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Labor Market

The End of the Gravy Train?

Michael Farr | Posted 02.24.2015 | Business
Michael Farr

In the summer of 2013, a sharp spike higher in interest rates caused by the "taper tantrum" (fear that the Fed will soon end monetary easing) reduced both housing affordability and the opportunities to lower mortgage rates through refinancing.

The Taxman Cometh

Michael Farr | Posted 02.18.2015 | Business
Michael Farr

Triggering capital gains taxes is just one of the risks associated with market timing, but it is a very important one. Whimsically selling out of positions and paying capital gains taxes can cause dramatic damage to your portfolio's long-term performance.

A Race Against Time

Michael Farr | Posted 01.30.2015 | Business
Michael Farr

The year 2015 may yet produce solid returns for investors in US stocks. However, it's looking more and more likely that TINA ("There Is No Alternative"), more than any other factor, will be responsible rather than strong earnings growth.

Fed Upgrades The Economy, But Will Be 'Patient' Raising Rates

Reuters | Posted 01.28.2015 | Business

WASHINGTON, Jan 28 (Reuters) - The Federal Reserve on Wednesday said the U.S. economy was expanding "at a solid pace" as it largely looked through wea...

Bold Action Plan or Delusional Rant?

Michael Farr | Posted 01.21.2015 | Business
Michael Farr

Wherever you stand on the political spectrum, I think there are some undeniable truths regarding our economy that need to be addressed before we reach the next phase of robust and sustainable economic growth.

Taking Stock

Michael Farr | Posted 01.16.2015 | Business
Michael Farr

There are many positive signs in the US. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for the 3rd quarter was up 5% on an annualized basis compared to the 2nd quarter (adjusted for inflation).

Time to Get Excited?!

Michael Farr | Posted 02.28.2015 | Business
Michael Farr

Surging stock prices will likely increase rather than decrease the costs of saving for retirement for most folks. Why? Because most people, including baby boomers who are inching closer to "retirement age", remain vastly underprepared for retirement.

Freelancers, Children of a Lesser God

Maria Grazia Pozzi | Posted 02.18.2015 | World
Maria Grazia Pozzi

There is a fundamental contradiction between the constant call for flexibility in the labor market and the fiscal structure to support it, as if this policy trend continues we, in Italy, will be shortly witnessing a further evolution that will generate a new category: the "Vanishing iPros."

Should the Fed Be Worried About Deflation?

Michael Farr | Posted 02.17.2015 | Business
Michael Farr

For an economy heavily dependent on consumer spending, this is not a trivial consideration.

The Squeeze of the Middle Class

Michael Farr | Posted 02.04.2015 | Business
Michael Farr

The median household income in 2013 was only slightly above that reported for 1995 (after adjusting for inflation), while costs for necessities like housing (rent), health care, and education are making it much more difficult for middle-class folks to get by. 

What Is Causing the Drag?

Michael Farr | Posted 01.21.2015 | Business
Michael Farr

Using inflation-adjusted numbers, we indexed each component of GDP to 4Q07 levels, beginning with a value of 100 for each. We graphically display the results below, followed by some commentary.

Deleveraging Has Not Yet Run Its Course

Michael Farr | Posted 01.06.2015 | Business
Michael Farr

I've argued for some time that the process of deleveraging has yet to run its course. The aggregate level of debt in our economy currently stands at a record high, even though many pundits continue to say that debt levels are much more manageable now as compared to the pre-crisis days.

What Oil Is Telling You

Michael Farr | Posted 12.31.2014 | Business
Michael Farr

The drop in oil (and corresponding drop in energy stocks) is causing much consternation throughout the investment world because it is inconsistent with the narrative articulated by most economists.

Should You Sell???

Michael Farr | Posted 12.15.2014 | Business
Michael Farr

The growth of the American and global economies are the underlying drivers for most all equity investments. A clear discipline, dogged research, and dispassionate assessment are an investor's best friends.

The U.S. Labor Market: Recovery?

Douglas Holtz-Eakin | Posted 12.16.2014 | Business
Douglas Holtz-Eakin

The top-line numbers may appear promising. But a closer look under the surface of the labor market shows that the U.S. has a long way to go to really recover from the Great Recession.

Smart Fiscal Policy Will Help Jobs

Vitor Gaspar | Posted 12.08.2014 | Business
Vitor Gaspar

In some countries, particularly in Europe, reform of labor markets may be necessary to remove persistent rigidities. Fiscal policy cannot substitute for such reforms. But fiscal policy can work in tandem with broader structural reform efforts to support job creation.

The Buyback Binge

Michael Farr | Posted 12.02.2014 | Business
Michael Farr

Remember, markets go down from time to time, and it's normal. Cool heads and steady hands make money over time.

Another Flash Crash or Market Shutdown?

Michael Farr | Posted 11.11.2014 | Business
Michael Farr

Technology seems to have solved the trade execution issue, so I don't foresee an overwhelming market shutdown. Fidelity now offers an amazing 1 second trade confirmation guarantee.

Loan Me $250,000. Please!

Michael Farr | Posted 11.04.2014 | Money
Michael Farr

I want to buy a house. Would you be willing to loan me $250,000 for 30 years at 4.25 percent? Your answer is crucially important. Before you answer, keep in mind that you will be taxed on the interest you receive.

Los Angeles Proposes A Higher Minimum Wage

Manuel Pastor | Posted 11.02.2014 | Los Angeles
Manuel Pastor

Why the muted effects on employment? Interestingly, what used to be a staple of traditional economics -- that minimum wage hikes trigger job cutbacks -- has found increasingly less evidence in the field.

Margins Remain Suspicious

Michael Farr | Posted 10.22.2014 | Business
Michael Farr

So what are the causes for optimism with regard to future earnings power? Well, the most notable are probably the recent sharp decreases in interest rates and gas prices.

U.S. Labor Force: Where Have All the Workers Gone?

Ravi Balakrishnan | Posted 10.12.2014 | Business
Ravi Balakrishnan

As the U.S. economy recovers, hirings increase and people are encouraged to look for jobs again. Instead, the ratio of the adult population with jobs, or looking for one -- what's called the labor force participation rate -- has been falling, standing at 62.9 percent in July 2014

Enough Fed! Give Free Markets a Chance!

Michael Farr | Posted 09.24.2014 | Business
Michael Farr

The widespread expansion of credit to car-buyers, especially to sub-prime borrowers, is beginning to cause some industry observers to cry "bubble." Is this economic progress?

More of the Same

Michael Farr | Posted 08.18.2014 | Business
Michael Farr

As expected, the Federal Reserve stuck to its pattern of reducing asset purchases by another $10 billion. The monthly pace is now down to just $35 bi...

Lean Education: What College Students Can Learn From Lean Startups

Michael B. Fishbein | Posted 08.16.2014 | College
Michael B. Fishbein

It's a quintessential startup story: An entrepreneur spends months, if not years, and more money than they can afford to lose building and launching a...