OTE welcomes Pope Francis to DC and points out that “pope” spelled backwards is…

September 21st, 2015 at 12:51 pm

…EPOP, or the employment-to-population ratio. More on that interesting connection in a moment.

As I’ve written before, this Pontiff has been a stalwart for economic and environmental justice, speaking out specifically against austerity, and calling upon governments to “relaunch the labor market.”

Well, I figure that since he gets a lot of this from my blog, I should provide His Holiness with an update on the job market. What’s more, labor economists will tell you that one useful proxy for the strength of labor market demand is employment-to-population ratio, or EPOP, which as I’ve noted, is you-know-what spelled backwards.

I use the EPOPs for 25-54 year-olds so as to not conflate retirement of the baby-boom cohort, which would lower the measure for reasons other than weak labor demand. The “prime-age” EPOP fell about five percentage points in the recession, and after crawling along the bottom for a while as the GDP recovery proceeded the jobs recovery, began to climb about four years ago.

It’s now climbed about halfway back, though the recent flattening is worrisome: the prime-age EPOP has fluctuated between 77.1 and 77.3 percent every month so far this year.

The policy implications are: no need to tap the brakes at the Fed and a great need to do more on the fiscal side. I don’t expect the Pope to join our fiscal debates—and the Planned Parenthood thing is obviously a complication for him.

But I’ll have a piece later this week arguing that one reason this EPOP recovery has been such a slog is that monetary policy can’t do it alone.

Source: BLS

Source: BLS



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4 comments in reply to "OTE welcomes Pope Francis to DC and points out that “pope” spelled backwards is…"

  1. mitakeet says:

    That is an excellent graphic! Any chance to extend it back in time and look at the recovery period for past recessions? I’m sure that some of the decline is people staying in / returning to school, but they should have all graduated by now. No doubt a sliver of the decline would be spouses becoming stay-at-home because the income they could get from the work available isn’t enough to cover the day care costs, but those kids should be in school by now. That there has been such a lack luster recovery in the graph shows plain as day that our economy hasn’t come close to an overall recovery, not that any honest prognosticator would find otherwise.

  2. PWPiranha says:

    You are spelling Pope backwards to get to emp/pop ratio? You really are quite the nerd aren’t you? Haha.

    Love your blog. I read it every week!

  3. purple says:

    The progressive pope went to the Philippines and told them that birth control was against God. In a country where very poor, marginalized, women face misinformation about the pill and are pressured to have large families that make life very hard, it was basically an act of wanton cruelty. I think he is a total fraud.