Aug 312014
 August 31, 2014  Pic of the Week No Responses »

NEARLY ALL OKLAHOMA COUNTIES HAVE DECLINING UNEMPLOYMENT RATES THE PAST YEAR.  There are a number of ways to gauge the underlying strength of a state economy.  One useful way is to measure the cumulative health of the individual counties. We often do this using a simple form of diffusion index which is simply the sum of counties with a declining unemployment rate the past 12 months. For Oklahoma the indicator has returned to very positive territory. After sluggishness in the state economy in 2013, the state has bounced back in 2014 with the jobless rate in a distinct downtrend in nearly every county.

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Aug 172014
 August 17, 2014  Graphic, Pic of the Week Tagged with:  No Responses »

SELF-EMPLOYMENT REMAINS WEAK – EXCEPT FOR THOSE INCORPORATED.  A common refrain in this recovery is that self-employment is lagging badly.  That is generally true if you look at the traditional measure of self-employment which covers unincorporated businesses (primarily sole proprietors) only. The top graph shows that the level of traditional unincorporated self-employment has been locked in a downtrend during much of the period since 2007. Currently about 9 million persons are self-employed in unincorporated businesses.  Continue reading »

Aug 032014

STRENGTH IN THE FARM SECTOR REACHES NEW HEIGHTS.  A boom in agriculture has been underway in the U.S. since 2009. The breadth and strength of the ongoing expansion in the farm sector isn’t widely recognized outside the Plains states. Crop prices have reached remarkable levels relative to prices from only a decade ago. And it is not just the price for ethanol-driven corn.  Continue reading »

Jul 242014
 July 24, 2014  Graphic, Pic of the Week Tagged with:  No Responses »
Measures of U.S. Labor Force Utilization

BOTTOM IN THE EMPLOYMENT-POPULATION RATIO IS ENCOURAGING.  Way too much attention is paid to the labor force participation rate.  It is the most commonly used measure of the level of involvement of the population in the labor force, but it is not the measure that contains the most information.  That honor belongs to the employment-population ratio.  Continue reading »

Jul 132014
 July 13, 2014  Graphic, Pic of the Week Tagged with:  No Responses »
U.S. Job Growth Dynamics in the Recovery

U.S. Job Growth Remains Both Strong and Consistent.  It has become fashionable to describe U.S. job growth as sub-par or below expectations. But a  deeper look at the data reveals something entirely different – remarkably strong and steady job growth. The U.S. labor market has improved consistently since early 2010 and is now adding jobs at a nearly 2% annual pace. In fact, job growth has now remained above 1.5% at an annual rate for more than 2 years. Continue reading »