Economics Roundtable

May 2014 Payroll Employment

After 76 months, we finally got back to the prerecession level of payroll employment.

Click on the image to get a bigger version.


The best summary of the state of our economy is the graph (below) of employment as a fraction of population for people over 16 years old. The decrease is large, but the most troubling feature of the graph is the flat trend .

Click on the image to get a bigger version.

Graph-of-the-Year Candidates

Donald Marron likes European interest rates. Click on the image to get a bigger version. Can you find three distinct subperiods?

Brad DeLong favors the U.S. gdp gap.

Remember M1?

Money Supply M1 growth is now over 20% per year over a 12 month lag. M1 growth has touched 20% before, but not with excess reserves of $1.6 trillion. Where is M1 headed?

Click on the chart for a larger version.


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Stumbling and Mumbling

"An extremist, not a fanatic”

September 19, 2014, 10:35 am, 1337925

I have often accused rightists of making a "small truths, big error" rhetorical trick - of using a small truth to disguise a big mistake. I fear, though, that this post by Richard Murphy shows that the left can do the same thing.

September 18, 2014, 10:35 am, 1337205

One curiosity of the Scottish referendum campaign has been that polls show that Alex Salmond is less distrusted than other politicians. For example, when Yougov asked "how much do you trust the statements and claims made by the following people?" they found that 40% ...

September 17, 2014, 10:35 am, 1336463

Economists have recently been abandoning once-core concepts in macroeconomics such as the money multiplier and IS-LM model. This week's figures remind me of something I'd also throw on the bonfire - the Phillips curve.

My chart shows ...

September 16, 2014, 10:35 am, 1335792

Martin Wolf says something that I'm in two minds about:

People have to understand, when they're being taught economics, how little we know, how limited our data are, and how unbelievably complex our economic and financial system is.
I think people have to begin with profound humility ...

September 15, 2014, 10:35 am, 1335081

Nick Cohen has brilliantly described how the arts and media are becoming dominated by public school products to the exclusion of people like us. This makes the irrational class-hating part of me - which is the biggest part - want to take up arms. ...

September 14, 2014, 8:35 am, 1334602

Back in the day, a concatenation of circumstances led to me being alone in a room with a well-known economist who was then advising governments around the world. I thought I'd start the conversation with the anodyne remark "it must be a fascinating challenge to give policy advice ...

September 12, 2014, 8:35 am, 1333820

To what extent is the Scottish referendum about the benefits of independence and to what extent is it about people's attitudes to risk?

To see my question, think of independence as an investment with a risky payoff - which is what it is.
There are two ...

September 11, 2014, 10:35 am, 1333213

Whatever the result of the Scotish referendum, almost half of all Scots will be disappointed, some very much so. Would there have been a better way of arranging things?

Possibly. I'm thinking of a demand-revealing referendum. The idea here is simple. Rather than simply put ...

September 10, 2014, 10:35 am, 1332511

The level of financial literacy in the UK, says Atul Shah, is "shockingly low". I wonder to what extent this can, for practical purposes, be corrected.

What I mean is that there's a big difference between knowing something and acting on it. We ...

September 9, 2014, 10:35 am, 1331801

Matthew Parris's piece in the Times has become notorious. However, he is raising an important point about political psychology which demands more attention than it gets.

He says:

I am not arguing that we should be careless of the needs of struggling people and places ...