labor shortage

It’s A Dollar-based Boom Shortage More Than Anything

By |2018-09-06T17:33:38+00:00September 6th, 2018|Currencies, Economy, Federal Reserve/Monetary Policy, Markets|

Liquidity preferences are one of the least discussed economic concepts. There are several channels into which monetary instability can hamper the real economy. A “dollar” squeeze doesn’t just impact banks, they often pass it along further down the economic chain. In its most extreme form, we had something like 2009. Some of the best companies [...]

Buybacks Get All The Macro Hate, But What About Dividends?

By |2018-07-11T18:33:17+00:00July 11th, 2018|Currencies, Economy, Federal Reserve/Monetary Policy, Markets, Stocks|

When it comes to the stock market and the corporate cash flow condition, our attention is usually drawn to stock repurchases. With good reason. These controversial uses of scarce internal funds are traditionally argued along the lines of management teams identifying and correcting undervalued shares. History shows, conclusively, that hasn’t really been true. Last year’s [...]

There’s No Income So There Can’t Really Be Shortages

By |2018-07-02T11:43:26+00:00July 2nd, 2018|Currencies, Economy, Federal Reserve/Monetary Policy, Markets|

The plural of anecdote is not data. At any given time in any given economy you can find counterexamples. During the Great Depression, for example, millions of Americans were doing very well for themselves. It wasn’t difficult to locate and talk to those who were prospering during what was a legitimate catastrophe. It’s never all [...]

The Simple Economics of What Really Matters

By |2018-06-18T17:45:29+00:00June 18th, 2018|Markets|

The very idea of a labor shortage is supposed to be strictly an economic concept. No longer. It is now wielded almost exclusively in political terms. Anecdotes about how companies are unable to find workers pepper most commentary on the labor market if only because there is no (none) direct statistical evidence that a nationwide [...]

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

By |2018-06-01T18:15:50+00:00June 1st, 2018|Currencies, Economy, Federal Reserve/Monetary Policy, Markets|

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 [...]

All The World’s A (Imagined) Labor Shortage

By |2018-05-11T11:20:48+00:00May 11th, 2018|Commodities, Currencies, Economy, Federal Reserve/Monetary Policy, Markets|

Last year’s infatuation with globally synchronized growth was at least understandable. From a certain, narrow point of view, Europe’s economy had accelerated. So, too, it seemed later in the year for the US economy. The Bank of Japan was actually talking about ending QQE with inflation in sight, and the PBOC was purportedly tightening as [...]

Three Point Nine, Still No Boundary For Sanity

By |2018-05-04T12:18:02+00:00May 4th, 2018|Currencies, Economy, Federal Reserve/Monetary Policy, Markets|

For all its tortured economic history since 1989, Japan has never really had an unemployment problem. Going by its unemployment rate alone, conditions don’t ever appear to be all that out of line. At its worst, in both the dot-com recession as well as Japan’s experience during the Great “Recession”, the highest it ever got [...]


By |2018-04-19T17:35:19+00:00April 19th, 2018|Currencies, Economy, Federal Reserve/Monetary Policy, Markets|

At their December 2017 policy meeting, the FOMC majority voted to increase the monetary policy targets (RRP & IOER) by an additional 25 bps. It was the fifth such move dating back to December 2015. It was not, however, a unanimous decision. Chicago Fed President Charles Evans and Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari both opposed [...]