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

November 28, 2014, 1:33 pm, 1379314
In spite of the Yen falling 35% since 2011, Japan once again borders on deflation. Please consider Japan’s CPI falls to 0.9%.

Japanese core inflation last month fell below 1 per cent to a 13 month low, just weeks before prime minister Shinzo Abe heads to the ...

November 28, 2014, 1:33 pm, 1379313
Mark Thoma and Paul Krugman ask a great question. In this post, I will sketch an answer. You won't be shocked that the answer relates to public goods versus private goods. Republicans are not "anti-environment". They breathe air and many play golf on pretty courses. They boat and ...

November 28, 2014, 1:03 pm, 1379266

The U.S. is losing its some of its luster as the world’s top destination for skilled migrants, according to a new analysis of LinkedIn Corp. user data.

The study by

November 28, 2014, 12:44 pm, 1379265

November 28, 2014, 12:34 pm, 1379264

Black Friday, which has been an exclusively American phenomenon for decades, has officially jumped across the Atlantic Ocean to the United Kingdom, and even other parts of Europe:

(Reuters) – British police officers were called to ...

November 28, 2014, 12:04 pm, 1379263
(November 28, 2014 11:45 AM, by Art Carden) My latest stint with EconLog ends in a couple of days, and a couple of people wanted to know more about my work on Walmart. I'm happy to oblige as Charles Courtemanche and I are working on a paper about... (0 COMMENTS)

November 28, 2014, 12:04 pm, 1379262
Bloomberg news points to continued trends in oil production and prices.   Yves Smith also comments here. …Conventional oil producers in OPEC can no longer dictate prices, United Arab Emirates Energy Minister Suhail Al-Mazrouei said in an interview on Nov. 26. Newcomers to the market who have the highest costs ...

November 28, 2014, 12:04 pm, 1379261
Via Dailykos, the story points to the lack of information on police-related killings: … But as Lee (and other reporters) have pointed out, these numbers, striking as they are, just aren’t reliable. Together with some colleagues and help from criminologists, Richard Florida atThe Atlantic magazine’s CityLab took a look in ...

November 28, 2014, 11:34 am, 1379259

On December 12, 2006, Ontario ended "mandatory retirement." As of that date, employers could no longer base termination decisions on an employee's age. Ontario was following the lead of Quebec and Manitoba, which stopped having a standard retirement age in the early 1980s. Within a couple ...

November 28, 2014, 11:23 am, 1379258
Kickended is important. It reminds us that the world is biased in systematic ways

November 28, 2014, 11:03 am, 1379213
From US hotel results for week ending 22 November

The U.S. hotel industry recorded positive results in the three key performance measurements during the week of 16-22 November 2014, according to data from STR, Inc.

In year-over-year measurements, the industry’s occupancy rose 5.5 percent to 60.7 ...

November 28, 2014, 10:44 am, 1379212

November 28, 2014, 10:04 am, 1379208
(November 28, 2014 09:49 AM, by Scott Sumner) Here's the latest from John Cochrane: To send you off with some more Thanksgiving good cheer, here is another out of the box Neo-Fisherian idea. Perhaps the Fed (or the Treasury) should target the spread between real and nominal interest... (0 COMMENTS)

November 28, 2014, 10:04 am, 1379207
(Don Boudreaux)

Here’s a letter to the Wall Street Journal:

The substance of former GOP Congressman George Nethercutt’s defense of Congressional earmarks is as contorted as is the language he uses for this defense - for example: “Allowing earmarks provides an opportunity for constituents to advocate to their members for accountable federal spending ...

November 28, 2014, 9:03 am, 1379160
Lifetime earnings are $900,000 greater for those who are raised in the wealthiest 20% of neighborhoods than for those in the poorest 20% of neighborhoods, the study found.

November 28, 2014, 8:44 am, 1379159

November 28, 2014, 8:34 am, 1379158
The Federal Reserve may start raising interest rates next year for the first time in nearly a decade, but the focus at the moment is on deflation risk, or so it seems by way of the market’s softer inflation forecast via a closely followed yield spread in Treasuries. The implied ...

November 28, 2014, 8:05 am, 1379156

We were talking about this at lunch the other day, and now Josh Barro steps forward with the numbers:

The average price of an individual New York City taxi medallion fell to $872,000 in October, down 17 percent from a peak reached in the spring of 2013, ...

November 28, 2014, 8:04 am, 1379155
(Don Boudreaux)

My colleague Dan Klein is leading a noble quest to reclaim the word “liberalism” for that set of ideals and beliefs in support of a civilization infused with individual freedom, genuinely limited government, and bourgeois virtues.  Here’s a video of a presentation that Dan gave last month at ...

November 28, 2014, 8:04 am, 1379154
(Don Boudreaux)

… is from page 48 of Joseph Epstein’s 2012 collection, Essays in Biography; specifically, it’s from Epstein’s June 2009 New Criterion essay on George Santayana entitled “The Permanent Transient“:

True freedom comes only to a lucid mind unbound by conventional wisdom and suspicious of received opinions.

November 28, 2014, 7:33 am, 1379151

Long but very interesting look at the resale market for Nike shoes.

November 28, 2014, 7:33 am, 1379152

Short answer: both expose you to lots of bacteria.

November 28, 2014, 7:23 am, 1379150
Who owns Britain? A very informative programme on ITV last night, useful for both analysing FDI and foreign mergers and takeovers. It is on ITV player for 30 days. Seehere.Some of our best loved British brands, including HP Sauce, Heathrow Airport and Cadbury are now foreign owned.A third of the ...

November 28, 2014, 7:03 am, 1379126
Bank of Japan Gov. Haruhiko Kuroda’s former boss, Eisuke Sakakibara, seen in this file photo, believes Mr. Kuroda should drop his 2% inflation goal. Bloomberg News

A ...

November 28, 2014, 7:03 am, 1379127

The yield on some Japanese sovereign debt turned negative Friday for the first time ever, the latest indication of the impact on the bond market of the Bank of Japan 's aggressive easing measures.

Following a pattern already seen in shorter-term debt, the yield on two-year Japanese government ...

November 28, 2014, 7:03 am, 1379124

Chris Dillow:

Economists vs politicians: ... I suspect that there is a greater distance now between the political parties and economist than there has been for years. ...

You might think this isn't a wholly bad thing. Many ideas are not worth adopting ... This, however, doesn't justify politicians' lack ...

November 28, 2014, 7:03 am, 1379125

At MoneyWatch:

Why the Job Market is Better Than it Looks: True or false: Most of the jobs created during the sluggish economic recovery consist of part-time, not full-time, employment? ...

November 28, 2014, 7:03 am, 1379123

Why and when did Republicans become anti-environmentalists?:

Pollution and Politics, by Paul Krugman, Commentary, NY Times: Earlier this week, the Environmental Protection Agency announced proposed regulations to curb emissions of ozone, which causes smog, not to mention asthma, heart disease and premature death. And you know what ...

November 28, 2014, 6:44 am, 1379122

The effectiveness of official development aid is the subject of heated debate. This column argues that aid affects recipient economies in extremely complex ways and through multiple and changing channels. Moreover, this is a two-way relationship – realities in recipient countries affect the actions of aid agencies. This relationship is ...

November 28, 2014, 6:44 am, 1379121

The growing importance of sovereign wealth funds and the diffusion of inflation targeting have impacted the adjustment of Latin American Countries to terms of trade and financial shocks.  This column shows that sovereign welfare funds provide another margin of stabilisation. This role is of greater relevance for inflation targeting countries ...

November 28, 2014, 6:44 am, 1379120

November 28, 2014, 6:44 am, 1379119

November 28, 2014, 6:34 am, 1379118
● German Retail Sales Rise Most In 3-1/2 Years | RTT ● EMU Inflation Back To Five-Year Low Amid Oil Price Declines | Euro Insight ● Saudis block OPEC output cut, sending oil price plunging | Reuters ● France Consumer Spending Fall Most In 9 Months As Jobless Hit Record ...

November 28, 2014, 5:33 am, 1379117

Apparently, Randy Newman's small masterpiece is controversial. Who knew?

November 28, 2014, 5:33 am, 1379116

(p. A11) While slaves were oppressed by the social order, Mr. Rediker argues, pirates on the high seas were remaking it. An estimated 2,500 buccaneers prowled the Atlantic and the Caribbean at any given time during the first half of the 18th century. The great majority ...

November 28, 2014, 5:23 am, 1379115

A quick look at benefit spending in the UK. This is a follow up to  Social security spending. Thanks to HM Treasury for help in finding useful data set.

Source: Public Expenditure Statistical Analysis 2014 | ...

November 28, 2014, 5:03 am, 1379090

A lot of Americans set out to do a lot of their shopping for Christmas on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, but that can present a dilemma to the Christmas shopper if their money is tight: how to stay within a budget while shopping for ...

November 28, 2014, 5:03 am, 1379089

November 28, 2014, 4:44 am, 1379088

HAS CHINA really blown $6.8 trillion on worthless investments over the past five years? This is the startling claim made by two Chinese government researchers that has, understandably,caused quite

November 28, 2014, 4:05 am, 1379087

Is this information about the work week good news or bad news?

But in reality, France’s 35-hour week has become largely symbolic, as employees across the country pull longer hours and work more intensely, with productivity per hour about 13 percent higher than the eurozone average. And a welter of loopholes ...

November 28, 2014, 2:05 am, 1379045

“Ghost cities” lined with empty apartment blocks, abandoned highways and mothballed steel mills sprawl across China’s landscape – the outcome of government stimulus measures and hyperactive construction that have generated $6.8tn in wasted investment since 2009, according to ...

November 28, 2014, 12:44 am, 1379026

November 27, 2014, 11:33 pm, 1379025
For five consecutive months OPEC produced over its alleged quota. Nonetheless, and in spite of falling prices and pleas from Venezuela to restrict production, OPEC decided to take no action.

In the wake of the news, West Texas Intermediate plunged nearly 7% and Brent fell over 8%.

November 27, 2014, 9:03 pm, 1379018
Bloomberg News

Japan’s fall into a technical recession in the third-quarter has deflated hopes of price increases, a much awaited signal of revival for the world’s third-largest economy. The Bank of Japan’s closely watched gauge of ...

November 27, 2014, 9:03 pm, 1379017
The automakers will report November vehicle sales on Tuesday, December 2nd. Sales in October were at 16.35 million on a seasonally adjusted annual rate basis (SAAR), and it appears sales in November might be at or above 17 million SAAR.

Note: There were 25 selling days in November ...

November 27, 2014, 5:03 pm, 1378991
It’s no surprise that every company and industry in America wants to understand millennials. They’d best avoid these nonfacts. Bloomberg News

It has become difficult to avoid ...

November 27, 2014, 5:03 pm, 1378989
Here are five things to know about the U.S. economy when talk turns to mortgage rates and millennials at the Thanksgiving table.

November 27, 2014, 5:03 pm, 1378990
ECB President Mario Draghi European Pressphoto Agency

Just sharing a currency isn’t enough for the eurozone to defy its skeptics, European Central Bank President Mario Draghi ...

November 27, 2014, 4:05 pm, 1378987

November 27, 2014, 3:03 pm, 1378961
It’s no surprise that every company and industry in America wants to understand millennials. They’d best avoid these nonfacts. Bloomberg News

It has become difficult to avoid ...

November 27, 2014, 3:03 pm, 1378960
ECB President Mario Draghi European Pressphoto Agency

Just sharing a currency isn’t enough for the eurozone to defy its skeptics, European Central Bank President Mario Draghi ...

November 27, 2014, 3:03 pm, 1378959
Here are five things to know about the U.S. economy when talk turns to mortgage rates and millennials at the Thanksgiving table.

November 27, 2014, 2:04 pm, 1378953
(November 27, 2014 01:17 PM, by Scott Sumner) This post is meant to be a sort of opening inquiry into what might become an important issue in the 21st century. I don't have strong views on the question. You may recall that Thomas Piketty assumed that savers can... (0 COMMENTS)

November 27, 2014, 1:33 pm, 1378951

Who moves first, and who moves last? In a game between the monetary authority and the fiscal authority, the order of moves matters. Just like in Stackelberg duopoly, where the effect of an increase in one firm's quantity will depend on whether the other firm is the leader and has ...

November 27, 2014, 1:33 pm, 1378950
The EU's attempt to breakup Google gets more absurd by the day. I wrote about this just yesterday in Google vs. Sun vs. France: Too Big, Too Powerful, Too Free.

I have a few more EU proposals regarding Google worth discussing, but first I have a few ...

November 27, 2014, 1:33 pm, 1378949

OPEC countries failed Thursday to agree to a cut in oil production that was desperately sought by some member states worried about the recent drop in prices.

Officials met for six hours of negotiations in Vienna. It would have been the first cut in production since 2008.


November 27, 2014, 1:33 pm, 1378948
A UC Berkeley Ph.D. student named Liz Carlisle has written a smart NY Times pieceproviding some examples of how farmers in rural places such as Conrad, Montana and Valier, Montana are making "greener" choices in production in order to cope with the new conditions they face. These guys ...

November 27, 2014, 1:33 pm, 1378947

1. About Those Union-Organized Black Friday Protests at 1,600 Walmarts. From my op-ed in tomorrow’s Investor’s Business Daily, “Black Friday Wal-Mart Protests Miss Mark On Pay Gap” (with Michael Saltsman):

What is overlooked or ignored by labor unions and anti-Wal-Mart organizations is that it takes highly compensated, superstar-level managerial talent ...

November 27, 2014, 1:03 pm, 1378924

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. Not sure how much blogging I'll get done today:

Washington, D.C. October 3, 1863

By the President of the United States of America.

A Proclamation.

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies.

To these bounties, which are so ...

November 27, 2014, 1:03 pm, 1378923

Simon Wren-Lewis:

As Mark Thoma often says, the problem is with macroeconomists rather than macroeconomics.

Much, much more here.

November 27, 2014, 1:03 pm, 1378922
Each year since 2003, Merriam-Webster has listed the Words of the Year mostly based on the frequency that each word was looked up that year.

Some years the "words of the year" have been relevant to Calculated Risk, as an example, in 2004 the word of the year ...

November 27, 2014, 1:03 pm, 1378921
From the WSJ: OPEC Leaves Production Target Unchanged

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries said its 12 members, who collectively pump around one-third of the world’s oil, would comply with its current production ceiling of 30 million barrels a day. That would involve a supply cut of ...

November 27, 2014, 12:05 pm, 1378919

Circa 1985:

Merkel, in her early thirties, was looking forward to 2014—when she would turn sixty, collect her state pension, and be allowed to travel to California.

That is from the George Packer profile of Angela Merkel, which I will recommend to you all once again, do note it starts ...

November 27, 2014, 10:44 am, 1378885

November 27, 2014, 10:44 am, 1378884

November 27, 2014, 10:34 am, 1378883

Yesterday, I questioned George Osborne's economic competence. In one sense, though, it is a little unfair to single him out. Back in the summer, Ed Miliband wibbled that "we won’t have the money" and pledged to "balancing the books in the next government" - ...

November 27, 2014, 10:04 am, 1378882
(November 27, 2014 07:48 AM, by Art Carden) First, I want to thank everyone who submitted requests for my last few posts before my EconLog guest stint ends. I'll answer as many as I can and schedule a series of posts for the next few days. Second, Happy... (0 COMMENTS)

November 27, 2014, 10:04 am, 1378881
(November 27, 2014 11:55 AM, by David Henderson) I'm up early this Thanksgiving day, before my wife and daughter. My daughter came home from San Francisco yesterday afternoon and for that alone I'm thankful. She, my wife, and a friend had a great visit last night. Now to... (0 COMMENTS)

November 27, 2014, 9:03 am, 1378831
ECB President Mario Draghi European Pressphoto Agency

Just sharing a currency isn’t enough for the eurozone to defy its skeptics, European Central Bank President Mario Draghi ...

November 27, 2014, 9:03 am, 1378830
Here are five things to know about the U.S. economy when talk turns to mortgage rates and millennials at the Thanksgiving table.

November 27, 2014, 8:44 am, 1378829

November 27, 2014, 8:44 am, 1378828

November 27, 2014, 8:44 am, 1378827

I HAVE been reading a new book on economic history. Cambridge University Press recently published “The Cambridge Economic History of Modern Britain” (CEHMB). It is highly recommended.

The first edition of the CEHMB was published in 1981 (a few people in the ...

November 27, 2014, 8:34 am, 1378826
The celebration on the fourth Thursday of November resonates deeply in the American psyche, but the historical source of Thanksgiving’s legacy across the centuries rests on a surprisingly thin slice of documentation. In fact, “the only surviving first-hand account of a celebration in 1621 comes from the pen of Edward ...

November 27, 2014, 8:04 am, 1378825
(Don Boudreaux)

… is from Caroline Baum’s Nov. 25th e21 article, “Giving Thanks for Property Rights“:

One of the traditions the Pilgrims had brought with from England was a practice known as “farming in common” (the “common course and condition” to [Gov. William] Bradford). Everything produced became community property, ...

November 27, 2014, 7:03 am, 1378771
It’s no surprise that every company and industry in America wants to understand millennials. They’d best avoid these nonfacts. Bloomberg News

It has become difficult to avoid ...

November 27, 2014, 6:44 am, 1378769

A major concern with multinationals is that they can cause disemployment (also called job offshoring). However, FDI could offset or even exceed such a negative effect. This column examines to what extent disemployment in Japan is related to FDI. The results suggest that disemployment in Japan is driven by substitution ...

November 27, 2014, 6:44 am, 1378770

The post-Crisis G7 economies have suffered weak business investment despite record low interest rates and the favourable financial positions of corporates. Some consider this the ‘new normal’ arising from secular, supply-side forces that have contributed to declining potential growth rates. This column argues that structural factors alone are not sufficient ...

November 27, 2014, 6:04 am, 1378768
My reaction was “tell me something I don’t know already” when I read that phase 1 trials of an Ebola vaccine at the National Institutes of Health have shown that it is safe. My dad works on the NIH campus and he told me about the trial weeks ago. The ...

November 27, 2014, 5:33 am, 1378767

A small bit of genius. Happy Thanksgiving.

(I didn't expect this: Mr. Guthrie now is a registered Republican and "often expound[s] libertarian themes".)

November 27, 2014, 5:23 am, 1378766

A mansion tax (or property tax) would be an annual progressive charged that would be paid by homeowners. It is effectively a tax on housing wealth. The Labour party has suggested implementing a property tax on homes worth over £2 million. ...

November 27, 2014, 5:03 am, 1378715

The Wall Street Journal’s Daily Report on Global Central Banks for Wednesday, November 26, 2014:

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Hilsenrath’s Take: New York Fed Declares Household Deleveraging Over ECB Prepared to Buy Sovereign Bonds ...

November 27, 2014, 5:03 am, 1378714

U.S. inflation remained below the Federal Reserve’s annual 2% target for the 30th consecutive month in October. The price index for personal consumption expenditures, the Fed’s preferred inflation measure, rose ...

November 27, 2014, 5:03 am, 1378716
South Korean companies like Samsung Electronics are facing challenges in China from cheaper local rivals who are copying their technology. Samsung, for instance, has lost ...

November 27, 2014, 5:03 am, 1378712

Just in time for Thanksgiving, a winter storm is ruining travel plans. When the weather gets bad enough, not only does it ruin travel plans, it starts ruining economic data and forecasts.

So far, there’s no reason to believe this winter’s storms will wreak exceptional havoc on the data. ...

November 27, 2014, 5:03 am, 1378713
 Jean Claude Trichet informed Brian Lenihan that the ECB couldn’t authorize further loans to the Irish banks unless the government sought an international bailout..

Ireland’s central bank ...

November 27, 2014, 5:03 am, 1378711

November 27, 2014, 4:05 am, 1378710

FDR once tried to move Thanksgiving, as an act of economic stimulus.  If Putin is going to recreate some version of a non-communist yet Soviet-like empire in his part of the world, perhaps he could also bring back the 24-game world chess championship match?  Season four of Homeland ...

November 27, 2014, 3:03 am, 1378671

After you watch these timely videos, you'll have a much better appreciation for our suggested conversation tips for this year's Thanksgiving dinner. Because otherwise, they could be a lot like this:

Or if ...

November 27, 2014, 2:05 am, 1378670

Paul Krugman has an interesting blog post arguing that Keynes is slowly winning.  But, I must admit, I find it dismaying how little of the contrary evidence is considered.  Let’s say you set out to write a blog post about Keynes losing, what might you cite?:

1. Keynesians predicted ...

November 27, 2014, 2:04 am, 1378669
This Burtless Brookings Blog post really is a must read. Burtless notes that taxes and transfers (including both ARRA and automatic responses to the recession) prevented huge income declines for the lower 60% of US households during the great recession. In contrast high income households were hammered. Federal policy actually ...