Monthly Archives: May 2008

Despite Positive First Quarter, Odds of 2008 Recession Are Still Above 50%

The Commerce Department this morning revised upward its estimate of first quarter growth in real GDP to 0.9% (precisely in line with the expectations of economic forecasters). 
As a member of the Business Cycle Dating Committee of the NBER, I am asked frequently if the country is about to enter a recession, or if we have already […] Continue reading

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Fed Modesty Regarding Its Role in High Commodity Prices

Fed Vice Chairman Donald L. Kohn  in a speech yesterday, addressed a theory to which I am partial:   the theory that low real interest rates have been a factor behind the continued rise in prices of agricultural and mineral commodities, including oil, over the last year.  
The relevant excerpt:  “Some observers have questioned whether the news on […] Continue reading

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White House Confidence that US is Not in Recession is Misplaced

White House CEA Chairman Ed Lazear expressed confidence to the Wall Street Journal today that the country is not in recession.   I, like Menzie Chinn, am surprised that Lazear is willing to put his reputation on the line in this way.  
It is true that the Commerce Department BEA’s advanced estimate of first-quarter GDP growth was still above zero (+0.6%).     But […] Continue reading

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How Far the NYT Had to Go to Find an Economist to Support the Gas Tax Holiday

Economists frequently complain that even when 98% of the profession agrees on something (say a free-trade proposition), the media will go to lengths to dig up an economist from the 2% minority in order to balance one from the 98% majority, in their feverish and misguided attempt to appear unbiased and balanced on every issue, even […] Continue reading

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