Last year’s recap was entitled “Year in Review, 2021: Cleaning Up What Trump Wrought”. This year, with rational policymaking returning, it’s time to erase stupidity.
January: Some people doubt that monopsony in labor markets exists.
February: The return of “drill, baby, drill” applied to natural gas — as specious as it was in its original incarnation.
March: Why do people who don’t understand the textbook analysis of tariffs try to debate tariffs?
April: Disruption to the global economy from the expanded Russian invasion of Ukraine over by May, for sure!
May: “Drill, baby, drill!” Redux.
June: Policy analysis using parameter estimates that are not statistically signifcant is ok – just bury that point in the appendix! Yet another tall tale told by a purported research center — the Badger Institute.
July: What happens if you use the two-consecutive-quarter rule of thumb to define American recessions…
August: Were things sooo much better when the Fed leadership was all white and male, as some claim?
September: Is BEA (or FRED) hiding data on real corporate profits?
October: Is LNG the same as NG?
November: Just because an asset price returns to preshock levels doesn’t mean the shock wasn’t impactful.
December: Don’t be impervious to basic math.
One point was disputed repeatedly this year — what officially defines a recession in the United States? One argument is a decline in vehicle miles traveled   Another is that it’s household sentiment. Or unemployment insurance claims. Or its household employment rather than establishment. Interestingly enough, all these points were made by the same person (whose comments I am thankful for, because they provide me with fodder for my economics stats course). Here’s my last picture on the 2022H1 recession thesis, using the latest available output data, and keeping in mind all of these series will be revised again, and again.
Figure 1: GDP (bold black), GDO (tan), GDP+ (green), GDPNow for Q4 (red square), Goldman Sachs (12/23) (teal triangle), all in blillions Ch.2012$, SAAR. GDP+ level calculated by iterating on 2019Q4 GDP (when GDP and GDO matched). Lilac shading denotes peak-to-trough for a hypothesized 2022H1 recession. Source: BEA (Q4 3rd release), Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia (12/22), Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta (12/23), Goldman Sachs (12/23), and author’s calculations.
So, Happy New Year to all. To a better informed economics/statistics/policy discourse in 2023.