EconoMonitor

Ed Dolan's Econ Blog

  • Revisions Push Private Payroll Job Gains to Levels Not Seen Since Dot.Com Boom

    Strong upward revisions reported yesterday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics pushed US payroll job gains to levels not seen since the dot.com boom of the 1990s. According to preliminary data, the economy added 257,000 total payroll jobs in January 2015. The report revised gains for November upward from 353,000 to 423,000 and those from [...]

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  • What Ever Happened to the Misery Index?

    Remember the 1960s? The 1970s? Back then, inflation surged from one peak to another but failed to deliver the low unemployment rates promised by the Phillips curve. In fit of frustration, economist Arthur Okun invented what he called the misery index—the sum of the inflation and unemployment rates. As the following chart shows, those were [...]

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  • As US Growth Slows in Q4, Inflation Turns Negative

    The Bureau of Economic Analysis reported today that the growth rate of real GDP slowed to an annual rate of 2.6 percent in the fourth quarter of 2014. That is barely half of the 5 percent rate reported for the third quarter, but still a bit above the 2.4 percent average growth rate since the [...]

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  • Prices are Falling in the Eurozone, but is it “Real” Deflation?

    The Eurozone has been on the brink of deflation for months. The latest data show that for the first time, consumer prices for the currency area as a whole (and for 12 of its 19 member countries) were actually lower in December than a year earlier. But is it “real” deflation? In a pair of [...]

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  • As Unemployment Rate Hits a New Low, More Slack Remains in the Labor Market than Meets the Eye

    The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today that the unemployment rate dropped to 5.6 percent in December, a new low for the recovery. For the first time in years, the unemployment rate has fallen to the range of 5.25-5.75 percent that the Fed considers consistent with its mandate to maintain full employment. In the same [...]

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  • Why Angry Greek Voters Backed Change in Fiscal Policy. What Lessons for America?

    First posted Jan. 6, updated Jan 26. Updates in italics Yesterday Greek voters overwhelmingly rejected the policies of extreme austerity favored by its Eurozone partners. Yes, Greece’s problems are, at least in part homemade. No outside powers forced it to run the excessive deficits that fed an overheated boom in the years leading up to [...]

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  • Update: By One Measure, It’s Now Cheaper to Drive Than Ever Before

    In August, I posted an item showing how many miles you could drive your car on an hour’s wages. At that time, the average US price for gasoline was $3.60 per hour. Based on an average wage for production and nonsupervisory workers of $20.61 per hour and an average fleet economy of 24.3 miles per [...]

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  • What Lies Behind the Plunge of the Ruble?

    Russia’s economy is in trouble. Growth has come to a halt. A recession looms in 2015. Inflation, interest rates, and capital flight are up. The government’s budget is under strain. More than any of these, what makes the headlines is the plunge of the ruble, which, at one point in mid-December, had lost half of [...]

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  • As Jobs Surge, Term Structure of Unemployment Remains Distorted

    The US economy added 321,000 payroll jobs in November, the best in almost three years. Strong upward revisions to September and October numbers boosted the 12-month gain to 2,756,000, a new high for the recovery. The official unemployment rate was unchanged at 5.8 percent. The broad unemployment rate, U-6, which takes into account discouraged workers [...]

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  • Universal Basic Income vs. Unemployment Insurance: Which is the Better Safety Net?

    A universal basic income (UBI) and unemployment insurance (UI) are two possible forms of social insurance for an economy in which job loss is a significant risk. Which works better? How generous should either program be? Would a combination of the two be best of all? These are the questions that Alice Fabre, Stéphane Pallage, [...]

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Richard Wood Richard Wood

Richard has published papers on wages policy, the taxation of financial arrangements and macroeconomic issues in Pacific island countries. Views expressed in these articles are his own and may not be shared by his employing agency. He is the author of How to Solve the European Economic Crisis: Challenging orthodoxy and creating new policy paradigms