I am getting back to my monetary economics roots with this post. Bloomberg has a really interesting piece (found here). One well known forecasting tool or leading indicator known to the public at-large is the inverted yield curve. After an inversion the economy goes into recession within a few quarters, or so the story goes.
From time to time the calls on the radio turn to questions about the possibilities of market corrections and the likelihood of recession, panic, depression and so on. For the most part these calls died down since 2014 or so, which may just mean they are getting ready to start up again. The number of pages devoted to the examination of economic crises, financial market and otherwise, is long and there are some good and many bad and I try to steer callers to the better ones as much as I can. To that end, Brian Dowd at FocusEconomics wrote up a really nice history of the Tulip Crisis, one of the first financial panic/crisis events we really understand as a bubble. You can find his full post here.
In a recent post I discussed the level of annual salary in several categories for North Dakota and some of the implications. I also discussed the rank for the overall average salary. As many of my students would likely think, there is a need to make a correction to those numbers. There are two things that can vary for those annual salary numbers, the distribution of the workforce and the compensation by occupational category. Continue reading More on North Dakota Wages—Standardized Comparisons
As I consider the current state of the North Dakota economy as well as the economic outlook, I continue to think about labor market issues. Last week on the radio the discussion of wages resonated with the audience, and is obviously a key factor in relieving labor constraints. Realistically, internal demographic issues (low birth rates, outmigration, etc.) and environmental issues (North Dakota winters tend to be cold) could be resolved by appropriate levels for wages. The precise amount of compensating differential is not my target right now, I am just recognizing that such a circumstance could exist.
I argued before that North Dakota is labor-constrained. My thinking on this went through multiple iterations, and I continue to try and refine this. In particular the data to demonstrate this most clearly just may not exist at this time, but I continue to pursue it. Here is the state of wages from Q1 2017 by county in North Dakota.
I was asked about the path of sales tax collections in Grand Forks recently so I took to my trusty computer and made a graph. This looks at the rolling total tax accumulations by month for each of the last five years. There is a great deal of clustering for these years, but 2017 looks to be on track for one of the lowest years.
With the debt ceiling issue shelved (temporarily, I mean three months is no time at all) most eyes turn towards tax policy now. There are enough games played regarding language right now, “Tax reform” v. “Tax relief” v. “Tax cuts”, that it would seem we are in for an extended debate, or a really long argument. With leadership apparently content to draft plans outside of the committee process there seems to be little chance to quell discontent from within their own party.
I testified in front of the state legislature forecast committee at the end of July and gave my feedback on proper process improvement North Dakota could, and should, make. Each of the items I mentioned could be an entire discussion on its own which makes testimony under a time limit a bit of an issue. And then I realized, I have a blog, so I can extend my thoughts as needed. The first point to discuss further is forecast horizon.
It surprised few that the debt ceiling is a topic of discussion again, although the way this is unfolding may actually be a surprise. The leaders of the House of Representatives and the Senate both seem convinced there will be an approval of a debt ceiling increase before the end of the government’s fiscal year. For the time being markets seem to largely believe this.
This is an active question in much of the United States and North Dakota right now. The answer is elusive and this recent post on FocusEconomics by Oliver Wright makes that abundantly clear.