California's lax usury laws means out-of-state loan sharks are charging desperate Californians 183% APRs

California regulates payday loans (good thing, since Trump's about to kill the federal rules preventing payday loansharking), but not "installment loans" of $2,500 to $5,000 and that means that out-of-state lenders are able to target desperate Californians; they're getting seven-year loans of $5,000 that cost $42,000 to repay. Read the rest

Camperforce: Laura Poitras documentary on the elderly precariat nomads who keep Amazon's warehouses working

Last September, I wrote about Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century, Jessica Bruder's important, fascinating book-length investigation into the Americans who live on the road out of economic necessity, including the Camperforce, a precariat army of retirees who saved carefully all their working lives, only to be bankrupted in the 2008 financial crisis who travel from Amazon warehouse to Amazon warehouse, filling in as seasonal and temp workers on gruelling, 12-hour shifts that leave them in pain and with just enough money to make it to the next stop. Read the rest

The majority of US workers live in "employment monopsonies" where there is little or no competition for workers

In Labor Market Concentration, a new working paper from economists at U Penn, U Navarra and the Roosevelt Institute, researchers analyze a large US government data-set to determine how many workers live in markets where there is effective only one or two employers, a situation called "monoposony" (when a single buyer has a monopoly). Read the rest

Americans have no savings, with good reason: housing, education and health care costs are out of control, wages are stagnant, and the Fed has suppressed interest rates

The American savings crisis is a time-bomb, as multiple generations hurtle toward retirement with effectively no savings, and experts are now saying that having $1 million in the bank on retirement day isn't enough. Future generations will either have to let their parents starve or compromise their own ability to produce the next generation while caring for the previous one (this is the crisis underway in China and Japan right now). Read the rest

American wages are so low, the robots don't want your job

The American "productivity paradox": technology keeps marching, but the amount of profit generated by the average worker's average hour is stagnant. Read the rest