Tuesday , August 20 2019
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David Flynn: Barter is Evil

Barter is Evil is an economics blog where the author, Professor David Flynn (University of North Dakota) encourages the exchange of ideas on economics, economic history and statistics. His blog places an emphasis on the North Dakota economy, which provides us with great insight on the impact of the oil industry boom there.

State of the economy, North Dakota edition

The Bureau of Economic Analysis released updated numbers for state level GDP in the last week. The update is through 2019Q1 but it is still an update. There are so many different things to consider and angles to understand that we need to start somewhere. So let’s talk about private versus public share of the economy. Private Sector v. Public Sector One of the more constant themes when I appear on the radio discusses the scale of the private sector versus the public sector. So...

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Facebook Currency and the Great Misperception

Facebook is starting its own currency and the world is abuzz with it. The Chairman of the Federal Reserve received multiple questions about libra, as it is to be called and aside from calling it LIBOR (which stands for London InterBank Offered Rate, a key interest rate) by mistake the response has been somewhat unremarkable. Which is as it should be. A couple of my radio interviews focused on this issue at this point so I felt it time to put up a post dealing with questions I answered...

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On the radio today

David Economist and economic historian with an interest in population analysis and demographic methods. Especially interested in natural disasters and disruptions to economic activity and changes in population dynamics, as well as fiscal and monetary policy with forecasting implications. Husband, father, Cubs fan. View all posts by David

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ND County Unemployment Rates, May 2019

Unemployment is one of the most frequently discussed economic statistics though it is of questionable value in terms of economic forecasting or even as any kind of indicator right now. The labor markets are so strong there really seems to be little value to the measure right now. It is also through contrast or consistency over time that the measure is of the most value. Rolette County is the high outlier in the state right now. There are two very cool spots in the state right...

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Initial Unemployment Claims in ND

Rather than simply looking at conventional measures like the unemployment rate in North Dakota, I thought it time to look at other measures to forecast, such an initial unemployment claims. There are some manipulating needed to the series but here is a look at the raw data. There clearly is a degree of seasonality and some other cyclical issues to tackle, though by and large the series is fairly stable and pretty low in terms of the level and the rate for unemployment claims....

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Interest rate decreases are a cure in search of an ailment

A question I got last week from the radio audience asked if interest rates needed to go down. In brief, my answer was, and remains, no. It is hard to find a metric by which the economy is not doing at least reasonably well. That is, as long you believe deficits do not matter. I happen to believe they do matter and that fiscal policy is a problem of epic proportions with no sign of resolution. Enter the President with his rhetoric against the Fed and little to no understanding about...

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North Dakota Unemployment Rate, April 2019

North Dakota’s unemployment rate is too low, or so I maintain. The extremely low level is an issue for firms thinking about locating into North Dakota. They would need to bid up wages to lure workers. The April data by county for North Dakota seems to suggest that unemployment rates remain low. For the most part the rates are low across the state, especially in the major metropolitan regions. Rolette county is a bit higher than other parts of the state. The unemployment rate in...

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Why a trade war with Mexico is a bigger deal

So I received several questions about the prospects of trade war with Mexico and why it seemed there was a bigger deal made about it compared to a trade war with China. The answer is pretty obvious when you look at the data. The total flow of goods (imports and exports) between the US and China in 2018 (according to the Census Bureau) was almost $660 billion. In 2018 the same amount for Mexico was just under $612 billion. Now $48 billion is a large sum of money, but I wage it is a...

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