Economics Roundtable

January 2014 Payroll Employment

We are getting closer to the previous peak.

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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Calculated Risk

"Random thoughts on Politics and Economics”

April 17, 2014, 11:03 pm, 1257404
From Michelle Meyer at Merrill Lynch: Will April showers bring May flowers?

We have all been waiting for the weather to unleash stronger economic activity, particularly for the housing market. However, the housing data so far have been less than encouraging. We think it will be challenging to realize ...

April 17, 2014, 7:03 pm, 1257324
Container traffic gives us an idea about the volume of goods being exported and imported - and possibly some hints about the trade report for March since LA area ports handle about 40% of the nation's container port traffic.

The following graphs are for inbound and outbound traffic at the ...

April 17, 2014, 3:03 pm, 1257147
From US hotels report strong weekly RevPAR

The U.S. hotel industry posted positive results in the three key performance measurements during the week of 6-12 April 2014, according to data from STR.

In year-over-year measurements, the industry’s revenue per available room jumped 12.8% to $80.09. Occupancy ...

April 17, 2014, 11:03 am, 1257008
From the Philly Fed: April Manufacturing Survey

Manufacturing activity in the region increased in April, according to firms responding to this month’s Business Outlook Survey. The survey’s broadest indicators for general activity, new orders, shipments, and employment all remained positive and increased from their readings in March. Price pressures ...

April 17, 2014, 9:03 am, 1256933
The DOL reports:

In the week ending April 12, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 304,000, an increase of 2,000 from the previous week's revised level. The previous week's level was revised up by 2,000 from 300,000 to 302,000. The 4-week moving average was 312,000, a ...

April 16, 2014, 9:03 pm, 1256736
Some more data from DataQuick: California March Home Sales

An estimated 32,923 new and resale houses and condos sold statewide in March. That was up 28.2 percent from 25,680 in February, and down 12.8 percent from 37,764 sales in March 2013, according to San Diego-based DataQuick.

Last month’s ...

April 16, 2014, 7:03 pm, 1256686
Economist Tom Lawler sent me the preliminary table below of short sales, foreclosures and cash buyers for several selected cities in March.

From CR: Total "distressed" share is down in all of these markets, mostly because of a sharp decline in short sales.

Foreclosures are down in most ...

April 16, 2014, 3:03 pm, 1256519
Fed's Beige Book "Prepared at the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond and based on information collected before April 7, 2014."

Reports from the twelve Federal Reserve Districts suggest economic activity increased in most regions of the country since the previous report. The expansion was characterized as modest or ...

April 16, 2014, 1:03 pm, 1256440
There were 203 thousand total housing starts in Q1 this year (not seasonally adjusted, NSA), down 2% from the 208 thousand during Q1 of 2013.  Note: Permits were up 6% in Q1 2014 compared to Q1 2013 - still weak growth, but positive.

The weak start to 2014 was ...

April 16, 2014, 1:03 pm, 1256439
From Fed Chair Janet Yellen: Monetary Policy and the Economic Recovery. Excerpts:

Is there still significant slack in the labor market?
I will refer to the shortfall in employment relative to its mandate-consistent level as labor market slack, and there are a number of different indicators ...