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

Live-blogging the Fifteenth Amendment: December 17, 1868

Live-blogging the Fifteenth Amendment: December 17, 1868 In the Senate, Senators Dixon and Ferry, both Republicans from Connecticut, continued the debate from several days prior concerning a federal imposition of African-American voting rights on the States: Dixon: [M]y colleague … proposes to amend the Constitution of the United States in a manner which to me […]

Initial claims turn neutral on seasonality, but no red flag

Initial claims turn neutral on seasonality, but no red flag As you know, I’ve been monitoring initial jobless claims closely for the past several months, to see if there are any signs of a slowdown turning into something worse. Simply put, if businesses aren’t laying employees off, those same people are consumers who are going […]

November real retail sales show consumption still weakly positive

November real retail sales show consumption still weakly positive Retail sales are one of my favorite indicators, because in real terms they can tell us so much about the present, near term forecast, and longer term forecast for the economy. This morning retail sales for November were reported up +0.2%, while October was also revised […]

Off topic: two solutions to home delivery theft

Off topic: two solutions to home delivery theft By now we all know that theft of packages delivered to people’s home doorstep is a big problem. Here are pictures of two solutions:1. Massive 1984-style and easily hackable home monitoring. Or even worse, the ability of the delivery person to open the homeonwer’s garage to leave […]

November average real wage growth stable, but aggregate growth now puts expansion in second place behind 1990s

November average real wage growth stable, but aggregate growth now puts expansion in second place behind 1990s November consumer inflation came in at +0.3%. Since in last Friday’s jobs report average hourly earnings also increased +0.3%, real average hourly earnings were unchanged: In a longer term perspective, this means that real wages remain at 97.9% […]

Scenes from the November jobs report

Scenes from the November jobs report Let’s take a more detailed look at last Friday’s November jobs report, in particular a discussion of the more leading sectors. First, let’s update the three leading sectors of employment that I have been tracking: temporary help (blue in the graph below), manufacturing (gold), and residential construction (red). Here’s […]

Live-blogging the Fifteenth Amendment: December 7, 1868

Live-blogging the Fifteenth Amendment: December 7, 1868 In the Senate: “Mr. Craving asked, and by unanimous consent obtained, leave to introduce a joint resolution proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States: . . . “No State shall deny the right of suffrage or abridge the same to any male citizens of the […]

December starts out with a thud

December starts out with a thud The first reports in December are in, and both were negative. Let’s start with construction spending. Overall construction spending declined -0.8% in October. The more leading residential construction spending declined -0.9%, the second decline in a row (blue in the graph below): Figure1 Since actual spending on residential construction […]

Forecasting the 2020 election: the economic baseline (or, don’t count on a recession)

Forecasting the 2020 election: the economic baseline (or, don’t count on a recession) Four years ago, I decided to use my set of “long leading indicators” to forecast the 2016 election. The indicators were very weakly positive, and pointed to a narrow popular vote win for the incumbent party one year out. This prompted Nate […]