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Who Links Here

Wednesday, November 9, 2005
Shouldn’t That be “Heard”?
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 10:06 am

Via the AP: Bernanke Seen As Plain-Spoken Economist

Filed under: US Politics, The Economy | Comments (0) |Send TrackBack
Wednesday, November 2, 2005
$2.39
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 3:40 pm

Whilst out refrigerator shopping I noted gas is heading below $2.40 in some places.

May it continue to fall.

Filed under: The Economy | Comments (3) |Send TrackBack | Show Comments here
Friday, October 28, 2005
GDP Growth More Vigorous Than Expected
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 3:23 pm

Via ABC: GDP Shows Growth

A report of the Commerce Department this morning says the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) grew at a solid 3.8 percent pace during the third quarter. Today’s number is above the 3.5 percent consensus guess of most economists, and is slightly above the average GDP growth (3.6 percent) of the past three years.

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Monday, October 24, 2005
Kudlow on Bernanke
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 8:03 pm

click

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More on the Fed Appointment
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 1:34 pm

It’s at OTB

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New Fed Chief to be Named
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 10:51 am

Barry Ritholtz e-mails to note that Ben Bernanke is to be named the new Fed Chair. Barry comments here.

Here’s the story via Bloomberg: Bush Expected to Name Bernanke as Next Fed Chairman, People Say

President George W. Bush is expected to name White House economic adviser Ben Bernanke later today to succeed Alan Greenspan as Federal Reserve chairman, people familiar with the matter said.

Bernanke is chairman of Bush’s Council of Economic Advisers and a former Fed governor. He canceled meetings scheduled today in New York to remain in Washington. An announcement is set for 1 p.m. Washington time today, people said.

Thankfully, he looks qualified and eveything.

More later, no doubt.

Filed under: US Politics, The Economy | Comments (2) |Send TrackBack | Show Comments here
Thursday, September 29, 2005
Happy Dow
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 2:37 pm

Via Reuters: Latest News and Financial Information

U.S. stocks rose on Thursday, led by technology shares, as a big drop in weekly unemployment claims and better-than-expected earnings from companies including PepsiCo Inc. (PEP.N: Quote, Profile, Research) lifted sentiment about the economy.

Filed under: US Politics, The Economy | Comments (1) |Send TrackBack | Show Comments here
Tuesday, September 6, 2005
Good Oil News
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 7:49 am

Not great, but good: OTB has the details.

Update: And the BBC has this: Refineries return after Katrina

Including this table:

The key issue is refinery capacity, not the crude oil supply, so as these facilities go back online our overall supply problems will subside and provide some price relief.

Filed under: US Politics, The Economy, Hurricanes | Comments (2) |Send TrackBack | Show Comments here

The Theocrats linked with Gas Stablizing, Thanks to Markets
Wednesday, August 17, 2005
Adjusting for Inflation (A Discussion of Comparing Data)
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 12:39 pm

It has been noted (although in my opinion, not enough) that while oil prices are at record levels in nominal dollars, they are not at record highs historically.

At any rate, such statements have the Misanthrope at Toner Mishap a tad annoyed (imagine that ;) ):

It does not seem that we should compare products based on an adjusted for inflation index unless everything is based similarly. We can’t adjust our pay checks for inflation. Adjust my home for inflation and it’s worth $2 million, but you say my home value is current. So are the gas prices. They have not stayed stagnant. My salary is current, adjust it for inflation and I should be making something akin to a poor mid-level executive. Adjusted for inflation seems a bogus yard stick.

To risk getting on Misanthrope’s bad side (he is a regular reader here), I have to correct his assessment. While I am not an economist (although I was an economics major for two whole quarters in college), I do know something about political economy and specifically I know about analytical comparisons of data. If one wishes to make comparisons over time of economic statistics in specific currency amounts (as well as other metrics) one has to adjust for inflation.

To see what I mean, one can check out a nifty resource at Economic History Resources: What is its Relative Value in U.S. Dollars?. Not only does it note that comparing the value of money over time is difficult, it has some calculators to aid in such comparisons. For example, using just CPI (i.e., inflation), the 1980 equivalent of $40,000 today was $17,903.88. So a guy making $40k today isn’t hurt as much paying $2.50/gallon as a person making $17k was paying $1.5/gallon. Indeed, $2.5o in 2003 dollars was worth $5.59 in 1980 dollars. In other words, what we are paying now would have cost $5.59 then.

By way of another example, here’s a list of movie ticket prices adjusted for inflation, where we see that paying $.07 in 1903 was like paying $6.40 in 2005.

Inflation adjustment does matter greatly in making these comparisons.

The funny thing is that I have had the opposite reaction to Mr. M: I get annoyed every time it is noted on tv, the radio or in print that oil prices are “at record highs” without noting the inflation issue. There is no doubt that the oil prices spikes in the 1970s and early 1980s were far more significant to the general economy than the current spike.

This is not to say that the current spike isn’t significant; it is. And it affects me personally the university is 38ish miles from my house one-way and my kids just started going to school across town (although they do ride the bus in the morning).

Update: correction made to first sentence as per error noted by Sean Hackbarth in the comments.

Filed under: US Politics, The Economy | Comments (5) |Send TrackBack | Show Comments here

Cinerati linked with Economics...Games...Movies...and Comic Books
Unlocked Wordhoard linked with On his bad side
Wednesday, August 10, 2005
Attack on Boredom (and Tales of the Economy)
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 9:12 am

Via WaPo: Boredom Numbs the Work World

Although workers may dream of days surfing the Internet with nothing to do, the busiest employees are the happiest, according to a survey by Sirota Consulting LLC. Of more than 800,000 employees at 61 organizations worldwide, those with “too little work” gave an overall job satisfaction rating of 49 out of 100, while those with “too much work” had a rating of 57.

This is hardly surprising. While being overloaded is a stress, at least then one feels needed and useful.

Although a little lull now and then is welcome as well, one would think.

I love, however, how the author of the story managed to turn the first have of it into a slam of the Bush administration, telling tales of Bruce Bartlett, deputy assistant secretary for economic policy at the U.S. Treasury, going to movies on occassion because he was bored:

Bartlett’s problem was that he was deputy assistant secretary for economic policy when the president “just didn’t care about economic policy, only foreign policy. . . . Because the White House didn’t want to do anything, there wasn’t anything we could do,” he said.

Perhaps there are simply too many bureaucrats in Washington?

And, given GDP growth, unemployment levels and the recent growth in wages, maybe not doing much was the way to go…

Filed under: US Politics, The Economy | Comments (1) |Send TrackBack | Show Comments here
Tuesday, August 9, 2005
Fed Set for Quarter Point Hike
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 9:00 am

Via the AP: Fed Likely to Raise Rates a Quarter-Point

Although economists once expected the Fed to pause for awhile in its rate hikes, many now believe the central bank will keep pushing rates higher at each of the remaining three meetings this year, leaving the funds rate at 4.25 percent by year’s end.

“I think it will be steady as she goes, a quarter-point at each meeting,” said David Wyss, chief economist at Standard & Poor’s in New York.

The reason for the change of opinion has been an economy that is showing new vigor after a slowdown in the early spring. Overall economic growth, as measured by the gross domestic product, came in at a solid 3.4 percent rate in the April-June quarter, and many analysts believe it is growing at an even faster pace in the current quarter.

The solid growth helped the economy create 207,000 jobs in July, the best showing in three months. Hourly wages rose by 0.4 percent in July, the biggest increase in a year.

Filed under: US Politics, The Economy | Comments (0) |Send TrackBack
Friday, August 5, 2005
Good Jobs News
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 8:13 am

Via Reuters/the NYT: U.S. Employers Added 207,000 in July, Better Than Expected

U.S. job growth picked up last month as employers added 207,000 workers to their payrolls, a healthy gain that outstripped Wall Street expectations, a government report showed on Friday.

The unemployment rate held steady at the 2-3/4-year low of 5 percent reached in June, the Labor Department said.

While some economists had thought the report might be skewed by Hurricane Dennis, which battered the Florida panhandle in mid-July, the department said the storm appeared to have no discernible impact on the data.

Overall, the report was a bit stronger than Wall Street analysts had expected. Economists had forecast a job gain of 183,000 with the jobless rate steady.

A net upward revision of 42,000 to the job growth figures for May and June contributed to the report’s solid tenor. U.S. employers added 166,000 workers in June and 126,000 in May.

Filed under: US Politics, The Economy | Comments (2) |Send TrackBack | Show Comments here
Saturday, July 9, 2005
Good News on the Job Front
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 1:43 pm

Unemployment Dips to Lowest Level in Years

The unemployment rate dipped in June to its lowest level in nearly four years as employers expanded payrolls modestly, a sign that the nation’s job market is plugging — not powering — ahead.

[…]

The civilian unemployment rate dropped to 5 percent in June, down a notch from 5.1 percent in May and the lowest since September 2001. The jobless rate has drifted downward after hitting 6.3 percent in June 2003, its highest point during the economic recovery.

Payroll growth, on the other hand, has been choppy from month to month. Employers added 146,000 new jobs in June, up from 104,000 in May.

Filed under: US Politics, The Economy | Comments (2) |Send TrackBack | Show Comments here
Thursday, June 30, 2005
Good Econ News
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 8:47 am

Via Reuters on Jobs: Jobless claims unexpectedly fall

The number of Americans seeking initial jobless compensation unexpectedly fell 6,000 last week to 310,000, its lowest level in more than two months, the government said on Thursday.

First-time claims for state unemployment insurance, an early reading on the resilience of the job market, fell for the second straight week, slipping to 310,000 in the week ended June 25 from a revised 316,000 in the previous week, the Labor Department said.

Also, 1Q GDP was revised upward:

Robust new-home building and stronger exports helped the U.S. economy expand at a faster-than-expected 3.8 percent annual rate in the first quarter, the Commerce Department said on Wednesday.

The final figure topped Wall Street economists’ forecasts for a 3.7 percent growth rate and added to expectations that the U.S. central bank will again raise short-term interest rates this week. A key inflation gauge in the report was revised a bit lower, and is expected to allow the Fed to continue what it calls a “measured” pace of rate increases.

This marks the second time gross domestic product — the broadest measure of total economic activity within U.S. borders — has been revised higher for the first quarter and now it matches the rate posted in the closing quarter of 2004.

Filed under: US Politics, The Economy | Comments (0) |Send TrackBack
Tuesday, June 21, 2005
The Credit Card Black Market
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 6:30 am

The NYT has an interesting and disturbing piece on the black market in credit card numbers: Black Market in Stolen Credit Card Data Thrives on Internet

The online trade in credit card and bank account numbers, as well as other raw consumer information, is highly structured. There are buyers and sellers, intermediaries and even service industries. The players come from all over the world, but most of the Web sites where they meet are run from computer servers in the former Soviet Union, making them difficult to police.

Traders quickly earn titles, ratings and reputations for the quality of the goods they deliver - quality that also determines prices. And a wealth of institutional knowledge and shared wisdom is doled out to newcomers seeking entry into the market, like how to move payments and the best time of month to crack an account.

The Federal Trade Commission estimates that roughly 10 million Americans have their personal information pilfered and misused in some way or another every year, costing consumers $5 billion and businesses $48 billion annually.

The sophistication of the process is remarkable anbd hardly comforting.

Filed under: US Politics, Global Politics, The Economy | Comments (0) |Send TrackBack
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