Sunday, July 31, 2011

Arab unrest, high food prices as a result of the Arab Spring

Creating a democracy is hard.  Perhaps harder now than it was when America cast off its totalitarian rule 250 years ago.  Today, most of us are not farmers capable of feeding ourselves and our families; today we rely on jobs to trade our skills for such sustenance.  If democracy is to continue to germinate, take root, and flourish in the Middle East, we must find ways to ensure that the people can sustain themselves through this transition.

The story below was one of our worst fears at the 11th Doha Forum.  How do we help the people with necessary food and water during the Arab Summer?

From Syria to Libya and Egypt, the uprisings and unrest gripping the Arab world have cast a pall on the start of Ramadan, the Muslim holy month when the traditional focus on piety will likely be eclipsed by more unrest.
Food prices — part of the economic hardships that catalyzed the ouster of the Egyptian and Tunisian leaders — are still climbing. And protesters have shown little patience for conciliatory gestures by governments after decades of empty promises.
With momentum strong to drive out authoritarian regimes, there is no sign that opposition forces will ease up on protests — even with the difficulties of the month of dawn-to-dusk fasting that begins Monday.
Predictions of a tense Ramadan have already started to be realized.

Libyan rebels are turning their weapons on each other, dimming hopes for the overthrow of longtime leader Moammar Gadhafi.


Thursday, July 7, 2011

Exports Support U.S. Jobs

Exports Support U.S. Jobs

Cover image of Projected Jobs Supported by Exports 2009 and 2010
Joseph Flynn is the Director of the International Trade Administration’s Office of Competition and Economic Analysis

Did you know that 9.2 million jobs in the United States last year were tied directly to exports? The International Trade Administration this week issued a report, Projected Jobs Supported by Exports, 2009 and 2010, which updates an earlier ITA report Exports Support American Jobs. This report provides preliminary estimates for jobs supported by exports for 2009 and for the value of exports that support one job for 2009 and 2010. This report attempts to improve projections, provide transparency in making the projections, and provide revised estimates for 2009 and 2010. The revised estimates of jobs supported by exports are 8.7 million in 2009 and 9.2 million in 2010.

The value of exports that supports one job was $164,000 in 2009 and $181,000 for 2010. That is, the value fell slightly from 2008 to 2009 because of the recession and softness in export prices. In 2010, the value increased to $181,000 as export prices and productivity strengthened. Thus, for every billion dollars of exports, over 5,000 jobs are supported.
Not only do exports support millions of U.S. jobs, those jobs actually pay more than jobs in similar sectors unrelated to exports. Earlier work by the International Trade Administration gives an idea of how much more pay they receive. The report Weekly Earnings in Export-Intensive U.S. Services Industries estimates that workers in export-intensive services industries earn 15 to 20 percent more than comparable workers in other industries. Similarly, the report Do Jobs in Export Industries Still Pay More? And Why? estimates that exports contribute an additional 18 percent to workers’ earnings on average in the U.S. manufacturing sector.

The International Trade Administration publishes a variety of reports on international trade and economic issues.