201806.01
3
7

The Unemployment Rate Is Useless, But That Doesn’t Mean It Isn’t Useful

At a campaign rally in New Mexico in May 2016, Presidential Candidate Donald Trump returned to one of his favorite themes. It was a package deal. He first talked about NAFTA and what he considered the negative effects the trade agreement had had on American workers. That easily segued into what had by then become…

201804.06
4
6

Payroll Time

Never get hung up on one payroll report, good or bad. The Establishment Survey series, seasonally-adjusted and statistically smoothed as much as humanly possible, is still incredibly noisy. It didn’t used to be this way, which is an important clue that “something” has changed. The lack of consistency in the monthly measurement is as the…

201803.09 5

The Return of The Perfect Payrolls

Over the past two days, Chinese exports exploded, US payrolls bested 300k, and China’s CPI recorded the hottest inflation in 5 years. Globally synchronized growth? It’s times like these where remembering how nothing goes in a straight line helps settle and ground interpretations. In thinking that way already, you are never surprised when there are…

201802.02
Off
1

More Hurricane Effects Wear Off; Auto Sales Slump in January

The storm-assisted car-fest that ended last year appears to be fully winding down. Automakers overall posted weak sales to start 2018. They are putting on their best face, admitting widely that this year was going to be a tough one anyway as if they expected it. According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, total sales…

201802.02
7
1

Where’s The Inflation? Average Weekly Earnings Flat, Focus on 200k Instead Which Isn’t Even A Good Number

The unemployment rate, I’m sorry to report, didn’t tumble all the way to zero. Pity. It did stay at 4.1% for the fourth straight month. Because of that, wage pressures should be exploding right now. That seems to be the verdict in markets this morning, a rumble of inflation shot right through everything at the…

201801.24 3

Housing Resales And The Reluctance To Sell

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported that sales of existing homes, or resales, declined sharply in December 2017. Falling 3.6% from November (revised lower), that merely suggests what other data has been pointing toward. The hurricanes that hit the South caused distortions in economic conditions, bunching up activity into especially October and November. The…

201801.05
3
3

The Reluctant Labor Force Is Reluctant For A Reason (and it’s not booming growth)

In 2017, the BLS estimates that just 861k Americans were added to the official labor force, the denominator, of course, for the unemployment rate. That’s out of an increase of 1.4 million in the Civilian Non-Institutional Population, the overall prospective pool of workers. Both of those rises were about half the rate experienced in 2016….

201801.05
2
4

Payrolls Hit The Trifecta of Awful

Last year was an objectively bad year for American workers. The latest payroll figures from the BLS for December 2017 fill out what was an awful picture. According to its Establishment Survey, the data that’s taken as the definitive source on the US labor market, total payrolls expanded by 2.055 million in 2017. That annual…

201801.03
1
5

The Anti-Reflation Story Is The One That Mattered, And The Treasury Market Isn’t The Only One Telling It

The Treasury market isn’t the only place where the idea of “globally synchronized growth” is proving a tough sell. The collapse of the yield curve suggests, in fact, it isn’t being bought one bit. Apart from bonds, US companies aren’t warming to the economic warming, either. The labor market apart from the unemployment rate remains…

201712.08 2

Defining The Economy Through Payrolls

The year 2000 was a transition year in a lot of ways. Though Y2K amounted to mild mass hysteria, people did have to get used to writing the date with 20 in front of the year rather than 19. It was a new millennium (depending on your view of Year 0) that seemed to have…