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.

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Cafe Hayek

July 31, 2014, 4:04 pm, 1309134

July 31, 2014, 10:04 am, 1308870
(Don Boudreaux)

… is from Milton Friedman’s first Newsweek column – “Minimum-Wage Rates” – which appeared on September 26, 1966:

I am convinced that the minimum-wage law is the most anti-Negro law on our statute books – in its effect not its intent.

(The first part of Friedman’s quotation is unquestionably true.  The ...

July 30, 2014, 10:04 pm, 1308505
(Don Boudreaux)

Congratulations are due to Zac Gochenour, who successfully defended his excellent dissertation on Monday afternoon in Carow Hall on George Mason University’s Fairfax campus.  Dr. Gochenour (who will soon start his career as an assistant professor at Western Carolina University) began his academic study of economics as ...

July 30, 2014, 8:04 pm, 1308434
(Don Boudreaux)

Politicians and pundits - at least those who are most credulous regarding claims about government’s powers to alter reality – are unscientifically using skimpy data to argue that raising the minimum wage promotes, or at least doesn’t prevent, employment growth.  The always-excellent Kevin Erdmann responds.  (

July 30, 2014, 6:04 pm, 1308360

July 30, 2014, 2:04 pm, 1308191
(Don Boudreaux)

I’m a huge fan of Kevin Williamson’s writings on economics and property rights.  (HT James Dunn)  A slice from a piece from earlier this month:

The desire to be left alone is a powerful one, and an American one. It is not, contrary to the rhetoric proffered by ...

July 30, 2014, 10:04 am, 1308024

July 30, 2014, 8:04 am, 1307944
(Don Boudreaux)

… is from pages 603-604 of volume 2 of The Collected Works of Armen A. Alchian (2006); specifically, it’s from Alchian’s 1977 essay “Economic Laws and Political Legislation” (original emphasis):

History reveals a contest among people of differing relative talents and modes of competition.  The politically adept, who may say ...

July 29, 2014, 6:04 pm, 1307533
(Don Boudreaux)

Here’s a letter to former New Hampshire governor (and U.S. senator) Judd Gregg:

Mr. Judd Gregg (R-NH)

Dear Mr. Gregg:

Your The Hill article defending the U.S. Export-Import Bank is full of mercantilist fallacies that my freshmen students would be embarrassed to commit (“We need Ex-Im in real world,” July 28).  Because my Mercatus ...

July 29, 2014, 12:04 pm, 1307292
(Don Boudreaux)

Suppose that consumers throughout history have grown their own apples.  Apples were never produced for sale in markets by specialized apple growers; nor did any household that grew apples in its yard sell those apples to anyone.  All apples that were consumed were grown by the individuals or ...