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Markets are among mankind’s most powerful inventions. Although they have existed in some form for several millennia, it is only in the past few centuries that we have used them to organize entire economic systems. Once we turned them loose, we unleashed a period of global growth unlike anything that had come before. They are not perfect, but they are truly remarkable and, like most economists. I am a big fan. more
Things are definitely looking up in the oil and gas business, with more rigs, more jobs, and more spending. The economic benefits of this activity are rippling through the economy, and that is definitely good news. It looks like we may have turned the corner back toward expansion, though there are some signals that the recovery may face some challenges. more
EDITOR’S NOTE: Perhaps the only thing better than Rusty telling a fishing story is one that has three chapters. This week, we’re running the final chapter of “Being overcome by gold fever.’’ more
Now, I’m fixin’ to get into this week’s junk, but first I’m gonna have to do some explainin’. The reason I’m explainin’ is because it has to do with the story. This explainin’ may be borin’, but hang with me because the story at the end is worth it. There are a lot of you out there that already know about what I’m fixin’ to explain, but some of you won’t, and I want those that don’t know, to know. more
What started out a few years ago with the Library selling some donated rose-bushes has blossomed into a full gardening experience and more. more
By all standard definitions, the US economy is at “full employment,” which loosely means that everyone who wants a job has one. The unemployment rate declined to 4.2 percent in September, and the number of unemployed persons declined by 331,000. At last count in August, there were more than six million job openings across the United States, up more than 590,000 from a year prior and the highest ever recorded. more
EDITOR’S NOTE: Perhaps the only thing better than Rusty telling a fishing story is one that has three chapters. This week, we’re running Chapter Two of “Being overcome by gold fever.’’ --- more
The next few decades will bring major changes in the U.S. labor market. The growth rate will slow and the labor force will become older and more diverse. The percentage of the population which is working will also continue to fall. more
Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Rockport late on Friday, Aug. 25 as a Category 4 hurricane, the strongest storm to hit the U.S. since 2004. Although the weather system was soon downgraded to a tropical storm, the record-level torrential rains that continue to circle the Gulf Coast as I am writing this almost a week later have caused devastating flooding and damage in Houston and the surrounding areas. Federal officials have estimated that 30,000 people will need to seek refuge in shelters and 450,000 will require some sort of disaster assistance by the end of the storm, but those numbers have to be regarded as preliminary. more
The U.S. economy has been performing well, setting the stage for future growth. Much of the slack in the labor market has been eliminated. Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 261,000 in October, and the unemployment rate is down to 4.1 percent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The number of unemployed persons was 6.5 million, down 1.1 million since January. About 1.6 million of the unemployed had been jobless for 27 weeks or more. more
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