theatlantic:

Overdrive: How America’s Amazing Car Recovery Explains the U.S. Economy

There was a time, not so long ago, when cars supposedly personified the American character. Our aggression, our style, our rugged independence. In the last 30 years, the automobile has faded slightly in the American imagination, but today the car industry does, in fact, explain the American economy.
It is a surprisingly durable, fantastically productive juggernaut, whose success relies on the old, the rich, and foreign trade — and less on American workers.
To begin this story, let’s appreciate the big picture. The car economy, a small but mighty sliver of American industry, has been on a roll. Since 2009, car production has nearly doubled, accounting for between 15 and 20 percent of our whole recovery.
Read more. [Image: Reuters]


I think this is the defining paragraph: 

The amazing car comeback has not translated into equally amazing jobs. Auto manufacturing employment is up since 2009, but whereas the motor industry has accounted for 15 to 20 percent of economic growth, it’s accounted for just 2 to 3 percent of job growth. “We’re at record productivity levels,” McAlinden said. But productivity across the industry hasn’t trickled down as better pay or equally rising employment. Instead, car companies are making more with less. According to CAR figures shared with The Atlantic, total motor vehicle output has grown 75 percent faster than total industry employment.

But overall it is a great read. 

theatlantic:

Overdrive: How America’s Amazing Car Recovery Explains the U.S. Economy

There was a time, not so long ago, when cars supposedly personified the American character. Our aggression, our style, our rugged independence. In the last 30 years, the automobile has faded slightly in the American imagination, but today the car industry does, in fact, explain the American economy.

It is a surprisingly durable, fantastically productive juggernaut, whose success relies on the old, the rich, and foreign trade — and less on American workers.

To begin this story, let’s appreciate the big picture. The car economy, a small but mighty sliver of American industry, has been on a roll. Since 2009, car production has nearly doubled, accounting for between 15 and 20 percent of our whole recovery.

Read more. [Image: Reuters]

I think this is the defining paragraph: 

The amazing car comeback has not translated into equally amazing jobs. Auto manufacturing employment is up since 2009, but whereas the motor industry has accounted for 15 to 20 percent of economic growth, it’s accounted for just 2 to 3 percent of job growth. “We’re at record productivity levels,” McAlinden said. But productivity across the industry hasn’t trickled down as better pay or equally rising employment. Instead, car companies are making more with less. According to CAR figures shared with The Atlantic, total motor vehicle output has grown 75 percent faster than total industry employment.

But overall it is a great read. 

Today’s Jobs Report in tweets

Calculated Risk - Public and Private Payrolls Under Bush and Obama

A big difference between Mr. Bush’s tenure in office and Mr. Obama’s presidency has been public sector employment. The public sector grew during Mr. Bush’s term (up 1,748,000 jobs), but the public sector has declined since Obama took office (down 718,000 jobs). These job losses have mostly been at the state and local level, but they are still a significant drag on overall employment.

Another important difference: I started warning about the housing bubble in 2004, and I started this blog in January 2005 - the beginning of Mr. Bush’s 2nd term.  My focus in 2005 was on the housing bubble and coming recession.  Now - at a similar point in Mr. Obama’s tenure - I expect the economy to continue to expand, so I don’t expect a sharp decline in employment as happened at the end of Mr. Bush’s 2nd term.

Phil Izzo, WSJ:

Federal, state and local governments have shed nearly 750,000 jobs since June 2009, according to the Labor Department‘s establishment survey of employers. No other sector comes close to those job losses over the same period. Construction is in second worst place, but its 225,000 cuts are less than a third of the government reductions. To be sure, construction and other sectors performed worse during the depths of the recession, but no area has had a worse recovery.

That issue highlights how hard it will be to see the effect on the job market of the reductions in federal spending known as the sequester. It won’t be enough to look at what happens to government jobs, since many positions are indirectly financed by government spending.

Washington Post: 

At such prices, 3-D printers, once an obscure and expensive innovation, are gaining traction among businesses, with broad implications for manufacturing. Ford is putting them in the hands of every one of its engineers. NASA uses the printers to test parts that could eventually make it to space.

And pretty soon, analysts say, they will be showing up in the home office. Just a few years ago, 3-D printers were as big as industrial refrigerators and cost hundreds of thousands of dollars each. Now anyone can order one online and put it on a desk.

he online world of hackers and tech enthusiasts is buzzing about how to use such a powerful tool. Researchers and early adopters have made everything from cute figurines and jewelry to working bicycles. A lot of iPhone cases are being custom-made on 3-D printers.

Some other possibilities have been more controversial.

After the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School, a video proposing the use of a 3-D printer to make a copy of a gun that fires real bullets went viral on the Web. University of Texas law student Cody Wilson explained in the video that what he called the Wiki Weaponwould create the “first 3-D printable personal defense system.”

“What’s great about the Wiki Weapon is it only needs to be lethal once,” Wilson, who heads a nonprofit called Defense Distributed, says in the video. “We will have the reality of a weapons system that can be printed out from your desk. Anywhere there is a computer, there is a weapon.”

President Obama needs to call for more stimulus, not austerity, to help fix the unemployment problem because, so far, the government has been adding to it through cuts to education and other personnel. 

President Obama needs to call for more stimulus, not austerity, to help fix the unemployment problem because, so far, the government has been adding to it through cuts to education and other personnel. 

reuters:

The pace of hiring by U.S. employers eased slightly in December, pointing to a lackluster pace of economic growth that was unable to make further inroads in the country’s still high unemployment rate.
Payrolls outside the farming sector grew 155,000 last month, the Labor Department said on Friday. That was in line with analysts’ expectations and slightly below the revised gain of 161,000 reported for November.
The report reinforces expectations of 2 percent economic growth this year, unlikely to quickly bring down the unemployment rate or make the U.S. Federal Reserve rethink its easy-money policies anytime soon despite growing unease by some policymakers over a bond-buying program.
“The U.S. economy is just muddling through,” said Tom di Galoma, managing director at Navigate Advisors in Stamford, Connecticut.
The jobless rate held steady at 7.8 percent in December, down nearly a percentage point from a year earlier but still well above the average rate over the last 60 years of about 6 percent.
READ ON: Job growth cools slightly, recovery grinds on

reuters:

The pace of hiring by U.S. employers eased slightly in December, pointing to a lackluster pace of economic growth that was unable to make further inroads in the country’s still high unemployment rate.

Payrolls outside the farming sector grew 155,000 last month, the Labor Department said on Friday. That was in line with analysts’ expectations and slightly below the revised gain of 161,000 reported for November.

The report reinforces expectations of 2 percent economic growth this year, unlikely to quickly bring down the unemployment rate or make the U.S. Federal Reserve rethink its easy-money policies anytime soon despite growing unease by some policymakers over a bond-buying program.

“The U.S. economy is just muddling through,” said Tom di Galoma, managing director at Navigate Advisors in Stamford, Connecticut.

The jobless rate held steady at 7.8 percent in December, down nearly a percentage point from a year earlier but still well above the average rate over the last 60 years of about 6 percent.

READ ON: Job growth cools slightly, recovery grinds on

And is rightly upset that Murphy will neither accept he was wrong or change his views because of this. 

(I guess there is a reason why Murphy’s blog is called Free Advice - you get what you pay for.)

theweekmagazine:

America has an energy addiction. 

theweekmagazine:

America has an energy addiction

(Source: theweek.com)

amprog:

2.5 million: Number of people employed by the U.S. auto industry today, up from 2.3 million in August 2009.

amprog:

2.5 million: Number of people employed by the U.S. auto industry today, up from 2.3 million in August 2009.