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.


Jobs

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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September 2, 2015, 12:04 am, 1537720
(September 2, 2015 12:09 AM, by Bryan Caplan) To recap my last post, Scott Alexander's critique of libertarian labor economics amounts to a critique of mainstream labor economics itself. If Scott were in my labor economics course, I could spend hours of classtime responding to his thought-provoking critique.... (0 ...


September 1, 2015, 10:04 pm, 1537705


September 1, 2015, 10:04 pm, 1537704
by Joseph Joyce Global Volatility, Domestic Markets Unlike the global financial crisis of 2008-09, the current disruption in the financial markets of emerging market nations was anticipated. The “taper tantrum” of 2013 revealed the precarious position of many of these nations, particularly those dependent on commodity exports. The combination of ...


September 1, 2015, 9:03 pm, 1537675

Today we are fortunate to present a guest contribution written by Marcos Chamon, Senior Economist in the Research Department of the International Monetary Fund, and Mrcio Garcia, Associate Professor of Economics at PUC-Rio. The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the authors and do not ...


September 1, 2015, 9:03 pm, 1537674
Auto sales and construction spending were solid, although manufacturing was weak. However the weakness in manufacturing is mostly due to lower oil prices and the strong dollar, so overall the US data has been fairly solid.

Wednesday:
• At 7:00 AM ET, the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) will ...


September 1, 2015, 8:44 pm, 1537673
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September 1, 2015, 8:04 pm, 1537671
(Don Boudreaux)

Mr. Bob Keener
Business for a Fair Minimum Wage

Dear Mr. Keener:

In your ...


September 1, 2015, 7:33 pm, 1537670
I'm not sure why I received the following email:

Hello Matthew,
I am writing to inform you that the renownedPrimmRanch, located on 10 acres and five minutes away from theLasVegas Strip, will sell at auction without reserve through industry leader Concierge Auctions.


September 1, 2015, 6:44 pm, 1537622
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September 1, 2015, 6:04 pm, 1537616
Fellow Jonah Goldberg discusses CNN's use of dated polling numbers in order to determine this month's debate lineup on Fox News' 'America's Newsroom'.


September 1, 2015, 6:04 pm, 1537615

Is Prime Minister Narendra Modi failing the Indian right? On the face of it, the very notion appears preposterous. For the true believer it verges on heresy.

After all, no other BJP leader can claim credit for dramatically catapulting his party from the margins to the heart of national power. No ...


September 1, 2015, 6:04 pm, 1537614

Key Points

Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto’s plan to prioritize a social and economic agenda above security issues was never realistic, and crime across the country shows that his security policy is failing.If Mexico is going to take its place as a prosperous country in a globalized world, it will have ...


September 1, 2015, 5:33 pm, 1537611

Usually I'm a big fan of Ironman at Political Calculations.I've been vaguely following the Paul Romer "mathiness" thread so I read this post with interest:

Economist Paul Romer recently made waves in his profession after he recognized the increasing use of misleading math ...


September 1, 2015, 5:03 pm, 1537550

Today marks my 15th year at the Tax Foundation. Looking back, the world was different when I started: people still had dialup internet, Bill Clinton was president, and the Tax Foundation was just seven people in a small office. Now we have a staff of 24 (and growing). And ...


September 1, 2015, 5:03 pm, 1537549
New Orleans was the only major metropolitan area to have lost jobs in July compared with a year earlier, the Labor Department said Tuesday. MARIO TAMA/GETTY IMAGES

New Orleans ...


September 1, 2015, 4:44 pm, 1537548
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September 1, 2015, 4:34 pm, 1537545
John Cochrane's blog post, Whither Inflation, is excellent reading. Basically, John takes a mainstream New Keynesian model and shows how it has Neo-Fisherian characteristics - if the central bank raises the nominal interest rate, inflation increases. Noah Smith seems to find this interesting, but he's got some problems ...


September 1, 2015, 4:04 pm, 1537540

In Mississippi, 7.3% of all workers in the state are manufacturing workers who make less than $15 an hour. Losing many of these jobs would have a serious negative impact on the state.

Because of its sample size, the CPS is of more limited use for small geographies. However, there is ...


September 1, 2015, 4:04 pm, 1537539

Her new The Silo Effect: The Peril of Expertise and the Promise of Breaking Down Barriers is a tour de force of economics, anthropology, Pierre Bourdieu, management theory, and anecdotes about Sony and Facebook and UBS and Cleveland Clinic.

It turns out Gillian wrote her doctoral thesis in anthropology ...


September 1, 2015, 4:04 pm, 1537538
(September 1, 2015 05:49 PM, by David Henderson) Over at Marginal Revolution, Tyler Cowen has asked people to propose questions for him to ask Luigi Zingales next week. I'm a big fan of Zingales's book A Capitalism for the People: Recapturing the Lost Genius of American Prosperity. I... (0 ...


September 1, 2015, 4:04 pm, 1537537
(Don Boudreaux)

Reason’s Jim Epstein just produced this superb video on how Uber is creatively destroying New York ...


September 1, 2015, 4:04 pm, 1537536

Save the Children Action Network – the new political arm of Save the Children, a century-old child welfare organization – recently launched a campaign to make early childhood education a central issue in the 2016 presidential election, “call[ing] on elected leaders to prioritize a child’s early years ...


September 1, 2015, 4:04 pm, 1537534

It’s been just over a year since I joined an emerging tech company in Silicon Valley (current headcount about 45), and this seems like a good time to share some initial impressions.

Before I begin, a few important disclaimers – necessarily more elaborate than usual. My role is chief medical officer, ...


September 1, 2015, 4:04 pm, 1537535

For the last several weeks, Air Force Secretary Deborah James has been touting the deployment of F-22 Raptor fighters – the best plane America owns – to Germany as “the strong side of the coin” in an effort to reassure Eastern Europeans who have seen their air space increasingly violated by ...


September 1, 2015, 3:33 pm, 1537528
Last week, three different measures of consumer confidence came out:

University of Michigan: Consumer SentimentConference Board: Consumer Confidence LevelGallup: Economic Confidence Index
Claim of Importance

Bloomberg states "Consumer sentiment is directly related to the strength of consumer spending."

Let's investigate that claim starting with a look at ...


September 1, 2015, 3:33 pm, 1537527

A $15 an hour minimum wage would actually hurt those it’s designed to help, like recent immigrants and other low-skilled, limited-experience workers?

From a recent op-ed in the Washington Post by Mirta Gutierrez, now the executive chef at Tortilla Coast Restaurant in Washington, DC (“A $15 minimum wage would hurt ...


September 1, 2015, 3:23 pm, 1537526
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A recent article by Jason Faberman and Alejandro Justiniano at the Chicago Fed shows that there is a strong relationship between quit rates—as a proxy for the pace of job ...


September 1, 2015, 3:03 pm, 1537465

This is from "Has the U.S. Economy Become Less Interest Rate Sensitive?," by Jonathan L. Willis and Guangye Cao of the KC Fed:

... IV. Conclusion Although monetary policy is an important tool for promoting price and economic stability, its efficacy can change over time. This article investigates the interest ...


September 1, 2015, 3:03 pm, 1537464
Based on a WardsAuto estimate, light vehicle sales were at a17.72 million SAAR in August. That is up 2.9% from August 2014, and up 1.3% from the 17.5 million annual sales rate last month.


September 1, 2015, 2:44 pm, 1537463
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September 1, 2015, 2:34 pm, 1537458
Teaser:

As ...


September 1, 2015, 2:04 pm, 1537456

I will be doing a Conversations with Tyler with Luigi next Wednesday, eight days from now (do sign up!).  He is a brilliant and multi-faceted economist, and an Italian — what should I ask him?


September 1, 2015, 2:04 pm, 1537455
(September 1, 2015 01:08 PM, by Scott Sumner) Last year I did a number of blog posts criticizing the consensus view that Japan had fallen into a recession. Many people assumed that two consecutive declines in real GDP meant that Japan was in recession. I argued that the... (0 ...


September 1, 2015, 1:33 pm, 1537452
Those expecting a boost from the ISM report for August were disappointed today.

The Bloomberg Consensus estimate for ISM was 52.8, with a range of 51.5 to 54.0. The report was below any economist's expectation at 51.1.

The ISM index, at a lower-than-expected 51.1, is signaling the ...


September 1, 2015, 1:33 pm, 1537451
Wired Magazine reportsthat John List and J-PAL are not the only researchers running field experiments. Ecologists are running "out of sample" field experiments to test which plants, trees and creatures can adapt to extreme heat that they have not been exposed to in the past. The main research ...


September 1, 2015, 1:03 pm, 1537390

The country’s manufacturing sector is in decline. In 1979, about 19.6 million Americans were employed in manufacturing. Today the number stands at 12.3 million. Despite—or perhaps because of—this economic shift, manufacturing firms tend to be the recipients of substantial state incentives. That’s one takeaway from our new


September 1, 2015, 1:03 pm, 1537389
International Monetary Fund managing director Christine Lagarde speaks in Jakarta, Indonesia, on Tuesday. BAY ISMOYO/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

When questions about the fate of the global economy arise, the ...


September 1, 2015, 1:03 pm, 1537388
A steelworker maneuvers around metal trusses at Taylor University in Upland, Ind., in August. JEFF MOREHEAD/THE CHRONICLE-TRIBUNE VIA AP

U.S. construction spending rose to the highest level ...


September 1, 2015, 1:03 pm, 1537387

The conclusion to "Leveraged bubbles," by Òscar Jordà, Moritz Schularick, and Alan Taylor:

... In this column, we turned to economic history for the first comprehensive assessment of the economic risks of asset price bubbles. We provide evidence about which types of bubbles matter and how their economic costs differ. ...


September 1, 2015, 1:03 pm, 1537386
The Census Bureau reported that overall construction spending increased in July:

The U.S. Census Bureau of the Department of Commerce announced today that construction spending during July 2015 was estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $1,083.4 billion, 0.7 percent above the revised June estimate of $1,075.9 billion. ...


September 1, 2015, 1:03 pm, 1537385
Notes: This CoreLogic House Price Index report is for July. The recent Case-Shiller index release was for June. The CoreLogic HPI is a three month weighted average and is not seasonally adjusted (NSA).

From CoreLogic: CoreLogic Reports Home Prices Rose by 6.9 Percent Year Over Year ...


September 1, 2015, 12:44 pm, 1537384
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September 1, 2015, 12:34 pm, 1537383
Private nonfarm payrolls in the US are projected to increase by 194,000 (seasonally adjusted) in tomorrow’s August update of the ADP Employment Report vs. the previous month, based on The Capital Spectator’s average point forecast for several econometric estimates. The average projection reflects a modestly stronger gain vs. July’s advance. ...


September 1, 2015, 12:04 pm, 1537382

September 1, 2015, 12:04 pm, 1537381
(September 1, 2015 12:57 PM, by David Henderson) I enjoyed Bryan Caplan's post early this morning. In my view, the best comments so far are by Daniel Fountain and by Thomas B, although Mike Hammock and Hasdrubal make good points also. I look forward to reading Bryan's responses... (1 ...


September 1, 2015, 12:04 pm, 1537380

September 1, 2015, 12:04 pm, 1537379

Europe’s illegal immigration problems are daily growing more serious, evidenced by the human tragedies of North Africans and Middle Easterners dying at sea or in overcrowded vehicles. Precise statistics are in short supply, but the numbers involved are unquestionably at crisis levels.


September 1, 2015, 12:04 pm, 1537378

India reported slowing real GDP growth for the last quarter. This might turn out to be helpful. While the new numbers mean little for the economy, they may push policy-makers closer to realizing that only difficult reform will enable prosperity.

For the April to June quarter, the first in the fiscal ...


September 1, 2015, 12:04 pm, 1537377

The Common Core is in the hot seat when it comes to education policy and the 2016 election. Many GOP candidates especially have voiced their concerns about the standards, with Chris Christie and Scott Walker even rescinding their previous support.

While candidates have been criticized for not accepting the standards with ...


September 1, 2015, 11:03 am, 1537312
The ISM manufacturing index suggested expansion in August. The PMI was at 51.1% in August, down from 52.7% in July. The employment index was at 51.2%, down from 52.7% in July, and the new orders index was at 51.6%, down from 56.5%.

From the Institute for Supply Management: ...


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September 1, 2015, 10:34 am, 1537307
US economic risk increased at the end of August, according to a markets-based estimate of macro conditions. The Macro-Markets Risk Index (MMRI) closed at +0.4% yesterday (August 31) after briefly slipping into mildly negative territory for several days last week. MMRI’s temporary dip into the red in late-August marks the ...


September 1, 2015, 10:04 am, 1537302

Ten thousand Icelanders have offered to welcome Syrian refugees into their homes, as part of a Facebook campaign launched by a prominent author after the government said it would take in only a handful.

After the Icelandic government announced last month that it would only accept 50 humanitarian refugees ...


September 1, 2015, 10:04 am, 1537301

September 1, 2015, 10:04 am, 1537300

In September of each year, the U.S. Census Bureau releases data from the Annual Social and Economic Supplement of the Current Population Survey (CPS ASEC). The CPS ASEC is a nationally representative survey of more than 60,000 American households, and among other things, it is used to calculate the official ...


September 1, 2015, 10:04 am, 1537299

This summer, Republican presidential aspirants have roundly criticized the Common Core reading and math standards as federally supported and educationally unsound — and been lambasted by Beltway pundits for having the temerity to do so. The Washington Post editorial page laments that Republican “ideologues have so disfigured Common Core that ...


September 1, 2015, 8:44 am, 1537235
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September 1, 2015, 8:34 am, 1537234
August was a painful month for most markets around the world. Other than fractional gains in foreign bond markets (mainly in developed countries), last month delivered a deep shade of red ink far and wide. The big loser: stocks in emerging markets (MSCI EM Index), which shed a hefty 9.0% ...


September 1, 2015, 8:04 am, 1537233
(Don Boudreaux)

… is from page 75 of Felix Morley’s 1949 essay “State and Society,” which is reprinted as Essay Two in ...


September 1, 2015, 7:33 am, 1537228

|Peter Boettke|

I give my first lecture in modern history of economic thought class tonight, and we are starting with Alfred Marshall'sPrinciples, Book I and Book V. We are also discussing Baumol's QJE (2000) article on what Marshall knew and didn't know about modern economics.


September 1, 2015, 7:33 am, 1537227

Matches my observation: rarely is anything ever good enough for Liberals. As an old joke goes, "Give them an inch and they want a foot. Give them a foot and they want a yard. Give them a yard and they want a swimming pool built in it."


September 1, 2015, 7:33 am, 1537224

John Kay makes an argument that I've seen elsewhere, but he does it exceptionally well:

But the technological advances of the past decade seem to have increased the efficiency of households, rather than the efficiency of businesses, to an unusual extent. An ereader in the pocket replaces ...


September 1, 2015, 7:33 am, 1537226

I think S. E. Cupp is on to something here.

I'd add that other elements in Trump's appeal are he seems to be spontaneous and he seems to be having fun. We have so many politicians to who talk in poll-tested, focus-grouped, overly-rehearsed phrases that Trump, by sounding approximately ...


September 1, 2015, 7:33 am, 1537225

Very encouraging. (Unless you belong to OPEC.)

Since oil prices began falling, most shale producers have responded by embracing hard times, working to make their operations more efficient, renegotiating contracts with service companies (such as Halliburton) and, most significant, cutting production costs and spending on new wells.


September 1, 2015, 7:33 am, 1537223
China manufacturing and services are both in contraction at the fastest rate since early 2009.

The Caixin China General Manufacturing PMI shows operating conditions deteriorate at fastest rate since March 2009.

Chinese manufacturers saw the quickest deterioration in operating conditions for over six years in August, ...


September 1, 2015, 7:33 am, 1537222
Rod Garratt

The 2012 Nobel Prize in economics was awarded to Alvin E. Roth and Lloyd S. Shapley for their work on matching problems. Two-sided matching problems, like assigning jobs to workers or dorm rooms to students, can be complicated enough. But sometimes the matching problem can ...


September 1, 2015, 7:23 am, 1537221

Photo Credit: Simon Cunningham

This is just a “what if” piece. If one of my readers knows better than me, leave a comment, or email me. Thanks.

The Surprise Dividend

Imagine one day in 2019 that your favorite dividend-paying ...


September 1, 2015, 6:44 am, 1537177

The risk that asset price bubbles pose for financial stability is still not clear. Drawing on 140 years of data, this column argues that leverage is the critical determinant of crisis damage. When fuelled by credit booms, asset price bubbles are associated with high financial crisis risk; upon collapse, they ...


September 1, 2015, 6:44 am, 1537176

A nation’s hard power is based on its ability to coerce, while its soft power depends on the attractiveness of its culture, political ideals, and policies. This column shows that a country’s soft power has measureable effects on its exports. Countries that are admired for their positive global influence export ...


September 1, 2015, 6:34 am, 1537175
● Dallas Fed Index: General Business Activity Index tumbles in August ● Chicago PMI ticks down to 54.4 for Aug, but remains in solid growth territory ● Eurozone PMI: manufacturing activity steady at moderate growth level in August ● China PMI: factory output falls sharply in August ● Eurozone unemployment ...


September 1, 2015, 6:04 am, 1537174

In his seminal essay “How to argue effectively,” humorist Dave Barry had some advice for what to do “when your opponent is obviously right and you are spectacularly wrong.” The answer, he wrote, is simple: “Compare your opponent to Adolf Hitler.”

That is precisely what Hillary Clinton did Friday. A day ...


September 1, 2015, 5:33 am, 1537172

Guess. Go ahead, guess.

Could it be that progressive policies intended to reduce income inequality actually cause it to increase? Quite likely, yes. The reason has to do with the effect of these policies on the low end of the income distribution. The government doesn’t count the ...


September 1, 2015, 5:33 am, 1537171

September 1, 2015, 5:03 am, 1537120

Are you tired of paying your your mobile phone bill every month? What if you could get your ...


September 1, 2015, 5:03 am, 1537119

In response to this from Paul Romer:

The Clinical-Bench Science Distinction in Macro: I had hoped to find time to offer a more thoughtful response to Simon Wren Lewis’s most recent comments on the way forward in macroeconomics...

For now, I’ll go ahead with what I hope is ...


September 1, 2015, 5:03 am, 1537118

Everyone seems to be posting the syllabus for the graduate courses they are teaching this fall. Mine is simple. In my Monetary Theory and Policy course we are going to go through this book by Jordi Gali (don't tell anyone I actually know this stuff):


September 1, 2015, 3:03 am, 1537078

September 1, 2015, 3:03 am, 1537077

From Vox EU:

Dynasties and development, by Jan Frederick P. Cruz and Ronald U Mendoza: The possibility of a showdown between Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush in the US Presidential polls may have some political pundits salivating, but perhaps many more Americans wondering. Is political power becoming too concentrated ...


September 1, 2015, 2:04 am, 1537076

From the FT:

The likes of Zambia, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Kenya, Ghana, Senegal, and Ivory Coast have all issued foreign currency dominated sovereign bonds in recent years.

Ghana is one African nation with a history of debt crises (pdf), and also dating back to the 1980s (pdf).  ...


September 1, 2015, 2:04 am, 1537075

In 2012, 5.9 million unauthorized immigrants from Mexico lived in the U.S., down about 1 million from 2007. Despite the drop, Mexicans still make up a slight majority (52% in 2012) of unauthorized immigrants. At the same time, unauthorized immigration overall has leveled off in recent years. As a ...


September 1, 2015, 1:33 am, 1537074
It's no wonder Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras wanted elections now rather than later. He does not want the grim news of job losses and austerity to hit when he is more vulnerable.

Tsipras' problem may well be that he is too late.

Via translation from Libre Mercado, ...