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

May 31, 2016, 3:03 pm, 1641250
Here is the earlier post on Case-Shiller: Case-Shiller Graphs: National House Price Index increased 5.2% year-over-year in March

The year-over-year increase in prices is mostly moving sideways now around 5%. In March, the index was up 5.2% YoY.

In the earlier post, I graphed nominal house ...

May 31, 2016, 2:05 pm, 1641247

Maybe so, here is the latest:

Where witchcraft beliefs are widespread, American University Economics Professor Boris Gershman found high levels of mistrust exist among people. Gershman also found a negative relationship between witchcraft beliefs and other metrics of relied upon for a functioning society, including ...

May 31, 2016, 2:04 pm, 1641246
(Don Boudreaux)

Adam Ozimek eloquently exposes the shallowness of Nick Hanauer’s understanding of economics.  (Had Hanauer taken a decent economics class, he’d ...

May 31, 2016, 2:04 pm, 1641245

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights recently sounded the alarm about a funding crisis that will force it to lay off 40 percent of its personnel by July 31, 2016, unless governments meet their funding commitments. In addition to losing critical professionals who investigate alleged human rights violations and ...

May 31, 2016, 1:34 pm, 1641242
The bureaucrats of Massachusetts have done the nation a wonderful service, by parking an abject lesson in America's infrastructure sclerosis right in front of Larry Summers' office.

Summers and Rachel Lipson have written a remarkable Op-Edin the Boston Globe, and Larry a deeper follow-on piece on theWashington ...

May 31, 2016, 1:34 pm, 1641241

May 31, 2016, 1:33 pm, 1641240
My Princeton Press book; "Blue Skies Over Beijing: Economic Growth and the Environment" is now published. You can read chapter one here.


"China is an economic miracle and an environmental nightmare. In Blue Skies over Beijing, Kahn and Zheng show how the path ...

May 31, 2016, 1:33 pm, 1641239

I’ve featured a lot of material lately on CD from Thomas Sowell, and will continue today with another gem of economic wisdom from Sowell, taken from his 2007 book Basic Economics: A Common Sense Guide to the Economy from the chapter “Controlled Labor Markets” in the section titled “Differential ...

May 31, 2016, 1:23 pm, 1641238

Confusions about so-called helicopter money (HM) continue unabated. My recent letter to the editor of The Financial Times, titled “’Helicopter money’ is a muddled fiscal policy by another name,” has not met with universal approval. In fact, it seems to have ruffled some feathers and caused some annoyance.

Simon Wren-Lewis is a ...

May 31, 2016, 1:03 pm, 1641207

This month, the Australia Institute released a report that argues persuasively that a substantial portion of Australia’s corporate income tax cuts will simply end up resulting in increased revenue for the U.S. Treasury. As the report explains:

Foreign companies have to pay tax in their place of residence ...

May 31, 2016, 1:03 pm, 1641206

“China and Asia in Global Trade Slowdown”

That’s the title of a just released IMF Working Paper by Gee Hee Hong, Jaewoo Lee, Wei Liao, Dulani Seneviratne:

Asia and China made disproportionate contributions to the slowdown of global trade growth in 2015. China’s import growth slowed starkly, driven by both ...

May 31, 2016, 1:03 pm, 1641205
From the Dallas Fed: Texas Manufacturing Activity Declines

Texas factory activity declined in May after two months of increases, according to business executives responding to the Texas Manufacturing Outlook Survey. The production index, a key measure of state manufacturing conditions, fell from 5.8 to -13.1, hitting its lowest reading ...

May 31, 2016, 12:34 pm, 1641204

May 31, 2016, 12:05 pm, 1641203

May 31, 2016, 12:04 pm, 1641202
(May 31, 2016 01:51 PM, by David Henderson) A few days ago, a regular reader of Econlog wrote me to suggest that I do a critique of a long piece written by Nick Hanauer, the person who made a few billion dollars as a tech investor. Hanauer has... (0 COMMENTS)

May 31, 2016, 12:04 pm, 1641201

One has to pity Greece’s battered citizenry, since this week’s European finance ministers’ deal to provide the country with a much-needed loan disbursement came with the most onerous of budget austerity strings attached.

If Greece’s own past experience with budget austerity in a euro straitjacket is any guide, those strings are ...

May 31, 2016, 12:04 pm, 1641200

In many recent polls, voters have been more likely to say they will vote in November to oppose the other party’s candidate than vote to support their own. Another indication of the tepid support for the leading candidates is that fewer than half support their own candidate strongly. In the May ...

May 31, 2016, 11:33 am, 1641198

On April 30, 2012,I wrote:

Here is my solution to any aquatic invasive specie problem. Have the government start a covert marketing campaign designed to convince the public that the invasive specie is in fact a delicacy. They can even rename the specie to make it sound appetizing (think Toothfish ...

May 31, 2016, 11:03 am, 1641166

Today is May 31, the date in 1904 when the U.S. Supreme Court decided McCray v. United States, upholding an excise tax that had the real purpose of discouraging the purchase of one product to benefit a competitor. Dairy farmers successfully lobbied Congress to impose a hefty tax on ...

May 31, 2016, 11:03 am, 1641165

Heather Boushey "talks with economist Claudia Goldin about the gender wage gap and some of its implications

Equitable Growth in Conversation: An interview with Claudia Goldin: Heather Boushey: I want to focus on your work on the gender wage gap. Lots of us have been thinking about this for a ...

May 31, 2016, 11:03 am, 1641164

I have a new column:

Yes, Nick Kristof, There Is a Conservative Bias in Economics: Nicholas Kristof recent reignitedthe debate over liberal bias in academia with his claim that “universities risk becoming liberal echo chambers and hostile environments for conservatives.” He does single out my profession, economics, as ...

May 31, 2016, 11:03 am, 1641163
Note: S&P is having difficulty this morning.

From the WSJ: U.S. Home Price Growth Remained Robust in March, Case-Shiller Says

The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index, covering the entire nation rose 5.2% in the 12 months ended in March, slightly less than a 5.3% increase in February.

May 31, 2016, 11:03 am, 1641162
S&P/Case-Shiller released the monthly Home Price Indices for March ("March" is a 3 month average of January, February and March prices).

This release includes prices for 20 individual cities, two composite indices (for 10 cities and 20 cities) and the monthly National index.

Note: Case-Shiller reports Not ...

May 31, 2016, 10:04 am, 1641153

May 31, 2016, 10:04 am, 1641151

Nearly a century ago, in 1920, the Census Bureau caused a ruckus when it announced that for the first time a majority of Americans lived in cities — even though its definition of a city included every hamlet with a population of 2,500 and above.

Today a majority of Americans live ...

May 31, 2016, 10:04 am, 1641152

With the number of Internet of Things (IoT) devices expected to grow to over 20 billion by 2020, it is time to take a closer look at one of the Internet’s most vulnerable points: your home router. 

Why routers matter: a central point of weakness

With the number of IoT devices ...

May 31, 2016, 10:04 am, 1641150

It is no surprise that Barack Obama’s controversial visit to Hiroshima unleashed both blame and praise around the world. In grappling with one of the most horrific moments in the history of war, the U.S. president sought to please all listeners, especially those who want a nuclear weapons-free world and ...

May 31, 2016, 10:04 am, 1641149

As President Obama sought to make his final mark in Asia, visiting Vietnam and Japan last week, he confronted the increasingly clear strategic goals of Chinese President Xi Jinping. Though Xi continues to focus on domestic issues, including a weakening economy, and cracks down on foreign non-governmental organizations with a ...

May 31, 2016, 9:03 am, 1641123

For unemployed men, taking a part-time job may be nearly as damaging to their future career prospects as simply staying home.

David Pedulla, a sociologist at the University of Texas at Austin, sent out thousands of fake resumes to test how gender and work history affected callbacks by potential employers ...

May 31, 2016, 9:03 am, 1641122
The BEA released the Personal Income and Outlays report for April:

Personal income increased $69.8 billion, or 0.4 percent April, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Personal consumption expenditures (PCE) increased $119.2 billion, or 1.0 percent.
Real PCE -- PCE adjusted to remove price ...

May 31, 2016, 8:35 am, 1641121

Emerging-market equities rebounded last week, posting the first weekly gain since early April. The 2.8% total return for the Vanguard Emerging Market ETF (VWO) for the five trading days through May 27 also marked the strongest performance for the major asset classes last week, based on a set of ...

May 31, 2016, 8:35 am, 1641120

In the day job, I point out that the ratio of consumer spending to house prices has done a reasonable job of forecasting medium-term GDP growth, and that right now it is pointing to weakfish growth.

Granted, this might in part be because of the denominator. ...

May 31, 2016, 8:04 am, 1641119
(Don Boudreaux)

… is from page 500 of James Otteson’s excellent essay “Adam Smith and the Right,” which is chapter 29 in ...

May 31, 2016, 7:34 am, 1641115

Unless you work in the oil patch this is really encouraging.

But we believe the period of excessively high oil prices has come to an end. The international spread of two revolutions will assure much ampler oil supplies, and will deliver prices far below the highs that reigned ...

May 31, 2016, 7:34 am, 1641117

I didn'tuse simulations as much as I should have, but what little I did I thought the students enjoyed and benefited from.

Kind of related: "Apps for Economics" and interesting anecdotal evidence on the value of wargaming simulations, "Wargaming in the Classroom: An Odyssey".


May 31, 2016, 7:34 am, 1641116

Interesting. Especially this:

In recent years, major research organizations have begun to recommend active surveillance, which for years had been promoted mostly by academic urologists in major medical centers, but not by urologists in private practice, who treat most men.

Trust the academics or the private practice folks?

And then ...

May 31, 2016, 7:34 am, 1641114

May 31, 2016, 7:34 am, 1641113

A useful reminder.

As is this: "Document Theft and DestructionNothing New for Hillary Clinton".

It was a bit over 20 years ago the New York Times columnist labeled Mrs. Clinton a "congenital liar".

May 31, 2016, 7:34 am, 1641112

Ladies and gentlemen, California's government, doing what it does: "Beyond Boondoggle: California High-Speed Rail Delayed 4 Years".

See also John Fund, "High-Speed Rail Is a Fast Train to Fiscal Ruin, in California and Elsewhere".

The first segment of track will run from Madera to Bakersfield, a stretch that ...

May 31, 2016, 7:23 am, 1641111

Performance related pay is a system where employers pay employees depending on the quality of their work. In it simplest form, performance related pay is payment by ‘piece meal’. For example, a worker gets paid £1.00 per Kg of potatoes that they pick.

This piece meal payment is an effective way ...

May 31, 2016, 6:35 am, 1641080

Q1 GDP was revised up slightly to +0.8%. “After a sluggish performance in the first quarter, the U.S. economy is getting back on track,” said Sara Johnson, senior research director at IHS Global Insight. Reuters noted that “a sharp upward revision to income growth and ...

May 31, 2016, 5:03 am, 1641047

Let's shake things up a bit and start this week's review of last week's action in the S&P 500 by considering the major market moving headlines of the week preceding the Memorial Day holiday weekend in the U.S.

Monday, 23 May 2016

May 31, 2016, 5:03 am, 1641046

May 31, 2016, 4:05 am, 1641045

That is a new paper from Sean E. Mulholland and Angela K. Dills.  Here is the abstract:

The advent of smart-phone based, ride-sharing applications has revolutionized the vehicle for hire market. Advocates point to the ease of use and lower wait times compared to hailing a taxi or pre-arranging ...

May 31, 2016, 2:34 am, 1641028

So, back in March 2009 I wrote this post about prognostications about the growth of the U.S. economy. It centered mainly about how robust growth will be due to the economic stimulus package. Some rather fantastical claims were made regarding the growth rate of GDP. Namely that ...

May 31, 2016, 2:05 am, 1641027

The bumps we’ve seen over the past 12-18 months stem from a reality that the post-recession world we’ve built doesn’t scale beyond its current size. Consider the following:

-Chipotle wanted to be this era’s McDonald’s. Turns out scaling organic, freshly-prepared food isn’t as cheap or easy as they thought.

-Fintech ...

May 31, 2016, 2:04 am, 1641026

My discussion of intellectual property inevitably raised questions about my argument that property rights are not natural rights, but are socially constructed and, in the modern world, exist only as part of the legal structures created and enforced by states. The “moral rights” of artists over their creative works has ...

May 31, 2016, 12:34 am, 1641017
Tags A A Home | Feed | Blog.rssWhy Modern Luddites Are Attacking Uber Drivers EntrepreneurshipInterventionismPolitical Theory

May 31, 2016, 12:05 am, 1641016

There are coloring books for every imaginable interest group, including “Game of Thrones” and “Harry Potter” ones, Hillary Clinton and Donald J. Trump versions, and, in a new and surprisingly durable trend, “sweary” coloring books. Because how better to demonstrate that your coloring book is not for kids than ...

May 30, 2016, 10:04 pm, 1641011
(Don Boudreaux)

My 19-year-old son, Thomas – of whom I’m as proud as any parent ...

May 30, 2016, 9:03 pm, 1641007
• At 8:30 AM ET, Personal Income and Outlays for April. The consensus is for a 0.4% increase in personal income, and for a 0.7% increase in personal spending. And for the Core PCE price index to increase 0.2%.

• At 9:00 AM, S&P/Case-Shiller House Price ...

May 30, 2016, 6:04 pm, 1641000

May 30, 2016, 2:44 pm, 1640954

May 30, 2016, 2:05 pm, 1640947

I cannot easily adjust the indentation, but this is all text from the journal issue, not from me:

In this issue (.pdf):

My Understanding of Adam Smith’s Impartial Spectator

The mysterious impartial spectator is addressed by leading Smith scholars: What is the impartial spectator, in Smith’s highest sense ...

May 30, 2016, 2:04 pm, 1640946

May 30, 2016, 1:03 pm, 1640924

The current state of the race:

Feel the Math, by Paul Krugman, NY Times: ...So far, election commentary has been even worse than I imagined it would be..., bang-your-head-on-the-desk awful... I know this isn’t scientific, but based on conversations I’ve had recently, many people ... have been given a ...

May 30, 2016, 12:05 pm, 1640917

1. Yang Jiang has passed away at 104 (NYT).

2. Is there a mini-literary boom in Singapore?

3. Sewer robots, some are named Luigi.

4. Ten most cited law faculty in the United States, 2010-2014.  Number one is Cass Sunstein, number four is Eric Posner, who seems to ...

May 30, 2016, 11:33 am, 1640913

….. is from Thomas Sowell writing in 2007:

Central planning, judicial activism, and the nanny state all presume vastly more knowledge than any elite have ever possessed.

If you start from a belief that the most knowledgeable person on earth does not have even one percent of the total knowledge on ...

May 30, 2016, 11:33 am, 1640914

Take a quiz and find out here. It’s a pretty comprehensive quiz with almost 90 questions on a wide variety of issues: social, environmental, economic, domestic policy, health care, electoral, criminal, foreign policy, education, immigration, and science. You can also express how important each question is to you, on ...

May 30, 2016, 11:03 am, 1640895
From Professor Hamilton at Econbrowser: Trends in oil supply and demand. A few excerpts:

The new supplies from the U.S., Iraq, and Iran brought prices down dramatically. And in response, demand has been climbing back up. U.S. consumption over the last 12 months was 800,000 b/d higher ...

May 30, 2016, 9:33 am, 1640890

Reserve Bank of India Governor Raghuram Rajan’s recent plea for increased coordination is merely the latest protest by emerging-market economy (EME) policymakers about the spillovers from advanced-economy (AE) monetary policy. Such complaints have been common since AE central banks first implemented unconventional policies in 2008. The most famous ...

May 30, 2016, 9:23 am, 1640889

My latest Macro Musings podcast is with Greg Ip, chief economics commentator for the Wall Street Journal. We covered a number of topics including how he got into macro journalism (his mom was a central banker and Nick Rowe was ...

May 30, 2016, 8:35 am, 1640867

“It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived.”

May 30, 2016, 8:04 am, 1640866
(Don Boudreaux)

… is from pages 73-74 of NYU economist William Easterly’s superb 2006 book, The White Man’s Burden – ...

May 30, 2016, 7:34 am, 1640863

Remarkable footage of the liberation of Europe in "[f]ull HD &original color".

(No word that I sawon how the creator did it.)

May 30, 2016, 7:34 am, 1640865

Interesting story.

And, like many good ideas, it came from an unexpected source.

May 30, 2016, 7:34 am, 1640864

You can't make stuff like this up.

May 30, 2016, 6:44 am, 1640842

Was the Financial Crisis of 2008 caused by a crisis in the housing market? Or did the Federal Reserve turn a garden-variety recession into the Great Recession? David Beckworth of Western Kentucky University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts ...

May 30, 2016, 5:34 am, 1640840

One potential upside of a President Donald is that he will drive some of the right kind of people absolutely crazy.

May 30, 2016, 5:34 am, 1640839

Another politically correct history gets debunked. (The article is 10 years old, but the author has a 2016 book out on the subject.)

May 30, 2016, 5:03 am, 1640825

May 30, 2016, 4:44 am, 1640824

May 30, 2016, 4:05 am, 1640823

In many forms of combat between armed groups, about four people are injured for each person killed, according to an assessment of wars since the late 1970s by the International Committee of the Red Cross. Sometimes, the number of wounded is ...

May 30, 2016, 2:05 am, 1640801

Here is a good short explanation from macro(il)logic:

That leaves interest rates, which are not a main means of transmitting monetary policy in China. It’s that simple. Monetary policy is managed by managing liquidity provisioned to banks, which then affects outright lending and then interbank/onshore interest rates (I think ...

May 30, 2016, 12:34 am, 1640793
Tags A A Home | Feed | Blog.rssU.S. EconomyInterventionismPolitical TheoryTrump and Hillary Don't Know How to Fix the Economy ...

May 30, 2016, 12:04 am, 1640791
(Don Boudreaux)

… is from page 181 of an excerpt from George Jacob Holyoake’s April 1872 Reasoner essay, “Free ...

May 30, 2016, 12:04 am, 1640790

In early May, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a “deeming rule” that gives it regulatory authority over e-cigarettes. The rule means e-cigarettes must pass a sweeping review and testing regime to continue production after August 2019. Many experts believe the new regime will drive most e-cigarettes makers out ...