This Week in Ridiculous Regulations

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New unemployment applications were down to 4.4 million last week. This is still more than an order of magnitude greater than the pre-coronavirus record. With roughly 26 million people now claiming benefits, the unemployment rate is likely now at Great Depression-era levels. Meanwhile, regulatory agencies issued new final regulations ranging light-duty vehicles to golden parakeets.

On to the data:

  • Last week, 55 new final regulations were published in the Federal Register, after 49 the previous week.
  • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every three hours and three minutes.
  • Federal agencies have issued 988 final regulations in 2020. At that pace, there will be 3,088 new final regulations. Last year’s total was 3,150 regulations.
  • There were also 39 proposed regulations in the Federal Register last week, for a total of 684 on the year. At that pace, there will be 2,138 new proposed regulations in 2020. Last year’s total was 2,184 proposed regulations.
  • Last week, agencies published 462 notices, for a total of 6,989 in 2020. At that pace, there will be 21,841 new notices this year. Last year’s total was 21,804.
  • Last week, 1,464 new pages were added to the Federal Register, after 1,352 pages the previous week.
  • The 2020 Federal Register totals 23,204 pages. It is on pace for 72,513 pages. The 2019 total was 76,288 pages. The all-time record adjusted page count (which subtracts skips, jumps, and blank pages) is 96,994, set in 2016.
  • Rules are called “economically significant” if they have costs of $100 million or more in a given year. Two such rules have been published this year. Four such rules were published in 2019.
  • The running cost tally for 2020’s economically significant regulations ranges from net savings of between $180 million and $4.69 billion. 2019’s total ranges from net savings of $350 million to $650 million, mostly from estimated savings on federal spending. The exact number depends on discount rates and other assumptions.
  • Agencies have published 20 final rules meeting the broader definition of “significant” so far this year. 2019’s total was 66 significant final rules.
  • So far in 2020, 195 new rules affect small businesses; eight of them are classified as significant. 2019’s totals were 501 rules affecting small businesses, with 22 of them significant.

Highlights from last week’s new final regulations:

For more data, see Ten Thousand Commandments and follow @10KC and @RegoftheDay on Twitter.