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Tag Archives: Labor Market

Disposable (Employment) Figures

If last month’s payroll report was declared to be strong at +128k, then what would that make this month’s +266k? Epic? Heroic? The superlatives are flying around today, as you should expect. This Payroll Friday actually fits the times. It wasn’t great, they never really are nowadays (when you adjust for population and participation), but it was a good one nonetheless. November 2019, according to the BLS, was the first month since January to register better than +220k in payroll gains. That...

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Consistent Trade War Inconsistency Hides The Consistent Trend

You can see the pattern, a weathervane of sorts in its own right. Not for how the economy is actually going, mind you, more along the lines of how it is being perceived from the high-level perspective. The green light for “trade wars” in the first place was what Janet Yellen and Jay Powell had said about the economy. Because it was strong and accelerating, they said, the Trump administration gambled that such robust growth would insulate the US system from any fallout. Flush with confidence...

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The ISM Isn’t An Isolated Case

They absolutely loved the China PMI numbers, after having taken no note of Japan’s IP, dismissed Markit’s slightly higher revisions, and then totally hated the ISM’s Manufacturing PMI. That last one was supposed to join the others in moving substantially upward, contributing to widespread hopes all recession fears have been extinguished even this late into 2019. Instead, the Institute of Supply Management index continues to suffer. This one hurts, too, because it was this outfit who really...

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Further The Zombie Bubble

The Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) has revised its preliminary estimate of GDP. That can only mean one thing: time to look at corporate profits again. Included along with the recalculated headline output estimate is the BEA’s first run of profit figures. If you are Jay Powell, you aren’t going to like what you find. First, real GDP in the third quarter was practically unchanged. Revised from around 1.90% (continuously compounded annual rate of change) to a touch above 2.10%, either of...

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The Big One, The Smoking Gun

It wasn’t just the unemployment rate which was one of the key reasons why Economists and central bankers (redundant) felt confident enough to inspire 2017’s inflation hysteria. There was actually another piece to it, a bigger piece potentially complimentary and corroborative bit of conjecture. I write “conjecture” because despite how all this is presented in the media there’s very little precision to any of it. In many ways, if you pay close enough attention you can actually see how they are...

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Rate Cuts, Repo, and (No) Money Printing

I don’t think that was quite the message the FOMC wanted to send. It’s pretty clear what the Committee wanted to say, or wanted everyone to hear. The members are done with rate cuts because everything looks great. Sure, it all looked great to them last year but, as has become the conventional interpretation of late, hey, at least it didn’t get worse. That’s where we are in this “cycle”, cheered up presumably by the lack of fulfilled downside. However, despite the apparent emphasis on...

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For Labor And Recession, The Bad One

There’s a couple of different ways that Unit Labor Costs can rise. Or even surge. The first is the good way, the one we all want to see because it is consistent with the idea of an economy that is actually booming. If workers have become truly scarce as macro forces sustain actual growth such that all labor market slack is absorbed, then businesses have to compete for them bidding up the price of marginal labor. This is, of course, the exact scenario we’ve been constantly hearing about ever...

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Red Flags All Over It-Wasn’t-Worse Payroll Friday

Better-than-expected is the new strong. Even I’m amazed at the satisfaction being taken with October’s payroll numbers. While you never focus too much on one monthly estimate, this time it might be time to do so. But not for those other reasons. Sure, GM caused some disruption and the Census is winding down, both putting everyone on edge. The whisper numbers were low double digits, maybe even a negative headline estiamte. Markets had been riding pure pessimism beforehand, with inverted curves...

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The Inventory Context For Rate Cuts And Their Real Nature/Purpose

What typically distinguishes recessions from downturns is the inventory cycle. Even in 2008, that was the basis for the Great “Recession.” It was distinguished most prominently by the financial conditions and global-reaching panic, true, but the effects of the monetary crash registered heaviest in the various parts of that inventory process. An economy for whatever reasons slows down. That leads to inventory piling up across the various levels of the supply chain. Most businesses will remain...

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Three (Rate Cuts) And GDP, Where (How) Does It End?

The Federal Reserve has indicated that it will now pause – for a second time, supposedly. Remember the first: after raising its benchmark rates apparatus in December while still talking about an inflationary growth acceleration requiring even more hikes throughout 2019, in a matter of weeks that was transformed into a temporary suspension of them. Expecting the easy disappearance of “transitory” factors, that Fed pause was to be followed by the second half rebound and eventual if careful...

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