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.

October 28, 2015, 11:23 am, 1565455
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


October 22, 2015, 11:23 am, 1562102
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 ...

October 16, 2015, 1:23 pm, 1559400
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 ...

October 14, 2015, 11:23 am, 1558044
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. ...

October 14, 2015, 11:23 am, 1558043
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 ...

July 23, 2015, 1:23 pm, 1514414
I put together a chart of the 12-month percent change of measures of core inflation for a selection of countries. The definition of core inflation varies across countries.

Green (red) means lower (higher) inflation. The color scale is meaningful within rows only. So, for example, the deep-green that the ...

July 21, 2015, 1:23 pm, 1512915
Here's an article from on market analysts who kept predicting (incorrectly) that the stock market would crash.

(Hat tip to an old colleague and accomplished investment manager P. M. - I'm not sure I can say his name, since I got his pointer through LinkedIn.)

July 5, 2015, 1:23 am, 1503145
In the chart below I have displayed the GDP and inflation surprises of 2014, by country.

I define a "surprise" as the difference between the 2014 forecast in December (which should be close to the actual outcome) and the 2014 forecast in January (the one-year ahead forecast). (The data ...

July 5, 2015, 1:23 am, 1503144
Things that Conventional Wisdom got right about 2014:
1. The Fed tapered asset purchases and ended the quantitative easing program by October.
2. China staged a soft landing, holding growth above 7%.
3. The eurozone's recovery from the recession was slow and uneven. (Here I must say, however, that the majority ...

July 5, 2015, 1:23 am, 1503143
It's that time of the year when seemingly every economist in the private sector puts together an economic outlook for the year ahead. I'm not foolhardy enough to make predictions, or even to pretend my crystal ball is less cloudy than others'. I'm writing this post because I am bothered ...