Posted on December 10th, 2016 No comments
Despite the ongoing political rhetoric from both parties, US manufacturing jobs are not “coming back.” They hit a peak in 1979 and have been lower ever since. They haven’t declined in a straight line as there have been occasional rebounds, but the trend is clear. This is happening because we’re getting better and better at automating work, which makes each individual worker more productive. Increasing productivity is one way to increase growth in the overall economy. In this case it comes at the cost of manufacturing jobs, but it is simply not sensible for a viable company to reduce productivity to increase the labor force.
In an article in The Wall Street Journal, journalist Josh Zumbrun picks up a comment from a response I offered in the WSJ forecasting survey this week:
“Manufacturing employment is now back to 1941 levels and falling,” said James Smith, chief economist of Parsec Financial. “This is a global trend and not at all specific to the U.S. It is caused by labor productivity growth.”
Mr. Smith’s figure about 1941 is correct. In December of that year, the month the U.S. entered World War II, the nation had about 600,000 more manufacturing workers than today, even though today’s overall U.S. labor force is nearly triple the size.
Posted on June 29th, 2016 No comments
Having two great local economic advisors in town, Jim and Tom Tveidt who does more localized economic analyses, comes in handy when reporters want to write about the Asheville economy. Jim and Tom are in this one:
Citizen-Times Reports: Job growth over 6 years puts Asheville in elite echelon
Posted on April 28th, 2016 No comments
Jim spoke at the 32nd Annual Crystal Ball Seminar at UNC-Asheville this evening. Here’s the article that preceded the event. (This was his 30th appearance. Yowza.)
Posted on January 25th, 2016 No comments
Jim was part of a panel for the National Association of Business Economists as they were talking about NABE’s “Business Conditions Survey.”
Posted on December 11th, 2015 No comments
Jim has a comment or two about grocery store competition while our little dog, Tucker, makes a partial appearance again.”
Posted on October 8th, 2015 No comments
A WSJ blog reported on the results of a question that was on this month’s forecasting survey. In this case, Jim is not an outlier.
Posted on September 29th, 2015 No comments
Jim is interviewed by Bloomberg on why the Fed’s target interest rate should have already gone up. He’s using his computer on a video conference from home so 1) that’s why he looks totally wonky at the beginning and 2) you can see our little long-haired chihuahua, Tucker, spending time in the limelight!
Posted on May 11th, 2015 No comments
From Linda: We now have entirely too many crystal balls in our home. Over the past two years, Jim has won two of them, adding to one that was given to him as a gift. Here’s the story on how we got two new ones:
Posted on May 5th, 2015 No comments
Every year for nearly 30 years, Jim has presented an economic update to Ashevilleans at the local state college, University of North Carolina-Asheville. Our good friend, Professor Joseph Sulock, started this tradition and Jim was an early addition. Dr. David Berson, currently Sr.VP and Chief Economist and Nationwide Insurance, joined the line-up just a couple years after Jim started and they’ve been a dynamic duo ever since. If you are interested in what they had to say a few weeks ago, here’s the video.
Posted on January 14th, 2015 No comments
Your favorite optimistic economist gets quoted on CNN/Money: