Keene’s Corner

 

Jim Glassman, senior economist, JPMorgan,talks to Tom Keene and Ken Prewitt about the unemployment problem and whether it is cyclical or structural.

 

Q: This appears to be the third year in a row that the economy looked pretty good in the early part of the year and then stalled out in the second half.

A: Every year is a little bit different. This year was slightly distorted by the unusual  seasonal patterns. We had rocking employment growth of 200,000 or more in the winter and the first quarter. Then, all of a sudden, we slowed down. Now, we are picking up a little bit. Why would we be picking up? I think this is more about the normal variation that you see in the numbers. And I think when you are growing slowly, modest distortions in the patterns can really get us all worked up. If we were growing 4 percent, 5 percent, we wouldn’t really care if we slowed down a half percent or so. We wouldn’t make such noise about that. But when we’re growing slowly, this kind of stuff makes people nervous.

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