PERC Blog


Authored by PERC staff, the PERC Blog focuses on policy issues including fiscal policy, Social Security and Medicare entitlement programs, income inequality and Federal Reserve policy.

The Summer Without Vacations and the Hospitality and Leisure Industry

Posted: August 11, 2020 by Andrew J. Rettenmaier
Between June 2009, the end of the Great Recession, and February 2020, the start of the COVID Recession, total nonfarm employment grew by over 16%. In the private sector, employment grew almost 20%.  The figure below depicts employment by industry indexed to the respective industries’ employment in June 2009. Employment in Transportati...
Tags: Economic Trends

GDP Fell 32.9% in the Second Quarter! What Does that Mean?

Posted: July 31, 2020 by Dennis W. Jansen
The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) reported yesterday that in its preliminary estimate the U.S. Gross Domestic Product – GDP – fell at an annualized rate of 34.3% in the second quarter. (The BEA also reported that Real GDP – GDP adjusted for inflation – fell at an annualized rate of 32.9%.) These are unprecedented...
Tags: Economic Trends, Fiscal Policy

June Unemployment Rate for College Station-Bryan MSA Ranks Among Lowest In Texas

Posted: July 29, 2020 by Dennis W. Jansen, Carlos I. Navarro, Andrew J. Rettenmaier
In data just released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the June unemployment rate for the College Station – Bryan Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) was 5.9%, second only to Amarillo’s rate of 5.8% among Texas’ 25 official MSAs. Abilene came in third with an unemployment rate of 6.1%. For comparison, the May unemployment rat...
Tags: Economic Trends

Hope Mounts as Covid-19 Counts Decrease in Texas

Posted: July 28, 2020 by Dennis W. Jansen
The continued economic growth and reopening of the economy in Texas, and in Brazos County, critically depends on getting a handle on the recent surge of Covid-19 cases. Fortunately, the recent evidence from last week is relatively good news, with declining rates of new infections and declining counts of active cases. There are positive signs in ...
Tags: Economic Trends

Unemployment Rates Are Headed in the Right Direction

Posted: July 17, 2020 by Andrew J. Rettenmaier
The unemployment rate in the U.S. reached 14.7% in April, declined to 13.3% in May, and fell further to 11.1% in June.  While the trend is in the right direction, the June rate is still higher than the peak monthly rates in all of the post-war recessions. As the Great Recession waned, the national rate reached 10% in October 2009, and it re...
Tags: Economic Trends

The Unemployment Rate for May in the College Station–Bryan MSA Tied for Lowest in Texas

Posted: July 01, 2020 by Dennis W. Jansen, Andrew J. Rettenmaier
In data just released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate in May for the College Station–Bryan Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) was 8.9%, tied with Amarillo for lowest among the states’ 25 official MSAs.  Abilene came in third with an unemployment rate of 9.1%.  At the other extreme, McAllen-Edinburg...
Tags: Economic Trends

Initial UI Claims Decline for the Tenth Week in a Row; Still High by Historical Standards

Posted: June 12, 2020 by Carlos I. Navarro, Andrew J. Rettenmaier
The figure below shows the counts of initial unemployment claims in the U.S. from the week ending March 14, 2020 to the week ending June 6, 2020. The week ending on March 28 had the highest number of initial claims at 6,867,000, with the number of initial claims declining each week since that time. Last week, 1,542,000 workers filed a claim. Ove...
Tags: Economic Trends

This Just In: April Unemployment Rates in Texas Range From 9.2% in Amarillo to 19.1% in McAllen-Edinburg-Mission

Posted: June 04, 2020 by Dennis W. Jansen, Carlos I. Navarro, Andrew J. Rettenmaier
The figure below depicts the April rates for all of the Texas metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs). These data were released on June 3 by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Only three Texas MSAs had unemployment rates less than 10%. Amarillo had the lowest rate of 9.2%, Abilene’s rate was 9.3% and College Station-Bryan’s rate was 9.4%....
Tags: Economic Trends

New U.S. Unemployment Insurance Claims Drop to 2.1 Million for the Week Ending May 23; Number of Insured Unemployed Decline

Posted: May 29, 2020 by Carlos I. Navarro, Andrew J. Rettenmaier
For the week that ended on May 23, 2020, 2,123,000 workers filed unemployment insurance (UI) claims. This is the eighth week that initial weekly claims have declined from the previous week. Initial claims averaged a week-to-week decrease of 13.5% since April 4th. The highest initial claims were recorded the week ending March 28 when they reached...
Tags: Economic Trends, Fiscal Policy

Dealing With COVID-19 in Texas: Goodbye China, Hello Sweden

Posted: May 27, 2020 by Dennis W. Jansen, Liqun Liu
Among the many strategies undertaken by the countries in the world to fight the Covid-19 pandemic, two extreme forms stand out prominently. One is China's heavy-handed authoritarian approach which prescribes what individuals and businesses should and should not do with little consideration of civil liberties.  The primary goal...
Tags: Economic Trends, Health care

U.S. Unemployment Insurance Claims Fall to 2.4 Million for the Week Ending May 16; Texas’ April Unemployment Rises to 12.8%

Posted: May 22, 2020 by Carlos I. Navarro, Andrew J. Rettenmaier
For the week that ended on May 16, 2020, 2,438,000 workers filed unemployment insurance (UI) claims. This is the seventh week that initial weekly claims have declined from the previous week. The highest initial claims were recorded the week ending March 28 when they reached 6,867,000.  In the last nine weeks, we have seen 38.6 million initi...
Tags: Economic Trends

This Time Is Different: Women's Unemployment Rate Tops Men's

Posted: May 13, 2020 by Dennis W. Jansen, Carlos I. Navarro, Andrew J. Rettenmaier
Starting with the recession of July 1981 to November 1982, and continuing with the three subsequent NBER-dated recessions of July 1990 to March 1991, March 2001 to November 2001, and December 2007 to June 2009, the unemployment rate for men has increased more during (or immediately after) a recession compared to the increase in the unemployment ...
Tags: Economic Trends, Fiscal Policy

Texas: the 2020 Fiscal Crisis

Posted: May 08, 2020 by Carlos I. Navarro
Contrary to what may be suggested, it is very difficult to assess public performance in an unprecedented situation. However, the natural law is constant in any equation. It is natural for humans to thrive in freedom. The right to enterprise, work and trade freely has been the most important variable when measuring the increase in real income in ...
Tags: Economic Trends, Fiscal Policy

Unemployment Rate in the US Hits Historic High Since Great Depression

Posted: May 08, 2020 by Dennis W. Jansen, Carlos I. Navarro, Andrew J. Rettenmaier
Every month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) releases an Employment Situation Summary for the United States. The summary released on May 8th, 2020, includes national unemployment estimates for the month of April 2020. The unemployment data depicted below are seasonally adjusted and are reported by the BLS. The last reported data point for t...
Tags: Economic Trends, Fiscal Policy

Over 30 Million Unemployment Claims During the Last Six Weeks

Posted: May 01, 2020 by Dennis W. Jansen, Carlos I. Navarro, Andrew J. Rettenmaier
For the week that ended on April 25, 2020, 3,839,000 workers filed unemployment insurance (UI) claims. The revised count for the week ending April 18 is 4,442,000 claims. The highest initial claims were recorded the week ending March 28, when they reached 6,867,000. In the last six weeks, we have seen over 30 million initial claims, a number whi...
Tags: Economic Trends, Fiscal Policy

Unemployment Claims Over the Last Four Weeks Top 22 Million

Posted: April 17, 2020 by Dennis W. Jansen, Carlos I. Navarro, Andrew J. Rettenmaier
For the fourth week in a row, millions of U.S. workers filed unemployment insurance (UI) claims. For the week that ended on April 11, 2020, 5,245,000 workers filed UI claims. The revised count for April 4 is 6,615,000 claims. For the weeks ending on March 28 and March 21, the number of initial claims were 6,867,000 and 3,307,000, respectively. I...
Tags: Economic Trends, Fiscal Policy

The U.S. lost 10% of its workforce in only three weeks; Texas lost almost 6%!

Posted: April 09, 2020 by Dennis W. Jansen, Carlos I. Navarro, Andrew J. Rettenmaier
For the second week in a row, seasonally adjusted initial Unemployment Insurance (UI) claims topped 6 million workers. For the week that ended on April 4, 2020, 6,606,000 filed UI claims. Last week’s revised count is 6,867,000 claims, and for the week ending on March 21, the revised number of initial claims is 3,307,000. In the last three ...
Tags: Economic Trends, Fiscal Policy

Unemployment Insurance Claims Reach Another Record High

Posted: April 03, 2020 by Dennis W. Jansen, Carlos I. Navarro, Andrew J. Rettenmaier
Seasonally adjusted initial UI claims reached an unheard mark of 6,648,000 for the week that ended on March 28, 2020. This more than doubled last week’s record of 3,283,000, which has been revised upward to 3,307,000. The initial claims over these past two weeks are as large as the first 28 weeks, or almost 7 months, of the Great Recess...
Tags: Economic Trends, Fiscal Policy

A Staggering Increase in Initial Claims for Unemployment Insurance

Posted: March 26, 2020 by Dennis W. Jansen, Carlos I. Navarro, Andrew J. Rettenmaier
The figure below presents the seasonally adjusted initial claims for unemployment insurance in the U.S. for the first week of 2007 through the week ending March 21, 2020.  As is evident, there was an unprecedented increase in claims last week, to 3,283,000.  This is an increase of 3 million over the previous week, and this weekly numbe...
Tags: Economic Trends, Fiscal Policy

How Did China Do It?

Posted: March 25, 2020 by Dennis W. Jansen, Liqun Liu, Andrew J. Rettenmaier
By the time a lockdown was imposed on January 23, 2020 in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, ground zero of Covid-19 pandemic, five million people had traveled out of the city in the previous few weeks, according to the city’s mayor.  It was the peak of the pre-holiday traveling season, and Wuhan is a major transportation center in Ch...
Tags: Economic Trends, Health care

Coming Soon: A Massive Rise in Local Unemployment

Posted: March 20, 2020 by Dennis W. Jansen, Andrew J. Rettenmaier
Bars closed.  Cinemas and theaters and sporting arenas closed.  Concert halls closed.  Graduations and ring day and parents/family weekend-all canceled.  Hotel occupancy dropping through the floor.  Restaurants struggling to make a go of it serving food to go.  Companies are hurting. But it’s no...
Tags: Economic Trends

Initial Claims for Unemployment Insurance

Posted: March 19, 2020 by Dennis W. Jansen, Carlos I. Navarro, Andrew J. Rettenmaier
The figure below presents the seasonally adjusted initial claims for unemployment insurance in the U.S.  beginning the first week of 2007 to the week ending March 14, 2020.  As is evident, there was an abrupt increase in claims last week by 70,000 workers from the previous week. While the initial claims reported for the past week will ...
Tags: Economic Trends, Fiscal Policy

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