Normative Economics versus Positive Economics:

One of the first lessons in a Principles of Economics Course is normative economics versus positive economics. The former deals with value judgments as to what should be such as a fair wage or what the goals of the public policy should be. The latter concerns facts and "what is." In any economic system, resources (labor, capital, land) are always scarce. Economics deals with the optimum allocation of these scarce resources whether it be at the individual consumer level, the business level or at the governmental level. Obviously, the optimal use of resources does involve value judgments. It is important when you read economic consultants' opinions to determine whether they are in the positive area (what is reality based on facts) or in the normative area (what should be based on philosophical principles). The following News items emphasize the normative position.

    General Economics:

    • Dec 2017: Learn how to sort facts from fictions when dealing with economic policy debates. An economist explains how to do this in an article published in the NY Times. Click here to find out.

    • Oct 2017 ACS: American Community Survey's annual data release provides statistics on a variety of population and housing topics for the nation, states, and your community. Click here to get the latest statistics from the 5-year 2012-2016 American Community Survey for the United States or go to the American Fact Finder for data on specific locations.

    • Mar 2017: CBO has updated its 10-year Baseline Budget Projections. According to the report, the Projected Deficit for 2017 is smaller than CBO's 2016 estimate, but the cumulative deficit is largely unchanged. (See Table 1.1). In 2016, the deficit increased in relation to the Nation's economic output (GDP) for the first time since 2009. This is a result of the growth in revenues outpacing increases in spending. The CBO currently projects increases in hiring, employment, and wages along with upward pressure on inflation and interest rates. Unfortunately, they also expect that output growth will be constrained in the latter part of the 10-year projection period by a relatively slow increase in the nation's supply of labor. Click The Budget and Economic Outlook for 2017 to review the report in its entirety.

    • Feb 2017: The 2017 Economic Report of the President is a source of extensive economic data. You can download individual chapters and/or tables in PDF or Excel format or view ERP from previous years, here. The report has several chapters on current economic policy which are political in nature and do not necessarily represent the opinion of this office.

    • May 2016: Want to know what State to live in to get the most out of your dollar? Click here to find out.

    • May 2016: Are Americans better off today than in the past. Find out in this historical perspective by the NY Times.

    Health Care:

    • Hospital Finances & Policies: Allan Baumgarten, has several new reports out including, "Florida Health Market Review 2017". Note: You will have to click on the Report Tab to view the newest report for Florida. He has published market studies for 9 states including his newest, "Minnesota Health Market Review 2017". For a complete list of his recent reports, visit his website at The reports are listed by state on the right side of the page.

    • Understanding your hospital bill and your insurance: Would you like to know how to calculate your out-of-pocket costs? In the following Oct 2017 YouTube video, Dr. Lowe of the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center explains common insurance terms and how they effect the amount you are responsible to pay.

    • Average Charges for Giving Birth by State: According to an Oct 2017 article in The Penny Hoarder, Alaska is the most expensive State for Vaginal births at $10,413 or C-Section births at $14,529. Alabama is the cheapest State for Vaginal births at $5,017 and Washington DC for C-Section births at $7,439.

    • High Cost of Child Birth: A 2013 NY Times article compares the high cost of child birth in America to other countries. Click here to read the full article on the "American Way of Birth, Costliest in the World." Compare the cost of child birth in America in 2013 with the cost of having twins in 1945, Mellish Twins Hospital Bill.

    • National Bureau of Economic Research released a report in Jun 2016 on the developmental consequences of environmental toxicants. A synopsis of the working paper and how to purchase the full report can be found, here.

    • Understanding your medical bill: Have you ever been confused by a medical bill? What happens after you visit the doctor? This video explains how medical costs are calculated and paid for by public and private insurance. Learn more about the path of that bill, how it’s processed, and who pays for what in the following video from


    • Nov 2017: Employment increased by 228,000 and the unemployment rate was unchanged at 4.1% in November 2017 according to the BLS Economic News Release published December 8, 2017.

    • Nov 2017: The Great Recession of 2007 has impacted the Workforce. According to Pew Research Center, the main 5 ways the U.S. workforce has changed can be summed up as:
      1. A smaller share of Americans are in the labor force
      2. The workforce is getting more diverse
      3. There's more gray in the workforce with more 55 and older working
      4. Longer unemployment periods
      5. The shift towards service jobs continues, though more slowly

    • Oct 2017: BLS Economic Projections for 2016-2026 The U.S. Dept. of Labor regularly forecasts the demand for various occupations. They also give the average wage and the educational requirements. This data can be used to make sure the additional education you are getting is in an area where the occupational demand is high and where wages meet your expectations. The latest report was released in Oct 2017. The Oct 2017 News Release provides some highlights of the report including a chart of the ten fastest growing occupations projected for 2016-2026.

    • Mar 2017: The unemployment rate is just one indicator of how the economy is doing. Pew Research Center explains What the unemployment rate does and doesn't say about the economy published March 8, 2017.

    • July 2016: The economic recovery in terms of number of jobs has been lower than every other time period except one. In most cases, the recovery is substantially lower as ullustrated in the graph of the trend line growth in employment during economic expansion periods shown below:

      (click on graph to enlarge)

      Graph created by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis and Value Economics, LLC. Click here to see the change in the current expansion's trendline growth in employment since Mar 2013 in basis points.

    • Mar 2016: Florida Outpaces U.S. in Income Growth with pay increases in the Construction and Health Care industries leading the way. For more on this read the Tampa Bay Times article

    • Work Life Expectancy is increasing. Check out the articles and studies listed below:

    • Impact of Education on Worklife: According to the U.S. Department of Labor, higher education results in longer worklife and higher pay. Click Here to read the entire study.



    • Football Finance Charts:

    • Kristi Dosh posts SEC School Donations and Total Revenues.
        Click Here to view her latest compilation listed by institution.

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