About Dr. Joe Webb

Authored 31 articles.

Consultant, entrepreneur, and economics commentator Dr. Joe Webb started his career in the industrial imaging industry more than 30 years ago. He found his way into business research, planning, marketing and forecasting executive positions along the way, as well as consulting for firms ranging from large multinationals to small businesses. Dr. Webb started an Internet-based research business in 1995, selling it to a multinational publisher in 2000. Since that time, his consulting, speaking, and research projects have focused on the interaction of B2B economics and technology trends. He is a doctoral graduate in industrial and corporate education from New York University, holds an MBA in Management Information Systems from Iona College, with baccalaureate work in managerial sciences and marketing at Manhattan College. He has taught in graduate and undergraduate business programs in a number of Northeast US colleges, and currently resides in Rhode Island.


  • Q1-2015 GDP Might be Negative, Or Close to It

    News, April 16, 2015

  • The “Half of All Workers Don't Pay Taxes” Mantra is Starting to Get Taxing

    Features, May 25, 2012

    One of my concerns over the past year or so is the continued use of the phrase “half of all workers don't pay taxes.” It's one of those ideas that needs some context, and it's probably not the kind of context you've read about anywhere else.

  • Unemployment Rate Drops, Conspiracy Theories Rise, Economy Improves

    Features, February 07, 2012

    Last Friday’s unemployment report was met with cheers and skepticism, and all because of the annual pre-announced and well-telegraphed statistical adjustments made by the Bureau of Labor Statistics were both large and confusing. Dr. Joe Webb breaks it all down.

  • Random Thoughts About the Economy and Small Business by Dr. Joe Webb

    Features, November 17, 2011

    Economist Dr. Joe Webb shares his random thoughts about the economy, small business, mergers & acquisitions, iPad babies & elders, and other matters.

  • Unemployment Report Shows Economic Erosion; Recovery Indicators Contract

    Features, October 14, 2011

    Last week’s unemployment report had something for everyone, pessimists and optimists alike. On the whole, it was more disappointing than as reported in the business press headlines. Dr. Joe Webb shares his insight on the jobs report and how the economy is still in efficiency, and not expansion mode.

  • Are You Using the Right Economic Benchmarks for Your Business?

    Features, August 16, 2011

    Is it real? Is it current? No, we're not talking about philosophy or the timeliness of something, we're talking about financial data. Dr. Joe explains how to use national economic data when comparing your business performance to the economy. Be sure to use the right tool at the right time and in the right way.

  • Unemployment, the Downgrade, the Stock Rout, and Productivity

    Features, August 11, 2011

    It was an interesting weekend, with Standard and Poors downgrading U.S. long-term debt (but not changing short-term debt ratings) to just a small notch under AAA. Why was everyone surprised? It was telegraphed for weeks, and everyone had access to the same Congressional Budget Office baseline data they were using in their forecasts. No matter which baseline you selected, which was a bone of contention with the Treasury Department, it showed the same thing.

  • GDP Data Revisions Show Steeper Recession and Unrecovered Economy

    Features, August 02, 2011

    The economy is still faltering. While there was great hope that successful completion of the debt ceiling negotiations would be met with economic enthusiasm, from what we know of the agreements as proposed is that, as usual, the debt ceiling is just raised, and there is a lot of kicking the can down the road, so each side can blame the other for lack or restraint or lack of cooperation, and spending can continue.

  • Latest Counts of Business Establishments Show Which Sectors Hit Hardest and Survived the Depth of the Recession

    Features, July 26, 2011

    Every year, the Department of Commerce and the Bureau of Labor Statistics publish data called County Business Patterns. These are among the best data about the number of business establishments that one can get, because they are compiled from Social Security tax records filed on Form 941. (These data do not include businesses without employees who pay their Social Security tax with their income tax; those are covered in a different report, Nonemployer Statistics, which we will discuss in an upcoming column.)

  • The Recession and Recovery in Perspective

    Features, July 19, 2011

    Last week’s consumer price index (CPI) and producer price index (PPI) showed that inflation has slowed down. Does it really matter? One of the problems with inflation measurements is that they do not allow you to judge whether or not the inflation is caused by shortages of goods or increased demand for goods. Nor do they take into account the additional productivity that might be related to those goods, such as our greater efficiency in the use of energy products.

  • Economic Indicators Still Muddling Through; Slowdown Risks Rising

    Features, July 12, 2011

    The economy is slowing again, the recovery indicators are starting to weaken compared to the start of the recession in December 2007 and recent reports.

  • Random Thoughts at the End of the Second Quarter

    Features, July 01, 2011

    Personal income data for May were released the other day, and they were extremely disappointing. For the first five months of 2011, real personal income, which is adjusted for inflation, is up only +0.4%, and real disposable personal income, adjusted for inflation and taxes, is +0%. This means that real personal income is up on an annualized basis or just under +1.0%, and that after taxes, the rise in income results in no greater spendable income.

  • The Efficiency Economy

    Features, June 22, 2011

    Last week's inflation data were released, and they weren't exactly pretty. For the last three months, the annualized Consumer Price Index is running at +8.4% and the Producer Price Index was at a whopping +12.8%. All of this is occurring while the Federal Reserve keeps claiming that inflation is tame.

  • The Economy: This is Not a Soft Patch

    Features, June 14, 2011

    One of our recovery indicators, the NASDAQ, seems to have relapsed and may be heading for rehab. Perhaps the wild and fun ride it had on Ben Bernanke's QE2 has now come to an end. It may not get another cruise until he pilots a brand new ship, QE3, but rumors of that cruise liner’s voyage are just that—rumors. QE2's huge midnight buffet was nice, but the economic heartburn may take a while to pass.

  • Economy Gets Pause that Isn’t Refreshing

    Features, June 07, 2011

    As discussed in blogposts, the economy was getting weak, and the latest data confirm that. Every one of our recovery trackers are above or equal to their levels at the recession on a current dollar basis. Those levels, however, are in some jeopardy because of a slowing economy, and inflation.

  • Counterintuitive Economics

    Features, May 31, 2011

    This week’s column is a collection of comments and links to a variety of items that might seem counter-intuitive to prevailing thinking found in the economics press. I hope you enjoy them.

  • Urgency Gets No Summer Vacation This Year

    Features, May 24, 2011

    There were many companies that were blindsided by the Internet in the mid-1990s. It looks like another communications, advertising, and promotion upheaval is about to get underway late this year and in 2012. This time, pretend it's 1994, the year prior to the Internet avalanche, and think about that old saying “if I knew then what I know now.” What would you do to take advantage of the changes ahead?

  • Inflation and Worker Earnings Moving in the Wrong Directions

    Features, May 17, 2011

    At the end of last week, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released their latest Producer Price Index and Consumer Price Index data. Things are not good. We are still concerned about the size of the gap between producer prices (prices at the manufacturer level) and consumer prices (prices on store shelves). Last time they were wider than usual to this degree was in mid-2008. We know what happened then: prices crashed as the economy plummeted into recession.

  • The L-Shaped Recovery Rolls On

    Features, May 10, 2011

    Friday's unemployment report was certainly nothing to write home about. The ballyhooed increase of +268,000 private payroll jobs was met with the reality of a rise to 9% for the unemployment rate and decrease of -190,000 in the household survey, which includes self-employment and small business. The number of people not in the labor force went up by +131,000, not a good thing, and that same figure is more that +2.9 million than last year.

  • Q1 GDP Disappoints, but No One is Surprised

    Features, May 03, 2011

    GDP was reported as +1.8% by the Bureau of Economic Analysis, a disappointment compared to Q4′s +3.1%. The economy began its recovery at the end of the second quarter of 2009. In Q4-2010, it finally surpassed the level it was at when the recession began in Q4-2007. So both the recession, and the recovery, are over. Recoveries are usually highlighted by about two quarters of very high growth of between +5 and +8% or so, and that has not happened.

  • Shocking News! We Had $200 Oil in 1980: Here's Why

    Features, April 25, 2011

    Things are never what they seem in economics. Dr. Joe explains the strange math that reminds us about the distortions of inflation and the wonder of ingenuity, and how news reporters seem to be unaware of them.

  • Economic Casablanca: I am Shocked! Shocked!

    Features, April 20, 2011

    On Monday the stocks and bonds markets where rattled by the announcement by Standard & Poors that US debt still had a AAA rating, but they had lowered their outlook for those obligations to “negative.” The markets took the supposed news badly at first and then found ways to digest it through the trading day with little change to its trading range for the last few weeks.

  • Still Trudging Through and Trudging Some More

    Features, April 11, 2011

    Today's economic conditions make economists wish they had more hands and while making the common people more frustrated in their attempts to figure it out. Oil and food are rising in price, but the economy seems better in some ways with some reports of improving employment. GDP is still rising, but some industries are still suffering. Dr. Joe explains why just staying busy is not enough and that it's what you're doing that really matters.

  • All Six Recovery Indicators are Now Positive

    Features, April 05, 2011

    All six of our recovery indicators are in positive territory for the first time since the start of the recession. There were some movements in the indicators from the Institute for Supply Management non-manufacturing indices, the biggest being non-manufacturing imports, which is now at 50, or neutral.

  • “I Can’t Eat an iPad”

    Features, March 24, 2011

  • “I Can’t Eat an iPad”

    Features, March 21, 2011

    While he loves computers, when it comes to dinnertime, Dr. Joe still prefers food. Seems the Fed would prefer we think otherwise. As far as understanding inflation at its core, a good meal can go a long way if you have the money for it.

  • The Employment Data Frosting Looks Great, But the Cake is Awful

    Features, March 09, 2011

  • Ignore the Headline Unemployment 9.4%: This Was a Bad Report

    Features, March 08, 2011

  • The Employment Data Frosting Looks Great, But the Cake is Awful

    Features, March 07, 2011

    The unemployment report released on March 5 left a lot to be desired, despite the drop to 8.9%. Once you read past the headlines, jobs remain a serious problem that is not improving.

  • Ignore the Headline Unemployment 9.4%: This Was a Bad Report

    Features, January 07, 2011

    Earlier this week, ADP estimated that payrolls increased by +297K. Now we know that the ADP report was flaky. Their estimate was about a 3x miss when today’s payroll survey from the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed +103K. Not even November’s revision from +39K to +71K comes close to making the ADP number good.

  • Reading Past the Employment Headline: Someone’s Got to Do It

    Features, November 07, 2010

    Friday’s unemployment report was met with loud cheers and smiles when payroll employment was up by more than 150,000. Although the unemployment rate stayed the same, this was viewed as a clear sign that things were moving in the right direction. Once I heard all of that, I was anxious to see the real data.