You have undoubtedly heard about the difficulty in getting holiday gifts this year, due to supply chain problems. As a reminder, there have been problems with the global supply chain for some time, which were further exacerbated by trade conflicts. Then, when COVID hit, factories from China to South Korea to Germany were shut down or were forced...Read more
As we all reel from higher prices on everything from steak to gas to furniture to bedding, here’s another big-ticket item that you need to think about: health insurance. In its annual survey of costs, Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) found that annual premiums for employer-sponsored family health coverage are up 4% from last year, “with ...Read more
The labor market bounced back in October, as Delta variant cases decreased. The economy added 531,000 new positions, at the upper end of the range of estimates -- and revisions to the two previous months added an additional 235,000 more than previously reported. The October hiring, which was broad-based across most sectors, brings average ...Read more
It’s Medicare open enrollment season, which means that more than 60 million Americans over the age of 65 have within their grasp a fat, softcover book, Medicare & You handbook, that is likely destined for the recycling bin. According to research from the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF), 71% of Medicare beneficiaries didn’t compare plans ...Read more
When it comes to investing, I have long adhered to a simple acronym: KISS, which stands for “Keep It Simple, Stupid.” As a result, when I receive questions about how to select the “right” portfolio allocation, I usually end up recommending a mix of index funds or index-based exchange traded funds (ETFs), which track an established stock,...Read more
As economists continue to dissect the current labor market shortage, the term “gray rhino” came to mind. Author Michele Wucker first introduced the concept at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos in 2013, and later developed it into a bestselling 2016 book, “The Gray Rhino: How to Recognize and Act on the Obvious Dangers We ...Read more
When the government released the September jobs report, my heart sank. The economy added 194,00 new positions, 300,000 fewer than expected, the smallest gain since December 2020, and lower than the upwardly revised 366,000 in August. After talking to a bunch of economists, I learned that the news was not as bad as it had seemed at first blush.
The frenzied pace of the housing market has started to abate, but that means that instead of boiling over, the market is just hot. For the first time this year, Existing Home Sales were down from a year ago — 1.5% below the August 2020 rate. The year-over-year comparisons are likely to show drops for the rest of 2021 because activity was ...Read more
Like a recurring bad dream, the debt ceiling is back in the news. The periodic political spasm over increasing the amount of money that the government is authorized to borrow to meet its existing legal obligations is not new, but because it comes on the tail end of a global pandemic, it seems horribly ill-timed.
The Treasury Department ...Read more
As expected, the Federal Reserve did not alter monetary policy in its most recent meeting. Despite the inaction, current economic conditions must be throwing central bankers for a loop. The Delta variant has cooled down economic growth, while inflation remains elevated. Does that mean that the US is about to enter a period of 1960s-1970′s ...Read more
Retirement can make strange bedfellows. That’s what I thought when I prepared to interview left-leaning labor economist Teresa Ghilarducci and Kevin Hassett, the Chairman of White House’s Council of Economic Advisers during the Trump Administration. Perhaps the only topic that could bring together this odd couple is the woeful state of ...Read more
This Q&A is devoted to questions about inflation. If you need more in-depth information about your situation, send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Here it goes.
Question: I understand that there was a period early in COVID when supplies for paper towels, toilet paper and disinfectant were hard to find, but what’s going on now? Why are ...Read more