Daily Archives: 03/29/2013

BLS: Unemployment Rate declined in 22 States in February


From the BLS: Jobless rates down in 22 states, up in 12 in Feb.; payroll jobs up in 42 states, down in 8

Regional and state unemployment rates were little changed in February. Twenty-two states had unemployment rate decreases, 12 states had increases, and 16 states and the District of Columbia had no change, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today.

California, Mississippi, and Nevada had the highest unemployment rates among the states in February, 9.6 percent each. North Dakota again had the lowest jobless rate, 3.3 percent.

State Unemployment Click on graph for larger image in graph gallery.
This graph shows the current unemployment rate for each state (red), and the max during the recession (blue). All states are below the maximum unemployment rate for the recession.
The size of the blue bar indicates the amount of improvement – Michigan and Nevada have seen the largest declines – New Jersey is the laggard.
The states are ranked by the highest current unemployment rate. No state has double digit unemployment and the unemployment rate is above 9% in only seven states: Mississippi, California, Nevada, Illinois, North Carolina, Rhode Island and New Jersey. In early 2010, almost half the states had an unemployment rate above 9%.
The unemployment rate is falling quickly in some states like Nevada and California. As an example, the unemployment rate in Nevada has fallen from 12.1% in August 2012 to 9.6% in February 2013.

BLS: Unemployment Rate declined in 22 States in February
Bill McBride
Fri, 29 Mar 2013 15:19:00 GMT


Iceland in the Year 2050

That’s there’s climate changes seems clear, but its implications are less so.

The NY Times reports a type of James Bond story as a mysterious Chinese zillionaire seeks to purchase a large amount of rural Iceland to erect a snowy golf course.   Do you smell Dr. No?  I don’t.  I see a climate change adaptation bet.   Arbitrage is to buy low and sell high.  Perhaps because he read Climatopolis, Huang Nubo is making an investment that could earn a high return if Iceland’s quality of life improves relative to the rest of the world as climate change plays out.    New challenges create new opportunities.  While the NY Times views this story as just “weird”, I think it is a nice example of how those who form expectations of the future act upon those expectations.  Mr. Nubo could lose on this investment but he is experimenting and there are plausible scenarios under which he will become even richer. 
It is certainly possible that his “golf course” is an attempt by China to claim property rights to minerals that might be under the ground but any land owner always has this option.  I ask my students to solve for a price of gasoline such that Beverly Hills home owners would knock down their homes and drill for gas underneath the surface.  

Iceland in the Year 2050
Matthew Kahn
Sat, 23 Mar 2013 16:20:00 GMT

Two foreign policy initiatives contrasted


Michael Giberson

Two foreign policy initiatives, both began in mid-March, one a year old and the other started ten years ago, have had dramatically different effects on the world. Eric Shierman celebrates the wiser of the two efforts:

I have considered writing about the Iraq War on the tenth anniversary of our collective, bi-partisan decision to make one of the greatest strategic mistakes in American military history, but it’s just too depressing to put words into sentences describing the cost in lives and treasure we paid….

Thus the most encouraging anniversary to reflect on is not our invasion of Iraq ten years ago this week, but the wise implementation of our free trade agreement with South Korea one year ago. … From that body of peer reviewed literature [on foreign relations] there has emerged little empirical evidence of a correlation between peace and the pursuit of ever greater military strength among states, but there is overwhelming evidence that the single most powerful pacific force in foreign policy is trade….

The empirical evidence is just overwhelming, … the more exposed people are to complex trading economies with a higher degree of specialization and division of labor, the more empathy they employ in their decision making and the more rational they are in seeking their own selfish ends through the voluntary cooperation of others. It’s not enough to know what you want; successful exchange requires a focus on what others’ want as well. This paradigm spills over into other aspects of our lives even when we are not aware of it.

Of course this is not the primary goal of free trade agreements, economic growth is. The pacifying effects of trade are merely a positive externality….

Worth reading the full thing.

Two foreign policy initiatives contrasted
Michael Giberson
Fri, 22 Mar 2013 13:41:06 GMT