Relevant and even prescient commentary on news, politics and the economy.

New jobless claims rise sharply; is the Delta wave beginning to take its economic toll?

New jobless claims rise sharply; is the Delta wave beginning to take its economic toll? New jobless claims are the most important weekly economic datapoint with regard to the effects of vaccination progress. At this point, it is also a test of how much the “delta wave” of new cases is setting economic progress back. […]

Brace yourself for the surge in deaths

Coronavirus dashboard for July 21: brace yourself for the surge in deaths I have been warning since late June that the situation would likely look very different by the end of July. By 2 weeks ago, I wrote: “In the near future, there appears to be bad news and *relatively* “good” news for the US. The […]

Housing permits continue decline in June; more challenging YoY comparisons ahead

Housing permits continue decline in June; more challenging YoY comparison First, a brief comment about the NBER’s declaration yesterday that the COVID recession ended in April 2020. I am not surprised at all that they chose that date. It has been clear for a year that the trough in economic activity across the board was […]

June retail sales decline after taking inflation into account, but overall pandemic gains “stick”

June retail sales decline after taking inflation into account, but overall pandemic gains “stick” As usual, retail sales is one of my favorite indicators, because it gives us so much information about the consumer economy.  The news for June was mixed. Nominally retail sales were up +0.6% for the month. But after taking into account […]

Industrial production slightly positive overall, but with negative revisions

Industrial production slightly positive overall, but with negative revisions Industrial production is the King of Coincident Indicators. It is the single datum that most frequently coincides with the NBER determination of the beginning and end of recessions. Production increased 0.4% in June, but May’s result was reduced by -0.2%. The manufacturing component declined less than […]

Real wages decrease sharply – at least, if you include used vehicle prices

Real wages decrease sharply – at least, if you include used vehicle prices As I pointed out yesterday, the big increase in inflation over the past few months has made the YoY change in real wages for nonsupervisory workers negative. Let’s take a little closer look. Here is a graph of wages for nonsupervisory workers […]

The completely preventable “delta wave” is here

Coronavirus dashboard for July 12: the completely preventable “delta wave” is here The completely unnecessary and preventable “delta wave” of COVID infections, hospitalizations, and deaths is now in force – all three metrics are now rising nationwide. Here are the 7 day average of confirmed cases (thin line) and deaths (thick): Cases have gone up […]