unemployment rate: The Economic Story Behind the Statistics - 02/08/10 04:24 PM
We keep hearing that the economy is improving and about the statistics to back up the claim. Personal incomes rose, but unemployment held steady. Consumer spending increased, but not as much as expected. The economy grew at an impressive 5.7 percent in the last quarter of 2009, but most economists expect the overall growth for 2010 to stay under 3 percent. What does all this mean?

Maybe our data driven world puts us on the road to less understanding instead of a better grasp of the world around us. Time magazine made that point in a recent column that the … (2 comments)

unemployment rate: Unemployment Benefits Not Always Beneficial - 01/31/10 05:51 PM
What if the very programs that are supposed to help the unemployed are actually prolonging unemployment? Beyond the staggering cost to the government, there are other implications to extending unemployment benefits. Research strongly suggests that a long stretch of unemployment compensation actually prolongs the high unemployment rate. It is an unfortunate cycle that is likely to continue for awhile.

Unemployment compensation is the kind of governmental compassion that generally has support from both Democrats and Republicans, hence the recent bills that have passed through Congress to extend a variety of unemployment benefits. While it varies from state to state, typical … (2 comments)

unemployment rate: Americans Hunkering Down for a Chilly Economy - 12/24/09 04:37 AM
According to recent polls, more Americans would rather see the government work on the economy then work on the environment. The economy remains at the forefront of Americans' minds and tops the list of concerns. Despite the empirical evidence that the economy is on the mend, people across the country still feel the effects of the worst recession since the Great Depression. The national unemployment rate is still at ten percent and retail numbers are still down.

The National Retail Federation reports that consumer spending this holiday is at a five year low. The fact that the hottest toy of … (0 comments)

unemployment rate: The Income Gap Widens - 11/01/09 05:09 PM
The Great Recession is not the great American equalizer after all. It's been widely reported recently that this recession hit middle and low income families the hardest, while the wealthy have continued to prosper. It may be chic to save and everyone brags about coupon clipping, but the idea that "we are all in this together" may not actually be the case.

According to the Associated Press, incomes have declined across all demographics, but at a greater percentage for middle and lower income groups. "Median income fell last year from $52,163 to $50,303, wiping out a decade's worth of gains … (0 comments)

unemployment rate: Second Half of Year Should be Better - 07/10/09 10:30 PM
As the worst recession since World War II closes in on the two year mark, less people are losing their jobs, but unemployment is still rising. People who do have jobs are working fewer hours for less pay. According to the Associated Press, the national unemployment rate is 9.5 percent, the highest it's been in 26 years. It's predicted to hit 10 percent before the end of the year--a number President Obama hoped to avoid with his administration's efforts to turn the economy around.

Layoffs have slowed down a bit across the country, but hiring has not picked up. While … (1 comments)

unemployment rate: Austin Jobs and Housing Outlook - 04/28/09 07:58 PM
The Austin area added about 3,300 jobs between March 2008 and March 2009, according to the Texas Workforce Commission. That's the good news. The bad news is that the local unemployment rate has gone from 3.8 percent in March 2008 to 6.2 percent this past March. Austin is not immune to the recession after all.

What Austin is doing is weathering this recession better than most places. That 6.2 percent unemployment rate is well below the 8.5 percent national rate. While other major cities across the country, and even across Texas, are continuing the downward spiral of job losses, Austin … (0 comments)

unemployment rate: Conflicting Economic Numbers - 04/04/09 06:32 PM
The stock market rally has many economists hopeful that the end of the recession is near, but the recent unemployment numbers may have dashed those hopes. According to Associated Press reports, the nation's unemployment rate jumped to 8.5 percent in March, the highest in 26 years. "It's an ugly report and April is going to be equally as bad," predicted Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Economy.com.

The number of unemployed people climbed to 13.2 million in March and that doesn't include the number of people who are now working part-time due to having their hours cut. Economists predict that … (3 comments)

unemployment rate: National Economy: Is It All About Perception? - 03/19/09 07:10 PM
CNN's Ali Velshi and Erica Fink recently did a comparison of what they considered to be five key measures of the economy. Using what they call the "CNN Real Feel Economic Index," they looked at jobs, personal income, personal savings, industrial production, and home prices.

According to Velshi and Fink, "the U.S. economy, more so than other worldwide economies, is dependent on spending decisions made by consumers. Consumer behavior drives spending habits, spending habits drive corporate profitability, and corporate profitability drives the stock market."

Looking at this interconnectedness, they wanted to see if the consumer's perception matched the reality … (4 comments)