201806.20
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What Should Be Happening In Housing

The word “should” appears in way too much economic commentary. That’s true of the whole broad range of subjects that are related to the economy, but where “should” really comes up is in relation to the labor market. It’s really no mystery why given that the unemployment rate is at an extreme the rest of…

201805.24
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Laboring Unnecessarily Over Housing Imbalances

There are three major housing related data series published each and every month. The first is on construction of new units, the intersection of real estate and the macro economy compiled by the Census Bureau. The second is the number of newly built single-family homes that have been sold, relating obviously to the level of…

201803.21
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Boom Bifurcation In Housing and Real Estate

How much growth is enough? It’s a pretty simple question that upon close examination leaves no easy answers. This is a problem that has plagued economists since there were economists. Recognizing very real dangers on both sides, there is as much trouble about “too much” as “too little.” The purpose of the modern central bank,…

201802.21
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Not At All The Inflation They’ve Been Hoping For

The National Association of Realtors is confused. The trade group for real estate professionals and salespeople just reported a significant drop in the level of resales for January 2018. After peaking at an annual pace of 5.72 million (revised) in November, existing home sales declined to 5.56 million (revised) in December and now just 5.38…

201802.13 3

SLOOS Answers The Boom

You find lots of tortured arguments about the state of the economy, largely because the premise starts with the boom and then seeks to find it. If it isn’t currently visible in the data, there is unusual and unearned confidence that the data will have to change in the near future (rather than the past…

201802.02
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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…

201801.29
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The Unusually Hollow Boom

For GDP, one big piece that’s missing, or what’s kept it at a lower rate than in the comparable 2014 period, is inventory. Three and four years ago, American businesses couldn’t get enough. They piled into it at a record pace. The reason they did was almost surely Janet Yellen, or at the very least…

201801.17
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Is Un-Humming A Word? It Might Need To Become One

Industrial Production in the US was up 3.6% year-over-year in December 2017. That’s the best for American industry since November 2014 when annual IP growth was 3.7%. That’s ultimately the problem, though, given all that has happened this year. In other words, despite a clear boost the past few months from storm effects, as well…

201712.20
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Existing Home Sales Jump Right In The Middle (of what?)

Sales of existing homes soared in November 2017, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). Up 5.6% in just the one month, at 5.81mm (SAAR) homes sold that’s the highest pace for resales since December 2006. After several months of glaring weakness, either a delayed rebound from hurricane disrupted activity or a burst of…

201712.15
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The Economy Likes Its IP Less Lumpy

Industrial Production rose 3.4% year-over-year in November 2017, the highest growth rate in exactly three years. The increase was boosted by the aftermath of Harvey and Irma, leaving more doubt than optimism for where US industry is in 2017. For one thing, of that 3.4% growth rate, more than two-thirds was attributable to just two months….