US Economy

 April 11th 2016 - Written by: Michael O'Donnell

The Labor Force & Demographic Shifts

In my last two blog posts, I discussed trends in labor force participation (here) and reasons why so many people are out of the labor force (here). As I noted in my most recent post, shifting demographic trends have changed the landscape of the labor force over the last decade and are likely to continue into the future – this is especially true of the oldest age cohorts. In particular, those cohorts have managed to simultaneously increase their rates of labor force participation while at the same time adding the largest number of people not in the labor force. The reason for this seeming incongruity is that population growth for this group is rapid. The population pyramid below, which is provided by the US Census Bureau, shows how the dynamics of the US population have changed through time. The pyramid, which allows you to scroll through years from 2000 to… View Full Post


 March 2nd 2016 - Written by: Julian Baca

US Business Cycle: Average Duration (Expansions and Contractions)

Although the length of time of economic expansions and contractions are not necessarily predictive of the duration of future market cycles, it is interesting to look back at the historical performance. As measured by the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), the peak-to-trough contractions have averaged twelve months in the last forty-five years. The most recent recession has been commonly referred to as the Great Recession both because it was the longest contraction since the Great Depression and also due to the large drop-off in employment and economic activity. The 2008-09 contraction spanned eighteen months. The 1973-75 and 1981-82 recessions lasted sixteen months each. The Great Depression (1929-33) gripped the US economy for 4-1/2 years. Since 1970, the average expansion has averaged seventy-two months, or approximately six years. The US enjoyed ten consecutive years (March 1991 – March 2001) of uninterrupted growth in the 1990s. After Fed Chairman Volcker put… View Full Post


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