Saturday, May 30, 2015

Massachusetts Economy Mirrors Brazil

Take a look: 

“Our Massachusetts economy has the same inequality as Brazil.”

What do you think?

"Study finds Mass. economy actually lagging" by Katie Johnston, Globe Staff  February 05, 2015

By most standards, the Massachusetts economy is the envy of many states, a diverse mix of advanced industries driving the strongest growth in more than a decade. But when the impact on residents’ well-being is taken into account, the picture is not so rosy, according to a University of Vermont study to be released Thursday.

Using economic, social, and environmental indicators that capture the costs of factors such as income inequality and pollution, researchers found that the state’s economy peaked in 2006, sliding to its worst performance in 14 years in 2012, the last year studied. Even though the state’s economy has quadrupled in size over the past 50 years, the well-being of Massachusetts residents has not improved much since the 1960s, the study found.

Before the Great Society and War on Poverty (blog editor frowns at the smashing of Massachusetts myths; blue state my a$$!). 

RelatedGovernment programs cut state’s child poverty in half, report says 

It could be worse?

Traditionally, the economy is measured by the value of goods and services it produces, known on the state level as gross state product. The measure used by University of Vermont researchers, called the genuine progress indicator, accounts for the costs and benefits of economic growth, including the gap between rich and poor, greenhouse gas emissions, and the value of volunteer work and higher education.

In the aftermath of the last recession, the worst in 70 years, some analysts have questioned whether traditional measures accurately capture economic conditions. The unemployment rate has fallen steadily after peaking at 10 percent in 2009, for example, but many economists note that the labor market is weaker than the official rate shows, since it does not include millions of discouraged Americans who gave up looking for jobs or millions more who were working part time because they can’t find full-time work.

The true gage is the labor participation rate, which is at decade lows. 

Oh, btw, they lied to you again (and I did not).

The tool used by the University of Vermont — based in part on the work of a Nobel Prize recipient, economist James Tobin — provides a more holistic, balanced picture that shows whether economic growth is actually benefiting people, said Jon Erickson, a professor at the University of Vermont’s Gund Institute for Ecological Economics and lead author of the study.

“We want a high-quality economy, not just a big bloated economy,” Erickson said. “By traditional metrics, the Massachusetts economy is growing. However, taking into account the unequal distribution, hidden environmental costs, and social trade-offs of this growth, the average citizen is not necessarily better off.”

Depends on where the bloat is. If it's all up top, I'm fine with that now. I wake up at 4 a.m. every morning screaming "Globe," and as the sweat drains of me my first thought is I hope the elite of Bo$ton are happy today. Then I go $ee. 

When's the soccer game?

Erickson and his colleagues dug through data from the US Census, the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the Environmental Protection Agency, and numerous other federal and state agencies, dating from 1960 to 2012, to analyze the health of the state’s economy.

To determine the impact of running the economy on fossil fuels, for instance, researchers calculated the amount of coal, oil, and other nonrenewable resources consumed each year, estimated what it would cost to replace them with renewable energy alternatives such as wind or solar power, and subtracted that amount from the value of the state’s economic output — treating it as a depreciation cost.

When all the additional costs and benefits were accounted for, the researchers found that the state’s economy was $206 billion in 2012 — roughly half the size of the gross state product estimated by the US Department of Commerce.

Compared to the rest of the country, Massachusetts is faring well. It has the best economic health among the Northeast states and ranks in the top five nationwide, according to preliminary estimates. Many factors account for that, according to the study, particularly the high educational attainment of Massachusetts residents. Nearly 40 percent of residents held a bachelor’s degree or higher in 2012, the highest rate in the nation.

But Massachusetts has still not recovered from the recent recession, according to the study’s criteria, even though employment is at an all-time high following the strongest year of job growth since 2000.

Then the recession never ended for a whole pile of us, and the “story for the Massachusetts economy, if you ignore high levels of unemployment and inequality, is the economy has been performing very well,” so there!

Three of the biggest issues holding the state back, according to the study, are fossil fuel dependence, underemployment, and income inequality.

The state has one of the largest gaps between rich and poor in the country, a divide that means fewer opportunities for the many who don’t make much money. The top 1 percent of wage earners in Massachusetts have an average income that is nearly 34 times higher than the remaining 99 percent — compared to a 30:1 ratio nationwide.

I thought that was kind of important. Really wrecks the myths. Another Deval Patrick contribution.

The University of Vermont team has done a preliminary estimate of economic health for all 50 states in 2011, but has not finalized its national data. The State of Vermont conducts a report using the genuine progress indicator every year, and Maryland and Oregon also use the tool.

Robert Nakosteen, an economics professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, said he supports attempts to capture a broader picture of the economy. But he has a “great dose of skepticism” about the methods used in the University of Vermont study, in large part because it is difficult to quantify factors such as the costs of ozone depletion and lost leisure time.

“There absolutely is an arbitrariness to going outside these conventionally measured economic indicators,” he said, such as gross domestic product, unemployment, and the consumer price index. “Then, how do you weight them? How much should income distribution count? How much should environmental degradation count?”

But other analysts say incorporating the costs of growth is more sophisticated and forward-looking than simply tallying up goods and services.

“We have a knowledge-based economy [that] is in overdrive and doing well for the well-educated,” said Ira Jackson, dean of the McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies at the University of Massachusetts Boston. “But if you look under the hood and place equivalent emphasis on the many who are unskilled and left further behind, our Massachusetts economy has the same inequality as Brazil.

“This is unacceptable on moral and economic grounds, and should be a wake-up call to us all.”

It's placement as an afterthought indicates that the Globe is hitting the $nooze!


Look who is going to fix the problem:

"Steve Grossman, Michael Porter team up on income inequality" by Shirley Leung, Globe Staff  February 18, 2015

When we look back years from now and wonder how this country started to take our problem of income inequality seriously, perhaps we can trace it back to what happened over a dish of M&Ms at Harvard Business School.

That’s where then-state treasurer and gubernatorial candidate Steve Grossman found himself in November feeding his sweet tooth in the office of one of the school’s star professors, Michael Porter.

I don't like where this is going.

The two have known each other for more than three decades since their kids were in a toddler play group together. Each time Grossman ran for office, he has sought advice from Porter on the economy. This time, the Democrat wanted counsel about his own future. Toward the end of the conversation, perhaps fueled by a sugar high, Porter had one more idea for Grossman, adding: “I’m almost scared to tell you about it.”

Scared because Porter knew Grossman would be his dream candidate and didn’t want him to say no. Years ago, the professor had started a Boston nonprofit called the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City to help urban businesses grow. The group has been looking for a new chief executive, and it dawned on Porter that he might be sharing his M&Ms with a leader who can take the organization to the next level.

Porter asked if he’d consider the job. “It was kind of an epiphany,” Grossman recalled.

Until then, Grossman had toyed with the idea of teaching entrepreneurship to college kids or going after a couple of high-profile presidencies in town — the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce or Suffolk University. Nothing felt quite right — until Porter’s opportunity.

After spending a month or so immersing himself in the idea, Grossman decided it was a good fit. He starts the $250,000-a-year post in March.

Better than a treasurer's salary, and what did he make directing AIPAC?

The nonprofit organization works to get the private sector — the McDonalds, the CVSes, the Bank of Americas — to open storefronts in underserved communities. The Goldman Sachs Foundation and Chevron are the nonprofit’s biggest backers. 



"Bank of America Corp. cut chief executive officer Brian T. Moynihan’s pay 7.1 percent for last year to $13 million after profits dropped by more than half. Moynihan got $11.5 million in stock grants, the company said Tuesday in a regulatory filing. The board left his salary unchanged at $1.5 million and he received no cash bonus, a person with knowledge of the decisions said, asking not to be identified because the figures weren’t announced. Moynihan, 55, spent the year cutting expenses and cleaning up some of the bank’s biggest legal disputes. Profits slid 58 percent to $4.8 billion last year as settlements tied to mortgage claims and foreign-exchange manipulation probes fueled two quarterly losses.... The Gates Foundation Asset Trust, which manages the investments for the $42.3 billion Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, liquidated its positions of McDonald’s Corp., Coca-Cola Co., and Exxon Mobil Corp. in the fourth quarter. The trust sold 10.9 million shares of McDonald’s valued at $1 billion at the end of September, a regulatory filing stated. It sold 21.4 million shares valued at $914.2 million in Coca-Cola, and 8.1 million shares in Exxon Mobil that were worth $765.9 million. The Gates Foundation focuses on fighting polio, AIDS, malaria, and improving health systems in developing countries. It doesn’t invest in companies whose corporate activity it finds to be “egregious,” including tobacco stocks and investments in Sudan, according to the investment policy on its website." 

But they gave over $26 million to the Clinton Corporation, 'er, Foundation, and same day if you missed it

Yeah, those $elf-$erving people going to help with wealth inequality after having helped create it (and what is this I missed about CVS being racist?).

Porter was an early proponent of fighting income inequality, long before it had become the fashionable cause it is today....


It's a FA$HIONABLE FAD to be a member of the $tink elite and be for talking about dropping a few more pi$$ed-on crumbs to the populace.

Thank Occupy, right?



"Is Boston’s Fed president making inequality worse?" by Steven Syre, Globe Columnist  February 17, 2015

Short answer, yeah. That's what qualitative easing is all about; pouring money into the hands of the wealthy and Wall Street. Worked, too, for that narrow slice of $hit.

Here's a simple question: Who benefitted most from all the extraordinary ways the Federal Reserve has used monetary policy to help get the American economy back on its feet?

It's the first one I always ask.

Seth Klarman of Baupost Group in Boston would tell you it’s not necessarily your average working stiff. By stimulating the economy, central bankers also propelled the value of many investments owned by wealthy people through the roof.

Overall, he has unkind words for the Fed’s policy and points his finger at two people, in particular.

One is Fed chairwoman Janet Yellen. The other is Eric Rosengren, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. Rosengren has been a vocal supporter of the Fed’s aggressive easy-money policies since they were launched by Yellen’s predecessor, Ben Bernanke, several years ago.

Klarman is probably the best-known hedge fund manager in Boston and a widely admired national figure on the subject of value investing. In his recent year-end letter to clients, as reported by Bloomberg News, he took aim at the Fed and the impact of its policies.

“How cynical it is for people like [Yellen and Rosengren] to decry growing economic inequality when it is their own policies that are exacerbating the gaps,” wrote Klarman, whose firm manages $28 billion. (Klarman could not be reached for comment on the Monday holiday.)

Real $ynical.

As you can imagine, Rosengren has a very different point of view. I’ll give him a chance to speak his mind shortly.


I was struck by some numbers from the Economic Policy Institute, reported last week by the Globe’s Evan Horowitz.

Those figures tracked income growth in Massachusetts between 2009 and 2012, technically the start of the economic recovery and a period that was heavily influenced by Federal Reserve monetary policy. Among the wealthiest 1 percent of the population, income grew by nearly 47 percent over that period. Income actually shrunk by 1.5 percent for the rest of us.

History is already calling it the Grand Depression.

Now, Klarman is no social activist. His year-end letter reflected the frustrations of a lifelong value investor, someone who looks for bargains to buy.

And even he $ees it.


I doubt that Rosengren spends much time worrying about slim pickings for hedge fund managers, beyond what that might say about the overall condition of financial markets. But he certainly is focused on the economy and on the power of the Fed to affect people’s lives.

On Monday, I asked Rosengren who he considered the prime beneficiaries of the Fed’s policies. His answer: people with low to moderate incomes. Low interest rates helped reduce their debt burdens, made it easier for them to buy cars, and helped the housing business get up off its back.

Most important, it helped people find work.

The evidence, he said, is in the nation’s jobless rate.

This guy is either completely lo$t in his $elf-$erving bubble, a goddamn liar, or both. 

US unemployment has fallen from 10 percent to 5.7 percent. Rosengren pointed to the relatively grim economic outlook in Europe, which only recently adopted Fed-style interventions, for an idea of what could have happened without aggressive Fed action.

We will never know, and that is all $elf-$erving speculation by that scum!

“Through this period [of economic stimulus] we’ve seen a much faster decline in unemployment than economists expected,” he said.

Rosengren has established credentials when it comes to the wonky world of economic policy and the street-level struggles of working people.


Earlier this month, he delivered a speech in Frankfurt, the heart of European resistance to easy-money policies, making the case for stimulating economies. He can be found just as easily in a city like Lawrence, trying to help government and business leaders solve local economic problems.

Rosengren doesn’t see a point to the income-inequality complaints about the Fed’s policies. But he is well aware of the threat of driving prices of anything — stocks, bonds, houses — too high and creating new problems.


He describes the Fed’s efforts to revive the economy as an unfinished story. It created the intended spark for a recovery. What remains is the task of raising rates back to normal levels and eventually withdrawing stimulus money without driving markets and the economy back into a hole. That’s a very big challenge.

Everyone, from working people to the 1 percenters, has gotten a boost from the Fed’s monetary policies so far. But it’s the final chapters that matter most. We all have a lot riding on what happens next.

That is so condescending to the people not of $yre's cla$$.


Thankfully, the rest of the nation is not that way.

"Job numbers affirm strength of US recovery; Increase in hiring, wages could mean Fed will raise interest rate" by Christopher S. Rugaber, Associated Press  February 06, 2015

WASHINGTON — A resurgent job market in January signaled that the US economy is finally regaining the kind of strength typical of a healthy recovery — with hiring accelerating, wages rising, and people who had given up their job hunts starting to look again. 

Yup. There was a huge contraction, but whatever. $$DW.

Freer-spending consumers and steady economic expansion have boosted hiring for the past three months to the most robust pace in 17 years.

In January, employers added 257,000 jobs, after 329,000 in December and a sizzling 423,000 jobs in November, the government reported Friday. The November and December gains were much higher than the government had first estimated.

‘‘The labor market was about the last thing to recover from the Great Recession, and in the last six months it has picked up steam,’’ said Bill Hampel, chief economist at the Credit Union National Association. ‘‘The benefits for the middle class are now solidifying.’’

Are you $ick of the propaganda pre$$ $hit $hoveling yet?


Paul Ashworth, chief US economist at Capital Economics, predicts that the Fed will raise rates from record lows in June.

‘‘Employment growth is clearly on fire, and it is beginning to put upward pressure on wage growth,’’ Ashworth wrote in a research note. ‘‘The Fed can’t wait much longer in that environment, particularly not when interest rates are starting at near zero.’’

Indeed, investors responded to the better-than-expected figures by selling US Treasurys, sending yields up, a sign that many think a Fed rate hike might be more imminent than they thought before. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 1.94 percent from 1.81 percent shortly before the jobs report was released.

Don't worry; it will soon be pushed back.

Stock investors appeared nervous about a Fed rate increase, which could pull down stock prices. The Dow Jones industrial average closed down 60 points to 17,824.

The unemployment rate rose last month to 5.7 percent from 5.6 percent. But that occurred for a good reason: More than 700,000 Americans — the most in six years — began looking for jobs. Not all of them found work, which swelled the number of unemployed. The influx of job hunters suggested that Americans have grown more confident about their prospects.

Fueling the burst of hiring has been a pickup in economic growth and falling gas prices that offered Americans more money to spend.

I don't.


A more confident, free-spending consumer could lend a spark that had been missing for most of the 5½-year-old recovery. Americans have been largely holding the line on spending and trying to shrink debt loads. Signs that they’re poised to spend more have boosted optimism that the economy will expand over 3 percent this year for the first time in a decade.

What are they going to say when spring and summer spending do not pick up?

Companies that benefit most directly from consumer spending have ramped up hiring since the fall, when gas price savings began to pile up in Americans’ bank accounts.

Prices have shot back up (punishment because the public didn't get out and shop) and there is nothing in the bank account.

Though jobs in retail, hotels, and restaurants typically offer lower wages, companies have boosted pay as they have scrambled to fill openings....

Yeah, Walmart went up to a whole $9 an hour, yaaaay!

Hiring is unlikely to remain at the blistering pace of the past three months, economists said, though it should stay solid.

Mark Vitner, an economist at Wells Fargo, says shifts in how Americans shop might have given the job market a temporary lift.

Online shopping has boosted warehousing, shipping, and trucking jobs during the winter shopping season, he said. The government tries to adjust for those seasonal changes, but its accuracy may be off, particularly because the trends are so recent.

So what are you saying? All you guys are peddling is speculation and bull$hit?


In case you are interested:

"Inflation that’s accelerating at a healthy pace and strong employment growth are pushing the US economy close to where it can support higher interest rates, the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, Loretta Mester, said Monday. ‘‘If the data comes in according to my forecasts then the time is near where we’re going to be wanting to raise rates,’’ Mester said. The Fed’s rate-setting committee will go into its June meeting with an ‘‘open mind,’’ Mester said after delivering a speech in Reykjavik. Last week, Fed chairwoman Janet Yellen said she still expects to raise interest rates this year if the economy meets her forecasts. The core consumer-price index rose 0.3 percent in April, the biggest gain since January 2013, and employment rebounded last month after faltering in March. Mester said she’s ‘‘reasonably confident’’ inflation is heading toward the Fed’s 2 percent target and that extending the current period of ‘‘essentially zero’’ interest rates may pose risks.... Economic weakness in the early months of the year has persuaded most Federal Reserve officials that June is probably too soon to start raising its benchmark interest rate. But they are not planning to wait much longer. Officials at the Fed’s most recent policy meeting, in late April, described the slow start to 2015 as mostly caused by temporary factors like a cold winter and disruptions at West Coast ports, and they generally predicted a rebound. An account of the meeting, released Wednesday after the standard three-week delay, said most of the Fed officials “thought it unlikely that the data available by June would provide sufficient confirmation” that stronger growth had returned. The minutes also suggested that most officials are ready to move as soon as that evidence is in. Surveys of analysts show that most believe the Fed will start raising rates in September. Some Fed officials were worried about the recent slowdown. The minutes noted particular concern about the lackluster pace of consumer spending; the lift expected from lower oil prices has largely failed to materialize. “Most participants expected that, following the slowdown in the first quarter, real economic activity would resume expansion at a moderate pace, and that labor market conditions would improve further,” the minutes said."

How many times can they get it wrong?

"Speaking in R.I., Yellen says rate hike likely this year" Globe staff and wire services   May 22, 2015

Federal Reserve chairwoman Janet Yellen said Friday that she expects the central bank to begin raising interest rates later this year as the economy continues to improve over the coming months.

What $cum!

Yellen, speaking to the Providence Chamber of Commerce, added that policy makers are likely to boost the Fed’s benchmark short-term rate gradually, meaning it will probably be years before that rate, which the Fed has held near zero since the end of 2008, rises to historical norms.

The rate, which influences many other interest rates, from credit cards to home equity lines of credit, peaked at 5.25 percent before the recession.

If conditions develop as my colleagues and I expect,” Yellen said, “then the [Fed’s] objective of maximum employment and price stability would best be achieved by proceeding cautiously.”

They haven't for six years now, you $elf-$erving $cum.

Most economists and analysts are expecting the Fed to raise rates this year, although it has been unclear exactly when. Earlier, economists predicted the first increase would come in June, but following a slowdown over the winter, many now forecast that a rate hike will not happen before September.

Minutes from the Fed’s April meeting released earlier this week all but ruled out a rate hike in June, when policy makers next meet.

‘‘Assuming that economic growth does rebound, we don’t think the Fed can wait any longer than September,’’ said Paul Ashworth, chief US economist at Capital Economics.

Market reaction to Yellen’s speech was muted, since it was largely what was expected. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 54 points to 18,232.


In her speech, Yellen’s assessment of the economy was generally upbeat. She said the slowdown in the first three months of 2015 appears temporary and threats to the growth here, such as the weak European economy, are abating.

She noted falling unemployment, solid job growth, and signs — such as major retailers boosting their minium pay — that workers’ wages, which have generally stagnated in recent years, are on the verge of rising. The US unemployment rate was 5.4 percent in April, down from a recession peak of 10 percent.

But she also noted that it has been a long slog for the US economy, which has yet to completely rebound from the historic recession. There remain millions of Americans working part time because they can’t find full-time jobs as well as those who have ended job searches and are no longer counted as unemployed, she said.

Even with the significant gains of the past couple years, it is only now, six years after the recession ended, that the labor market is approaching its full strength,” she said. “I say approaching because in my judgment we are not there yet.”

These people really do make me sick.


About those jobs:

"Cheaper, better robots will replace human workers in the world’s factories at a faster pace over the next decade, pushing labor costs down 16 percent, a report Tuesday said. The Boston Consulting Group predicts that investment in industrial robots will grow 10 percent a year in the world’s 25-biggest export nations through 2025, up from 2 percent to 3 percent a year now. The investment will pay off in lower costs and increased efficiency. Robots will cut labor costs by 33 percent in South Korea, 25 percent in Japan, 24 percent in Canada, and 22 percent in the United States and Taiwan. Only 10 percent of jobs that can be automated have already been taken by robots. By 2025, the machines will have more than 23 percent of the jobs, Boston Consulting forecasts."

How can a human beat that?

"Unemployment rate tumbles, but doubts persist; Data hint at healthy market, but many halted hunt for jobs" by Christopher S. Rugaber, Associated Press  March 06, 2015

WASHINGTON — Unemployment in the United States has dropped to a seven-year low of 5.5 percent — the level normally considered the mark of a healthy job market. Yet that number isn’t as encouraging as it might sound.

The jobless rate fell in February from 5.7 percent mainly because many people gave up looking for work and were no longer officially counted among the unemployed, the government reported Friday. What’s more, wage gains remained sluggish last month.

Yeah, when you can fudge the figures you can make anything look great!

Those trends suggest that the job market, while improving rapidly, isn’t quite as healthy as it looks.

Translation: you are being lied to while the 1% scoop up the wealth.

That complicates the Federal Reserve’s task of figuring out when the economy has strengthened enough to withstand higher interest rates. The Fed is considering a rate increase as early as June.

Employers are hiring. They added a solid 295,000 jobs last month, the 12th straight monthly gain above 200,000, the government said. It’s the longest such stretch since 1994-95. With employers hiring and the economy growing steadily, the United States is easily outshining most other developed nations.

They revised those numbers down about a month later.


A 5.5 percent unemployment rate is typically consistent with what economists call ‘‘full employment’’ — when the proportion of unemployed people has fallen so low that employers must raise pay to find enough qualified workers.

That's crap. It used to be 3 percent unemployed, and how Orwellian is that for full employment? Only in banker$peak!

Companies then raise prices to pay for the higher wages. And the Fed usually follows suit by raising its benchmark short-term rate to cool growth and ward off inflation.

But the scars of the Great Recession have made the process more complicated.

‘‘Five point five percent doesn’t mean what it once did,’’ said Diane Swonk, chief economist at Mesirow Financial. Full employment ‘‘is always a moving target, and it has moved down.’’

Since the recession ended in June 2009, the percentage of adults working or looking for work has fallen to a 37-year low of 62.8 percent. It has hovered around the mark for most of the past year.

Economists calculate that about half that decline reflects the aging of the population as the baby boom generation retires.

But another factor is that many Americans have become discouraged about their job prospects and have given up looking. Those out of work aren’t counted as unemployed unless they are actively looking for jobs.

That has helped artificially lower the rate since its peak of 10 percent in October 2009.

Many economists also argue the economy can’t be near full employment if wages aren’t growing. And average hourly earnings rose just 3 cents to $24.78 in February from the previous month.

Megan Greene, chief economist at John Hancock Financial Services, noted that hourly pay fell in February from January in the construction and mining industries. Such figures will outweigh the falling unemployment rate in Fed chair Janet Yellen’s mind, she said, and perhaps discourage a rate increase soon.

Yet many other economists expect the Fed will put a rate increase into effect in June or September.

The short-term interest rate is usually at 3 percent or 4 percent when the economy is at full employment. It is now at a record low of zero, and inflation is practically nonexistent.

?????? They why is it fits and starts!?

Tim Hopper, chief economist at TIAA-CREF, said that if unemployment keeps falling and inflation starts to pick up later this year, ‘‘the Fed will be behind the curve if they haven’t already started raising rates.’’

Nearly 3.3 million more Americans are earning paychecks than 12 months ago. That has boosted US consumer spending and the broader global economy. Many leading exporters, particularly China, Germany, and Japan, depend on Americans’ spending for a chunk of their growth.

February’s hiring gains were broad-based. Some of the industries with the biggest gains include mostly low-paid work: Hotels and restaurants added 60,000 jobs, retailers 32,000.

But higher-paying fields also added jobs: Professional and business services, which include accountants, engineers and lawyers, gained 51,000, construction 29,000, and financial services 10,000.

Dave Long, chief executive of Orangetheory Fitness, said the improving economy has helped his fast-growing exercise studio business. He opened the first location five years ago in Fort Lauderdale; the company now has nearly 200 sites in the United States.

‘‘As people have a little extra money . . . it opens up their minds to spending a little more on a product like ours,’’ he said. 

I'm so happy ended on a po$itive note!


Let's see what else I can tune in:

"Regardless of what happens to the RadioShack corporation, Ira Brezinsky, who owns RadioShack franchises in Greenfield and Brattleboro, Vt..... Any economist will tell you that the last recession officially ended more than 5 ½ years ago. The basic laws of supply and demand have taken nearly that long to do much for the people on the lowest rungs of the jobs ladder. True, the pace of month-by-month job creation has been picking America up for a while now, and US unemployment has fallen to 5.7 percent. But the news that has caught my eye in recent weeks is about companies that are increasing the hourly wages of their lowest-paid employees. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. did just that two weeks ago." 


"More than 700 youths from across Massachusetts rallied at Old South Church and marched to the State House on Thursday to demand jobs and job funding for teens. The teens and youth advocates have said that the higher minimum wage and proposed state budget cuts will lead to the elimination of more than 1,000 jobs for young people this summer. The US unemployment rate for people between the ages of 16 and 19 was 18.8 percent in January, more than three times the overall US unemployment rate of 5.7 percent."

Don't worry, kids. Help is on the way:

"Lawmakers push for more job training, work for welfare recipients" by David Scharfenberg, Globe Staff  February 17, 2015

Senate President Stanley C. Rosenberg told reporters Tuesday that lawmakers will press to get more of the state’s welfare recipients into job training and work.

Rosenberg did not lay out a specific plan but suggested the state might shift more money from a federal- and state-funded welfare program, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, into job training.

The Amherst Democrat also voiced support for a “pay-for-performance” approach that would compensate nonprofit job-assistance programs only if they can demonstrate success.

I love the compa$$ion as they defend millions to Hollywood.

And Rosenberg said the state will look for the wisest way to spend casino revenue that is earmarked for education, revenue that could be used to pay for job training at community colleges.

The push comes a month after the conservative Pioneer Institute issued a report finding Massachusetts had the lowest rate in the nation of welfare recipients holding jobs in fiscal 2011, the last year for which federal data is available.

Just 7.3 percent of recipients eligible to work had a job that year. This “workfare” rate was roughly one-fourth of the national average of almost 30 percent.

The figure marked a steep decline for a state that helped inaugurate the “welfare-to-work” approach with landmark legislation signed by Governor William Weld in 1995. President Clinton signed federal legislation built on similar principles a year later.

“It was not long ago that Massachusetts was the pioneering state on workfare,” said Rosenberg. “Massachusetts in recent years has fallen significantly behind most other states, and is one of the worst performers now in the country.”

Rosenberg has put Senator Marc Pacheco, a Taunton Democrat, in charge of the effort to improve the state’s workfare effort.

Pacheco said the first task will be collecting basic data on unemployment, high school degrees, and associate’s degrees. Then, lawmakers will be looking at efforts in other states and countries to get welfare recipients and other unemployed people working.

For what jobs?

Welfare rules require recipients to work 20 to 30 hours a week or perform community service to receive benefits, which average about $449 a month. There are exceptions for people who are physically unable to work, mothers of young children, and others.

They dole it out to corporations and well-connected interests without such requirements, and don't tell me job creation when many take the money and run.

Gregory Sullivan, research director at the Boston-based Pioneer Institute, told the Globe last month that Massachusetts was able to sidestep workfare requirements during the period he studied because the federal government provides relief for states that shrink their overall welfare rolls.



Hispanics gaining jobs faster than other groups
Bill aims to close the gender wage gap
Gender quotas not the answer

What's with the division? 

Who’s poor? Depends how you measure it

Yeah, everything is relative.

The lessons of the modest, frugal rich folks among us
Stay free on Airbnb at Warren Buffett’s boyhood home

It's a golden $tay.