Alexander C. Hart

Number(s) of the day
July 14, 2010

In Avenue Q, Princeton wonders how he'll be able to pay his bills with only a B.A. in English. But as this data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows, his financial outlook could be far worse. The unemployment rate among people who haven't completed high school is:   14.1 percent     This recession is hitting people hardest who, in general, were not doing well before the economy fell apart.     

The Number of the Day
July 13, 2010

  If only unemployment lasted such a short time. Instead, the average unemployment spell now lasts:   35.2 weeks   This economic downturn is the worst in several generations. People who lose their jobs are staying unemployed longer and longer. And, Sharron Angle’s inane assertions aside, it’s generally not by choice. Instead, it is just extremely difficult for many people to find work. That’s apparent from the graph below, which shows the average number of weeks someone who becomes unemployed stays that way.

And Now, the Number of the Day
July 12, 2010

  Today we launch a new, hopefully daily feature at Citizen Cohn: The number of the day. And today's number is...      16.5   In early July, we heard that unemployment rose slightly, to 9.5 percent. But the true employment picture is even worse. The number usually reported as “unemployment” only includes people actively seeking work. That leaves out people who are involuntarily working part-time and people who have grown discouraged and temporarily given up looking for a job.

Should Businesses Be Run Like the Post Office?
July 11, 2010

The post office plans to raise stamp prices again. The usual groans about government inefficiency are sure to follow. But the post office doesn’t get the credit it deserves. Contrary to popular perception, it receives no federal funding for its operations, subsisting almost entirely on the fees it charges for delivering mail. It’s a great bargain: It’ll take your letter anywhere in the country for what’s still a modest fee. And when Consumer Reports compared package services, it concluded that “the good old U.S. Postal Service is often cheapest by far.” But put all of that aside.

Myth of the Day: Benefits Make People Lazy
July 01, 2010

Sharron Angle, the Republican trying to unseat Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, made herself an easy political target when she told an interviewer that cutting unemployment benefits was the right thing to do: RALSTON: How would you have voted on that bill to extend unemployment benefits? ANGLE: I would have voted no, because the truth about it is that they keep extending these unemployment benefits to the point where people are afraid to go out and get a job because the job doesn't pay as much as the unemployment benefit does.