201801.17
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The Dissonance Book

I’ve found the word “dissonance” has become more common in regular usage beyond just my own. Whether that’s a function of my limited observational capacities or something more meaningful than personal bias isn’t at all clear. Still, the word does seem to fit in economic terms more and more as we carry on uncorrected by…

201801.10
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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…

201801.05
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What’s Missing In Europe Is What’s Missing Everywhere

American central bankers and economists aren’t alone in their Phillips Curve nightmare. They are joined by others practically everywhere else around the world. In Europe, for example, the unemployment rate there continues to fall while inflation keeps on misbehaving in its meandering. Unlike the US, however, the Europeans don’t have the luxury of burying millions…

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…

201712.06
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Waiting For Godot’s Wages

Though the BEA revised GDP slightly higher for Q3 2017, the government agency took hourly compensation out to the woodshed. On a quarterly basis, this metric of labor market wage pressures is often quite volatile. In Q4 last year, for instance, nominal hourly compensation was -4.5% Q/Q (annual rate), followed immediately by a 4.9% gain…

201711.27
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New Home Sales, Neither Prices Nor Volume

New home sales rose sharply again for the second consecutive month. After rising more than 18% in the month of September 2017 over August (subsequently revised down to 14%), sales rose another 6% month-over-month in October. At a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 685k, that’s the highest pace for any month going back exactly ten years…

201711.21
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(A)Typical At The Bottom

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) estimates sales of existing homes rose 2% in October 2017 from a downwardly revised September estimate. The trade group tries its best to put recent results in the best possible terms, claiming in its press release that at 5.48 million (SAAR) the number of resales is “their strongest pace…

201711.06
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Aligning Politics To economics

There is no argument that the New Deal of the 1930’s completely changed the political situation in America, including the fundamental relationship of the government to its people. The way it came about was entirely familiar, a sense from among a large (enough) portion of the general population that the paradigm of the time no…

201710.24 4

Japan Is Booming, Except It’s Not

Japan is hot, really hot. Stocks are up to level not seen since 1996 (Nikkei 225). Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called snap elections in Parliament to secure a supermajority and it worked. Things seem to be sparkling all over the place, with the arrow pointing up: “Hopes for a global economic recovery and US shares’…