Last Week in Review

August 16, 2010 by Emsi Burning Glass

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Welcome to EMSI’s first weekly review of the news, links of note, and data points from last week.

The News:

The week began with everyone still digesting the latest employment report.

In the report, private-sector jobs showed below-expected growth while Census job losses continue to unwind. Calculated Risk did a great job showing the employment figures with and without the Census employment numbers.

On Tuesday, the Federal Reserve Board stated that “the pace of recovery in output and employment has slowed in recent months.”

Related to this: The day before (Monday), the San Francisco Branch of the Federal Reserve came out with an Economic Letter stating that barring any changes in economic policy, “…forecast trends indicate that the macroeconomic outlook is likely to deteriorate progressively starting sometime next summer, even if the data suggest that a renewed recession is unlikely over the next several months”.

Also on Tuesday, President Obama signed a $26 billion dollar bill entitled ‘‘__________ Act of _____” (and no, this is not a typo), directing money to state governments to help with teachers pay and Medicaid payments.

Two more data points of note: GDP for the 2nd quarter was revised downward, as fresh economic data was taken into account, and weekly unemployment figures went up, indicating no easing on that front in the near term.

The quote of the week goes to Felix Salmon, appearing on NPR’s Marketplace Friday. When asked to end the Weekly Wrap with some sunshine, he quipped: “We can’t have a double-dip recession because we never came out of the first one.”

Links of Note:

From Reuters: State governments eager for paydays in hard times are doubling down on gambling. “Desperate for revenue to ease budget shortfalls totaling an expected $127 billion or more this fiscal year alone, lawmakers and governors are championing casino deals and looking past flashing signs of distress.”

From the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis: Economic development agencies battling tough budgets, the economy and each other in hopes of job retention and growth. “Economic development organizations generally have a variety of tools in their incentive box. The survey found that workforce training has become a much more popular incentive—more than 45 percent said its use had increased. ”

From USA Today: Federal workers earning double their private counterparts. “‘The data are not useful for a direct public-private pay comparison,’ says Colleen Kelley, president of the National Treasury Employees Union. … Chris Edwards, a budget analyst at the libertarian Cato Institute, thinks otherwise. ‘Can’t we now all agree that federal workers are overpaid and do something about it?’ he asks. ”

From our blog: Middle-skill jobs: going strong or fading away? We review recent (and seemingly conflicting) research on middle-skills.  Bottom line: defining “middle-skill jobs” is the tricky part.

Also from our blog: The relationship between education and the economy. The news of the week underscores that the economic issue is employment, and our contention that until we get a handle on that, none of our other economic issues can really be resolved.

Data Points:

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York has a really useful map of credit conditions throughout the US.

The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis has a very interesting paper out: “Discordant City Employment Cycles.” From the paper: “This paper estimates city-level employment cycles for 58 large U.S. cities and documents the substantial cross-city variation in the timing, lengths, and frequencies of their employment contractions.” A chart of note is on page 40.