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

March JOLTS report: Hiring and discharges show signs of late cycle deceleration

March JOLTS report: Hiring and discharges show signs of late cycle deceleration The JOLTS report on labor is noteworthy and helpful because it breaks down the jobs market into a more granular look at hiring, firing, and voluntary quits. Its drawback is that the data only goes back less than 20 years, so from the […]

Scenes from the April jobs report

Scenes from the April jobs report The headline news in Friday’s employment report was excellent. But underneath those headlines, all is not well. Let’s celebrate the excellent headlines first. Adding 263,000 jobs in April was one of the dozen best reports of this entire expansion: Next, here is the YoY% change in nonfarm payrolls, showing an […]

April jobs report: great headlines, signs of fraying around the edges

April jobs report: great headlines, signs of fraying around the edges HEADLINES: +263,000 jobs added U3 unemployment rate declined -0.2% to 3.6% (new expansion low) U6 underemployment rate unchanged at 7.3% Leading employment indicators of a slowdown or recession   I am highlighting these because many leading indicators overall strongly suggest that an employment slowdown […]

Construction spending, manufacturing, and temp jobs all decelerate further or decline

Construction spending, manufacturing, and temp jobs all decelerate further or decline On Sunday I said, “Construction spending … should follow housing permits and starts with a delay of several months. But, oddly, even though starts in particular have continued to languish, spending has come back strongly since last November. I’ll be looking to see if […]

Median wage and salary growth stalls in Q1, while overall positive trend remains intact UPDATE: real household income declined

Median wage and salary growth stalls in Q1, while overall positive trend remains intact UPDATE: real household income declined The Employment Cost Index is a median measure of wages, and also total compensation, for the 50th percentile worker. Thus it escapes the “Bill Gates walks into a bar” issue with average measures. Sunday I wrote […]

What I’m watching for this week

What I’m watching for this week This week is going to be a really busy one for economic data. I’m not going to be able to do detailed posts on everything. But because in the past couple of months most of the data has gone against my “2019 slowdown” scenario, I thought both in the […]

Commercial and industrial loans: another sign of a slowdown?

Commercial and industrial loans: another sign of a slowdown? There are lots of cross-currents in the economy right now. At the absolute tip of the spear is the decline in interest rates since November, which has led to an improvement in some of the housing market metrics. In the shorter-term outlook, a simple quick-and-dirty metric […]

How increasing local oligopolization has distorted the housing market

How increasing local oligopolization has distorted the housing market Earlier this week new home sales for March were reported, soaring to a new expansion high bar one month (November 2017). Something else that a few other writers picked up on: the median *prices* for new homes fell to a level not seen in the past […]

Nailed it!

Nailed it! Three weeks ago I wrote No, the Meuller report ***DID NOT*** “find no collusion!” in which I lambasted and parsed Barr’s conclusory snippet of the Mueller report, to wit, that “[T]he investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.” I pointed […]