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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December 9, 2016, 10:04 am, 1701231
(December 9, 2016 09:21 AM, by Scott Sumner) The Mercatus Center has a new colloquium on the current low interest rate environment, and the implications of higher rates in the future. My contribution discusses four possible ways that interest rates might rise: 1. Tighter money 2. Easier money... (0 ...

December 9, 2016, 10:04 am, 1701230
(Don Boudreaux)

… is from page 5 of my late Nobel-laureate colleague James M. Buchanan‘s 2005 book, Why ...

December 9, 2016, 10:04 am, 1701229

Treasury Secretary nominee Steve Mnuchin recently promised that “there will be no absolute tax cut for the upper class” under President-elect Trump’s tax plan. While the plan would cut the top personal income tax rate from 39.6% to 33% and the capital gains and dividends tax rate from 23.8% ...

December 9, 2016, 10:04 am, 1701228

Social Security has been a quiet subject for Republicans since the collapse of President Bush’s reform efforts in 2005. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Republican Members of Congress were seemingly lining up to present new plans to fix Social Security’s long-term funding shortfall, currently estimated at over $11 ...

December 9, 2016, 9:33 am, 1701224


A conservative group is pushing the next Congress to take several steps to undo President Obama’s climate work.

The Competitive Enterprise Institute ...on Thursday said the GOP-controlled government taking power next year should pursue an aggressive deregulation agenda domestically and pull the United States out of international climate change work.

In a ...

December 9, 2016, 7:34 am, 1701193

Take Bitcoin for example. It's a financial asset to whoever holds it. To whom is it a financial liability? I suppose you could say "it is a liability to the whole community of those who accept Bitcoin in exchange for goods". But that answer seems like a desperate attempt to ...

December 9, 2016, 7:33 am, 1701192

Information that may be of use to international travelers.

December 9, 2016, 7:33 am, 1701191

As you would expect--or at least as I would expect--for a few states, "famous" is a stretch. "Rustic Overtones"? "Silkworm"? "The Spill Canvas"?

December 9, 2016, 6:34 am, 1701178

It took a year, but the late-2015 recommendations by some analysts for overweighting energy stocks — at a time when the sector’s trend looked rather grim — is now bearing fruit. A year, in other words, can make a big difference in the cyclical fortunes of US equity sectors. ...

December 9, 2016, 6:04 am, 1701177

The mayor-elect of Rio de Janeiro is promoting a new idea to bolster tourism in his crime-plagued city: levying a new tax on tourists, then using the proceeds to reimburse visitors who are mugged.

The mayor-elect, Marcelo Crivella, a right-wing evangelical Christian ...

December 9, 2016, 5:33 am, 1701174

This was article was interesting and I was reminded--not for the first time--that I'm glad I'm not a lawyer.

December 9, 2016, 5:23 am, 1701173

Readers Question: I’m an American, and I have a question on tariffs. Donald Trump has said he will place a tariff on all Chinese steel, and on Mexican cars. My question is, “Are tariffs still useful, and if so, why not put tariffs on all cars from Japan, Korea, Mexico, ...

December 9, 2016, 5:03 am, 1701155

As promised, we're taking a closer look at the volume of exports of soybeans from the United States to China today, where we find that 2016 is on track to break all previous records. The following chart reveals what we found when we ...

December 9, 2016, 5:03 am, 1701154

December 9, 2016, 4:04 am, 1701151

You too may soon be able to feel what it was like to hit an iceberg on the Titanic.

Construction of a life-size replica of the doomed passenger ship began in China’s southwestern Sichuan province on Wednesday with a keel-laying ceremony and fireworks to mark the occasion.

It is part of ...

December 9, 2016, 2:04 am, 1701132

About 92 percent of 1940 babies had higher pretax household earnings at age 30 than their parents had at the same age. (The results were similar at older ages and for post-tax earnings.)

…For babies born in 1980 — today’s 36-year-olds — the index of the American dream has fallen ...

December 9, 2016, 1:33 am, 1701130
Source: Wall Street Journal

On November 7 I wrote "Don't believe the economic pessimists," an oped about growth ...

December 9, 2016, 12:34 am, 1701114
A A Tags Home | Feed | Blog.rssThe EntrepreneurFree MarketsThe Good News They're Not Telling YouEntrepreneurship

December 9, 2016, 12:34 am, 1701113

Yesterday I explained why presidents don’t delegate more policy decision-making power to their cabinet. Instead the president makes the big decisions, supported by his White House staff. This makes the White House staff powerful. Now let’s peek inside the White House.

What are the most powerful policy jobs in the White ...

December 9, 2016, 12:04 am, 1701112

Key Points

Income-share agreements (ISAs) are financing instruments that allow students to fund their college educations in exchange for a fixed portion of their future earnings for a set time period. Many focus group participants appreciated the insurance ISAs offer—payments are always a fixed share of income, even for students with lower-than-expected ...

December 9, 2016, 12:04 am, 1701111

The challenge of ensuring economic mobility is more pressing than ever. This year’s presidential election has highlighted an array of needs and concerns — among poor people trapped ...

December 8, 2016, 11:03 pm, 1701102
• At 8:30 AM ET, University of Michigan's Consumer sentiment index (preliminary for December). The consensus is for a reading of 94.1, up from 93.8 in November.

• Also at 10:00 AM, Monthly Wholesale Trade: Sales and Inventories for October. The consensus is for a 0.4% decrease ...

December 8, 2016, 10:44 pm, 1701101
Youth unemployment is a growing problem around the world, particularly in urban areas. This column assess the impact of labour market interventions in Addis Ababa targeting two issues commonly faced by unemployed youth: job search costs and a poor ability to signal their skills. A transport subsidy and a job ...

December 8, 2016, 10:44 pm, 1701100

December 8, 2016, 8:44 pm, 1701093
The Global Crisis has triggered substantive policy responses, but assessing the impacts of these and the effects on the real economy is a challenging task. This column discusses the work of the International Banking Research Network in examining international spillovers of prudential instruments through credit provision by banks. It finds ...

December 8, 2016, 7:33 pm, 1701091

December 8, 2016, 7:03 pm, 1701083

Jared Bernstein and Dean Baker:

Why Trade Deficits Matter, The Atlantic: However one feels about Donald Trump, it’s fair to say he has usefully elevated a long-simmering issue in American political economy: the hardship faced by the families and communities who have lost out as jobs have shifted overseas. ...

December 8, 2016, 6:44 pm, 1701082

December 8, 2016, 6:04 pm, 1701080

In September 2015 the Yankee Institute released my report, “Unequal Pay: Public vs. Private Sector Compensation in Connecticut,” which compared the salaries and benefits of Connecticut state government employees to the compensation those employees would be likely to receive in private sector jobs. The report found that on average, state ...

December 8, 2016, 6:04 pm, 1701079

Dr. James Mitchell joins the show to discuss his new book “Enhanced Interrogation: Inside the Minds and Motives of the Islamic Terrorists Trying to Destroy America.” Dr. Mitchell provides a first-person account of the development and implementation of the CIA’s enhanced interrogation program including waterboarding. He spent thousands of hours ...

December 8, 2016, 6:04 pm, 1701078

There’s been a lot of talk lately about the new government industrial policy of threatening to penalize U.S. manufacturers that move production and jobs overseas by imposing 30-40% ...

December 8, 2016, 5:33 pm, 1701075

There’s been a lot of talk lately about the new government industrial policy of threatening to penalize U.S. manufacturers that move production and jobs overseas by imposing 30-40% ...

December 8, 2016, 5:03 pm, 1701044
A few excerpts from a research piece by Goldman Sachs economist Alec Phillips: Fiscal Boost: Mainly a 2018 Story

We expect fiscal policy to become more expansionary next year, but the timing is uncertain. Our preliminary expectation is that the growth effects from looser fiscal policy would be concentrated ...

December 8, 2016, 4:34 pm, 1701043
A A Home | Feed | Blog.rssEntrepreneurship in Cuba 0 Views

The death of ...

December 8, 2016, 4:34 pm, 1701042

China’s reserves fell by $69 billion in November.

With the notable exception of Sid Verma and Luke Kawa at Bloomberg, Headlines generally have emphasized the size of the fall

The Financial Times was pretty restrained compared to the norm, and the FT still highlighted that the November fall was ...

December 8, 2016, 4:04 pm, 1701036
(December 15, 2016 02:22 PM, by Bryan Caplan) Confession: Whenever I write, I'm looking for converts. I don't just want to share some information. I want to change how my readers think - and how they see themselves.When I read other proselytizing thinkers, however, I cringe. I cringe... (0 COMMENTS)

December 8, 2016, 4:04 pm, 1701035

With the almost daily announcement of new Cabinet posts by President-elect Trump, his administration is starting to take shape. Still somewhat unclear, however, is his approach to anti-poverty programs.

A critical appointment was Congressman Tom Price as Secretary of Health and Human Services, but more attention was paid to his positions ...

December 8, 2016, 4:04 pm, 1701034

Most academic health researchers won’t touch funding from tobacco companies. Given Big Tobacco’s history of deception about the lethality of cigarettes, I understand their skittishness.

But that attitude is a mistake that can have bad consequences. If researchers touched that funding, instead of viewing it as a third rail, we could ...

December 8, 2016, 4:04 pm, 1701033

The Great Recession and Charitable Giving – NBER  “We find sharp declines in overall donative behavior that is not accounted for by shocks to income or wealth. These results suggest that overall attitudes towards giving changed over this time period.”

The neuroscience argument that religion shaped the very structure of ...

December 8, 2016, 4:04 pm, 1701032

In 2014 researchers had some reassuring news about whether America was still the Land of Opportunity. As the New York Times characterized the ...

December 8, 2016, 3:03 pm, 1700999

Thomas Cooley, Ben Griffy, and Peter Rupert (not endorsing or questioning -- but seems worth noting):

Electronic Voting Machines and theElection: Three states are facingor currently undergoing a recount of votes cast, after a number of computer scientistsreported some evidence of problems with the electronic voting. This finding was ...

December 8, 2016, 3:03 pm, 1700998

David Leonhardt:

The American Dream, Quantified at Last: ...Chetty, a Stanford professor, and his colleagues .... constructed a data set that shows the percentage of American children who earn more money — and less money — than their parents earned at the same age.

The index is deeply alarming. ...

December 8, 2016, 3:03 pm, 1700997
A few excerpts from two research reports this morning:

From Merrill Lynch: Animal spirits matter

Anecdotes and surveys suggest that business and consumer confidence has improved following the election. The gain in animal spirits could amplify the boost to the economy from fiscal stimulus, creating upside risk to our ...

December 8, 2016, 2:34 pm, 1700996
Tags A A Home | Feed | Blog.rssTaxes and SpendingTaxation Isn't Only Theft, It's Destruction

December 8, 2016, 2:04 pm, 1700995

About 40 percent of the value of U.S. goods imports from Mexico was made up of goods originally exported from the U.S. to Mexico, four economists (three of them then employed at the U.S. International Trade Commission) found in 2010. The equivalent figure for imports from China ...

December 8, 2016, 2:04 pm, 1700994
(Don Boudreaux)

Barry Ritholtz

Mr. Ritholtz:

Writing at Bloomberg, you assert that it is “well-established” that modest increases in the minimum wage ...

December 8, 2016, 2:04 pm, 1700993

General Jim Mattis is a fine choice for secretary of defense. He obviously has great leadership abilities, and everyone he will deal with in the job knows and respects his integrity.

Both John McCain and Leon Panetta, two men who have never been reluctant to criticize when they felt it was ...

December 8, 2016, 2:04 pm, 1700991

Re-watching reruns of The Apprentice, one can unmistakably draw parallels between the show and the President-elect’s so-far media saturated transition to the presidency. Both the 24-hour news cycle and Trump himself (through his voracious tweeting and stage settings at different Trump-branded properties) certainly enjoy and revel in the “reality TV” ...

December 8, 2016, 2:04 pm, 1700992

On Tuesday, the 2015 Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) results were released. The news wasn’t good.

PISA is administered every three years to a sample of 15-year-olds in education systems across the globe; 73 nations, states, and systems participated in 2015. The tests gauge performance in math, reading, and science. ...

December 8, 2016, 1:33 pm, 1700988

December 8, 2016, 1:03 pm, 1700957

President-elect Donald Trump’s expected pick for labor secretary, fast-food executive Andy Puzder, has been vocal about issues affecting the U.S. workforce, from overtime rules to the role of automation.

The chief executive of CKE Restaurants Holdings Inc., the parent company of the Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s burger chains, is a ...

December 8, 2016, 12:04 pm, 1700951

1. Is there a chance Scotland could have the power to veto or forestall Brexit?

2. The demography of Appalachia, recommended.  And does higher education propel regional population growth?

3. “The empirical findings are consistent with a model of statistical discrimination where female executives are ...

December 8, 2016, 12:04 pm, 1700950
(December 8, 2016 10:40 AM, by Scott Sumner) Noah Smith linked to the following recent paper in the AER, by Justin R Pierce and Peter K. Shott. : Abstract: This paper links the sharp drop in US manufacturing employment after 2000 to a change in US trade policy... (5 ...

December 8, 2016, 12:04 pm, 1700949

Psychiatrist Anna Lembke, chief of addiction medicine at Stanford University’s medical school, has spent her career helping patients battle their addiction to opioid drugs, from Vicodin to heroin. Out of this experience comes “Drug Dealer, MD,” a short and feisty book in which, among much else, she calls out practitioners ...

December 8, 2016, 12:04 pm, 1700948

In 1948, the historian Arthur M. Schlesinger published the results of an informal survey of fellow academics of American history and government evaluating the country’s presidents. Six were judged “great”—Lincoln, Washington, FDR, Wilson, Jefferson, and Jackson, in that order. For all of their differences in style and temperament, they had much ...

December 8, 2016, 12:04 pm, 1700947

Watch the latest video at

December 8, 2016, 12:04 pm, 1700946

The European Central Bank (ECB) is no stranger to policy mistakes at key inflection points for the European economy. Today’s ECB decision to scale back the monthly pace of ECB bond buying from EUR 80 billion to EUR 60 billion might prove to be yet another one of those mistakes. ...

December 8, 2016, 11:33 am, 1700943
Where will the next crisis come from? Every crisis starts with a pile of debt that can't be paid back, and shady accounting to hide that debt. When one big one goes under, everybody starts to question the shady deals they've invested in, the extend-and-pretend game ends, heretofore simple rolling ...

December 8, 2016, 11:33 am, 1700942

Andrew Gelman:

Dear Major Academic Publisher,

You just sent me, unsolicited, an introductory statistics textbook that is 800 pages and weighs about 5 pounds. It’s the 3rd edition of a book by someone I’ve never heard of. That’s fine—a newcomer can write a good book. The real problem is that the book ...

December 8, 2016, 11:03 am, 1700911

As recently as this summer, the outlook for the U.S. economy was looking a little hairy.

The jobs report released in June originally showed the economy added just 38,000 jobs that month. Worries about China’s economy were on the rise. Many feared that a vote for Brexit could lead to immediate ...

December 8, 2016, 11:03 am, 1700910
From CoreLogic: CoreLogic Reports Home Equity Increased $726 billion in the Third Quarter Compared With a Year Ago

CoreLogic ... today released a new analysis showing that U.S. homeowners with mortgages (roughly 63 percent of all homeowners) saw their equity increase by a total of $227 billion in Q3 ...

December 8, 2016, 10:34 am, 1700909

December 8, 2016, 10:04 am, 1700904

December 8, 2016, 10:04 am, 1700903

For all the attention to the gender gap in politics, the lesser-noticed marriage gap is bigger.

While Donald Trump did better among male voters than female ones by 11 points, his support among married voters was 15 points higher than it was with unmarried voters. Married America voted for Trump by ...

December 8, 2016, 10:04 am, 1700901

As the tax reform debate heats up, Congress and the public will want to know the budgetary impact of tax reform proposals, putting revenue estimators like those at the Joint Committee for Taxation in the limelight. Right now, the assumptions made by these estimators, which will help determine ...

December 8, 2016, 10:04 am, 1700902

It’s been a tough decade for the political left. Eight years ago a Time magazine cover portrayed Barack Obama as Franklin Roosevelt, complete with cigarette and holder and a cover line proclaiming “The New New Deal.” A Newsweek cover announced “We Are All Socialists Now.”

Now the cover story is different. ...

December 8, 2016, 9:33 am, 1700897

From the Chronicle of Higher Education:

Peter Navarro, a professor and author who became known during the presidential campaign as the only academic economist directly advising the Trump campaign, continues to be one of the most public voices on economic matters for President-elect Donald J. Trump as he prepares ...

December 8, 2016, 9:03 am, 1700866

In October 2016, the United States saw the value of the goods and exports that it exports to China explode upward to the highest value on record since October-December 2013.

We can see that sudden surge in our chart tracking the year over year ...

December 8, 2016, 9:03 am, 1700865
The DOL reported:

In the week ending December 3, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 258,000, a decrease of 10,000 from the previous week's unrevised level of 268,000. The 4-week moving average was 252,500, an increase of 1,000 from the previous week's unrevised average of 251,500.

December 8, 2016, 8:34 am, 1700864

How Should Investors Respond to Increases in Volatility?
Alan Moreira (Yale University) andn Tyler Muir (UCLA)
December 2, 2016
They should reduce their equity position. We study the portfolio problem of a long-horizon investor that allocates between a risk-less and a risky asset in an environment where both volatility ...

December 8, 2016, 8:04 am, 1700863

In When Economics was Radical Marshall Steinbaum and Bernard Weisberger lament that the American Economic Association is no longer a radical, progressive force.

The AEA had been conceived as an upstart challenge to classical economic orthodoxy. Its founding platform stated, “We regard the state as an educational and ethical agency whose positive ...

December 8, 2016, 8:04 am, 1700862
(Don Boudreaux)

… is from page 159 of the 2016 Mercatus Center re-issue of my late colleague Don Lavoie’s superb 1985 volume ...

December 8, 2016, 7:34 am, 1700859

Both Bitcoin and LETS are monetary exchange systems.

There are many differences between Bitcoin and LETS. I am going to ignore all of those differences except the one I want to focus on. Those other differences are off-topic.

[Yes, this post is not really about Bitcoin vs LETS. I am just using ...

December 8, 2016, 7:33 am, 1700858

Sounds good to me.

Related Stories

December 8, 2016, 7:33 am, 1700857

Entertaining and refreshingly honest: two guys who forecast the election incorrectlydiscuss what happened.

Like many people on Tuesday, we completely fucking blew our calls. Given our previous success, we were pretty ...

December 8, 2016, 6:04 am, 1700834

Key Points

Every year, more than 650,000 men and women leave prison and return to communities across America. Due to the lack of quality education, job training, and social capital made available to prisoners while serving time, many return to crime and eventually to prison. Prison education and reentry programs can save taxpayer ...

December 8, 2016, 6:04 am, 1700833

This paper was presented to the 13th International Conference on the European Union, Turkey, the Middle East, and the Kurds held at the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium on December 7-8, 2016.

Thank you for the opportunity to present here today. The Kurds have organized and risen to the ...

December 8, 2016, 5:33 am, 1700831

Quite interesting.

Almost in spite of themselves, scientists are driven to a teleological view of the cosmos.

(I liked the author's comment about the multiverse because it strikes me the same way: ". . .as a physicist trained to give preference to simple solutions, a multiverse strikes me ...

December 8, 2016, 5:33 am, 1700830

Andre is one former athlete who's making a big difference.

Why go this route, business instead of philanthropy?

I think it’s a function of scalability and it’s a function of sustainability. I think if you want to treat a problem in society, ...

December 8, 2016, 5:03 am, 1700816

December 8, 2016, 2:04 am, 1700786

Land speculation was a natural and common preoccupation among the Founders. For some it became an economic affliction. “Hardly a prominent man of the period failed to secure large tracts of real estate, which could be had at absurdly low prices, and to hold the lands for the natural ...

December 8, 2016, 1:34 am, 1700785
The Fed has a huge "balance sheet" -- It owns about $3 trillion of government bonds and mortgage backed securities, which it finances by issuing about $1 trillion of cash and $2 trillion of reserves -- interest-bearing accounts that banks have at the Fed. Is this a problem? Should the ...

December 8, 2016, 12:44 am, 1700754
Political risk is a major cause of systemic financial risk. This column argues that both the integrity and the legitimacy of macroprudential policy, or ‘macropru’, depends on political risk being included with other risk factors. Yet it is usually excluded from macropru, and that could be a fatal flaw.

December 8, 2016, 12:44 am, 1700753
Despite lifting millions out of poverty, globalisation is facing growing political opposition. This column surveys the successes and failures of globalisation, and some of the critical policy implications. Globalisation has reached a stage where its benefits have been captured but its costs have been largely ignored. Going forward, governments need ...

December 8, 2016, 12:34 am, 1700752
A A Tags Home | Feed | Blog.rssBooms and BustsMoney and BanksEnd Game for the Global EconomyBusiness CyclesMoney and Banking

December 8, 2016, 12:04 am, 1700750

Prior to the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, many American academics complained about being ignored by policymakers. Professors Cottam and Huseby of Washington State University unwittingly illustrate why that was the case. To explain the actions of the Anbar tribes prior to, during, and immediately after the occupation of Iraq, the ...

December 8, 2016, 12:04 am, 1700749

In 1923, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk founded the Republic of Turkey upon the ashes of the Ottoman Empire. Breaking with longstanding traditions of the empire, he abolished the caliphate and embraced a form of Turkish nationalism that was as progressive as it was revolutionary, one that separated mosque from state and ...