James Pethokoukis

AEIA jobs report that reminds us of the power of economic growth The November jobs report produced plenty of decent news: the 3.7 percent jobless rate held at the lowest level since 1969, 3.1 percent year-over-year wage growth matched October's pace as the best since 2009, and even the lighter-than-forecasted 155,000 jobs gained means the rolling three-month average is still a solid 170,000. (On that last point, Barclays notes the jobs gain magnitude is about twice that needed to absorb growth in the labor force and push the unemployment rate lower over time.) Via Twenty20 But maybe the best news of all is [...]
Fri, Dec 07, 2018
Source: James Pethokoukis Category: JAMES PETHOKOUKIS
AEI4 questions for Byron Reese on innovation, the future of the economy, and America's AI race with China Byron Reese, author of the new book “The Fourth Age: Smart Robots, Conscious Computers, and the Future of Humanity,” organizes human history so far by framing it around three main inventions. We entered the first age when we learned to harness fire and language, the second when we mastered agriculture, and the third came with the invention of writing and the wheel. Now we are on the verge of a fourth age, thanks to developments in artificial intelligence, and to hear Reese tell [...]
Fri, Dec 07, 2018
Source: James Pethokoukis Category: JAMES PETHOKOUKIS
AEITrump's steel tariffs provide a great lesson for economics teachers everywhere A message for nationalist populist politicians: You may not have an interest in Mr. Market, but Mr. Market has an interest in you. Market forces don't vanish because of policy, although they may be rerouted and thus create unintended consequences. Trade protectionism has trade-offs. Economies are complicated things. A perfect example in today's Wall Street Journal: Reporters Bob Tita and Alistair MacDonald note that profits are up for US steelmakers since last March when their foreign competitors became subject to a stiff 25 percent tariff. An employee works next to steel [...]
Thu, Dec 06, 2018
Source: James Pethokoukis Category: JAMES PETHOKOUKIS
AEIAs the US economy keeps growing, real wages keep rising for everyone What happens when an economy keeps expanding year after year — even if industry is growing more concentrated and trade deficits stay big and unions aren't what they used to be? Well, this is what happens, via the Indeed Hiring Lab: More people returned to work in 2018. The unemployment rate fell from 4.1% in December 2017 to 3.7% in October 2018 — well below what the Federal Reserve thinks unemployment will be in the long run. A broader measure that includes labor force re-entrants — the ratio of employed [...]
Tue, Dec 04, 2018
Source: James Pethokoukis Category: JAMES PETHOKOUKIS
AEIAI and humanity's ‘fourth age': A long-read Q&A with technologist Byron Reese Byron Reese, author of the new book “The Fourth Age: Smart Robots, Conscious Computers, and the Future of Humanity,” organizes human history so far by framing it around three main inventions. We entered the first age when we learned to harness fire and language, the second when we mastered agriculture, and the third came with the invention of writing and the wheel. Now we are on the verge of a fourth age, thanks to developments in artificial intelligence, and to hear Reese tell it, this fourth age promises to [...]
Mon, Dec 03, 2018
Source: James Pethokoukis Category: JAMES PETHOKOUKIS
AEIIt's still unclear what the US-China trade war is really all about “Jaw, jaw is better than war, war” is one of those well known Winston Churchill quotes that Churchill apparently never said. (Or at least not exactly like that.) But it's still a pretty catchy phrase and not a bad first instinct. So from that perspective, perhaps, the results from the US-China trade negotiations in Buenos Aires are to be welcomed. Talks resulting in an agreement for more talks over the next three months is a pretty good alternative to a severe intensification in the ongoing trade conflict between the [...]
Mon, Dec 03, 2018
Source: James Pethokoukis Category: JAMES PETHOKOUKIS
AEIHere's why 3 percent economic growth is an ambitious objective for the US economy There are good reasons why so many economists who don't work in the Trump administration — such as those on Wall Street or in Washington at places like the CBO and Fed — are skeptical the US economy has been transformed from a Two Percent Economy into a Three Percent Economy. Here is the common economic framework for thinking about potential economic growth, as the economics team at Barclays bank explains it: This framework computes potential GDP growth as the sum of structural productivity growth and the rate [...]
Fri, Nov 30, 2018
Source: James Pethokoukis Category: JAMES PETHOKOUKIS
AEIThe profound strangeness of attacking the part of the US economy that's the best part of the US economy There's certainly evidence of rising corporate concentration in the American economy. And politicians and pundits across the political spectrum have noticed. Except you're not going to generate a whole lot of buzz by exposing the industrial laundry of hardware sectors. But Big Tech, now that generates headlines and sells books. Problem: The focus on concentration in the technology sector is awkward given the sector generates the sorts of economic results many policymakers say they desire. Really awkward, as the chart from a new [...]
Fri, Nov 30, 2018
Source: James Pethokoukis Category: JAMES PETHOKOUKIS
AEIWhen regulating dominant companies makes them more dominant: Big Tech edition Regulations often help strengthen the competitive positions of the companies being regulated. It's a classic unintended consequence. Now recall that the General Data Protection Regulation is the EU rule that some US activists have been pointing to as a model for what Congress might consider applying here in America to Big Tech. But how has it been working out in Europe, six months in? From Politico: Europe's sweeping new privacy rules are fueling an explosion in complaints by individuals, reports of data breaches by companies, and greater awareness among Europeans about [...]
Thu, Nov 29, 2018
Source: James Pethokoukis Category: JAMES PETHOKOUKIS
AEIAmerica needs more robots. But are we ready for them? If Americans want their living standards to rise, then the US economy and its workers must become more productive. And technology is obviously a big part of that. So it's a bit worrisome that a new analysis from the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation finds that the US “lags significantly behind” many other economies when it comes to robot adoption — that, particularly when you consider the US is a high-wage nation and thus one would expect it to employ lots of robots. The research finds that out of 27 nations, [...]
Thu, Nov 29, 2018
Source: James Pethokoukis Category: JAMES PETHOKOUKIS