The Education 529 Channel

Visualizing GDP: An Inside Look at the Q1 Advance Estimate

The accompanying chart is a way to visualize real GDP change since 2007. It uses a stacked column chart to segment the four major components of GDP with a dashed line overlay to show the sum of the four, which is real GDP itself. Here is the latest overview from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

March New Home Sales Jumps, Surprises Forecasts

This morning's release of the March New Home Sales from the Census Bureau came in at 621K, up 5.8% month-over-month from a revised 587K in February. Seasonally adjusted estimates for December and January were also revised. The forecast was for 583K.

For Whom the Bond Tolls: Low Rate Beneficiaries in a Rising Rate Environment

Sluggish growth and aggressive central bank actions following the Global Financial Crisis pushed interest rates down to unprecedented levels, even negative outside the US, for longer than many would have expected.

Trends in the Teenage Workforce Update

In July of 2015, CNN Money featured an article with the optimistic and intriguing title "More American teens are getting jobs. That's good for everyone." After reading the article, we revised one of our monthly charts on Labor Force Participation to include the age 16-19 cohort -- one we elsewhere combine with the 20-24 year-olds. We've updated this article to include the latest employment data.

Is the U.S. Workforce Nearing Full Recovery?

We've updated our monthly workforce analysis to include last week's Employment Report for March. The unemployment rate ticked down from 4.7% to 4.5%, and the number of new nonfarm jobs (a relatively volatile number subject to extensive revisions) disappointed forecasts at 98K.

Long-Term Trends in Employment by Age Group

The Labor Force Participation Rate (LFPR) is a simple computation: You take the Civilian Labor Force (people age 16 and over employed or seeking employment) and divide it by the Civilian Noninstitutional Population (those 16 and over not in the military and or committed to an institution). The result is the participation rate expressed as a percent.

NFIB Small Business Survey: Index Slips Slightly in March, Optimism Sustained

The latest issue of the NFIB Small Business Economic Trends came out this morning. The headline number for March came in at 104.7, a decrease of 0.6 from the previous month's 105.3. The index is at the 97th percentile in this series. Today's number came in at the forecast.

The Ratio of Part-Time Employed Remains High, But Improving

Let's take a close look at Friday's employment report numbers on Full and Part-Time Employment. Buried near the bottom of Table A-9 of the government's Employment Situation Summary are the numbers for Full- and Part-Time Workers, with 35-or-more hours as the arbitrary divide between the two categories. The source is the monthly Current Population Survey (CPS) of households. The focus is on total hours worked regardless of whether the hours are from a single or multiple jobs.

March Jobs Report Preview

The monthly employment report comes out tomorrow, and markets are watching closely to see whether the string of positive surprises continues. If it does, it could be the start of a new upward run in the stock market. If not, it will suggest that economic strength may be starting to moderate. Either way, it will be big news.

529 Plans: An A+ Choice for Employers?

College savings plans can help companies boost their employee benefits packages.

On My Radar: No Friends on a Powder Day

We touched down late last night in Salt Lake City. Susan, the boys, Brianna and me along with a dozen bags. It’s a long-standing family tradition and let’s just say everyone is really excited. A snowstorm just ended and my Snowbird app says 11” of fresh new snow.

Update: A Closer Look at the Cost of Education

Many reports on the cost of education and affordability over the last decade have focused on the rapid growth of educational debt. Here we examine student aid, costs of undergraduate education, and enrollment over time. We've used data from the College Board's annual Trends in Higher Education publications. We've updated this report with the latest data.

Monthly Market Risk Update: March 2017

Just as I do with the economy, I review the market each month for warning signs of trouble in the near future. Although valuations are now high—a noted risk factor in past bear markets—markets can stay expensive (or get much more expensive) for years and years, which doesn’t give us much to go on timing-wise.

Baby Boomer Employment Across Time

The 20th century Baby Boom was one of the most powerful demographic events in the history of the United States. We've created a series of charts to show seven age cohorts of the employed population from 1948 to the present. What we see is essentially the "Boomer Bulge" in employment across time. Those born between 1946 and 1964 continue to grow the employment of the two oldest cohorts. It will be interesting to see how long those two trends continue.

The Consequences of Overestimating Retirement Expenses

Research has shown that individual and household spending declines in real-dollar terms upon and following retirement. Yet most financial advisors still use traditional retirement planning approaches that target constant real-dollar spending for the client’s planning period.