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

Housing still an economic positive over the next 12 months

Housing permits and starts decline slightly, but housing still an economic positive over the next 12 months Housing permits and starts declined, but not by much, in April. Importantly, while typically permits, especially single family permits, lead these series, in the past year there has been a unique divergence between permits and starts due to […]

Industrial production continues to show excellent growth

Industrial production continues to show excellent growth I call industrial production the King of Coincident Indicators, because it speaks volumes about where the economy is at any particular moment, and empirically is the indicator whose peaks and troughs coincide most definitively with NBER recession dates. In April the story told by industrial production continued to […]

Real retail sales signal further expansion, but also continue to suggest slower payrolls growth ahead

Real retail sales signal further expansion, but also continue to suggest slower payrolls growth ahead Nominal retail sales for the month of April were up 0.9%, and previous months were revised higher. That means that, after inflation, real retail sales for April were up 0.6%, a very positive number. Yesterday I wrote that, rather than […]

Will tomorrow’s real retail sales report forecast a recession, or just a continued slowdown?

Will tomorrow’s real retail sales report forecast a recession, or just a continued slowdown? No economic data today (May 16) of significance; but tomorrow one of my favorite economic indicators, retail sales, will be reported for April. Since real retail sales lead employment and generally are a short leading indicator for the economy as a […]

Coronavirus dashboard for May 13: the virus will gradually become less lethal

Coronavirus dashboard for May 13: the virus will gradually become less lethal – because you can only die once, COVID-19 is still a pandemic and will gradually transition to an endemic. A year ago I thought that between nearly universal vaccinations and an increasing percentage of the population already infected, the virus would wane into […]

New jobless claims rise slightly, but continuing claims make another 50+ year low

New jobless claims rise slightly, but continuing claims make another 50+ year low, May 12, 2022  – by New Deal democrat Initial jobless claims rose 1,000 to 203,000, continuing above the recent 50+ year low of 166,000 set in March. The 4 week average also rose by 4,250 to 192,750, compared with the all-time low […]

With the Fed already having begun to “stomp on the brakes,” inflation is still running very hot

With the Fed already having begun to “stomp on the brakes,” inflation is still running very hot As promised, here is my second post on the April CPI number. The YoY advance in consumer prices, +8.3%, is down from last month’s 8.6%, which was the highest 12 month rate since 1981. As I suggested last […]

Real wages unchanged, real aggregate payrolls rose slightly in April

Real wages unchanged, real aggregate payrolls rose slightly in April Consumer inflation for April was +0.3%, the lowest monthly advance since last August. The number was helped by a big decline in energy prices, down -2.7% for the month, and also by used cars, down -0.4% for the month. In this post I’ll report on […]

Strong demand for loans, but accommodation ends

Q1 Senior Loan Officer Survey: strong demand for loans, but accommodation ends The Senior Loan Officer Survey for Q1 was published yesterday (May 10), generally covering the supply of, and demand for, bank credit. It has two components that qualify as long leading indicators for the economy, as they have typically turned about one year […]

A “Big Picture” look at housing

A “Big Picture” look at housing at Seeking Alpha; plus an in-depth look at existing home sales and inventory I have one of my periodic “Big Picture” looks at housing up over at Seeking Alpha. One economic relationship – whether sales lead inventory for existing homes as well as new ones – has been extremely difficult […]