Category Archives: Millennials

12/8/20: Beware of Longing for Pre-COVID19 Days

 

We tend to focus on shorter-term and sharper shocks than on longer-term trends, a sort of 'boiling a frog' conundrum in our behavioural biases. Hence, with the development of the current pandemic, we seem to have forgotten a simple fact of pre-COVID19 reality: things weren't going all too happily for the global economy in 2019 before the pandemic struck.

Here is a reminder: look at the economic policy uncertainty measures from the late 1990s through today


As it says in the chart comment box, economic uncertainty was running at elevated levels well before the pandemic struck. 

Here is another way to see this point:

There is a 'problem', folks, even though there is no Houston to page about it. The legacy of the Global Financial Crisis did not dissipate when non-performing loans were finally (largely) wiped out from the banks balance sheets. Since the 'recovery' from the Great Recession, we have been living in a state of perpetual precariat all the way into the current pandemic shock. This state of precariat has been evident in the world data and the European data, so the problem is not 'demographic' or at least not that of ageing. May be it is generational? 

Here is an interesting view on generational changes via Pew Researchhttps://www.pewsocialtrends.org/essay/on-the-cusp-of-adulthood-and-facing-an-uncertain-future-what-we-know-about-gen-z-so-far/.  As education levels rose across generations, state of insecurity rose as well. Quote; "There are already signs that the oldest Gen Zers have been particularly hard hit in the early weeks and months of the coronavirus crisis. In a March 2020 Pew Research Center survey, half of the oldest Gen Zers (ages 18 to 23) reported that they or someone in their household had lost a job or taken a cut in pay because of the outbreak. This was significantly higher than the shares of Millennials (40%), Gen Xers (36%) and Baby Boomers (25%) who said the same. In addition, an analysis of jobs data showed that young workers were particularly vulnerable to job loss before the coronavirus outbreak, as they were overrepresented in high-risk service sector industries." Note that GenZ has higher levels of educational attainment of any generation. And yet, they are more susceptible to labour market shocks. 

The younger generations are also progressively more attuned to news flows and more anxious about key structural (non-COVID shock) problems we face. 

Have the mid-2010s been a pivoting point toward the new Age of Anxiety? Did COVID19 pandemic exacerbate this onset of the new age? In the long run, these are more important questions than the coronavirus threat alone.


12/8/20: Beware of Longing for Pre-COVID19 Days

 

We tend to focus on shorter-term and sharper shocks than on longer-term trends, a sort of 'boiling a frog' conundrum in our behavioural biases. Hence, with the development of the current pandemic, we seem to have forgotten a simple fact of pre-COVID19 reality: things weren't going all too happily for the global economy in 2019 before the pandemic struck.

Here is a reminder: look at the economic policy uncertainty measures from the late 1990s through today


As it says in the chart comment box, economic uncertainty was running at elevated levels well before the pandemic struck. 

Here is another way to see this point:

There is a 'problem', folks, even though there is no Houston to page about it. The legacy of the Global Financial Crisis did not dissipate when non-performing loans were finally (largely) wiped out from the banks balance sheets. Since the 'recovery' from the Great Recession, we have been living in a state of perpetual precariat all the way into the current pandemic shock. This state of precariat has been evident in the world data and the European data, so the problem is not 'demographic' or at least not that of ageing. May be it is generational? 

Here is an interesting view on generational changes via Pew Researchhttps://www.pewsocialtrends.org/essay/on-the-cusp-of-adulthood-and-facing-an-uncertain-future-what-we-know-about-gen-z-so-far/.  As education levels rose across generations, state of insecurity rose as well. Quote; "There are already signs that the oldest Gen Zers have been particularly hard hit in the early weeks and months of the coronavirus crisis. In a March 2020 Pew Research Center survey, half of the oldest Gen Zers (ages 18 to 23) reported that they or someone in their household had lost a job or taken a cut in pay because of the outbreak. This was significantly higher than the shares of Millennials (40%), Gen Xers (36%) and Baby Boomers (25%) who said the same. In addition, an analysis of jobs data showed that young workers were particularly vulnerable to job loss before the coronavirus outbreak, as they were overrepresented in high-risk service sector industries." Note that GenZ has higher levels of educational attainment of any generation. And yet, they are more susceptible to labour market shocks. 

The younger generations are also progressively more attuned to news flows and more anxious about key structural (non-COVID shock) problems we face. 

Have the mid-2010s been a pivoting point toward the new Age of Anxiety? Did COVID19 pandemic exacerbate this onset of the new age? In the long run, these are more important questions than the coronavirus threat alone.


21/5/20: Weekly Unemployment Claims: Updated


In the previous post, I have updated one of the charts relating to the U.S. labor market, namely the chart on employment https://trueeconomics.blogspot.com/2020/05/21520-horror-show-of-covid19.html. The data used is a mixture of monthly employment numbers and within-month weekly unemployment claims.

For consistency, here is the chart plotting weekly unemployment claims based on half-year cumulative numbers:


21/5/20: The Horror Show of COVID19 Unemployment


New initial claims data is out for last week, and so time to update one of my scary charts:



Here is a summary table:


At 2,174,329 new claims filed in the week ending May 16th, the lowest number in weekly new claims since the start of the COVID19 pandemic, it's quite tempting to say that things are improving in the labor markets. Alas, last week's print was greater than the entire recession period combined prints of four past recessions.

Cumulative first claims filed in the last 9 weeks now stand at 35,276,270, which amounts to 23.2 percent of the entire non-farm labor force in the U.S. at December 2019. 

15/5/20: Generational Effects of Ultra Low Interest Rates


Just because jobs are so plentiful and careers are so rewarding in terms of potential growth in life cycle income. the Millennials are really cheering their future in the Social Mobility Central, the US of A... oh, wait, sorry, theatre of absurd is so 1990s...

Here is the chart showing returns on savings for the already financially-distressed younger generations, updated through March 2020:


Things are ugly. In March 2020, retail nominal deposit rates for 3 months-duration Certificates of Deposit in the U.S. banks have fallen from December 2019 levels of 1.76% (annualized) to 1.35%. This is the lowest level since November 2017.

Think of the longer term comparatives. During the decade of the 1960s, average nominal rate of return on 3mo CDs was 5.51% with real return of 4.76%. In the 1970s, this rose to 7.27% and 5.66%, respectively. Through the 1980s, nominal average was 9.89% and real average was 8.73%. In the 1990s, things crumbled, with the nominal savings returns falling down to 5.32% and real rates down to 4.75%. The first decade of the 2000s saw nominal rates averaging 3.2% and real rates falling to 2.67%. And over 2010-2019, average nominal rate was 0.76% and average real rate was 0.39%.

Yes, avocado and toast are killing Millennial's financial wealth. Not ultra low returns on savings.