Tags: Davidson | dollar | strength | jobs

Adam Davidson: Dollar's Strength Costing US Jobs

By    |   Monday, 02 March 2015 01:00 PM


Many commentators have spoken about the ills of a strong dollar — it has risen to multi-year highs against a range of currencies in recent weeks.

The critics usually focus on the debilitating effect of an ascendant dollar on our exports and the earnings of our multinational companies. But Adam Davidson, co-founder of NPR’s "Planet Money," puts it a bit differently.

"Since 1977, the leader of the Fed has had two legal mandates: to keep the dollar’s value stable and to maximize employment," he writes in The New York Times Magazine.

"[Fed Chair Janet] Yellen is doing the first part of her job so well . . . that she’s hampering the second part, the one about more of us having decent jobs."

Davidson is concerned about corporations' $659 billion of bank deposits, money that isn't being used for investment. "Entrepreneurship is flat, the percentage of Americans starting new businesses is near a 20-year low," he writes.

"Venture capital, often seen as the most vibrant part of our economy, collapsed in 2000 and has barely budged upward since."

It's an interesting argument, but it seems quite a stretch to blame the dollar's strength for those woes. Most analysts say they are the result of fundamental problems with our economy rather than a currency issue.

Most experts also agree that the dollar's recent rise — it hit an 11-year high against the euro and a seven-year high against the yen--reflects the economy's strength. But a continued ascent by the dollar could cause trouble for the economy, says Washington Post reporter Matt O'Brien.

"The real risk [for the Federal Reserve] is raising rates too soon, just because it seems like we should, even though wages and inflation are quiescent," he writes. Rate hikes would likely push the dollar up further.

"For the first time in a long time, the economy's growth looks strong and sustainable," O'Brien says. "The only thing that can stop it is if we make our exports uncompetitive and our imports too competitive. In other words, if we let the dollar get too strong."

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Many commentators have spoken about the ills of a strong dollar - it has risen to multi-year highs against a range of currencies in recent weeks.
Davidson, dollar, strength, jobs
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2015-00-02
Monday, 02 March 2015 01:00 PM
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