Iowa Unemployment: Exploring the Denominator

Iowa’s unemployment edged up to 6.7 percent in November from October’s 6.6 percent. The increase wasn’t statistically significant, so for practicality we can say it remained flat.  However, the unemployment level isn’t too disconcerting, especially since Iowa is relatively low compared to other states. Iowa’s civilian labor force declined for the third straight month.  In […]

REC Estimates for Fiscal Year 2011

The Revenue Estimating Conference published their December predictions for fiscal year 2011 (July 2009 – June 2010). We know the margin of error for REC net revenue predictions for the following year 3.9%–higher than the ideal margin of error. REC revised, downward, their prediction to $5.403 billion in net revenues. Given their historical accuracy it […]

Accuracy of Iowa’s Revenue Estimating Conference

A lot of people have been paying attention to the Revenue Estimating Conference (REC) the last two years. By law, REC meets three times a year–March, October, and December–to forecast tax revenues for the next fiscal year (between July and June). The legislature and governor use the estimates to determine expenditures…

Wii Shortages and Myths (Pertinant to Econ 102)

Last Christmas there was a bit of talk on the shortage of Wii’s. There are a number of examples where people claimed Nintendo intentionally withheld supplies, I’ll highlight one made at EveryJoe: Nintendo claims the shortage is not manufactured as one might wonder.  While Nintendo claims a manufactured shortage is not good business, it does […]

James Heckman on NPR

James Heckman, the Nobel-prize winning economist from the University of Chicago, spoke briefly on National Public Radio. My favorite part was Michael Martin asking why an economist (and there are quite a few of us) is interested in early childhood education: MARTIN: I hope the question doesn’t bore you. But there are…many people who will […]

To standardize or not standardize?

Andrew Gelman compares standardized and unstandardized coefficients. Gelman has previously written a paper which addresses most of the shortcomings to unstandarized coefficients (e.g., raw coefficients, the stuff you see as a default) and addresses the issues brought up in the post. Unfortunately, he didn’t address the problems I was most interested in seeing. He writes: […]

New York Times’ Take on Business Cycles

The New York Times built an interactive graphic on business cycles since the the early 1970s. Instead of displaying a business cycle as something that looks like a sine wave, NYT uses a Cartesian plane with each quandrant representing either expansion, slowdown, downturn, and recovery. They use industrial production as a proxy for the business […]