Blog Archive

CFE | Commentary

More jobs than people to fill them?

We may have reached a point where there are simply not enough people who want to work to fill all the available jobs in the United States. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today that in March there were 6,550,000 unfilled jobs in the country, on a seasonally adjusted basis. It reported there were 6,585,000 […]

CFE | Commentary

Good and bad news in the jobs report

Here’s the good news: The unemployment rate for young adult men is now lower than it was on the eve of the financial crisis a decade ago. Here’s the bad news: So is the employment rate. The explanation for those seemingly contradictory facts is that there has been a significant rise in the number of […]

CFE | Spotlight

A Chat with Floyd Norris

At the CFE, we try to pair the teaching of textbook tools with a large dose of the wisdom and common sense it takes to apply those tools astutely in real situations. We are, therefore, particularly excited about the fact that Floyd Norris has joined us, and will be teaching undergraduate classes, attending Economics Department […]

CFE Analysis | Macro

Lord make me pure, but not until 2020

In a recent post, we complained that Congress had muzzled the CBO, forbidding them from reporting budget projections until the forecasts could “reflect the tax legislation and any major decisions about spending that the Congress makes in the next few weeks.”[1] We conjectured that the spending cuts offered up would be slated for the out […]

CFE Analysis | Macro

CBO: The dog that didn’t bark, for now

Each January the Congressional Budget Office provides a 10-year budget forecast, driven by the interplay of tax laws, spending commitments, and a 10-year economic projection. Not so in 2018. CBO received a directive from the Senate and House Budget Committee Chairs, instructing them to hold off on supplying a report until they can produce a […]

CFE Analysis | Finance

A Happy New Year for Bitcoin?

The future of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies does not depend on whether digital currency is a good idea—digital currency or some equivalent is clearly a good idea. What will matter is whether cryptocurrencies are as good as other approaches to digital currency. From this perspective, cryptocurrencies look a bit ridiculous. A digital currency is nothing […]

CFE Analysis | Finance

While visions of Bitcoins danced in their heads

Nothing is but branding makes it so. Hamlet, Act 2, Scene 2, sort of Bitcoin has been branded a currency, and some analysts—even some Fed economists—seem to have fallen for it, arguing that Bitcoin’s value as a transactions vehicle explains why this intrinsically useless item has market value. The trouble is that there is no […]

CFE Analysis | Fed

What will the FOMC be discussing next December?

The FOMC has communicated that it is likely to raise the federal funds rate 25 basis points in its meeting today; it would be a major shift in behavior if it didn’t. Thus, the main thing many folks are talking about is what the Fed will signal in the Survey of Economic Projections (SEP) and […]

CFE Analysis | Macro

Jobs and Inflation, Dec. 2017

Eighteen months ago, in “Six Degrees of Separation between jobs and inflation,” we argued that job gains of 200,000 per month could easily continue for the next 18 to 24 months without providing significant upward pressure on inflation. Eighteen months are up, and as of today’s job report we’ve seen solid job growth of 187,00 […]

CFE Analysis | Fed

What will the Fed do? Nov. 2017 edition

Ideally, if there has been no big news about the economy since the previous FOMC meeting, the FOMC should be back-page news. And maybe as part of “normalization” we are getting back to that: tomorrow’s FOMC announcement is likely to be a very sleepy event. Note: Let’s be clear that I’m talking about Wednesday’s FOMC […]

CFE Analysis | Fed

What the next Fed chair will do

Back in normal times, the following question would have seemed peculiar: Which Fed chair candidate would choose highly accommodative policy if a large fiscal stimulus hits an economy in which the unemployment rate is already at historic lows? The question becomes stranger when we add that the Republicans in power might prefer that Chair. What […]

CFE Analysis | Fed

Yellen for Fed Chair?

I received several comments regarding the post on Jay Powell, asking whether I was implicitly stating a preference for Powell over Janet Yellen. Nope. I clearly should have been less obtuse, but I meant only to be commenting on Powell, who had become a strong favorite according to the betting pundits. The Powell piece started […]