I changed the look of the website a bit, but the content will remain the same. I remain convinced North Dakota is a fascinating subject for economic research. In particular the population dynamics with the economy in the state are fascinating and an important subject for my continued research. I’ll continue to post about these ideas as I can, as well as general economic trends and aspects that are important. I will also post about my bank regulation and forecasting classes for this term.
In an epic display of the more things change, the more they stay the same Paul Ryan is unhappy with the process of fiscal policy under his own leadership. I will wait to comment on the legislation more fully when the votes are in (what the end passing coalition looks like may be the most interesting part of this). With this policy we essentially put in place tax cuts and spending increases, so something for both parties to celebrate or at least sell as a victory. Of course it is fiscally irresponsible and leads me to the generic comment I want to make: fiscal policy is not working. As much as people (in and out of government) want to take aim at the Fed, their policy decisions can be justified as following a defined approach to policy and the world.
In what may be the most telegraphed monetary policy move in history the Federal Reserve raised rates today by 0.25% (here is an article). The great wailing and gnashing of teeth predicted by all the Chicken Littles seems not to have come to pass though. I have been saying this on JT’s show for the better part of a year now: If the economy is so fragile that a 0.25% increase in rates is a threat to economic growth than we have bigger issues.
The future is always uncertain, but it seems that labor markets in the core Bakken counties could be having their Mark Twain moment: “The report of my death was an exaggeration.” My central argument here is not that the markets are not correcting, and I am not suggesting declines in employment will not happen, though the extent of that decide is obviously debatable. At some level, you might expect people to welcome the pause in the employment growth occurring now. It could reduce pressures in the other related areas such as housing. Regardless of any decline, the data show that employment is still more than twice the level from just 5 years ago (see figure below).
The old saying goes that a picture is worth a thousand words. Clearly the idea is that one good image could relay information better than a lengthy description. There are two issues with that: 1) it needs to be the right graph, and 2) the graph may need at least some explanation. I think this is true of the North Dakota oil story right now. Those who watch these things will not find anything new or exciting in the following graph.