Bestsellers published by traditional means accused Amazon of "unfair pricing." Self-published authors penned a stinging critique of traditional publishing.
Since April, the economy has averaged 275,000 new jobs per month (288,000 in June 2014), according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The unemployment rate is approaching 6 percent (6.1 percent in June 2014) and within the next year will likely be in the mid-5-percent range, low enough for the Federal Reserve to end some of its extraordinary stimulus measures on interest rates and asset purchases. Moreover, long-term unemployment has slowly fallen over the past 12 months (from 36.9 percent to 32.8 percent), and in June more than 80,000 people entered the workforce, reversing a trend during the recession and much of the recovery, of declining participation in the labor force.
But this recovering economy is not yet mirroring a healthy pre-recession economy either, say economists.
The economy has now recovered all of the millions of jobs lost in the recession. Both private payrolls and overall payrolls (including government) are now at record highs.
But that still leaves a significant shortfall in the labor market, considering that millions of people grew up into adulthood or immigrated to the U.S. and needed new jobs, says economist Harry Holzer at Georgetown University. “The fact that we’ve caught up with a number that existed six and a half years ago," says Holzer, "when the population and the labor force have grown way beyond that point - we’re still in a jobs hole.”
Holzer also points out that a high proportion of the new jobs that have been created are in low-paid service industries, such as retail, hotels and restaurants. And a lot are temporary or part-time. Many of the jobs that were lost in the recession were better-paid—in manufacturing, construction, financial services.
Holzer does believe some well-paying middle-class jobs will come back—in business services and manufacturing and construction—if employers see the recovery is strong, steady and long-lived.
Darlene Miller is president of Permac Industries, a precision manufacturing firm outside Minneapolis that supplies a wide variety of industries, including transportation, medical, food, and avionics. The company laid off more than two dozen workers in the Recession. Now the payroll is back up to thirty employees. And there are several open positions—though Miller says she is having difficulty finding skilled, certified machinists to hire.
“I would say the economy is slowly progressing,” says Miller. “I wouldn’t say we’re back to pre-2009. But we are seeing improvement. I’m optimistic—optimistic with caution.”
Jeff Kravetz, investment manager at US Bank Wealth Management, says businesses are increasing their spending on capital equipment, and predicts hiring will also pick up. And he anticipates optimism among American consumers will return to pre-recession levels.
“They see that their portfolios have recovered, and their homes have come back in value significantly,” says Kravetz. “They feel wealthier, and that bodes well for a nice steady recovery.”
Kravetz also says the economy and financial system are on sounder footing than during the boom of the mid-2000s, when inflated home prices, over-leveraging and risky borrowing by consumers and corporations led the economy into catastrophe.
The bank's mortgage-lending arm agreed to pay up to $320 million to resolve allegations that it bungled applications for the federal Home Affordable Modification Program.
We discuss the week that was with Sudeep Reddy from the Wall Street Journal and Linette Lopez from Business Insider. The magical number this morning was 288,000, which Lopez claims made today “a pretty good day.”
But be wary, Reddy warns. Getting through the issues the economy currently faces is “a whole other story,” he says.
In his interview with Kai, President Obama said that the economy could see $1.4 trillion in additional growth if the government passed immigration reform.
Believe it or not, there are two $1.4 trillion figures the White House has mentioned when it comes to immigration reform and they mean two completely different things: One comes from the Congressional Budget Office. And one comes from the Center for American Progress.
At the heart of both is the idea that citizenship brings higher wages. That's something multiple researchers have studied, including Madeleine Sumption with the Migration Policy Institute.
"We found that citizens earn between 50 percent and two thirds more than non-citizens," she says. "Most of that is explained by the fact that citizens are more educated and they speak better English and they've been in the country for longer."
But, she says, once you control for those factors, citizens still get a 5 percent wage boost or more.
More wages means more spending and more tax revenue. The Center for American Progress added up the ripple effect of that and got … $1.4 trillion in GDP growth over ten years.
"The $1.4 trillion in our report was more of a hypothetical thing," says Patrick Oakford, who co-wrote that report. "What if they got legal status and citizenship status right away."
That report also looked at different timelines for naturalization with different economic outcomes. Big picture: the timing of citizenship matters for economic growth.
But of course in the immigration debate, there is no overnight path to citizenship. The Congressional Budget Office scored the Senate's actual bill, with its decade-plus path, and came up with … about $1.4 trillion in growth over twenty years.
Manual Pastor directs the Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration at the University of Southern California.
"The numbers, the $1.4 trillion, look very much the same," he says. "But the difference is one is scoring the actual legislation and the other is a thought exercise."
The CBO looked at comprehensive immigration reform which is about more than just the path to citizenship.