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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- Recent Entries

November 24, 2014, 1:03 am, 1376618
Elderly South Korean women practice Taekwondo in Incheon, South Korea, 2006. Getty Images

South Korea’s statistics office has forecast that females will outnumber males in the country ...

November 24, 2014, 1:03 am, 1376617


Businesses in the U.S. and around the world are taking a dimmer view of the future, according to a global survey released Monday. That is leading to cutbacks in employment and spending ...

November 24, 2014, 12:34 am, 1376616

Minutes ...

November 24, 2014, 12:04 am, 1376615
(November 24, 2014 03:11 AM, by David Henderson) Mexican Justice Department personnel are disguising themselves as U.S. Marines to take part in armed raids against drug suspects in the United States, according to people familiar with the matter, an escalation of Mexican involvement in battling drug cartels that... (1 COMMENTS)

November 23, 2014, 10:04 pm, 1376607

November 23, 2014, 10:04 pm, 1376606
Guest Post by Mark Jamison, retired Postmaster. News of Ron Johnson the Tea Party favorite from Wisconsin taking over as chair of the Senate committee on Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs has caused an overwhelming sense of panic among progressives and postal workers. Johnson will control oversight of the Postal ...

November 23, 2014, 9:23 pm, 1376605
Sometimes teaching economics puts us in a very privileged position to influence students lives in a positive way. After adiscussion of the theory anda brilliant graphical analysisofmerit and demerit goods, it is likely that I canovercome any information failure on the students behalf and see dramatic increases in the consumption ...

November 23, 2014, 9:03 pm, 1376601
From Professor Hamilton at Econbrowser: Lower oil prices and the U.S. economy

Last year Americans consumed 135 billion gallons of gasoline. That means that if prices stay where they are, consumers will have an extra $108 billion each year to spend on other things. And if the historical ...

November 23, 2014, 8:44 pm, 1376600

Many countries have announced emissions targets for 2020. To evaluate which countries are doing their fair share, this column proposes a ‘scorecard’ approach based on three principles of fairness in climate change mitigation: latecomer catch-up, progressivity, and cost. The authors find that most countries’ targets, including those of China and ...

November 23, 2014, 8:44 pm, 1376599

The Great Recession uncovered the difficulties that economic structural models have in explaining the data. This column proposes a methodology that can help identify the sources of mis-specification by introducing exogenous processes. These exogenous processes are not structural shocks but processes that can improve the fit. The results indicate that ...

November 23, 2014, 6:44 pm, 1376591

November 23, 2014, 6:34 pm, 1376590

No one was surprised when the broadcast television networks decided not to carry President Obama’s speech Thursday evening. The networks aren’t The Networks any longer.  Everyone remembers a moment when they first decided they needed cable television, too.

By offering superior content, cable reduced commercial television’s revenue stream, its ambitions, and ...

November 23, 2014, 6:05 pm, 1376588

November 23, 2014, 5:33 pm, 1376587
I was interested to read "Behavioral Political Economy: A Survey" by Jan Schnellenbach and Christian Schubert. (HT marginal revolution'sirresistible links.)

Context: I have long been puzzled at the high correlation between behavioral economics and interventionism.

People do dumb things, in somewhat predictable ways. ...

November 23, 2014, 3:33 pm, 1376576
Statements from various high-ranking central bank officials prove they are totally clueless.

For example, please consider an announcement today by European Central Bank (ECB) Vice President Vitor Constancio: Europe not at risk of full-blown deflation.

During a debate in central Italy, Constancio said he did ...

November 23, 2014, 3:33 pm, 1376575
I will spend Thanksgiving in Carpinteria, California. It is home to some of the world's most pleasant beaches. Below I present two photos of our own "private beach". We walk for about a mile along this beach and only occasionally see other people and horses. In the ...

November 23, 2014, 3:03 pm, 1376528

Jim Hamilton:

Lower oil prices and the U.S. economy: ... The current price of gasoline is 80 cents/gallon below what it has averaged over the last 3 years. Last year Americans consumed 135 billion gallons of gasoline. That means that if prices stay where they are, consumers will have ...

November 23, 2014, 3:03 pm, 1376527

Since I posted an excerpt from Noah Smith's column, I should also post this response from Frances Woolley:

Is economics really a dismal science for women?: Donna Ginther and Shulamit Kahn have just published a paper that tracks thousands of American academics from the time they ...

November 23, 2014, 2:05 pm, 1376524

THREE times in the last 35 years, Russian military forces have crossed international borders – in Afghanistan in 1979, Georgia in 2008 and the Crimea earlier this year. As Simon Derrick, the currency strategist at BNY Mellon points out, each occasion coincided with a peak in the oil price. And ...

November 23, 2014, 2:04 pm, 1376523
Crooks and Liars has a post up on it’s site here: Wingnut Cartoonist At Indy Star Gets His (Gary Varvel) Cartoon Yanked Claiming the cartoon was overtly racist, the Indianapolis Star eventually yanked it after initially removing the mustache off of the man coming through the window claiming the mustache ...

November 23, 2014, 1:33 pm, 1376520

Donna Ginther and Shulamit Kahn have just published a paper that tracks thousands of American academics from the time they first get their PhDs through to their tenure and promotion decisions. They conclude:

Economics is the one fieldwhere gender differences in tenure receipt seem to remain even ...

November 23, 2014, 1:33 pm, 1376519


See also "This list of broken records shows how insanely good Lionel Messi is".

November 23, 2014, 1:03 pm, 1376494

For the last 4 years, the national average retail price of gasoline in the United States stayed within a range of $3.25-$4.00 a gallon. But that all changed this fall, with U.S. consumers now paying an average price of $2.82.

November 23, 2014, 1:03 pm, 1376493
For fun ... recently we've seen another recession call for 2015, this time from the Jerome Levy Forecasting Center (following their an incorrect recession call in 2011). Over the last few years, there were several incorrect recession calls from ECRI and others. I disagreed with all of ...

November 23, 2014, 12:04 pm, 1376492
(November 23, 2014 12:03 PM, by David Henderson) When L'Affaire Gruber began two weeks ago, Tyler Cowen challenged us to stick to discussing Gruber's economics rather than his personal failings. I took up the challenge here, pointing out that Gruber's willingness to mislead could explain what looked like... (2 COMMENTS)

November 23, 2014, 11:33 am, 1376491
The price of 52 Samsung TVs gathered by the BPP, April 2008 - November 2009 (Cavallo)
In a previous post, I mentioned that the ...

November 23, 2014, 10:34 am, 1376478

November 23, 2014, 10:05 am, 1376475

This Vice documentary on sewage in New York is actually quite interesting. I would enjoy the Richard Scarry book.

Hat tip: Connor.

November 23, 2014, 10:04 am, 1376474
(Don Boudreaux)

… is from page 18 of the 1983 collection of some of the writings of the late G. Warren Nutter, entitled Political Economy and Freedom; specifically, it’s from Nutter’s 1974 essay “Freedom in a Revolutionary Economy”:

More fundamentally, something must be wrong in a society that feels compelled to ...

November 23, 2014, 10:04 am, 1376473
- by New Deal democrat     (from Bonddad blog) Failure to deflate: flat consumer prices only slightly help real wages, sales Usually changes in the inflation rate are all about the price of gasoline.  Not in October.  Although gas prices fell -6.4% (compared with a decline of -5.0% a year ...

November 23, 2014, 9:03 am, 1376463

The Federal Reserve has asked its inspector general, Mark Bialek, to scrutinize the manner in which the central bank oversees large financial companies, potentially pulling back the curtain on an area that has seen endless criticism since the financial crisis.

The Fed disclosed Thursday its general counsel Scott Alvarez, who has ...

November 23, 2014, 9:03 am, 1376462
Bloomberg News

Household debt in South Korea is rising at its fastest pace in seven years, driven by government efforts to help prop up the economy.

Outstanding household debt grew ...

November 23, 2014, 9:03 am, 1376464

A raft of settlements and criminal charges against big Wall Street firms reinforces a loss of public faith in the banking system that poses a threat to the country’s financial stability, said William Dudley, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

“This loss of trust is so severe that ...

November 23, 2014, 9:03 am, 1376466
In the past, the Fed adjusted rates by moving its benchmark federal funds rate, an overnight rate on interbank lending, by adding or withdrawing reserves out of the banking ...

November 23, 2014, 9:03 am, 1376461
Women participate less in the workforce in many Asian countries than they do in the West. Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

Economic “miracles” depend to a large degree on ...

November 23, 2014, 9:03 am, 1376465
James Bullard, president of the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank, at the Jackson Hole economic symposium on Aug. 21. Bloomberg News

Broad expectations the Federal Reserve will start raising short-term interest ...

November 23, 2014, 9:03 am, 1376455
William Dudley, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, listens during a Senate Banking Subcommittee hearing in Washington, D.C., on Friday. Bloomberg News

Federal Reserve ...

November 23, 2014, 9:03 am, 1376460
Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee member David Miles said specific guidance over the medium-term might give households and businesses a false sense of certainty. Reuters

LONDON—Providing ...

November 23, 2014, 9:03 am, 1376457
President Barack Obama announces executive actions on immigration policy during a televised address from the White House on Thursday. Reuters

The White House on Friday said

November 23, 2014, 9:03 am, 1376456
Kentucky had the biggest decrease in its unemployment rate, 0.5 percentage point to 6.2%, the lowest level in more than six years. Sarah Portlock/The Wall Street ...

November 23, 2014, 9:03 am, 1376458

The Wall Street Journal’s Daily Report on Global Central Banks for Friday, November 21, 2014:
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Hilsenrath’s Take: Dealer Survey Highlights Fed’s Looming Jobs Vs Inflation Conundrum Fed Launches ...

November 23, 2014, 9:03 am, 1376459
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, shown at a ruling-party rally Friday, must win over voters who haven’t benefited from his Abenomics growth policies. Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

Prime Minister ...

November 23, 2014, 9:03 am, 1376453
A Senate hearing this week raised the question of whether the Fed has fully addressed its alleged shortcomings as a regulator of big banks. Here are five things to know.

November 23, 2014, 9:03 am, 1376454

The last month has been a challenging time for St. Louis Fed President James Bullard.

In the view of many market observers, the veteran central banker has sent conflicting messages about the outlook for Federal Reserve interest rate policy, injecting uncertainty into the central bank outlook at a time when ...

November 23, 2014, 9:03 am, 1376452
In the U.S., financial markets, government agencies and most businesses will close next Thursday to observe the Thanksgiving holiday. Before Americans go off to a day of thanks, turkey and football, the shortened workweek will bring a long list of economic reports. Here are five items to watch:

November 23, 2014, 9:03 am, 1376451
William Dudley, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, speaks during a Senate Banking Subcommittee hearing in Washington, D.C., on Friday. Bloomberg News

If ...

November 23, 2014, 8:34 am, 1376450

This post by Richard reminds me that we need more class-consciousness.

Rightists often argue that class war can be divisive and mean-spirited. But as Richard points out, the opposite is (also?) true. The reduced salience of class divisions has led not to a healthy community ...

November 23, 2014, 8:04 am, 1376448
(Don Boudreaux)

This EconPop movie review is both insightful and witty.  Be sure to watch to the very end.

November 23, 2014, 7:33 am, 1376445

Los Angeles and New York clearly win.

November 23, 2014, 7:33 am, 1376444

November 23, 2014, 6:04 am, 1376427
My regular column is available to subscribers on This is an excerpt. The Cassandras are out in force, from the prime minister down, predicting doom and gloom for the world economy and by extension a knock-on effect for...

November 23, 2014, 5:33 am, 1376426

I'm real glad these folks fight on our side.

November 23, 2014, 5:23 am, 1376425

I’m a very intellectually curious person — I could spend most of my time researching investing questions if I had the resources to do that and that alone.  This post at the blog will be a little more wonky than most.  If ...

November 23, 2014, 5:03 am, 1376402

November 23, 2014, 4:05 am, 1376401

…cetacean brain size, relative to body size, increased substantially about thirty-eight mill years ago when the odontocetes evolved from the ancient archaeocetes…

What drove these changes? It does not seem to have been the transition to an aquatic existence itself as that occurred about fifty-five million years ago and brains stayed ...

November 23, 2014, 4:05 am, 1376400

…the evidence suggests that China was larger (in terms of purchasing power parity) than any other economy in the world until around 1889, when the US eclipsed it. Now, 125 years later, the rankings have reversed again, following decades of rapid economic development in China.

That is from Jeffrey Sachs, ...