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

September jobs report: once again, two very different surveys net to a “relatively” disappointing gain

September jobs report: once again, two very different surveys net to a “relatively” disappointing gain As I previously indicated, two items I was particularly watching for in this morning’s report (Oct. 7) were (1) manufacturing hours and payrolls – to see if that white-hot sector was holding up in the face of supply bottlenecks, and […]

Updated US wealth distribution data shows how bad the Great Recession and its aftermath were, and how effective the pandemic assistance has been

Updated US wealth distribution data shows how bad the Great Recession and its aftermath were, and how effective the pandemic assistance has been   The desert of new economic data this week continues today. But last week the Fed released its quarterly data on wealth distribution in the US, and it shows an important point […]

A slow grind in new and continued claims as Covid’s effects gradually transition from pandemic to endemic

A slow grind in new and continued claims as Covid’s effects gradually transition from pandemic to endemic Jobless claims declined 38,000 this week to 326,000, still 14,000 above the September 4 pandemic low of 312,000. The 4 week average rose 3,500 to 344,000, 8,250 above their September 18 pandemic low of 335,750: Continuing claims declined […]

Manufactuing remains white hot, while construction spending is mixed

Manufactuing remains white hot, while construction spending is mixed As usual, we started out the month with the forward-looking ISM manufacturing report for September, as well as construction spending for August. Let’s take the ISM report first since it is an important short-leading indicator for the production sector. And here, the news was good, as […]

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 […]