January 2012 Archives

Why Jobs are Important

from Today's Deseret News:

The U.S. job market is showing signs of improvement if the latest data are accurate.  On Friday the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the unemployment rate has fallen to a three-year low of 8.5%.  Of particular note is that private sector employment was up more than expected in December.  Tall of this could just be a one-month data fluke, but it is also encouraging that the number of new jobless claims has been declining recently as well.

What Lies Ahead for North Korea?

This article appeared in the Deseret News on December 27th.

Kim Jung-il, the ruler of North Korea, died last week, reportedly of a massive stroke.  Other than a few deluded souls who might have been sincerely crying their eyes out on North Korean television, he will be missed by no one.

His death does, however, open up the possibility of changes in that reclusive country's policies, both domestically and internationally.  In terms of politics and policy, North Korea is probably the hardest country in the world to reliably understand.  We can observe the final results of whatever process determines policy, but very few people outside North Korea have any clue how that process actually proceeds.  So it is entirely possible that nothing will change in practical terms as a result of Kim Jung-il's death.  Still, if you are a bit of a gambler, the odds are higher now than they have been in a long time.

This article, by Rick, came out in the Deseret News on December 20th.

Eyebrows raise when you hear about any interest rate on credit more than 30 percent. If you're discussing payday or title lending, the implied interest rates (in annual percentage rate) can be above 500 percent. Put in those terms, short-term consumer lending markets sound immoral and predatory.


  • Richard W. Evans is an Assistant Professor of Economics at Brigham Young University

  • Jason DeBacker is an Assistant Professor of Economics at Middle Tennessee State University

  • Kerk L. Phillips is an Associate Professor of Economics at Brigham Young University