As the public tends to focus on the unemployment trends on the national level, it often forgets to analyze the specific job numbers for individual regions and states. While the states’ numbers have the ability to move with national data, they are typically exclusive entities that are determined by their own economies. Looking at the September 2012 numbers, 35 states and the District of Columbia saw an increase in employment differing from 15 states that saw a decrease. With Texas, Pennsylvania, and DC leading the decreased unemployment rate, it is interesting to take a look at what sets these states apart from the rest of the country.
The second largest over-the-month increase in employment took place in Pennsylvania with an addition of 17,800 jobs. Looking at the statistical significance of the data, Pennsylvania was the largest in over-the-month numbers and over-the-year numbers. The specifics of the report in particular industries within each state are not as definite as the national press release, but it is a lot more difficult to analyze 50 economies with published brevity yet accuracy.
Specific regarding the Pennsylvania economy are quite interesting. According to Gant Daily, “the September jobs growth was limited to service-providing industries, which increased by 21,300 to a record high of 4,912,700. Education & health services added the most jobs in September, due mostly to an increase of 8,200 jobs in educational services. Professional & business services also showed a sizeable gain, up 7,900 to a record high of 730,500 jobs.”
Does this give insight into government spending programs and how they may influence unemployment? That may be a question for John Maynard Keynes and his political economic standpoint.
I think the relevance of the PA jobs numbers come at a vital time in the US presidential race with PA knowingly one of the most important ‘swing states’ in the race. A state that has typically been seen to lean in Obama’s favor is now getting a $3 million campaign push by Romney in the final hours of the trail. Although the 17,800 jobs were added to the state, unemployment still remains above the national level at 8.2% and this is what the public sees. The question remains as to how/who the presidential candidates will target. Will they target the working class or business men of Pennsylvania and determine who is most affected by the current situation?
Pennsylvania’s economy and natural resources are an important part of the American economy. Both presidential candidates differ on how they see economic operations for Pennsylvania. With this being said, which social class, and what economic direction will the voting public see as an opportunity for growth in their state?
It seems as if every year I am assigned to read at least one piece of literature surrounding the issue of gender inequalities while understanding the repercussions on the individual and society. This instance, the timing is quite remarkable as my analysis of “The Myth of Male Decline” by Stephanie Coontz, comes after a weekend with the boys and an afternoon of watching football. Why is it remarkable? Because the capitalist processes behind a single football game is a microcosm for the reasons why gender inequalities exist in society.
At first, I thought this article was going to be consecutive statistics listed without any subsequent socioeconomic analysis by the author. However, I was proved wrong and have strong agreements with many of the points the author makes regarding current trends surrounding gender and the workplace. This article seemed quite déjà vu to the book Guyland by Michael Kimmel, which revolves around the analysis of how growing up as a boy in society has become more complex and confusing in the new social world where men are structured.
As Coontz points out, the issue with men now is that we face this gender mystique. One result is that this mystique leads to harassment and ostracism of boys who engage in non-manly activities. Coontz states, “Now men need to liberate themselves from the pressure to prove their masculinity.” The gender roles for men not only promote social mobility, but lately tend to hinder the career moves due to peer judgment.
On the other hand, I personally think women need to liberate themselves from the sole proposition that good-looks and sex sell. Women who have recognized this trend in society have intelligently used this mentality for self-improvement. BUT, it creates a stereotype for the rest of the women in society and places them in a certain line of work that requires a particular feminine charisma.
This is rather noticeable from the NFL game currently broadcasted on national television. Through the variety of commercials, attractive women take over the marketing schemes to target the majority audience of men. The panel of analysts and experts are all men who evaluate the “man’s game.” Female reporters seem limited to the on-field analysis and brief professional interviews. Cheerleaders are all hyping up the crowd cheering on their “men”.
One source Coontz cited was an NYU sociologist Paula England. She believes that “most women, despite earning higher grades, seem to be educating themselves for occupations that systematically pay less.” This stems from the gender roles and career routes women have been guided toward. There are “manly” professions where women are not seen as credible in the workforce…so why enter? Men typically like to deal with men. I don’t remember the last time I heard a business deal between a man and woman was discussed one afternoon on the golf course.
We are raised from birth to put on a certain face in society. The stereotypes and gender roles are a self-fulfilling prophecy. I am a lacrosse player at Gettysburg College and some of my best friends play for the women’s team. Why doesn’t the NCAA strap helmets and gloves onto the women and allow a full contact game?
The 1988 film Barbarians at the Gate accounts the aggressive and dramatic takeover of RJR Nabisco while illustrating Wall Street’s greed at its finest. The chaotic Wall Street fight for the tobacco and food company was the biggest takeover in Wall Street’s history and due to its publicity grew unnecessarily big in size. Investors in the movie, Peter Cohen, who headed the Shearson Lehman Hutton unit of American Express and most famous, Henry Kravis, the cutthroat leader of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, forcefully outbid each other to a level signifying the Street’s demeanor at this time.
Similar to the other blockbusting movies surrounding the games played on Wall Street, this film focused on the concept of greed. Elevated hype by a bunch of egotistical and flashy investors in accordance with PR firms wanting the spotlight, the message portrayed is that greed is not good for the system. This was the first time in history that a leverage buyout caused frenzy in the media questioning the ethics and systematic approach of investors on Wall Street.
What is interesting in the gist of this movie is the reversal of unconventional thought that greed is good. In the Wall Street movies and economic texts, incentives and greed are what move the system. Especially preached by economists in neoclassical theory and on Wall Street, greed is the motivation and driving factor which creates a prosperous economic system. It is what makes the capitalist processes thrive and grow economies on a global scale. Here, the Barbarians used greed and junk bonds to finance their operations taken to a new height which affected the aggregate after the buyout.
Barbarians at the Gate signifies the need to control/regulate capitalistic processes on Wall Street in the future due to its integral part of the world economy as a whole.
Ben Bernanke and the Federal Reserve Board of Directors announced this past Thursday (9.20.2012) an action, Quantitiave Easing 3, the third try at a controversial policy to ramp up the US economy. The main idea of QE3 is that the Fed will buy $40 Billion in mortgage-backed securities each month with an end date determined by and evaluated by the strength of the US economy. All in all the goal of the bond buying policy is to “put downward pressure on longer-term interest rates, support mortgage markets, and help to make broader financial conditions more accommodative.” By keeping interest rates and mortgage rates particularly low, the Fed hopes to fuel more spending and investment in higher interest rate assets and eventually create more hiring.
Interestingly enough, the announcement comes after the jobs numbers were released for August seeing unemployment virtually unchanged and not enough job creation. It should not take strictly jobs numbers to see that the US economy is still in a slump. But then again, I guess it’s more important to get people jobs then worry about the people who have jobs and are currently being crushed by the economic situation. One of the major parts of the policy is that “if the outlook for the labor market does not improve substantially, the Committee will continue its purchases of agency mortgage-backed securities, undertake additional asset purchases, and employ its other policy tools as appropriate until such improvement is achieved in a context of price stability.” Seen by many policy makers (especially Keynesians) this indefinite end-date will hopefully change consumer expectations, thus influencing the supply factor.
Theoretically, with a promise to keep demand high, firms should start to produce at larger levels, resulting in hiring and an increase in labor demand. Many economists believe with the unclear end date of the easing program, firms will hire and not just squeeze their current labor due to the realization demand will eventually fall.
The issue is that previous use of QE reduced interest rates but did not stimulate more mortgages, more business investment, or more lending. If this isn’t happening, then how are jobs being created? A major issue is that banks are sitting on trillions of dollars in excess reserves and haven’t been eager to lend that money out. Logically, with interest rates low it makes it harder for them to make a decent profit on money they lend out. On the other side of the coin is that firms are not tentative about investing due to high interest rates. They are cautious due to the uncertainty of the surrounding economy and their hopes for demand. It is all a cycle which has a major influence on the demand for labor.
Policy decisions regarding the economy are debated among politicians and economists with differing theories that will stimulate growth. Theories are good for textbooks; not everything is so black and white. What we need is reality and an innovative way to increase consumer demand. A magician can keep trying different acts from his bag of tricks, but the only way to truly awe the crowd is to get them directly involved and change the way they think about reality. It’s not the wand, it’s the magician.
It does not seem like much of a surprise that the jobs numbers released this past Friday followed the 43 month trend of the unemployment rate at above 8 percent. The official tally is that total nonfarm employment rose by 96,000 jobs in a year where employment growth has average 139,000 per month. Interestingly enough, the unemployment rate fell to 8.1 percent when most economists predicted it to remain at 8.3 percent for August. But why was there a drop in the unemployment rate when so few jobs were added? The Wall Street Journal believes the decline reflects “368,000 people dropping out of the labor force” which is able to artificially lower the unemployment rate.
The labor force is defined as everyone of legal working age that is actively working or seeking employment. This definition is vague to do the methodological constraints the BLS defines as “employed” or “seeking employment”. With this being said, the labor force participation rate declined to 63.5 percent, which symbolizes the weakness of the current US economy. This is particularly bothersome and at a time when we NEED American GROWTH. I believe that as the baby boomers become older and the summer comes to a close with an economy still in recession, the average person is becoming exhausted and done searching for work. The economy has not taken a great turn for the better since this whole mess started. We need to not only create more jobs in the United States, but we need incentives for companies to bring back domestic manufacturing. Manufacturing took a tough blow losing 15,000 jobs. In my opinion, this is the main way to get the US economy back on track toward growth and compete internationally. It seems as though most of the articles on the job numbers left out analysis of the manufacturing sector.
Steve Hargreavas at CNNMoney does an excellent job at shedding light on the current situation. He corrects my belief and states most of the people who stopped searching for work were young people. Hargreaves summarizes Joseph LaVorgna, chief U.S. economist at Deutsche Bank, that while these numbers are not very convincing to strengthen the American economy, “‘the job market is improving, but only gradually’.” Two other signs that symbolize the American job market are that the hours worked and wages remained unchanged. Why do you think this is?
The numbers released will most likely motivate action from Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke to launch an easing program in the near future. The jobs are a direct reflection of the state of the US economy and something needs to be done to create an ENCOURAGED labor force.
There is a reason the crux of the 2012 Presidential election will come down to jobs and the economy. It is scary to think that 8 months from now I will be an official statistic in the labor force. With looming numbers like these, I may have to consider a victory lap here at Gettysburg College to delay the inevitable.
Well, I am glad to let the world know that my blogging talents are making a comeback. It is quite depressing that this is my first assignment of the 2012-2013 academic year and it is due on Labor Day. It is pretty Un-American having class on such a holiday, but thank you Gettysburg College for pursuing the American Dream. Writing this blog on a Friday afternoon bronzing in the sun with my colleague Mason shanking chip shots in our backyard really gets the blogging juices flowing.
Blogging truly is a product of twenty-first century culture involving interactive forms of media. Any literate person with access to the internet is able to blog about whatever their heart desires. Not only is it for professional journalists, but blogging promotes the social responsibility of being an informed citizen.
All blogs have different types of styles. Whether they are statistical, analytical, opinion based, or objective, they are an area of expression. Reading numerous blogs throughout this current semester will allow further analysis and insight into what my peers are thinking. Being able to compare and contrast the different views of high-level thinkers will broaden my knowledge of real world economics.
I am looking forward to my senior fall and I am excited to see how my blogging can improve!
It is no shocker the article titled “The Impact of Legalized Abortion on Crime” by John Donohue and Steven Levitt bears striking resemblance to Chapter 4 in Freakonomics. Nonetheless there is a shared author between the two, Steven Levitt, who has made a name for himself in accordance with this hypothesis. The theory in common is that after abortion was made legal by Roe vs. Wade in January of 1973, the rate of crime began to fall approximately 20 years later. The justification is that teenagers, unmarried women and poor women are the most likely to become pregnant with a potentially unwanted child. Thus, a large portion of these unintended pregnancies will be terminated through abortion. Donohue and Levitt had evidence that legalized abortion reduced crime rates with a twenty-year lag. They conclude that legalized abortion may account for as much as one-half of the reduction, but there are definitely other factors that contribute to this as well.
Christopher Foote and Christopher Goetz have written a ‘comment’ in response to Donohue and Levitt’s hypothesis. They find flaws in the original argument proposed by Donohue and Levitt. First, Donohue and Levitt’s concluding regressions are missing a key set of regressions because of a computer coding error. This affects the cross-state rather than the within-state comparisons of the data involving crime. Second, Foote and Goetz believe that Donohue and Levitt do not use arrests in per capita terms, although they did in other tests in their paper. Instead, they looked at total number of arrests attributed to a particular cohort of young persons.
Foote and Goetz believe that alternative ways to study the abortion-crime relationship will yield different results. Although, they do make it clear that placing their analysis along side of Donohue and Levitt’s original hypothesis, there is no compelling evidence that abortion has a selection effect on crime.
Reading both of these papers reinforces the need for analytical thinking when reading material that is presented to the public. It makes us wonder about the truths behind debunking conventional wisdom and who is telling the real story. It is logical that legalized abortion would reduce the rate of crime around the country. Of course, this will be debated at length due to the emotions behind abortion, but it nonetheless offers a new perspective on how to conduct research.