Economics Roundtable

NOTICE 4/30/18

The Economics Roundtable is back. The technical problem that has limited the set of blogs has been resolved. The RSS feed is, however, still not working.

Flushing caches will likely cause some old posts to show up for a day or two.


Employment as a Percentage of Population

The graph below shows employment as a fraction of population for people over 16 years old.


Click on the image to get a bigger version.


March 2017 Payroll Employment

Payroll employment has not grown impressively since 2000. Some baby-boomers retired, but that does not totally account for this graph.

Click on the image to get a bigger version.


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.


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.


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Political Calculations


October 22, 2018, 4:40 am, 1909827

The S&P 500 (Index: SPX) ended the third week of October 2018 much the same way as it ended the previous week, with investors appearing to split their forward-looking focus between the future quarters of 2019-Q1 and 2019-Q3.


October 19, 2018, 9:49 am, 1909319

On 24 September 2018, mathematician Michael Atiyah announced that he believed that he had cracked the Riemann Hypothesis at the Heidelberg Laureate Forum, which if his proof holds, would represent a very big deal. Not just because the proof would come with a ...


October 18, 2018, 5:09 am, 1908704

Not long ago, thanks to a botched drink order, we had our first experience with the new style plastic "adult sippy cup" lids that Starbucks (NYSE: SBUX) announced would replace plastic straws for all its iced beverages back on 9 July 2018.

Starbucks promoted ...


October 17, 2018, 4:40 am, 1908354

The U.S. Department of Education has updated its statistics on the number of student loan defaults occurring within three years of a borrower beginning repayment. The latest data covers borrowers who began making payments on their student loans during the U.S. government's 2015 ...


October 16, 2018, 4:40 am, 1907968

It's been several months since we last considered the deteriorating situation for the future of dividends at General Electric (NYSE: GE), where we wrote that either GE or its dividend, and quite possibly both, were set to shrink.

Four months and ...


October 15, 2018, 8:40 am, 1907477

The second week of October 2018 was one of the most interesting for the S&P 500 (Index: SPX) in quite some time.

For our purposes, to qualify as interesting, the S&P 500 needs to change in value by 2% or more on any given ...


October 12, 2018, 4:10 am, 1906923

To what extent have Philadelphia's residents been able to avoid that city's controversial soda tax?

Until recently, that was an open question, where we've had very little available data to provide any solid insight into the answer. But now, thanks to a combination of


October 11, 2018, 4:40 am, 1906600

As long time observers of stock prices, we don't start getting excited about any single day change in their level unless they go up or down by more than two percent. But when they change by more than three percent within a single day, we ...


October 10, 2018, 4:39 am, 1906300

It wasn't just U.S. soybean exports that encountered some serious shenanigans in August 2018 as part of China's trade war strategy with the United States. International U.S. trade data also indicates that U.S. crude oil exports to China also


October 9, 2018, 4:39 am, 1905965

Ken Roberts analyzes import-export data over at Forbes, and when the U.S. trade data for August 2018 came out, he quickly found that there were some serious shenanigans going on with U.S. soybean exports, starting with a major year over year decline for shipments ...