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

World Industrial Production

I see some evidence that higher domestic energy production and improved competitiveness of US manufacturing is having a positive impact on the US trade balance and US industrial production. But I still expects the impact to be limited. In particular, the real non-petroleum trade balance continues to deteriorate. Increased supplies of cheap natural gas helps […]

Employment Situation

The headline numbers in the employment report were very weak as  payroll employment rose by only 88,000  and the household survey reported a -206,000 drop in employment while the labor force fell by -496,000.  The futures markets are reacting very badly.  But the workweek expanded and aggregrate hours worked increased 0.3% as compared to 0.5% […]

Employment Situation

This was one of the better employment reports of this cycle.  Private payroll employment grew 246,00while  government employment fell about 10,000 for a net gian of of 236,000.  The household survey also showed a nice gain of 170,000.   On a year over year change basis both series are showing nice gains. You would never […]

The employment situation

This was another tepid employment report not much different than the reports in 2012. Payroll employment rose 168,000 and the household survey showed a gain of only 17,000   Private payrolls expanded 168,000 while government employment fell 9,000.  Perhaps more importantly the year over year change in employment is showing significant signs of weakness,  Both […]


At first glance the December employment report shows that the trends throughout 2012 were unchanged in December.  But within the report there were some greater signs of strength. Private payroll employment showed a gain of 155,000 and the household survey reported a much smaller gain of only 28,000.  These changes are about the same  as […]

The Employment Situation

The employment report was better than expected as Sandy apparently did not have the widely expected negative impact.  But the data essentially shows that the recent trend of weak employment continued as payrolls expanded some 146,000 and the household survey showed a -122,00 drop. Private payrolls expanded some  147,00 as government employment fell about 1,000.  […]

The oil industry is undergoing a major structural change.

Lifted from comments from this post US to be leading producer of oil is Spencer England’s comment about structural change in the oil markets. Obvious to some but bears repeating for a lot of us, as we discuss environmental issues or gasoline prices in the media more than structural economic impacts: Spencer says: The development […]

The Employment Situation

This was another mixed employment report.  The headline increase of 171,000 increase in payroll employment and 410,000 rise in employment reported in the household survey appeared strong.  But  other signs of weakness appeared within the report. The 184,000 increase in private payroll employment was the strongest since February. The unemployment rate ticked up from 7.8 […]

S&P 500 under Democratic and Republican Presidents

I hear so many things about how investors prefer a Republican president I often  wonder if they have ever looked at the data.  Of course from just looking at a chart of the S&;P 500 since WWII  it is hard to see how the market has performed under different presidents.   Maybe this chart that […]