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  • How strong is the American economic recovery,

  • and how sustainable is it?

  • We have had a number of pieces of excellent economic news

  • in recent weeks, the most important of which

  • is a sustained decline in unemployment,

  • with some two million Americans returning

  • to work in May and another three million in June.

  • This is fantastic.

  • But there is a disturbing undercurrent in the data.

  • Almost all of the jobs that were created in May and June

  • were the result of the reversal of temporary layoffs

  • in industries like restaurants and hospitality.

  • The trend in permanent layoffs is

  • pointing the opposite direction, with some two million Americans

  • losing their jobs permanently in those two months.

  • So which is the more indicative and important trend, the fall

  • in temporary unemployment or the slow increase

  • in permanent unemployment?

  • The recent spike in Covid-19 cases around the country

  • might suggest that the fall in temporary employment

  • is a fluke driven by the premature reopenings

  • of several states.

  • The stock market, however, does not think so.

  • It remains near its highs and has

  • responded to the news of rising caseloads with a shrug.

  • But once again, in another corner of the market,

  • there is a more negative counter-narrative.

  • Bond yields are flat on their backs, which

  • is, at least traditionally, an indication

  • of very low expectations for economic growth.

  • And real or inflation-adjusted yields

  • are even lower, as inflation expectations

  • have been picking up.

  • You can see those expectations and some investors' underlying

  • worries in the rising price of that old safe haven - gold.

  • So as with the unemployment numbers,

  • you have a choice of trends, the cheerful stock market

  • or the gloomy bond market.

  • One way to resolve this apparent contradiction

  • is to lay it all at the feet of the Federal Reserve

  • and argue that the only reason that yields are so low

  • is because of the Fed's activism and that low yields, in turn,

  • force investors to buy stocks.

  • Perhaps, but the idea that the markets are simply

  • dancing to the Fed's tune while they

  • ignore economic fundamentals is not a very cheerful narrative

  • either.

How strong is the American economic recovery,

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コロナウイルス。米国の景気回復力は?| コロナウイルス:米国経済の回復力は? (Coronavirus: How strong is the US economic recovery? | Charts that Count)

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    洪子雯 に公開 2021 年 01 月 14 日
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