u.s. economy 2013
A good doctor will not simply make a diagnosis based on measurements. The symptoms and complaints expressed by the patient are at least as important in making a determination as the data provided by diagnostic tools.
When the data says one thing and the symptoms continuously say another, it makes sense to question the reliability of the instruments.
This would be particularly true if the instruments are furnished by a party with a stake in a favorable diagnosis, say an insurance company on the hook for treatment costs.
Has Sequestration Saved the U.S. Economy?
There's a Jamaican saying, "the higher the monkey climbs up the tree, the more his butt is exposed."
The point being that the more we rise, the more vulnerable we become.
That has truly come to pass for a pair of superstars of the dismal science. And it could have a big impact on how successfully (or unsuccessfully) we can get the U.S. economy back on the rails.
The Most Dangerous Man in the World
When it comes to spending or saving, it's always a contentious debate.
But the risks are rarely as high as they are now for the U.S. and most major industrial nations. Such fundamental economic decisions will move a country forward (or backward) for decades, not months, and can't be undone quickly.
So let's choose the "winner" and "loser" of this debate carefully.
Yahoo's Daily Ticker host Henry Blodget pronounced last week that Nobel Prize winning economist Dr. Paul Krugman "won" the vicious argument fought between those who want to increase government spending as a means of rebuilding our economy, and those who want to cut spending and reduce deficits as a means of restoring confidence (and rebuilding our economy).
What America's $2 Trillion Underground Economy Says About Jobs
Doing what they can to survive in a dour job market, millions of Americans exist in an underground economy that has ballooned to $2 trillion annually.
By "underground economy," we're talking about all the business activity that is not reported to the government, which includes a growing number of people getting paid for their labor in cash.
That means the shadowy figures of the underground economy - the drug dealers and Mafia godfathers, for example - now have a lot more company.
Ending the War on Pot Would Add $20 Billion to the U.S. Economy
So much for the war on drugs. For the first time ever, a majority of Americans now support legalizing marijuana.
In a recent Pew Research Center poll, 52% of Americans favored full legalization, much higher than the 12% when polling on the issue began in 1969 and up considerably from 32% less than 10 years ago.
According a new report from the Cato Institute, that could inject $20 billion a year into the U.S. economy due to the tax revenue generated and savings in law enforcement costs.
So how big is the market for market for marijuana?
Can Wall Street Continue to Rally Without the U.S. Economy?
We haven't stepped into the Twilight Zone, but it certainly seems that way when stocks are hitting historic highs yet the economy is still so weak that the Federal Reserve is printing money like a Third World nation.
It has the makings of a great prize fight between the largest market in the world and the largest economy in the world.
Can we keep this up? Is this titanic battle going to last like the decades-long Japanese recovery? Will stocks punch themselves out? Can slowing earnings keep stocks soaring?
Here's the blow by blow so far on what's causing what I call the Great Discrepancy. Let me know who you think is going to overtake the other.
Below, I tell you what I think is underway.
Five Reasons U.S. Economy Bears Have Turned Bullish
Recent data has silenced some of the loudest U.S. economy bears.
According to a new Bloomberg survey of 69 economists, gross domestic product likely grew at a 3% annualized clip in Q1. That compares with the 2% pace forecast in March and 1.6% in December.
Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS) Chief U.S. Economist Vincent Reinhart went from an estimate of 0.8% in December to 3%. Brain Kasman of JPMorgan & Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) upped his projection from 1% to 3.3%.
"We are surprised that there wasn't a bigger and more immediate hit to spending" by consumers, Reinhart told Bloomberg. "There is an underlying momentum in spending, which means that sequestration and the tax increase will only lead to a monetary pause."
Kasman shared that sentiment when he said on an April 5 conference call, "What happened at the beginning of the year was a genuine surprise in terms of how well the economy held up."
Expansion is expected to slow to 1.5% in the current quarter before picking up to an average 2.4% over the second half of 2013.
Here are five reasons these economists have raised their growth targets.
U.S. Economy: These Jobs Numbers Point to Slower Growth in Q2
Anyone hoping the U S. economy in 2013 would gain strength from job growth needs to check out Wednesday's ADP National Employment Report.
According to ADP, the U.S. economy added 158,000 private-sector jobs in March, well below projections of 200,000 - 215,000. That's the smallest gain since October when companies hired just 148,000.
March's lackluster showing was mainly due to lower job creation in construction. The industry enjoyed robust hiring in the months following late October's Hurricane Sandy. In its wake, the superstorm left behind upwards of $50 billion in damages.
A tepid recovery in the housing market in Q1 also helped the sector in January, with recent monthly gains in construction averaging 35,000.
In March, however, no new construction jobs were added.
"If that's the case, underlying job growth is not changed appreciably," Moody's Analytics chief economist Mark Zandi told Reuters. He estimates overall employment growth is running near 175,000 a month.
March's jobs report included a revised 237,000 gain for February from the previously reported 198,000. But January's numbers were revised down to 177,000 from 215,000.
So what does this mean for Friday's U.S. jobs report?
The Great American Rebound Has Just Begun
The U.S. manufacturing renaissance is not just a fantasy - it is actually happening. Jobs that had been outsourced to China and elsewhere really are returning to the United States.
Believe it or not, this "reshoring" already has reversed the long, steady decline of manufacturing jobs in the U.S.
In fact, since 2010 America has added roughly 500,000 manufacturing jobs, an increase of 4.3%.
The economic and investment implications of this reversal are considerable to say the least.
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U.S. Economy: "Recovery" Doesn't Fool Struggling Americans
The government's numbers - primarily the monthly data on unemployment and inflation - tell the story of a slow but gradual recovery by the U.S. economy.
But the experience of millions of Americans tells a far different story.
According to a new national survey conducted by the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University, many Americans continue to suffer from the impact of the Great Recession.
What's more, more than half of those surveyed believe the U.S. economy will not fully recover for another six years, and nearly one-third said the U.S. economy will never fully recover.
"Millions of households were affected to some extent by the layoffs that occurred four years ago," Mark Szeltner, the lead researcher for the Rutgers survey, told The Daily Ticker.
The Rutgers survey backs up what some other surveys have said.
Last August, in a Pew Research survey of middle-class Americans, 42% said they were worse off than they were in 2008.
A Rasmussen survey taken earlier this month showed that only 39% believed the U.S. economy would be stronger in five years - the first time, Rasmussen said, that figure had ever dipped below 40%.