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

Review: Bad Blood

by David Zetland (originally published at One-handed economist) Review: Bad Blood I’d heard about this book — the story of the rise and fall of Elizabeth Homes and her company Theranos — long ago, but I only decided to read it when preparing readings for my course, The World of Entrepreneurs. I wanted to understand her case, […]

Industrial production improves in August, but with sharp deceleration

Industrial production improves in August, but with sharp deceleration If the jobs report is the Queen of Coincident Indicators, industrial production is the King. It, more than any other metric, is found at the turning points where recessions both begin and end. This morning’s report of industrial production for August shows that the recovery from […]

To Do I, II, & III

The COVID-19 Pandemic, the inadequate response thereto, and the incompetency of the Trump Presidency in general, combined, have exposed our nation’s weaknesses and failings to an extent unknown since at least the Great Depression. This is likely a do or die moment for America. Recovery will be difficult. Improbable unless we are careful in our […]

Consumer inflation continues to accelerate YoY, but so far no big problem

Consumer inflation continues to accelerate YoY, but so far no big problem   The consumer price index for August was reported up +0.4% this morning. This is the third straight big increase. Below I show this plus the more stable consumer prices minus gas (red): Here’s what the monthly changes look like over the past […]

Should We Fear A Reappearance Of Inflation?

Should We Fear A Reappearance Of Inflation?  In today’s Washington Post Robert J. Samuelson has raised the possibility that the Federal Reserve may be setting the US up for a reappearance of inflation.  He invoked the 1960s and 1970s when supposedly the Fed allowed inflation to get out of control out of a supposedly misguided […]

Jobless claims slowly continue to get “less worse,” while longer term deadweight loss builds

Jobless claims slowly continue to get “less worse,” while longer term deadweight loss builds The good news in this morning’s jobless claims report is that the trend of “less worse” news continues. The bad news is that the improvement has slowed to a snail’s pace, at levels worse than the worst levels of the Great […]

Coronavirus dashboard for August 19: a regional look at infections; the Deep South remains almost totally out of control

Coronavirus dashboard for August 19: a regional look at infections; the Deep South remains almost totally out of control Total US cases: 5,457,824 Average last 7 days: 48,764 Total US deaths: 163,595 Average last 7 days: 1,048 Source: COVID Tracking Project My overall thesis is that under the present leadership the US as a whole […]

Initial and continuing claims: the most “less awful” so far

Initial and continuing claims: the most “less awful” so far This Thursday morning’s initial and continued jobless claims continue the trend of “less awful” numbers that resumed last week. New jobless claims, which fell to under 1,000,000 for the first time on an unadjusted basis last week, declined about 150,000 further to 831,856 (red in […]