October 27, 2013
Why isn't inflation lower?
With so much slack in the economy and so many Americans still looking for jobs, why hasn't inflation been falling further? University of Texas Professor Olivier Coibion and Berkeley Professor Yuriy Gorodnichenko propose an answer in an interesting new research paper.
October 03, 2013
The September Employment Situation
[This empty webpage brought to you courtesy of the House of Representatives]
September 20, 2013
Some Selected State and National Employment Indicators
The BLS released today estimates for August state employment. In Figure 1 below, I show US, Wisconsin, Minnesota and California private nonfarm payroll employment figures, normalized to January 2011, when the governors of the three states took office.
September 09, 2013
Observations on the Labor Market
One of these is not like the others – local government employment stabilizes, but state does not – structural unemployment decreases – Obamacare does not cause the rise in part time employment
August 25, 2013
The geography of success
Weak U.S. economic growth continues to be discouraging. But it's worth taking a look at a few places where things going well for America.
August 03, 2013
Ever Expanding Government Employment
...in the minds of the too-busy-to-consult-data, but have time to comment on blogs
July 05, 2013
Ever Expanding Government Employment Assessed, Yet Again
(It is expanding as long as down is redefined as up)
June 07, 2013
Slow and Steady Employment Growth Continues
Plausible and Implausible Explanations for the lagging pace of growth
May 06, 2013
Heritage Assesses the Ever-Expanding Ever-Centralizing Federal Government Sector
May 02, 2013
Trend and Nonlinear Cyclical Employment Dynamics
How much of the US employment shortfall is due to trend factors?
April 07, 2013
Is the recovery dying?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on Friday that the number of Americans with jobs only increased by 88,000 in March on a seasonally adjusted basis. That's one of the weakest months in the last two years. Although it's clearly a disappointment, I would caution against reading too much into the latest number.
March 21, 2013
Heritage on Seasonal Adjustment
Is February employment growth overstated due to statistical problems?
February 20, 2013
Minimum wage and unemployment
With the recent proposal to raise the minimum wage, I noticed that California currently has one of the highest minimum wages ($8.00/hour) and one of the highest unemployment rates (9.8%) in the country.
February 01, 2013
The January 2013 Employment Release
Private nonfarm payroll employment in continues to rise, by 166,000; December 2012 employment is revised up by 0.6% (log terms), when incorporating the benchmark revision (0.5% for total nonfarm payroll employment).
January 09, 2013
Guest Contribution: "The Myth of 'Jobless Recoveries'"
(a.k.a. Okun’s Law is Alive and Well)
January 01, 2013
QE3 and beyond
Now that we've closed the books on 2012, I thought it might be useful to take a look at where monetary policy has led us over the last four years.
December 17, 2012
Guest Contribution: "An assessment of the US jobless recovery through a non-linear Okun’s law"
November 02, 2012
The October Employment Situation: Continued Improvement
Figures 1 and 2 illustrate the improvement in nonfarm payroll and private nonfarm payroll employment, respectively. Figure 3 highlights the fact that total civilian employment and labor force both increased in October. Interestingly, civilian employment growth in October continues that reported for September, the veracity of which some observers had questioned.
November 01, 2012
The Employment and GDP Relationship
The latest GDP release gives me the opportunity to re-evaluate whether job creation is less than what would be expected, given the growth in real GDP. At first glance, it seems obvious that growth in employment is less than expected. A simple OLS regression of log private employment on log real GDP over the 1987Q1-2012Q3, which might be implied by a particular form of Okun’s Law.
October 31, 2012
Economic Effects of Hurricane Sandy
As the eastern U.S. tries to dig out from under the devastation, I thought it might be useful to comment on the economic consequences that a storm like this could have.
October 12, 2012
Watergate! Iran-Contra! BLS 2012.10.5?
Paranoia and Conspiracy Theory in a Time of Excel
October 05, 2012
Average Monthly Employment Growth Revised Up
With the September employment release, average monthly employment figures over the last four months is 120.5 thousand, versus the three month average as of the August release of 94 thousand. Furthermore, taking into account the preliminary benchmark revision for March 2012, one sees that not only is the trajectory higher, so too is the level of employment.
September 27, 2012
Benchmark Revisions and Nonfarm Payroll Employment since January 2009
The BLS released preliminary annual benchmark revisions for March 2012. Nonfarm payroll series and private nonfarm payroll series, in logs, normalized to 2009M01, are shown below; adding on the revised levels for March 2012 yields the series shown in red.
September 07, 2012
The August Employment Report
Policy action is needed, with all deliberate speed.
August 09, 2012
Non-Government GDP and Employment: Revisiting Lazear’s Comparative Analyses
Reader Peter Schaeffer writes in comments to my rebuttal to Ed Lazear that demonstrates that ex-defense GDP growth is higher under the Obama administration than during the comparable period of the G.W. Bush administration:
August 06, 2012
Governor Romney Recalibrates Employment Forecasts
Last May, Governor Romney stated that in a typical recovery, monthly employment increases should be about 500,000 per month . The sheer implausibility of that statement (assessed in this post) has induced him to reduce his estimate (without explanation of the change) to 250,000 per month. . In Figure 1, I provide a plot of the implied path, as well as that from his May statement (which made me laugh for days!). In other words, his forecast has moved from clearly “Heritage Foundation space” to something that seems a bit less implausible, even if not clearly motivated by a specific model
August 05, 2012
Is this as good as it gets?
Several other new indicators confirm the message from the Q2 GDP report: the U.S. economy continues to grow, but at a discouragingly slow rate.
August 03, 2012
The July Employment Situation
Today, BLS released data for July. Nonfarm payroll employment growth of 165,000 exceeded expectations of 100,000 (Bloomberg). However, overall, employment indicators continue to rise only slowly.
July 06, 2012
Current economic conditions
I see both dark clouds and rays of hope.
June 05, 2012
Some Thoughts on the Employment Release
The employment release for May has raised concern, and rightly so, amongst policymakers. Figure 1 shows that nonfarm payroll employment growth has tailed off to 0.6% m/m, and 0.9% on a three month basis (both annualized, in log differences). Other labor indicators from the household survey are slightly more positive.
May 10, 2012
The Unbearable Lightweightness of Being David Brooks
Or, I know columnists have deadlines, but really...
In Tuesday’s NYT column, entitled “The Structural Revolution”, David Brooks writes:
May 05, 2012
More on Governor Romney’s 500,000 job creation target, expressed as a percentage growth rate
Governor Romney has said that 500,000 is the monthly job creation he expects as normal during a recovery . It actually last happened in May 2010 but is otherwise pretty rare. Reader Rick Stryker argues that the 500K should be expressed in percentage terms, accounting for the size of employment. Nonetheless, breaching the equivalent in percentage terms never happened during the eight years of the G.W. Bush administrations.
May 04, 2012
A Few Observations on the April Employment Situation
According to the BLS, nonfarm employment rose only 115,000, as government payrolls shed 15,000. The household series adjusted to conform to the NFP concept indicates an additional 1.6 million employed relative to the official series. Private sector employment now exceeds levels of 2009M01, while aggregate hours worked exceeds by 1.9% (in log terms). With revisions to the February and March data, average employment growth is 207 thousand in the first four months, as compared to 210 thousand, from the first three months indicated in the March release.
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 22, 2012
The geography of unemployment
Some quick remarks on the unevenness of the U.S. economic recovery.
April 14, 2012
Links for 2012-04-14
Quick links to a few items I found interesting.
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 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.
March 25, 2012
Disentangling the channels of the 2007-2009 recession
Harvard Professor James Stock and Princeton Professor Mark Watson presented a very interesting paper last week at the Spring 2012 Conference for the Brookings Papers on Economic Activity. Their paper studied similarities and differences between the 2007-2009 recession and other U.S. business cycles.
March 09, 2012
The February Employment Release
I'm sure there's a way to spin the February employment release in a negative way -- see for instance JEC Republican vice-chair Brady's take here -- but I think it looks pretty good for a recovery after a combination financial crisis/housing bust/recession. 
February 09, 2012
Miscellanea: Deficit Hypocrisy Watch, Conspiracy at the BLS, and Wisconsin’s Continuing Downward Trend
Deficit Hypocrisy Watch
The WSJ editorial page last Thursday remarked upon:
"...the worst fiscal record of any President in modern times..."
February 08, 2012
How could we boost American employment and GDP? One philosophy is to try to do more of what's already working.
February 06, 2012
A Plea for Aspiring Economic Analysts to Read the Footnotes
Actually, not even the footnotes -- just the text accompanying data releases (in this case it's the second paragraph, in a box, of the release). Although, I must admit, this long rant by FoxForum contributing writer Noel Sheppard just made me laugh and laugh and laugh, thus making an otherwise bleak Monday brighter. From "CNN's Crowley Does Two Segments on Jobs Numbers Without Mentioning Plummeting Participation Rate"
February 05, 2012
Economic conditions improving
Last week's data suggest that the U.S. economic recovery is continuing to gain some strength.
February 03, 2012
Messages from the January Employment Release: Accelerating Improvement for Now
Employment growth accelerates along several dimensions: nonfarm payroll, an alternative measure of nonfarm payroll, private employment, hours, and civilian employment (report here). However, JEC vice chairman Brady (JEC-Republicans) states in a press release: "Job Numbers Mask Underlying Job Weakness."
January 22, 2012
Here's my suggestion for how to become rich: buy low and sell high.
January 08, 2012
Current economic conditions
The latest U.S. economic indicators have taken a favorable turn.
December 28, 2011
Getting the U.S. economy growing
We can sit and wring our hands, or we can get to work.
December 18, 2011
Costs and benefits of the Keystone XL pipeline
December 04, 2011
Current economic conditions
The U.S. economy experienced disappointingly weak growth in the third quarter. Data coming in during the last week suggest that the fourth quarter is starting out a little better. But it doesn't look to me as much better as some accounts in the financial press might lead you to believe.
December 02, 2011
The November Employment Situation
Some good news, but it all has to be put in perspective. As Mark Thoma points out, 120,000 jobs is about what is needed to keep unemployment from rising. In addition, the drop in the unemployment rate was driven largely by the drop in the participation rate, not the rise in employed. That’s going to be greater relevance if the extension of unemployment benefits is further blocked (in other words, there are offsetting employment effects from UI, as discussed in this rejoinder to Mulligan). More discussion at Izzo/WSJ RTE. I’m going to focus on data from the establishment survey.
November 10, 2011
The U.S. State Department received the application from TransCanada for permission to build the Keystone XL Pipeline Extension over 3 years ago. Today, the White House made a firm decision not to decide just yet, with the State Department indicating that an actual decision is at least another year away.
Nice to see the President is focused like a laser on how to get Americans back to work.
November 09, 2011
Some infrastructure spending is more stimulative than others.
October 05, 2011
Slow growth continues
The stock market has looked scary. But economic indicators suggest U.S. growth is continuing.
September 15, 2011
What could America be good at?
A vision of what American economic growth over the next decade could look like might also help us address our immediate economic problems.
September 08, 2011
Recovery, or Replaying 1937 (and 2008)?
The President laid out a series of policy measures in today’s speech which are, by textbook standards, entirely reasonable. And yet, many have been declared by the pundits to be DOA. I’ll leave the assessment of political feasibility to others, but the very fact that these specific measures  are so reasonable by textbook standards makes me wonder if we have in fact experienced technological regress in our politico-economic discourse. Maybe those shocks in RBC models are just the fact that so many individuals with influence never took an intermediate macro course, let alone an economics course  (I highly recommend Robert Hall and John Taylor’s Macroeconomics, or the later editions, by Hall and David Papell).
September 02, 2011
Current economic conditions
The economic data arriving during the last week have been deeply discouraging, though are slightly less grim than some may have been concluding.
August 23, 2011
Where can America find more income and jobs?
In January 2008, ExxonMobil and Norway's Statoil announced a promising discovery in the Julia Field in the Gulf of Mexico that may contain a billion barrels of oil. In October of that year, Exxon applied for a 5-year extension of the lease for time to develop a suitable development plan. To the company's surprise, the U.S. Department of Interior denied the request in February 2009, and has continued to turn down subsequent appeals. The company has filed a lawsuit to have the decision overturned.
August 05, 2011
Is the Jobs Mystery Solved?
Professor Scott Sumner says "No more jobs mystery. Period. End of story.". I’m not so certain.
From the post:
If I hear one more discussion of the mysterious lack of jobs I’ll explode. The new GDP numbers are the final nail in the coffin. For years I’ve been saying there is no jobs mystery. That any deviation from Okun’s Law was minor compared to the scale of the output collapse. With the new RGDP figures we now know I was right, there isn’t and never was any mystery as to why there are so few jobs. RGDP is very low. Period. End of story.
August 04, 2011
Livin’ in a Shapiro-Stiglitz World
I have been wondering why so many seem to be indifferent to the plight of the unemployed. Sometimes, the attitude is not so much indifference, but rather irritation that the poor are exempted from the burdens of society (see e.g., ).
Here is a plot of the unemployment rate and the alternative unemployment rate including marginally attached and part-time workers.
July 08, 2011
The Employment Report, and the Need for Maintaining Stimulus
The Employment Report in Brief
The WSJ RTE post title says it pretty clearly: Economists React: Jobs Report an 'Unmitigated Disaster'. My two observations are:
- Overall employment is being reduced by continuous reductions in government (primarily state and local) employment. Private sector employment growth was 57,000.
- Hours continue to rise faster than employment in the private sector.
June 22, 2011
Making jobs priority one
It is looking unlikely that there will be more stimulus from either fiscal policy or monetary policy. Former President Bill Clinton has called for suggestions for other policy options that might be helpful. Here are a few ideas along those lines.
June 03, 2011
May Employment Report
The Employment Situation release for May was not entirely a surprise, given Jim's post yesterday, but contained unwelcome news nonetheless. WSJ RTE quotes Stephen Stanley of Pierpoint Securities thus: "...consider me worried".
June 02, 2011
A weakening economy
Incoming data over the last two weeks paint a consistent picture that the U.S. economy, which had been growing at a disappointingly slow rate, has weakened further.
May 09, 2011
Learning about Long Term Unemployment (II)
Politics and Policy
Last Monday, I discussed some of the findings from the conference on causes and consequences of, and policy responses to, long term unemployment, which brought to UW Madison Prakash Loungani, an Advisor in IMF’s Research Department, Kenneth Scheve, Professor of Political Science at Yale, Phillip Swagel, Professor of Public Policy at the University of Maryland, and a former Assistant Secretary of Treasury for Economic Policy, Rob Valletta, Research Advisor at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, and Kenneth Troske, Professor of Economics from the University of Kentucky. In today’s post, I will discuss the presentations and papers by Ken Scheve and Phillip Swagel and Ken Troske.
May 01, 2011
Learning about Long Term Unemployment (I)
On Thursday, we brought together an impressive array of scholars to discuss the causes and consequences of, and policy responses to, long term unemployment, including Prakash Loungani, Advisor in the IMF's Research Department, Kenneth Scheve, Professor of Political Science at Yale, Phillip Swagel, Professor of Public Policy at the University of Maryland, and a former Assistant Secretary of Treasury for Economic Policy, Rob Valletta, Research Advisor at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, Dan Aaronson, Director of Microeconomic Research at the Chicago Fed, and Kenneth Troske, Professor of Economics from the University of Kentucky. And that was in addition to the researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison (more on them below). For me, this was a tremendous learning experience. But like all good conferences, by the end I understood that I knew less than I thought I knew about long term unemployment. In today’s post, I will discuss the presentations and papers by Prakash Loungani and Rob Valletta; in the next post, I'll cover the findings of Ken Scheve and Phillip Swagel and Ken Troske.
April 26, 2011
UW Conference on Long term unemployment in industrial countries
This Thursday, the La Follette School and the UW Center for World Affairs and the Global Economy is holding a conference on "Long term unemployment in industrial countries: Causes, Consequences and Policy Responses". In a timely report, the OECD last week released Persistence of High Unemployment: What Risks? What Policies?. From the report:
April 08, 2011
Implied Supply Side Elasticities from the Heritage CDA Simulations
Following up on yesterday's post on the Heritage Foundation's assessment of the Ryan plan, I thought it would be useful to see how the labor and capital supply elasticities that are implied in the simulations compare with the literature, for the benefit of my macroeconomics class. Unfortunately, I come up with some really odd numbers, so I must either be making a mistake somewhere, or the simulation is very odd. Update 4/10, 4:50pm Pacific: I added two graphs illustrating exactly how odd these numbers are.
April 03, 2011
More favorable developments
April 01, 2011
The March Employment Situation Release
U.S. employment recorded a second straight month of solid gains in March and the jobless rate fell to a two-year low of 8.8 percent, underscoring a decisive shift in the labor market that should help to underpin the economic recovery.
March 17, 2011
Employment Prospects for Lower Wage Workers
I spent the better part of last Friday at an Institute for Research on Poverty conference, entitled "Employment Prospects for Lower Wage Workers: Easing the Implications of a Slow Recovery Conference". It was a tremendous learning experience for me (since I'm not a labor economist), and a chance to be reminded of the full enormity of the challenges facing policymakers, as the economy limps in a fitful recovery, with little succor from further aggregate demand stimulus measures, and threatened by supply shocks as well as incoherence in fiscal policymaking. I mentioned the conference in a post last week, but the presentations and papers are now online.
March 07, 2011
The Challenges of Long Term Unemployment
The composition and implications of long term unemployment has been vigorously debated over the last year. The most recent informed commentary (skipping non-evidence based assessments ) includes Macroblog and SF Fed (earlier discussion here and here). Two conferences on the subject will be held at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, this Friday, and later at the end of April.
The magnitude of the phenomenon can be illustrated by inspecting mean unemployment duration, and number of unemployed over 27 weeks.
February 21, 2011
On the Underfunded Liabilities Problem (Or Lack Thereof in Wisconsin)
Econbrowser reader Bob_in_MA has argued that
Governor Walker's [the] (edit 7:50am 2/22) desire to strip collective bargaining rights from Wisconsin public employees is derived in part from the high labor costs, hidden in part by large unfunded liabilities (e.g. pensions) in the state. This might be an apt characterization for Massachusetts. It is not for Wisconsin. From the Pew Center for the States:
Some states are doing a far better job than others of managing this bill coming due. States such as Florida, Idaho, New York, North Carolina and Wisconsin all entered the current recession with fully funded pensions.
February 17, 2011
Speaker Boehner's Math
Recently, Speaker of the House John Boehner asserted: "...the federal government has added 200,000 new federal jobs since President Obama took office." Other analysts have tried to find the source for this figure, but I thought of interest to see exactly how bad his math was.
February 08, 2011
An Alternative Look at the Employment Situation
The employment situation report has been well analyzed by a variety of researchers , including Jim. Given the noise introduced by weather and new seasonal factors, I thought it would be of interest to see what the experimental series, based on the household survey, indicates.
February 05, 2011
The employment news is good (I think)
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported yesterday that the unemployment rate has fallen from 9.8% in November to 9.0% in January, as big a two-month drop as we've seen in the last 50 years (hooray!). But in the same report, BLS indicated that their seasonally adjusted estimate of the number of Americans employed on nonfarm payrolls increased in January by an anemic 36,000 (oh dear!). Reconciling the very contradictory claims is even harder than usual, but I'll give it a try.
January 23, 2011
The Fed's new policy tools
We had to throw out our textbook descriptions of how monetary policy is implemented after the fall of 2008, as the Fed turned from its traditional tools to active use of large-scale asset purchases. A number of studies have now been conducted of the potential efficacy of these new policy tools. I surveyed some of the new studies last October. Today I'd like to discuss three new papers that have come out since then.
January 08, 2011
Interpreting the employment numbers
There might seem to be some conflicting signals from Friday's employment report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But I see a uniform message in the various numbers-- the economic recovery remains disappointingly weak.
December 15, 2010
Forgetting about Demand, Once Again
Professor Mulligan asserts that the payroll tax cut will have little effect on output, even in sticky price Keynesian, and New Keynesian, models. He writes:
December 13, 2010
Extending unemployment benefits
Here I make two quick observations on the policies being discussed.
December 05, 2010
Still no strength in this rebound
The new news looks to me like the same old news.
November 07, 2010
Current economic conditions
Things look slightly cheerier than they did a month ago. But that's not saying much.
November 05, 2010
The October Employment Situation: Upside Surprise and Shrinking Government
The Employment situation release for October surprised on the upside: the Bloomberg consensus was for 60,000 increase and the actual was 151,000. And yet I receive emails from the JEC-Republican stating:
October 05, 2010
The Incidence of Unemployment and Underemployment, by Income
As we ponder the plight of the over-$250K household income group (see the poignant story here), I think it worthwhile to examine the unemployment and underemployment rates for lower-income households. In researching statistics for our forthcoming book, Lost Decades, Jeff Frieden and I stumbled upon this study by Andrew Sum and Ishwar Khatiwada, with Sheila Palma, of Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University. They characterized the mid-2010 employment situation as "A Truly Great Depression Among the Nation's Low Income Workers Amidst Full Employment Among the Most Affluent".
September 22, 2010
Some Policy Implications of the Interdependence of Cyclical and Structural Unemployment
I have decided to forego discussion of the potentially heavy burdens faced by households with incomes in excess of $250,000 should the tax cuts not be extended for income in excess of $250K (see the poignant story here), and focus on the challenges of the unemployed, and what challenges persistent unemployment in turn poses for macroeconomic policy. (Side note: our assessment of the plight of the +$250K income households should be tempered by the knowledge that even those households with income in excess of $250K will see a tax cut under the President's proposal, since household income below the $250K threshold would be taxed at the current lower marginal rate )
September 19, 2010
What's holding back employment growth?
I certainly agree that the most important factor holding back employment growth at the moment is low demand for firms' products and services. But I disagree with those who suggest that this is the only factor.
September 15, 2010
Links for 2010-09-15
Quick links on sources of job creation, recession probabilities, and alternative ways to access your favorite economic books.
September 08, 2010
The "Ever-Expanding" Government Sector, Illustrated
Just some numbers to bring reality into the general discussion:
September 04, 2010
Snapshots of the Employment Situation, August 2010
I thought I'd add a few observations on the latest employment report (other reports here: [NYT], [WSJ RTE/Izzo] [CR], [Economist's View]). First, by an alternate measure, employment is improving more rapidly than the standard nonfarm employment (NFP) measure. Second, the alternate measure increased faster than nonfarm payroll employment over the period of temporary Census hiring. Third, aggregate hours worked in the private sector continues to rise faster than private sector employment. Fourth, the NFP growth consistent with zero GDP growth is lower in the last decade, versus previous decades, even while the elasticity of NFP growth with respect to GDP growth has risen.
August 08, 2010
Current economic conditions
Last week's new economics data were a mixed bag. But on balance I'd have to say I'm more discouraged than when the week began.
August 06, 2010
A Sputtering Economy?
The employment situation July release indicated a decrease in overall payroll employment. Does this outcome indicate a sputtering* economy
July 03, 2010
No double dip
Although many people are concerned about the possibility of a second economic downturn, I continue to see an economy that is growing, albeit significantly more slowly than we would have wanted.
June 30, 2010
Also in town for last week's International Symposium on Forecasting was Bill Gavin from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. I had an interesting discussion with him about changes over time in U.S. employment dynamics that I wanted to share with our readers.
June 16, 2010
Links for 2010-06-16
Three interesting figures on fuel consumption, job creation, and prospective interest rates.
June 08, 2010
The Job Shortfall: Then and Now
In an interesting post a couple weeks ago, Keith Hennessey critiques the President's recent speech about employment growth, and presents the following graph, to highlight the gap between where employment is and where it "should" be.
June 05, 2010
Current economic conditions
Yes, we're still in the economic recovery phase, and yes, it still looks pretty sluggish.
May 07, 2010
Nonfarm Payroll Employment: The Tide Has Turned (For Now)
From the April 2010 employment situation release: Nonfarm payroll employment trends strongly upward; previous months' figures are revised upward; not seasonally adjusted figures move upward as well; the upward movement is not driven by government employment; the experimental household based quasi-payroll employment series moves upward even more strongly; and aggregate hours is now 1% higher than the level at 2009M06.
April 29, 2010
Dobridge, Hooper and Slok in "Jobless Recovery III Seems Unlikely" Global Economic Perspectives (April 21, 2010) [not online]:
The sluggish performance of payroll employment and jobless claims in recent months despite well-above-trend growth in output has raised the specter of another jobless recovery. ...
April 19, 2010
Data Based Assessment of the Unemployment Insurance Impact on UE
Although economists have shown that extended availability of UI benefits will increase unemployment duration, the effect in the latest downturn appears quite small compared with other determinants of the unemployment rate. Our analyses suggest that extended UI benefits account for about 0.4 percentage point of the nearly 6 percentage point increase in the national unemployment rate over the past few years. It is not surprising that the disincentive effects of UI would loom small in the midst of the most severe labor market downturn since the Great Depression.
April 04, 2010
Looks good to me
Finally we're starting to see some convincing indications of economic recovery.
March 27, 2010
Does Unemployment Insurance Necessarily Raise the Unemployment Rate and Decrease Employment?
Some analysts (e.g., most recently Professor Mulligan) have stressed the disincentive effects of unemployment insurance on the unemployment rate and the level of employment. I think it useful to consider the offsetting effects arising from various effects, and hence distinguishing between the two variables. In my view, the impact of UI is more complicated than it would seem at first glance, with UI potentially increasing employment while concurrently increasing the unemployment rate. In addition, according to newer research, even if UI extends unemployment duration, it still might be welfare-enhancing. In other words, some researchers appear to have had their worldview frozen in 1990.
February 07, 2010
Reactions to last week's economic data
Here I offer some thoughts on last week's numbers for employment, auto sales, and commodity prices.
February 05, 2010
The January Employment Situation: Four Pictures
Downward revision in the level of nonfarm payroll (NFP) employment; stabilization in employment measures (establishment, household, research series); aggregate weekly hours trend up.
January 18, 2010
Policies for Increasing Economic Growth and Employment
From the CBO's report "Policies for Increasing Economic Growth and Employment in 2010 and 2011" released Jan 14, is an assessment of the boost to GDP and employment from various policies. Proper consideration of these measures are critical given the prospects for the output gap  and employment growth .
January 10, 2010
More of the same
The U.S. economy continues to recover at a painfully slow pace.
January 08, 2010
Some Aspects of the Employment Report
The net job loss in the December nonfarm payroll (NFP) is unwelcome news, but given the (upward) revision in the November figure, one shouldn't think of this number as fixed. Figure 1 shows various employment series.
December 29, 2009
How Important Is Structural Unemployment in the Current Recession/Recovery?
Joseph Lawler at the Spectator distills the Austrian perspective on the sources of current unemployment.
December 09, 2009
From Peter Hooper, Torsten Slok, Christine Dobridge, "Robust growth needed to avoid jobless recovery," Deutsche Bank Global Economic Perspectives (Dec. 9) [not online]:
December 04, 2009
The Employment Situation in Graphs
...and an initial read on monthly GDP.
December 02, 2009
Recent indictors continue to support the impression that we're in the midst of a weak economic recovery.
November 04, 2009
Current economic conditions
The U.S. recovery is underway. But so far it doesn't look as strong as we had been hoping.
November 02, 2009
Prospects for Employment under Differing Econometric Specifications
Most economists are projecting a slow recovery in terms of employment. What do historical correlations imply?
October 18, 2009
Real output grew significantly this quarter. Will employment follow?
October 03, 2009
Not much of a V
The latest auto and employment numbers paint a picture of an economic recovery that remains tepid and potentially fragile.
September 20, 2009
Economy improves but concerns remain
Last week we received positive readings for some key economic indicators. But I still see plenty to worry about.
September 04, 2009
State and Local Employment and Spending Trends
In a recent Economix post, Casey Mulligan asserts that aid to the states and localities is unwarranted given that state and local government employment is doing just fine. His graph highlighting cumulative gains/losses ends in January 2009, to show what had transpired by the time the stimulus bill was being debated. How do things look if one extends the sample to August 2009? And what about spending as opposed to employment?
August 30, 2009
Econbrowser Emoticon shifts to neutral
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|Oct 5, 2007|
|Jan 4, 2008|
|Aug 30, 2009|
If you've only been following Econbrowser since 2008, you may have thought that the crabby countenance in the upper-right corner of our main page was a permanent fixture, conveying our general grumpiness about the state of the economy or perhaps life in general. Despite having been stuck in the pessimistic mode for quite some time now, the emoticon was in fact always intended to be a dynamic feature, adjusted from time to time to provide readers with our overall impression of incoming data. The table on the left provides links to each occasion that our Little Econ Watcher's countenance has changed in the past.
Last week's data persuaded me to move the Econbrowser Emoticon back into neutral, signifying that I now judge overall output to be growing slowly rather than declining. Here are details on the evidence that prompted this change in assessment, and what it signifies.
August 15, 2009
Current economic conditions
This was another week when everybody but me sees an economic recovery in the works.
August 10, 2009
Links for 2009-08-10
I spent the last week of July as a visiting scholar at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, home to Macroblog and a number of superb economists. Their Center for Quantitative Economic Research is now going to be reporting my GDP-Based Recession Indicator Index, as you'll see from following the link.
And I was interested in this story from the Wall Street Journal:
Houston-based Apache Corp. [APA] has agreed to provide natural gas for export to Asia through a proposed project in Canada, the latest sign that huge gas discoveries in North America are reshaping global energy markets. Kitimat LNG Inc., the Canadian company planning to build the liquefied-natural-gas export terminal in Kitimat, British Columbia, will announce Monday that Apache has become the second major North American gas producer to sign on to the project. Last month, another Houston-based gas producer, EOG Resources Inc., signed a similar deal....
"We're confident that there's going to be plenty of gas available for export for a long time," said Greg Weeres, vice president of Pacific Northern Gas Ltd., which is planning to build a pipeline to supply gas to the Kitimat facility.
August 09, 2009
It's not over yet
Some are greeting Friday's employment report as an all-clear signal. But my advice is, keep your helmet on-- they're still shooting real bullets out there.
August 08, 2009
Employment, Hours, and Estimated Output
Some observations on the employment situation and other economic indicators: (1) Not only is nonfarm payroll employment slowing its rate of descent, so is private employment; (2) but perhaps more dramatically the decline of aggregate hours halted last month; (3) the rate of decrease has diminished even faster for civilian employment measured by the household survey, and indeed; (4) the household (research) series adjusted to conform to the payroll series is now improving; and (5) a first "estimate" of July GDP supports the case for stabilization of output.
July 17, 2009
Links for 2009-07-17
Some quick remarks about the evidence for economic recovery, central bank independence, and Goldman Sachs.
July 07, 2009
Back where we started
BLS reported that the total number of Americans employed in June on nonfarm payrolls came to 131.7 million workers on a seasonally adjusted basis. That's below the June 2000 figure of 131.8 million with which we started the decade.
June 07, 2009
Not a robust recovery
Often after a sharp economic downturn we observe an equally dramatic recovery. But nobody can claim to be seeing that so far in the currently available data.
June 05, 2009
James Pethokoukis: "An improving job market"
Hmm. I'm not sure about this statement.
May 14, 2009
Where's my recovery, dude?
A couple of disappointments in this week's data.
May 09, 2009
Three Pictures from the April Employment Situation
Revisions are downward (but getting smaller over time), the growth rate becomes less negative, but hours continue to decline rapidly.
May 07, 2009
This shoot is definitely growing bigger and greener
The Labor Department reported today that seasonally adjusted new claims for unemployment insurance fell by 34,000 to 601,000 for the most recent available week, resulting in a reduction of the 4-week average for this series for the fourth consecutive week in a row.
April 30, 2009
Further progress for initial claims for unemployment insurance
The Labor Department reported today that initial claims for unemployment insurance fell by 14,000 during the most recent available week. That brings the 4-week average down for the third consecutive week and puts it 3.3% below the peak reached April 9.
April 25, 2009
Oil shocks and recessions
Here I provide some more background on the relation between oil price increases and economic recessions.
April 23, 2009
Initial claims for unemployment insurance
The Labor Department reported today that initial claims for unemployment insurance rose by 27,000 in the most recent available week. Although that's a disappointing development, it's still a small enough increase to allow the 4-week average to fall for the second week in a row. Since that declining 4-week average is one of the few encouraging pieces of news in an otherwise discouraging economic landscape, I wanted to take a closer look at just how significant a statistical signal it really sends.
April 16, 2009
Update on the latest economic indicators
Some good news, some bad, in the indicators we follow this week.
April 09, 2009
Initial unemployment claims and the end of recessions
Fed Chair Ben Bernanke a few weeks ago said he saw some green shoots of favorable developments in financial markets. Does today's Labor Department report that the seasonally adjusted number of initial claims for unemployment insurance fell by 20,000 workers in the most recent week constitute another?
January 11, 2009
Signs of a thaw
Yes, I saw the discouraging headlines. But I also see signs of hope in last week's economic news.
January 09, 2009
Employment and Output in December
The U.S. lost more jobs in 2008 than in any year since 1945 as employers fired another 524,000 people in December, indicating a free-fall in the economy just days before President-elect Barack Obama takes office.
December 05, 2008
The Employment Situation in Pictures
Rather than engage in long commentary, I thought a set of pictures would be sufficient to convey the deteriorating macroeconomic situation, at least as reflected in the labor market.
November 08, 2008
The Economic Situation: Some Random Snapshots
The latest employment release was stunning, insofar as the NFP employment figure was far below consensus . Net job loss was 240K, rather than 200K; moreover, September job loss was revised upward by 125K. In addition to Jim's assessment, some reaction is summarized here. The acceleration in net job loss is depicted in Figure 1.
November 07, 2008
A very weak employment report
More bad economic news arrived today from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
October 05, 2008
The downturn worsens
UCLA Professor Ed Leamer recently proposed four criteria for determining whether the economy is in recession, and concluded at the time of his study (two months ago) that the U.S. had not yet crossed that threshold. But this week's data might cause him to change his mind.
September 15, 2008
Back to the Real Side of the Economy: Recession Watch
Only on a day like today does an over 1 percent decrease in industrial output move to third page. But this item (and this hilarious article h/t Economists View) reminded me to update the indicators used by the NBER BCDC are headed. Their trajectories are, in general, not too comforting.
September 07, 2008
Three Pictures from the August Employment Situation Release
The employment situation release seems like old news, and Jim has already teased out some of the most important aspects in his post. However, I thought a little more context would be useful, given that some observers still think a recession can be avoided. From the White House economy fact sheet (accessed 9/7/08):
On September 5, 2008, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released new jobs figures for August. Nonfarm payroll employment decreased by 84,000 jobs in August, and the unemployment rate rose to 6.1 percent. While these numbers are disappointing, what is most important is the overall direction the economy is headed. Last week, the economy posted a strong gain of 3.3 percent at an annual rate in the second quarter, led by growth in consumer spending, exports, and a well-timed and appropriately sized stimulus package. This level of growth demonstrates the resilience of the economy in the face of high energy prices, a weak housing market, and difficulties in the financial markets. Orders for durable goods have been rising in recent months. In addition, productivity growth over the past four quarters has been strong at 3.4 percent -- above the averages for each of the past three decades over the course of the Administration.
See as well .
September 05, 2008
Is there anything good to say about today's report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics that the U.S. unemployment rate jumped up to 6.1% while seasonally adjusted nonfarm payrolls declined by another 84,000 jobs? Well, here's one thing. It gives us some real clarity as to just where the economy stands.
August 24, 2008
Many people may not care whether our current situation meets the formal definition of a recession, but as I've explained previously, you should. Here's a summary of how I see the economy at the moment. I begin by discussing a new paper by UCLA Professor Ed Leamer, which has also been highlighted by Greg Mankiw, Frank Stephenson, Calculated Risk, and Brian Blackstone.
August 22, 2008
A Different Look at the Labor Market
Over the past few months, I've heard that, while job creation is insufficient to keep unemployment rates constant, job losses have not been consistent with recession. More recently, we've heard a slight modification on this "talking point". Commenting on the August 1 labor market release, WSJ RealTime Economics notes:
So far this year, the economy has shed nearly half a million jobs -- hardly a sign of strength.
But it could have been much worse. In testimony before a congressional panel Friday, Bureau of Labor Statistics Commissioner Keith Hall noted that the last two recessions had resulted in 1.5 million lost jobs. "Economic growth is not strong enough to support job growth," he told legislators, but he added that relative to the last set of official recessions, job losses this time around "have not been as severe."
August 01, 2008
Not exactly a boom, either
While the latest GDP figures suggest an economy that continues to grow, today's employment data are more consistent with the claim that the U.S. economy has entered a recession.
July 17, 2008
New estimates of the high school dropout rate
I was shocked by today's report that the high school dropout rate in California has reached 24%.
July 03, 2008
Links for July 3
Today we outsource with some interesting links on oil markets and housing.
June 08, 2008
Trends in Key Recession Indicators
Since December 2007 is a commonly identified turning point , , I thought it would be of interest (given Jim's take on whether it matters if we're in a recession) to see what the indicators that the NBER BCDC focus on -- payroll employment, industrial production, real personal income less transfers, real manufacturing and trade sales, and to a lesser extent monthly real GDP -- are doing. They're declining...
June 07, 2008
Is this a recession and do we care?
Could well be, and yes you should.
April 04, 2008
Nonfarm Payroll Employment: The Movie
By Menzie Chinn
As informative as the nonfarm payroll employment numbers were, of even more interest to me are the revisions. Figure 1 depicts payroll employment estimates from the January (blue), February (red) and March (green) releases.
March 09, 2008
Has the recession started?
The latest employment numbers suggest that the tide has turned.
March 08, 2008
Three Pictures from the Labor Market
From yesterday's White House press conference:
February 02, 2008
More murk in the crystal ball
Some good news, some bad, in the economic data released yesterday.
January 27, 2008
How Much Stimulus? Dollar Amounts versus Efficacy
The stimulus package seems near a done deal, and the critiques are abounding -- as they should be. Greg Mankiw says no fiscal stimulus package is necessary, given the current state of the economy. Andrew Samwick says implementing a stimulus package ill conceived given that excessive deficits are what got us into this mess (a view I have some sympathy with). Jim Hamilton argues that a properly constructed fiscal stimulus is unlikely to be implemented in time, and may additionally further erode the dollar's role as a safe haven. Paul Krugman argues that the structure of the package leaves much to be desired.
January 21, 2008
Why One Percent of GDP? Opportunity Cost Illustrated (Part III)
As the decoupling thesis becomes more and more tenuous , and the rest of the world exhibits greater evidence of a slowdown , , , leading to predictions of a more persistent and deeper slump in the US than previously anticipated , I wonder -- where did that presciption of a one percentage point of GDP fiscal stimulus come from?
January 09, 2008
What Are the Prospects for a Two Recession Bush Presidency?
With recession calls becoming more frequent (, , , , ) it might pay to revisit the indicators that the NBER looks at in determining the turning points in recessions (The fact that NBER put up some new recession-dating-FAQs just a couple days ago might be a leading indicator of sorts).
January 04, 2008
Economic indicators take a turn for the worse
No cheer for the New Year from the numbers released this week.
November 16, 2007
Trusting the birth/death model
Ray Stone of Stone & McCarthy Research Associates has some interesting observations on the quality of the payroll employment numbers released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
November 04, 2007
Are the employment numbers as good as they sound?
This week's GDP and employment numbers were a pleasant surprise. Should this cause the Fed to change its warning in Wednesday's FOMC minutes that
the pace of economic expansion will likely slow in the near term.
October 05, 2007
Employment plunge was a big oops
October 03, 2007
Not all the news is bad
We've been dwelling here quite a bit on the bleak incoming housing data. But I have to admit that I'm not seeing that spilling over so far into some of the other key economic indicators.
September 08, 2007
Just how bad is the labor market?
Nonfarm payroll employment growth is 1.3% (12 month log difference). Civilian employment -- adjusted to conform to the establishment payroll series -- is 1.0%. These are the numbers for August 2007? Almost. Payroll employment growth was actually 1.2%. Those figures are for February 2001, the month immediately preceding the last NBER-defined recession.
Jobs numbers disappoint
Was that the other shoe we just heard drop?
August 03, 2007
Weak employment reports
Wall Street took this as a weak jobs report, and it may be worse than people think.
July 28, 2007
Recession Indicators: Where Do They Stand?
Yesterday, Jim presented his latest estimates of the recession probability . Today, I want to update () where we stand regarding the indicators the NBER uses in judging whether the economy is in a recession.
July 14, 2007
More ideas on construction employment
Here are some of the thoughts from other analysts about why reported residential construction employment has not been plummeting.
July 06, 2007
Puzzling over the employment report
How to reconcile the latest solid employment numbers with other indicators of economic weakness?
June 12, 2007
Reconciling the BED, CES, and birth/death employment data
There has been some discussion recently about discrepancies between different government estimates of the state of the labor market. Although a legitimate issue has been raised, there has also been a bit of misunderstanding.
June 03, 2007
Diverging Trends in Recent Employment Measures
Little noted is the fact that, while May's payroll employment release surprised on the upside, the household series were providing conflicting indications.
June 01, 2007
Don't worry, be happy
Yesterday the Bureau of Economic Analysis told us that first-quarter real GDP grew not at the anemic 1.3% annual growth rate as was originally reported in the "advance" estimate given to us at the end of April, but instead was a barely-positive 0.6% as now claimed in the "preliminary" 2007:Q1 estimates. So what's worse than we thought?
May 09, 2007
Why hasn't construction employment plunged?
We're well into a severe housing downturn by every measure except for the number of people working in residential construction.
May 04, 2007
New job creation slows significantly
No, I don't like the latest employment numbers.
May 01, 2007
Idle hands are the devil's workshop
Professor Gordon Dahl (my colleague here at UCSD) and Berkeley Professor Stefano DellaVigna have an interesting new research paper titled Does Movie Violence Increase Violent Crime?
April 13, 2007
The Last Throes of PoMo Macro?
That is to say, is Post-Modernist Macroeconomic Policy over?
April 08, 2007
Employment in March: Comparisons across Measures, Time, and Levels vs. Growth
The March employment figures have almost universally been hailed as evidence of a strong labor market, given how the announced value exceeded expectations, and the fact that previous months values were revised upward (WSJ1, WSJ2, Reuters, Bloomberg; contrarian opinion at Big Picture, Capital Spectator). (Jim Hamilton has already discussed how likely these figures are to be revised, in light of other complementary data.) Without disagreeing, I think it behooves us to consider other ways of looking at the data.
April 06, 2007
Strong March employment growth
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today that U.S. nonfarm payrolls, as measured by their survey of establishments, increased by a seasonally adjusted 180,000 workers in March.
March 18, 2007
Attaining Internal and External Equilibrium in China
China raises rates again. What will higher rates do?
March 09, 2007
Slower employment growth
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today that U.S. nonfarm payrolls, as measured by their survey of establishments, increased by a seasonally adjusted 97,000 workers in February.
January 15, 2007
Discussing the Economy on Minnesota Public Radio
January 07, 2007
I have been suggesting that the best statistical approach, when confronted with conflicting signals such as the employment estimates from the BLS payroll survey, the separate BLS household survey, or the huge database from the private company Automatic Data Processing, is not to selectively throw some of the data out but rather to combine the different measures. Judging from some of the comments this suggestion has received both
January 05, 2007
Employment still holding up (I think)
Another week of some wildly contradictory employment indicators.
January 04, 2007
President Bush on Economics
On Wednesday, the President writes in a Wall Street Journal op-ed (sub. req.):
December 10, 2006
The Economic Debate over Minimum Wage Effects
A little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing. How does extending the debate beyond Econ 101 levels of analysis change the nature of the debate?
December 08, 2006
Employment remains solid
This week's employment data do not show an economy in recession.
December 07, 2006
Compensation Catch-up Postponed
The Administration has been lauding the acceleration in compensation growth. Newly revised figures indicate that the rejoicing was premature, as Q2 real compensation growth was revised downward.
November 05, 2006
Using those employment numbers
What do you do when one line of the latest government statistical release says that U.S. employment grew by 92,000 jobs during October, while 4 paragraphs later the same report gives the number at 437,000?
November 04, 2006
The October Employment Report: Dunking the Data in Some Cold Water
There has been much hullaballoo about how tight the labor market is given the upward revisions in the August and September figures, on top of the preliminary benchmark revision reported last month.
October 09, 2006
Perspective on the Employment Release and Preliminary Benchmark Revision
There was a lot of discussion surrounding the BLS's benchmark revision. Dave Altig at Macroblog has an excellent review, while Ritholz at Big Picture is perturbed about the magnitude of the data revision. Without claiming to have greater insights into why the revision is so large, I do think a look at the context would be useful.
September 26, 2006
Further reflections on productivity and compensation trends
Another way to look at the relationship between productivity and real compensation.
September 12, 2006
"Job Creation Continues: More than 5.7 Million Jobs Created Since August 2003" -- White House
Following up on Floyd Norris's article on how slow employment growth has been during the current expansion, as well as numerous other comments on the Web, I examine other dimensions of labor market performance.
September 05, 2006
The labor market and the incipient slowdown
Some other aspects of the employment release in context.
August 09, 2006
Could it be that we're already in a recession? Lessons from the last episode
There's a lot of talk about recession these days, despite the fairly rapid average growth of GDP in the past few quarters. Krugman (via DeLong) observes a slowdown is coming that might feel a lot like a recession. DeLong considers whether Fed policy has already raised rates to such a degree a recession is inevitable. Roubini bravely cites probabilities. My colleague James Hamilton provides a contrasting opinion, based upon his academic work with Chauvet [pdf].
August 04, 2006
A pause it shall be
The last month has been something of a cliffhanger for Fed watchers. But today the market seemed to make up its mind.
June 06, 2006
Bernanke tells it like it is
Once again I recommend the most recent statement of our Federal Reserve Chair as some of the finest economic analysis you will find anywhere.
June 03, 2006
Indications of slower growth
This week's data paint a picture of slowing growth.
May 31, 2006
Does a new economic team mean a new economic policy?
Henry Paulson has been nominated to the position of Secretary of Treasury. Will it matter?
May 24, 2006
Gambling on Trade
In 2001, the Bush Administration set in motion the machinery to impose tariffs on steel imports. The purported reason was to secure fast track (trade negotiating) authority. How does that gamble look five years later?
April 17, 2006
Even more on the employment report
A contrarian perspective on employment growth
April 08, 2006
Who's grumpy about this week's good economic news?
People who bought long-term Treasuries at 4.3%, that's who.
March 26, 2006
Facing the immigration question
Andrew Samwick had an extremely thoughtful post this weekend.
March 11, 2006
The latest employment figures: implications for policy
Stronger employment growth in February than I and many others had been expecting.
February 04, 2006
Some context for the annual benchmark revision of employment
(Revised) Employment growth is up, but (revised) employment is down.
Latest employment data
The latest employment data are quite encouraging, though some may have overstated the case for enthusiasm.
January 29, 2006
Autos and the U.S. economy
A number of analysts have suggested that autos play a much less significant role in the U.S. economy today than they have historically. The data from 2005 would seem to call that conclusion into question.
January 09, 2006
Hazards of partial reading and partial equilibrium analysis
For some people, the answer to every problem is a tax cut
December 29, 2005
Properties of Some Labor Market Indicators
The information content of the establishment vs. household-based employment series vs. hours worked.
December 26, 2005
The post-recession employment record
How well are workers doing?
December 19, 2005
Declining real wages
How concerned should we be about the downward trend in real wages?
November 06, 2005
Latest employment statistics: the clear thing is that it's not at all clear
October 23, 2005
Ford joins the club
Having commented on a number of occasions about General Motors' woes, and striving to be an Equal Opportunity PunditTM, it's only fair to give credit where credit is due. Ford this week showed that it can compete with the best of them in terms of losing money, posting a loss on its North American operations of $1.2 billion for the third quarter and $2.4 billion over the last 15 months. I'm not sure what advice to give Ford. But here's what I think we might expect from U.S. policy makers.
October 09, 2005
Macro effects of oil shocks-- what should we be looking for next?
I recently prepared an entry on the macroeconomic effects of oil shocks for the new edition of the Palgrave Dictionary of Economics. Here I sketch some of the material from that essay and explore the implications for where the economy may be headed next.
September 25, 2005
Responding to supply shocks
It seems pretty clear to me that a monetary contraction isn't the appropriate policy response to a supply shock. Apparently there are those within the Federal Reserve who see things differently.
August 12, 2005
The under-reported good news about productivity
If you focus too much on the latest statistics and speculation about what could go wrong, it's easy to lose sight of some very important long-term trends. The solid growth of U.S. productivity is one piece of very good news that's not getting sufficient attention.
July 24, 2005
How many people should be working in America?
Quite a few commentators have suggested that the labor force participation rate is a much better indicator of the health of the U.S. labor market than is the unemployment rate. I feel that quite a few commentators have this wrong.
July 08, 2005
Are the new employment figures really that bad?
The unemployment rate has reached its lowest level of the last four years, and yet some economists still wring their hands in despair over the anemic job situation. I'm having some trouble following their reasoning on this one.
June 04, 2005
Disappointing job statistics?
The May employment figures released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics yesterday sent mixed signals, revealing that U.S. job creation slowed in May even as the unemployment rate edged slightly lower.