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

Leading scenes from the employment report not so positive

Leading scenes from the employment report not so positive I seem to have been the only person to pick up on the weakness in the underlying leading aspects of last Friday’s jobs report. While the number of job gains was great, and that average wages for non-managerial workers had their second best showing, at 3.4%, […]

Reduction in Representation as the remedy for voter suppression

Reduction in Representation as the remedy for voter suppression This is the second take prompted by my reading of David W. Blight‘s biography of Frederick Douglass. In the “nothing is every really new” department, voter suppression was very much on the mind of Douglass and other radical Republicans during the Civil War and its immediate […]

Frederick Douglass, Andrew Johnson, and the Copperhead GOP

Frederick Douglass, Andrew Johnson, and the Copperhead GOP I am currently reading David W. Blight’s biography of Frederick Douglass, the 19th century orator and champion of black equality. Today I wanted to briefly write on several timely topics inspired by that tome. Douglass was biracial, or in the parlance of the day, a mulatto. His […]

January jobs report: a tale of two almost diametrically opposed components

January jobs report: a tale of two almost diametrically opposed components HEADLINES: +304,000 jobs added U3 unemployment rate rose 0.1% from 3.9% to 4.0% U6 underemployment rate rose 0.5% from 7.6% to 8.1% Here are the headlines on wages and the broader measures of underemployment: Wages and participation rates Not in Labor Force, but Want […]

Advance reading of January manufacturing supports further slowdown

Advance reading of January manufacturing supports further slowdown I have been using an average of the five regional Fed new orders indexes to forecast the direction of the ISM manufacturing new orders index, and indirectly manufacturing production.  Now that all five regional Fed indexes have been reported, here’s a comparison of the regional Fed averages […]

A note on pending home sales and construction employment

A note on pending home sales and construction employment The NAR reported that pending home sales declined -2.2% m/m in December. Since this is based on contract signings, it suggests that *existing* home sales will continue to decline for the next month or two. A few commentators have expressed surprise at the negative number, since mortgage […]

Flying blind: a note on the long leading forecast for the second half of 2019

Flying blind: a note on the long leading forecast for the second half of 2019 We are still “flying blind” on some important economic data, most notably housing permits, starts, and sales, and GDP. As of this morning, neither the Commerce Department nor its Census Bureau have indicated when these reports will be released, although […]

Industrial production: strong finish to 2018

Industrial production: strong finish to 2018 Industrial production for December was reported this morning at +0.3%, slightly better than estimates. But what was really surprising is how strong the manufacturing component was, up over 1%: With this reading, YoY industrial production for manufacturing improved to +3.4%, and overall production came in just below 4%: This […]