Posts Tagged ‘chart’

germany-trade

As usual, the Wall Street Journal gets only part of the story: German exporters have certainly benefited from the euro.

The relative weakness of the euro versus a hypothetical Deutschmark is an advantage for Germany. In addition to the fiscal orderliness of Germany, the currency union also includes countries like Italy, Spain, France and Greece all of which haven’t been as successful as Germany in recent years.

This weighs on the euro’s strength, which helps German exporters. As is well known, exports are a key driver of Germany’s economy. A stronger currency would almost certainly make life harder for German exporters by making products more expensive on a global market.

graph

But then they forget the other part of the story: the role of wage repression in helping German exporting enterprises. The decline of real wages for German workers has massively increased German price-competitiveness in comparison to its Eurozone trading partners and has thus boosted exports—including, of course, to Greece.

It’s the combination of domestic wage repression and fixed exchange rates within Europe that have made German exports competitive and led to the spectacular growth of the trade surplus Germany has enjoyed during the past decade and a half.

children

Certainly not in the United States.

According to the most recent study by the Annie E. Casey Foundation,

Nationally, 22 percent of children (16.1 million) lived in families with incomes below the poverty line in 2013, up from 18 percent in 2008 (13.2 million), representing nearly 3 million more children in poverty. The child poverty rate among African Americans (39 percent) was more than double the rate for non-Hispanic whites (14 percent) in 2013.

In 2013, three in 10 children (22.8 million) lived in families where no parent had full-time, year-round employment. Since 2008, the number of such children climbed by nearly 2.7 million. Roughly half of all American Indian children (50 percent) and African-American children (48 percent) had no parent with full-time, year-round employment in 2013, compared with 37 percent of Latino children, 24 percent of non-Hispanic white children and 23 percent of Asian and Pacific Islander children.

As the authors of the report make clear,

Growing up in poverty is one of the greatest threats to healthy child development. Already high compared with other developed nations, the child poverty rate in the United States increased dramatically as a result of the economic crisis. The official poverty line in 2013 was $23,624 for a family of two adults and two children. Poverty and financial stress can impede children’s cognitive development and their ability to learn. It can contribute to behavioral, social and emotional problems and poor health. The risks posed by economic hardship are greatest among children who experience poverty when they are young and among those who experience persistent and deep poverty.

It’s quite possible (given the decline in unemployment) the indicators of economic well-being for children will improve when the 2014 data are available. However, I’ll venture to guess the rates of poverty and of parents’ lack of secure employment will still be much too high—so high they’ll demonstrate that, in the United States, children simply don’t count.

GDP

We all know how terrible the economic consequences of the First Great Depression were in the United States. Well, as we can see from these charts produced by the New York Times, the current situation in Greece (measured in terms of national income, unemployment, and the stock market) is worse—much, much worse.

As Joseph Stiglitz observed, “I can think of no depression, ever, that has been so deliberate and had such catastrophic consequences.”

unemployment

stocks

Chart of the day

Posted: 9 July 2015 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , ,

child poverty

Is there any statistic more illustrative of the nature of contemporary capitalism—especially the effects of the global financial crash and of the so-called recovery—than the rate of child poverty?

According to the most recent UNICEF report (pdf),

The number of children entering into poverty during the recession is 2.6 million higher than the number that have been able to escape from it since 2008 (6.6 million, as against 4 million). Around 76.5 million children live in poverty in the 41 most affluent countries.

In Greece, the child poverty rate almost doubled between 2008 and 2012, from 23 to 40.5 percent! (No doubt it is higher today.)

Greece-children

Not only have the rate and absolute number of poor Greek children risen dramatically, but they have done so in the context of increased severe material deprivation. The proportion of children who are income poor and severely deprived has tripled in Greece between 2008 and 2012.

There ‘s been a great deal of moralizing about Greek debt in recent years. Any new deal for Greece that does not attempt to mitigate the effects of the current crisis on its children fails the most basic test of economic morality.

Greekovery

source

As Joseph Stiglitz has observed,

the economics behind the program that the “troika” (the European Commission, the European Central Bank, and the International Monetary Fund) foisted on Greece five years ago has been abysmal, resulting in a 25% decline in the country’s GDP. I can think of no depression, ever, that has been so deliberate and had such catastrophic consequences

burnout MW-BY216_vacati_20140403095851_ME

“Summer time and the livin’ is easy.” Except for Americans, who are burned out and overworked.

According to a recent study by Staples Advantage and WorkPlaceTrends [ht: ja],  more than half of office workers say they are suffering from burnout as a result of the hours they work.

half of all office workers in the United States and Canada now work more than eight hours a day. One in four workers say they usually work from home after their standard working day and 40 percent are working over the weekend at least once a month.

productivity

And, according to both employers and staff (although, not surprisingly, more staff than employers) believe burnout is a key factor contributing to poor productivity.

Millions of those office workers are not eligible for overtime pay (although that may change if Obama succeeds in raising the salary threshold from its current level of $23,660 to $50,440 for workers to automatically receive time-and-a-half pay after working 40 hours in a week).

But that’s not going to alleviate the burnout from overwork. Nor is the fact that the United States has no minimum paid vacation period (in contrast to the country from which I just returned, where 22 days are mandatory) or that American workers only take half of their paid time off.

Employees only use 51% of their eligible paid vacation time and paid time off, according to a recent survey of 2,300 workers who receive paid vacation. The survey was carried out by research firm Harris Interactive for the careers website Glassdoor. What’s more, 61% of Americans work while they’re on vacation, despite complaints from family members; one-in-four report being contacted by a colleague about a work-related matter while taking time off, while one-in-five have been contacted by their boss.

Workers appear to be getting more skittish when it comes to asking for time off. Although this is the first time Glassdoor asked questions about paid vacation and time off, a separate survey, “Vacation Deprivation,” carried out by Harris Interactive for travel site Expedia, shows that Americans left four days on the table within the past year, twice as many as in the previous year. That’s the equivalent of over 500 million lost vacation days a year.

Some 40% of Americans will leave vacation time on the table, a separate study released Tuesday found, citing a post-recession “work martyr complex” among worker who feel tied to their desk. The study by GfK Public Affairs and Corporate Communications and the U.S. Travel Association — which obviously has a vested interest in workers using up all their paid vacation time — found that one-third of the 1,000-plus respondents say they cannot afford to take their time, 40% fear returning to a mountain of work and 35% believe no one else can do their work.

It’s pretty clear that, as long as American workers have no say in the places where they work and live in a country where mainstream economists and business owners celebrate work-rules “flexibility,” they will continue to be burned out and overworked.

7-16-13ss-1

source

Sure, senior citizens are one of the only groups whose financial situation has remained relatively steady during the Second Great Depression. But that’s because many of them are being forced to have the freedom to work long into what should be their retirement.

As recently as the late 1990s, only one in five Americans in their late 60s had a job. Now, that number has jumped to almost one in three. And unlike in their parents’ generation, more women are earning paychecks than in the past, contributing to household income.

Researchers say these factors are in large part responsible for the substantial rise in median household income that seniors in their late 60s and early 70s have experienced since 1989, even as Americans in their prime working years have mostly treaded water or lost ground.

Not everyone, of course, can work later in life. Health problems and age discrimination present major hurdles. And many of those who find jobs consider them barely adequate.

Pat Cherry, 72, has been earning minimum wage at a job in the library of the city-run Waxahachie Senior Activity Center. Ms. Cherry, who is divorced, had to retire early from a bookkeeping job after an autoimmune disease caused her to miss too much work. She could barely pay her bills until she found the part-time job through a government-sponsored work program, but it expired last month.

Ms. Cherry is worried no one will hire her again. “I need the money desperately,” she said.

The nearly 30 percent of Americans ages 65 through 69 who were employed in 2012 was more than three times the European average. Among large, highly developed countries worldwide, only a few had more than 20 percent of their 65- to 69-year-olds on the job, and only Japan and Korea topped the U.S. figure.