« Stubbornly High Unemployment—Posner | Main | Social Interactions and Bubbles-Becker »

05/11/2010

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Jimbino

"...and they should be pro a private enterprise competitive economy rather than anti big and small business, and pro big unions" I take to mean "should be pro a private enterprise competitive economy and all business, but anti big unions."

Jim

Could we please use a more appropriate term for governments shooting themnselves in both economic feet other than "soverign debt crisis" as if government's profligicy is akin to some natural disaster like a flood or tornado. Please?

Jack

Prof Becker? "In most other respects, the anatomy of unemployment has been no different during this recession than other severe recessions."

Like housing off from 2.5 million starts to half a million? And all related industries from wood and cement to appliances and furniture? It will be a good while before housing even comes back to the replacement plus population growth rates of perhaps 700,000 starts.

"Yet contrary to these expectations, the reported underemployment rate also increased, from 16.9% to 17.1%."

....... and:

"In most other respects, the anatomy of unemployment has been no different during this recession than other severe recessions. Most of the unemployed are young and have limited education and other skills. Long term unemployment-those unemployed more than 6 months- now accounts for almost half the unemployed, up from 40% in February of this year, and from 22% in February of 2009."

.......... not good news with another cohort of "young" joining the prospective work force next month with perhaps 25% college grads and the others HS or sadly drop outs. What to do? Send the HS or less back to school? WPA projects? or wait for wandering street gangs to expand?

Jim: Take heart! Government profligicy declined as a percentage of GDP doing the Clinton years and even during the Bush admin spendathon the ratios didn't get much higher until the melt down.

http://www.usgovernmentspending.com/us_20th_century_chart.html

But! the ratios aren't likely to improve while 17% are un or under-employed.

Pariuri

I was just wondering how the recovery in emlpoyment situation stands. I'm writing a review about it for my university and this article really helped me a lot. Thanks, Alin from http://case-de-pariuri.ro

Chris Graves

This is a very difficult issue. Of course, the economy is so complex that we do not know exactly what is going on throughout the millions of players and the web of their relationships. But we do know in general that when there is large-scale unemployment, we should expect to see movements made within months from less profitable and less sustainable businesses and entire sectors of the economy to more profitable ones. Market mechanisms should induce market players to move toward a new equilibrium of supply and demand for labor. When we do not see these shifts made within a year or so, then there is good reason to believe that some distortion in the regime of relative prices is distorting this corrective process.

There is no escape from the adjustment process brought on by the over-expansion of credit in recent years that was followed by the corresponding contraction in credit in 2008 since the original expansion was not adequately funded by savings. So, workers who were caught in-between in sectors of the economy that could not be sustained with sufficient capital when the supply of credit tightened were displaced. The outstanding question is since credit now seems to be expanding, why have the unemployed and underemployed not found comparable employment? Incidentally, the countervailing trends in these statistics should give us pause to consider their accuracy and how informative they really are.

I am not sure about the underlying reason for the relatively slow recovery. I suspect part of the story has to do with the analysis presented by Professor Becker focusing on the uncertain expectations of business due to the enormous deficits, questions about future crowding out, questions about future rises in taxes or new ones such as the VAT, questions about additional expensive employer mandates such as those that might fund the new health care legislation, new and unclear regulations introduced by the Obama Administration in recent months. Anytime the government makes it more expensive or troublesome to hire additional workers, then there will be fewer hired.

We could also be witnessing an application of a version of Rational Expectations Theory. Entrepreneurs might be leery about new investments and new hires as they could entertain doubts about the sustainability of the surge of credit that has become available to counter the recession. They might have caught on to the false signals being sent out by the Fed with their incredibly low interest rate that too closely resembles the policy Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan pursued following the dotcom bubble bursting about ten years ago that set us up for the current recession.

Jack

Chris: "I am not sure about the underlying reason for the relatively slow recovery."


............... Housing.

"focusing on the uncertain expectations of business"

.............. Yep, kinda risky lending on what may well be still declining prices for homes and commercial buildings with soaring vacancy rates and especially so when they can borrow at half a percent through the Fed and lend at 3% on Treasuries that are in plentiful supply.

"Market mechanisms should induce market players to move toward a new equilibrium of supply and demand for labor. When we do not see these shifts made within a year or so, then there is good reason to believe that some distortion in the regime of relative prices is distorting this corrective process."

............... Agreed, those better off have a home, perhaps more than one, and much of what they need, while those unemployed, poor, or afraid are not buying homes or much else. A demand limited economy. Perhaps it will beat down wages even further, but! to what end? that the lower ranks become even more dependent on taxpayer subsidies? while other eke out a "living" with next to nothing to spend beyond the immediate basics causing further contraction?

Chris Graves

Jack, the fall in the price of housing is part of the adjustment process. House prices had been artificially inflated.

Further, the issue is not stimulating aggregate demand but providing a stable legal and monetary background for sustainable capital, investment, and production to emerge. Over time, these factors will produce more jobs and opportunities for people that will last.

Jack

Chris: While the fall in home prices has had the contractionary effect of disappearing trillions in capital Americans and even others around the world had just a few years ago, in terms of stubborn unemployment, that's not the main, or most direct point. That direct effect is that of the jobs lost as some 2 million homes per year are not begin built by comparison to 2006.

In my above post I left out the negative effect on banking. Consider: Gone are 2 million "loan origination" fees that are typically one percent of those millions of homes times a median sale price above $200,000. Gone too are title insurance fees, credit report costs, a host of "junk" fees, and sales commissions. On top of all else it IS going to be a LOT harder to shovel loans out the door under something akin to responsible underwriting standards than it was when a totally corrupted system was ladling them out to all comers.

As for "not stimulating aggregate demand", in this mess it had better be about ginning up true demand backed by dollars in the wallet while we make the transition from relying on housing and said housing helping the "financial sector" "earn?" 30% of all profits earned in the US.

Lastly, during a decade or so of an increasingly corrupted private sector "creating capital" at a fierce rate based on the sloppiest underwriting the world has ever seen bearing no relationship to a viable income stream, were you as "concerned" about "stable and legal monetary" policies? Including those of collecting nearly as much in tax revenues as was spent?

Chris Graves

Jack, I am not sure that I disagree with anything you have just said. As I said above, naturally the housing market should shrink some because it was affected by overinvestment as a bubble resulted from Fed policy and irresonsible lenders encouraged by Federal law and policy. So, I agree that the Fed along with prominent financial institutions created the housing bubble-- I think that is what you are saying here. That is what I was saying above. The "created" capital you refer to is exactly what I am critical of.

So, yes, I object to a reckless financial sector spurred on by the inflationary monetary policy that the Fed followed under Alan Greenspan and has continued under Ben Bernanke. To be honest, I did not realize at the time that Greenspan's policy was as inflationary as it turned out to be since I, like Greenspan, focused exclusively on the general price level to identify the rise of inflation ignoring how lowering the interest rate so dramatically was affecting changes in relative prices. Now, I have learned better, but it does not appear that Chairman Bernanke has.

As I have said before in related discussions, I am in favor of a monetary rule, a return to something like Glass-Steagall, and some limits on or regulation of financial derivatives. The key to further problems such as we are suffering through is to avoid the set-up for a bust by not inflating the economy to begin with.

Jack

Chris: Some do like to claim that low Fed rates were a major cause of the massive distortion of the housing biz but I am not aligned with them. First, were low Fed rates the problem we'd see far more evidence of bad investments throughout the economy.

No, we could have done very nicely with low mortgage rates, as was the case during the post-WWII housing boom of the 50's HAD we similarly responsible underwriting, banks retaining at least some of the loans they made in house, non-banks NOT gambling at 30 times somewhat fictional assets, and "rating agencies" not selling off reputations built over a century to the highest bidder. Nope.... the Fed's sins if any were venial by comparison to those of the ENTIRE WS establishment we've seen implode into rubble to be bailed out by taxpayers already lip-deep in the tidal wave of the impacts meted out to them by a sector gone completely mad with greed not the least leavened by ethical considerations or accountability to their stockholders or those whose capital they were drunkenly flinging about.

Or? turn it around? The very same scheme could have been propagated at higher rates of interest, and especially so as so many of the players had no intention of paying the interest for very long, or in all too many cases, at all.

Gspn "inflationay policies?" While there's not much of a long term trend to go by due to the anomalies of going off the gold std (devaluing) and the related "oil shock" it looks as though the Gspn era is one of very modest inflation, a much lower rate than one would expect considering the very low rates of unemployment during the 90's.

Further, "inflation fighting" is a very different game since an "overheated" economy can reach out for a nearly infinite supply of labor throughout the world. You'll note no real gains in purchasing power being made by working folk despite a doubling of per capita productive during the entire era.

http://www.miseryindex.us/irbyyear.asp

Well, complete agreement on GS! Instead of launching what was the baby in the 30's with the bathwater as Phil Gramm did at the behest of lobbyists who provided him with a VERY tidy post senatorial sinecure, it would have indeed been wise to have held many meeting with long debate as to how to modernize GS for a more international world.

And............. ahh yes! Regulation! Does it seem the world needs more than say three? five at the most, standardized credit card contracts with a clearly written, single page of obligations? The ER seems WELL ahead of us on this.

Mortgages: There are reasons in a small minority of cases for mortgages other than a 15 or 30 year amortization requiring some "skin in the game" but both interest only, or yet worse, negative amort, or teaser rates followed by hefty jump-ups unrelated to indexes, really ought to be limited to those who can demonstrate a market sophistication and documented means of handling them.

As for "not inflating the economy" other than cost push of oil and other imported resources seeming to go up as the dollar, necessarily, declines, I suspect that creating inflation is about as likely as making a roaring campfire out of rotted and water-logged firewood. Let's set the time to "worry" about inflation when the under and unemployed rate drops (miraculously?) to 10 percent and the "official" rate approaches 5%. In other words enjoy the summer, along with five or so more before beginning to wear out your inflation worry beads.

Jack

Meant "EU seems well ahead" on CC regulations and customs

coach handbags

I do not know how to express myself, but i want to say is that your article is very nice, i was impressed with the words and very like it.

coach handbags

I do not know how to express myself, but i want to say is that your article is very nice, i was impressed with the words and very like it.

make money from home

Home business is so crucial for GDP.

Creative Recreation

Your blog brings me a great deal of fun. Really glad to possess the opportunity to meet you. Take ralax and give yourself a surprise, and we will reside a lot more delighted.

Resume Writing Services

What an amazing post that I have ever come through. It gives the information that I was really searching for the past week and I am really satisfied with this post. Need more like this. Thank you.

lacoste shoes 2010

Where there is life, there is hope. I feel strongly that I can make it.

lacoste shoes 2010

All is but lip-wisdom that wants experience.Expericence is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards. Do you think so?

coach sale

Stories seldom told,Flowing by the skyline,My love songs that never rhyme.I Stand alone and alone,lingering by my secret rainbow

lacoste shoes

A friendship founded on bussiness is better than business founded on friendship. Do you understand?

sesli chat

This is a very difficult issue. Of course, the economy is so complex that we do not know exactly what is going on throughout the millions of players and the web of their relationships. But we do know in general that when there is large-scale unemployment, we should expect to see movements made within months from less profitable and less sustainable businesses and entire sectors of the economy to more profitable ones. Market mechanisms should induce market players to move toward a new equilibrium of supply and demand for labor. When we do not see these shifts made within a year or so, then there is good reason to believe that some distortion in the regime of relative prices is distorting this corrective process.

air jordan 1

God was constructed out of mankind's need for hope, for purpose, for meaning an invisible protector and conscientious father.What do you think?

tracie

Easy Earning money in online never been this easy and transparent. You would find great tips on how to make that dream amount every Day.Sitting in the home earn around $100 perday. So go ahead and click here for more details and open floodgates to your online income. All the best.

Thanks.

surveys online

It's good that the employment is moving up, even if it's slow, atleast something is happening. By the way, I had a nice time reading the details that you posted.

surveys online

It's good that the employment is moving up, even if it's slow, atleast something is happening. By the way, I had a nice time reading the details that you posted.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Working...
Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.

Working...

Post a comment

Become a Fan

March 2014

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
            1
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30 31