We’ve added a couple of new features to the sidebar.
The first is in response to longtime reader Dryfly, who complains that he’s sometimes confused about what our bottom line is here at Econbrowser. Actually, we seem to have at least two different readers who both call themselves Dryfly, which I find a little confusing myself, but my mission today is to resolve complaints, not raise new ones. Anyway, at least one of our Dryflies doesn’t like the fact that one week we seem to say everything’s fine and the next week we’re all worried.
Part of that is just the nature of the beast, the beast (me) being a multi-handed economist. But I kind of felt that I’d been doing the sort of thing Dryfly is requesting in my rare invocation of emoticons to signal a decisive turn in my outlook. We brought out the happy face
last September 13 for the incipient big drop in gasoline prices that followed a significant decline in mortgage rates, and resurrected Sad Sack
for the cumulative drop in industrial production revealed
February 21, coupled with the calculation that the stimulus from lower mortgage rates has now been played out. So for the benefit of Dryfly and anyone else who wants to know my current bottom line on the implications of all the recent incoming data, I’ll keep the most recently used emoticon in the right-hand panel labeled “Econbrowser faces the data.”
A second addition is in response to a complaint from UCSD Communications Director Barry Jagoda, who says he couldn’t find where in Econbrowser we reported the latest recession probability index. OK, I admit he’s the only person in the world ever to raise this issue, but it’s near and dear to my heart, and I’ve got a notion my index may get some actual exercise this year. So just to keep Barry and me happy, we’ll be posting the most recent value of the recession probability index (currently, that represents an assessment of the situation of the U.S. economy for the third quarter of 2006) in the right-hand column as well.
I don’t mean to get anybody too excited about checking these new fun items every day to see if they’ve changed, because unless something really extraordinary happens, they won’t– longer term stability is the whole point of Dryfly’s complaint, and the recession probability index is constructed from the GDP advance estimate, which is only released once per quarter. But, if you only check in with us once every few months, you can just glance at the right column for a quick summary of all you’ve missed.
Of course, if you only check in with us every few months, you’ll probably never read this explanation. But that’s the occupational hazard of blogging, don’t you think?
Don’t bother answering, that’s supposed to be a rhetorical question.