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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October 25, 2016, 11:03 am, 1686530
S&P/Case-Shiller released the monthly Home Price Indices for August ("August" is a 3 month average of June, July and August 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 ...

October 25, 2016, 10:44 am, 1686529

October 25, 2016, 10:04 am, 1686524
(October 25, 2016 09:38 AM, by Bryan Caplan) My former colleague Robert Tollison has passed away. I still remember the tour of Carow Hall he gave me when I was interviewing in 1997. Though we only overlapped at GMU for one year, he was an unforgettable personality. My... (0 COMMENTS)

October 25, 2016, 10:04 am, 1686523

The following is an excerpt from an October 25, 2016, New York Times conversation between Arthur Brooks and columnist Gail Collins:

Gail Collins: Arthur, Arthur, cheer up! Nobody has ever liked running for president — except maybe Bill Clinton. Barack Obama was always complaining about how ridiculous the whole thing ...

October 25, 2016, 10:04 am, 1686522

Holding page for Spotlight on Swing States in 2016 with the political corner found here:

October 25, 2016, 9:03 am, 1686491
From Black Knight: Black Knight’s First Look at September Mortgage Data: Post-‘Brexit’ Prepay Activity Remains Strong; Foreclosure Rate Falls to Nine-Year Low

• Despite declining from August, September saw the third highest prepayment rate in three years

• September’s less-than-one-percent seasonal increase in the delinquency rate was ...

October 25, 2016, 8:44 am, 1686490

October 25, 2016, 8:34 am, 1686489

The US economy is on track to expand at the fastest rate in more than a year in the third quarter, according to projections for this Friday’s “advance” GDP report from the Bureau of Economic Analysis. A range of estimates anticipate that quarterly output will top 2% (seasonally adjusted annual ...

October 25, 2016, 8:34 am, 1686488

One of the more curious recent opinion poll findings has been that people are unwilling to pay to control immigration. A Yougov poll found that 62% would pay nothing to reduce net migration from the EU, and that only 15% would pay 5% of their income to ...

October 25, 2016, 8:04 am, 1686480
(Don Boudreaux)

… is from pages 216-217 of the 1990 Transaction Publishers reprint of W.H. Hutt‘s excellent 1936 book,

October 25, 2016, 7:33 am, 1686477

Some interesting answers. Here's one:

The general idea is, there are probably around 100,000,000 programmers around the world (at the time of the presentation (2014)). He recalls the changes in the worldwide number of programmers through the 1950s, 60s, 70s and today. Ultimately, he reveals a trend that ...

October 25, 2016, 7:33 am, 1686475

As regular readers of this blog know, I am frustrated that more of the American electorate doesn't seem to take this all-but-certain problem seriously. And that enables the political system to delay fixing it.

Related: "The state government pension crisis: You will be made to care" and "Unions ...

October 25, 2016, 7:33 am, 1686476

How about that?

October 25, 2016, 7:23 am, 1686474

Photo Credit: Rex Babiera || Ours is an old house, and its guts reflect that.


A question from ...

October 25, 2016, 7:03 am, 1686452

Once upon a time, and for a very long time, Americans could buy a single can of Campbell's Condensed Tomato Soup for the price of just one dime.

October 25, 2016, 5:33 am, 1686448

As, I think, with some other notable fears, mold is a serious problemfor a few people. But for the vast majority of people, probably not so much.

October 25, 2016, 5:33 am, 1686449

October 25, 2016, 3:03 am, 1686390

October 25, 2016, 2:04 am, 1686389

The style guide of The Economist magazine, after explaining the difference between the two terms, leaves no ambiguity about what its reporters should use: “Renminbi, which means the people’s currency, is the description of the yuan, as sterling is the description of the pound.  Use yuan.”  The Financial Times ...

October 25, 2016, 2:04 am, 1686388

Prior to 1968, membership in the Cleveland Orchestra was a part-time job. When he joined the orchestra, the regular season was just 30 weeks long, with lower pay for summer concerts. In 1952, the base salary was $3,240—$29,231 in today’s dollars. By 1967, it had only gone up to ...

October 25, 2016, 2:04 am, 1686387
(October 25, 2016 12:15 AM, by Bryan Caplan) My Myth of the Rational Voter argues that elections are surveys. The essence of a survey is that you state an opinion, secure in the knowledge that your stated opinion is non-binding. While there remains an off-chance your vote changes... (0 COMMENTS)

October 25, 2016, 12:44 am, 1686373

October 25, 2016, 12:34 am, 1686372
A A Tags Home | Feed | Blog.rssMedia and CulturePhilosophy and MethodologyPolitical TheoryThe Bad Economics Behind Monopoly

October 24, 2016, 11:33 pm, 1686370
I will leave it to my readers to decide if my new piece for The Conversation delivers academic rigor and journalist flair or whether it really represents journalist rigor with academic flair. I must admit that we made a strategic mistake publishing an optimistic book about China's urban ...

October 24, 2016, 11:33 pm, 1686369

I’ve written frequently in recent years on the possible limitations of 1930s-era “Machine Age” national income accounting in the new “Information Age,” and how those accounting procedures are failing to measure and capture the economic value of services like Wikipedia, Craigslist, online music streaming, GPS and online maps, and online ...

October 24, 2016, 9:33 pm, 1686353

I'm pretty sure this hurts the credibility of scrupled researchers:

A global warming research center at the London School of Economics got millions of dollars from UK taxpayers by taking credit for research it didn’t perform, an investigation by The Daily Mail revealed.

The UK government gave $11 million dollars to ...

October 24, 2016, 8:34 pm, 1686342
Tags A A Home | Feed | Blog.rssLegal SystemInterventionismPrivate PropertyNew York Declares War on Homesharing

October 24, 2016, 8:34 pm, 1686341
Tags A A Home | Feed | Blog.rssBiographiesOther Schools of ThoughtRobert D. Tollison, RIP

October 24, 2016, 7:33 pm, 1686330
Here are comments on Xavier Gabaix' "A Behavioral new-Keynesian model." Xavier presented at the October 21 NBER Economic Fluctuations and growth meeting, and I was the discussant. Slides here

Short summary: It's a really important paper. I think it's too important to be ...

October 24, 2016, 6:44 pm, 1686300

October 24, 2016, 6:34 pm, 1686299
Tags A A Home | Feed | Blog.rssLegal SystemU.S. HistoryPolitical TheoryFederal Meddling in Dairy Farms Hurts Both Consumers and Producers ...

October 24, 2016, 6:04 pm, 1686292
(October 24, 2016 05:59 PM, by Scott Sumner) Every so often I need to push back against common misconceptions regarding saving and investment. The comment section of my previous post provided a few examples, starting with "pyroseed13": In a less risk-averse and more economically free environment, savings would... (1 COMMENTS)

October 24, 2016, 5:23 pm, 1686290

Fiscal Consolidation, Budget Deficits and the Macro Economy, by Research Associate Lekha Chakraborty, deals with debates about the macroeconomic effects of budget deficits in the context of examining fiscal policy in India over the period 1980/81–2012/13.

From the Introduction:

In India, efforts were … made to contain the fiscal deficit by both the ...

October 24, 2016, 5:23 pm, 1686289

If you’re a grad student or just starting out your career and want to learn more about the work of Hyman Minsky and Wynne Godley, and wouldn’t mind doing so in a turn-of-the-century manor on the banks of the Hudson, you’re in luck.

The Levy Institute’s annual Minsky Summer Seminar is now accepting applications for ...

October 24, 2016, 5:03 pm, 1686258

On November 1st, New Jersey residents will start paying considerably higher gas taxes, with the rate rising from 14.5 to 37.5 cents per gallon (cpg) as part of a broader tax deal negotiated between Governor Chris Christie (R) and Democratic leadership in the state legislature. The tax increase hasn’t ...

October 24, 2016, 5:03 pm, 1686257
Economist Tom Lawler sent me the table below of short sales, foreclosures and all cash sales for selected cities in September.

On distressed: Total "distressed" share is down year-over-year in most of these markets.

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

TheAll ...

October 24, 2016, 4:34 pm, 1686256
A A Home | Feed | Blog.rssAre High Taxes in Northern States Ruining Baseball?

October 24, 2016, 4:34 pm, 1686255

The most valuable indicators of China’s intervention in the foreign exchange (FX) market are now out, and both point to a pick-up in sales in September, and more generally in Q3.

The data on FX settlement shows $27b in sales in September, and around $50b ...

October 24, 2016, 4:04 pm, 1686251

The great Robert Tollison has passed. No one was better at him than seeing the implications of a theory and finding a way to test it. He always had ideas, many adopted by ...

October 24, 2016, 4:04 pm, 1686250
(Don Boudreaux)

… is from the late Clemson University (and GMU) economist Bob ...

October 24, 2016, 4:04 pm, 1686249


Businesses are “burdened” by government through corporate taxes and bureaucratic procedures. We interpret these two channels as tools for raising revenue and study, theoretically and empirically, how different political institutions rely on these tools. We establish two stylized facts: the degree of democracy has inverted-U relationships with both the bureaucratic ...

October 24, 2016, 4:04 pm, 1686248

Last week, Tom Loveless of the Brookings Institution wrote an article called “The strange case of the disappearing NAEP,” in which he questions the wisdom of delaying the administration of the nation’s longest comparable measure of student performance, the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) long term trend (LTT) assessment. ...

October 24, 2016, 3:23 pm, 1686242

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The Atlanta Fed's Wage Growth Tracker came ...

October 24, 2016, 3:03 pm, 1686211

Both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have both introduced plans that would change the federal tax system.

Hillary Clinton’s tax plan would increase federal revenue by about $1.4 trillion over the next decade. Her plan would make the current tax code more progressive by raising taxes on top ...

October 24, 2016, 3:03 pm, 1686210

Just weeks in to his new job as the World Bank’s new chief economist, Paul Romer is already looking to shake up the aging development institution.

The controversy-courting New York University professor and tech-firm founder is known as a chief proponent of the ideas-driven endogenous-growth theory.

He is putting his ...

October 24, 2016, 3:03 pm, 1686209

A colleague, Bruce Blonigen, has a new paper (coauthored with Justin R. Pierce):

Evidence for the Effects of Mergers on Market Power and Efficiency, NBER Working Paper No. 22750 Issued in October 2016: Study of the impact of mergers and acquisitions (M&As) on productivity and market power has been complicated ...

October 24, 2016, 3:03 pm, 1686208
The Department of Transportation (DOT) reported:

Travel on all roads and streets changed by 3.4% (9.3 billion vehicle miles) for August 2016 as compared with August 2015.

Travel for the month is estimated to be 284.9 billion vehicle miles.

The seasonally adjusted vehicle miles traveled for August ...

October 24, 2016, 2:34 pm, 1686207

October 24, 2016, 2:04 pm, 1686206

Adam Ozimek raises that question.  You might think a growing population is obviously better for business, but it’s actually not so clear:

It’s true bigger places have advantages in terms of being able to offer a greater variety of consumer options and niches. But marginal population growth ...

October 24, 2016, 2:04 pm, 1686205
(October 24, 2016 04:01 PM, by David Henderson) At this writing, the odds that Hillary Clinton will defeat Donald Trump for the U.S. presidency are very high. If your concern is trade between Canada and the United States, Canada dodged a bullet. Donald Trump is hostile to trade,... (0 COMMENTS)

October 24, 2016, 2:04 pm, 1686204

Scrutiny of the high list price of the drug EpiPen, used for the emergency treatment of certain allergic reactions, exposed some of the craziness and inefficiency in how drugs are priced. But it also reveals problems with how certain medicines are developed.

Drugs like EpiPen fall into a category of products ...

October 24, 2016, 1:33 pm, 1686201

From my YES I-732 email:

Hello carbon tax friends! With our noses to the grindstone it can be easy to forget the big picture, so go read the New York Times editorial board commentary on I-732: "Washington State's Ambitious Carbon Tax Proposal". And while you're at it ...

October 24, 2016, 1:03 pm, 1686169

Today is October 24, the date in 1931 when the George Washington Bridge, connecting Manhattan with New Jersey over the Hudson River, opened for traffic. Along with the Holland Tunnel, opened four years earlier, they enabled non-ferry vehicular crossing to New York City. GWB tolls started at ...

October 24, 2016, 1:03 pm, 1686168

It's Trump's party, so cry if you want to:

It’s Trump’s Party, by Paul Krugman, NY Times: ...Everyone who endorsed Mr. Trump in the past owns him now... And voters should realize that voting for any Trump endorser is, in effect, a vote for Trumpism, whatever happens at the ...

October 24, 2016, 12:34 pm, 1686167

By James Kwak

If you live in Massachusetts, early voting has begun. You can ask for an early ballot by mail, or just find a polling place here. ...

October 24, 2016, 12:04 pm, 1686165
(October 24, 2016 11:06 AM, by Scott Sumner) This article in the Wall Street Journal left me scratching my head: The Fed, Not the Market, Is Stifling Growth That's the title, and I eagerly looked forward to an explanation, perhaps a criticism of the Fed rate increase last... (3 COMMENTS)

October 24, 2016, 12:04 pm, 1686164

October 24, 2016, 12:04 pm, 1686163

President Obama is pressing to have the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) approved by the Republican-controlled Congress — after the election. He’s right that it should be approved. But if it isn’t, and it might not be, there will be plenty of blame to go around in both parties.

The problems ...

October 24, 2016, 12:04 pm, 1686162

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton has promised to fix Social Security without reducing benefits – which means, by raising taxes. As she stated in her final debate appearance against Republican Donald Trump:

“What we want to do is to replenish the Social Security Trust Fund … from either raising the cap ...

October 24, 2016, 12:04 pm, 1686161

In the final presidential debate last Wednesday night, both candidates echoed longstanding partisan talking points on tax policy. Donald Trump voiced the standard Republican theme of low taxes, stating, ...

October 24, 2016, 11:34 am, 1686158

Here is the number of new permanent residents to Canada, as a percentage of the existing population, over time:

"New permanent residents" is not a perfect ...

October 24, 2016, 11:33 am, 1686157
This coming Friday, I will be interviewed by Frank Conwayatan Economics Teaching Conference. You can heara live broadcast of the interviewby registering here.

October 24, 2016, 11:23 am, 1686156

My latest Macro Musings podcast is with Narayana Kocherlakota. Narayana is a professor of economics at the University of Rochester. He has published widely in economics, including in the areas of money and the payment system, business cycles, financial ...

October 24, 2016, 11:03 am, 1686124

Proposition 55 on California’s November ballot would extend higher state income taxes first adopted in 2012 after the passage of Proposition 30. The higher tax rates apply as an extra 1 percent of tax on income above $263,000 ($526,000 married filing jointly), an extra 2 percent of tax ...

October 24, 2016, 11:03 am, 1686123
From the Eric Morath at the WSJ: Retailers Rushed to Hire for Holidays, a Sign of Tight Labor Market

Retailers geared up to hire holiday-season workers in August this year, an unusually early start showing how competition has intensified for temporary help in a tight labor market.

Data ...

October 24, 2016, 10:34 am, 1686122

The broad US economic trend decelerated in September for a second month in a row, according to today’s update of the three-month average of the Chicago Fed National Activity Index (CFNAI-MA3). The benchmark dipped to -0.21 last month, the lowest reading since May. The below-zero data indicates that economic ...

October 24, 2016, 10:04 am, 1686121
(Don Boudreaux)

… is from page 142 of Deirdre McCloskey’s brilliant 2010 volume, Bourgeois Dignity:

October 24, 2016, 10:04 am, 1686120

October 24, 2016, 10:04 am, 1686119

Alan Viard and Eric Toder explain how the problems with corporate income tax can be solved by taxing shareholders, not companies.

October 24, 2016, 10:04 am, 1686118

As Wired magazine put it, Friday’s distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack on DNS provider Dyn was “a definite reminder of the fragility of the web, and the power of the forces that aim to disrupt it.”

The disruption caused by the Dyn attacks was certainly widespread – effectively ...

October 24, 2016, 10:04 am, 1686117

Conservatives need to be clear-eyed about the enormity of the Failure of 2016. The Republican Party — the imperfect political vehicle for conservative policy, ideas and values — nominated a man for president of the United States who is manifestly unfit to hold that office. This is clear for anyone ...

October 24, 2016, 10:04 am, 1686115

Breast cancer is a common disease – 1 in 8 women and a small number of men will be afflicted over their lifetimes. This year alone, approximately a quarter of a million new cases will be diagnosed and 40,450 women will die. That means everyone is more and more ...

October 24, 2016, 10:04 am, 1686116

On Wednesday, Newark Public Schools’ superintendent Chris Cerf visited AEI to talk about the state of Newark’s schools, the aftermath of the $100 million Zuckerberg gift to the district, and the challenges of urban school reform. Cerf is an unfailingly interesting thinker who has served as commissioner of education in ...

October 24, 2016, 9:33 am, 1686112

"When you can measure what you are speaking about, and express it in numbers, you know something about it; but when you cannot measure it, when you cannot express it in numbers, your knowledge is of a meagre and unsatisfactory kind." William Thomson, Lord Kelvin, 1883.

Policy, especially monetary ...

October 24, 2016, 9:03 am, 1686081
From the Chicago Fed: Economic Growth Picked Up in September

Led by improvements in production-related indicators, the Chicago Fed National Activity Index (CFNAI) increased to –0.14 in September from –0.72 in August. All four broad categories of indicators that make up the index increased from August, but in September, ...

October 24, 2016, 8:44 am, 1686080

October 24, 2016, 8:04 am, 1686078

Even though William Baumol didn’t win the Nobel prize this year it got me to thinking about the cost disease, as did the death last week of William Bowen, the co-author of Performing Arts – The Economic Dilemma which brought the cost disease to public attention. The cost disease says ...

October 24, 2016, 7:33 am, 1686075

This week's bulletin from the land of You Can't Make This Stuff Up.

In themid-2000s, in the midst of a housing boom, the Los Angeles Unified School District realized that skyrocketing rents were fueling teacher turnover.

Nearly half of all new ...

October 24, 2016, 7:33 am, 1686074

I won't defend the $ estimate, but I coulddefend the diagnosis. And this is the beginning of asolution:

Of all the serious problems in the American workplace, this one is the most solvable. And we can solve it one company, one culture, one worker at a time.

October 24, 2016, 7:33 am, 1686072

Bruce Schneier, a "long-time computer-security researcher," wrote about last week'sbig DDoS attack on the Net as follows:

What this all means is that the [internet of things] will remain insecure unless government steps in and fixes the problem. When we have market failures, government is the only solution. The ...

October 24, 2016, 7:33 am, 1686073

In favor: Nick Hanauer, entrepreneur, venture capitalist--according to Wikipedia, "the first non-family investor in Amazon"--and veryrich.

Against, and a direct reply to Hanauer: Adam Ozimek, "America's Worst Minimum Wage Pundit".

More against (because it's the right answer):

Deirdre McCloskey, "The Secret History of the Minimum Wage".

The ...

October 24, 2016, 7:33 am, 1686071
James Vickery, Lauren Thomas, and Ulysses Velasquez

Profits and employment in the oil and natural gas extraction industry have fallen ...

October 24, 2016, 7:03 am, 1686050

In the third full week of October 2016, the S&P 500 ended higher than it closed in Week 2 of October 2016.

And yet, the week had something of a downcast to it, as can be seen in our alternative futures chart.

October 24, 2016, 6:44 am, 1686049

Casey Mulligan of the University of Chicago talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about life in Cuba. Mulligan, who recently returned from a trip to Cuba, discusses the economy, the standard of living and some of the peculiarities of ...

October 24, 2016, 6:34 am, 1686048

Markets roared back to life last week, rebounding after widespread losses in the previous week. The big winner for the five trading days through Oct. 21: emerging market stocks, which led the rally among a set of proxy ETFs representing the major asset classes. Meanwhile, last week’s losers ...

October 24, 2016, 5:33 am, 1686046

The Law of Unintended Consequences is not something to trifle with.

October 24, 2016, 5:33 am, 1686045

"Spectacular," maybe, but not unexpected.

October 24, 2016, 4:04 am, 1686031

Fewer people are watching:

Revenue is up, but audiences are down in New York City’s dance industry, a new study of the field finds.

A 20% decrease in the number of paid attendees at live performances emerged in the study, to be released Friday by the advocacy group Dance/NYC. The study ...

October 24, 2016, 3:03 am, 1686009

October 24, 2016, 3:03 am, 1686008

My latest column:

The Election Matters for the Future of the Economy: We are entering into a time period when economic growth may be lower than we are accustomed to, the likelihood of recessions may increase, and income will continue to be very unequally distributed.

Our response to these problems, ...

October 24, 2016, 2:04 am, 1686007

1. Peter Ames Carlin, Homeward Bound: The Life of Paul Simon.  I hadn’t known that Simon originally recorded the Hearts and Bones album with Garfunkel, but later erased his partner’s contributions to the songs.  Nor had I known that Simon produced a stripped-down, acoustic guitar version of ...

October 24, 2016, 12:34 am, 1686001
Tags A A Home | Feed | Blog.rssCorporate WelfareTaxes and SpendingPolitical TheoryCronyism at the Gas Pump

October 24, 2016, 12:04 am, 1685998
(October 24, 2016 12:08 AM, by Bryan Caplan) The latest reply from Mike Huemer on the ethical treatment of animals, this time with a cool graph.Bryan Caplan posted this further comment on animal welfare arguments on his blog. I didn't have time to address this earlier (partly because... (1 COMMENTS)

October 24, 2016, 12:04 am, 1685997
Authored by Mike Kimel In this post, I will explain the annualized growth rate in real GDP per capita using tax rates and the percentage of the population that is foreign born using data for the United States.  The data shows the following: A. the tax rate that maximizes economic ...