By Phil Izzo
A roundup of economic news from around the Web.
–Student Loans and Household Formations: Mike Konczal has some interesting links and discussion looking at the link between student loans and household formations. “Now the practical questions becomes: how much an average increase of 2.25% of student-loan to income payments, that extra $60/month, impacts how twenty-somethings move out of their parents house? I’d be interested in arguments, but I can’t imagine it’s going to be the breaker for a large percentage of the population. And I imagine it is a weaker determinate than, say, credit-card debt incurred during joblessness on the balance-sheet front. I’d like to see more arguments, but at this point I don’t see student debt putting a pickup in household formation in check – it will decline a bit than it would otherwise, but young people might equally just spend less on housing and rentals to balance out their monthly debt ratios.”
–Fed Rulemaking: Bloomberg View says Ben Bernanke should expand the Fed’s transparency to its rule-making process. “The central bank is working largely behind closed doors as it crafts the myriad regulations mandated by the Dodd-Frank financial reform law. Fed staff members have written, and governors have approved, proposals for dozens of rules — such as capital requirements and the Volcker rule, which forbids banks from making speculative bets with their own money — that could affect the livelihoods of millions of people. But the public’s glimpses of the process have come almost exclusively when Fed officials appeared for congressional testimony, or in formal Fed disclosures outlining issues that interested parties — most of them banks and bank lobbyists — raised in private meetings with Fed officials. As a result, uninformed criticism of the rules has been plentiful, and explanations from the authors scarce.”
–Confidence and Jobs: Ed Yardeni examines the correlation between consumer confidence and jobs. “Jobs aren’t plentiful yet, but they are less hard to get. That’s the opinion of the folks who responded to February’s survey of consumer confidence conducted by the Conference Board. Whenever this monthly survey, that is used to construct the Consumer Confidence Index, is released, I immediately search for the response rate to the question about whether “jobs are hard to get.” It fell sharply from 43.3% in January to 38.7% in February, the lowest reading since November 2008. Initial unemployment claims is a leading indicator for the JHTG response series. The drop in the former is signaling that fewer workers are getting fired, while the drop in the latter suggests that it’s getting easier to get hired.”
Compiled by Phil Izzo