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

January jobs report: a tale of two almost diametrically opposed components

January jobs report: a tale of two almost diametrically opposed components HEADLINES: +304,000 jobs added U3 unemployment rate rose 0.1% from 3.9% to 4.0% U6 underemployment rate rose 0.5% from 7.6% to 8.1% Here are the headlines on wages and the broader measures of underemployment: Wages and participation rates Not in Labor Force, but Want […]

Advance reading of January manufacturing supports further slowdown

Advance reading of January manufacturing supports further slowdown I have been using an average of the five regional Fed new orders indexes to forecast the direction of the ISM manufacturing new orders index, and indirectly manufacturing production.  Now that all five regional Fed indexes have been reported, here’s a comparison of the regional Fed averages […]

A note on pending home sales and construction employment

A note on pending home sales and construction employment The NAR reported that pending home sales declined -2.2% m/m in December. Since this is based on contract signings, it suggests that *existing* home sales will continue to decline for the next month or two. A few commentators have expressed surprise at the negative number, since mortgage […]

Flying blind: a note on the long leading forecast for the second half of 2019

Flying blind: a note on the long leading forecast for the second half of 2019 We are still “flying blind” on some important economic data, most notably housing permits, starts, and sales, and GDP. As of this morning, neither the Commerce Department nor its Census Bureau have indicated when these reports will be released, although […]

Industrial production: strong finish to 2018

Industrial production: strong finish to 2018 Industrial production for December was reported this morning at +0.3%, slightly better than estimates. But what was really surprising is how strong the manufacturing component was, up over 1%: With this reading, YoY industrial production for manufacturing improved to +3.4%, and overall production came in just below 4%: This […]

Flying blind

Flying blind The government shutdown is affecting some important economic indicators. All of the series published by the Census Bureau, including retail sales, manufacturers’ and wholesalers’ data, personal income and spending, new home sales and housing permits and starts, are not being published.  It appears that GDP is not going to be published by the […]

Good news from the employment report: workers are finally getting raises!

Good news from the employment report: workers are finally getting raises! When it comes to jobs, if there is one trend that really set apart 2018 from any prior year of this expansion, it is that ordinary workers are finally getting decent raises. Let’s start by looking at the monthly % change in average hourly […]

December jobs report: 2018 goes out with a bang

December jobs report: 2018 goes out with a bang HEADLINES: +312,000 jobs added U3 unemployment rate rose +0.2% from 3.7% to 3.9% U6 underemployment rate unchanged at 7.6% Here are the headlines on wages and the broader measures of underemployment: Wages and participation rates Not in Labor Force, but Want a Job Now:  declined -70,000 […]