Economics Roundtable

May 2014 Payroll Employment

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

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Jobs

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 .


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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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Calculated Risk

"Random thoughts on Politics and Economics”


February 10, 2016, 7:03 pm, 1607380
From Matthew Graham at Mortgage News Daily: Mortgage Rates Inch Further Into 1-Year Lows

Mortgage rates barely budged today, but did manage to gain just a bit of ground. That means another 1-year low, technically, although many lenders are quoting the exact some conventional 30yr fixed rates ...


February 10, 2016, 3:03 pm, 1607294
An excerpt from an article by Jon Hilsenrath at the WSJ: Fed Sees Risks to U.S. Economy Rising

The Fed’s assessment of the balance of risks is meaningful because officials won’t be inclined to raise short-term interest rates again if it sees growing risks to the outlook. Ms. ...


February 10, 2016, 3:03 pm, 1607293
Another update ... during the recession, I wrote about the troubles in Las Vegas and included a chart of visitor and convention attendance: Lost Vegas.

Since then Las Vegas visitor traffic has recovered to new record highs.

Visitor traffic was 2.9% above the record set in ...


February 10, 2016, 11:03 am, 1607208
From Fed Chair Janet Yellen: Semiannual Monetary Policy Report to the Congress. Excerpt:

Financial conditions in the United States have recently become less supportive of growth, with declines in broad measures of equity prices, higher borrowing rates for riskier borrowers, and a further appreciation of the dollar. These ...


February 10, 2016, 7:03 am, 1607124
From the MBA: Rates Drop, Refi Applications Surge in Latest MBA Weekly Surve

Mortgage applications increased 9.3 percent from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending February 5, 2016.
...
The Refinance Index ...


February 9, 2016, 7:03 pm, 1606955
Wednesday:
• At 7:00 AM ET, the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) will release the results for the mortgage purchase applications index.

• At 10:00 AM, Testimony by Fed Chair Janet Yellen, Semiannual Monetary Policy Report to the Congress, Before the Committee on Financial Services, U.S. House of Representatives


February 9, 2016, 3:03 pm, 1606863
Oil prices are down today, with Brent at $30.51 per barrel, and WTI at $28.08.

Here is an excerpt from the EIA Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO) released today.

Brent crude oil prices are forecast to average $38/b in 2016 and $50/b in 2017. Forecast West Texas Intermediate (WTI) ...


February 9, 2016, 11:03 am, 1606772
From the BLS: Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary

The number of job openings increased to 5.6 million on the last business day of December, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Hires and separations were little changed at 5.4 million and 5.1 million, respectively. ...


February 9, 2016, 9:03 am, 1606727
From the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB): After Modest Gain Last Month, Small Business Optimism Takes a Stumble

The Index of Small Business Optimism fell 1.3 points from December, falling to 93.9. ...

Reported job creation improved in January, with the average employment gain per ...


February 8, 2016, 7:03 pm, 1606530
From the Boston Globe: Gasoline prices slide even lower in Mass.

Gasoline prices fell for the ninth consecutive week in Massachusetts, tumbling to an average of $1.77 a gallon on Monday, according to AAA Northeast.
...
It remains unclear whether prices have hit rock-bottom, as crude oil and ...