domenica 8 novembre 2009

L'occupazione crolla negli USA... Aggiornamento al 6 novembre 2009

Mentre una settimana fa si celebrava il ritorno della crescita economica negli USA, il dato molto negativo sull'occupazione di venerdì scorso ha portato anche i più ottimisti a riflettere un po' sulle prospettive future dell'economia americana. Il tasso di disoccupazione è al 10.2%, il più alto dal 1982, ma quando si tiene conto di chi è sottoccupato per via della congiuntura si sale al 17.5%! Scrive a proposito il New York Times:

In all, more than one out of every six workers — 17.5 percent — were unemployed or underemployed in October. The previous recorded high was 17.1 percent, in December 1982.

This includes the officially unemployed, who have looked for work in the last four weeks. It also includes discouraged workers, who have looked in the past year, as well as millions of part-time workers who want to be working full time.

La descrizione del mercato del lavoro USA mostra come assomigli sempre di più a quello Europeo: chi sta pagando la recessione è soprattutto chi è in cerca di un lavoro per la prima volta, piuttosto che chi è già occupato:

The main reason that the unemployment rate has soared is the hiring rate has plummeted.

So fewer workers than might be expected have lost their jobs. But those without work are paying a steep price, because finding a new job is extremely difficult.

Second, wages have continued to rise for most people who still have jobs. The average hourly wage for rank-and-file workers, who make up about four-fifths of the work force, actually accelerated in October, according to the new report.

Even though some companies have cut the pay of workers, the average hourly wage has still risen 1.5 to 2.5 percent over the last year, depending on which government survey is examined. Average weekly pay has risen less — zero to 1 percent — because hours have been cut. But average prices have fallen. Altogether, the typical worker has received a 1 to 2 percent inflation-adjusted raise over the last year.

In the other two severe recessions in recent decades, workers with jobs fared considerably worse. At the same point in the mid-1970s downturn, real weekly pay had fallen 7 percent; in the early 1980s recession, it had fallen 4 percent.

It is a strange combination: workers who still have a job are doing better than in other deep recessions, but the unemployment and underemployment have risen to their highest level since the Depression.

Non c'è molto da stare allegri evidentemente. La Fed ne è ben consapevole e ha ancora una volta annunciato pubblicamente l'intenzione di mantenere i tassi exceptionally low for an extended period. C'è da pensare che il carry trade sul dollaro e il toro nei mercati azionari possano continuare ancora per un po', anche se Buttonwood invita ad essere prudenti:

The future path of quantitative easing (QE) runs into similar dilemmas. This policy allows central banks to inject money into the system by purchasing assets from the private sector. Much of the money created has been used to buy government bonds. (...) QE will not last forever. If it is abandoned before government deficits are tamed, bond yields could soar. Furthermore, central banks will presumably want to sell their bond holdings at some point, or at least not roll them over when they mature. All this debt will end up back on the market and investors should set yields accordingly.

So perhaps bond yields are being held down not by QE, but by the expectation that interest rates will be held near zero for the foreseeable future. In effect, the authorities have bribed investors to buy assets. But rates will only be held at current low levels if the economy remains weak. As Paul McCulley of Pimco, a giant bond manager, points out, the bulls who argue for a V-shaped recovery need to be careful what they wish for. The result would be a rise in interest rates that would sabotage the chief motor of this year’s rally.

Ecco l'aggiornamento al 6 novembre 2009.

Nessun commento: