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

Elizabeth Warren 2009

As the Senate election begins in earnest in Massachusetts, with a great deal of money already pledged and attack ads begun, the contest has the ability to capture the nation’s attention and imagination. We will be following aspects of the election for our readers as the year progresses. Re posted is a statement she made […]

Weak consumer confidence and real wage growth portend weak consumer spending

Yesterday the Conference Board released its measure of consumer confidence, which dropped to 44.5 in August. This brings the Conference Board measure of confidence in line with the Reuters/University of Michigan measure of consumer sentiment. Bloomberg summarizes the Conference Board results. Confidence is important, since consumer spending accounts for the lion’s-share of aggregate spending. Consumer […]

Inflation Detour: Trimmed Mean PCE

Today’s release by the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas of October’s Trimmed Mean Personal Consumption Expenditure gives us a chance to check this “alternative measure of core inflation.” The clearest thing is that it does what the FRB Dallas intends: generally reduces the measure of inflation: For the graphic above, any value above the line […]

Consumer confidence: fluff or thrill

by Rebecca Wilder Thrill. The Conference Board reported that the August consumer confidence index (CCI) jumped 14% in August to 54.06. In contrast, the August University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment index (CSI) fell; but the two generally trend together, and the CSI is subject to revisions reported tomorrow. Confidence can be swayed by current political […]