Saturday, December 26, 2009

Kaiser Family Foundation

Healthcare: the absolute best authority on healthcare reform is the Kaiser Family Foundation or KFF. They are loaded with the best analysis of the current healthcare proposal including all the major bills. They also have a side by side comparison of the house and senate bills. Another interesting feature is the health insurance subsidy calculator.

U-3, U-6 and Black Unemployment

The unemployment rates for standard unemployment(U-3), total unemployment (U-6)and Black unemployment all dropped slightly in November. The moves were a surprise to forecasters. Non farm payroll dropped only (-11,000) which is pretty close to zero. There were jobs losses in manufacturing (-41,000) and job gains in temporary help(+52,000) and health care(+21,000).

Non farm payroll dropped by only (-11,000) which is a negligible amount. However, the cumulative job losses over the recession have totaled more than 7 million.

Note: Starting this month the Evil Black Economist will combine the three charts.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Nearly Half of Detroits Working Population is Unemployed

An article in the Detroit News explained that nearly half of Detroit's workers are unemployed. The article is a good lesson on how the government counts unemployment. It shows what the official rate is much lower than the real rate of unemployment. The real rate does not count workers who are working part-time and want full-time work, workers who have stopped looking, workers who have returned to school, early retirees, and corporate buyouts. When added up, all the factors lead to an unemployment rate that is nearly double the reported rate. Detroit's reported rate was 27%, so do the math.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Job Summit: Export Roundtable

This a summary of the job summit session "Expanding Job Opportunities for American Workers though exports".


Larry Summer's opening question: "What can the government do to increase exports?" got to the central theme of the session. There was some initial, self serving statements from Disney, Fedex and US steel to start the session but then it settled down. Ursula Burns from Xerox brought the group together around the lack of opportunity for overseas for US products that were competitive.

And Mr. Summers summarized well:
1) There are still structural barriers to trade overseas for example slow customs clearance. Some are the subject of trade negotiations.
2) Some of the problems are created by the US government such as tight controls on visas from Muslim countries and limited trade promotion by US embassies
3) US individualism may be hurting us in what is a "collective" game: exports. US business must work more collaboratively.
4) Credit, discrimination and tax policies are hurting exports. But products must be competitive regardless of whether they are exported or not.
5) US jobs can be created by import substitution. The US government should use it's spending power to buy "American"

The government must stay attuned to the export agenda.

Some details

The attendee's were:
Larry summers – Head of National Economic Council
Farooq Kathwari, CEO of Ethan Allen Furniture Company
Susan M. Collin – dean ford school of public policy.
Bill or Phil ossi – medimar corporation. Middle market ag research. Quality food products. Cedar rapids Iowa
Robert Iger, President and CEO, Walt Disney.
Ursula Burns – President and CEO, Xerox
W. James (Jim) McNerney, Jr – Chairman, president and CEO of The Boeing Company
Greg Bentley – CEO of Bentley systems. Compute software for design and construction
Jerrry Schib – Peterson institute- also ex-US trade negotiator, ex-head of presidents export council
Fred Smith – President and CEO, Fedex
Lawerence B Lindsey – consultant, ex-National Economic Council, George W. Bush.
John P. Surma, President – US steel -- $25 Billion
Jim Hoffa, Present, United States of Teamster Union – 1.4 million members
Raul Pedraza -- Magno international, LP – Logistics
Fred Hochberg Head of Import export bank

Other Notible comments

Larry Summers -- Domestic demand will not be enough, we need to increase exports.
Susan Collins -- The US is under performing on exports compared to other countries
Jim Hoffa -- US Trade policy has "shafted" the workers.
Ursula Burns -- We need to increase credit to small businesses.
Larry Lindsey -- Embassies need to be more business and trade oriented. They need to be more user friendly. They need to promote trade more. Our embassies have a seige mentality.
Hoffa - US Government should buy more US made goods.

The Billion Dollar Round Table

The Billion Dollar Round Table is an organization dedicated to supplier diversity. Members must commit to spending $1 Billion dollars with Minority and Women owned businesses.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Suburban Police and Fire Jobs are Subsidized Employment

I live in a well to do suburb of New York City. Well I think it is well to do, It is certainly better than where I grew up, but I didn't notice. Anyway, we are definitely over policed and over protected again fire. In fact, the number of police and firemen in our jurisdiction is astounding especially given the very low level of crime and the low number of building fires in our community. To me it looks like another hidden jobs program for non college educated males. And in our area, they are white males. Our force is more diverse than the surrounding areas but the fore is still overwhelmingly white. And male.

I have to find some non-biased statistics on the appropriate level of spending on law enforcement and fire protection relative to the actual crime or fire rate. The problem is the statistics are very hard to come by. They are generally kept in each municipality's library. And there is no cross community comparison so you cannot be completely sure.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

NPR: Black Men Hit Especially Hard by Unemployment

A discussion of Black Male unemployment featuring Harry Holzer, a long expert on unemployment.

The NPR discussion is Here

Monday, December 7, 2009

Jobs Summit Review: Opening Remarks

Well the jobs summit is over. The Evil Black Economist will have an in depth review of all seven tracks at the summit. The five tracks are: Innovation and Green Jobs, Small Business, Infrastructure jobs, Export Jobs, worker training, and "Encouraging Business Competitiveness and Job Creation. Plus opening and closing remarks. Today we look at the opening remarks.

Opening Remarks Analysis:

Well there really was not much in the opening remarks. Basically the President and Vice-President said: 1) there are limited resources to create jobs, 2) we had a major financial crisis and had to fix that, 3) we know it is bad out there for the unemployed.

What they did not mention:

The economy works in cycles and jobs will return naturally; but we cannot tell when or how many jobs will return. No one knows if the US is in the midst of a rise in the long term structural unemployment. There is almost nothing the executive branch of government can do about job creation. The two wars are costing a lot of money.

Opening Remarks Summary:

Joe Biden, the vice president opened the forum. He stated that there is limited resources in government to create jobs. He noted that economic bubbles have gotten the US into trouble. He discussed the large rate of job losses which bottomed out at 700,000 a month in January 2009 He then claimed credit for averting the financial disaster and credit for the jobs created by the ARRA 2008(The American Recovery Act of 2008). Biden said the Congressional Budget Office determined the ARRA was responsible for creating as many as 1.6 million jobs. He then circled back to say that the President, who has a lot on his plate from day one, was focused on creating good jobs.

President Barack Obama, welcomed the assembled crowd. He then talked about the personal effect of the jobs losses on the unemployed. He brought up the financial crisis, the ARRA and the loss of 700K in Jan 2009. He noted that the economy was growing, productivity was up, the stock market was rising and corporate profits were high.

President Obama posed the question at the center of the jobs summit, "How do we get businesses to start hiring again?"

He pointed out that the private sector was the key to job growth. Also that government was limited in what it could do because of reduced receipts and increased expenditures. He also said that he was listening for new ideas. He mentioned FDR's call for "Bold, persistent experimentation" was now required to resolve the crisis.


Saturday, December 5, 2009

The "D" Word -- Discrimination in Employment

Discrimination is a word you don't hear about much these days. Yet racial and class discrimination still exists -- big time. Discrimination is intimately connected to racial disparities in unemployment. As the New York Times highlighted recently, unemployment rates for Blacks are almost double that for white across broad categories of education. Yet the article uses the "D" word only twice.

It is almost like the weather; it is taken as a given. Those who are not touched by it, assume it does not exist. And those affected by it, have no recourse but to accept it and move on. It has become more acceptable by the majority, using the justification of "hard times," to look the other way when discrimination occurs. It is acceptable to ignore the result or say "Tsk, Tsk, what a shame, but I am not like that."

Discrimination is the status quo, so combating discrimination requires a positive action away from the present state. It requires a change. (Note: I am trying not to use the phrase "affirmative action" which has been hijacked by the conservatives). It requires action by private citizens in millions of small, individual steps to say the current process is wrong, unfair and immoral. Fixing the problem requires moral courage, not just a class in business ethics.

Discrimination is still wrong. In these tough times, it is worse still to accept the advantages and privilages that discrimination may offer. Regular readers know to expect some solutions following the statement of a difficult problem, so read on.

The following recommendation would make a renewed progress toward ending discrimination in employment.

1) Active enforcement of the nations exist discrimination laws. Active, re-occurring, paired testing and monitoring programs in in front-office, high profile industries like NYC food service or highway construction. Creative use of media to publicize test results. You can review discrimination in the NYC food service here.

2) Increased and full funding of the EEOC, the US department of civil rights and the justice department.

3) Enforcement of employment laws at state and local level

4) Enforcement of fair housing laws. Residential segregation is a major factor in US discrimination.

5) Inculsion of a "discrimination case study" in all of the business ethics classes in undergraduate and graduate business schools.

6) Pressure on think tanks and politics to make public stands on issues like discrimination.

7) An additional think tank for discrimination studies. There is a dearth of information and data on discrimination. Very few of the newer statistical models and methodologies have been applied to the area of discrimination. In addition, discrimination studies provided the academic underpinning (along with moral persuasion) for effective legislation. Many law cannot be enacted with a strong technical support(check the doll studies used in Brown v. Board of Ed).

Even conservatives are forced to agree discrimination is wrong. They complain about the remedy's impact on freedom, liberty, big government, taxes. And then block any real solution. So Thurgood Marshall and the NAACP had the right strategy to force the legal system to act on moral principles at the detailed level in everyday life.


Friday, December 4, 2009

New York Times Article on Educated Black Male Unemployment Gap

"In the Job Hunt, College Degree Cannot Close Racial Gap" - NYT

Here is the link to the article on the disparity in employment for college educated Blacks especially men. Here

Also, make sure you read the comments. They can be better than the article.

November Jobs Report

Well, suprise, suprise, the jobs report had some slight good news. The general unemployment rate dropped to 10.0 percent. And the number of people unemployed decreased to 15.4 million. Black unemployment also dropped slightly to 15.6%. The biggest news was that non-farm payroll(NFP) dropped only by 11,000. Which is really good news since job loses have averaged 135,000 for the prior three months. NFP decreased by 125,000 in October.

Most economists had predicted a stable or higher unemployment rate. Temporary help hiring increased which is one of the first signs of an employment recovery.

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