Productivity, deflation and depression

Global productivity growth slowed for the third year in a row, according the US Conference Board stats.  The Board reckons that output per person employed grew just 1.7% in 2013, down from 1.8% in 2012, 2.6% in 2011 and 3.9% in 2010. Growth has only slowed in two previous years in the recessions of 2001Continue reading “Productivity, deflation and depression”

America’s lost generation and Piketty’s rise in capital’s share

Friday’s US jobs figures were a shock to the optimists about an accelerating recovery in the US economy.  Yes, the unemployment rate fell to 6.7%, but for the wrong reason. The percent of employed workers is rising because there are fewer and fewer workers in the labour force. Labour force dropouts are boosting the employedContinue reading “America’s lost generation and Piketty’s rise in capital’s share”

The world economy expands – but at a slow pace

2013 ended with all the key sectors of the world economy expanding, at least according to the monthly purchasing managers indexes (PMIs) for December.  The PMIs have been regarded as the most ‘high-frequercy’ i.e most immediate measures of economic activity in various countries.  But remember, the PMIs are only surveys of how well corporate managersContinue reading “The world economy expands – but at a slow pace”

Bernanke has failed

Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke finishes his term of office at the end of this month. He signed off with speech at the annual meeting of the American Economics Association last Friday (  The AEA is the association that best represents all the mainstream economists of America. Speaking to his friends, Bernanke took the opportunityContinue reading “Bernanke has failed”