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The net worth of college graduates with student debt is truly depressing
Unemployment

The net worth of college graduates with student debt is truly depressing

Though it’s likely that these young adults with college degrees will ultimately pay off their student loan burden, the report captures a moment in time when servicing student debt may pose an obstacle to this group’s other financial goals, like saving for retirement or a home.
“But these short term gains are barely making a dent on young people’s long term plans.” It’s hard to say exactly why the median net worth of young adults with college degrees dropped during this period, but Allison speculates that one reason may be that in 2016, student debt accounted for a larger share of overall debt for these young people than it did in 2013.
About 70% of bachelor’s degree recipients graduate with student loans.
The financial experience of today’s young adults is fundamentally different from what their parents went through.
What’s more, college is more necessary than ever to succeed in today’s economy.
The debt is part of what makes her skittish about buying a home one day, Williamson said.
Williamson said there are certain fields she knows she can’t enter because they don’t pay enough for her to cover her student debt and pay her other bills.
While young people trying to get their financial footing, like Williamson, feel these economic trends acutely, they’ll likely pose a challenge to the economy overall, Allison said.
What’s more, the high cost of education means that parents and grandparents are increasingly taking on student loans to help their kids pay for school.
“It’s not just a young adult problem,” he said.

Australia’s jobs boom comes off the boil
Unemployment

Australia’s jobs boom comes off the boil

SYDNEY–Australia’s jobs boom has come off the boil, raising fresh doubts about the outlook for consumer spending and GDP growth in the year ahead.
The economy added just 4,900 new jobs in March after a revised loss of 6,300 in February, with the unemployment rate continuing to hover around 5.5%, a level it has sat at for almost a year.
Full-time employment fell by close to 20,000 in March, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said Thursday.
For the Reserve Bank of Australia, it could mean the goal of reaching full-employment won’t be achieved soon, keeping wages growth benign, and heightening fears around record household debt.
If the job market experiences a sustained slowdown, it will almost guarantee the RBA keeps its benchmark cash rate at 1.5% well into 2019.
Tom Kennedy, economist at JP Morgan said recent job market trends suggest the RBA might need to rethink its forecast that unemployment will be closer to 5.25% in the second quarter.
Slowdown in hiring could quickly leak into softer consumer confidence, slowing spending, which accounts for 60% of the economy, creating a stiff headwind to GDP growth. “This release confirms there is still substantial slack in the labor market, indicating wage and price pressures are still some way away, and we remain confident that the RBA will remain on hold through 2018,” he said.
Still, some analysts think the cooling off will be temporary, pointing to strong business confidence and trading conditions as a guide to future hiring. “NSW wages haven’t budged yet with growth stuck at an insipid 2%,” Mr. Peters said, despite strong employment growth and a jobless rate below 5% in the state.

Can agency that brought us government cheese protect U.S. farmers from trade war fallout?
Welfare

Can agency that brought us government cheese protect U.S. farmers from trade war fallout?

A program that brought Americans government cheese four decades ago could get tapped to protect U.S. farmers if escalating tariff threats between the U.S. and China break out into a full-fledged trade war.
But U.S. lawmakers and experts question whether taxpayers would support spending billions of dollars through the Commodity Credit Corp. to purchase surplus food to support farmers.
President Trump has promised to protect U.S. farmers from the backlash of an escalating trade dispute with China, directing U.S. Ag Secretary Perdue earlier this month to use “his broad authority to implement a plan to protect American farmers and agriculture.”
More: China’s economic growth holds steady amid trade dispute with U.S., President Trump More: Trump China tariffs could hike prices for TVs, batteries by 23%, study shows Perdue has been tight-lipped about how he proposes to help farmers, saying he doesn’t want to give “away our playbook” to China.
While it might be best known for giving millions of pounds of cheese to Americans during the 1980s and 1990s, the Commodity Credit Corp. also buys and donates surplus food supplies to schools, food banks and countries struggling with hunger, said Chad Hart, an Iowa State University economist.
The agency, a government-owned corporation with $30 billion in bonding authority, makes loans and provides direct payments to farmers when prices for corn, soybeans, wheat and other products are low.
Soybeans and pork production, two areas in which Iowa is a national leader, would likely see some of the biggest hits with added Chinese tariffs. ‘It’s not getting any better’ Trump has proposed replacing a portion of the federal food stamp program with American Harvest Boxes containing food delivered to recipients’ front doors, similar to Blue Apron and other grocery services.
Ramping up the federal surplus food buyout program could help food banks in the short-run, said Michelle Book, Food Bank of Iowa’s CEO.
About 30 percent of the Food Bank’s food comes through the program, said Book, whose group supplies groceries to about 500 food banks and pantries in 55 counties.

Zimbabwe fires 16,000 striking nurses for ‘politically motivated’ move
Unemployment

Zimbabwe fires 16,000 striking nurses for ‘politically motivated’ move

Thomson Reuters HARARE (Reuters) – Zimbabwe said it had sacked 16,000 striking nurses as the new government seeks to keep a lid on labor unrest in the build-up to the first elections since the fall of Robert Mugabe.
The nurses walked out on Monday over unpaid allowances and other issues, leaving hospitals understaffed.
Vice President Constantino Chiwenga accused the nurses of staging a “politically motivated” walkout and said they would be replaced by retired and unemployed staff.
The nurses’ union told its members to stay calm as it considered its response.
The Zimbabwe Nurses Association (ZINA) said it had given its employer, the Health Services Board, until 1400 GMT on Thursday to reverse the mass dismissal or face legal action.
ZINA said it was open to talks with the government and that its grievances had not yet been resolved.
He did not say which political group he thought was behind the strike.
Mugabe regularly accused opposition groups of trying to undermine his government by encouraging the public sector strikes that punctuated his 37 years in power.
A doctors and lawyers union said the government decision was illegal.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who replaced Mugabe in November, will stand in elections set for July against a revitalized opposition Movement for Democratic Change party led by 40-year-old Nelson Chamisa.

Help-wanted ads point to Boston and D.C. area as top sites for Amazon HQ2
Unemployment

Help-wanted ads point to Boston and D.C. area as top sites for Amazon HQ2

Jeffry Boston and greater Washington, D.C., might be the most likely places for Amazon to build its second headquarters — if help-wanted ads are any indication.
One of the key determining factors for Amazon AMZN, +1.64% is expected to be the available supply of well-educated workers.
Amazon wants to be in a major metro area with a “strong university system” so it can fill thousands of jobs for computer engineers, marketing types, managers, accountants and the like.
Using online ads as a guide, the Conference Board’s economic research group found that Amazon’s listings for those sort of jobs are growing the fastest in the Boston and Washington, D.C., metropolitan areas.
Amazon has shortlisted not just the District of Columbia but also neighboring Northern Virginia and Montgomery County, Md., for the second headquarters.
Only the New York City region has more online listings in 2017 for the kinds of jobs Amazon is expected to create at its second headquarters, but those listings barely grew last year.
More and more companies complain about a shortage of skilled labor, and they now have to compete harder with each other to fill open jobs.
That probably helps explain why San Francisco, and neighboring Silicon Valley, was left off Amazon’s short list.
“If Amazon chooses to build their second headquarters in a city where they already have a large pool of workers who would fit well into a second headquarters, it can ease the challenge of attracting such talent from elsewhere, especially in a tight labor market,” the Conference Board researchers said.
Similarly, Amazon has invested some $38 billion in its Seattle headquarters over the past six years and added some 53,000 jobs, by some accounts.

Bernie Sanders Says ‘Cardi B Is Right’ About Who Really Made America Great Again
Social Security Disability

Bernie Sanders Says ‘Cardi B Is Right’ About Who Really Made America Great Again

Getty The former presidential candidate on Wednesday tweeted about Cardi B, Social Security, and making America great again, prompting some to scratch their heads and others to say, “2018 is great!” (OK, fine, the “others” is really us).
Social Security Works first tweeted a graphic of Cardi B’s comment about former President Franklin Delano Roosevelt: “He’s the real ‘Make America Great Again,’ because if it wasn’t for him, old people wouldn’t even get Social Security.” That quote came from the rapper’s interview with GQ last week in which she said she loves FDR and political science.
“I’m obsessed with presidents.
I’m obsessed to know how the system works,” she told the publication.
On Roosevelt, she said: “He helped us get over the Depression, all while he was in a wheelchair.
Like, this man was suffering from polio at the time of his presidency, and yet all he was worried about was trying to make America great—make America great again for real.
He’s the real ‘Make America Great Again,’ because if it wasn’t for him, old people wouldn’t even get Social Security.” Sanders retweeted the graphic with the snippet from the interview, adding: “Cardi B is right.” Cardi B is right.
If we are really going to make America great we need to strengthen Social Security so that seniors are able to retire with the dignity they deserve.
His idea would eliminate the cap on taxable income so that “everyone who makes over $250,000 a year” no longer “pays the same percentage of their income into Social Security as the middle class and working families.” According to The Hill, this legislation would increase Social Security benefits for seniors who make less than $16,000 “by about $1,300 annually.” It would also “increase cost-of-living-adjustments and lift more seniors out of poverty by increasing the minimum benefits paid to low-income seniors.” We see those money moves, Bernie.
The only question now: Does Cardi feel the Bern?

Financial stress is rising for low- and middle-income U.S. households
Welfare

Financial stress is rising for low- and middle-income U.S. households

USA TODAY Despite an improving economy that should be easing the financial struggles of all Americans, a growing number of low- and middle-income households are plagued by high debt and have little or no savings.
They are people like Alejandra Mejia of San Jose, Calif., whose paycheck can’t cover higher housing costs.
Or Dawn Thorp, in Phoenix, whose disability payments don’t offset higher gasoline prices, electric bills or rent.
Such people are far more likely to eventually fall behind on loans and rein in spending.
Even more troubling: About 25 million low-income households that earn $23,000 or less face growing burdens, with nearly half of that bottom 20% of income earners stressed in 2016, up from 45% in 2013, UBS figures show.
Only 3.6% of households in the top 40% of income earners were stressed in 2016, down from 4.5% in 2013, UBS figures show, with many enjoying both low mortgage rates and soaring stock prices.
More: How to lower your housing costs, whether you rent or own More: Here’s how many hours of work it takes to pay rent in 11 major U.S. cities
“It’s very difficult,” she says, adding that she can’t afford a car or new clothes for her children and has no savings.
That debt figure is near an all-time low.
The share of all households at least 90 days delinquent on auto loans rose from about 3% to 4.1% between 2014 and 2016, UBS figures show.

Financial stress is rising for low- and middle-income U.S. households
Social Security Disability

Financial stress is rising for low- and middle-income U.S. households

USA TODAY Despite an improving economy that should be easing the financial struggles of all Americans, a growing number of low- and middle-income households are plagued by high debt and have little or no savings.
They are people like Alejandra Mejia of San Jose, Calif., whose paycheck can’t cover higher housing costs.
Or Dawn Thorp, in Phoenix, whose disability payments don’t offset higher gasoline prices, electric bills or rent.
Such people are far more likely to eventually fall behind on loans and rein in spending.
Even more troubling: About 25 million low-income households that earn $23,000 or less face growing burdens, with nearly half of that bottom 20% of income earners stressed in 2016, up from 45% in 2013, UBS figures show.
Only 3.6% of households in the top 40% of income earners were stressed in 2016, down from 4.5% in 2013, UBS figures show, with many enjoying both low mortgage rates and soaring stock prices.
More: How to lower your housing costs, whether you rent or own More: Here’s how many hours of work it takes to pay rent in 11 major U.S. cities
“It’s very difficult,” she says, adding that she can’t afford a car or new clothes for her children and has no savings.
That debt figure is near an all-time low.
The share of all households at least 90 days delinquent on auto loans rose from about 3% to 4.1% between 2014 and 2016, UBS figures show.

U.S. Debt Load Seen Worse Than Italy’s by 2023, IMF Predicts
Social Security Disability

U.S. Debt Load Seen Worse Than Italy’s by 2023, IMF Predicts

Greenspan says tax cuts problematic because they’re unfunded Trump’s budget chief urges Congress to approve spending cuts Mamma Mia!
In five years, the U.S. government is forecast to have a bleaker debt profile than Italy, the perennial poor man of the Group of Seven industrial nations.
The U.S. will also place ahead of both Mozambique and Burundi in terms of the weight of its fiscal burden.
U.S. debt-to-GDP ratio projected to surpass Italy’s Expected debt-to-GDP ratios in G7 countries in 2023 Source: International Monetary Fund The numbers put renewed focus on the U.S. deteriorating budget after the enactment in December of $1.5 trillion in tax cuts, and the passage more recently of $300 billion in new spending.
The central bank’s most recent forecasts show a median estimate of 2.7 percent for this year’s expansion slowing to 2 percent in 2020, while the CBO sees GDP growth slowing from 3.3 percent this year to 1.8 percent in 2020.
Former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan, speaking in an interview Wednesday with Tom Keene on Bloomberg Television, said lowering corporate tax rates was a good move.
“The trouble, unfortunately, is it’s unfunded,” he said, adding that Republicans should have done “spending cuts first before you try to do tax cuts.” Higher Spending Spending, meanwhile, is rising.
“This president, obviously, is not a president that’s interested in fiscal issues,” Senator Bob Corker, a Republican from Tennessee, said in Washington earlier on Wednesday.
“This issue is not going to be dealt with without a strong charismatic president who really wants to take it on.
Mulvaney said the CBO’s projection of the effects of December’s tax cuts, which sees them adding $1.9 trillion to deficits over about a decade, is way off base.

One For Two Or Why Service Is Still Going To Suck Even With A Bigger Appropriation
Social Security Disability

One For Two Or Why Service Is Still Going To Suck Even With A Bigger Appropriation

Wait times at the agency’s field offices and on the agency’s 800 number service are awful.
I suspect they’re getting much the same treatment.
Even with lots of overtime you’re going to get less work done as your workforce dwindles.
How is it that field office staffs are being cut even though the appropriation has gone up?
Republicans in Congress and in the Executive Branch have wanted to make sure that any increase in administrative funding for Social Security goes not to hiring employees but to contractors.
I think that, at best, Republicans in Congress and in the Executive Branch are indifferent to service at Social Security.
They’re also naive about service at Social Security.
They think that field office and 800 number service is unnecessary, that people will just switch to doing their business with Social Security over the internet if we quit babying them.
They don’t get that helping people file retirement claims is only a part of the workload at the field offices.
Was it made at Social Security?