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

Hurricane workarounds for industrial production and housing

Hurricane workarounds for industrial production and housing Hurricane Harvey has already affected some of the August data releases.  Irma has already started to affect some weekly releases, and will undoubtedly affect the September monthly releases. I have already begun to adjust for the hurricanes in the case of initial jobless claims.  But what of the […]

2.5 cheers for 2016’s new high in real median income!

2.5 cheers for 2016’s new high in real median household income! Given that I consider jobs and wages for average Americans my #1 focus, it’s only fair that I write about this week’s release of the real median household income for 2016, don’t you think? A few years ago I wrote that real median household […]

How to kill Social Security in 2 easy steps

How to kill Social Security in 2 easy steps Here’s Kevin Drum advocating for step 1:  the best way to address retirement security is to continue reforming 401(k) plans and to expand Social Security—but only for low-income workers. Middle-class workers are generally doing reasonably well, and certainly as well as they did in the past. We don’t […]

Hurricane adjusted initial claims for week of Sept. 2: 239,000

Hurricane adjusted initial claims for week of Sept. 2: 239,000 Last week I promised I would repeat an exercise I first undertook in 2012 when Superstorm Sandy disrupted the initial claims data: estimating what the initial jobless claims would have been, but for the hurricane. In 2012 I created that adjustment by backing out the […]

A note on Hurricane Harvey and unemployment claims

A note on Hurricane Harvey and unemployment claims Initial jobless claims for last week were reported at 298,000 this morning, a jump of over 50,000 from recent levels. As most people probably already know, this huge jump had everything to do with Hurricane Harvey shutting down southeastern Texas, including the entire 7 million Houston metro […]

The August jobs report smacked of late cycle deceleration

The August jobs report smacked of late cycle deceleration As promised, here is my abbreviated and late take on this morning’s employment report. While the additions to temporary positions (a leading indicator for jobs overall), and construction, and manufacturing jobs were welcome, this report sure looked like late cycle deceleration. The YoY% growth in jobs […]

Trickle-down, with the emphasis on “trickle”

Trickle-down, with the emphasis on “trickle” Since the turn of the Millennium, a torrent of corporate tax cuts has resulted in a trickle of investment growth. This morning Dean Baker objects to: the argument … that reducing corporate taxes will lead to more investment and thereby greater wage growth in the future. The data from […]

Notes on Harvey: if Karma could bring her litter to visit the Texas GOP

Notes on Harvey: if Karma could bring her litter to visit the Texas GOP First of all, as many of you already know, the M.I.A. proprietor of Bonddad blog, Hale Stewart, resides in the Houston area.  I traded messages with him on Saturday, and as of then, he was doing OK. Secondly, when Superstorm Sandy […]

An economy on autopilot between Scylla and Charybdis

An economy on autopilot between Scylla and Charybdis Interest rates are a vital determinant of longer term growth. While the economy has remained on autopilot for the last several years, with almost no political stimulus or disruption — though that may well change next month — the Fed has to steer a course between the […]

Free Trade, the Primrose Path, and the Blinkered Blindness of macroeconomists

by New Deal Democrat Free Trade, the Primrose Path, and the Blinkered Blindness of macroeconomists Here’s what I learned today: the origin of the phrase “being led down the primrose path.” It turns out that in medieval times, one meaning of the word “primrose” was the “prime,” or first or loveliest, rose.  Thus taking the […]