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

April existing home sales remain deeply depressed, continuing the chronic shortfall in housing supply

 – by New Deal democrat Let me tie this morning’s report on April existing home sales into my two last posts (Part 1 and Part 2), which concerned the huge role that shelter prices, and the underlying shortfall in housing capacity, have in the continued elevation in overall consumer prices. So let’s start by looking […]

A closer look at inflation (Part 2 of 2): how the Fed’s rate hikes actually *exacerbate* inflation in shelter

 – by New Deal democrat Yesterday I discussed how virtually the entire issue of inflation remaining above the Fed’s target was the housing sector. Let me start today’s post where I left off yesterday: namely, that the net level of divergence between total headline inflation and shelter inflation of 1.15% is one of the highest such […]

The “Wealth Effect” on Spending from Stock-Market Price Changes

by Steve Roth Wealth Economics This post is prompted by Matthew Klein’s (very wonky) post about recent changes in QE/QT, and the Fed’s balance sheet. It prompted me to do a quick calculation that I’ve been meaning to get to: when household wealth increases (due to stock-market price runups or really anything else), what effect does that have […]

A closer look at inflation (Part 1 of 2): all of the slicing and dicing comes down to shelter

 – by New Deal democrat There’s no economic news of significance until Wednesday’s report on existing home sales. But in the meantime I’ve read a number of takes slicing and dicing last week’s inflation report that I thought missed the mark, so let me take the opportunity today and tomorrow to discuss the essence of […]

Average real wages rise for 12 straight months as prices decelerate faster than nominal wage growth

 by Elise Gould EPI Average hourly wage growth has exceeded inflation for 12 straight months, according to new Bureau of Labor Statistics data released this morning. This real (or inflation-adjusted) wage growth is a key indicator of how well the average worker’s wage can improve their standard of living. As inflation continues to normalize, I’m optimistic more workers […]

US Affordable Rental Housing, Makes Sense? Or Not Working as Intended

This report dropped into my email box a day or so ago. It hits upon a topic which has plagued big cities since before I was a child. Early-on in Chicago, urban renewal was the thought to be the right idea and the wrong concept. Public housing development in Chicago, Illinois. Cabrini-Green was a model of successful public […]

Real wages, payrolls, and consumption vs. employment, and their forecast implications: April update

 – by New Deal democrat With this week’s inflation report for April, we can update several measures of the real economic status of average American workers, as well as their forecast for further job and economic gains. First, here is real average hourly wages for nonsupervisory workers. In April, nominal average wages increased 0.2%. Since […]

Tax the rich!

I was a graduate student in a STEM program when Reagan was elected and the Laffer curve was used to justify tax cuts. The problem that immediately stood out to me at the time was that neither the ordinate nor the abscissa in the Laffer graph had scales, so it was impossible to assess where, […]

April housing: Uh-oh, housing units under construction has stopped levitating

 – by New Deal democrat This morning, I pointed out that manufacturing production is -1.8% below its 2022 high and may be in a slightly declining trend. Which means that added attention has to be paid to whether the other leading production sector, construction, is holding up.  Instead, this morning brought the first sustained evidence […]

Real retail sales back to negative YoY

 – by New Deal democrat The Bonddad Blog Here is today’s update on one of my favorite indicators: retail sales. In April they were unchanged on a nominal basis. Adjusted for inflation they declined -0.3% for the month. They are also down -6.2% from their 2021 peak and -2.9% since January 2023: On a YoY basis, they […]