More On Unemployment

These are great graphs! In just a minute or 2, through a series from The Washington Post, you can understand our employment problems. Our starting point is potential output during the past decade. We …

Spend More or Less?

It was perfect. On the left side of the NY Times Op-Ed page, David Brooks defended the austerity approach. On the right was Paul Krugman saying spend more. Those are the alternatives. Maybe now it wil…

Becoming Ben Bernanke

This was fun! A 5 minute Federal Reserve simulation lets you target the fed funds rate for 16 hypothetical quarters and then watch the inflation and unemployment impact. It all appears manageable unti…

Social Contagion

If unemployment creates unhappiness, then will people be less unhappy if their friends are also unemployed? According to a recent IMF paper, not only are people less unhappy when they and their friend…

Costly Legislation

Looking at a recent NY Times article, whose title was, “Cost of Jobs Bill Leaves Some Democrats Leery,” I wondered whether the author realized just how many costs his discussion involved. …

How Are We Doing?

Hearing that U.S. real GDP growth for the first quarter was 3.2%, I wondered how well we were doing. We can look at past recessions to assess 3.2%. Looking back to the early 1980s, some economists say…

Icemen and Pinsetters

In a wonderful story, NPR looked at “The Jobs of Yesteryear.”  Among those they discussed were pinsetters, elevator operators, icemen, and lamplighters. For each one, while technology made…

A New Kind of Misery Index?

11.84 is the current level of our “misery index” if we use what Arthur Okun (economic advisor to Lyndon Johnson) created. November unemployment + inflation rates = 11.84. However, accordin…

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