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

The quick and dirty leading indicator watch has been stagnant for 18+ months

The quick and dirty leading indicator watch has been stagnant for 18+ months [Note: I’ve been working on my “what leads consumer spending” opus, and as often happens, I don’t want to publish anything until I’m sure I’ve got something good – which means lots more research and saved graphs — and nothing whatsoever published! […]

Consumer spending leads employment — but what leads consumer spending?

Consumer spending leads employment — but what leads consumer spending? One relationship I have consistently flogged for the past decade is that consumer spending leads employment.  That’s still true. Here is one of the graphs on that score going back over 50 years, the YoY% change, averaged quarterly, in real aggregate payrolls (blue) vs. real […]

Short leading indicators show slowdown, not recession (for now anyway)

Short leading indicators show slowdown, not recession (for now anyway) Amount 10 days ago, I wrote that backward revisions to adjusted NIPA corporate profits meant the long leading indicators were more negative than originally believed one year ago.  Which means that watching the short leading indicators for signs of rolling over became more important. I […]

On Appeasement

On Appeasement Sometimes on Sundays I leave the dreary world of economics behind and write of broader things. Since most tomes covering American history have an underlying sunny optimism that is nowhere appropriate for our times, recently I’ve been reading more world history having to do with the rise of fascism or fall of democracy. […]

Positive July housing permits and starts

Positive July housing permits and starts The housing starts and permits report this morning for July adds to the positive data looking forward to H2 2020 (or, possibly, less bad – but that’s another discussion). First, here are overall permits (red) and starts (blue): While the very volatile starts declined, the slightly more forward looking […]

Industrial production, jobless claims, and retail sales

Industrial production, jobless claims, and retail sales As I noted this morning, a slew of important data was released. Let me deal with the “normal” weekly and monthly data in this post. First, industrial production continues to languish, down significantly from the end of last year, whether measured in total or just as to manufacturing: […]

Real average and aggregate wage growth for July 2019: yellow flag for aggregate wages

Real average and aggregate wage growth for July 2019: yellow flag for aggregate wages Now that we have the July inflation reading, let’s take a look at real wages. First of all, nominal average hourly wages in June increased +0.2%, while consumer prices increased +0.3%, meaning real average hourly wages for non-managerial personnel decreased -0.1%. […]

Notes on the June JOLTS report: weakness but no imminent downturn

Notes on the June JOLTS report: weakness but no imminent downturn I’m still on vacation, so continue to expect light posting. But I thought I’d take a look at the one piece of data that came out this week, the June JOLTS report. First of all, the “hiring leads firing” mantra continues to be true: […]