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

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 […]

Live-blogging the End of the Republic

Live-blogging the End of the Republic The title of this piece is increasingly my feeling about the times we are living in. Almost everywhere it has been implemented, the Madisonian system has ultimately failed, ending in presidential autocracy. All of the tools are now in place for the US to fail as well. If Trump […]

A few thoughts while you are digesting Thanksgiving dinner

A few thoughts while you are digesting Thanksgiving dinner There was a bunch of data released Wednesday, while yours truly was on the road along with everybody else. So here are a couple of thoughts for you as you sit there with your loosened belt figuring out what leftovers you’re going to be eating for […]

Housing rebound continues; price appreciation stabilizes

Housing rebound continues; price appreciation stabilizes Just a quick note, as I am traveling today.New home sales declined slightly in October from September, but remain at the high end of this expansion. The renewed uptrend in housing sales, due to lower mortgage rates, is clearly intact: Meanwhile house prices, as measured by the Case Shiller […]

Rebound in existing home sales continues, but beware the housing “choke collar”

Rebound in existing home sales continues, but beware the housing “choke collar” Although they account for about 90% of the entire housing market, existing home sales are the least consequential to the economy. That’s because building new homes entails a bunch of economic activity, from architects, builders, building trades contractors, landscapers in the building process, […]

Initial claims weaker, but still not at cautionary levels

Initial claims weaker, but still not at cautionary levels 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, no recession is going to begin unless and until layoffs increase, and the lack of any such increase […]

A yellow flag from temporary hiring

A yellow flag from temporary hiring In the conclusion of my latest Weekly Indicators post, I wrote that, except for temporary staffing, I didn’t see any signs of weakness spreading out beyond manufacturing and import/export. Manufacturing, as measured by industrial production, has been in a shallow recession all year. By contrast, the consumer – 70% […]