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This Week in Ridiculous Regulations

As Labor Day marked the unofficial end of summer, the unemployment rate went back down to 8.4 percent, and Attorney General Barr announced that the Justice Department will likely file an antitrust lawsuit against Google by the end of the month. Regulatory agencies issued new regulations ranging from relaxed DNA tolerance to semipostal stamps.

On to the data:

  • Last week, 69 new final regulations were published in the Federal Register, after 68 the previous week.
  • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every two hours and 26 minutes.
  • Federal agencies have issued 2,198 final regulations in 2020. At that pace, there will be 3,176 new final regulations. Last year’s total was 2,964 regulations.
  • There were 39 proposed regulations in the Federal Register last week, for a total of 1,483 on the year. At that pace, there will be 2,143 new proposed regulations in 2020. Last year’s total was 2,146 proposed regulations.
  • Last week, agencies published 474 notices, for a total of 15,304 in 2020. At that pace, there will be 22,116 new notices this year. Last year’s total was 21,804.
  • Last week, 1,713 new pages were added to the Federal Register, after 1,618 pages the previous week.
  • The 2020 Federal Register totals 55,323 pages. It is on pace for 79,947 pages. The 2019 total was 70,938 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. Three 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 $1.38 billion and $4.19 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 49 final rules meeting the broader definition of “significant” so far this year. 2019’s total was 66 significant final rules.
  • So far in 2020, 439 new rules affect small businesses; 18 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 regulations:

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