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26 Dec 2011 20:49


World: Japan having a “mancession”: Women bringing home the bacon

  • 5.4% the percentage of men that were unemployed in Japan as of 2010
  • 4.6% the percentage of unemployed women; that’s a role-reversal source
  • » Tough cultural conditions to blame: With a high pay gap between female and male workers (females make less), a switch from traditional manufacturing to service industries, an aging population, a slowing birth rate, and a move among Japanese couples to marry later, Japan is quickly facing a bit of a cultural shift in terms of who has a job and who doesn’t. By 2020, estimates say, the number of unemployed men vs. unemployed women could become even more pronounced.

12 Dec 2011 23:31


U.S.: San Francisco’s new minimum wage sets the double-digit standard

  • $10.24 San Francisco’s new minimum wage source
  • » Happy New Year, indeed. Starting Jan. 1, San Francisco’s minimum hourly wage will jump above the $10 mark for the first time. That’s about $3 higher than the federal minimum wage and higher than anywhere else in the country, due to the fact that the progressive city ties its minimum wage to inflation and the quite-high cost of living in the area. But with wage hikes, various fees and the sagging economy, employers might have to start laying off workers again to keep up.

30 Sep 2011 16:52


Biz: Stock market suckage: A crappy quarter, put to bed by a crappy day

  • bad Today was not a good day for the stock market in general, with all three major indexes down more than two percent amid negative economic data from China, which raised fears that another economic slowdown was coming.
  • worse This is the final day of the quarter on Wall Street, and the results aren’t very good. The S&P, for example, lost more than 14 percent this quarter. Fears of an economic slowdown weighed on investors’ minds after the 2008 crisis. source

29 Sep 2011 10:50


Biz: Here’s another good-sounding economic story … with a catch

  • 1.3% the increase in U.S. gross domestic product in the second quarter, based on updated final numbers
  • 0.3% the improvement in that number from the initial estimates from the April-to-June quarter source
  • » Such evocative language in the source story: But before you get too excited about those three-tenths of one percent, just keep in mind the text that AFP used here: “The better-than-expected figure is unlikely to have a major impact on confidence in the enfeebled US economy, but tints the backdrop in a slight less gloomy hue.”

04 Aug 2011 14:20


U.S.: Amid negative economic data, stock market having a really crappy day

  • 350+point dip in the Dow at one point today (ouch) source
  • » It’s becoming more and more apparent that we might be heading for a double-dip recession here. The Dow fell for eight days straight, only ending the losing streak yesterday — but it could fall steeply today. The new jobless numbers are mostly to blame for the weak market. There were 400,000 new unemployment claims in the week that ended July 30. That, in addition to a spreading debt crisis in Europe, has been enough to convince investors that the U.S. economy isn’t in a great spot right now, and it’s hurting our stock market bad.

02 Aug 2011 18:33


Offbeat: Shocker: Tooth Fairy investing less in kids’ teeth due to the recession

  • $2.60 average amount the tooth fairy gives a kid for a lost tooth
  • 40¢ dip from the last survey; that’s $3, for the math-challenged source
  • » We’ve been really worried about the whole debt-ceiling mess for the past few days, but it really says something about the economy when the tooth fairy isn’t even giving as much for kids’ pearly whites. Perhaps, like Glenn Beck, she’s chosen to invest in gold instead of teeth. We hear gold’s doing pretty well nowadays.

28 Jul 2011 23:23


Politics: An update on the debt ceiling shenanigans

  • boehner’s bill falls short: After a chaotic day of vote-whipping, vote-delaying, and vote-switching, John Boehner has decided to postpone the vote on his debt ceiling bill. Despite multiple assurances that it would be brought to a vote before tomorrow, at the end of the day, Boehner didn’t have enough votes to ensure the bill’s passage (and he wasn’t going to embarrass himself by introducing a bill that was sure to fail). In an unusual alignment, conservative Tea Partiers and House Democrats all pledged to vote against the bill, albiet for different reasons. While the legislation has virtually no chance of passing the Democratic-controlled Senate, Boehner’s ability to shepherd it through the House is seen by many as the first real test of his leadership abilities. If he doesn’t eventually pass it, there’s a good chance he’ll (eventually) be deposed as Speaker. But it’s not over yet–sources say Republicans plan to tweak the bill a bit, and re-introduce it tomorrow.  source

27 Jul 2011 21:57


Tech: Laptop broken? Enroll in an Owensboro, KY public school

  • FREE Macbooks for kids in Kentucky! source
  • » We were generally supportive of the 2009 stimulus package, but aspects of it are starting to seem a bit questionable, to say the least. Case in point: 2,200 students and staff in the town of Owensboro, Kentucky will soon be enjoying a free Macbook Air, courtesy of the Recovery and Reinvestment Act. While we’re all for providing students with the technical competency needed to compete in the 21st-century global economy, you don’t really need to give everyone a Macbook Air to do that. The cheapest Air is $999; if we assume, for the sake of argument, that Apple gave Owensboro a 50% bulk discount, that’s still over a million dollars of federal money being spent so kids can have free laptops. Opponents of “wasteful government spending,” your Exhibit A is right here.

27 Jul 2011 14:43


U.S.: Pew study: There’s a massive wealth gap along racial lines

  • $113,149 average net worth of a white household in 2009
  • $5,677 average net worth of a black household in 2009 source
  • » That is a stark difference. In their latest study, Pew compared the net wealth of families in various racial groups and found that blacks and Latinos in particular did very poorly compared to whites. (Asians, on the other hand, were somewhat within shouting distance. EDIT: Please see explanation.) This is a historic trend which has lasted decades, but has become all the more apparent with the Great Recession. “The bursting of the housing market bubble in 2006 and the recession that followed from late 2007 to mid-2009 took a far greater toll on the wealth of minorities than whites,” Pew writes in its study. While net wealth among whites fell roughly 16 percent, blacks families lost about 53 percent, and Latino families lost the most — losing 66 percent of their wealth on average.

20 Jul 2011 23:20


U.S.: Federal Reserve slaps Wells Fargo with puny $85 million penalty

  • $85 millionpaid by Wells Fargo for its role in the subprime mortgage fiasco; the penalty was issued by the Federal Reserve
  • $25 billion received by Wells Fargo from the Troubled Assets Relief Program, colloquially known as the bailout source
  • » This is both the largest consumer protection fine ever levied by the Fed and the first time the institution has punished a bank for nudging customers into subprime loans. There’s more to come, too; in addition to the fine, the order also “requires that Wells Fargo compensate affected borrowers,” although it’s unclear how this will work. It’s better than nothing, but $85 million just seems a bit low; as a point of comparison, the bank made $2.5 billion in the first three months of 2010 alone.