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.


The Economics Roundtable is sponsored by EconModel.

The Classic Economic Models cover micro, macro, and financial markets.

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The Aleph Blog (David Markel)

July 24, 2014, 3:23 am, 1304499

This is a very short book. I read the whole thing in 40 minutes.  It has one main idea: what if you could create a less variable portfolio that returns as much as the traditional 60% S&P 500, 40% Barclays Aggregate blend?  Wouldn’t you want ...

July 23, 2014, 2:39 pm, 1303833

Recently, a friend of mine from Canada came to stay with me.  We talked about a wide number of things, but when we talked about investing, I described insurance investing to him, giving my usual explanation on reserving.

Classical life insurance reserves are a science.  Death happens with regularity, it is ...

July 23, 2014, 2:39 pm, 1303832

Warren Buffett has made such an impression on value investors and insurance investors, that they think that float is magic.  Write insurance, gain float, invest cleverly against the float, and make tons of money.

Now, the insurance industry in general has been a great place to invest, but we need to think about ...

July 20, 2014, 1:23 am, 1303562

Before I get to the letter, I recommend reading, You’re Ready for Retirement, but Your Savings Aren’t by Jonathan Clement, if you have access to the Wall Street Journal.  Main point: if you can work until age 70, do that, and then retire.

Here’s the letter:

Hi David,

A little background about myself. ...

July 20, 2014, 1:23 am, 1303561

When I read articles like this where people get scammed borrowing money, I say to myself, “we need to teach children the compound interest math.”

Even my dear wife does not get it, and she sends the children to me when they don’t get it.  But beyond learning the math, a ...

July 19, 2014, 3:23 am, 1303419

As time has gone along, I realize that my blog is different.  I do things that most bloggers don’t do, e.g. book reviews, answer e-mails publicly, and a few other things.  Also, my audience is far more international than most, with a large contingent from India.  Well, here is another ...

July 18, 2014, 5:23 am, 1302936

This should be short.  Remember that credit and equity volatility are strongly related.

I am dubious about conditions in the bank loan market because Collateralized Loan Obligations [CLOs] are hot now and there are many that want to take the highest level of risk there.  I realize that I am ...

July 16, 2014, 3:23 am, 1301601

What do you think about first when you look at an investment? Do you think of how much you might make, or how much you might lose?

Most successful investors think about how much they could lose, which makes this book a very ...

July 15, 2014, 3:23 am, 1300992

This is a very good book; I learned a lot as I read it, and you will too.

In this book, Kate Kelly takes on the economic sector of commodities.  This involves production, distribution, trading, hedging, and ultimate use.

There are many players trying to ...

July 13, 2014, 1:23 am, 1300205

Here’s another letter from a reader:


I’m starting this fund, and I wanted to get your opinion.

 It is best explained on YouTube in 55 seconds: let me know what you think
. It (hopefully) will provide incentive for transparency in funds.

 Thank you!

Okay, I can’t embed the short video, so click on the link ...