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

Flying blind

Flying blind The government shutdown is affecting some important economic indicators. All of the series published by the Census Bureau, including retail sales, manufacturers’ and wholesalers’ data, personal income and spending, new home sales and housing permits and starts, are not being published.  It appears that GDP is not going to be published by the […]

Good news from the employment report: workers are finally getting raises!

Good news from the employment report: workers are finally getting raises! When it comes to jobs, if there is one trend that really set apart 2018 from any prior year of this expansion, it is that ordinary workers are finally getting decent raises. Let’s start by looking at the monthly % change in average hourly […]

December jobs report: 2018 goes out with a bang

December jobs report: 2018 goes out with a bang HEADLINES: +312,000 jobs added U3 unemployment rate rose +0.2% from 3.7% to 3.9% U6 underemployment rate unchanged at 7.6% Here are the headlines on wages and the broader measures of underemployment: Wages and participation rates Not in Labor Force, but Want a Job Now:  declined -70,000 […]

On the government shutdown, Pelosi should go maximalist

On the government shutdown, Pelosi should go maximalist It’s pretty clear that the House GOP has decided to simply punt the government shutdown into the new Democratic House majority’s laps. That new House Democratic majority will have two basic options: (1) go accomodationist; or (2) go maximalist.  I am here to write in support of […]

Marking my 2018 forecast to market

Marking my 2018 forecast to market At the beginning of every year, I give a forecast for each of the two halves of the year. And at the end of each year, I look back and mark my forecasts to market. In that way I try to be completely transparent, and to keep myself honest. […]

November housing permits boosted by multifamily dwellings

November housing permits boosted by multifamily dwellings November was a *relatively* good month for housing permits, as in, improved *relative* to most of this year, although not at the heights of last winter. Most importantly, the least volatile number, single family permits, was flat compared with last month, and down -2% from a year ago: […]

A note on initial jobless claims

A note on initial jobless claims Initial jobless claims for last week were reported at 206,000 this morning. That is one of the lowest weekly readings during this expansion.More significantly, the 4 week moving average is back below 10% off its low, within the range of typical noise: And it is down -4.6% YoY, which […]