, it’s growing below trend; above 0, it’s growing above trend. The CFNAI broke… Read More