Tag Archives: Economics reporting

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Bloomberg News seeks Fed reporter

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Bloomberg News is looking for an energetic reporter with sharp news judgment to cover the world’s most important central bank, the Federal Reserve.

This demanding and high-profile beat calls for excellence in a wide range of skills, from deadline reporting to enterprise. You must be able to develop sources and break news while also spotting emerging trends on monetary and regulatory policy and the economy. You will be working in close cooperation with an award-winning team of journalists. Minimum of three years of real-time business reporting experience is required. Experience covering central banks, finance or financial markets preferred.

Qualifications:
- Bachelor’s degree or the equivalent
- Experience working in a real-time news environment
- Ability to write quickly, concisely and accurately under deadline pressure
- Ability to build on a base of existing sources within the Federal Reserve
- Experience covering central banks and financial markets
- An entrepreneurial and energetic approach to the job
- Enthusiasm for adding the kind of detail or analysis that adds value for sophisticated consumers of financial news
- A good communicator, collaborator and team player
- A curious mind and a scrappy passion for reporting
- Demonstrable attention to detail and organizational skills

To apply, go here.

Market News International web

Market News International seeks economics reporter in Frankfurt

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Market News International, a global financial news agency, seeks a full-time economic data specialist in its Frankfurt office to ensure accurate and fast reporting of data releases for the Eurozone and its major member states.

The successful candidate will oversee all phases of the preparation of data stories and headlines as well as be in charge of the production of data tables and calendars, working with editorial assistants to improve them. Writing and editing data and other stories, as well as assisting with coverage of the European Central Bank, are other important duties, and the successful candidate will also be expected to help expand the range of MNI’s editorial content.

The successful candidate will have:

  • Journalism experience, probably for a financial wire service, involving the coverage of macroeconomic data releases.
  • A track record of being able to deliver accurate reporting and editing of data releases with attention to detail under regular deadline pressure.
  • Native-level written English. Fluency in German is strongly preferred. Other foreign languages – particularly French, Italian and Spanish – would be a big plus.
  • Comfort with standard desktop technology.
  • Willingness to work irregular hours when needed.

This is an exciting opportunity for a dynamic journalist to cover unfolding macroeconomic events in Europe’s single currency area. Salary commensurate with experience.

If interested, please send a letter and a copy of your resume to David Barwick, Frankfurt bureau chief (dbarwick@mni-news.com), and to Martin Baccardax, Managing Editor for continental Europe (mbaccardax@mni-news.com).

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Bloomberg seeks economic data reporter in Mexico City

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Bloomberg News is seeking to hire an Economic Data Reporter in our Mexico City office to assume current and expand economic data coverage.

The successful candidate will extract economic data from press releases in English, Spanish and Portuguese under real-time deadline pressure and survey economists ahead of indicators. The candidate will need to be fast and accurate in taking data and turning it into table-based stories for our clients, working closely with other reporters and editors to help with our news coverage.

The person in this role must have a minimum of one year of experience covering or working with economic indicators. This individual must also be fluent in Spanish and English. Fluency in Portuguese is a plus. The ability to use Excel spreadsheets, including familiarity with VBA and macros, is required. Analytical skills are also a must to be able to tie together the themes and trends of the data being covered.

Qualifications:
- Bachelor’s degree or equivalent experience
- Minimum of one year of experience covering or working with economic indicators
- Understanding of economics to determine what data releases are important enough to cover and what data within those releases should be emphasized
- Ability to use Excel spreadsheets, including familiarity with VBA and macros, is essential- Experience working in a real-time news environment
- Ability to write introductions and headlines for economic data tables in English and Portuguese is a plus
- Fluency in Spanish and English is essential.

To apply, go here.

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Reuters hires new Fed reporter

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Reuters Washington bureau chief Marilyn Thompson and Washington economics editor Tim Ahmann sent out the following announcement on Monday:

We are pleased to announce that Howard Schneider, who until recently was at the Washington Post, will join us on April 21 to help lead our Federal Reserve coverage. Howard has been covering international economics for the Post for the past four years with stories ranging from trade and the euro zone crisis to the International Monetary Fund and U.S.-China economic relations. He has extensive experience in both economics and international affairs.

In more than 25 years at the Post, he has led coverage from Jerusalem, Cairo and Toronto, and has served as both economics editor and local business editor. He started at the Post as a Metro staff writer, and has taught journalism and writing. He is currently working towards a Masters in applied economics.

He will join Michael Flaherty, whose appointment was previously announced, in leading our Fed coverage from Washington. The appointment brings our U.S. central bank reporting team up to full strength and positions us to deliver the insightful coverage our clients demand.

wall-st-journal

WSJ expands economics news team

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The following announcement was sent out Thursday by Washington bureau chief Gerald Seib and economics editor Neil King:

We’re delighted to announce new appointments and hires that will bring added heft and fresh skills to The Wall Street Journal’s expanding global economics team.

Sudeep Reddy is named deputy global economics editor, while Tim Aeppel is taking on an expanded role as the Journal’s senior economics correspondent.

Matt Stiles is joining us from NPR as a data reporter based in Washington, a move that will enliven and sharpen our abilities to unearth new data trends and bring complex policy stories to life.

And two great reporters have come on board: Nick Timiraos, Journal housing reporter extraordinaire, and Josh Zumbrun, until recently Bloomberg’s crack Fed reporter.

Sudeep Reddy’s appointment formalizes and widens a role he assumed last spring, when he joined the editing ranks and transformed our daily economics coverage for the digital era. Sudeep aligned our reporting teams into a single structure to deliver faster and smarter news content across all platforms. He will continue to play a key role in steering our coverage of U.S. and international economics and economic policy.

Since coming to the Journal in 2007, Sudeep has covered U.S. and international economics, economic policy, global trade and the world’s leading economic institutions including the Federal Reserve, Treasury, IMF and World Bank. He is respected by colleagues on every continent from his coverage of the global financial crisis, the euro crisis and international policy summits.

Sudeep came to us from The Dallas Morning News, where he served as an energy reporter in Texas and a Washington correspondent covering business topics in Congress and federal regulatory agencies. He graduated from Brown University with a degree in history and biomedical ethics.

Tim Aeppel, in his new role, will use his deft feel for the country and deep understanding of business in reporting on the many forces shaping the U.S. and global economies. He also will help formulate and steer major projects and leders within the broader economics team.

Tim brings to his new assignment an unmatched reputation for coverage of manufacturing and the industrial economy, as well as for his meticulous reporting and writing. All his skills served the global economics team well for the years he served as bureau chief, directing the New York economics group.

A native of bustling Loup City, Neb., Tim joined the Journal in 1989 to cover Germany—and, within weeks of his arrival, was witness to the fall of the Berlin Wall. He went on to chronicle the reunification of Germany and to become the Journal’s Europe-wide auto correspondent. After moving back to the U.S., he carved out a beat covering America’s factory floors. He is a graduate of The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and of Principia College.

Matt Stiles’s arrival in the Washington bureau April 21 will mark a dramatic uptick in our abilities to unearth telling data on the U.S. and global economies, and to tell vivid graphical tales. He also will be sharing his arts with our political team.

New York magazine named Matt one of the country’s top 21 “new media innovators,” lauding the huge databases he assembled during his time with the online Texas Tribune.  One tracked the ZIP codes and per capita incomes of the state’s top lottery buyers, while another dug into the details of all the state’s prison inmates.

Matt comes to us from NPR, where he served three years as one of the organization’s top data gurus and hatched many of its top visualization projects. One application he created on fracking in Pennsylvania was part of a package of drilling stories that won a DuPont-Columbia Award. He was also an arch trainer and mentor to others in the NPR newsroom, a flair he will bring with him to the Journal.

Matt covered cops and crime for four years at The Dallas Morning News, moved to The Houston Chronicle in 2005, and then worked as a reporter and news applications editor at The Texas Tribune before heading to NPR. He’s a graduate of the University of Texas at Arlington.

Nick Timiraos, who is wrapping up his service on the housing beat this month, will cover the full spectrum of issues shaping the economy.

Nick joined the Journal in 2006 as an intern in his native L.A. and did a stint for us on the 2008 campaign trail. He went on to earn his stripes as the nation’s top housing reporter. He covered the real estate sector throughout the housing bust and recovery, the government’s response to the mortgage crisis, the bailouts of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and other developments in housing-finance policy.

He graduated from Georgetown University, where he served as an editor of The Hoya, Georgetown’s premier campus newspaper.

Josh Zumbrun, who has been turning everything imaginable into charts since he joined us last week, also will report on topics across the field of economics.

Josh, who grew up on a hog farm in Indiana, has covered vast terrain in a decade of D.C. reporting. He started on the Metro and Style desks at the Washington Post, where he pioneered the practice of—and the term—hypermiling. (He can explain.) He went on to excel in covering the economy and the Federal Reserve, first at Forbes and then Bloomberg for the past four years. His background includes service as a Citgo gas station attendant and a cook at Hot Stuff Pizza.

Josh, who graduated from Georgetown with a degree in international economics, also served as the editor of The Hoya – a year before Nick.

Please join us in welcoming all to their new posts.

Fed

The next Fed concern: Inflation and interest rates

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Maybe the worry is confusing investors, or maybe the Fed is anxious about it’s plans to change the stimulus package. Whatever it is, reporters picked up on several themes in the latest Fed’s minutes.

Jon Hilsenrath’s story for the Wall Street Journal ran under the headline that the Fed was worried about inflation:

Federal Reserve officials are growing concerned the U.S. inflation rate won’t budge from low levels, the latest sign of angst among central bankers about weakness in the global economy.

The Fed began 2014 hopeful that a strengthening U.S. economy would push very low inflation from 1% toward the 2% level that officials associate with healthy business activity. Three months into a year marked by unusually harsh winter weather, which appears to have damped economic growth, there is little evidence of such movement.

Fed officials expressed worry about the persistence of low inflation at a policy meeting last month, according to minutes of the meeting released by the central bank Wednesday. They discussed at the March 18-19 meeting whether to make a more explicit commitment to keeping short-term interest rates pinned near zero until they saw inflation move up, but chose instead to take a wait-and-see approach.

Low inflation is high on the agenda of global central bankers and finance ministers gathering in Washington this week for semiannual meetings of the International Monetary Fund. Bank of Japan officials are trying to overcome more than a decade of on-again-off-again deflation, and inflation in Europe is running close to zero.

“We think there is also a risk of deflation, negative inflation. And we think that if this were to happen, this would make the adjustment both at the euro level, and even more so for the countries in the periphery, very difficult,” IMF chief economist Olivier Blanchard said of Europe on Tuesday, after the IMF released updated economic projections. “We think that everything should be done to try to avoid it.”

On its face, flat consumer prices sound like a blessing that holds down household costs. But when tepid inflation is associated with small wage gains, excess business capacity and soft global demand, as now, economists see it as a sign of broader economic malaise that restrains investment and hiring. Exceptionally slow wage and profit gains also make it harder for household and business borrowers to pay off debt.

The New York Times story by Binyamin Appelbaum led with the Fed’s decision about when to start raising short-term interest rates:

The meeting, which the Fed described for the first time on Wednesday, underscores the complexity of the decision to replace the Fed’s guidance about when it might begin to raise short-term interest rates — which emphasized a specific unemployment threshold — with a vague description of the central bank’s economic goals.

Fed officials felt that markets understood the old guidance, and they were reluctant to disrupt that understanding, according to the minutes. But they concluded that the scheduled March meeting was an opportune moment to make the change, which was necessary at some point as the unemployment rate, currently standing at 6.7 percent, fell toward the Fed’s threshold level of 6.5 percent.

The account of the two meetings, which the Fed published on Wednesday after a standard three-week delay, said that most officials agreed that the Fed should move to a weaker form of guidance rather than trying to substitute a new threshold based on the unemployment rate or some other specific target.

While both stories are talking about the same issue, what is interesting is the framing. One chose to focus on inflation and the economic model, the other decided to turn a spotlight on how to communicate the new moves. Bloomberg’s story by Jeff Kearns and Craig Torres focused on the market’s reaction to the minutes:

U.S. stocks rallied the most in a month while Treasuries pared declines after the minutes eased concern about the timing of future interest-rate increases. Even after rates rise, officials said last month, they might have to be kept at levels considered below normal for longer because of tighter credit, higher savings and slower growth in potential output.

The minutes reinforce Janet Yellen’s message at her debut press conference as chair last month that the interest-rate forecasts of policy makers — which are displayed as a series of dots on a chart — are less important than the Fed’s post-meeting statement.

“She was pretty blunt about it, saying ‘Pay attention to the statement, don’t look at the dots,’ ” said Josh Feinman, the New York-based global chief economist for Deutsche Asset & Wealth Management, which oversees $400 billion. “They knew this could be a source of confusion with the dots moving up, and they were thinking about how to manage that.”

The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index rose 1.1 percent to 1,872.18 to close at the high of the day. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note climbed one basis point to 2.69 percent.

Treasury yields jumped last month after policy makers predicted that the benchmark rate would increase faster than previously forecast and Yellen said rates might start to rise “around six months” after the Fed ends its bond buying.

Jonathan Spicer and Ann Saphir wrote for Reuters that the minutes didn’t actually clear up anything:

The minutes shed little new light on what might prompt an eventual policy tightening after the Fed ends its bond-buying program, which most policymakers thought would be completely wound down in the second half of 2014.

After its March meeting, the Fed said in a statement that it would wait a “considerable time” following the end of its bond-buying program before finally raising interest rates.

Fed Chair Janet Yellen played down the “upward shift” in Fed officials’ rate forecasts in her post-meeting press conference, saying that the “dots” are not the Fed’s primary way to communicate policy.

But what drew the most attention from financial markets was Yellen’s definition of “considerable time” as “around six months,” depending on the economy.

What’s interesting about the coverage is that many of the major news organizations didn’t find the same things in the minutes. Often agencies give guidance, shaping the coverage for the day, but in this case many of the stories were different in their focus. While the policy minutes contain much information and no one was inaccurate in the reporting, the different takes do make a point about the new regime at the Fed.

Dionne Searcey

NYTimes biz desk hires Searcey from WSJ

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New York Times business editor Dean Murphy sent out the following announcement on Wednesday:

We’re pleased to announce that Dionne Searcey of the Wall Street Journal is coming to BizDay to write about the economy.

For the past four years, Dionne has been an investigative reporter for the Journal’s Page One enterprise team, and before that was the paper’s national legal correspondent and its telecom reporter. She has also worked at Newsday, the Seattle Times and Chicago Tribune.

Dionne contributed to an award-winning series in 2011 that examined the Social Security disability program, and most recently wrote a series about fraud in asbestos claims that was based on her exclusive access to a database of privileged legal and medical records.  She has an eye for quirky angles and details that has made her a regular contributor to the Journal’s signature A-hed feature, including one about a convention of twins in Ohio where she revealed that fraternal twins suffer from an inferiority complex. “Some fraternal twins and their parents think identical twins have all the fun,” she wrote.

As these things go, Dionne is the mother of 6-year-old identical twin girls (and their older brother), is married to the climate change program director for the Wildlife Conservation Society (his office is near the sea lion pool at the Bronx Zoo) and grew up in a town in Nebraska that was so small that she signed her name at the grocery store instead of paying on the spot. “My kids’ Brooklyn elementary school is far bigger than the population of my entire hometown,” Dionne said.

Dionne studied journalism and French at the University of Nebraska. and took her first big-city job as a cop reporter for the City News Bureau of Chicago. “I arrived at my first murder scene on my Chicago crime beat after being raised in Nebraska where police checks on barking dogs still make my hometown newspaper,” she said.

Dionne will join Nelson Schwartz and Shaila Dewan in covering the national economy later this month. Barking dogs beware.

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Yellen works to reassure markets

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After her debut to mixed results, Federal Reserve Board Chair Janet Yellen worked to clarify her earlier comments on how long the Fed would continue its easy money policy.

Bloomberg had this story by Jeff Kearns and Craig Torres:

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, easing investor concern that interest rates may rise earlier than previously forecast, said the world’s biggest economy will need Fed stimulus for “some time.”

Yellen said today the Fed hasn’t done enough to combat unemployment even after holding interest rates near zero for more than five years and pumping up its balance sheet to $4.23 trillion with bond purchases.

“This extraordinary commitment is still needed and will be for some time, and I believe that view is widely shared by my fellow policy makers,” Yellen said at a community development conference in Chicago. “The scars from the Great Recession remain, and reaching our goals will take time.”

Yellen spotlighted as evidence “real people behind the statistics,” describing how one person, Vicki Lira, lost two jobs, endured homelessness and now serves food samples part-time at a grocery store.

The Washington Post story by Ylan Q. Mui focused on Yellen’s comments about Main Street and her examples of unemployed workers, something that is out of the ordinary for a Fed:

The address amounted to an impassioned argument for continuing the Fed’s unprecedented support of the American economy in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis. Yellen described in detail the challenges facing unemployed workers, from exhausted savings to strained marriages. She even recounted the stories of three people by name: Dorine Poole, who was discriminated against because she is unemployed; Jermaine Brownlee, who took a job making less money than he did before he was unemployed; and Vicki Lira, who is working part-time but wants more hours.

“They are a reminder that there are real people behind the statistics, struggling to get by and eager for the opportunity to build better lives,” Yellen said. Though the Fed works through financial markets, “our goal is to help Main Street, not Wall Street.”

Yellen’s speech seemed tailored to help the Fed shed the cloistered reputation it earned in the decades leading up to the financial crisis. The central bank’s top officials have made transparency and communication with the public a priority since the Great Recession, and nearly every aspect of Yellen’s event was steeped in the real economy. She delivered her speech at the conference for community organizers and developers hosted by the Chicago Federal Reserve. She toured a manufacturing program at a community college in the city’s rough South Side.

“It shows that the Fed has a concrete, on-the-ground feeling for what is happening,” said Randall Kroszner, a professor at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business and a former Fed governor.

Writing for The New York Times, Binyamin Appelbaum’s story added the context that Yellen’s speech was designed to counter arguments from some who feel the economy is recovering:

The speech offered a rebuttal to economists, including some Fed officials, who see evidence that the central bank is approaching the limits of its ability to improve labor market conditions. It also leaned against recent indications that Fed officials might be considering a faster retreat from their economic stimulus campaign.

Ms. Yellen said that even now, almost five years after the official end of the Great Recession, it remains harder for Americans to find jobs than in the midst of a typical downturn. For those who are working, wages are rising more slowly than usual.

“There remains no doubt that the economy and the job market are not back to normal health,” Ms. Yellen said. “The recovery still feels like a recession to many Americans and it also looks that way in some economic statistics.”

She said the Fed’s commitment to economic stimulus remained “strong.”

Ms. Yellen’s predecessors, Ben S. Bernanke and Alan Greenspan, opened their Fed tenures by seeking to reassure financial markets that they were determined to minimize inflation. Mr. Bernanke made inflation the subject of his first speech as chairman in 2006. Now inflation is actually slower than the Fed would like, and Ms. Yellen mentioned it only briefly.

The Wall Street Journal story by Pedro Nicolaci da Costa and Jon Hilsenrath pointed out that investors liked her comments:

Ms. Yellen’s comments Monday helped underpin a rally in the stock market. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 134.60 points, or 0.8%, to 16467.66, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 rose 14.72 points, or 0.8%, to 1872.33. Those gains contrasted with a selloff spurred by her press-conference remarks.

“She doesn’t want to get the market overly concerned that she’s going to tighten anytime soon, because she’s not,” said Doug Cote, chief market strategist at ING Investment Management. “She said she has an extraordinary commitment to boost the economy in a still-struggling labor market. I think it put the market at ease.”

While Ms. Yellen’s underlying message on Fed policy was unchanged, her delivery was striking. Central bankers tend to speak in terms of economic theory and statistics, in jargon better understood by investors and other economists than the broader public. Ms. Yellen instead exhibited a personal touch Monday by coloring her comments with experiences of three people who had struggled to gain full-time work.

What is certainly true about Yellen is that she is making her own path as head of the Fed. Invoking “real” stories and concrete examples hints of politics and a much different presentation strategy than past chairs. While she may not have made a slight gaffe during her first speech, she’s making up for it now with a much different tactic.

Wall Street Journal

WSJ economics team adds two reporters

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Wall Street Journal economics editor Neil King sent out the following staff announcement on Monday:

We’re pleased to announce two big additions to the Journal’s expanding economics team: Nick Timiraos, Journal housing reporter extraordinaire, and Josh Zumbrun, until just weeks ago Bloomberg’s crack Fed reporter.

The two Hoyas bring a wide array of skills to our econ team at a critical moment for the U.S. economy. They’ll play key roles in our coverage across all platforms, including our upcoming expansion of Real Time Economics on WSJ.com.

Nick, who is wrapping up his service on the housing beat while already rooted in DC, joined the Journal in 2006 as an intern in his native L.A. and did a stint for us on the 2008 campaign trail. He went on to earn his stripes as the nation’s top housing reporter, covering developments across the sector, including housing-finance policy.

Josh, who grew up on a hog farm in Indiana, has covered vast terrain in a decade of D.C. reporting. He started on the Metro and Style desks at the Washington Post, where he pioneered the practice of—and the term—hypermiling. (He’ll explain.) He went on to excel in covering the economy and the Fed, first at Forbes and then Bloomberg. His resume notes his service as a Citgo gas station attendant and a cook at Hot Stuff Pizza.

Nick and Josh also happen to be pals. They even followed each other — Josh went first — as editors of The Hoya, Georgetown’s premier campus newspaper.

 

economic data

How to take the economy’s measure

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An economist told business and financial journalists Saturday to beware of aggregated data because sometimes it hides important trends.

“Companies are increasingly managing and mining data to augment government sources,” said Scott Anderson, chief economist of Bank of the West. “What I see happening is a blurring of the lines between traditional government economic data and market, strategic planning and risk management.”

Anderson and Steve Landefeld, director of the Bureau of Economic Analysis, discussed how to dig deeper into government and company data to get a better picture for how the U.S. economy is operating at the Society of American Business Editors and Writers annual conference, being held at Arizona State University.

Landefeld said the BEA uses electronic data complied from a variety of sources as opposed to getting information from individuals through surveys.

“We hope to pick up data more from economic transactions than from asking the individual,” Landefeld said. “There are biases present in household surveys.”

Landefeld broke down specific aspects of the components of GDP, such as foreign owned assets in the U.S. and encouraged the use of comparisons to give context to data.

Landefield said these foreign investment assets equate to about $25 trillion, which is a huge amount in nominal dollars but not when compared to the percentage of U.S. net worth.

“It’s nothing to panic about,” Landefield said.

Anderson discussed how government data, especially GDP, is central to economic forecasting.

“During the government shutdown, we were twiddling our thumbs for a few weeks,” Anderson said.

Anderson said a real GDP gap still remains.

“It tells me were still below our economic potential,” Anderson said. “There’s a lot of excess slack in the labor market and deflationary pressures are very real.”

Anderson said there is increasing demand for granularity of data as policy makers, banking executives, and corporate boards want access to detailed parts of macroeconomic data.

“Our dependence on data is going to be more important compared to the past,” Anderson said.

Alex Dixon is a senior at the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Journalism and Mass Communication attending the SABEW conference on a Talking Biz News scholarship.