North America

Lin-Manuel Miranda’s hit Broadway musical “Hamilton” has been arguably the hottest tickets to ever hit Broadway. According to its producers, Hamilton broke records for pre-sales before its Broadway debut last summer, and recently, producers raised the price of 200 premium tickets from $475 to $849, making it the most expensive premium ticket on the Great White Way.

So it’s no surprise that prices on the secondary market have been similarly off the charts. While tickets going for more than $300 may have seemed expensive when it first opened, prices that cheap have been difficult to find in recent months.

Ticket prices reached a high point last Saturday for Miranda’s last performance as title character Alexander Hamilton. Tickets on StubHub were listed (not necessarily sold) for as high as $60,000 and $30,000 after fees. But in the few hours before the performance, ticket prices across the board began dropping. Read more

Valentina Romei

Latest figures showed a strong rise in US employment in June, with 287,000 extra jobs significantly above the average of 204,000 in the previous 12 months. However, the overall labour market picture is mixed. The unemployment rate rose 0.2 percentage points to 4.9 per cent, and labour force participation remains a crucial concern.

Even among those of prime working age participation rates remains low, over three percentage points lower than at the turn of the century. Read more

John Burn-Murdoch

The 2015-16 El Niño episode has been either the most or one of the most intense on record, depending on which measure you use.

Going on sea surface temperatures alone, the latest El Niño narrowly edges out 1997-98, the previous strongest. Temperatures in the Niño 3.4 region of the Pacific Ocean — the most commonly used of the regions scientists measure for signs of an developing El Niño or La Niña conditions — peaked at 2.37°C above the long term trend in November 2015, just ahead of the 2.33°C mark reached in 1997. Read more

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Valentina Romei

If the UK were to leave the European Union, it will mean that it will also be outside the Capital Markets Union (CMU), when completed. The CMU is a set of measures designed to clear obstacles between companies and potential investors. The idea – in the words of the European Commission that created it – is “to mobilise capital and channel it to all companies, including SMEs, and infrastructure projects that need it to expand and create jobs”.

The EU economy is slightly bigger than that of the US, but its capital market is very different. Its equity market is about half the size of that of the US and its securitisation market is less than a quarter of the US. Read more

The bookies say it will be the Carolina Panthers, and there’s one clear statistic to back that up: the Panthers won 15 out of the 16 games in the regular season, compared to the Denver Bronco’s 12.

That should make the Panthers favourites, but the best team in the regular season is not a shoo-in to lift the Vince Lombardi Trophy. Read more

Valentina Romei

With the oil price falling, the US oil and gas extraction sector lost about 17,000 jobs-8 per cent- in the year from its peak in December 2014. The fall is larger than in the year to December 2009, when the sector lost nearly 12,000 jobs.

Valentina Romei

“America’s labour market is not working” wrote Martin Wolf this week in a column analysing the poor performance of the country’s labour force participation rate. In a recent blog post we investigated possible reasons of the fall only to find that participation rates shrank among all demographic, education or civil-status groups.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics- which produces the participation numbers – does not compile data on reasons for inactivity, but the US Census Bureau could fill the knowledge gap, as it tabulates the reasons why people did or did not work in previous years. However, this data is much more difficult to access than that of the BLS and consequently less frequently used and quoted. Read more

Eswar Prasad and Karim Foda

The world economy is beset by a dangerous combination of divergent growth patterns, deficient demand, and deflationary risks. The latest update of the Brookings-Financial Times TIGER (Tracking Indexes for the Global Economic Recovery) reveals sharp divergences in growth prospects between the advanced economies and emerging markets, and within these groups as well.  Read more

The World Athletics Championships are taking place this week in Beijing, and Usain Bolt’s narrow victory over Justin Gatlin in the men’s 100m final rounded off the opening Sunday.

Always one of the biggest moments of any athletics meet, this year’s race was especially eagerly anticipated given the narrative that had built around Gatlin. Read more

Martin Stabe

Global banks have paid $162.2bn in fines and legal settlements with US regulators since the financial crisis, data compiled by FT reporters shows.

Update, July 22, 2015: The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency have handed down a $770m penalty against Citigroup for deceptively marketing and billing consumers for identify theft protection products. Read more

Guest post by Paul Hodges

Demographic change is creating major headwinds for the US economy, as confirmed by its disappointing first quarter GDP growth of 0.2 per cent. Consumption accounts for around 70 per cent of US GDP, and new data on household spending from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) demonstrate how the ageing of the US population is creating major structural change in the economy. Read more

Robin Kwong

Parkview Gardens, a short subway ride from the White House, is an unlikely home of the free and the brave.

Half of the 600 apartments in this red-brick housing estate in Maryland are rented by refugees, people who have fled trouble and now live in the US. Many consider themselves lucky. They have visas, they get some government aid, and they are safe. But all offer some hard realities: nothing is easy about beginning again.

Five families – from Iraq, Bhutan, Rwanda and Kosovo – tell the Financial Times about their past lives and what they face now in America and living at Parkview Gardens. Click here for their stories (free)

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US broadband map

FT analysis of new Census Bureau data shows the scale of the task facing the Obama administration Read more

by Gavin Jackson and Keith Fray

On Tuesday the International Monetary Fund released its latest World Economic Outlook. A striking new finding emerges: the seven largest emerging markets are now bigger, in gross domestic product terms, than the long established G7 group of industrialised nations, when measured at purchasing power parity (PPP). Read more

Emily Cadman

After five years of historically low interest rates across the US, UK and eurozone, Wednesday’s vastly improved job forecast from the Bank of England raised the prospect of a return to more normal monetary policy.

A report out today from McKinsey attempts to quantify the impact of years of ultra lose monetary policy has been on the winners – and losers. Whilst there are few surprises in the report, it does attempt to put numbers on the winners and losers.

Unsurprisingly, it is governments that come out on top. The consultancy estimates that between 2007 and 2012 the US, UK and eurozone governments collectively benefited to the tune of $1.6tr from lower borrowing costs and the increased profits from central banks.

For consumers though it is a mixed bag. Read more

John Burn-Murdoch

Chinatowns gif

Gentrification and commercial developments are breaking up Chinatowns in US and British cities, squeezing Chinese communities out of the vibrant neighbourhoods that grew up around earlier generations of migrants.

The changing demographics of New York City further highlight this pattern, with Asian communities having sprung up in Flushing and Queens, where they were traditionally focused in Lower Manhattan.

The animated maps above show decadal changes in the spread of localised Chinese and Asian communities in London, New York and San Francisco, created using data from the 2001 and 2011 editions of the UK census and the US censuses of 2000 and 2010. Read more

The rise in US food prices accelerated in September and has continued into October, according to a detailed study of retail prices – though the US federal government shutdown has robbed financial markets of any official measures of the state of the economy.

These unofficial inflation figures, from a US start-up called Premise, highlight the growing use of massive data collection and analysis – known as “big data” – to supplement and in some cases replace official economic statistics.

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By David Donald of the Center for Public Integrity and James Politi. Interactive graphic by Caroline Nevitt, Tom Pearson and Martin Stabe.

Map: US sequestration impact per capita

US sequestration impact per capita

Automatic US government spending cuts that took effect in March are threatening local economies across the country.

Counties that benefited from high levels of federal spending in recent years and weathered the recession better than the rest of the country could be especially hard-hit, an analysis of so-called “sequestration” by the Financial Times and the Center for Public Integrity has found.

Update, 3 October: The New Mexico county that is home to the Los Alamos National Laboratory, faces the greatest per-capita impact of any county in the United States, at more than $6,000 per person. Areas with military bases, such as Christian county, Kentucky, are also particularly hard hit. Across the 388 counties in the US that have one or more military installation, the sequestration impact per capita is $312. That is nearly twice as high as in the 2,727 counties without a military installation, where the sequestration impact per capita is $171.

Use the interactive graphic below to see how the impact is distributed around the United States and how your county fares.

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