EconoMonitor

Ed Dolan's Econ Blog

  • How Does the Obama Jobs Record Score Against Other Presidents? (Let’s Be Fair)

    As Barack Obama prepares to leave office, there has been a lot of talk about his record of job creation. The raw numbers look pretty  good: Payroll jobs increased by some 11 million from the quarter before Obama’s inauguration to his last full quarter in office. That is the third best among the 12 presidents […]

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  • Is US Fiscal Policy About to Go Procyclical, Yet Again? How Can We Tell?

    As 2017 begins, the US economy is in the middle of a boom, or at least a boomlet. The official unemployment rate is at or below its target level, stock market indicators are hitting all-time highs, and the Fed is starting to get serious about raising interest rates. All this is reflects the expectation of […]

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  • What Is the Nairu and Why Does it Matter?

    In December 2016, after a year-long pause, the Fed resumed its tightening of monetary policy. As usual, the action took the form of a quarter point increase in the target range for the federal funds rate (a key rate that banks charge  on short-term loans to one another). Is still more tightening in store?  Most […]

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  • Deplorables Didn’t Elect Trump, Jams Did

    Hillary Clinton famously characterized Donald Trump’s voters as a “basket of deplorables,” but she was wrong. Our friends, the British, have figured it out: Trump was elected not by deplorables, but by jams. “Jams,” short for “Just About Managing,” is the new term has swept British political discourse. They are defined as a social class […]

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  • One Chart Shows Why the Odds Keep RisingThat the Fed Will Raise Rates

    Will policymakers at the Fed raise interest rates at their December meeting? Wall Street  oddsmakers increasingly think they will. One simple chart shows why. The chart tracks the economy’s progress toward the central  bank’s target of “stable prices and maximum employment.”  The Fed’s rate-setting Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) has operated under this so-called  dual […]

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  • Trade and Jobs: Why the Protectionist Cure Could be Worse Than the Globalization Disease

    Dramatic promises to restrict international trade were a signature element of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. So far, he seems to be following through, with an early reaffirmation of his intent to withdraw US participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). An aggressive stance on trade played a key role in gaining the support of working class […]

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  • Why Do Top Execs Fear Trump, and Fear to Say So?

    It is not surprising that there is little love for Donald Trump’s presidential candidacy among the leaders of top US multinational corporations. Why then, asks Andrew Ross Sorkin of the New York Times, do they not speak out? Why do they quickly follow up their private comments with, “I could never say that on the […]

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  • A Lesson in Unintended Consequences: How Clinton’s Policies Would Raise Effective Tax Rates for the Middle Class

    Hillary Clinton is often said to be a policy wonk, deeply enmeshed in specifics and details, but that may be a mischaracterization. In some ways, her approach seems disturbingly superficial, skipping one perceived problem to another with little attention to their underlying causes. In some cases, Clinton seems to have paid little attention to the […]

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  • How Occupational Licensing Undermines Labor Fluidity

    A healthy economy requires a fluid labor market. Even when total employment and output are stable, the labor market is in constant motion. Jobs disappear when firms close or downsize. Other jobs appear when new firms open or old ones expand. People move freely from one job to another in search of career advancement or […]

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  • What Does the Unemployment Rate Measure? Labor Market Slack or the Social Stress of Joblessness? Why Does it Matter?

    The unemployment rate published monthly by the Bureau of Labor Statistics is one of the most widely watched of all economic indicators. But why? What does it really measure? The news media, politicians, and voters tend to see the unemployment rate as an index of the social stress of joblessness. There is ample evidence to […]

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