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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"Economic analysis of current issues, every Friday.” Francisco M. Torralba.

September 18, 2016, 11:23 pm, 1674722
Tyler Cowen talks about the rise and fall of the Chinese economy: how they grew so fast, and why they're in trouble now.

~12 minutes

I like Tyler's insight that decades of high growth distorted the assessment of the risk/return of new investment projects, which is distinct (but ...

September 18, 2016, 11:23 pm, 1674723
John Authers has written another good column. It's about "what happens if rates never rise." Among many interesting things, he reminds us to watch profits (payrolls and GDP are secondary, really). He also walks us through the (increasingly plausible) scenario where the Fed doesn't raise rates at all, and ...

September 18, 2016, 11:23 pm, 1674724
Stephen Williamson wrote a fantastic post, where he bounds reasonable numbers for employment growth and the unemployment rate, in the U.S., in coming months.


-200k jobs added per month, which many observers find normal, is more than we can reasonably expect.

-Recent trends and ...

September 18, 2016, 11:23 pm, 1674725
Stan Pignal and Ryan Avent (from The Economist), and Mike Jakeman (from the Economist Intelligence Unit), discuss whether GDP is an appropriate indicator of an economy's health.

~12 minutes

(I wish they wouldn't implicitly endorse the popular definition of recession, i.e. two consecutive quarters of negative GDP growth. ...

September 18, 2016, 11:23 pm, 1674721
Stan Pignal, Patrick Foulis, and Philip Coggan (all three from The Economist), talk about how managers find (mostly) legal ways to puff up corporate earnings.

~12 minutes


September 18, 2016, 11:23 pm, 1674720
A recent poll by Chicago Booth (thanks, Tyler!) asked a panel of economists in early December to agree or disagree with the following statement

The Fed should raise its target interest rate when it meets in mid-December.

The respondents (all of whom are "senior faculty at ...

September 18, 2016, 11:23 pm, 1674717
Refreshingly outspoken James Bullard, from the St. Louis Fed, gives an interview to the New York Times. Some great quotes (emphasis mine):

"The general rule of thumb within the Fed is that labor market data trumps G.D.P. data." 

"Once major central banks hit the zero lower bound, the ...

September 18, 2016, 11:23 pm, 1674718
Atlanta Fed's nowcast of Q1 GDP (0.6%) was really close to preliminary estimate announced today by BEA (0.5%). Atlanta's was much closer than the New York Fed's nowcast (0.8%). The question is which of the ...

September 18, 2016, 11:23 pm, 1674719
A little closer to Italy. The fragmentation of the vote was the expected and actual result of yesterday's general election. Incumbent Partido Popular (PP - moderate right) won the most votes, but came far short of the majority it had obtained in 2011.

The main other party, Partido Socialista ...

September 18, 2016, 11:23 pm, 1674716
From the Washington Post:

(Thanks to @JustinWolfers for his tweet.)

My thoughts after reading this article:

1. Robots can be more valuable when there is more technology in the environment.  In this example, a ...