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

September jobs report: a mixed report with different implications in different timeframes

September jobs report: a mixed report with different implications in different timeframes HEADLINES: +134,000 jobs added U3 unemployment rate declined -0.2% from 3.9% to 3.7% U6 underemployment rate rose from 7.4% to 7.5% Here are the headlines on wages and the broader measures of underemployment: Wages and participation rates Not in Labor Force, but Want […]

The simple Fed funds + payrolls leading indicator: autumn update

The simple Fed funds + payrolls leading indicator: autumn update While we are waiting for tomorrow’s jobs report, let me update my alternative Fed funds + payrolls leading indicator for the economy, which I debuted earlier this year. This was the result of looking for an interest rate indicator that did not rely upon the […]

September auto sales were the worst (economic reporting) in a long time

September auto sales were the worst (economic reporting) in a long time I don’t think I have seen as badly, or worse, outright misleading reporting in a long time as I have seen concerning September auto sales. Almost all of the stories — and especially the Doomish punditry that dominates the clickbait econoblogosphere — have […]

August residential construction spending declines

by New Deal democrat August residential construction spending declines Yesterday construction spending for August was reported. While overall spending rose very slightly, residential construction fell -0.7%. The big issue with housing this year is whether higher mortgage rates and higher prices are leading merely to a deceleration of growth, or to an actual turning point. […]

Trump’s trade war isn’t hurting manufacturing . . . yet

Trump’s trade war isn’t hurting manufacturing . . . yet The Trump Administration’s trade war hasn’t hurt manufacturing and production yet. At least that’s the message from this morning’s ISM report on manufacturing. According to the ISM: The September PMI®registered 59.8 percent, a decrease of 1.5 percentage points from the August reading of 61.3 percent. […]

2018 Arctic sea ice minimum

2018 Arctic sea ice minimum As I may possibly have mentioned once or twice before, I am a total nerd.  One of the web sites I watch is NSIDC’s site tracking arctic sea ice.  To be honest, I’m a little surprised that it is still functioning, since the Trump Administration believes that climate change is […]

A thought for Sunday: Trump is stomping all over the GOP’s message

A thought for Sunday: Trump is stomping all over the GOP’s message If the Congressional GOP had their druthers, they would probably like the autumn mid-term narrative to be about a strong economy, low unemployment, a tax cut, and a big increase in military funding. In vulnerable districts, they’d like to run on local issues, […]

The *rate* of new jobless claims, at all-time lows, forecasts even lower unemployment

The *rate* of new jobless claims, at all-time lows, forecasts even lower unemployment I thought I’d start out with something I haven’t looked at in awhile: initial jobless claims as a share of the population and as a leading indicator for the unemployment rate. This economic expansion has featured two contrary extremes in the labor […]

A bold forecast: there will be no autumn surge in housing this year

A bold forecast: there will be no autumn surge in housing this year The big issue this year in housing is whether increased mortgage rates and higher prices have merely resulted in a deceleration in the increase in new housing sales and construction, or whether housing is actually rolling over. As I’ve written several times […]

A hypothesis for Prof. Krugman: the transmission method was FEAR

A hypothesis for Prof. Krugman: the transmission method was FEAR In his recent column disagreeing with Ben Bernanke, Paul Krugman asks for an explanation as to how a financial panic could lead to years thereafter of a slow recovery. Specifically, Krugman says that he “really really wants to hear about the transmission mechanism.” After all, […]