April 30, 2012
No Need to Wait until June 5
From WisPolitics today:
Walker warned that job losses might again ramp up in Wisconsin if either Barrett or Falk are elected in the June 5 recall...
April 27, 2012
Sluggish U.S. growth continues
The Bureau of Economic Analysis reported today that U.S. real GDP grew at a 2.2% annual rate during the first quarter, down from the 3.0% growth of 2011:Q4, and below the 2.4-2.9% range that the FOMC indicated yesterday it is anticipating for 2012 as a whole. I see some reasons to agree with the Fed that the rest of the year may be slightly better than the first quarter.
April 26, 2012
Labor Market Interventions and Learning from Other Countries
As documented in Box 1-2 in the IMF's latest World Economic Outlook, unemployment in the advanced economies remained persistently high. That brings to the fore how to best deal with adjusting the labor force so as to bring down structural unemployment (although obviously higher aggregate demand would help). In my view, there is the "are there no poorhouses?" approach (cut unemployment benefits, etc. and thus reduce the natural rate of unemployment). The other is to use evidence-based approaches to improve the labor force quality, and improve job matching, thereby decreasing structural unemployment. This alternative is discussed in a recent La Follette Policy Report, by Robert Haveman, Carolyn Heinrich, and Timothy Smeeding, entitled "Policy Responses to the Recent Poor Performance of the U.S. Labor Market":
April 25, 2012
More on speculation
In addition to my discussion last week on the role of speculation in oil markets, let me call attention to commentary from some of my academic colleagues on the same topic:
April 23, 2012
What Are These Two Time Series?
April 22, 2012
The geography of unemployment
Some quick remarks on the unevenness of the U.S. economic recovery.
April 20, 2012
Gasoline Price Trends According to Futures
From the WSJ yesterday:
After a sizzling start to the year, gasoline futures prices are sliding, easing pressures on drivers and the U.S. economy and raising the prospect that prices at the pump could be headed lower still.
April 19, 2012
Recovery and Rebalancing
Several new items regarding assessing recoveries, here and abroad; and the prospects for rebalancing.
April 18, 2012
A ban on oil speculation?
Joseph P. Kennedy II, former Congressional Representative from Massachusetts, and founder, chairman, and president of Citizens Energy Corporation, has a proposal to make energy affordable for all. All we have to do, Kennedy claims, is "bar pure oil speculators entirely from commodity exchanges in the United States."
April 17, 2012
A Little Less Unscorable
In a previous post, I noted that Governor Romney’s budget plan was essentially unscorable (as he himself stated ) because he was so vague on the tax expenditures he was going to eliminate. That fog of obfuscation lifted slightly yesterday, with Governor Romney’s not-for-public attribution comments to donors. From Sara Murray, in the WSJ:
April 16, 2012
The current recovery in historical context
Or why Ed Lazear should have heeded R&R a bit more.
From "Credit: A Starring Role in the Downturn," by Òscar Jordà, based on an examination of 14 advanced economies over 140 years:
We are unlikely to learn how the United States will recover from the Great Recession by examining other post-World War II downturns. In the United States, the past six decades have completely lacked another financial event like the one experienced from 2007 to 2009. ...
April 14, 2012
Links for 2012-04-14
Quick links to a few items I found interesting.
April 12, 2012
Some Implications of the Trade Release
So-so news, and how we can sustain net export growth
The U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, through the Department of Commerce, announced today that total February exports of $181.2 billion and imports of $227.2 billion resulted in a goods and services deficit of $46.0 billion, down from $52.5 billion in January, revised. February exports were $0.2 billion more than January exports of $180.9 billion. February imports were $6.3 billion less than January imports of $233.4 billion.
Professor Lazear Doubles Down on 1980/82 = 2007
Professor Lazear on CNBC yesterday reiterates and unhedges his thesis that the causes of the 1980 and 1982 recessions are essentially the same as that of the 2007-09 recession.
April 11, 2012
Managing strategic petroleum reserves
The Wall Street Journal suggests today that part of the latest surge in China's oil imports is attributable to a desire to boost the country's oil stockpiles.
April 09, 2012
The Recovery Compared
Following up on my post The Recovery According to Ed “We are not in a recession” Lazear , reader Rick Stryker writes:
Lazear's points are clear: 1) Real growth has been sub-par in this recovery compared to previous recoveries...
This point is clearly falsified by the graphs from the St. Louis Fed:
NOAA: Warmest March on Record
And the first three months of 2012 were also the warmest first quarter in the contiguous United States, according to NOAA.
April 08, 2012
Current economic conditions
Friday's jobs report was unquestionably a disappointment. But other recent U.S. economic indicators are more encouraging.
April 05, 2012
The Recovery According to Ed “We are not in a recession” Lazear
In Tuesday’s WSJ, Edward Lazear argued that we are now experiencing the “Worst Economic Recovery in History”. Before dissecting this remarkable document, it would behoove the reader to recall that while he was Chair of George W. Bush’s Council of Economic Advisers, he stated unequivocally in May 2008 (also in the pages of the WSJ):
April 04, 2012
Replacing Iran's oil production
If an embargo is successful in preventing Iran from selling a significant amount of oil on the world market, what would replace it?
2012 Econbrowser NCAA tournament challenge
Congratulations to the University of Kentucky for winning the 2012 U.S. college men's basketball championship. Congratulations also to the 28% of those of you in our world famous Econbrowser NCAA tournament challenge who successfully predicted that Kentucky would win. The high honors go to a reader with the moniker Heteroskedastic, who correctly anticipated that Kansas would be the team Kentucky would beat in the finals, as well as picking 3 of the last 4 and 5 of the last 8 standing. Thanks to all who participated, and try again next year!
April 03, 2012
Lessons from the Crisis for Teaching Macro
The NY Times "Room for Debate" recently had a forum on "Rethinking How We Teach Economics", with contributions by Blinder, Taleb and Skidelsky, among others. In my contribution, I focused on the importance of asymmetric information and self-reinforcing feedback loops:
April 02, 2012
Okun’s Law, the Jobless Recovery, and Unexpectedly Fast Net Job Creation
I have found it somewhat surprising that analysts have worried about how employment growth has recently outpaced GDP, according to Okun’s Law, while others have bemoaned the slow pace of employment growth  . Underpinning these discussions is a view that there is instability in the relationship.  The first thing to recall is that there are several versions of Okun’s Law. Some are expressed in levels, some in deviations from natural levels (gaps), and some in growth rates. From Figure 1, it does appear that private employment growth has been above expected, after being below expected.
April 01, 2012
Halbert L. White, Jr., 1950-2012
It is with great sadness that I report that UCSD Economics Professor Hal White passed away Saturday morning after an extended struggle with cancer. He was an irreplaceable colleague and dear friend, and we will miss him greatly.