Economy

Brian Mulroney Divided and Reshaped Canada Through Free Trade With the U.S.
Economy

Brian Mulroney Divided and Reshaped Canada Through Free Trade With the U.S.

Brian Mulroney first led the Progressive Conservatives to power while I was early in my career as a journalist. But his political life was never something that I covered in any great detail. His decision to negotiate a free trade agreement with the United States transformed Canada’s economic history and did, however, consume much of my work life for several years.Mr. Mulroney died on Thursday at 84 at a hospital in Florida after falling at his home there. Alan Cowell has written a sweeping obituary of Mr. Mulroney that documents his many significant achievements but also the allegations of financial misdoing and influence peddling that followed his time in office. Those allegations tarnished his reputation, even among former supporters, and contributed to the eventual demise of the federal...
Nursing Home Staffing Shortages and Other Problems Still Persist
Economy

Nursing Home Staffing Shortages and Other Problems Still Persist

Many Americans prefer to believe the Covid pandemic is a thing of the past. But for the nation’s nursing homes, the effects have yet to fully fade, with staffing shortages and employee burnout still at crisis levels and many facilities struggling to stay afloat, according to a new report published Thursday by federal investigators.The report, by the inspector general’s office at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, found that the flawed infection-control procedures that contributed to the 170,000 deaths at nursing homes during the pandemic were still inadequate at many facilities. And while the uptake of Covid vaccines was initially robust when they first became available, investigators found that vaccination booster rates among staff workers and residents have been badly lagg...
Yellen Urges Israel to Restore Economic Ties to West Bank
Economy

Yellen Urges Israel to Restore Economic Ties to West Bank

Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen said on Tuesday that she had personally urged Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel to increase commercial engagement with the West Bank, contending that doing so was important for the economic welfare of both Israelis and Palestinians.Ms. Yellen’s plea was outlined in a letter that she sent to Mr. Netanyahu on Sunday. It represented her most explicit public expression of concern about the economic consequences of the war between Israel and Hamas. In the letter, Ms. Yellen said, she warned about the consequences of the erosion of basic services in the West Bank and called for Israel to reinstate work permits for Palestinians and reduce barriers to commerce within the West Bank.“These actions are vital for the economic well-being of Palestinians and ...
Your Inhalers and EpiPens Aren’t Very Healthy for the Environment
Economy

Your Inhalers and EpiPens Aren’t Very Healthy for the Environment

Single-use insulin pens changed Brian Brandell’s life.Growing up with Type 1 diabetes in the 1970s, he had to carry glass syringes and vials of insulin wherever he went. So in 1985, when Novo Nordisk debuted a disposable prefilled pen that combined several doses of medication with a syringe, Mr. Brandell readily adopted the new device.“They were a godsend,” he recalled.But more recently, he began weighing the effects of all the plastic in the pens he had thrown away over the years, and the potential harm to people and his surroundings.“I’m using this lifesaving product,” he said with frustration, “but in order for me to use it, I’ve got to be willing to damage the environment.”It’s no secret that the world has a plastic problem. The versatile, durable and cheap material is clogging the wor...
What Is Your Housing Situation? We Want to Hear From You.
Economy

What Is Your Housing Situation? We Want to Hear From You.

“No society can be fully understood apart from the residences of its members.”I have that quote (from “Crabgrass Frontier,” the seminal history of America’s suburbs) taped to a wall behind my desk. It summarizes why I love covering housing for The New York Times and seem never to run out of things to write about. Housing is everything. It’s where we live and raise our families. It is most people’s largest store of wealth. Whether you own, you rent, or you sleep outside, where you hang your head defines much of your existence.Over the past few decades, and especially since the pandemic, housing has gone from a symbol of American strength to an everyday crisis. Aspiring homeowners are becoming forever renters. People live in increasingly crowded households, the supply of illegal housing has ...
France Will Cut Spending as It Sees a Weaker Economy Ahead
Economy

France Will Cut Spending as It Sees a Weaker Economy Ahead

France is entering an era of belt-tightening, as the wars in Ukraine and Gaza, economic slowdowns in Germany and China and record-high interest rates take a bigger-than-expected toll on growth.The French will find themselves faced with cuts of 10 billion euros ($10.8 billion) in government spending, on items including environmental subsidies and education, the government announced Thursday, on top of €16 billion in cuts announced a few months ago. The finance minister, Bruno Le Maire, on Monday revised the forecast for economic growth this year to 1 percent, down from 1.4 percent at the end of last year.“Lower growth means lower tax receipts, so the government must spend less,” Mr. Le Maire said at a news briefing.After spending lavishly during the pandemic to support the economy and shiel...
U.S. Economy: Has an Era of Increased Productivity Returned?
Economy

U.S. Economy: Has an Era of Increased Productivity Returned?

The last time the American economy was posting surprising economic growth numbers amid rapid wage gains and moderating inflation, Ace of Base and All-4-One topped the Billboard charts and denim overalls were in vogue.Thirty years ago, officials at the Federal Reserve were hotly debating whether the economy could continue to chug along so vigorously without spurring a pickup in inflation. And back in 1994, it turned out that it could, thanks to one key ingredient: productivity.Now, official productivity data are showing a big pickup for the first time in years. The data have been volatile since the start of the pandemic, but with the dawn of new technologies like artificial intelligence and the embrace of hybrid work setups, some economists are asking whether the recent gains might be real ...
Plans to Expand U.S. Chip Manufacturing Are Running Into Obstacles
Economy

Plans to Expand U.S. Chip Manufacturing Are Running Into Obstacles

In December 2022, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, the key maker of the world’s most cutting-edge chips, said it planned to spend $40 billion in Arizona on its first major U.S. hub for semiconductor production.The much ballyhooed project in Phoenix — with two new factories, including one with more advanced technology — became a symbol of President Biden’s quest to spur more domestic production of chips, the slices of silicon that help all manner of devices make calculations and store data.Then last summer, TSMC pushed back initial manufacturing at its first Arizona factory to 2025 from this year, saying local workers lacked expertise in installing some sophisticated equipment. Last month, the company said the second plant wouldn’t produce chips until 2027 or 2028, rather than 20...
The Great Compression – The New York Times
Economy

The Great Compression – The New York Times

Robert Lanter lives in a 600-square-foot house that can be traversed in five seconds and vacuumed from a single outlet. He doesn’t have a coffee table in the living room because it would obstruct the front door. When relatives come to visit, Mr. Lanter says jokingly, but only partly, they have to tour one at time.Each of these details amounts to something bigger, for Mr. Lanter’s life and the U.S. housing market: a house under $300,000, something increasingly hard to find. That price allowed Mr. Lanter, a 63-year-old retired nurse, to buy a new single-family home in a subdivision in Redmond, Ore., about 30 minutes outside Bend, where he is from and which is, along with its surrounding area, one of Oregon’s most expensive housing markets.Mr. Lanter’s house could easily fit on a flatbed truc...
As Home Insurance Bills Go Up, Owners’ Coverage Is Going Down
Economy

As Home Insurance Bills Go Up, Owners’ Coverage Is Going Down

Robert Shiver’s bill for his homeowner insurance jumped from $3,800 in 2022 to $8,000 in July. “I remember opening the bill and, honestly, laughing, like, ‘This is not feasible,’” he said.Mr. Shiver, 40, who lives about 20 miles east of Tampa, Fla., did not pay the bill. Instead, he worked with his insurance agent to shave off parts of his coverage, lowering the estimate for how much the insurer would have to pay to potentially rebuild his house from around $710,000 to about $560,000.Shrinking the coverage lowered his bill to just under $5,000, a huge relief, he said, since he would again be able to make his monthly mortgage and insurance payment.In the insurance business, Mr. Shiver might now be considered “underinsured,” meaning that his policy may not be sufficient to cover a rebuild af...