Posts Tagged ‘chart’

Chart of the day

Posted: 14 September 2014 in Uncategorized
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Americans, as we know, are forced to have the freedom to labor more hours than do workers in other advanced countries.

Chart of the day

Posted: 13 September 2014 in Uncategorized
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student loan debt-60

According to the latest figures from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, student debt is an enormous burden on people—both young and old.

There are now more than 2 million Americans age sixty and older who still owe money on their student loans—three times the number as recently as 2005—and they owe almost $20,000 per person, as a result of paying for their own education or for the college degrees of one or another family member. As Elizabeth Olson explains, the student-loan payments for the elderly are being automatically deducted from the Social Security income.

“As the baby boomers continue to move into retirement, the number of older Americans with defaulted loans will only continue to increase,” Charles A. Jeszeck, the G.A.O. director of education, work force and income security, testified at the hearing. “This creates the potential for an unpleasant surprises for some, as their benefits are offset and they face the possibility of a less secure retirement.”

More than 80 percent of the outstanding balances are from seniors who financed their own education, the G.A.O. report concluded, and only 18 percent were attributed to loans used to finance the studies of a spouse, child or grandchild.

But the default rate for these loans is 31 percent — a rate that is double that of the default rate for loans taken out by borrowers between the ages of 25 and 49 years old, according to agency data.

“Such debt reduces net worth and income and can erode retirement security,” Mr. Jeszeck said. “The effect of rising debt can be more profound for those who have accumulated few or no financial assets.”

And such student loan debt “can be especially problematic because unlike other types of debt, it generally cannot be discharged in bankruptcy,” he added.


Of course, the student debt of the elderly makes up only a small portion of the enormous debt based on student loans for the population as a whole: as of the end of 2012, almost 40 it was almost 40 million borrowers has racked up a total of almost $1 trillion—an average of almost $25 thousand per person—in order to pay for a college education in the United States.

All the while, mainstream economists and politicians—liberal and conservative alike—maintain that higher education is the solution to poverty, inequality, and everything else that ails the nation’s economy.


According to a new report jointly issued by the OECD, World Bank, and the International Labor Organization, “G20 labour markets: outlook, key challenges and policy responses” [pdf], the gap between the growth of productivity and the growth of real wages started long before the most recent crisis and, apart from a short reversal during the depth of the crisis (when productivity fell), has continued to widen since 2010.

labor share

One of the consequences of that growing gap is a “substantial and widespread” decline in the labor share of national income.

Together, the wage-productivity gap and the declining labor share are a cause of the current crisis and a consequence of the kind of recovery that has been enacted in the years since the crash of 2007-08.


The current recovery has been good for American business. Not so much for the country’s workers.

And, in the eyes of Harvard’s business alumni, that’s pretty much the way things are going to continue for the foreseeable future.

According to a Harvard Business School study released today, “An Economy Doing Half its Job” [pdf], respondents were relatively optimistic about the future of businesses, with 31 percent expecting them to be better able to compete in global markets in three years and 26 percent expecting them to be less able. (See the right and left columns of Figure 1 above, respectively.) In contrast, 41 percent foresaw lower wages and benefits, and only 27 percent anticipated higher wages and benefits. (See the top and bottom rows, respectively.)

Clearly, the authors of the report are worried about the potential effects of this growing gap between the trajectories of American corporations and the workers they employ:

Shortsighted executives may be satisfied with an American economy whose firms win in global markets without lifting U.S. living standards. But any leader with a long view understands that business has a profound stake in the prosperity of the average American. Thriving citizens become more productive employees, more willing consumers, and stronger supporters of pro-business policies. Struggling citizens are disgruntled at work, frugal at the cash register, and anti-business at the ballot box. We agree strongly with this view: businesses cannot succeed for long while their communities languish.


According to Larry Mishel, low-wage workers (defined as the tenth percentile of wage earners) in the United States

fare very poorly by international standards, as the OECD’s recent Employment Outlook report reminds us. In the United States, according to the OECD, 25.3 percent of workers had “low-pay”—earning less than two-thirds of the median wage—which was the highestincidence of low-pay work among the twenty-six countries surveyed and far higher than the OECD average of 16.3 percent. In fact, as the figure below shows, low-wage workers fare worse in the United States than any other OECD nation. Low-wage workers earned just 46.7 percent of that of the median worker—far beneath the OECD average of 59.9 percent in 2012. To catch up to the OECD average, U.S. low wage workers would need a 28 percent wage boost.

Chart of the day

Posted: 5 September 2014 in Uncategorized
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Total nonfarm payrolls are now higher, by 768 thousand, than they were in December 2007, the beginning of the Great Recession.

But that overall increase hides some important differences when we look at the ages of employed workers: while those 55 and over have experienced a large increase in jobs (more than 6 million), younger workers have lost jobs: those 16 to 24 years of age (more than a million) and those 25 to 54 years of age (almost 5 million).

What’s going on here? People who should be retiring or preparing to retire are working more and more, while men and women in what we usually consider their prime working years are finding fewer and fewer jobs.

As Tyler Durden noted back in 2012,

the next time a potential employer denies your job application because the job was just taken, speak to mom and dad: more than likely they applied for the same job, and got it.

food insecurity

According to the United States Department of Agriculture [pdf], the percentage of U.S. households that were food insecure remained essentially unchanged from 2012 to 2013 (14.5 and 14.3 percent, respectively)—and there has been only a slight cumulative decrease from 2011 (when the percentage of food insecure households stood at 14.9 percent).

In 2013, 5.6 percent of U.S. households (6.8 million households) had very low food security, essentially unchanged from 5.7 percent in 2011 and 2012. In this more severe range of food insecurity, the food intake of some household members was reduced and normal eating patterns were disrupted at times during the year due to limited resources.

Clearly, the people in food-insecure households are experiencing no recovery from the ongoing economic crises.