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Graphic Economics

A collection of graphic representations of data by CEPR researchers on important economic issues.

Three-Month Moving Average of Total New Private Housing Units Started Print

September 24, 2013

The Census Department’s report of a sharp 13.4 percent drop in new home sales in July provided a clear indication that higher interest rates were having a substantial effect. (New homes sales measure contracts signed in the month, not completed sales.) There is a similar story in housing starts. After rising sharply in 2012, starts peaked in March and have been pretty much flat in subsequent months. Residential construction may still contribute to growth in the second half of 2013 and 2014, but its impact is likely to be considerably less than in 2012 and the first half of this year.


For more, check out the latest Housing Market Monitor.

Income Share of the Top 1 Percent, 1913-2012 (annotated) Print
Written by Colin Gordon   

September 20, 2013

This graphic adds an annotated political history to the iconic (and recently-updated) Piketty and Saez data on top income shares in the U.S. The events and legislative landmarks listed here are representative rather than exhaustive. And they are meant to suggest broad policy shifts rather than direct causal relationships. But the pattern is nevertheless clear. The share of the top one percent rose during eras of tax cutting, light financial regulation (or deregulation), and labor weakness. And inequality narrowed when policy pushed in the opposite direction.

Colin Gordon is a professor of 20th Century U.S. History, at the University of Iowa and the author, most recently, of Growing Apart: A Political History of American Inequality.

State Unemployment and the Growth of Restaurant Employment Print

September 6, 2013

The sharp rise in retail employment and restaurant work in the latest jobs report continues the pattern where low-paying sectors show the most rapid growth. While some have argued that this is due to technological changes, the data suggest that a weak labor market is forcing people to take bad jobs. This is seen by the correlation between state unemployment rates and the growth in the share of restaurant jobs. Also, wage growth has been less rapid in the restaurant sector than elsewhere (0.6 percent over the last year in restaurants compared with 1.9 percent overall), the opposite of what would be expected if technology was behind a relative increase in demand for restaurant workers.

For more, check out the latest Jobs Byte.

Monthly Change in New Residential Sales Print

August 27, 2013

The Commerce Department reported a 13.4 percent plunge in new home sales in July, suggesting a sharp turning point in the housing market. The new home sales are erratic, so this report should be viewed with some caution, but the drop in sales is consistent with realtor accounts from around the country about the market having slowed sharply since the jump in mortgage rates at the end of June.


For more, read our latest Housing Market Monitor.

Involuntary Part-Time Employment as Share of Total Employment, 2007-2013 Print

August 2, 2013

The latest Bureau of Labor Statistics' employment report found little change in the number of involuntary part-time workers, with the numbers slightly below the year-ago level.


For more, read our latest Jobs Byte.


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