This week in ridiculous regulations: Energy labels and human food guidance

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The Federal Reserve kept interest rates steady. Employment grew by 353,000 workers in January. The Energy Department partially backed off its proposed gas stove restrictions. Culture warriors promoted a conspiracy theory about Taylor Swift, the Super Bowl, and Joe Biden. Agencies issued new regulations ranging from ATV safety to debit card fees.

 On to the data:

  • Agencies issued 52 final regulations last week, after 72 the previous week.
  • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every three hours and 14 minutes.
  • With 272 final regulations so far in 2024, agencies are on pace to issue 2,957 final regulations this year.
  • For comparison, there were 3,018 new final regulations in 2023, 3,168 in 2022, and 3,257 in 2021.
  • Agencies issued 41 proposed regulations in the Federal Register last week, after 32 the previous week.
  • With 142 proposed regulations so far in 2024, agencies are on pace to issue 1,543 proposed regulations this year.
  • For comparison, there were 2,102 proposed regulations in 2023, 2,044 in 2022, and 2,094 in 2021.
  • Agencies published 422 notices last week, after 425 notices the previous week.
  • With 1,869 notices so far in 2024, agencies are on pace to issue 20,315 notices this year.
  • For comparison, there were 22,902 notices in 2023, 22,505 in 2022, and 20,018 in 2021.
  • Last week, 2,176 new pages were added to the Federal Register, after 1,541 pages the previous week.
  • The average Federal Register issue in 2024 contains 335 pages.
  • With 7,597 pages so far, the 2024 Federal Register is on pace for 82,576 pages.
  • For comparison, the 2023 Federal Register totals 90,402 pages, the 2022 Federal Register has 80,756 pages, and 2021’s is 74,352 pages. The all-time record adjusted page count (subtracting skips, jumps, and blank pages) is 96,994, set in 2016.
  • Rules with $200 million or more of economic effects in at least one year qualify as major under Section 3(f)(1). This replaces the former economically significant tag for $100 million-plus regulations. There are no such rules so far in 2024.
  • This is on pace for zero 3(f)(1) regulations in 2024. This will change.
  • For comparison, there were 28 3(f)(1) and/or economically significant regulations in 2023, 43 economically significant rules in 2022, and 26 in 2021. Note that these are not apples-to-apples comparisons, since 3(f)(1) and economically significant rules have different thresholds.
  • The total estimated cost of 2024’s 3(f)(1) major regulations is zero, since none have been issued yet.
  • For comparison, the cost tally for 2023’s 3(f)(1) major and economically significant regulations ranges from $62.60 billion to 90.48 billion. Cost estimates for 2022’s economically significant rules range $45.28 billion to $78.05 billion. In 2021, net costs ranged from $13.54 billion to $1992 billion. The exact numbers depend on discount rates and other assumptions.
  • There were seven regulations meeting the broader definition of “significant” last week, after four the previous week.
  • So far this year, there are 22 new regulations meeting the broader definition of “significant.” This is on pace for 239 significant regulations in 2024.
  • For comparison, there were 290 such regulations in 2023, 255 in 2022, and 387 in 2021.
  • So far in 2024, 70 new regulations affect small businesses, on pace for 761. Five of them are significant, on pace for 54.
  • For comparison, in 2023 there were 789 regulations affecting small businesses, 79 of them significant. In 2022 there were 912 regulations affecting small businesses, 70 of them significant. 2021’s totals were 912 regulations affecting small businesses, 101 of them significant.

Highlights from last week’s new final regulations:

And from last week’s proposed regulations:

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