Video: Jared Bernstein Discusses the January Employment Report with Chad Stone

February 3, 2012 at 4:37 pm

Jared Bernstein, Senior Fellow, and Chad Stone, Chief Economist, discuss what the encouraging January employment report indicates about job creation and economic growth.

Chad Stone: “We’re smiling and the markets are smiling and this is actually a good jobs report. It’s one of the few good jobs reports we’ve had in this recovery. We had 240,000 jobs on private and government payrolls combined. 257,000 jobs in the private sector. 23 straight months of private sector job creation. Another two years of that, we’ll have erased the hole that got created by the Great Recession.”

Local Governments Still a Drag on the Economy

February 3, 2012 at 3:32 pm

Today’s encouraging jobs report would have been even more encouraging if local governments weren’t still slowing the economic recovery.

Local governments — mostly school districts — cut another 11,000 jobs last month.  Total job losses at the state and local government levels have reached 668,000 since employment in this category peaked in August of 2008.

Public Workforce Has Declined Sharply Since 2008

To put these figures in historical context, it’s useful to separate education workers (teachers, librarians, administrators, and so on in public schools, colleges, and universities) from other state and local workers (police, firefighters, garbage collectors, bus drivers, and so on). 

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Despite Promises, Tax Breaks Not Expanding Health Coverage in Georgia

February 3, 2012 at 12:56 pm

Georgia in 2008 enacted tax breaks to expand health coverage by encouraging people to buy high-deductible insurance plans that they could pair with a Health Savings Account (HSA).  Newt Gingrich’s Center for Health Transformation designed and promoted the law, claiming that 500,000 Georgians would gain health coverage using the tax breaks.

Despite HSA Law, Georgia's Uninsured Rate Rose Faster Than in the Nation and Rest of the SouthBut, as our new analysis shows, these claims didn’t hold up.  Georgia’s uninsured rate has gone up since then, not down, and at a faster rate than in the region and the country as a whole (see chart).

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Today’s Job’s Report in Pictures

February 3, 2012 at 9:30 am

Today’s jobs report is encouraging, but we should judge it against the overall sluggishness of the economic recovery and a persistently large jobs deficit that remains after 23 straight months of private sector job creation. Payroll employment is still 5.6 million jobs short of where it was at the start of the Great Recession in December 2007, there are four jobless workers for every job opening, and long-term unemployment remains at an historic high level.

Below are some charts to show how the new figures look in historical context.

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States Pressing Out-of-State Retailers to Collect Sales Tax

February 2, 2012 at 5:18 pm

States and localities lose up to $23 billion in revenue a year in sales taxes that are legally due on interstate sales but that online retailers and other “remote sellers” do not collect.  That hurts local retailers, too, since they have to collect sales taxes but their online competitors don’t.

Fortunately, the past week has seen two significant developments in states’ fight to force remote sellers to collect and remit sales taxes.

First, on January 27, the Tennessee Court of Appeals ruled that Scholastic Book Clubs must collect sales taxes on book sales in which teachers distribute the company’s marketing materials to students, collect the money, and distribute the books. 

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