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What We Read Today 27 May 2015

Econintersect: Every day our editors collect the most interesting things they find from around the internet and present a summary "reading list" which will include very brief summaries (and sometimes longer ones) of why each item has gotten our attention. Suggestions from readers for "reading list" items are gratefully reviewed, although sometimes space limits the number included.

This feature is published every day late afternoon New York time. For early morning review of headlines see "The Early Bird" published every day in the early am at GEI News (membership not required for access to "The Early Bird".).


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Articles about events, conflicts and disease around the world




  • Migrant crisis: EU asks states to accept 40,000 asylum seekers (BBC News) The European Commission has called on EU member states to take in 40,000 asylum seekers from Syria and Eritrea who land in Italy and Greece over the next two years.  Germany, France and Spain would receive the most migrants under the Commission's latest plan.  The idea of using quotas to resettle those who have made it to Europe has caused controversy in some EU states.  UK says that it will not take part in such a system.  France, Spain, Hungary, Slovakia and Estonia have also all voiced concerns, and a final decision will be taken by EU governments after a vote by MEPs.


  • Israeli planes strike Gaza after rocket lands in Ashdod (Al Jazeera)  The Israeli air force has carried out four strikes on targets in the besieged Gaza Strip hours after a cross-border rocket landed in the city of Ashdod. The planes targeted training camps belonging to the Islamic Jihad in Rafah, Khan Yunis and Gaza City.  Qassam Brigades, military wing of Hamas, says experimental rocket mistakenly fell on Israeli city instead of the sea.


  • BOJ Minutes Show Continued Rift Among Board Members (The Wall Street Journal)  Debate heated up among the Bank of Japan’s policy board members in late April over the BOJ’s 2.0% inflation target and commitment to defeat deflation, highlighting a lingering rift among the members as the inflation rate has sagged to around 0%.  Econintersect:  It is hard to get agreement when everyone is guessing.


The Economics of Renewable Energy: Falling Costs and Rising Employment (Adnan Z. Amin, The Huffington Post)  We will be posting more on this later.

This week, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) released its 2015 renewable energy and jobs report finding that 7.7 million people are now employed by the sector worldwide, up 18 per cent from the number reported last year and up 35 percent over the last two years. If you add large hydropower to the mix, you get a conservative estimate of an additional 1.5 million direct jobs worldwide.

The other unemployment rate is at its lowest level in 15 years (Akin Oyedele, Business Insider)  The "other" is the Weekly Initial Unemploymnet Claims data announced every Thursday morning.  It has a good correlation with with the official U-3 unemployment rate. This new low value leads Oyedele to a quote from Deutsche Bank's Joseph LaVorgna who produced the graphic below:

"Aside from an identical four-week average during the April 2000 survey week, this was the lowest figure for any employment survey period going back to December 1973 (257k). The recent downtrend in initial claims is the main reason we expect a 275k nonfarm payroll gain when the May data are reported next Friday. To be sure, the Fed’s main labor indicator remains the U-3 unemployment rate, and on this front, the claims data are also sending a positive signal."

Other Economics and Business Items of Note and Miscellanea

A little over two years ago, in the middle of April 2013, there was a gold crash that came seemingly out of nowhere. Worse, for gold investors anyway, that crash was repeated just a few months later. Where gold had stood just shy of $1,800 an ounce at the start of QE3, those cascades had brought the metal price down to just $1,200. For many, especially orthodox economists, it heralded the end of the “fear trade” and meant, unambiguously, that the recovery had finally at long last arrived.A little over two years ago, in the middle of April 2013, there was a gold crash that came seemingly out of nowhere. Worse, for gold investors anyway, that crash was repeated just a few months later. Where gold had stood just shy of $1,800 an ounce at the start of QE3, those cascades had brought the metal price down to just $1,200. For many, especially orthodox economists, it heralded the end of the “fear trade” and meant, unambiguously, that the recovery had finally at long last arrived.

  • American Cynicism (Boston Review)  Jess Row sees American cynicism as a disease of white privilege which can infect the entire society.  Can a cure be found?

But for many Americans, household finances remain fragile: 47% said they wouldn’t be able to cover a $400 emergency expense or would have to borrow money or sell something, and 31% said they went without some form of medical care in the last year because they couldn’t afford it.

One in five said their spending exceeded their income over the last year, just 63% said they saved any money at all over the past 12 months and 31% of nonretirees said they had no retirement savings or pension.

  • That Post-College Bartender Job Could Stunt Your Career for a Decade (Bloomberg Business)  Graduating during a recession has long-term effects on workers' wages.  An analysis of College Board and government data published Wednesday by the Economic Policy Institute finds the Class of 2015 will likely see lower wages than cohorts who graduated into better job markets for as long as 15 years. Other research has found that a rising number of recent graduates take low-skill and service jobs that don't make use of their degrees. Since 2000, the share of recent college graduates taking such low-wage jobs as bartending, cashier work, and food service has steadily increased. Last year, 46 percent of young college graduates worked jobs that didn't require a bachelor's degree.
  • The economics of net neutrality and how Verizon’s AOL deal subverts an open internet (Mendozza College of Business, University of Notre Dame)  Telecommunication companies were up in arms in February after the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) made net neutrality the law of the land by classifying broadband internet as a utility, seeming to ensure there would be no pay-to-play fast lanes. Not so fast. As Verizon’s planned acquisition of AOL reminds us, there’s another way to cash in on giving certain content preferential treatment: buy it.  Econintersect:  As we have noted before:  When there is vertical integration of content and carrier, net neutrality is a natural victim.

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