Friday, March 9, 2012

Look after unemployment and the budget will look after itself."

This article discusses the financial crisis in Europe. The situation is not improving, and is in danger of getting worse. Greece is a prime example of this. The entire problem stems form one thing. And that is jobs. With high unemployment, nobody is making money, and the economy as a whole continuew to spiral out of control. John Maynard Keynes said that "Look after unemployment and the budget will look after itself.". If unemployment is down, the economy can start to recover on it's own, since people will be able to put their lives back together. And most importantly, start to spend more money. It all starts with the people. Reducing unemployment is the first step to improving the economy.

Apple to hire the unemployed?

This article is about the far-reaching influence of Apple, job-wise. The company only directly hires around 47000 people, but jobs still go further than that. People have to design the iPads and iPhones, design apps, deliver the technology to where it needs to go, perhaps even build the trucks for the company. Including all the jobs that people have done for the company, Apple reported that the company had created 514000 jobs. It is difficult to see how accurate this number is, as there are so many factors that come into play. Accurate or not, even if the company really only created 200000 jobs, that is still a lot. A company like Apple has a big influence, as they have so many things that need to be done, going from designing to delivery.

The current employment rate seems to be declining, and the economy seems to be getting better. I remember that back in the Great Depression, how people out of work would rely on public service to get some sort of income. Even though we are not in bad times now, people are still out of work, and those people suffer just as much as all those people did back in the Great Depression. Other than Apple's 47000 hired jobs and perhaps a few more, the rest are all jobs that anyone could take on. Perhaps people out of work do not need to be totally jobless, and can take on little jobs here and there for a company like Apple, and get at least a little income for themselves.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Real Estate Market Making a Recovery?

In this article, it talks about how much it costs to buy houses for the same amount of money in different cities. The market for real estate has been increasing showing that we should be in recovery, but prices are still down for what the houses should sell for. In Atlanta, Dallas, and Anthem, Arizona, inventory has increased and the demand for houses have increased, which is good for the economy. Right now would be the perfect time to buy a house because prices are still low, but show that they will increase a little as time goes on. All of the houses and apartments shown in this article are being sold around 200,000 dollars, but depending on where you want to live is how big of a home or house you are going to get. Right now in Detroit you can get a house that has seven bedrooms and six bathrooms for only 200,000 dollars. Detroit and Seattle have the best deals for home buyers right now. Location also matters when thinking about buying a home right now. The closer you get towards the bigger cities like Washington D.C. and New York, the more it costs for smaller houses. These houses are also getting closer to their true values compared to other cities. Hopefully people looking to buy homes right now will increase causing more money to go back into the economy, which will cause more recovery from the recession.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Hospitality Makes a Comeback

This article explains how industries are bouncing back after the recession. In 2008, the bleak reality of a financial crisis set in. With thousands of people losing their jobs or defaulting on their house payments, the economy was in the tank. However, four years after the start of a terrible recession, the economy is showing signs of healthy activity, especially in the hospitality industry.
When people saw all of the voided checks, foreclosures, and lack of retirement benefits in 2008, people became scared and with good reason. People were slowly losing their jobs because the economy could no longer support the job market. With a lack of money, many people found themselves living modestly. The hospitality industry hit rock bottom. People just weren't spending their income in hotels, on vacations, or in restaurants because, frankly, they no longer had the disposable income that they had previously. This just further increased the trouble America was in. Not only was there less money in the bank and in people's pockets, but there was significantly less money circulating in the economy. This creates a terribly debilitating condition that fosters high unemployment.
The real question here is why is the hospitality industry making a rebound? Four years later, with more money in the average American's pocket, people are starting to spend again. Americans have lost their fear of losing money in the stock market and less people are worried about losing their job. Unfortunately, a lot of this is psychological. People feel that it is safe to spend money again. However, unemployment still hovers around a lofty 10 percent.
My solution is to circulate more money by reducing taxes and putting more money in people's pockets. I honestly think that the economy will benefit more if people are not reprimanded for making more money with higher progressive taxes. On the other hand, we have trillions of dollars in debt to worry about. I still advocate a laissez faire economy. The hospitality industry is a benchmark industry that directly relates to how consumers are doing. If the economy is doing well, the money in the hospitality industry goes up, while it will decrease if the economy fails. I see a brighter future in the coming years, as predetermined by the recent rebound of the hospitality industry.

Monday, March 5, 2012

The Benefits Outweigh the Sacrifice

This article explains the boomtown effects of specific jobs in certain parts of the country. The town of Williston, North Dakota has experienced significant increase in population due to the oil industry, and this is sure to boost it's economy. These wireline operators sacrifice time from their families and perhaps dangers of the operation for a hefty paycheck of up to $300,000 or even more. Whether the price is worth it or not, this job must be done with the growing industries of the world. The unique aspect of this operation is that college experience is not even needed to operate the wireline. However, common sense and skill are crucial. This can be rough work, and the pay shows that the benefits are worth the sacrifices. A reason this article is so important is that is relates to so many other aspects of our nation's recovering economy. Each region of our nation has it own resource to offer and once it is determined, it may be able to thrive again and contribute significantly to the road to recovery.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Is Eating Lunch like Economics?

This article is about a book, “Mindless Eating”, by Brian Wansink. Wansink does various food-related experiments, deducing many different conclusions and uncovering reasons for why mindless eating tends to occur. One experiment was giving moviegoers stale popcorn. The main factor that affected the amount eaten, however, wasn’t the fact that the popcorn was stale, but rather the amount of popcorn that was presented. Those offered much bigger buckets ate as much as 53% more popcorn than those given smaller portions. Rather than focus on how hungry we are, we let factors like how much food is in front of us determine how much we eat.

One way to limit how much we eat is to immediately limit the amount of food that is put in front of us. For example, if one is eating out and ordered a huge meal, immediately getting a take-out box and putting half the portion in will dramatically decrease how much you would eat that night. The article gives a parallel example of Bush’s pension law, giving companies incentive to automatically sign up for 401K plans, meaning that a little of their salary would be set aside for retirement. Those that didn’t opt out ended up saving a lot more. So, whether a decision is dealing with one’s retirement or what they will eat for lunch that day, the presentation of the decision makes a really big difference on what is eventually chosen.
A new field of economics, behavioral economics, explains why people act the way they do, and end up not doing what they really want to. Getting things done is about doing them, not merely thinking about doing them, and if the void between thinking about doing things and actually doing them can be filled, many people would have breakthroughs in decision-making in different areas of their life.
On the flip side, one can use presentation to their benefit. I personally believe that people should look at the true value of something, how it can really be beneficial, instead of only basing their judgements on what they see with their eyes. However, when selling a product, or promoting something, although it won’t completely sell it for someone, what people see makes a big difference in their decision. Good appearance and publicity can reap many economic benefits.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Teenage Employment

According to this graph, employment among teenagers, ages 16 to 17, has decreased dramatically over time. Employment among teens is less than half of what it was up until the late 1990s/early 2000s. There are a few different causes. I think the primary reason for the decline is the increase in technology. Now, many jobs that could have been done by a teenager back in the 1950-1980s can be automated, or done in a more efficient way, by fewer employees. Technology always means a decrease in unskilled labor. Another big reason is how immigration has changed. Illegal immigration has dramatically increased over the years, so they often take up many unskilled labor positions that teenagers have traditionally had. They will work for less, and probably do a better job. Honestly, most teenagers suck at their jobs. Also, with minimum wage being so high compared to what it was decades ago, employers are more likely to hire older, more experienced (or at least more mature) employees.