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

Retail sales disappoint — but don’t hyperventilate about it

Retail sales disappoint — but don’t hyperventilate about it There certainly is a  lot of information to unpack from this morning’s retail sales and inflation reports, and what they mean for wages and jobs.  I’ll address them in separate posts. First, retail sales.  They certainly were a disappointment, coming in at -0.3% nominally and -0.2% […]

No, record job openings in JOLTS do not mean that everything is Teh Awesome!

No, record job openings in JOLTS do not mean that everything is Teh Awesome! Once again most of the commentary on yesterday’s JOLTS report for April was that job openings jumped, so everything is Teh Awesome! <  Sigh  > To recap one more time… In the one and only complete business cycle that we have […]

May jobs report: nothing more nor less than a decent late cycle report

May jobs report: nothing more nor less than a decent late cycle report HEADLINES: +138,000 jobs added U3 unemployment rate down -0.1% from 4.4% to 4.3% U6 underemployment rate down -0.2% from 8.6% to 8.4% Here are the headlines on wages and the chronic heightened underemployment: Wages and participation rates Not in Labor Force, but […]

Gas prices on verge of turning negative YoY

Gas prices on verge of turning negative YoY There are two important aspects to the inflation rate right now. One, as Dean Baker reminds us today, is that most of core inflation has been caused by housing, via “owners equivalent rent.”  Take that out, and inflation is only 1%: The second important aspect is that […]

A thought for Sunday: no, Trump approval *still* isn’t imploding. BUT …

A thought for Sunday: no, Trump approval *still* isn’t imploding. BUT … Democrats continue to delude themselves about Presidential approval polls — with one very big possible exception. In the first place, can we all agree that Trump has had a particularly nasty last several weeks? Including firing Comey, blabbing secrets to the Russian ambassador, […]

Of Memorial Day and Confederate statues

Of Memorial Day and Confederate statues Memorial Day is a particularly fitting time to write about the issue of Confederate monuments. That’s because Memorial Day originated as a day set aside to honor the Civil War dead, not just those who fought for the Union, but those on both sides, including those who died in […]

Marginalized populations and employment during expansions

Marginalized populations and employment during expansions Dean Baker ran a graph over the weekend showing an apparent conundrum: namely, that in the last several years there has been an increase in the percentage of those employed who only have a high school diploma vs. a slight *decrease* in employment among those with a college degree.  […]

Real aggregate wage growth finally overtakes Reagan expansion

Real aggregate wage growth finally overtakes Reagan expansion In my opinion the best measure of how average Americans’ situations have improved during an economic expansion is real aggregate wage growth.  This is calculated as follows: average wages per hour for nonsupervisory workers times aggregate hours worked in the economy deflated by the consumer price index […]

A thought for Sunday: the Left is winning the battle of ideas. The right’s own man says so

by New Deal democrat A thought for Sunday: the Left is winning the battle of ideas. The right’s own man says so Prof. Arnold Kling, a conservative neoclassical economist who has taught at George Mason University and been affiliated with the Cato Institute, has a post up this morning in which he  reflects upon whether […]