May 21, 2019 • 51M

#40 — Ben Casselman (New York Times)

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Daniel Levitt delves inside the minds of journalists around the world
Episode details

Hello! And welcome to another edition of the Inside The Newsroom podcast and newsletter. Today’s guest is… Ben Casselman of the New York Times. Ben covers the U.S. economy and, because of his previous role as chief economics writer at FiveThirtyEight, he’s a fantastic resource for what it all for Donald Trump’s re-election in 2020. Below are links and post-game analyses of everything we talked about. Enjoy and please subscribe at the top!

The economy has finally recovered from 2008 right?

The latest jobs report showed that total U.S. unemployment is 3.6 per cent, a 50-year low. That’s fantastic news, but economic recoveries are subjective and where one region might be booming, another could still be struggling. As the chart below shows, the unemployment rate is part of the business cycle and is only part of the picture with regards to the true health of an economy.

Nelson D. Schwartz, the New York Times

By Nelson D. Schwartz

The Truth Behind the Jobs Report

Fortunately for us, my former FiveThirtyEight colleague and the incredibly smart Julia Wolfe shows us that the number of jobs added or lost may not be as accurate as we think. For example, it was estimated that 263,000 jobs were added to the U.S. economy in April, but the exact figure could in fact be 120,000 more or less than reported. That’s a bloody big range of uncertainty, meaning we should view unemployment figures with extreme caution.

Julia Wolfe, FiveThirtyEight

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Repeat After Me: The Stock Market Is Not the Economy

Another FiveThirtyEight article, god they’re smart… I’ve always been curious as to why people only point to one metric when assessing the health of the economy. I tried hard not to mention him in the podcast, but Mr. Trump tweets all too often about how the stock market is the sole indicator of why the economy is booming under his leadership. Well, Mr. Casselman is far smarter and does a good job of ripping that theory to shreds. Thank god for smart people.

Ben Casselman, (formerly of) FiveThirtyEight

And here’s a nice video explainer just in case…

Longest expansion ever?

The U.S. economy has grown for 106 consecutive months (8 years and 10 months), which according to CNN, is tied for the second-longest US expansion since records began. We’re still more than a year away from breaking the record, and there are signs suggesting we may or may not get there. Still, credit where credit’s due, the economy hasn’t completely tanked under Trump like some predicted.

Zachary B. Wolf and Will Houp, CNN

So Is This Trump’s Economy Now?

Ben and I discussed the importance of the economy in elections, going as far as saying the number one reason Trump won in 2016 was because of the economy, which never really recovered in certain areas under Obama. As we sit here in May 2019, the economy is now firmly Trump’s for better or worse, and he could win or lose re-election in 2020 depending on how the economy performs from now until then.

Jim Tankersley, the New York Times

Fastest growing US cities

Part of the reason for the continued economic growth is down to immigration. In rural counties where much of the population migrate to larger cities, international migration has helped local businesses and services from failing. As Bloomberg also reports, immigrants aren’t just flocking to the glitz and glamour of New York, Los Angeles or Miami. The likes of San Antonio, Columbus and Phoenix are among the fastest growing cities in the US.

Jed Kolko, the New York Times

Related Podcasts

#34 — Dave Weigel (Washington Post)

#20 — Daniel Dale (Toronto Star)

Next up…

Next week we’ll have Domonique Foxworth of ESPN on the podcast. Domonique covers the intersection between sports, race and culture for ESPN’s The Undefeated, and I think he’ll make for a gripping podcast so keep an eye out for the newsletter in your inbox next week. Subscribe here.

Last time…

#39 — Henry Abbot (TrueHoop)

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