Category Archives: COVID2019

14/2/21: COVID19 Update: Sweden and Nordics

Prior posts on COVID19 stats updates covered:

Lastly, let's run through comparatives for COVID19 dynamics in Sweden vis-a-vis the rest of the Nordics.



No matter how you define the Nordics:
  • As Sweden's closest land-linked neighbors of Finland and Norway (Nordics 1); or
  • Adding to the two above Estonia and Iceland (Nordics 2); or
  • Expanding the set to also include Netherlands and Denmark
there is only one conclusion than can be drawn from the above charts: Sweden is not doing too well in terms of cases recorded and in terms of deaths recorded through the pandemic so far.  Sweden's mortality rate per capita is substantially (86%) higher than that of the Nordics 3. 

Here is just how poor Sweden's performance has been:




4/2/21: U.S. Labor Markets: America’s Scariest Charts, Part 6

 Having covered some core stats relating to the U.S. labor markets in previous 5 posts:

  1. Continued Unemployment Claims (https://trueeconomics.blogspot.com/2021/02/4221-us-labor-markets-americas-scariest.html);
  2. Labor force participation rate and Employment-to-Population ratio (https://trueeconomics.blogspot.com/2021/02/4221-us-labor-markets-americas-scariest_4.html); 
  3. Non-farms payrolls (https://trueeconomics.blogspot.com/2021/02/4221-us-labor-markets-americas-scariest_16.html); 
  4. New (initial) unemployment claims data through January 30, 2021 (https://trueeconomics.blogspot.com/2021/02/4221-us-labor-markets-americas-scariest_57.html); and
  5. Average duration of unemployment (https://trueeconomics.blogspot.com/2021/02/4221-us-labor-markets-americas-scariest_41.html),
in this last post, we will focus on the overall employment index for the current recessionary cycle:


Currently, into month 10 data of the recession (December 2020), and employment index is reading close to the conditions in the recession of 1945, but better than the recession of 1953. We are still trending worse than any recession in modern period (post-Gold Standard), and that is quite an achievement (in negative terms). Dynamically, improvements in employment conditions have been flattening out from month 5 of the recession through month 8 and index improvements have slowed down to almost nil in months 9 and 10. Unless there is a significant reversal in this trend, by the end of 2021 we are likely to be around the same labor markets conditions as at the same time during the Great Recession. 

4/2/21: U.S. Labor Markets: America’s Scariest Charts, Part 5

 The first four posts on the state of the U.S. labor markets have covered:

  1. Continued Unemployment Claims (https://trueeconomics.blogspot.com/2021/02/4221-us-labor-markets-americas-scariest.html);
  2. Labor force participation rate and Employment-to-Population ratio (https://trueeconomics.blogspot.com/2021/02/4221-us-labor-markets-americas-scariest_4.html); 
  3. Non-farms payrolls (https://trueeconomics.blogspot.com/2021/02/4221-us-labor-markets-americas-scariest_16.html); and
  4. New (initial) unemployment claims data through January 30, 2021 (https://trueeconomics.blogspot.com/2021/02/4221-us-labor-markets-americas-scariest_57.html)
In this post, let's take a look at the latest data on average duration of unemployment through December 2020:


As the chart above clearly shows, current average duration of unemployment spell is already higher than the peak of any prior recession other than the Great Recession. However, the duration remains relatively benign when we control for the business cycle (red line and the chart next).


Dynamically, it is hard to imagine average duration of unemployment to be staying around its current levels. Something to watch in months to come as an indicator of the direction of structural (as opposed to cyclical) unemployment. 


4/2/21: U.S. Labor Markets: America’s Scariest Charts, Part 4

 The first three posts on the state of the U.S. labor markets have covered:

  1. Continued Unemployment Claims (https://trueeconomics.blogspot.com/2021/02/4221-us-labor-markets-americas-scariest.html);
  2. Labor force participation rate and Employment-to-Population ratio (https://trueeconomics.blogspot.com/2021/02/4221-us-labor-markets-americas-scariest_4.html); and
  3. Non-farms payrolls (https://trueeconomics.blogspot.com/2021/02/4221-us-labor-markets-americas-scariest_16.html)
In this post, let's take a look at new unemployment claims data through the week of January 30, 2021:


The data confirms the worrying trends cited in reference to continued unemployment claims. In the last week of January 2021, based on preliminary estimates published today, initial unemployment claims stood at 816,247 - a decline of just 23,525 on prior week reading. The 4-weeks cumulative initial unemployment claims are at 3,744,581, which only 103.433 down on prior 4 weeks period. Net, over the last 5 weeks, the reduction in initial unemployment claims stands at a miserly 19,725. 

Despite little media coverage, the U.S. labor markets remain stricken by the pandemic effects on economic activity. If we strip out data for the pandemic period-to-date, the latest weekly reading for initial unemployment claim ranks as the 10th highest in the history of the series. 



4/2/21: U.S. Labor Markets: America’s Scariest Charts, Part 3

 In two prior posts, I covered two of America's Scariest Charts:

  1. Continued Unemployment Claims (https://trueeconomics.blogspot.com/2021/02/4221-us-labor-markets-americas-scariest.html) and 
  2. Labor force participation rate and Employment-to-Population ratio (https://trueeconomics.blogspot.com/2021/02/4221-us-labor-markets-americas-scariest_4.html)
Here, let's take a look at non-farm payrolls that measure employment levels in the economy.


In December 202, employment growth stalled. In fact, non-farm payrolls fell 328,000 in the last month of 2020 to 143,777,000, or 9,400,000 below pre-pandemic peak. December was the first month of declines in employment since April 2020, but employment growth was relatively slow already in November when the U.S. economy added 603,000 jobs, the slowest pace of recovery after July for the entire period of recovery of May-November 2020.

This evidence further reinforces the argument that labor markets conditions in the U.S. remain abysmal, prompting American workers to slip out of the labor force.