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

New jobless claims increase: exit Delta, enter supply chain chokepoints?

New jobless claims increase: exit Delta, enter supply chain chokepoints?   This week jobless claims were higher for the third week in a row, and the 4-week average also rose slightly. Initial claims rose 11,000 to 362,000, and the 4-week average rose 4,250 to 340,000, from last week’s pandemic low: Meanwhile, continuing claims declined 18,000 […]

Real spending increases, real income declines in August

Real spending increases, real income declines in August (Note: I’ll report separately on construction spending and the ISM manufacturing index later.) Real personal income and spending held up well throughout the pandemic, due to a vigorous government response. This morning these were reported for the last full month of any assistance. In nominal terms, personal income […]

House prices continue to surge. But maybe . . .

House prices continue to surge. But maybe . . . Both the FHFA and Case-Shiller house price indexes for July were released this morning. Both showed a continued surge in house prices, with one difference that may be of importance. First, here are both indexes normed to 100 as of January 1991, when the FHFA […]

Coronavirus dashboard for September 29: the demographics of disease and death

Coronavirus dashboard for September 29: the demographics of disease and death First, let’s start with the good news. The Delta wave continues to roll out just about as swiftly as in rolled in. Cases are down almost 33% nationwide, including in all 4 regions:  And all 5 States that were the worst hit at the […]

The producer portion of the economy continues to do well

The producer portion of the economy continues to do well First, a little blogging note. This week is light on data. House prices tomorrow, jobless claims Thursday, then a bunch of month end/beginning data on Friday. In other words, don’t be surprised if I take a day off. This morning the report on durable goods […]

New home sales continue rebound in August, as price increases continue slight deceleration

New home sales continue rebound in August, as price increases continue slight deceleration Housing is a long leading sector of the economy, and new home sales, while very noisy and heavily revised, tend to lead all of the other housing indicators. [Note: FRED hasn’t updated its charts with this morning’s information, so graphs below do […]

Coronavirus dashboard for September 22: the Delta wave rolls out?

Coronavirus dashboard for September 22: the Delta wave rolls out?   At last, it appears that the Delta wave may be receding, as for now, the US is on a definite downslope in cases. As of yesterday, the US recorded 135,000 cases, a 31,000 decrease from the peak only 20 days before: Deaths have continued […]

August housing construction shows stabilization, following interest rate moderation

August housing construction shows stabilization, following interest rate moderation This morning’s report on August housing permits and starts shows that the stabilizing of mortgage rates in the past few months has now stabilized housing construction. Housing starts increased 3.9% m/m, and total permits increased 6.0%. The less volatile single-family permits increased 0.6%. As a result, […]

Median household income and housing affordability

Median household income and housing affordability Let’s take a look at the affordability (or not!) of housing since there is no economic news of note today (Monday). Last week the Census Bureau released their annual report on median household income for the US, covering 2020. Since this is the best measure to gauge housing affordability, […]

August retail sales rebound slightly, argue for continued strong jobs growth in autumn

August retail sales rebound slightly, argue for continued strong jobs growth in autumn Let’s take a look at retail sales, which are perhaps my favorite monthly economic indicator, since they tell us so much about average consumer behavior, and are also a good short leading indicator for jobs.Nominally retail sales increased 0.7% for August, after […]