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Tag Archives: Labor Market

Weekly Market Pulse – Real Rates Finally Make A Move

Last week was only four days due to the President’s day holiday but it was eventful. The big news of the week was the spike in interest rates, which according to the press reports I read, “came out of nowhere”. In other words, the writers couldn’t find an obvious cause for a 14-basis point rise in the 10-year Treasury note yield so they just chalked it up to mystery. Of course, anyone who’s been paying attention knows that rates have been rising for almost a year...

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Two Seemingly Opposite Ends Of The Inflation Debate Come Together

It’s worth taking a look at a couple of extremes, and the putting each into wider context of inflation/deflation. As you no doubt surmise, only one is receiving much mainstream attention. The other continues to be overshadowed by…anything else. To begin with, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today that US import prices were up on annual basis for the first time in some time. Rising in January 2021 by 0.9% year-over-year, this was actually the fastest increase in almost three and a...

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Uncle Sam Was Back Having Consumers’ Backs

American consumers were back in action in January 2021. The “unemployment cliff” along with the slowdown and contraction in the labor market during the last quarter of 2020 had left retail sales falling backward with employment. Seasonally-adjusted, total retail spending had declined for three straight months to end last year.The latest updated estimates from the Census Bureau, released today, show that December’s drawback, in particular, was much larger than previously figured – small...

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Forty-Seven Explains Much

For Jay Powell’s inflation case, the University of Michigan provided it with some badly needed support. Telling the world he “flooded” it with “digital money printing” three-quarters of a year ago, actual inflation rates have instead fallen down to or near historic lows. No biggie, those in Powell’s corner say, just a matter of time before this changes (commodities!), possibly a lagged response to the overabundance of US currency.UofM reported today that the short run inflation expectations...

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The Endangered Inflationary Species: Gazelles

Nevada is, by all accounts and accountants, in rough shape. Very rough shape. An economy overly dependent upon a single industry, tourism, in this case, is a disaster waiting to happen should anything happen to that industry. Pandemic restrictions, for instance.Nevadans cannot afford the government spending they “have” without a gaming industry attracting visitors at full throttle. Desperate, the state’s governor Steve Sisolak announced last week that officials would explore setting up...

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Old Numbers Show Us Why There’ll Be New Checks

If the payroll numbers are old news because they aren’t supposed to matter anymore, what with TGA drawdowns and vaccines, then JOLTS figures one month further behind them must count for even less. Gradation does factor here, though, and that’s why it’s important to keep the current and slightly-in-arrears data in mind.What I mean is that the stimulus-frenzy narrative does begin by recognizing how “things are bad.” In fact, that’s the whole point behind the desire for Uncle Sam writing out...

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What Happened To The ‘Bring Everything Back’ Function?

The good news, such that it might be, is that the BLS – using data from the Census Bureau – believes that the American population is slowing down. According to the latest Civilian Non-institutional population estimates for January 2021, published alongside the current payroll report, the count was adjusted downward by around 400,000 consistent with the same kind and level revisions of the prior couple years.Demographic trends like this aren’t normally taken for a positive. But...

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The Smallest Bit of Empathy For The Swollen Herd

Why isn’t the inflation monster right upon us? Well, for one, central banks only pretend to do money. But setting that aside, it’s worth asking how even if they did do money, could inflation result given the current conditions? Hard no.It’s a combination of enormous macro slack joining destructive forces with the underside of the permanent income hypothesis. The point of unemployment insurance is to reduce the negative effects for those who face a loss of income. While it won’t be the same...

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Inflation Binary

Blame Milton Friedman for this one, too. The economist made many significant contributions to the advancement of economic understanding, but perhaps an equal number of extreme errors. For one thing, that whole bout with bank reserves and “high powered money” (what became QE) recommended in the late nineties to cure Japan of its obvious monetary illness. This followed from the conceit that monetary policy and central banking would always offer positive, meaningful contributions.The biggest...

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Inflation Hysteria #2 (WTI)

Sticking with our recent theme, a big part of what Inflation Hysteria #1 (2017-18) also had going for it was loosened restrictions for US oil producers. Seriously. Legacy of the 1970’s experience depending too much on OPEC, subject to embargoes, American oil companies had been prohibited for decades from exporting oil. Not that it would have mattered before 2014, the country never producing near enough to have ever done so.Export limitations removed, shale boom well underway, export crude...

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