201801.17
1
2

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…

201801.08
2
0

Two Potentially Important Notes For Consumer Credit

As expected, the Federal Reserve reported today that consumer credit expanded by an unusually large amount in November. Non-revolving debt rose by $16.6 billion, which is only slightly more than the recent average, and less than the average flow three years ago. It was instead revolving consumer credit where balances expanded the most (+$11.2 billion)….

201801.05
3
3

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….

201801.04
3
3

Big Difference Between Wanting To and Having To

According to the Federal Reserve, US consumers in October added a large $8.3 billion (SA) to their credit card balances. That was the third largest monthly increase since 2007. For some, that’s an indication of risk-taking and therefore recovery-like behavior on the part of American consumers. Given that it’s been this way for some time,…

201801.03
3
4

The Great Risk of So Many Dinosaurs

The Treasury Borrowing Advisory Committee (TBAC) was established a long time ago in the maelstrom of World War II budgetary as well as wartime conflagration. That made sense. To fight all over the world, the government required creative help in figuring out how to sell an amount of bonds it hadn’t needed (in proportional terms)…

201712.20
3
1

Existing Home Sales Jump Right In The Middle (of what?)

Sales of existing homes soared in November 2017, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). Up 5.6% in just the one month, at 5.81mm (SAAR) homes sold that’s the highest pace for resales since December 2006. After several months of glaring weakness, either a delayed rebound from hurricane disrupted activity or a burst of…

201712.11
2
2

Severe Jolt In JOLTS

The biggest proponents of the BLS data have been FOMC policymakers. Right from the taper tantrum of 2013, the unemployment rate has given them, and the Economists who depend on their views for crafting their own, an almost definitive set of parameters for interpreting all other economic statistics. Everything is immediately filtered through the lens…

201712.08 2

Defining The Economy Through Payrolls

The year 2000 was a transition year in a lot of ways. Though Y2K amounted to mild mass hysteria, people did have to get used to writing the date with 20 in front of the year rather than 19. It was a new millennium (depending on your view of Year 0) that seemed to have…

201711.30
2
7

It’s National Income That Should Be Setting Expectations

With all the focus on the unemployment rate, and therefore wages, Economists have been given the luxury (of sorts) of not having to answer for a larger, more basic incongruity. At 4.1% unemployment, supposedly, competition for workers given the scarcity of them who are unattached (low or no slack) should be driving up pay rates….

201711.29
3
0

Progress, So To Speak, With Some Japanification Denial

Ever since Robert Solow and Paul Samuelson wrote of an exploitable Phillips Curve in 1960, economists have had dreams of being able to precisely control the economy through the exchange of inflation and unemployment. The original paper, the one sold to, and bought by, the Kennedy Administration, theorized it was possible to sort of “purchase”…