201806.19
Off
2

Bi-Weekly Economic Review: Examining Rates

Is the rate hiking cycle almost done? Not the question on everyone’s minds right now so a good time to ask it, I think. A couple of items caught my attention recently that made me at least think about the possibility.  There has been for some time now a large short position held by speculators…

201806.06 5

Proving The ‘L’ In Labor

Back in 2011 and 2012, apple growers in the state of Washington got the government there to declare an emergency. They were expecting a record or near-record crop of fruit but they just couldn’t find enough workers to harvest it all. Faced with a potentially devastating labor shortage, Washington’s governor turned to convicts. I wrote…

201804.25
Off
2

Bi-Weekly Economic Review: Interest Rates Make Their Move

How quickly things change in these markets. In the report two weeks ago, the markets reflected a pretty obvious slowing in the global economy. In the course of two weeks, what seemed obvious has been quickly reversed. The 10-year yield moved up a quick 20 basis points in just a week, a rise in nominal…

201804.13
4
8

There Aren’t Two Labor Markets

Allusions to a labor shortage continue to be ubiquitous. Two weeks ago, the Wall Street Journal published yet another such story under the headline Iowa’s Employment Problem: Too Many Jobs, Not Enough People. Ostensibly about the experiences of companies trying to hire in the one state, the implication was clear enough. If Iowa, IOWA, has…

201803.27
3
4

Bi-Weekly Economic Review: Embrace The Uncertainty

There’s something happening here What it is ain’t exactly clear There’s a man with a gun over there Telling me I got to beware I think it’s time we stop, children, what’s that sound Everybody look what’s going down There’s battle lines being drawn Nobody’s right if everybody’s wrong Young people speaking their minds Getting…

201803.20
1
5

Choosing the Right Curves

The background for inflation hysteria was pretty simple. Globally synchronized growth meant acceleration in the US economy which would raise demand for labor. The unemployment rate, faulty as it has been, suggests that any further increase in labor utilization would just have to pressure wages – the competition for workers rises as the marginal supply…

201802.06
6
2

Welcome Jay Powell, The Circular Hawk

Jerome “Jay” Powell was added to the Federal Reserve Board in May 2012. Quite an auspicious time to be thrown into things, Powell had avoided the “unexpected” liquidity crisis of 2011 but he did have to deal with its aftermath. By September of 2012, the Federal Reserve was once again debating yet more QE; a…

201801.15
2
1

Bi-Weekly Economic Review: A Weak Dollar Stirs A Toxic Stew

Economic Reports Employment We received several employment related reports in the first two weeks of the year. The rate of growth in employment has been slowing for some time – slowly – and these reports continue that trend. The JOLTS report showed a drop in job openings, hires and quits. The Fed has been talking…

201801.10
3
2

Which One Really Belonged On Yellen’s Dashboard?

The latest JOLTS survey from the BLS suggests nothing much has changed from that particular view of the labor market. The level of estimated Job Openings (JO) while down slightly over the last few months remains exceedingly high. By contrast, the rate of monthly Hires (HI) continues to be subdued, if at the high end…

201712.11
2
2

Severe Jolt In JOLTS

The biggest proponents of the BLS data have been FOMC policymakers. Right from the taper tantrum of 2013, the unemployment rate has given them, and the Economists who depend on their views for crafting their own, an almost definitive set of parameters for interpreting all other economic statistics. Everything is immediately filtered through the lens…