Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Misc: Portugal, Participation Rate, Japan and More

by Bill McBride on 3/23/2011 07:27:00 PM

• The CBO has a new report Labor Force Projections Through 2021 (ht Catherine Rampell at Economix). The CBO's estimates are similar to mine (here and here). See Table 1 (on page 3) for their projections of the participation rate over the next decade.

The key is that a large portion of the recent decline in the participation rate is due to demographics, and we shouldn't expect the participation rate to rise back to the pre-recession levels.

• From the BBC: Portugal PM Jose Socrates resigns after budget rejected. This was expected, and it appears Portugal will be next in line for a bailout. The EU leaders meeting starts tomorrow - great timing!

Also, Ireland is expected to complete the next round of bank stress tests by the end of March - and if these show the need for additional capital (expected), then that will put the new Irish government in a difficult situation.

• From the NY Times: New Problems Arise at Japanese Nuclear Plant

The Japanese electricians who bravely strung wires this week to all six reactor buildings at a stricken nuclear power plant succeeded despite waves of heat and blasts of radioactive steam.

... [However] nuclear engineers say some of the most difficult and dangerous tasks are still ahead — and time is not necessarily on the side of the repair teams.
Progress, but still scary.

• And the impact on the supply chain continues, from the Detroit Free Press: Toyota and Honda extend auto shutdowns
Toyota ... said in a statement Tuesday that its shutdown of 11 factories would be extended until Saturday because of difficulty securing components, including rubber parts and electronics.

The shutdown had previously been announced through Tuesday. The automaker has lost production of about 140,000 vehicles since March 14.
Honda said its production halt would continue through Sunday
Earlier housing posts: Existing Home sales for February:
February Existing Home Sales: 4.88 million SAAR, 8.6 months of supply
Existing Home Inventory decreases 1.2% Year over Year
Existing Home Sales and Inventory Graphs

New home sales for February:
New Home Sales Fall to Record Low in February
Home Sales: Distressing Gap
New Home Sales and Inventory Graphs