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  • An end to the housing market’s troubles? Not yet

    New data on housing starts provide the best indication to date that homebuilding activity, at least for the single-family side of the equation, likely bottomed out at the beginning of this year. This marks a dramatic improvement from the veritable free-fall in construction activity recorded over the...
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  • Bad Ideas Never Die

    Sometimes you'll see a proposal mentioned by a politician that sounds appealing based on emotion. Unfortunately, many of these proposals exist for no other reason than to say to the electorate "We Care!". And such is the case with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission's (CFTC) announcement...
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  • Time to Relax

    Since I am in long-weekend mode already, and don't want to interrupt the reverie by pointing out that firm signs of economic recovery remain elusive, I thought I'd direct readers to some interesting takes on two important policy issues: cap-and-trade and health care. On the health care debate...
  • No Help Wanted

    A new research note by economists at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco explores the likelihood of yet another jobless recovery. The authors note that the relatively low level of temp worker layoffs and high share of involuntary part-time workers (often referred to as underemployment) at this...
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  • The Bottomless Pit

    Every month we think we're getting closer to the bottom of the housing market and when the data come out we inevitably hear the same thing: "We're almost there". Well guess what? Another month's worth of data on existing and new home sales and still no evidence the carnage has ended...
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  • Ouch, My Aching Greenback

    A warning by Standard & Poor's about the possibility of a credit rating downgrade for the U.K. sent a shockwave across global bond and equity markets. With the U.K. government spending and printing large sums of money to resurrect the economy, analysts are expressing fears about the rapid accumulation...
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  • O Recovery, Where Art Thou?

    Perceptions of the economy change quickly. Only a couple of weeks ago it seemed nearly everyone was spotting 'green shoots' of recovery all over the place. After receiving sobering reports this week on retail sales , unemployment insurance claims and industrial production , hopes of an imminent...
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  • Green Shoots of Recovery or Just More Weeds?

    Whether it's the arrival of spring or people growing tired of all the bad economic news, everyone seems to be getting out their microscopes and scrutinizing every single data release all in the hopes of spotting the end of the recession - hence all the talk of green shoots . A point I've made...
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  • What Caused the Recession Again?

    Conventional wisdom has pretty much established the idea that the housing market crash pushed the U.S. economy into a mild recession at the end of 2007, which then snowballed into what is now one of the deepest recessions in the post-WWII era. However, what if that view turns out to be wrong? In a recent...
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  • A Tough Job

    People around the office have accused me and my fellow economists of being a tad too gloomy. Never mind that manufacturing output continues to decline, the homebuilding sector continues to flounder, major companies are declaring bankruptcy or laying off workers, and...well you get the picture. When times...
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