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‘We Were Left With Nothing.’ Argentina’s Misery Deepens in the Pandemic.

Before the pandemic, Carla Huanca and her family were making modest but meaningful improvements to their cramped apartment in the slums of Buenos Aires.She was working as a hairstylist. Her partner was tending bar at a nightclub. Together, they were bringing home about 25,000 pesos ($270) a week — enough to add a second story to their home, creating extra space for their three boys. They were about to plaster the walls.“Then, everything closed,” said Ms. Huanca, 33. “We were left with nothing.”Amid the lockdown, the family needed emergency handouts from the Argentine government to keep food on the table. They …

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The Biden Administration Is Quietly Keeping Tabs on Inflation

“We think the likeliest outlook over the next several months is for inflation to rise modestly,” two officials at Mr. Biden’s Council of Economic Advisers, Jared Bernstein and Ernie Tedeschi, wrote on Monday in a blog post outlining some of the administration’s thinking. “We will, however, carefully monitor both actual price changes and inflation expectations for any signs of unexpected price pressures that might arise as America leaves the pandemic behind and enters the next economic expansion.”Some Republicans call that posture dangerous. Senator Rick Scott of Florida, the chairman of his party’s campaign arm for the 2022 …

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After Pandemic, Shrinking Need for Office Space Could Crush Landlords

Roughly 17.3 percent of office space in Manhattan is available for lease, the most in at least three decades. Asking rents have dropped to just over $74 a square foot, from nearly $82 at the beginning of 2020, according to the real estate services company Newmark. Elsewhere, asking rents are largely flat from a year ago, including in Boston and Houston, but have climbed slightly in Chicago.The Japanese clothing brand Uniqlo, whose United States headquarters are in Manhattan’s SoHo neighborhood, recently relocated to another building nearby, an open layout with tables designed for 130 people who will come into the office only a …

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Fear of Inflation Finds a Foothold in the Bond Market

The so-called bond vigilantes may be back, 30 years after they led a sell-off in Treasury securities over the prospect of higher government spending by a new Democratic administration.The Federal Reserve has downplayed the risk of inflation, and many experts discount the danger of a sustained rise in prices. But there is an intense debate underway on Wall Street about the prospects for higher inflation and rising interest rates.Yields on 10-year Treasury notes have risen sharply in recent weeks, a sign that traders are taking the inflation threat more seriously. If the trend continues, it will put bond investors …

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If the Economy Overheats, How Will We Know?

“I don’t think anyone will be too surprised to see massive airfare inflation” in the short term, for example, as the economy reopens, said Wendy Edelberg, director of the Hamilton Project at the Brookings Institution. “Instead, I worry if we start to see signs that people, businesses and financial markets are responding to the level of overheating as if it were permanent.”That situation would leave policymakers, especially at the Federal Reserve, faced with two bad choices: Allow inflation to take off in an upward spiral, or stop it by raising interest rates and quite possibly causing a recession.“ …

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How the U.S. Got It (Mostly) Right in the Economy’s Rescue

“Now that we need them, there’s no freaking help,” he said.Research from Eliza Forsythe, an economist at the University of Illinois, found that from June until Feb. 17, only 41 percent of unemployed workers had access to benefits. Some of the rest were unaware of their eligibility or couldn’t navigate the thicket of rules in their states. Others simply weren’t eligible. Asian workers, Black workers and those with less education were disproportionately represented among the nonrecipients.The gaps and delays in the system had consequences.“The impact of that is folks’ having to move out of their apartments …

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Here Are 17 Reasons to Let The Economic Optimism Begin

That’s essentially what has happened in the last few decades as China has gone from being isolated to being deeply integrated in the world economy. When the country joined the World Trade Organization in 2001, its population of 1.28 billion was bigger than that of the combined 34 advanced countries that make up the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (1.16 billion).But that was a one-time adjustment, and wages are rising rapidly in China as it moves beyond low-end manufacturing and toward more sophisticated goods. India, the only other country with comparable population, is already well integrated into the world economy. To …

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U.S. Economy Added 379,000 Jobs in February

Hiring picked up last month as states lifted restrictions and stepped up vaccination efforts, with the government reporting on Friday that the American economy added 379,000 jobs last month.The pace of hiring in February was an unexpectedly large improvement over the gains made in January. It was also the strongest showing since October.But there are still about 9.5 million fewer jobs today than a year ago. Congress is considering a $1.9 trillion package of pandemic relief intended to carry struggling households and businesses through the coming months.“What we’re seeing is broad, slow gains,” said Julia Pollak, an economist at …

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Empty Office Buildings Squeeze City Budgets as Property Values Fall

WASHINGTON — At a meeting with Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen last month, Jeff Williams, the mayor of Arlington, Texas, laid out his grim economic predicament: Heavy spending on coronavirus testing and vaccine distribution had dwarfed dwindling tax revenue, forcing the city to consider painful cuts to services and jobs. While sluggish sales and tourism were partly to blame, the big worry, Mr. Williams said, is the empty buildings.Those dormant offices, malls and restaurants that have turned cities around the country into ghost towns foreshadow a fiscal time bomb for municipal budgets, which are heavily reliant on property taxes and …

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Stimulus Checks Helped Personal Income Surge in January

The American economic recovery came perilously close to falling off a cliff at the end of last year. But government aid arrived just in time to prevent a disaster — and possibly paved the way for a dynamic rebound.Personal income surged a remarkable 10 percent in January, the Commerce Department reported on Friday. Spending increased last month, too, by a healthy 2.4 percent, largely fueled by a rise in purchases of goods.The report was the latest sign of the economy’s slow but steady march forward after a series of setbacks.Yet the data also underscored the extent to which government …

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