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

December jobs report: late cycle mediocre growth reasserts itself

December jobs report: late cycle mediocre growth reasserts itself HEADLINES: +143,000 jobs added U3 unemployment rate unchanged at 4.1% U6 underemployment rate rose  +0.1% from 8.0% to 8.1% Here are the headlines on wages and the chronic heightened underemployment: Wages and participation rates Not in Labor Force, but Want a Job Now: rose +43,000 from […]

Five graphs for 2017:final update

Five graphs for 2017:final update At the beginning of the year, I identified 5 trends that bore particular watching, primarily as potentially setting the stage for a recession in 2018. Now that the year is ending, how did they turn out? #5 Gas Prices One potential pressure point on the economy was gas prices, which […]

Real wages stagnate YoY, decline significantly since July

Real wages stagnate YoY, decline significantly since July So lackluster has wage growth been that even the modest uptick in consumer inflation to 2.2% YoY in November means that non-managerial workers have seen virtually no real growth in their paychecks over the last 12 months. With yesterday’s +0.4% increase in consumer prices, here’s what YoY […]

October JOLTS report: a good post-hurricane rebound

October JOLTS report: a good post-hurricane rebound The August and September hurricanes continue to make their impacts felt in the economic data.  Yesterday’s JOLTS report for October, like the October and November jobs reports, shows a rebound from those impacts.  The best way to look at the data is to average the last two months […]

The wage – debt deflation dynamic and the next recession

 The wage – debt deflation dynamic and the next recession One of the important dynamics why recessions end is that inflation decelerates more than wage growth. Thus, for the 90% or so of people who still have jobs, there are some compelling bargains, enough to jumpstart more spending. That all gets short-circuited if wages actually […]

November Jobs Report: good month, same caveats

November Jobs Report: good month, same caveats HEADLINES: +228,000 jobs added U3 unemployment rate unchanged at 4.1% U6 underemployment rate rose +0.1% from 7.9% 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:  rose +53,000 from 5.175 million […]

An astute progressive critique of the Trump Administration from … CNBC?!?

An astute progressive critique of the Trump Administration from … CNBC?!? John Harwood of that well known lefty outlet, …. ummm, CNBC …. writes this morning that “Trump has Forgotten his ‘Forgotten People’:” He forgot them on health care. Jettisoning his campaign pledge to “take care of everybody” regardless of income, he proposed cutting federal health […]

No, We Won’t See a Torrent of Investment From the Tax Bill

No, We Won’t See a Torrent of Investment From the Tax Bill One of the arguments that Republicans are using to support their tax bill is that it will unleash investment.  The data says otherwise.  Currently, most US economic sectors are operating far below maximum capacity utilization. As the debate on tax policy and its […]