The Changing of the Guard

President Trump has nominated Jerome H. Powell to be Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, succeeding Janet Yellen when her term expires in February. The Federal Reserve Chairmanship is among the most powerful positions in the public sector (or, in fact, anywhere), due to its substantial influence over the US economy and, indeed, the fortunes of nations throughout the world. […]

Made in Texas

Manufacturing is a cornerstone of the Texas economy, employing more than 7% of Texans, paying high wages, and producing hundreds of billions in goods for export each year. These businesses also generate opportunities for a broad spectrum of other types of firms ranging from suppliers of needed inputs to those providing business services. In addition, as employees of all of these companies spend their payroll […]

Where the New Jobs Will Be

About nine of 10 new jobs over the next decade will be in services-producing industries, many of them in health care. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) recently released projections for growth in jobs through 2026. BLS estimates that US employment will increase by 11.5 million over the 2016-26 decade, somewhat faster than the prior 10 years (which were marred by the Great Recession). […]

Job Market Mismatch

By all standard definitions, the US economy is at “full employment,” which loosely means that everyone who wants a job has one. The unemployment rate declined to 4.2% in September, and the number of unemployed persons declined by 331,000. At last count (August), there were more than six million job openings across the United States, up more than 590,000 from a year prior and the […]

The Reality of Irrationality

“For his contributions to behavioral economics,” Richard H. Thaler has been awarded this year’s Nobel Prize in Economics (or, more formally, “The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel 2017”). Every year, the Nobel Prize is awarded to someone whose ideas and research have increased our understanding of important issues in economics and related areas, and Dr. Thaler certainly meets and […]

Time to Unwind

The Federal Reserve will begin to pare down its nearly $4.5 trillion balance sheet this month, starting the process of reducing assets purchased during the global financial crisis and later quantitative easing (QE) to help the US economy recover from the “Great Recession.” It’s been almost a decade, and it is time for the unwinding of these positions to begin. Prior to the global financial […]

Attracting Amazon

Cities across the eastern half of the United States and Canada (including all of the largest in Texas) are jockeying for position and running flat out in the race to attract Amazon’s second headquarters (HQ2). The winning area’s prize will be enormous: about $5 billion in capital investment and 50,000 jobs with a six-figure average salary. Add to that the positive ripple effects through the […]

Time for Immigration Reform

Immigrants, both documented and undocumented, are a crucial source of labor, and it is well past time for immigration reform. Moreover, it needs to be framed in a way that addresses the reality of the situation rather than popular myths. In addition to the important human aspect of the issue, there is also a clear economic incentive. Change is coming for the US workforce, with […]

The Economic Cost of Harvey – What We Know Now

Hurricane Harvey has affected lives across the state and nation. The catastrophic storm not only caused significant damage when it made landfall near Corpus Christi, but has also gone down in history as the wettest ever in the continental United States, with devastating flooding in and around Houston. In addition to the tragic loss of life, the destruction of homes and businesses is causing further […]