Economics Roundtable

NOTICE 4/30/18

The Economics Roundtable is back. The technical problem that has limited the set of blogs has been resolved. The RSS feed is, however, still not working.

Flushing caches will likely cause some old posts to show up for a day or two.

Employment as a Percentage of Population

The graph below shows employment as a fraction of population for people over 16 years old.

Click on the image to get a bigger version.

March 2017 Payroll Employment

Payroll employment has not grown impressively since 2000. Some baby-boomers retired, but that does not totally account for this graph.

Click on the image to get a bigger version.

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.

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.

RSS Feed

- Recent Entries

July 16, 2018, 11:09 am, 1876307

Seven months ago, the U.S. Congress passed, and President Trump signed into law, the Tax Cut And Jobs Act, the tax cut (not reform) package that significantly lowered corporate ...

July 16, 2018, 11:05 am, 1876305

July 16, 2018, 11:04 am, 1876304
From the NY Fed: Empire State Manufacturing Survey

Business activity continued to grow at a fairly brisk pace in New York State, according to firms responding to the July 2018 Empire State Manufacturing Survey. The headline general business conditions index edged down by over ...

July 16, 2018, 10:38 am, 1876292

Includes an introduction by Joseph T. Salerno. Recorded at the Mises Institute on July 15, 2018.

July 16, 2018, 10:35 am, 1876291

July 16, 2018, 10:34 am, 1876290
Director of Russian Studies Leon Aron says that as a result of meeting with President Trump, Putin hopes to experience a domestic political boost in bleak economic times.

July 16, 2018, 10:34 am, 1876289

Will the Supreme Court’s decision in Janus v. AFSCME end teachers’ unions? Well, probably not. But the public sector union landscape is going to change a lot, especially for teachers. AEI’s Nat Malkus explains.

Read the report:

The Janus Case and the Future of Teachers UnionsStraight ...

July 16, 2018, 10:07 am, 1876276

By Maurice Obstfeld

July 16, 2018

The escalation of trade tensions is the greatest near-term threat to global growth (photo: wildpixel/Getty Images by iStock)

Amid rising tensions over international trade, the broad global expansion that began ...

July 16, 2018, 10:04 am, 1876272

China often complains that the US and our friends, or whatever’s left of them, give it no say in making global rules. Beijing argues the very language used is biased toward rich countries.

China’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) is fighting back. It took on an important term in international relations ...

July 16, 2018, 10:04 am, 1876273

As President Trump ratchets up the trade war with China and as he threatens import tariffs on European automobiles, there are many reasons to be concerned about intensified U.S. trade protection.

This is especially the case insofar as those actions might negatively impact both the U.S. and the global economic recoveries ...

July 16, 2018, 9:07 am, 1876255

During Mises University this week, we will be sharing short interviews with some of this year's students.

Felicia Crowley is a first time Mises Research Fellow and a PhD candidate at George Mason University. She received her bachelors degree in economics at Troy University, where her professors included Mises Institute Associated ...

July 16, 2018, 9:04 am, 1876254

“[W]e should see the global payment system for what it really is: an essential global public good whose integrity is increasingly being challenged by malicious cyberattacks and fraud attempts....” Benoît Cœuré, Member of the Executive Board of the ECB, Speech, 26 June 2018

“I rob banks because ...

July 16, 2018, 9:04 am, 1876253
On a monthly basis, retail sales increased 0.5 percent from May to June (seasonally adjusted), and sales were up 5.9 percent from June 2017.

From the Census Bureau report:

Advance estimates of U.S. retail and food services sales for June 2018, adjusted for seasonal variation and holiday and ...

July 16, 2018, 8:04 am, 1876235

July 16, 2018, 7:47 am, 1876229
Diego Aragon, Anna Kovner, Vanesa Sanchez, and Peter Van Tassel

The Tax Cuts and ...

July 16, 2018, 7:09 am, 1876213

This is the web version of the WSJ’s newsletter on the economy. You can sign up for daily delivery here.

Good morning! Today we look at the global economy’s haves and have-nots, China’s growing but slowing economy, soaring demand for jets, and the lessons from Australia’s 27-year economic expansion.


July 16, 2018, 6:39 am, 1876208

Terrific--albeit very discouraging--modern example of Bastiat's seen versus the unseen.

Well, in my view, it’s already ended. This young couple from a modest background has all the potential in the world. They’re both ambitious, intelligent, and very good at a valuable skill. They’re devoted to their family, ...

July 16, 2018, 6:09 am, 1876200

Sooner or later there will be a reckoning and the usual people will shriek "Why didn't somebody warn us?". As usual.

Related: "San Francisco: Poster-Child For The Failure Of U.S. Cities' Blue Model".

July 16, 2018, 6:09 am, 1876199

In the New York Times(!) a "counselor to the Treasury secretary in the Obama administration"(!!) explodes a long-standing, pernicious myth


July 16, 2018, 6:05 am, 1876198
(Don Boudreaux)

… is from pages 294-295 of Herbert Spencer’s insightful July 1853 Westminster Review essay, “

July 16, 2018, 6:04 am, 1876196

In 2015, US regulatory advocates attempted to implement full price controls on internet access and interconnection. While they did not succeed at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), they and their counterparts did succeed in India, achieving a complete

July 16, 2018, 5:47 am, 1876191

If Senator Warren runs in 2020, she should have to answer this.


July 16, 2018, 5:47 am, 1876190

"If monopolies are bad, then public schooling is possibly the worst kind of monopoly."


July 16, 2018, 5:28 am, 1876189

An instructive story.

    Related Stories

July 16, 2018, 5:08 am, 1876184

The second week of July 2018 saw the S&P 500 finally claw its way back above the 2,800 level, closing the week at the highest level that it has been since the end of January 2018.

July 16, 2018, 5:03 am, 1876181

We are delighted to be able to extend invitations to this event to the broader public.  We will not be able to guarantee walk-ins, so please RSVP today to reserve your spot.

In a time of populist and tribalist upheaval, how can supporters of constitutional principles and mediating institutions defend them ...

July 16, 2018, 3:27 am, 1876168

Or U.S.A. fact of the day:

Over the past three years, the percentage of 6- to 12-year-olds playing soccer regularly has dropped nearly 14 percent, to 2.3 million players, according to a study by the Sports & Fitness Industry Association, which has analyzed youth athletic trends for 40 years. The ...

July 16, 2018, 3:27 am, 1876167

Or U.S.A. fact of the day:

Over the past three years, the percentage of 6- to 12-year-olds playing soccer regularly has dropped nearly 14 percent, to 2.3 million players, according to a study by the Sports & Fitness Industry Association, which has analyzed youth athletic trends for 40 years. The ...

July 16, 2018, 1:27 am, 1876148

I see this claim in my Twitter feed pretty often, but I don’t get how it is supposed to run.  Let’s try an analogy with the non-human animal kingdom.

Right now there are many cows in the world, and even more potential cows to be bred, or cows in low-value ...

July 15, 2018, 11:05 pm, 1876136

Despite provision of numerous references, reader CoRev writes:

… it’s a big IF that soybeans futures are LONG TERM predictors at all.

I find skepticism of forecasting capabilities usually justified. However, when that skepticism is not supported by any citations, I consider such skepticism self-serving. Hence, I am going to go ...

July 15, 2018, 9:24 pm, 1876131
Schedule for Week of July 15, 2018

• At 8:30 AM ET, Retail sales for June will be released. The consensus is for a 0.6% increase in retail sales.

• Also at 8:30 AM, The New York Fed Empire State manufacturing survey for July. ...

July 15, 2018, 9:23 pm, 1876130
Is Trump Bailing Out Soybean Farmers Or Not? Chinese tariffs on US soybean exports have now kicked in, with China half the US soybean market, and exports much more important for soybeans than for corn, with the US producing half the world’s corn, but exporting less of it than soybeans.  ...

July 15, 2018, 4:37 pm, 1876116
Larry Ball carefully looks at one aspect of the financial crisis--the collapse of Lehman Brothers--and documents that the conventional narrative, as told by many of the leading policymakers ...

July 15, 2018, 3:44 pm, 1876112

July 15, 2018, 3:04 pm, 1876104

July 15, 2018, 2:34 pm, 1876099

July 15, 2018, 1:07 pm, 1876085

Yes, I am continuing to read David Edgerton’s The Rise and Fall of the British Nation: A Twentieth Century History, and it is one of the must-read non-fiction books of this year.  Here are a few points I gleaned from my time spent with the book ...

July 15, 2018, 1:03 pm, 1876084

As the first “full” and “formal” meeting between American and Russian leaders since the one between Barack Obama and Dmitry Medvedev in 2010, the summit in Helsinki this week is long overdue and could be helpful in a number of ways. The subjunctive mood of “could,” however, is ...

July 15, 2018, 12:42 pm, 1876083
From the Wall Street Journal, a familiar story of medical pricing mischief:

Michael Frank...had his left hip replaced in 2015. The Manhattan hospital charged roughly $140,000. The insurance company paid a discounted rate of about $76,000, and his share—a 10% copay, plus a couple of uncovered expenses—was ...

July 15, 2018, 10:35 am, 1876068

“Disastrous,” was how the Financial Times yesterday described Donald Trump’s visit to Europe. Were you to extend Trump’s influence indefinitely into the future, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the bedrock of US foreign policy for the past seventy years, would be finished.

If, on the other hand, Trump is repudiated in ...

July 15, 2018, 9:11 am, 1876059

We interrupt our regularly scheduled programming with a public service announcement: The Capital Spectator will be decamping to Palermo for a week. The usual routine returns on Monday, July 23. Ciao!

July 15, 2018, 9:03 am, 1876055
Lawfare blog published a solid read of the latest indictment announced by Rod Rosenstein. The indictment Friday morning of 12 Russian military intelligence officials in connection with the 2016 election hacks and the resulting distribution of purloined emails was not a total surprise. Observers of the Mueller investigation have been expecting it ...

July 15, 2018, 8:35 am, 1876049
According to NBER, the four longest expansions in U.S. history are:

1) From a trough in March 1991 to a peak in March 2001 (120 months).

2) From a trough in June 2009 to today, July 2018 (109 months and counting).

3) From a trough in ...

July 15, 2018, 8:05 am, 1876045

July 15, 2018, 7:47 am, 1876043

When people evaluate two or more goods separately versus jointly it’s common to see “preference reversals”. In a random survey, for example, people were asked to value the following dictionaries:

Dictionary A: 20,000 entries, torn cover but otherwise like new Dictionary B: 10,000 entries, like new

When asked to value just ...

July 15, 2018, 6:09 am, 1876034

The late John Pinette with a funny two minutes.


July 15, 2018, 6:06 am, 1876033
Game theory is the study of how people and businesses behave in strategic situations (i.e. when they must consider the effect of other people’s responses to their own actions). There are various types of games that might be studied.

July 15, 2018, 5:27 am, 1876029

Made me smile.

    Related Stories

July 15, 2018, 4:05 am, 1876024
My regular column is available to subscribers on This is an excerpt. For British business, the question of skill shortages, never very far away, is now a pressing one. Though the government’s EU white paper failed to spell...

July 15, 2018, 3:07 am, 1876021

1. “We find that ridesharing services resulted in a two percent decline in the overall demand for new cars, and that the impact varied by product segment.  The entry-level compact segment was affected the most, with sales declining by almost eight percent…” (see p.53)


July 15, 2018, 12:38 am, 1876006

Languages use different systems for classifying nouns. Gender languages assign many — sometimes all — nouns to distinct sex-based categories, masculine and feminine. Drawing on a broad range of historical and linguistic sources, this paper constructs a measure of the proportion of each country’s population whose native language is ...