Economics Roundtable

Technical Problems 3/9/15

The website was down several hours today, but is back up now.

May 2014 Payroll Employment

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

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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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The Intangible Economy

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July 2, 2014, 11:33 pm, 1295976

According to an AP story on, Circuit City has "reached an agreement with liquidators on Friday to sell the merchandise in its 567 U.S. stores after failing to line up a buyer or a refinancing deal." As I noted before, ...

July 2, 2014, 11:33 pm, 1295979

The House Democrats have released the outline of their American Reinvestment proposal. There is a lot in there, including a number of items to stimulate innovation, such as increased funds for the Technology Innovation Program and the Manufacturing Extension Program, money for R&D facilities and equipment, education, training, ...

July 2, 2014, 11:33 pm, 1295980

A few quick tidbits from the patent wars:

First, on Monday, the Center for America Progress had an event which included a panel on patent reform (see second panel of the event video Enabling Economic Recovery Through Innovation -- more on the first panel on ...

July 2, 2014, 11:33 pm, 1295978

The latest issue of BEA's Survey of Current Business contains an article Toward Better Measurement of Innovation and Intangibles:

While all countries account for investment in tangible assets in their gross domestic product (GDP) ...

July 2, 2014, 11:33 pm, 1295977

As I mentioned in Wednesday's posting, the Center for American Progress held an event on Monday on Spurring Innovation to Lift the Economy (also see the video of the roundtable panel discussion). Like the patent reform discussion described on Weds, ...

July 2, 2014, 11:33 pm, 1295969

Dan Castro and Rob Atkinson over at ITIF have published a new report "Stim-Novation": Investing in Research to Spur Innovation and Boost Jobs:

Scientific research underpins the great technological advances of the past century, from mapping the human genome to the development of the Internet. Increased investment in ...

July 2, 2014, 11:33 pm, 1295970

One other follow on to the earlier posting on the Center for American Progress's report on innovation: their look at British Innovation Policy. This paper, by Will Straw at CAP, outlines the highlights, the problems and the evolution of the UK's innovation policy. ...

July 2, 2014, 11:33 pm, 1295967

Bruce Nussbaum makes a great point on his blog about what is happening or not happening in the economic policy debate, as exemplified by the discussions in Davos:

A "transformational crisis" is the term used in the opening session of the World Economic Forum by founder Klaus Schwab to ...

July 2, 2014, 11:33 pm, 1295966

In an earlier posting, I noted that the index of leading indicators went up in December. Well, here is the story why this is not necessarily good news. From the Wall Street Journal Real Economics blog:

On Monday, the Conference Board released its index of leading ...

July 2, 2014, 11:33 pm, 1295968

In his Washington Post business column today, Not What the Doctor Ordered, Steven Pearlstein raises concerns over the Pfizer-Wyeth. In the piece, he makes an important point about the drug industry:

Because the bulk of profits in the industry come from temporary monopolies -- government-granted patents -- the ...