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.

Forecasting Recovery from the Covid-19 Recession: The Long (and Winding?) Road

Posted: August 04, 2020 by Dennis W. Jansen, Andrew J. Rettenmaier
The nation’s output, real GDP (i.e., GDP adjusted for inflation), took a big hit in the second quarter, falling almost 10%. Looking forward, should we expect an improvement in economic conditions for the remainder of 2020? The second quarter includes the months of April, May, and June. Up to this point, April was the hardest...
Tags: Fiscal Policy, FOMC

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

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

Regrets? Yes, Regrets About the CARES Act

Posted: May 20, 2020 by Dennis W. Jansen
An article in The Wall Street Journal says that Bill Gates has regrets that the world was not better prepared for the pandemic.  While clear when vision is 20-20, would we make the same statement without the benefit of hindsight?  Should the world have been better prepared?  Quite possibly, although it is hard to predict the occur...
Tags: Federal Debt, Fiscal Policy

Private-Public Partnership in Fighting Covid-19

Posted: May 18, 2020 by Dennis W. Jansen, Liqun Liu
Mitigating the Covid-19 pandemic is a public health campaign that requires the joint efforts of both the private sector and the government.  Private enterprises provide creative solutions to a host of problems encountered in the pandemic, whereas appropriately placed government interventions take a social perspective in the fight against Co...
Tags: Fiscal Policy, Health care

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

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

Covid-19 and the Cost-Benefit Analysis

Posted: March 19, 2020 by Dennis Jansen, Liqun Liu
The novel coronavirus "Covid-19," first found in December 2019 in the Chinese city of Wuhan, has as of the morning of March 18, 2020 spread to 157 countries/regions with 207,615 confirmed cases and 8,249 deaths.  The corresponding numbers for the U.S. are 7,324 confirmed cases and 115 deaths, respectively.1 March 11 the...
Tags: Fiscal Policy

Riding the Spending Wave

Posted: July 06, 2018 by Andrew J. Rettenmaier
The Congressional Budget Office’s recently released long-term forecast does not paint a pretty picture of the federal government’s financial future.  Deficits are expected in all future years as federal spending grows faster than tax revenues. The aging of the US population combined with rapidly growing per capita health care sp...
Tags: Fiscal Policy

Fiddling While Rome Burns?

Posted: June 05, 2018 by Dennis W. Jansen, Andrew J. Rettenmaier
Economists often counsel that we should look at 'revealed preferences,' the idea that actions speak louder than words.  What does this viewpoint tell us about our commitment to fiscal responsibility since last January? Recent actions by Congress have both lowered tax revenues and raised previously set spending caps....
Tags: Fiscal Policy

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