201707.25
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What Manufacturing Productivity Suggests About ‘Dollars’ And Stagnation

In a report released last week, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) found that Multi-Factor Productivity rose in only 21 of the 86 categories of the manufacturing industry in 2015. Unlike labor productivity which is more easily calculated, Multi-Factor Productivity measures attempt to take account of all business inputs (including labor). Capitalism is by its…

201707.14
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Industrial Drag

Completing a busy day of US economic data, Industrial Production was, like retail sales and inflation data, highly disappointing. Prior months were revised slightly lower, leaving IP year-over-year up just 2% in June 2017 (estimates for May were initially 2.2%). Revisions included, the annual growth rate has been stuck around 2% now for three months…

201707.13
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All Conundrums Matter

Since we are this week hypocritically obsessing over monetary policy, particularly the federal funds rate end of it, it’s as good a time as any to review the full history of 21st century “conundrum.” Janet Yellen’s Fed has run itself afoul of the bond market, just as Alan Greenspan’s Fed did in the middle 2000’s….

201707.05
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Economic Risk Imbalance Continues

Factory orders (unadjusted) in May 2017 were up 6% over those estimated for May 2016. The growth rate was better in that month compared to the one before, but not any faster than the rest so far this year. Year-to-date, factory orders are up just 4.8% from the first five months of 2016. Seasonally-adjusted, the…

201707.03
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Some Global Odd & Ends

When it comes to central bank experimentation, Japan is always at the forefront. If something new is being done, Bank of Japan is where it happens. In May for the first time in human history, that central bank’s balance sheet passed the half quadrillion mark. It should be unsettling where a trillion is a rounding…

201706.27
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The Best of Durable Goods

The status of durable goods in May 2017 appears to be up for debate. Once more there is major disagreement between the seasonally-adjusted figures and those unadjusted. In the estimation of the latter, May was a relatively good month for US manufacturing. Orders were up 7.3% year-over-year, the highest growth rate in nearly three years….

201706.23
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No Backing Sentiment

When the price of oil first collapsed at the end of 2014, it was characterized widely as a “supply glut.” It wasn’t something to be concerned about because it was believed attributable to success, and American success no less. Lower oil prices would be another benefit to consumers on top of the “best jobs market…

201706.06
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Bi-Weekly Economic Review: The Return of Economic Ennui

The economic reports released since the last of these updates was generally not all that bad but the reports considered more important were disappointing. And it should be noted that economic reports lately have generally been worse than expected which, if you believe the market to be fairly efficient, is what really matters. The disappointing…

201706.05
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Not Random; 2015 Still Matters For 2017

I have never understood the infatuation with randomness. When I was first introduced to statistics at a very young age, I had a hard time at first trying to comprehend the paradigm in my own intuitive fashion. It seemed like something was off about it, where random chance was the cornerstone of a philosophy trying…

201706.01
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Dollars And Sent(iment)s

Both US manufacturing PMI’s underwhelmed just as those from China did. The IHS Markit Index was lower than the flash reading and the lowest level since last September. For May 2017, it registered 52.7, down from 52.8 in April and a high of 55.0 in January. Just by description alone you can appreciate exactly what…