Research and Policy Director
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April 29, 2016 | By Josh Bivens | BlogNeil Irwin wrote a piece on productivity growth in the New York Times that’s making the rounds. It’s a good piece, definitely worth reading.
News from EPI › Slow growth in the first quarter of 2016 supports the Fed’s decision to keep interest rates low
April 28, 2016 | By Josh Bivens | Press ReleasesThe Bureau of Economic Analysis reported this morning that gross domestic product (GDP), the broadest measure of economic activity, grew at just a 0.5 percent annualized rate in the first quarter of 2016.
April 20, 2016 | By Josh Bivens | BlogIt's been pointed out to me that yesterday’s blog post about a story by NPR’s Chris Arnold targeted too much ire at Arnold himself rather than the phenomenon he was reporting about. I think that’s probably right, and so I apologize to him for that. I was using Arnold’s story as a jumping off point for a discussion of a larger issue, and should have made that more clear. I do think my larger points about the substance of the topic under debate hold.
April 19, 2016 | By Josh Bivens | BlogTrade agreements in recent decades have not been simple good-faith exercises in trade liberalization. Instead, they have exposed some American workers to fierce international competition while locking in rules that expanded protections for others.
double down on such severe cuts, and yet it couldn’t even get a majority in a Republican-controlled House because it doesn’t call for large enough cuts. Or, to put it just as accurately, it failed because too many in the Republican caucus decided that it wouldn’t do quite enough damage to the economy. That’s the real story here.
April 7, 2016 | By Josh Bivens | BlogOnly an expansive reading of some of Sanders' rhetorical excesses would lead one to think he would pursue policies that radically restricted the access to U.S. markets currently enjoyed by our poorer trading partners’ exports. It is not an uncommon reaction to criticisms of today’s global trade regime to assume that this market access would clearly be significantly reduced if this status quo were overturned, but that’s far from obvious.
March 16, 2016 | By Josh Bivens | AudioEPI’s Josh Bivens spoke with “Marketplace” about the need for the Federal Reserve to hold off on raising interest rates amid sluggish wage growth.
Mission still not accomplished: To reach full employment we need to move fiscal policy from austerity to stimulus
March 16, 2016 | By Josh Bivens | ReportSince 2011, the Economic Policy Institute Policy Center (EPIPC) has provided advice and technical analysis of the annual budget proposal of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC).
March 16, 2016 | By Josh Bivens | BlogAll eyes will be on the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) today as they decide whether or not to follow up December’s interest rate hike (the first since 2006) with another.
March 4, 2016 | By Josh Bivens | Jobs PictureThe Labor Department reported this morning that 242,000 jobs were added to the U.S. economy in February, up from 172,000 in January.
March 2, 2016 | By Josh Bivens | BlogData on employment and unemployment in February will be released this coming Friday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Notably, this is the last jobs official jobs data we’ll get before the Federal Reserve meets in two weeks to decide whether or not to follow up December’s quarter point interest rate increase with another rate hike.
March 2, 2016 | By Josh Bivens | TestimonyTestimony of EPI Research and Policy Director Josh Bivens before the U.S. House Judiciary Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust Law hearing on the impact of Federal rules on the economy.
February 29, 2016 | By Josh Bivens | AudioEPI’s Josh Bivens spoke with public radio’s “Marketplace” about how hourly wages have remained stagnant despite a gradually improving economy.
February 11, 2016 | By Josh Bivens | Audiohttp://www.epi.org/files/2016/radio-2016-01-29-josh-bivens.mp3From time-to-time, EPI contributes segments for broadcast on Workers Independent News. In February 2016, EPI Communications Director Liz Rose interviewed Research and Policy Director Josh Bivens.
February 10, 2016 | By Josh Bivens | AudioIn an interview with public radio’s “Marketplace,” EPI’s Josh Bivens spoke about consumer spending and GDP.
February 10, 2016 | By Josh Bivens | BlogThe stakes in how we interpret recent signs on weak productivity growth are huge. If productivity growth is simply a given, and cannot be boosted by further efforts to close the aggregate demand shortfall, this means we’re actually much closer to full employment than otherwise, and, it means that the level of wage growth consistent with a fully healthy economy is closer to 3 percent than 4 percent. And since wage growth is now running around 2.5 percent, we’re getting close to this long-run wage target and hence close to hitting the inflation barrier—that is, crossing the line into economic overheating that will cause prices to rise faster than the Fed’s 2 percent target.
February 5, 2016 | By Josh Bivens | BlogNominal wages for American workers rose by 2.6 percent in the 12 months ending in December 2015. Over the same time, prices have risen just under 0.7 percent (held down mostly by falling oil prices). This mean that real (that is, inflation-adjusted) wages have grown 1.9 percent in that year. Since it is this real, not nominal, wage-growth that influences living standards, shouldn’t we be perfectly happy with this constellation of wage and price inflation? Not really, for a number a reasons.
News from EPI › After today’s disappointing rate hike it’s crucial for the Fed to go slowly from here
December 16, 2015 | By Josh Bivens | Press ReleasesThe Federal Reserve’s decision to begin nudging up interest rates—in the clear absence of any inflationary pressures—is disappointing. Since 2008 the Fed has been the policymaking institution that has most consistently worked to restore the economy to health, even as it had to fight through headwinds imposed by fiscal austerity.
December 15, 2015 | By Josh Bivens | BlogOn Wednesday, December 16, the Federal Reserve is expected to announce that it is raising interest rates above zero for the first time in seven years.
December 10, 2015 | By Josh Bivens | Economic SnapshotA common theme uniting many conservative economic plans is that policymakers in recent years have somehow hamstrung the ability of American business to make profits.
November 25, 2015 | By Josh Bivens | Economic SnapshotPolicymakers and candidates for office have reacted to rising inequality and near-stagnant wages in recent decades by promising to either cut or hold the line on federal taxes for “middle-class” families (and they tend to define “middle-class” awfully liberally, often lumping in those with incomes higher than 98 percent of American households).
November 24, 2015 | By Josh Bivens | BlogLast Thanksgiving I wrote a blog post in the “how to argue with your relatives at Thanksgiving” genre, providing some hard numbers for people who didn’t want to let their conservative relatives spout nonsense about economics with impunity at the holiday dinner table.
November 16, 2015 | By Josh Bivens | BlogFriend and former colleague Jared Bernstein made a defense of the ACA excise tax on expensive employer-provided health insurance plans a couple of days ago. It’s about as good a defense as there is of the excise tax, but at EPI we’re still largely unconvinced.