Economics

U.S. Economy: Turtles All the Way Down

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"Less devastating" is President Obama's description of new Labor Department unemployment figures that massively exceeded expectations. Some 467,000 jobs vanished in June, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That figure was well above the 350,000-363,000 job losses guesstimated by economists, but it was quite close to the 473,000 figure calculated by Macroeconomic Advisers, LLC in its ADP National Employment Report [pdf].

Calculated Risk notes, once again, that the unemployment figures have blown through the "more adverse" scenario envisioned in the first of the so-called bank stress tests. The financial markets are in the process of giving up a non-trivial portion of their second-quarter gains — a slightly unusual pattern for the pre-Fourth of July period. (CNBC calls it the "single worst day before the long Fourth weekend in more than a century," for all you economic sabermetricians out there.) Will any news be coming after the holiday to indicate economic activity is increasing, or decreasing at a decreasing rate, in these here United States?

Obama economic advisors Christina Romer and David Axelrod both downplay but do not dismiss the possibility of a second stimulus package. Meanwhile, paying for the first stimulus package is getting easier, as 10-year Treasury yields drop to 3.49 percent. The Department of the Treasury will be borrowing new piles of money next week, and China is reiterating its call to replace the dollar as a reserve currency. Disgruntled goldbugs (ain't they all disgruntled?) may enjoy this headline: "China, Dollar Vie for Gold Standard."

Title explained.

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  1. Obama economic advisors Christina Romer and David Axelrod both downplay but do not dismiss the possibility of a second stimulus package.

    Because the first one is clearly doing its job so well.

  2. economic sabermetricians

    Damn you, Society of American Baseball Research.

  3. But what would it have been like without the Stimulus?

  4. > But what would it have been like without the Stimulus?

    Think Mad Max with a 24/7 news cycle and an armor-laden Prius

  5. Because the first one is clearly doing its job so well.

    Didn’t you ever hear that old saying (paraphrasing here): There’s no such thing as a bad government program, just an underfunded one.

  6. cmace, if I were speaking for the Admin (by the way, I’m in the flack business these days, so if anybody wants to hire me please get in touch), I would say:

    “Without this commitment by the president to stay in the game and really manage this economy, you’d have seen massive, massive declines in house prices, in wages, in everything across the board: Really, [your name here], some of the scariest stuff Americans have seen since the 1930s.

    “By showing we’re committed to spending what it takes to stabilize this economy, the president’s economic team – and when I say these folks are top-notch, [your name here], these are just some of the most impressive men and women I’ve ever seen – have helped to cushion that really catastrophic loss of value that people are worried about in their homes and their jobs.”

  7. Tim, well done!

    Exit left to Funway.

  8. cmace,

    But what would it have been like without the Stimulus?

    Here you go. The light blue line is what it would have been without the stimulus package. 🙂

  9. Axelrod is an economic adviser? God help us all.

  10. Actually, the phrase “turtles all the way down” is a misrepresentation of an old Hindu philosophy that says that the turtle is staying on the back of an elephant, and it’s elephants all the way down – this was a popular catch phrase in all of my philosophy classes to explain the concept of a world with no finite end, as opposed to a world which has a finite end, beginning, and in which you can say something like “X is the smallest thing in the universe.”

  11. Oh yeah, ‘Turtles all the way down’ is a regular expression down my way. That was a great into in Hawking’s book.

  12. *intro*

    I will use the preview button.
    I will use the preview button.
    I will use the preview button.

  13. We’re Fucked.

    I think Market Media is a pay site so most won’t be able to see it. Link fail.

  14. Guns & ammo, folks. Guns & ammo.

  15. Excuse me for asking a simple question – but how does the loss of 467,000 jobs translate into only a .1% change in the unemployment rate. Are there really 467,000,000 jobs in America? (1.4 jobs per person)

  16. There are about 160 million jobs in America (Virginian-Pilot Jul. 3), down from how many there were in 2000. And there are about 300 million people in America – this is why I love the old libertarian standby: “Get a job and pay for your own damn health care!”

  17. Lauren:

    “There are about 160 million jobs in America (Virginian-Pilot Jul. 3), down from how many there were in 2000. And there are about 300 million people in America-”

    We solve this difficult math problem pretty handily by gathering in social groups called “families” by the scientific communtity.

    “this is why I love the old libertarian standby: “Get a job and pay for your own damn health care!””

    Which might bother a person that has the idea that work is a right and should be provided for them. Libertarians generally feel that if you want to starve to death or lack medical care, you should feel free to engage in no productive efforts to stop that from happening. Just don’t bother us when you get hungry as it is your decision and therefore your problem. So once again, get a job and pay for your own damn health care!

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