Archive for Economics

The State of New Jersey Pensions Since 2001

This report from the Center for State and Local Government Excellence – The Funding of State and Local Pensions: 2013-2017 – charts where the pension funds were in 2001 and where they are headed in the near-term. Look at page 11 to see the gradual diminution of three of New Jersey’s major pension funds.

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Economic Crisis – June 2014 Update

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Country Economic Appraisals – “OECD Economic Surveys”

“An Economic Survey is published every two years for each OECD member country and for some countries that are not OECD members, such as China, Russia and Brazil. There is also a separate Survey of the euro area.”(Introduction) Since the U.S. is part of the OECD, it is also reviewed every two years; the 2014 edition of the OECD Economic Survey of the United States has just been published. It is written according to a standardized structure – each survey starts off with an executive summary, followed by assessments and recommendations that are in turn followed up by thematic chapters. All of these writings are supplemented with numerous charts, tables, and data, some historical in nature. For those who do not want to read the entire U.S. report, there is a briefer overview online as well. Here is a list of the countries scrutinized; following each country’s link will bring you to overviews,  past reports, and the ability to read the latest reports online (For every country, you will see a link to “Online Bookstore.” Click on that link and you will then see a highlighted “look inside” button that will lead you to the latest report.) What recommendations/assessments does the OECD have for this country? Here they are: “The economy is recovering; structural reforms, including comprehensive tax reform, can boost long-term growth; financial reform should be rolled out fully; labour market reform can boost employment; Americans are generally happy, although working families face rising pressures; making the best of new energy resources.” (Overview 6)

 

 

 

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Economic Crisis – May 2014 Update

The Low-Wage Recovery (National Employment Law Project); Snapshot of older consumers and mortgage debt (Consumer Financial Protection Bureau); and The exit from non-conventional monetary policy: what challenges? (BIS).

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New Jersey State/Local Pension Plans Among the Worst in Nation

If you look at the statistics and figures compiled by the Urban Institute, New Jersey’s overall rating is a D. The sectors covered are: local, state, teachers, and police and firefighters. While retirement income for long-term employees is given an A for most sectors, all the other ratings are abysmal. That New Jersey has pension-funding woes is not news; for example see this March 25, 2014 NJ Spotlight report entitled Gov. Christie Retroactively Cuts State Pension Payment. Other relevant writings are: Underfunded Pension Plans in the United States (Harvard, 2012); Why the Pension Crisis in New Jersey Will Not Be Fixed (NJ State League of Municipalities, 2013); Fourth Annual State Debt Report (State Budget Solutions, 2014); The Widening Gap Update (Pew, 2012); Pension Politics: Public Employee Retirement System Reform in Four States (Brookings, 2014); 2012 Survey of Public Pensions: State and Local Data (US Census Bureau, 2014); and Pensions (National Conference of State Legislators, 2014).

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Economic Crisis – April 2014 Update

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Economic Crisis – March 2014 Update

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Economic Crisis – February 2014 Update

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Economic Crisis – January 2014 Update

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Economic Crisis – December 2013 Update

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Economic Crisis – November 2013 Update

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Economic Crisis – October 2013 Update

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What is the Minimum Wage in EU Countries?

Minimum wage debates at both state and federal levels are nothing new here. But what about minimum wages in the European Union countries? Does the EU have a standard rate crossing all countries and sectors? The answer is no; each country sets its own minimum levels. Buried on pages 23-24 of this draft report – A coordinated EU minimum wage policy? – are the minimum monthly wage levels and median monthly wage levels for all the EU countries for 2009 and 2010. (The countries are listed by their EU abbreviations; a list is available .) The figures must be used with caution as the data come from various sources and legislation, but they do allow for some comparative analysis. (A lengthier explanation is contained in the previous pages of this report; see especially p.22 for a succinct overview.)

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Economic Crisis – September 2013 Update

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New Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Statistics Released at the State Level

The Census Bureau’s American Community Survey has released three reports examining the above topics. Household Income 2012 presents data at the national, state levels along with the 25 largest metropolitan areas. Comparisons are made for 2000 and 2012. New Jersey’s median income dropped 3.4% between 2000 and 2012. Poverty: 2002-1012 profiles the same above government entities. New Jersey is one of just a few states with a poverty level under 11%. And Mitigating the Loss of Private Insurance With Public Coverage for the Under-65 Population 2008-2012 shows the erosion of private health insurance over time; fully 14.5% of New Jerseyans are without coverage.

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Economic Crisis – August 2013 Update

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Economic Crisis – July 2013 Update

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Global Risks 2013

From income inequality to natural disasters like la Hurricane Sandy to antibiotic-resistant bacteria, the world faces many threats according to Global Risks 2013 from the World Economic Forum. A thousand experts from various fields were asked to give their opinions on what constituted the greatest risks we now face. Figure 29 of this report has the five areas of concern: economic, environmental, geopolitical, societal, and technological along with the associated risks, numbering ten for each group. We should point out that one of the societal risks is “water supply crises”. This risk is also considered a … ” ‘centre of gravity’ – the one risk that they[survey-takers] thought is the systemically most important one in that group. Due to their influence on other risks, these are the risks to which leaders and policy-makers should pay particularly close attention.”(figure 36) The report is somber reading but nonetheless needs to be consulted. And nowhere does the spectre of nuclear conflict arise as a threat.

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Economic Crisis – June 2013 Update

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Non-Housing Debt in the Tri-State Area

This new tool from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York – Regional Indicators of Consumer Debt – covers New Jersey, New York and Connecticut. The data deal with credit card debt, student loans, car loans, and “other” loans and can be broken down by age group. For example, as of March 2013, 32% of the age group 18-34 in New Jersey carry student loans the  median balance of which is  $17,500. Other information presented includes delinquency rates by county, 90+ days delinquency rates, and percentage of credit scores above 620.

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