She Sells Sushi Made by What?

By |2017-12-20T12:10:27-04:00December 19th, 2017|Categories: Global Market Update|Tags: , , |

Are sushi robots coming? Photo: Alpha Lau. Source: Wikipedia Sushi is everywhere: in sushi restaurants, in grocery stores, even in gas stations. And it’s easy to see why. The bite-sized rice-and-fish combinations are convenient and savory. By virtue of the rice, vinegar, and soy sauce used in it, sushi is rich in the “umani” taste, one of the five major taste sensations. Sushi is low in fat and high in protein. It can be made with vegetables [...]

Growth at an Educational Price

By |2017-10-05T10:51:16-04:00October 2nd, 2017|Categories: Global Market Update|Tags: , , |

Why is labor’s share of income going down? Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics For the past 50 years, labor’s share of our national income has been declining. This has had profound effects on inequality, taxes, and the structure of our economy. Labor’s share is the percentage of national income that goes to workers as compensation. It’s a pretty simple calculation: employee compensation (wages and benefits) divided by economic output. It’s been falling since the ‘50s, and quite [...]

Roses for Education

By |2017-05-30T10:53:13-04:00May 30th, 2017|Categories: Global Market Update|Tags: , , , |

Will education solve our problems? Photo Viktor Hanacek. Source: Picjumbo Economists of all stripes trumpet education as a key to improving economic outcomes. Whether it’s literacy, math skills, or the ability to write computer code, our society has become so technological, they state, that an extensive – and expensive – education is necessary to thrive in today’s world. This is nothing new. Education has been considered crucial to society since Plato wrote The Republic 2400 years ago. [...]

The Geographical Imperative

By |2017-05-19T10:19:04-04:00May 18th, 2017|Categories: Global Market Update|Tags: , , , |

Is geography destiny? Composite image of Earth’s biosphere. Source: NASA In 1820 – at the dawn of the Industrial Revolution – per-capita GDP in Western Europe was three times that of Africa. By 1992, it was 13 times as high, despite the catastrophic effects of two world wars on Europe When you look at a map of global economic development, two significant facts stand out: most tropical countries are poor, and most land-locked countries are poor. Many [...]

Foreign Stocks

By |2017-03-09T16:53:30-04:00March 9th, 2017|Categories: Global Market Update|Tags: , , |

Will Trump’s travel ban hurt the economy? World population migration, 2016. Blue = gain; orange = loss. Source: Wikipedia The short answer is no. The US only accepted 70,000 refugees every year anyway. That’s a pittance in an economy that employs over 160 million people. A much bigger impact would come from a crackdown on illegal immigrants already in the US. The US employs about 8 million unauthorized immigrants – about 5% of the workforce. These people [...]

Foreign Stocks

By |2017-03-08T14:18:55-04:00March 8th, 2017|Categories: Global Market Update|Tags: , , |

Will Trump’s travel ban hurt the economy? World population migration, 2016. Blue = gain; orange = loss. Source: Wikipedia The short answer is no. The US only accepted 70,000 refugees every year anyway. That’s a pittance in an economy that employs over 160 million people. A much bigger impact would come from a crackdown on illegal immigrants already in the US. The US employs about 8 million unauthorized immigrants – about 5% of the workforce. These people [...]

Molasses?

By |2016-11-17T15:40:01-04:00October 19th, 2016|Categories: Global Market Update|Tags: , , , |

Why is the economy growing so slowly? Source: St. Louis Fed Since the Great Recession, the economy has never gotten back into high gear. We’ve always seemed to be teetering on the edge of another downturn. Quarterly economic growth has averaged 2%, while a normal recovery is usually above 3.5%. Why? First, the workforce is changing. We are now entering the period where baby-boomers are beginning to retire. Like most things the boomers have gotten involved with, [...]

Puzzling Out Productivity

By |2016-11-17T15:42:12-04:00September 7th, 2016|Categories: Global Market Update|Tags: , , , |

How can we get the economy moving? Photo: Doug Tengdin When people think of productivity they usually think about getting more done during their work-time, about working harder or smarter or more focused. But when we talk about productivity in the economy, we think about how much workers can get done within the structure of their jobs. Productivity is important. Economic growth is determined by labor growth times productivity growth. That’s all there is to it. So [...]

Stagnation Nation?

By |2016-11-17T15:53:14-04:00April 15th, 2016|Categories: Global Market Update|Tags: , , , |

Why is the economy moving so slowly? Photo: Osvaldo Gago. Source: Wikimedia There’s no question that economic growth has slowed. Over the past decade, the US economy has grown about 1.5% per year. The decade before that, it grew 3.4%, before that, 3%, and so on. What could account for poor performance? A big part of any economy is labor growth. If there aren’t enough workers, the economy can’t grow. For all the talk about robots and [...]

WDWW?

By |2016-11-17T15:55:57-04:00March 10th, 2016|Categories: Global Market Update|Tags: , , |

What do workers want? Photo: D. Hannte. Source: Morguefile A recent study of over 19,000 employees and managers looked at what makes folks more productive at work. The answer was notable: people perform best when their physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual needs are met. When we feel energized, appreciated, focused, and purposeful, we’re happier and more effective in everything we do. What’s surprising is how important these factors are to profitability. When all four areas are covered, [...]