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

Manufacturing holds on in February

Manufacturing holds on in February The theme for most reports remains that the government shutdown in December and January, plus a 30 year record cold snap for a week in January, put a real dent in the economy. That certainly was the message of December personal spending and December and January personal spending this morning. […]

December housing permits and starts mixed, support slowdown scenario

December housing permits and starts mixed, support slowdown scenario This morning we finally got December housing permits and starts. Remember that starts are more volatile than permits, and single family permits are the least volatile of all. Here’s what the overall data looks like: While starts and completions laid an egg, permits actually went up […]

It’s Presidents Day, and we’re still basically flying blind on the economy

It’s Presidents Day, and we’re still basically flying blind on the eoncomy Not only are the markets closed today for President’s Day, but this entire week is about the emptiest I can ever recall for economic data. Literally the only data of note is going to be released on Thursday, and except for weekly jobless […]

More signs of a slowdown: initial claims and real retail sales

More signs of a slowdown: initial claims and real retail sales We got two negative data points. One is cause for concern; the other – not quite yet. Let me start with the “not yet” first. Initial jobless claims rose 4,000 to 239,000. That means that the 4 week moving average rose to 231,750: This […]

A decelerating Staffing Index suggests that weakening temporary jobs in the monthly employment report is not just noise

A decelerating Staffing Index suggests that weakening temporary jobs in the monthly employment report is not just noise Every week I report the YoY 4 week rolling average of American Staffing Association’s Index. It’s been decelerating recently, and last week was up only +0.5% YoY. On a single week basis, though, it went negative. Because […]