Social Contagion

If unemployment creates unhappiness, then will people be less unhappy if their friends are also unemployed? According to a recent IMF paper, not only are people less unhappy when they and their friends are unemployed, but also, they then tend…

Jobs and Crocodiles

Hearing yesterday’s employment numbers, I recalled the Malaysian proverb, “Don’t think there are no crocodiles because the water is calm.” Everyone is worried about crocodiles. Looking beneath the surface, the employment numbers could be troublesome. The water may look smooth…

Costly Legislation

Looking at a recent NY Times article, whose title was, “Cost of Jobs Bill Leaves Some Democrats Leery,” I wondered whether the author realized just how many costs his discussion involved. If passed, the bill would extend jobless pay, provide…

The NYC Economy

With “Law & Order” being canceled by NBC, the New York City economy will feel it. Of course actors are affected but also the caterers who feed them, the stores that sell them the lawyers’ clothing (Barney’s and Saks), and…

A Woman’s Impact

In a Washington Post article with the heading, “‘Potty Parity’ hearing set for today,” I discovered that the U.S. Congress was working on a bill to increase the number of female restrooms in federal buildings. Testimony began yesterday. Watching the PBS…

Icemen and Pinsetters

In a wonderful story, NPR looked at “The Jobs of Yesteryear.”  Among those they discussed were pinsetters, elevator operators, icemen, and lamplighters. For each one, while technology made the occupation obsolete, the economy benefited with a higher GDP and a better standard of living. More specifically……

The Significance of the Frisbee

Last week, just after listening to the Schumpeter lecture from Dr. Timothy Taylor in a (very good) Teaching Company course on the history of economic thought, I read in the N.Y. Times that the inventor of the Frisbee had died.…

Equal Pay For Equal Work?

Having read that “Women Now A Majority In American Workplace” (NY Times, 2/6/10, A10), I wondered how much the wage differential had changed from the 1980s when women’s weekly earnings averaged close to 70 percent of men’s. The Institute for…

Unemployment History

With unemployment data scheduled for a Friday release, it might be helpful to place the numbers in perspective. The Dallas Fed has illustrated the following conclusions through a series of graphs comparing employment trends now to past recessions. 1. The…