201804.06
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Payroll Time

Never get hung up on one payroll report, good or bad. The Establishment Survey series, seasonally-adjusted and statistically smoothed as much as humanly possible, is still incredibly noisy. It didn’t used to be this way, which is an important clue that “something” has changed. The lack of consistency in the monthly measurement is as the…

201803.09 5

The Return of The Perfect Payrolls

Over the past two days, Chinese exports exploded, US payrolls bested 300k, and China’s CPI recorded the hottest inflation in 5 years. Globally synchronized growth? It’s times like these where remembering how nothing goes in a straight line helps settle and ground interpretations. In thinking that way already, you are never surprised when there are…

201802.02
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Where’s The Inflation? Average Weekly Earnings Flat, Focus on 200k Instead Which Isn’t Even A Good Number

The unemployment rate, I’m sorry to report, didn’t tumble all the way to zero. Pity. It did stay at 4.1% for the fourth straight month. Because of that, wage pressures should be exploding right now. That seems to be the verdict in markets this morning, a rumble of inflation shot right through everything at the…

201802.01
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Where’s The Boom (Serious Question)?

If there is a boom here, I just don’t see it. Perhaps the term itself needs to be clearly defined. The common definition is a broad-based and sustained expansion, one that is beneficial to a wide cross-section of any society experiencing it. Since this is still nominally a capitalist system, eroded as it may be…

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…

201801.24 3

Housing Resales And The Reluctance To Sell

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported that sales of existing homes, or resales, declined sharply in December 2017. Falling 3.6% from November (revised lower), that merely suggests what other data has been pointing toward. The hurricanes that hit the South caused distortions in economic conditions, bunching up activity into especially October and November. The…

201801.05
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The Reluctant Labor Force Is Reluctant For A Reason (and it’s not booming growth)

In 2017, the BLS estimates that just 861k Americans were added to the official labor force, the denominator, of course, for the unemployment rate. That’s out of an increase of 1.4 million in the Civilian Non-Institutional Population, the overall prospective pool of workers. Both of those rises were about half the rate experienced in 2016….

201801.05
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Payrolls Hit The Trifecta of Awful

Last year was an objectively bad year for American workers. The latest payroll figures from the BLS for December 2017 fill out what was an awful picture. According to its Establishment Survey, the data that’s taken as the definitive source on the US labor market, total payrolls expanded by 2.055 million in 2017. That annual…

201801.03
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The Anti-Reflation Story Is The One That Mattered, And The Treasury Market Isn’t The Only One Telling It

The Treasury market isn’t the only place where the idea of “globally synchronized growth” is proving a tough sell. The collapse of the yield curve suggests, in fact, it isn’t being bought one bit. Apart from bonds, US companies aren’t warming to the economic warming, either. The labor market apart from the unemployment rate remains…

201712.21
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Taking Turns With The B(L)S

The worst aspect of this economy is by far the real effects pressed upon especially American workers. Of that there is no doubt, including young adults who would be working rather than “studying” if the economy was at all like it has been described. The second worst part is watching politicians trade their descriptions for…