» Every walk of life now has debt: With $117 billion in new federal student loans in 2011, the amount of total student debt has tipped the scales at over $1 trillion. And it’s not just young folks who are having to deal with lingering debt, either; some middle-aged adults are finding themselves dealing with the issues decades later. “It’s just unbearable to have that type of weight on you and you can’t do anything about it,” said Brenda Small, a woman who went to nursing school in the late ’80s — and rack up $20,000 in debt — only to get injured not long after graduating, making her unable to pay for it.
If the same percentage of adults were in the workforce today as when Barack Obama took office, the unemployment rate would be 11.1 percent. If the percentage was where it was when George W. Bush took office, the unemployment rate would be 13.2 percent.Ezra Klein • Remarking on declining labor force participation in the US. It’s often noted that official unemployment numbers understate the real percentage of people out of work, as they only tally people actively searching for a job. One consequence of this is that when labor force participation decreases—that is, when unemployed folks just give up and stop looking for work—employment actually “increases.” That’s why only 115,000 jobs were added last month, yet unemployment decreased from 8.2% to 8.1%. Since Barack Obama took office, labor force participation has declined 2%. It’s now at 63.6% which, Klein notes, is “a level not seen since the early days of the Reagan administration.” Here’s a chart. source (via • follow)
» Chrysler’s best quarterly profit in 13 years: Just a couple years away from a bailout that shook the company to the core and the merger with Fiat that saved it, Chrysler is on a little bit of a winning streak, with several car models posting their best monthly results ever.
» Last week’s number was the highest since late January, and comes on the heels of electronics-giant Sony announcing 10,000 new layoffs as part of their “One Sony” initiative to turn around the company. (Yahoo also announced mass layoffs recently.) The new numbers follow a so-so monthly jobs report, released last Friday, which showed the economy had only added 120,000 jobs during March. That number was down from approximately 200,000 new jobs a month from December to February. It’s important to note that, prior to last week, this number — which changes weekly — was consistently hitting lows that hadn’t been touched since before the financial crisis in late 2008.
» Not in good shape these days: With declining traffic on certain sites and a $20 billion valuation largely due to the company’s minority stakes in Asian internet companies, the company is in bit of a rough patch, partly reflected in Microsoft’s failed attempt to buy the company in 2008, the shifting executive branch, and the company’s spurning of parts of its product line, such as Delicious. Recently, the company has been in the news for a patent lawsuit with Facebook, which we covered last night. Are you guys worried about the future of Yahoo? Can they right the ship?
Based on one report, it’s as if the president’s full economic agenda is either brilliant or moronic. Get good numbers and you’re Keynes reincarnate. Get bad numbers and you can’t add.Vice President Biden’s former chief economist Jared Bernstein • Discussing the process that goes into the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ monthly employment reports, reports which have taken on new importance as the 2012 election hits. (The numbers showed slight improvement Friday, with the unemployment rate staying steady but jobs levels increasing.) Highly recommend you read the Washington Post’s piece on the matter, which goes in depth explaining exactly what happens to bring those numbers — numbers which can define the entire debate over the next month — to reality. It’s fascinating.