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

Happy 8th Independence Day, economic expansion!

Happy 8th Independence Day, economic expansion! In lieu of a more traditional Independence Day post, in view of the fact that the economic expansion turned 8 years old this week, I thought I would take a moment to highlight how far we have come.  Because as mediocre as some things are, we have come a […]

Five graphs for 2017: mid year update

Five graphs for 2017: mid year update – by New Deal democrat At the beginning of the year, I identified 5 trends that bore particular watching, primarily as potentially setting the stage for a recession next year.  Now that we are halfway through the year, let’s take another look at each of them. #5 Gas […]

May industrial production: no change in trend

May industrial production: no change in trend This was a post I meant to put up Friday, but was pre-empted by the important housing news. May industrial production came in unchanged. But that didn’t stop Doomers, who had been silent about April’s big increase in manufacturing, from trumpeting its 0.4% decline (go ahead, just try […]

Retail sales disappoint — but don’t hyperventilate about it

Retail sales disappoint — but don’t hyperventilate about it There certainly is a  lot of information to unpack from this morning’s retail sales and inflation reports, and what they mean for wages and jobs.  I’ll address them in separate posts. First, retail sales.  They certainly were a disappointment, coming in at -0.3% nominally and -0.2% […]

No, record job openings in JOLTS do not mean that everything is Teh Awesome!

No, record job openings in JOLTS do not mean that everything is Teh Awesome! Once again most of the commentary on yesterday’s JOLTS report for April was that job openings jumped, so everything is Teh Awesome! <  Sigh  > To recap one more time… In the one and only complete business cycle that we have […]

May jobs report: nothing more nor less than a decent late cycle report

May jobs report: nothing more nor less than a decent late cycle report HEADLINES: +138,000 jobs added U3 unemployment rate down -0.1% from 4.4% to 4.3% U6 underemployment rate down -0.2% from 8.6% to 8.4% Here are the headlines on wages and the chronic heightened underemployment: Wages and participation rates Not in Labor Force, but […]

Gas prices on verge of turning negative YoY

Gas prices on verge of turning negative YoY There are two important aspects to the inflation rate right now. One, as Dean Baker reminds us today, is that most of core inflation has been caused by housing, via “owners equivalent rent.”  Take that out, and inflation is only 1%: The second important aspect is that […]