Once again it is my honor to be named a Focus Economics top economics and finance blogger. When I started this activity a few years back it was not really with the intent of gaining any notoriety. As an academic discipline Economics actually embraced blogging as a way of discussing ideas and theories relatively early so it was simply a form of engagement with the public and my profession. I really enjoy blogging though and hope to continue it for a long time to come. And okay the notoriety is nice too. You can find the address of the website listing the award recipients below:
Sometime tomorrow, or perhaps today depending on when I get this post completed, President Trump will announce tariffs on imported steel and aluminum. Rather than engage in a knee jerk response that free trade is always the best approach I think it would pay to be a little more circumspect about the outcomes. First, is free trade beneficial to all parties? Well yes and no.
Grand Forks released retail sales tax collections which are for the month of December 2017. There are various different ways to look at the number. It is a .31% increase over December of 2016. An increase is an increase I suppose, though it should be cause for concern if the general optimism permeating the economy surrounding the tax cut happened to miss Grand Forks. The January and February releases for this year, which represent sales tax collected in November and December of 2017, are around 6.5% less than this time last year. It is also the case that 17 of the last 38 months have been lower than year ago values for sales tax collections.
So JT asked me about the existence of a labor shortage in Grand Forks. Essentially asking if there really is one or is it something we make up to explain some issue in local labor markets. Let’s first understand that this can change from time to time, month to month as it were. Let’s go to the data.
A bit of a wonky discussion on the radio today with the guest host. Policy stances for both fiscal and monetary policy were the major topics, mostly with relations to stock price movements. I could talk policy all day, as I did for most of the hour on the radio.