The Short‑Term Outlook for the US Economy
Column Published in syndication May 27, 2020

Social distancing requirements, while essential to preventing major spikes in COVID-19 cases, have caused unprecedented disruptions to the US economy. Although the pace of recovery will depend on many unknown (and currently unknowable) factors, including health outcomes as the economy begins to reopen, our most recent forecasts account for the information presently available in a systematic manner.

Column Published in syndication May 13, 2020

The latest job loss numbers are tragic, but not unexpected considering the COVID-19 pandemic and efforts to control its spread. Total nonfarm payroll employment fell by 20.5 million in April, with losses across all major sectors. The unemployment rate rose to 14.7%, a 10.3 percentage point increase over March. It's the highest rate and the largest increase in the history of the series and will likely get worse.

Column Published in syndication May 06, 2020

Bad news abounds these days, yet we've also seen some amazing acts of courage, kindness, and generosity.

Column Published in syndication April 22, 2020

Oil markets are in turmoil. In January, oil prices were trending in the upper $50s per barrel. Now, spot prices are a fraction of that level and futures prices actually went decidedly negative for the first time in history for certain contracts as they neared maturity. Traders scrambled to avoid taking delivery of oil they didn't want or have any place to store.

The Fed Weighs In
Column Published in syndication April 08, 2020

The inevitable and unavoidable result of the extraordinary measures taken to curb the tragic health effects of the coronavirus has been a strong shock to the economy. Protecting human health and wellbeing must be paramount at the moment. Unfortunately, major damage to the economy also extracts a high human toll in the form of layoffs and job losses, bankruptcies, and financial stress. These issues, in turn, increase harms ranging from domestic abuse to depression. Obviously, the more that can be done to mitigate the damage, the better.

Column Published in syndication April 01, 2020

Recent estimates of massive job losses associated with COVID-19 are drawing frequent comparisons to the Great Depression. Some calmer thoughts in the midst of the chaos are warranted.

COVID‑19 Pandemic Could Cost the US Economy $973 Billion
Column Published in syndication March 25, 2020

The disruptions caused by the coronavirus are wreaking havoc on individuals, families, the private and public sectors, the health care system, and the economy and society as a whole. In order to "flatten the curve" and prevent a major spike in infections, drastic measures have been taken. The inevitable result has been and likely will continue to be a strong shock to the economy. 

The Census
Column Published in syndication March 18, 2020

The coronavirus is clearly having notable effects on the markets and the economy, both nationally and in Texas. It is obviously the primary focus of our attention these days, as well it should be. One aspect of the situation which will almost certainly worsen in the weeks to come is the strain on the health care system. One thing we can all do to help prepare for future problems like the current pandemic is to respond to the Census.

Column Published in syndication February 19, 2020

I have often said that the greatest threats the US economy faces are the outside forces that we are not expecting, such as massive cyberattacks or pandemics. We are experiencing a small version of this phenomenon now -- one that could get much bigger. In just a few months, the coronavirus has caused tremendous suffering and tragic loss of life. These human costs and the heroic efforts of medical professionals and others who are working tirelessly to stop its spread are clearly the most important considerations. Nonetheless, there are also economic consequences which could become substantial.