201801.02
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Bi-Weekly Economic Review: Housing Market Accelerates

The economy ended 2017 with current growth just slightly above trend. In general the reports of the last two weeks of the year were pretty good with housing a standout performer going into the new year. We are still trying to get past the impact – positive and negative – from the hurricanes a few…

201612.07
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Now It’s A Boom

There is a distinction between actual, meaningful growth and plain positive numbers. Recession everyone can agree on, as nearly every economic account (but not all) finds itself with a negative sign. Because of the binary model that the mainstream associates with all economic conditions, the absence of contraction is conflated with meaningful growth, even where…

201611.28
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The Last Ride Of The Unemployment Rate

It’s easy to set aside the nostalgia, so to speak, since this is likely the last Christmas holiday season to be talked about in the media in the positively glowing terms of the unemployment rate. Ever since the “recovery” began, each and every year the internet and TV channels are filled with stories about how…

201611.04
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The Payroll Problem

The payroll report disappointed again, especially since October has in the past marked the end of seasonal weakness. Last year the headline for the Establishment Survey followed the usual summer doldrums: July +277k, Aug +150k, Sept +149k, and October 2015 +295k. This year, the sequence has been (with revisions): July +252k, Aug +176k, Sept +191k,…

201610.31
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It Was Never Numbers

Just over a week ago, the world (at least in chemistry) celebrated Mole Day. Rather than acknowledge the small underground mammal that immediately springs to mind, Mole Day is in honor of Amadeo Avogadro, the Count of Quaregna and Cerreto, who lived in the late 18th and early 19th centuries and contributed one of the…

201609.30
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Where’s The Money?

The personal savings rate rose slightly in August, though as I have shown before in truth we have no idea what the actual savings rate might be. The revisions to it over the years have made it one of the least reliable indications in the economics catalog. The reason is the suddenly frequent tendency of…

201608.26
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Not Much To Headline GDP Revisions; Major Revisions Of Corporate Profits

Second quarter 2016 GDP was revised slightly lower, from about 1.21% to just 1.09%. That changes nothing from the preliminary estimate, as real GDP has averaged now only 0.93% over the past three quarters since last summer’s major, global disruption. Since the FOMC declared risks “balanced” and heading toward “overheating” in late 2014, economic growth…

201604.26
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The Strict Limits Of US QE

In addition to the worrisome durable goods report (in the respect that it just continues the same contraction part of the slowdown), consumer confidence slipped suggesting that the rebound in stocks and prices of other risky assets are not striking a direct correlation. There may be a delayed effect, with “confidence” or sentiment in April…

201512.04
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Viewing Payrolls As A Product of A Shrunken Economy

The numbers all change with each month, but nothing really changes. And that includes how the economy changed in 2012 and clearly again in 2015. By raw count of the payroll figures, there were positive numbers in every location in the latest update as only full-time employment was close to zero growth (only +3k for…

201507.02
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Factory Orders Fall Now 8%; Economists Unconvinced

While the payroll report commands almost all attention, the view from factory orders is simply much more significant. Even if we accept that payroll growth is steady at something greater than 200k per month, that is still at least two steps removed from actual economic activity as is intended from that same orthodox framework. Jobs…