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

Is the US economy booming? April 2018 update

Is the US economy booming? April 2018 update Back in January, I asked if the economy was “booming.” There’s no official definition, but based on my recollection of the two periods I have lived through that felt like booms, the1960s and late 1990s, the two times in my life that the feel of an economic […]

February 2018 JOLTS report: positive trend revised away

February 2018 JOLTS report: positive trend revised away Last month I wrote that the January JOLTS report reflected very positive trends. Today they got revised away. As a refresher, unlike the jobs report, which tabulates the net gain or loss of hiring over firing, the JOLTS report breaks the labor market down into openings, hirings, […]

A thought for Sunday: The Abyss always looks back, Presidential polling edition

A thought for Sunday: The Abyss always looks back, Presidential polling edition A point I have made about economic forecasting a number of times is that one can be an excellent forecaster, so long as one is a bug on the wall. Once a significant number of people begin to follow *and act upon* the […]

Is raising wages becoming a taboo?

(Dan here…I have highlighted NDd’s conclusion. This is a long post but worth thinking about…) So in conclusion, while I have no doubt that the “monopsony” argument is measuring something real, I am more and more inclined to believe that raising wages is simply becoming an ideological taboo among businesses, a higher priority than maximizing […]

March jobs report: surprisingly weak

March jobs report: surprisingly weak HEADLINES: +103,000 jobs added U3 unemployment rate unchanged at 4.1% U6 underemployment rate fell -0.2% from 8.2% to 8.0% Here are the headlines on wages and the chronic heightened underemployment: Wages and participation rates Not in Labor Force, but Want a Job Now: fell -35,000 from 5.131 million to 5.096 […]

A note on personal income and spending

A note on personal income and spending Personal income and spending data from February intimates a weak Q1 GDP report, but doesn’t suggest any imminent downturn. The first graph below compares real personal spending with real retail sales: Real retail sales have pulled back from their autumn surge, and real personal spending has also declined […]

A note of caution about opinion surveys with voluntary associations

A thought for Sunday: a note of caution about opinion surveys with voluntary associations I read a Pew Research study a few days ago with a startling statistic: aside from self-identified Republicans, the single group most strongly approving of Trump was white evangelical Protestants (dark is approval, light is disapproval): This is mind-numbing, especially when […]

I pour some cold water on 2018 midterm overoptimism

 I pour some cold water on 2018 midterm overoptimism In the wake of Conor Lamb’s election victory in Pennsylvania last Tuesday night, some Democratic partisans are suggesting that every GOP-held seat from a district that is less than trump +20% is in play. Hold your horses. The results of last June’s special election in Georgia, […]

JOLTS revisions paint brighter labor market picture

JOLTS revisions paint brighter labor market picture Last Friday’s JOLTS report for January included some important revisions, particularly with regard to hiring.  So let’s take a closer look.As a refresher, unlike the jobs report, which tabulates the net gain or loss of hiring over firing, the JOLTS report breaks the labor market down into openings, […]