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

A note about turnout in yesterday’s elections

A note about turnout in yesterday’s elections I haven’t seen any information yet on how turnout in last night’s elections, particularly in Virginia, which was an “off-off year” election, i.e., no statewide races at all, only state legislative and local races. The state of Virginia keeps turnout statistics online back to 1976. The bottom line is, clearly […]

September JOLTS report: mixed with “hard” positives and a “soft” negative

September JOLTS report: mixed with “hard” positives and a “soft” negative This morning’s JOLTS report for September was mixed, with a decline in job openings and an increase in layoffs, but advances in hiring and voluntary quits. To review, because this series is only 20 years old, we only have one full business cycle to […]

October jobs report paints a portrait of a full (or nearly full) employment economy

October jobs report paints a portrait of a full (or nearly full) employment economy HEADLINES: +128,000 jobs added (+148,000 ex-Census) U3 unemployment rate up +0.1% from 3.5% to 3.6% U6 underemployment rate up +0.1% from 6.9% to 7.0% Leading employment indicators of a slowdown or recession I am highlighting these because many leading indicators overall […]

The consumer / employment sector of the economy continues powering along

The consumer / employment sector of the economy continues powering along ….. aaaaand, I’m back. Did you miss me? Here is the essence of my view of the economy right now: 1. The producer sector of the economy is struggling, partly due to higher interest rates in the last two years filtering through the system, […]

Manufacturing still weak

Manufacturing still weak I’m still traveling this morning, but for now let me just note that this morning’s durable goods orders showed a decline again: Figure 1 Manufacturing is flat to slightly contracting. The consumer, primarily thanks to lower mortgage rates, is keeping the economy going.

The Rise and Fall of the Roman Republic: part 4 of 4: the Empire as hegemonic “Banana Republic” ruled by caudillos

The Rise and Fall of the Roman Republic: part 4 of 4: the Empire as hegemonic “Banana Republic” ruled by caudillos As we have seen, the Roman Republic was brought down by an escalating series of acts of political violence, from murders to organized political mobs, to private legions, to four military marches over a […]

September existing home sales: a pause in the housing rebound

September existing home sales: a pause in the housing rebound I normally don’t bother with existing home sales, since it is the least economically important of housing data, but it’s a really slow news week, so … September existing home sales were reported at 5.38 million annualized by the NAR. While that is a decline […]

The Rise and Fall of the Roman Republic: part 3 of 4: the final hammer-blows

The Rise and Fall of the Roman Republic: part 3 of 4: the final hammer-blows “The Republic is nothing, a mere name without body or form.” – Julius Caesar This is part 3 of my four part look at why the Roman Republic, which was successful and stable for nearly 4 centuries, ultimately fell into tyranny. […]

The Rise and Fall of the Roman Republic: part 2 of 4: the first hammer-blows

The Rise and Fall of the Roman Republic: part 2 of 4: the first hammer-blows This is part 2 of my four part look at the Roman Republic and subsequent Empire. In part 1, I described the structure of the Republic, and its several centuries of stability and success, as well as the underlying causes […]

The rise and fall of the Roman Republic: part 1 of 4: Structure and Background

The rise and fall of the Roman Republic: part 1 of 4: Structure and Background “Mortal Republic: How Rome Fell into Tyranny,” by Edward J. Watts “The Storm Before the Storm,: The Beginning of the End of the Roman Republic” by Mike Duncan “Ten Emperors: Roman Emperors from Augustus to Constantine,” by Barry Strauss I’ve recently mentioned that […]