1) The condition of the labor market is a central focus of policy makers and households. Let’s consider the overall condition of the American market. Go the website of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and look at the current summary of the employment situation of the United States. (1.5-2 pages)
(http://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/empsit.pdf). I am looking for analysis and commentary only; graphs of any kind are unnecessary.
a) Tables A and B summarizes the major labor data for the economy. Look over the data and highlight in a paragraph or two what you think is important over the past three months about labor conditions from both the household and the establishment surveys.
b) Look at table A-2 and A-3. Is there any difference between the rates of unemployment between teenagers and adults? Between blacks, Asians, Latinos, and whites? Which category on this page has the highest rate of unemployment?
c) Look at table A-4. Describe the relationship between educational attainment and unemployment rates.
d) Look at table A-8. How many agricultural workers are there? What percentage is this of the total American employment as reported by the household survey (see table A for total employed)? Why are people working part-time: is it because they want to, or because that is all they could find? Provide the data to prove your point.
e) Look at table A-15 which lists several different methods of computing labor underutilization. Which of these, in your opinion, is the best indicator of labor conditions as measured by the household survey?
2) We often hear in the press that the US economy is tied closely to the Chinese economy. A writer for the Financial Times was looking at the long-run potential of the US economy and wrote “the ultimate source of higher living standards is growth in productivity, and growth in US productivity has little to do with whether Japan, or China, or any other country is growing quickly or slowly”. Might it also be true that our inflation and unemployment situations in the long run may not be tied to China and how well it does, in spite of all the commentary to the contrary that our fate is dependent on the success or failure of other countries? Write an essay based on the core principles of practical macroeconomics, and on our discussion of the economic way of thinking, that convinces the reader whether the quote from the FT and my added comments on inflation and unemployment are correct or incorrect. (1.5 – 2 pages)