During President Obama's high profile visit to China this week, the most frequently discussed, yet least understood, topic was how currency valuations are affecting the economic relationship between the United States and China. The focal problem is the Chinese government's policy of fixing the value of the renminbi against the U.S. dollar. While many correctly perceive that this 'peg' has contributed greatly to the current global imbalances, few fully comprehend the ramifications should that peg be discarded. [more]
As the unemployment rate crossed the double digit barrier for the first time since Michael Jackson learned to moonwalk, President Obama announced that he will convene a “jobs summit” to finally bring the problem under control. Using all the analytic skill that his administration can muster, the President is determined to figure out why so many people are losing their jobs and then formulate a solution. That's a relief; for a while there, I thought we were in real trouble! In fact, the absolute last thing our economy needs is more federal government interference. If Obama really wants to know what's behind entrenched joblessness, he should start by looking at the man in the mirror. [more]
To the growing number of China bears, add Kynikos hedge fund manager Jim Chanos, who is reportedly shorting the entire Chinese economy. [more]
Two dissatisfied customers comment about a restaurant. One says, "The food here is terrible." The other replies, "I know, and such small portions!" In many ways, they could be describing our current employment picture. Not only are the portions shrinking, but the jobs themselves are steadily losing quality.
Today's release of the October jobs report showed the loss of another 190,000 jobs had pushed the official unemployment rate to 10.2%, only the second time since the Great Depression that unemployment was quoted in double digits (factoring in workers who had given up job hunting altogether or have settled for part-time work would push that rate to 17.5%). That didn't stop Wall Street pundits from trying to fashion a silk purse of this sow's ear. The 'green shoots' crowd focused on the slowing pace of job losses, the nascent economic 'recovery' (even if it is jobless), and the projected improvement in 2010. No mention was even made of the quality of what few jobs were being created. [more]