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….

201712.14
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Retail Sales Bounce (Way) Too Much

Retail sales had a good month of November, or at least what counts as decent over the last five and a half years. Total retail sales (unadjusted) rose 6.35% last month, up from 4.9% (revised higher) in October. It was the highest rate of growth since the 29-day month of February 2016. For retailers, what…

201711.28
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Black Friday to Thanksgiving Weekend, Discontinuities Aside

I was expecting quite a bit more, but perhaps should not be surprised at what was actually delivered. The National Retail Federation (NRF) after delaying its Black Friday retail spending estimates updated them later today for the now designated Thanksgiving Weekend. These new figures capture spending activity on both Thanksgiving Day itself as well as…

201711.28
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Cyber Monday Was Great, But Inventory Looks At More Than Online Holiday Shopping

As expected, Cyber Monday hit records all across the retail industry. According to Adobe Insights, sales recorded by online outlets, including those of traditional brick and mortar stores, hit $6.59 billion. That’s a record not just for a Cyber Monday but any single day in the internet’s two decades of mainstream usage. It was, Adobe…