The Hamilton Project Blog

Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew Details Economic Costs of Climate Change at Hamilton Project Forum

September 23, 2014 • The Hamilton Project • Economic Security, Energy & Environment

By Fred Dews, Managing Editor, New Digital Products, The Brookings Institution

"As an economic matter, the cost of inaction or delay is far greater than the cost of action" on climate change, said U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew in a forum hosted by The Hamilton Project yesterday. Secretary Lew was joined by former Treasury Secretary Robert E. Rubin, co-chair of the Council on Foreign Relations, and Michael Greenstone, The Milton Friedman Professor in Economics and Director of the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago, to explore the economics of climate change, and the potential costs of inaction to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

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Paying the Cost of Climate Change

September 19, 2014 • Michael GreenstoneEconomic Security, Energy & Environment

The economic cost of climate change is high: an annual $12 billion increase in electricity bills due to added air conditioning; $66 billion to $106 billion worth of coastal property damage due to rising seas; and billions in lost wages for farmers and construction workers forced to take the day off or risk suffering from heat stroke or worse. By the end of the century, these costs and others put a combined price tag of hundreds of billions of dollars on climate change in the United States, according to a recent report. Fortunately, most Americans are wealthy enough to protect themselves from the worst that climate change has to offer. 

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The U.S. Fishing Industry Contributes Nearly $80 Billion to U.S. Economy

September 10, 2014 • The Hamilton Project • Economic Security, Effective Government, Energy & Environment

By Fred Dews, Managing Editor, New Digital Products, The Brookings Institution

Today, The Hamilton Project releases new papers and hosts a forum to explore opportunities for improving the economic prosperity and long-term sustainability of the U.S. fishing industry. Taken together, commercial and recreational fishing contributed nearly $90 billion to the U.S. economy in 2012, according to Hamilton Project data, including over 1.5 million jobs for American workers.

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A Tale of Two Jobs Gaps: Private-Sector Recovery and Public-Sector Stagnation

September 5, 2014 • Benjamin H. Harris, Brad Hershbein, Melissa S. KearneyEconomic Security, Employment & Wages

Employers added 142,000 jobs in August, according to today’s employment report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This rate of job creation represents a slowdown from that of previous months, and is the first time the economy gained fewer than 200,000 jobs over the month since January of this year. Although the unemployment rate has steadily declined since 2011, reaching 6.1 percent last month, the broader measure of the employment-to-population ratio, which includes people who have stopped looking for work, has changed little since the end of the Great Recession. It currently stands at 59.0 percent, up less than 1 percentage point over the last five years, and far less than its pre-recession level of 62.7 percent in late 2007.

Each month, The Hamilton Project calculates America’s “jobs gap,” or the number of jobs that the U.S. economy needs to create in order to return to pre-recession employment levels while absorbing the people who newly enter the labor force each month. As of the end of August 2014, our nation faces a jobs gap of 5.6 million jobs.  

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Economic Contributions of the U.S. Fishing Industry

September 3, 2014 • Melissa S. Kearney, Benjamin H. Harris, Brad HershbeinEconomic Security, Effective Government, Energy & Environment, State & Local

A founding principle of The Hamilton Project’s economic strategy is that long-term prosperity is best achieved in a changing global economy by promoting sustainable, broadly shared economic growth. One important way to fulfill the goals of this strategy is to encourage the efficient use of our nation’s natural resources. This fall, The Hamilton Project will release new papers and host forums on this topic, with a specific focus on U.S. fisheries in September, and on America’s water crisis in October. 

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