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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April 30, 2016, 5:03 pm, 1631632

A reader comments:

Your final jab in this post regresses the state output gap on the fiscal gap. You then conclude that there is a positive relation between the two and that this somehow implies that a reduction in gov’t spending is a drag on the economy. I’ll just point ...

April 30, 2016, 4:04 pm, 1631631

I very much like this book, it is one of my favorites of the year so far.  It resists being excerpted, as it is an old-style think piece in the style of Montaigne, or for that matter Robert Burton.  Every page is idea-rich and should ...

April 30, 2016, 4:04 pm, 1631630
(April 30, 2016 03:22 PM, by David Henderson) But isn't SoFi cherry-picking loans? Absolutely. Why can't banks do this? Because if you use depositor money for loans, as all banks do, you fall under the jurisdiction of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and the Community Reinvestment Act, which... (2 COMMENTS)

April 30, 2016, 2:04 pm, 1631617

1. The most exclusive dating app?

2. The Hong Kong triangle congruence song.

3. What does a Chinese hard landing consist of?  What were people saying in 2013, and how does it compare to what actually has happened?

4. Is Latin music going mainstream?

5. ...

April 30, 2016, 2:04 pm, 1631616
(April 30, 2016 01:05 PM, by Emily Skarbek) I have just come across a nice two part documentary on Adam Smith available at Free to Choose TV. The videos give those unfamiliar with Smith's thought a good introduction to his life and work in both the Theory of... (0 COMMENTS)

April 30, 2016, 2:04 pm, 1631615

We have not ended up where we began, with democracy. Our institutions of government, business of lawmaking, and notions about successful popular rule do not resemble all that closely the storied originals from Athens. The broad outlines of democracy are certainly still here—elections occur; liberty and rights are invoked—but democracy’s ...

April 30, 2016, 1:03 pm, 1631600
Here is a small example of Washington at its worst.

The Capital Press reports this week that several agriculture commodity organizations have successfully lobbied members of Congress to include a provision in the House agricultural appropriations bill that would protect the federal government's "checkoff" commodity promotion boards from ...

April 30, 2016, 1:03 pm, 1631599
The key report this week is the April employment report on Friday.

Other key indicators include April vehicle sales, the April ISM manufacturing and non-manufacturing indexes, and the March trade deficit.

----- Monday, May 2nd -----

April 30, 2016, 12:04 pm, 1631595
(April 30, 2016 11:11 AM, by Scott Sumner) In my book entitled The Midas Paradox, I argued that FDR's NIRA wage program set back economic recovery by almost 2 years. Prior to the wage increase, industrial production had surged by 57% in 4 months, mostly due to the... (0 COMMENTS)

April 30, 2016, 11:34 am, 1631593
My dream of equity-financed banking may be coming true under our noses. In "the Uberization of banking" Andy Kessler at the WSJ reports on SoFi, a "fintech" company. The article is mostly about the human-interest story of its co-founder Mike Cagney. But the interspersed economics are interesting.

SoFi ...

April 30, 2016, 10:04 am, 1631573
(Don Boudreaux)

… is from page 173 of the 1991 Liberty Fund edition of Bruno Leoni’s pioneering 1961 volume, Freedom and ...

April 30, 2016, 9:23 am, 1631566

UK unemployment rates since 1881.

UK unemployment 1881-2015. Source: ONS historical unemployment + ONS

This shows ...

April 30, 2016, 9:23 am, 1631570
Definition of Household savings ratio: The percentage of disposable income that is saved. (1) Total savings = Disposable income – Household consumption

UK Saving Ratio

Latest UK household savings ratio: Q4 2015 = 3.8% (31 March, 2016)

April 30, 2016, 9:23 am, 1631569

Mercantilism is an economic theory and practise where the government seeks to regulate the economy and trade in order to promote domestic industry – often at the expense of other countries. Mercantilism is associated with policies which restrict imports and foster domestic industries.

Mercantilism stands in contrast to the theory ...

April 30, 2016, 9:23 am, 1631567

At different times there have been campaigns to ‘Buy British’ – patriotic efforts to support the economy. The campaigns seem quite popular, but usually fade ...

April 30, 2016, 9:23 am, 1631568

The balance of payments is the record of a country’s transactions / trade with the rest of the world.

The balance of payments consists of:

Current Account (trade in goods, services + investment incomes + transfers) Capital Account / Financial Account (capital and financial flows, net investment, portfolio investment) Errors and omissions. It is ...

April 30, 2016, 9:23 am, 1631565

A look at the main UK housing market data.

House prices Affordability of housing Interest rates Supply of housing House price inflation

Nationwide data

Annual house price inflation running at 5.3% in ...

April 30, 2016, 9:23 am, 1631563

In recent years, the UK has seen a more flexible labour market. One phenomena is the growth in self-employed contractors. This category of workers have different rights to employees. Self-employment can be attractive to workers seeking greater flexibility. But, there is also concern firms are using the categorisation of  self-employment ...

April 30, 2016, 9:23 am, 1631564

Readers question: Will a sustained recovery in the UK lead to inflation?

A sustained economic recovery could lead to inflation. If economic growth is above the long run trend rate for a prolonged period, if demand grows faster than productivity, then in that scenario we are likely to see rising inflation ...

April 30, 2016, 9:23 am, 1631561

In 1967, the UK government of Harold Wilson devalued the Pound from $2.80 to $2.40 (a devaluation of 14%). It was a major political event because the government had tried hard to avoid a devaluation, but felt forced into the decision because of a trade deficit, a weak domestic economy ...

April 30, 2016, 9:23 am, 1631562

A look at different aspects of UK economic history, concentrating on the different decades of the Twenty and Twenty-First Century. Includes histories of particular sectors, such as housing and the coal industry.

The economy of the 1920s – a legacy of war debt, deflation and life under the gold standard

April 30, 2016, 9:03 am, 1631549

April 30, 2016, 9:03 am, 1631548
This is an unofficial list of Problem Banks compiled only from public sources.

Here is the unofficial problem bank list for April 2016.

Changes and comments from surferdude808:

Update on the Unofficial Problem Bank List for April 2016. During the month, the list fell ...

April 30, 2016, 8:35 am, 1631547
● The Power of a Single Number: A Political History of GDP By Philipp Lepenies Summary via publisher (Columbia University Press) Widely used since the mid-twentieth century, GDP (gross domestic product) has become the world’s most powerful statistical indicator of national development and progress. Practically all governments adhere to the ...

April 30, 2016, 7:34 am, 1631544

Funny, unless you were the one being yelled at.

April 30, 2016, 5:34 am, 1631539

The Cubs will win the World Series this year? Really?? I'm not sure I'm ready for the world to end.

April 30, 2016, 5:03 am, 1631529

April 30, 2016, 4:04 am, 1631528

Trading volumes of the most-traded steel rebar contract in Shanghai hit a record 1.3bn tonnes today, or enough to build the Sydney Harbour Bridge 24,621 times.

If skyscrapers are the preferred metric, fret not: trades today were also equivalent to approximately 41,401 Burj Khalifas.

…One could construct around 178,082 Eiffel ...

April 30, 2016, 2:04 am, 1631514

In response to my post on transgender issues, I was sent this in an email, by a very good economist, it is lengthy so I am putting most of it under the fold, but do please read the whole thing.

First of all, I would like to thank you for ...

April 30, 2016, 12:04 am, 1631503

Here is

April 29, 2016, 9:33 pm, 1631485
Argentina is a major supplier of Soy Beans and it has recently experienced major flooding. World Soy Bean prices have jumped 13% in one month but are now at the same level that they were in June 2015.

April 29, 2016, 8:04 pm, 1631463
(Don Boudreaux)



This weekend I’m in Tucson attending a Liberty Fund conference on law, legislation, and property rights – particularly as ...

April 29, 2016, 6:04 pm, 1631430
(April 29, 2016 06:50 PM, by David Henderson) The headlines are alarming. The New York Times panicked that Americans are "Running in Debt" and just a few years later warned that Americans were "Borrowing Trouble." Business Week asked, "Is the Country Swamped with Debt?" and U.S. News and... (1 COMMENTS)

April 29, 2016, 6:04 pm, 1631429

What made the acclaimed American writer David Foster Wallace doubt his talent so profoundly — and, ultimately, take his own life? Why would a university president make obscene phone calls to prospective babysitters? How can we understand a beloved comic actor who relentlessly consumes cocaine, endangering himself, his family and ...

April 29, 2016, 5:03 pm, 1631394
Fannie Mae reported today that the Single-Family Serious Delinquency rate declined in March to 1.44%, down from 1.52% in February. The serious delinquency rate is down from 1.78% in March 2015.

This is the lowest rate since June 2008.

The Fannie Mae serious delinquency rate peaked in ...

April 29, 2016, 4:44 pm, 1631393
Our #1 Best-Selling Drone--Meet the Dark Night of the Sky!

April 29, 2016, 4:04 pm, 1631389

April 29, 2016, 4:04 pm, 1631388

April 29, 2016, 4:04 pm, 1631387

To learn more, read “Help ex-inmates lead productive lives,” by Gerard Robinson.

April 29, 2016, 3:03 pm, 1631355
The April jobs report highlights a busy week of economic data on world's largest economy.

April 29, 2016, 2:04 pm, 1631354

The April ABC News/Washington Post poll suggests unsurprisingly that Republicans who support Trump and, separately, Cruz have mixed views of the other candidate. Of those who view Trump favorably, 48 percent see Cruz positively and 51 percent negatively. Cruz backers return the favor, so to speak: Of those who view Cruz favorably, ...

April 29, 2016, 2:04 pm, 1631353

There has been much discussion recently of how many GOP voters would stay home if Donald Trump becomes the party’s nominee. CBS News recently explored the question for all remaining candidates, asking Democratic and Republican primary voters whether they would enthusiastically support the nominee of their party, support him or ...

April 29, 2016, 2:04 pm, 1631352

What role do people think government should play in the life of the nation? The April 2016 George Washington University/Battleground survey conducted by the partisan team of The Tarrance Group and Lake Research Partners finds responses evenly split. Forty-seven percent of the poll’s registered likely voter sample said the government in Washington ...

April 29, 2016, 2:04 pm, 1631351

Two of the remaining five presidential candidates—Ted Cruz and Bernie Sanders—have admitted to smoking marijuana. Could that behavior affect their chances of becoming president? A recent CBS News poll confirms what polls have shown in previous years: marijuana does not have much influence at the ballot box. In the April ...

April 29, 2016, 2:04 pm, 1631350

My colleague, Michael Auslin, nicely summed up the problems with Donald Trump’s foreign policy speech as it pertained to Asia — the mischaracterization of US-China economic relations, the failure to recognize the most serious challenges that China poses, and the approach to US allies.

I’ll just add one point here, ...

April 29, 2016, 1:03 pm, 1631316

Robert Shiller:

Listen Carefully for Signs of the Next Global Recession: Economists are good at measuring the past but inconsistent at forecasting future events, particularly recessions. That’s because recessions aren’t caused merely by concrete changes in the markets. Beliefs and stories passed on by thousands of individuals are important ...

April 29, 2016, 1:03 pm, 1631315
Economist Tom Lawler sent me an updated table below of short sales, foreclosures and all cash sales for selected cities in March.

On distressed: Total "distressed" share is down in all of these markets.

Short sales and foreclosures are down in all of these areas.

TheAll ...

April 29, 2016, 12:44 pm, 1631314

April 29, 2016, 12:04 pm, 1631311

April 29, 2016, 12:04 pm, 1631310
I’m not a fan of Organizing for Action.  I think they’ve squandered a chance to be effective, and judging from the emails I’ve received from them they’ve focused mainly on things I don’t care about or don’t support.  In short, it’s been much more a centrist/center-left organization than a truly ...

April 29, 2016, 12:04 pm, 1631309
This too really matters. Disgusting and outrageous.

April 29, 2016, 12:04 pm, 1631308

For the first time this year, the United States Trade Representative’s (USTR’s) “National Trade Estimate Report” took note of China’s Great Firewall. Granted, it was with this tame statement: “China’s filtering of cross-border Internet traffic has posed a significant burden to foreign suppliers.” The report did not indicate what ...

April 29, 2016, 12:04 pm, 1631306

Last week, the American College of Physicians (ACP), a group representing 143,000 internal medicine doctors, joined the chorus of politicians, payers and patients decrying rising pharmaceutical costs. The ACP proposed a grab bag of policies that, in one form or another, will put the government in charge of setting drug ...

April 29, 2016, 12:04 pm, 1631307

A couple of weeks ago, in response to the FBI versus Apply fight over an encrypted iPhone, US Senators Diane Feinstein and Richard Burr released a draft of their legislation titled, “Compliance with Court Orders Act of 2016.” The reaction to the proposed legislation has been all over the ...

April 29, 2016, 11:03 am, 1631274

Noted agricultural economist Jayson Lusk's new book is Unnaturally Delicious(St. Martin's Press, 2016), a love letter to food and agricultural technology.

I can see the potential appeal of the object of Lusk's praise in his many examples of new technologies that help solve serious food system dilemmas ...

April 29, 2016, 11:03 am, 1631273

Today is April 29, the anniversary of the passage of the “People’s Budget” in Britain in 1910, the first budget in history with the intention of taxing wealth to redistribute it.

Oregon Initiative Petition 28: The Threat to Oregon’s Tax Climate: We just released this new report yesterday: ...

April 29, 2016, 11:03 am, 1631272

The fall of the Republican establishment:

Wrath of the Conned, by Paul Krugman, Commentary, NY Times: ... Think about where we were a year ago. At the time, Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush were widely seen as the front-runners for their parties’ nods. If there was any dissent from ...

April 29, 2016, 11:03 am, 1631271
Chicago PMI: April Chicago Business Barometer Down 3.2 Points to 50.4

The Chicago Business Barometer decreased 3.2 points to 50.4 in April from 53.6 in March led by a fall in New Orders and a sharp drop in Order Backlogs. It marks a slow start to the second ...

April 29, 2016, 10:35 am, 1631270

Reading this tosh makes me wonder: is Mesut Ozil being unjustly criticized for the same reason that George Osborne has escaped sufficient public censure for his failure to cut government borrowing as much as he predicted?

The common link is that people over-rate the role ...

April 29, 2016, 10:04 am, 1631269

April 29, 2016, 10:04 am, 1631268
by New Deal democrat Would the real “real median household income” please stand up? Real median household income is among the most important measures of economic well-being.  So why do three surveys compiled from 3 different sources give 3 very different results? Let me point out initially what real median ...

April 29, 2016, 10:04 am, 1631267

In the United States, over two-thirds of people who leave prison find themselves behind bars again within three years. AEI Resident Fellow Gerard Robinson explores a ...

April 29, 2016, 10:04 am, 1631266

We’re joined this week by AEI resident fellow in education policy studies Gerard Robinson and AEI education policy studies research assistant Elizabeth English. AEI recently cohosted an event with the White House and the Brennan Center for Justice to mark the release of a paper by the White House ...

April 29, 2016, 10:04 am, 1631265

This article will be published in the May 9 edition of the Weekly Standard.

A good historian is inevitably a revisionist. Why write if you have nothing new to offer? But of course, not all revisionists are good historians. Whole forests have been cut down in the name of publishing some ...

April 29, 2016, 9:33 am, 1631259

April 29, 2016, 9:33 am, 1631261

April 29, 2016, 9:33 am, 1631260

April 29, 2016, 9:33 am, 1631258

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April 29, 2016, 9:33 am, 1631255

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April 29, 2016, 9:33 am, 1631253

April 29, 2016, 9:33 am, 1631254

April 29, 2016, 9:33 am, 1631252

April 29, 2016, 9:23 am, 1631251

A recent Wall Street Journal post observed that most of the recession's "stay-at-home dads" are going back to work. Specifically, data from the U.S. Labor Department shows that the share of married men with children under 18 who are not employed (but their spouse is) rose during ...

April 29, 2016, 9:03 am, 1631220

Baby boomers won’t be No. 2 for long.

The tidal wave of births following the end of World War II created the massive generation, which has dominated much of American politics and culture for decades. By the middle of 2015, the baby boom was finally eclipsed in size by the ...

April 29, 2016, 9:03 am, 1631219
The BEA released the Personal Income and Outlays report for March:

Personal income increased $57.4 billion, or 0.4 percent, ... according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Personal consumption expenditures (PCE) increased $12.8 billion, or 0.1 percent.
Real PCE -- PCE adjusted to remove price changes ...

April 29, 2016, 8:44 am, 1631218

April 29, 2016, 8:35 am, 1631217
It’s all about jobs now. Actually, it’s always been about jobs. But the stakes are even higher—perhaps more so than at any time since the Great Recession ended–in the wake of yesterday’s weak GDP report for the first quarter. The bullish case for the US stock market is now closely ...

April 29, 2016, 8:04 am, 1631216

Global fishing stocks are collapsing due to the tragedy of the commons and the resulting overfishing. Technology, however, suggests a possible solution:

Global Fishing Watch is the product of a technology partnership between SkyTruth, Oceana, and Google that is designed to show all of the trackable fishing activity ...

April 29, 2016, 8:04 am, 1631215
(Don Boudreaux)

… is from page 243 of David Friedman’s excellent 1996 book, Hidden Order:

The term “monopoly” originated in just this ...

April 29, 2016, 7:34 am, 1631209

In case you need to know.

April 29, 2016, 7:34 am, 1631208

David Remnick of The New Yorker looks at where the Queen of Soul has been and where she is now.

April 29, 2016, 7:23 am, 1631207
‘Though the idea of a basic income is far from mainstream, it has had astonishingly broad support’

April 29, 2016, 7:03 am, 1631194

Tim Duy:

Warning: Hawkishness Ahead, by Tim Duy: The Fed has proven very dovish since their December rate hike. Tumultuous financial markets gave the Fed doves the upper hand, leading the Fed to pause in it’s “normalization” campaign and cut in half the expected pace of rate hikes this ...

April 29, 2016, 6:35 am, 1631193
● US Economy Expands 0.5% in Q1, Weakest in 2 Years | Bloomberg ● US Jobless Claims Rise but Remain Historically Low | WSJ ● Consumer confidence rebounded last week in US | Bloomberg ● KC Fed Mfg index still in red, but marks 2 mos of improvements | 24/7 ...

April 29, 2016, 5:34 am, 1631191

Funny look atsome of what Gwynnie is pushing these days.

April 29, 2016, 5:03 am, 1631165

Think for a moment about the inside of your refrigerator. Have you optimally organized it for maximum cool food storage efficiency?

Don't be silly - of course you haven't! That's why Karl, the Bosch engineer, has created a YouTube video explaining what ...

April 29, 2016, 5:03 am, 1631164

April 29, 2016, 4:04 am, 1631161

If I were writing a piece advocating Universal Basic Income, I would not call it “Why Free Money Beats Bullshit Jobs.”

That is from Rutger Bregman, though please note he may not have chosen  the title.  I believe such a title would not appeal to the people who ...

April 29, 2016, 4:04 am, 1631160

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April 29, 2016, 2:04 am, 1631118

From a new Pew Study:

In our latest national political survey, released in March, 59% of the public say immigrants strengthen the country, while 33% describe them as a burden. In 1994, opinions were nearly the reverse: 63% said immigrants were a burden and 31% said they ...

April 29, 2016, 2:04 am, 1631117

Is Reserve Bank of India Governor Raghuram Rajan on his way out? Earlier this month, a comment to a reporter by the head of India’s central bank drew fire from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s party. Mr. Rajan played down talk of India as a bright spot in the global economy ...

April 29, 2016, 12:04 am, 1631084
(April 29, 2016 12:13 AM, by Bryan Caplan) Like all useful tools, cost-benefit analysis is flawed. After surveying cost-benefit analyses of global warming and warming abatement, Ron Bailey's The End of Doom turns to methodological objections. From his section on "How Much to Insure Against Low Probability Catastrophic... (0 COMMENTS)

April 29, 2016, 12:04 am, 1631083

This presidential contest has been filled with twists and turns in both parties’ contests — and we are still months out from the general election. In this Election Watch session, AEI’s bipartisan team of election experts share their thoughts as candidates gear up for their parties’ conventions.

•    What are the ...

April 29, 2016, 12:04 am, 1631082

“Religion has no place in politics” is commonly heard in culture wars today. But for Catholics, that refrain is problematic: Part of being a good Catholic is being a good citizen — and not just on Election Day. The teachings of the Catholic Church are supposed to inform all actions, ...