Economics Roundtable

Technical Problems 3/9/15

The website was down several hours today, but is back up now.


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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- Recent Entries


April 1, 2015, 9:03 pm, 1449416

The events surrounding the signing into law of Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act provide an interesting test case to see if boycotts, or threats thereof, can successfully induce policy changes. I find this an interesting analogue to the ongoing debate whether Western sanctions, particularly “smart sanctions” imposed on Russia, can ...


April 1, 2015, 9:03 pm, 1449415
Update to "It never rains in California" ... from the Sacramento Bee: Jerry Brown orders mandatory water reductions amid California drought

With California slogging into its fourth year of withering drought, Gov. Jerry Brown on Wednesday ordered mandatory water reductions of 25 percent in cities and towns across ...


April 1, 2015, 8:44 pm, 1449414

IN THIS week's print edition, we take look at land and its importance as a factor of production. In particular, we argue that poor land use in the world's biggest cities carries a huge cost. Many economists have argued for ...


April 1, 2015, 8:04 pm, 1449413


April 1, 2015, 7:33 pm, 1449411
Inquiring minds are investigating construction spending, yet another economic report blamed on bad weather.

As has been the case recently, bad weather was unforeseen by economists even though their made their estimates recently, and the report is for February.

Construction spending for February came in today at -0.1% ...


April 1, 2015, 7:03 pm, 1449365

The Japanese parliament has approved a 3.29 percent cut in the corporate tax rate from an effective rate of about 35 percent, according to Bloomberg. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has previously announced plans to lower the tax rate to under 30 percent over the next five years.

The ...


April 1, 2015, 7:03 pm, 1449364
A McDonald’s employee passes an order to a driver at a restaurant in Los Angeles, California. Reuters

McDonald’s Corp.’s pledge to raise the ...


April 1, 2015, 6:44 pm, 1449363
Robert Litan: Mr. Summers’s main prescription for how to encourage growth in the short term and long term is more infrastructure spending, whose economic value should easily exceed current low borrowing costs.


April 1, 2015, 6:44 pm, 1449362
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April 1, 2015, 6:04 pm, 1449361

A few weeks ago the FDA was forced to remove four researchers from its influential Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee (TPSAC). The committee plays a crucial role in providing advice, information and recommendations to the FDA commissioner on the science of tobacco and its implications for regulation.

The TPSAC shake-up came ...


April 1, 2015, 6:04 pm, 1449360

Obamacare reached age 5 yesterday [1]. As I’ve pointed out earlier, this anemic child is not exactly a picture of health, falling behind the lofty expectations set for it on many dimensions. But the one bright spot for its proud parents relates to ...


April 1, 2015, 5:33 pm, 1449357

|Peter Boettke|

Bohm-Bawerk was one of the most accomplished economists of his era -- and was rightly recognized as such throughout the world. I have often thought that the Society for the Development of Austrian Economics should have a Bohm-Bawerk Medal for the Best Economist Under 40 to counter ...


April 1, 2015, 5:33 pm, 1449356

From the inbox:

Dear John C. Whitehead,

This is US-China Law Review (ISSN1548-6605), a professional journal published across the United States by David Publishing Company, New York, NY 10034, USA.

Nice to find your presentation inSociety for Benefit-Cost Analysis Annual Conference and Meeting,18-20 March, 2015. ...


April 1, 2015, 5:24 pm, 1449355
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April 1, 2015, 4:44 pm, 1449294
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April 1, 2015, 4:44 pm, 1449293
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April 1, 2015, 4:44 pm, 1449292
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April 1, 2015, 4:34 pm, 1449291
Teaser:

Indiana ...


April 1, 2015, 4:05 pm, 1449290

“What jumped out for me was the survey that revealed that in some cases as many as 39 percent of our learners are teachers,”

There are two ways to view this.  One is that educators are simply talking to each other.  The alternative — more likely in my view — is ...


April 1, 2015, 4:04 pm, 1449289
Resident Fellow John McInnis discusses partial agreement and extension of the nuclear talks with Iran on Fox Business's 'Opening Bell.'


April 1, 2015, 4:04 pm, 1449288

Representative Xavier Becerra (D-CA), the ranking member on the Ways and Means Social Security Subcommittee, warns that Republicans in Congress are just ginning up concerns over Social Security’s financial health:

In Congress, we’re watching as another crisis is being manufactured as we speak. In ...


April 1, 2015, 3:33 pm, 1449283
With each passing month, driverless cars make new advances. Within five years I believe driverless vehicles of all sorts will be common, albeit perhaps not the norm.

Robotics Trends reports Driverless Car Completes Historic Cross-Country Trip.

It’s official: Delphi Automotive’s self-driving car completed it’s 3,500-mile ...


April 1, 2015, 3:03 pm, 1449222
Based on a WardsAuto estimate, light vehicle sales were at a17.05 million SAAR in March. That is up 3.8% from March 2014, and up 5.5% from the 16.2 million annual sales rate last month.

From John Sousanis at Wards Auto: March 2015 U.S. LV Sales Thread: Spring ...


April 1, 2015, 2:44 pm, 1449221
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April 1, 2015, 2:34 pm, 1449220
Teaser:

Alan ...


April 1, 2015, 2:05 pm, 1449218

April 1, 2015, 2:04 pm, 1449217
(April 1, 2015 01:35 PM, by Scott Sumner) Michael Darda pointed me to the following statement from Larry Summers (in reply to Ben Bernanke): Successful policy approaches to a global tendency towards excess saving and stagnation will involve not only stimulating public and private investment but will also... (0 ...


April 1, 2015, 2:04 pm, 1449216
(Don Boudreaux)

Phil Magness picks Piketty apart.  A slice:

Piketty’s empirical work suffers from several highly problematic characteristics. Empirical demonstrations of the century-long distributional U-shape for three different countries — his main piece of evidence for his inequality thesis — are rendered unreliable by issues including

suspect and biased adjustment techniques, selective ...


April 1, 2015, 2:04 pm, 1449215

The US runs a massive welfare state. But Big Government is probably bigger than you realize. And it’s mostly not being run for the folks who need it the most, as New York Times reporter ...


April 1, 2015, 1:03 pm, 1449149
A welding robot works at a Chinese automobile factory in Anhui Province in 2008. The numbers have only grown: The country is expected to have more factory robots than ...


April 1, 2015, 1:03 pm, 1449148
Earlier today, the Census Bureau reported that overall construction spending decreased in February:

The U.S. Census Bureau of the Department of Commerce announced today that construction spending during February 2015 was estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $967.2 billion, 0.1 percent below the revised January estimate of ...


April 1, 2015, 12:34 pm, 1449147
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April 1, 2015, 12:04 pm, 1449142

ABSTRACT: I develop an algorithm to approximate the loss rate distribution for fixed income portfolios with obligor concentrations. The approximation requires no advanced mathematics or statistics, only the summation of large exposures and the evaluation of binomial probabilities. The approximation is model-independent and can be used after removing default dependence using ...


April 1, 2015, 12:04 pm, 1449141

While President Obama’s approach to foreign policy was initially applauded at the beginning of his presidency, it seems that Americans no longer feel the president’s policies are making us safe. In this month’s political report and her accompanying Forbes piece, AEI Senior Fellow Karlyn Bowman examines public opinion on terrorism—including ...


April 1, 2015, 11:33 am, 1449139

RFF on the issues:

Last week a New York Times op-ed called for the federal government to account for carbon emissions in the price of coal: “The federal government should also take into account the economic consequences of burning coal ...


April 1, 2015, 11:03 am, 1449077

On Monday the Premier of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China announced that the Chinese tax code lacked the complexity of an advanced industrialized nation. He has started a campaign with the title “Complicate China” to promote the advantages of a modern Western tax code.

In an ...


April 1, 2015, 11:03 am, 1449075

Every year, the IRS adjusts more than 40 tax provisions for inflation. This is done to prevent what is called “bracket creep.” This is the phenomenon by which people are pushed into higher income tax brackets or have reduced value from credits or deductions due to inflation instead of ...


April 1, 2015, 11:03 am, 1449076
Researchers at Oxford’s Bodleian Library have uncovered ancient parchments detailing a tax code which scholars are characterizing as "overwhelmingly byzantine."   "When you look at a system like this, all you can do is marvel that it survived as long as it did," observed Dr. Alp Arslan. "You look for equitable, ...


April 1, 2015, 11:03 am, 1449074
ROB KIM/GETTY IMAGES

In a blog post Wednesday, Larry Summers responded to Ben Bernanke‘s critique of his view that the U.S. economy faces a ...


April 1, 2015, 11:03 am, 1449073
The ISM manufacturing index suggests slower expansion in March than in February. The PMI was at 51.5% in March, down from 52.9% in February. The employment index was at 50.0%, down from 51.4% in February, and the new orders index was at 51.8%, down from 52.5%.

From the ...


April 1, 2015, 10:44 am, 1449072
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April 1, 2015, 10:44 am, 1449071
It is hard to think of a website so loved by its followers and so scorned by economists as John Williams' ShadowStats, a widely cited source of alternative economic data on inflation ...


April 1, 2015, 10:35 am, 1449070
Private-sector job creation last month slowed more than economists predicted, according to this morning’s release of the ADP Employment Report. The crowd was looking for a monthly rise of 230,000, according to Econoday.com’s consensus forecast. Instead, US companies hired a relatively soft 189,000 workers in March. The latest numbers pour ...


April 1, 2015, 10:35 am, 1449069

What do you have to drink in your refrigerator? I’ve got kids in grade school, and our fridge always holds their favorite: Juice boxes filled with 100% apple juice. I felt pretty good about that “100%” until I looked at the label. There are 18 grams of sugar in ...


April 1, 2015, 10:34 am, 1449068

Over the past week or so, I’ve seen several people online commenting about a story that appeared inConsumerist that tells the story of Seth, a guy who was allegedly screwed over by a cable company:

Only months after ...


April 1, 2015, 10:04 am, 1449062

In a February Los Angeles Times op-ed, President Obama wrote that “[t]he United States has made significant gains against terrorism. We’ve decimated the core al Qaeda leadership, strengthened homeland security and worked to prevent another large-scale attack like 9/11.” But do Americans feel safer under President Obama? And how do ...


April 1, 2015, 10:04 am, 1449063

Poor Mike Pence. The Indiana governor, eyeing a long-shot presidential bid, probably didn’t expect the hot mess he got himself into by signing his state’s version of the federal Religious Freedom and Restoration Act, or RFRA. And it showed.

On ABC’s “This Week,” Pence was grilled by George Stephanopoulos about the ...


April 1, 2015, 9:03 am, 1448999
Mario Draghi, President of the European Central Bank addresses the media during a conference “The ECB and it’s Watchers” at the University in Frankfurt/Main, Germany, on March 11, 2015. ...


April 1, 2015, 9:03 am, 1448997
Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta president Dennis Lockhart. Bloomberg News

STONE MOUNTAIN, Ga.–Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta president Dennis Lockhart said Wednesday he believes the U.S. economy ...


April 1, 2015, 9:03 am, 1448998

The Wall Street Journal’s Daily Report on Global Central Banks for Wednesday, April 1, 2015:

Sign up for the newsletter: http://on.wsj.com/grandcentralsignup


Highlights

Hilsenrath’s Take: Ben Bernanke Unchained Takes on Larry Summers Fed’s Lacker Sees ‘Strong Case’ for ...


April 1, 2015, 9:03 am, 1448996

To date, the most popular calculator we've ever developed is our What Is Your Income Percentile Ranking? tool, which we suspect ...


April 1, 2015, 9:03 am, 1448995
From ADP:

Private sector employment increased by 189,000 jobs from February to March according to the March ADP National Employment Report®. ... The report, which is derived from ADP’s actual payroll data, measures the change in total nonfarm private employment each month on a seasonally-adjusted basis.
...
Goods-producing ...


April 1, 2015, 9:03 am, 1448994
Reis released their Q1 2015 Office Vacancy survey this morning. Reis reported that the office vacancy rate declined in Q1 to 16.6% from 16.7% in Q4 2014. This is down from 16.9% in Q1 2014, and down from thecycle peak of 17.6%.

From Reis:

The national vacancy ...


April 1, 2015, 8:35 am, 1448993
March was a rough month for earning a profit in the global markets. The bulk of the gains (in US dollar terms) in the major asset classes were limited to US bonds and US real estate investment trusts (REITs), which rebounded after a sharp tumble in February. In fact, US ...


April 1, 2015, 8:35 am, 1448992

What do you have to drink in your refrigerator? I’ve got kids in grade school, and our fridge always holds their favorite: Juice boxes filled with 100% apple juice. I felt pretty good about that “100%” until I looked at the label. There are 18 grams of sugar in ...


April 1, 2015, 8:05 am, 1448984

Vox reports on a study comparing taking notes by hand versus using a laptop

For the first study, the students watched a 15-minute TED talk and took notes on it, then took a test on it half an hour afterward. Some of the test questions were straightforward, asking for ...


April 1, 2015, 8:04 am, 1448983
(April 1, 2015 07:01 AM, by Alberto Mingardi) Before the Mont Pelerin Society's meeting in Lima, Peru, beautifully organized by Enrique Ghersi, I took three days off and visited Cuzco and Machu Picchu. As a matter of fact, I highly recommend the trip--though I'd suggest you take more... (1 ...


April 1, 2015, 8:04 am, 1448982
(Don Boudreaux)

… is from page 4 of W. Michael Cox’s and Richard Alm’s still-important 1999 volume, Myths of Rich & Poor (original emphasis):

At best, real wages are an indirect barometer of how well we’re doing.  If we want to know about living standards, it’s better to use direct indicators ...


April 1, 2015, 7:33 am, 1448977

April 1, 2015, 7:33 am, 1448978

Why:

When you get past the noise and the smell, the unbearable heat, the G-force, the surprising physical exertion and, always, the constant threat of injury or death — auto racing, like much else, comes down to math. There is an optimal path around ...


April 1, 2015, 7:33 am, 1448976

Four-minute WYNC report which indicates most middle school teachers probably should get combat pay. It claims that in New York City half of the middle school teachers quit in three years or less.


April 1, 2015, 7:33 am, 1448975
I have long railed against fractional reserve lending, duration mismatches (e.g. banks issuing 2-year CDs and lending money for 15-year mortgages), bank's ability to lend money into existence, and deposit insurance.

Fractional reserve lending allows banks to lend out a near infinite amount of credit with essentially no ...


April 1, 2015, 7:33 am, 1448974
Marco Del Negro and Christopher A. Sims

The monetary base in the United States, defined as currency plus bank reserves, grew from about $800 billion in 2008 to $2 trillion in 2012, and to roughly $4 trillion at the end of 2014 (see chart below). Some ...


April 1, 2015, 7:03 am, 1448927

RICHMOND, Va.–Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond President Jeffrey Lacker said Tuesday the Fed should be prepared to tighten policy faster than expected once it starts to raise short-term interest rates.

In a speech to the Greater Richmond Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Lacker said there is a “strong case” for the Fed ...


April 1, 2015, 7:03 am, 1448928

The Wall Street Journal’s Daily Report on Global Central Banks for Tuesday, March 31, 2015:

Sign up for the newsletter: http://on.wsj.com/grandcentralsignup


Highlights

Hilsenrath’s Take: Can Asia’s Banks Withstand a Financial Shock? Regulators Intensify Scrutiny of Bank Boards


April 1, 2015, 7:03 am, 1448929

STONE MOUNTAIN, Ga.—The Federal Reserve’s No. 2 official floated a series of ideas for regulating nonbank financial companies, the latest indication that top U.S. policy makers are focusing on risks in the so-called shadow banking sector.

“While there has been progress on the financial reform front, we should not be complacent ...


April 1, 2015, 7:03 am, 1448925
Divisions in Congress have hampered the Pacific trade pact under negotiation. Pictured, the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C., in January. Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

Is Congress undermining ...


April 1, 2015, 7:03 am, 1448926

FRANKFURT—The eurozone’s chief bank supervisor on Tuesday outlined priorities for the current year, saying that teams were making sure that banks implemented findings from last year’s comprehensive assessment.

Teams made up of European Central Bank employees and staff from national authorities “are checking that banks are taking those findings on board, ...


April 1, 2015, 7:03 am, 1448920
A boost in bachelor’s degrees among low-skilled men would lift annual earnings of the lowest 25% to $8,720 from $6,100, the study found. GETTY IMAGES

Better education ...


April 1, 2015, 7:03 am, 1448924
Denver reported the highest year-over-year gain in home prices, up 8.4% since January 2014. GETTY IMAGES

Home prices in the U.S. edged up to start the year, ...


April 1, 2015, 7:03 am, 1448921

The U.K. saw its gross domestic product figures revised upward Tuesday, an apparent boost for the Conservative-led government before upcoming national elections. But viewed through a different lens, the U.K.’s GDP numbers show a less flattering ...


April 1, 2015, 7:03 am, 1448922
The governor of the Central Bank of Ireland, Patrick Honohan, surveyed almost 200 years of Irish currency arrangements in a speech. Zuma Press

Currency regimes matter less ...


April 1, 2015, 7:03 am, 1448923
Former Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke CHIP SOMODEVILLA/GETTY IMAGES

Count Ben Bernanke among the skeptics of the idea that the U.S. economy is slipping into a state ...


April 1, 2015, 7:03 am, 1448918
 Two-thirds of adult Americans start the day with at least one one-dollar bill in their possession, a new paper says. GETTY IMAGES

How many one-dollar bills are ...


April 1, 2015, 7:03 am, 1448919
The Labor Department started tracking the careers of workers in 1979. The youngest boomers saw rapid wage growth when they were young.  FRANCES M. GINTER/GETTY IMAGES

In 1979, ...


April 1, 2015, 7:03 am, 1448917

A new think tank with funding from Silicon Valley entrepreneurs is setting up shop in Washington to focus on economic policy issues that tend to have bipartisan appeal but have been thin ...


April 1, 2015, 7:03 am, 1448914
Mario Draghi, President of the European Central Bank addresses the media during a conference “The ECB and it’s Watchers” at the University in Frankfurt/Main, Germany, on March 11, 2015. ...


April 1, 2015, 7:03 am, 1448915
China’s factory-floor readings picked up in March. Here, a worker at a garment factory in Jinjiang in southeast China’s Fujian province. Associated Press

While falling raw-materials prices ...


April 1, 2015, 7:03 am, 1448916

NEW YORK—Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City President Esther George said Tuesday that steady economic growth calls for the U.S. central bank to pull back on the level of stimulus it has been providing the economy.

“You are required to look ahead” when you make interest-rate policy, Ms. George said. Given ...


April 1, 2015, 7:03 am, 1448913
From the MBA: Mortgage Applications Increase in Latest MBA Weekly Survey

Mortgage applications increased 4.6 percent from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending March 27, 2015. ...

The Refinance Index increased 4 percent ...


April 1, 2015, 6:44 am, 1448912
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April 1, 2015, 6:35 am, 1448911
● March consumer confidence rises sharply: Conference Board | CNBC ● US home prices rise 4.6% On Year Through Jan: S&P Case-Shiller Index | Reuters ● US March Store Sales +1.2% vs Feb Through Mar 28 Week: Redbook Index | MNI ● PMI: Euro-Area Mfg Growth Revised Higher on German ...


April 1, 2015, 5:33 am, 1448908

I'm not a coder, but this sounds like reasonable advice.


April 1, 2015, 5:33 am, 1448907



(p. B1) For years, multinational companies had little interest in lower-end consumers, figuring no money was to be made. Now, they are increasingly attractive to all types of industries, from consumer product makers to technology businesses. Google just announced plans to sell a stripped-down, cheaper version of ...


April 1, 2015, 5:03 am, 1448870
China’s factory-floor readings picked up in March. Here, a worker at a garment factory in Jinjiang in southeast China’s Fujian province. Associated Press

While falling raw-materials prices ...


April 1, 2015, 5:03 am, 1448869

April 1, 2015, 5:03 am, 1448867

Speaking of Larry Summers:

Why More Education Won’t Fix Economic Inequality: Suppose you accept the persuasive data that inequality has been rising in the United States and most advanced nations in recent decades. But suppose you don’t want to fight inequality through politically polarizing steps like higher taxes on ...


April 1, 2015, 5:03 am, 1448868

Larry Summers responds to Ben Bernanke:

On Secular Stagnation: A Response to Bernanke, by Larry Summers: Ben Bernanke has inaugurated his blog with a set of thoughtful observations on the determinants of real interest rates (see his post here) and the secular stagnation hypothesis that I have ...


April 1, 2015, 4:44 am, 1448866
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April 1, 2015, 2:05 am, 1448807

Gary Solon, in a new survey paper, takes issue with the earlier results of Greg Clark, which had suggested social mobility was roughly constant across a wide spectrum of cases.  Solon writes:

…the results reported by Clark do not reflect a universal law of social mobility.  Quite ...


April 1, 2015, 2:05 am, 1448806

It used to be that airliners broke up in the sky because of small cracks in the window frames. So we fixed that. It used to be that aircraft crashed because of outward opening doors. So we fixed that. Aircraft used to fall out of the sky ...


April 1, 2015, 12:44 am, 1448787

An implication of the ‘precautionary saving’ hypothesis is that in countries faced with more macroeconomic volatility and risk, private saving should be higher. In the observable data, however, there is a negative correlation, particularly in developing countries. This column offers a plausible explanation for the disconnect between the precautionary theory ...


March 31, 2015, 11:34 pm, 1448784

I was reading Frosti Sigurjonsson's proposal for monetary reform in Iceland. [Click on the document thingy halfway down the page.] His proposal is a variant on 100% reserve banking. I got stuck on page 72 and footnote 66, where he discusses overdrafts.

This post is just my attempt to ...


March 31, 2015, 11:33 pm, 1448783

Evil Walmart makes a lot of money, right? We hear that all the time even though the retail giant’s profit margin was only 3.12% in the most recent quarter. Interestingly, we never seem to hear as much about the much higher profit margin of Apple, the “darling of the ...


March 31, 2015, 10:44 pm, 1448742
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March 31, 2015, 10:04 pm, 1448740

Evil Walmart makes a lot of money, right? We hear that all the time even though the retail giant’s profit margin was only 3.12% in the most recent quarter. Interestingly, we never seem to hear as much about ...


March 31, 2015, 9:33 pm, 1448739
Religious Freedom Act Take II

I received a number of emails in response to Indiana Legalizes Discrimination on Grounds of "Religious Freedom".

The bill, signed by Indiana Governor Mike Pence openly encourages discrimination based on sexual preference although Pence incredulously denies that claim. Pence now ...


March 31, 2015, 9:23 pm, 1448738
Former Fed chair Ben Bernanke blogged about secular stagnation today and he's not buying it:

Does the U.S. economy face secular stagnation? I am skeptical, and the sources of my skepticism go beyond the fact that the U.S. economy looks to be well on the ...


March 31, 2015, 9:03 pm, 1448705

Nevada's Senate Revenue & Economic Development Committee voted 4-3 this afternoon to approve S.B. 252, the Governor's proposed BLF gross receipts tax. The tax would impose a sliding tax scale of 67 revenue ranges for each of 27 industry categories, a complex tax structure resulting in punitive taxes for some ...


March 31, 2015, 9:03 pm, 1448704
Wednesday:
• 7:00 AM ET, the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) will release the results for the mortgage purchase applications index.

• At 8:15 AM, the ADP Employment Report for March. This report is for private payrolls only (no government). The consensus is for 225,000 payroll jobs added in March, ...


March 31, 2015, 8:05 pm, 1448701

Here is his second real blog post.  Excerpt:

My greatest concern about Larry’s formulation, however, is the lack of attention to the international dimension. He focuses on factors affecting domestic capital investment and household spending. All else equal, however, the availability of profitable capital investments anywhere in the world ...


March 31, 2015, 8:04 pm, 1448700

Do Americans feel less threatened by terrorism now than they did when President Obama took office? Read more about public opinion on the George W. Bush and Obama administrations’ handling of terrorism, how much terrorism concerns Americans, and Americans’ opinions on how the United States should respond to the threat ...


March 31, 2015, 7:03 pm, 1448652
A boost in bachelor’s degrees among low-skilled men would lift annual earnings of the lowest 25% to $8,720 from $6,100, the study found. GETTY IMAGES

Better education ...


March 31, 2015, 7:03 pm, 1448653

The U.K. saw its gross domestic product figures revised upward Tuesday, an apparent boost for the Conservative-led government before upcoming national elections. But viewed through a different lens, the U.K.’s GDP numbers show a less flattering ...


March 31, 2015, 7:03 pm, 1448651
The Labor Department started tracking the careers of workers in 1979. The youngest boomers saw rapid wage growth when they were young.  FRANCES M. GINTER/GETTY IMAGES

In 1979, ...


March 31, 2015, 7:03 pm, 1448650
 Two-thirds of adult Americans start the day with at least one one-dollar bill in their possession, a new paper says. GETTY IMAGES

How many one-dollar bills are ...


March 31, 2015, 7:03 pm, 1448648

NEW YORK—Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City President Esther George said Tuesday that steady economic growth calls for the U.S. central bank to pull back on the level of stimulus it has been providing the economy.

“You are required to look ahead” when you make interest-rate policy, Ms. George said. Given ...


March 31, 2015, 7:03 pm, 1448649

A new think tank with funding from Silicon Valley entrepreneurs is setting up shop in Washington to focus on economic policy issues that tend to have bipartisan appeal but have been thin ...


March 31, 2015, 7:03 pm, 1448647

In a previous post, Laurent Ferrara, Valrie Mignon, and I examined the nonlinear relationship between employment and output (based on J.Macro (2014)). Using the most recent data, the level of (establishment) employment now matches the output level. Figure 1 shows the actual level, and the predicted ...


March 31, 2015, 6:44 pm, 1448646
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March 31, 2015, 6:34 pm, 1448645

Maybe it’s just because Congress is on spring break and tax wonks don’t have much to talk about, but suddenly the idea of a consumption tax is getting a new look. The tax plan proposed earlier this month by senators Mike Lee (R-UT) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) is one form ...


March 31, 2015, 6:04 pm, 1448644


March 31, 2015, 6:04 pm, 1448643

Read the PDF

See the infographic here.

Do Americans feel less threatened by terrorism now than they did when President Obama took office? The April issue of AEI’s Political Report compares public opinion on the George W. Bush and Obama administrations’ handling of terrorism, assesses ...


March 31, 2015, 6:04 pm, 1448642

This blog series analyzes the most important Iran news events of the past week and provides an outlook of the regime’s strategic calculus.

A likely partial agreement and extension of the nuclear talks comes as no surprise. Iran recognized ...


March 31, 2015, 6:04 pm, 1448641

The House passed their budget plan last week with almost $1 trillion in cuts to Medicaid and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) over the next 10 years. While passage does not actually establish a budget, it sets a vision for where the Republicans in the House see the future ...


March 31, 2015, 5:03 pm, 1448578
Fannie Mae reported today that the Single-Family Serious Delinquency rate declined slightly in February to 1.83% from 1.86% in January. The serious delinquency rate is down from 2.27% in February 2014, and this is the lowest level since September 2008.

The Fannie Mae serious delinquency rate peaked ...


March 31, 2015, 4:44 pm, 1448577
A


March 31, 2015, 4:35 pm, 1448576

Maybe it’s just because Congress is on spring break and tax wonks don’t have much to talk about, but suddenly the idea of a consumption tax is getting a new look. The tax plan proposed earlier this month by senators Mike Lee (R-UT) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) is one form ...


March 31, 2015, 4:05 pm, 1448572

New brokerage accounts have surged since China’s bull market got running mid-2014. The number of new trading accounts hit a five-year high in early March. But as you can see in the chart above, a lot of those new investors probably aren’t the savviest.

Some 67.6% of households that opened new ...


March 31, 2015, 4:04 pm, 1448571
(March 31, 2015 04:19 PM, by David Henderson) Last summer, after 22 years as a tenured Associate Professor, I decided to come up for promotion to Full Professor. I did so partly at the urging of three colleagues in the Graduate School of Business and Public Policy, where... (6 COMMENTS)


March 31, 2015, 4:04 pm, 1448570

“Pre-K for all” has become a rallying cry for progressives, underscored last week by Hillary Clinton’s speech at the Center for American Progress’ discussion on “Expanding Opportunity in America’s Urban Areas.” In her seven-minute talk, Clinton emphasized the “overriding issues of inequality and lack of ...


March 31, 2015, 4:04 pm, 1448569

We hear a lot about the well-publicized increases in oil production in America’s top two oil-producing states. No. 1 Texas now produces nearly 3.5 million barrels of oil every day, almost as much as Canada’s total daily production of ...


March 31, 2015, 3:33 pm, 1448565
Chicago PMI Disappoints

Economists expected a rebound in the Chicago PMI index this month following its collapse last month. Alas, once again the weather was much worse in Chicago than economists thought.

The Bloomberg Consensus was for a rebound from last month's dismal print of 45.8 ...


March 31, 2015, 3:33 pm, 1448564
The string of bad data reports not only applies to the US, economists up North appear to be no better at predicting the weather than US economists.

Variant Perception reports Downside Data Surprises Continue in Canada.

For the past 6 months, we have been alerting clients ...


March 31, 2015, 3:33 pm, 1448563

We hear a lot about the well-publicized increases in oil production in America’s top two oil-producing states. No. 1 Texas now produces nearly 3.5 million barrels of oil every day, almost as much as Canada’s total daily production of 3.7 million barrels.  As ...


March 31, 2015, 3:03 pm, 1448500

Americans are squirreling away most of the money they’re getting from slowly rising incomes and cheaper gasoline.

The personal saving rate rose to 5.8% in February, the highest level in more than two ...


March 31, 2015, 3:03 pm, 1448501
BLOOMBERG NEWS

Former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said he doesn’t know where the so-called full-employment level is now, saying the Fed “is in some sense groping” to determine it.

Full ...


March 31, 2015, 3:03 pm, 1448499

Those hungry for central-bank news shouldn’t expect to hear much from the Bank of England for the next six weeks.

Britons go to the polls May 7 to elect a new government and the BOE is bound by “purdah” rules that prevent officials from speaking in public while the general election ...


March 31, 2015, 3:03 pm, 1448502

The Federal Reserve’s preferred measure of inflation in February fell short of the central bank’s 2% target for the 34th straight month.

The price index for personal consumption expenditures was up only ...


March 31, 2015, 3:03 pm, 1448496
Retail wages fared a little better than compensation in manufacturing last year, rising 0.9% in real terms. BLOOMBERG NEWS

The U.S. isn’t the only place where


March 31, 2015, 3:03 pm, 1448495

STONE MOUNTAIN, Ga.—The Federal Reserve’s No. 2 official floated a series of ideas for regulating nonbank financial companies, the latest indication that top U.S. policy makers are focusing on risks in the so-called shadow banking sector.

“While there has been progress on the financial reform front, we should not be complacent ...


March 31, 2015, 3:03 pm, 1448498
The Congressional Budget Office under outgoing director Doug Elmendorf laid out most of its assumptions behind dynamic scoring. Getty Images

Dynamic scoring is great in theory. Can ...


March 31, 2015, 3:03 pm, 1448497
Job seekers wait in line to register for a job fair in California. But many people find jobs without ever reporting actively looking, say researchers at the San Francisco ...


March 31, 2015, 3:03 pm, 1448490
Denver reported the highest year-over-year gain in home prices, up 8.4% since January 2014. GETTY IMAGES

Home prices in the U.S. edged up to start the year, ...


March 31, 2015, 3:03 pm, 1448491
Divisions in Congress have hampered the Pacific trade pact under negotiation. Pictured, the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C., in January. Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

Is Congress undermining ...


March 31, 2015, 3:03 pm, 1448493

RICHMOND, Va.–Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond President Jeffrey Lacker said Tuesday the Fed should be prepared to tighten policy faster than expected once it starts to raise short-term interest rates.

In a speech to the Greater Richmond Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Lacker said there is a “strong case” for the Fed ...


March 31, 2015, 3:03 pm, 1448489
Former Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke CHIP SOMODEVILLA/GETTY IMAGES

Count Ben Bernanke among the skeptics of the idea that the U.S. economy is slipping into a state ...


March 31, 2015, 3:03 pm, 1448492

FRANKFURT—The eurozone’s chief bank supervisor on Tuesday outlined priorities for the current year, saying that teams were making sure that banks implemented findings from last year’s comprehensive assessment.

Teams made up of European Central Bank employees and staff from national authorities “are checking that banks are taking those findings on board, ...


March 31, 2015, 3:03 pm, 1448494

The Wall Street Journal’s Daily Report on Global Central Banks for Tuesday, March 31, 2015:

Sign up for the newsletter: http://on.wsj.com/grandcentralsignup


Highlights

Hilsenrath’s Take: Can Asia’s Banks Withstand a Financial Shock? Regulators Intensify Scrutiny of Bank Boards


March 31, 2015, 3:03 pm, 1448488
The governor of the Central Bank of Ireland, Patrick Honohan, surveyed almost 200 years of Irish currency arrangements in a speech. Zuma Press

Currency regimes matter less ...


March 31, 2015, 3:03 pm, 1448485
The Labor Department started tracking the careers of workers in 1979. The youngest boomers saw rapid wage growth when they were young.  FRANCES M. GINTER/GETTY IMAGES

In 1979, ...


March 31, 2015, 3:03 pm, 1448484
 Two-thirds of adult Americans start the day with at least one one-dollar bill in their possession, a new paper says. Getty Images

How many one-dollar bills are ...


March 31, 2015, 3:03 pm, 1448487

The U.K. saw its gross domestic product figures revised upward Tuesday, an apparent boost for the Conservative-led government before upcoming national elections. But viewed through a different lens, the U.K.’s GDP numbers show a less flattering ...


March 31, 2015, 3:03 pm, 1448486
A boost in bachelor’s degrees among low-skilled men would lift annual earnings of the lowest 25% to $8,720 from $6,100, the study found. GETTY IMAGES

Better education ...


March 31, 2015, 3:03 pm, 1448483

A new think tank with funding from Silicon Valley entrepreneurs is setting up shop in Washington to focus on economic policy issues that tend to have bipartisan appeal but have been thin ...


March 31, 2015, 3:03 pm, 1448482
Here is a minor indicator I follow from the National Restaurant Association: Softer sales offset by stronger optimism in February's RPI

Despite dampened sales and customer traffic levels as a result of extreme weather in parts of the country, the National Restaurant Association’s Restaurant Performance Index (RPI) held relatively ...


March 31, 2015, 2:44 pm, 1448481
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March 31, 2015, 2:44 pm, 1448480
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March 31, 2015, 2:44 pm, 1448479
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March 31, 2015, 2:44 pm, 1448478

THIS week our correspondents discuss the general election campaign in Britain, the latest news from Greece and the slowdown in America’s economy


March 31, 2015, 2:34 pm, 1448477
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March 31, 2015, 2:34 pm, 1448476
Teaser:

As ...


March 31, 2015, 2:05 pm, 1448471

By Robert E. Wright and Richard Sylla, Columbia Business School Publishing, this is both a beautiful picture book, coffee table style, and also a history of America’s “Big 50″ financial institutions.  It appears to be a very impressive creation, full of useful information.

File under “Arrived in my Pile”!  You can ...


March 31, 2015, 2:04 pm, 1448470


March 31, 2015, 2:04 pm, 1448469
Fellow Jonah Goldberg discusses the signing of Indiana's RFRA law on Fox News' 'Happening Now.'


March 31, 2015, 2:04 pm, 1448468

Something bothers me about this Reuters story:

Tax collections from individual Americans last year reached their highest share of the U.S. economy in seven years while corporate tax revenue again ...


March 31, 2015, 1:33 pm, 1448464
Chicago PMI Disappoints

Economists expected a rebound in the Chicago PMI index this month following its collapse last month. Alas, once again the weather was much worse in Chicago than economists thought.

The Bloomberg Consensus was for a rebound from last month's dismal print of 45.8 ...