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Tag Archives: manufacturing

Neither US Retail Nor Industry Ended 2019 In A Good Place

US retail sales were disappointing in December 2019, though it depends upon your perspective for what that means. Unadjusted, total retail sales were 6.01% more last month than the same month of the prior year. It was the highest year-over-year growth rate since October 2018. The reason was entirely due to base effects. You might remember Christmas 2018 for its disastrous sales. Unless the economy struck another landmine, while still struggling in the aftermath of that previous one, the...

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The Secular Decline in U.S. Manufacturing Employment

The title of the post is a bit of a misnomer. Though the number of manufacturing jobs in the United States is 40 plus percent higher than in 1939, their proportion of total private payrolls hit its lowest level in December at 9.91 percent. That is there are almost 4m more manufacturing payroll jobs in December 2019 than in January 1939, which at the time — just four months before Germany invaded Poland to start WWII, BTW — made up 35 percent of American nonfarm payroll jobs.  It’s...

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Not Abating, Not By A Longshot

Since I advertised the release last week, here’s Mexico’s update to Industrial Production in November 2019. The level of production was estimated to have fallen by 1.8% from November 2018. It was up marginally on a seasonally-adjusted basis from its low in October. That doesn’t sound like much, -1.8%, but apart from recent months this would’ve been the third worst result since 2009. Mexico has rarely experienced that kind of seemingly mild contraction. It signals how something has...

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The Word Is: Prolongada

You don’t have to tell Mexico the bad news about how US auto sales ended 2019. They already know; in fact, knew ahead of time. Production workers who should be busy building more and more new cars for sale outside of Mexico, particularly for prospective American owners, must instead be worried if they’ll still have a job if things go on like this. The global economy is on the mend, they say. Yet, there are so many signs that it isn’t. In a lot of important places, getting worse sometimes...

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The Word Is: Protracted

What relaunched Europe’s QE four months ago was the word “protracted.” Central bankers love its opposite, the term “transitory”, which they use quite often at every sign of a weakening economy. To be fair, economies ebb and flow all the time and we don’t want policymakers to jump at every minor swing one way or another. The problem, it seems, is that they can’t tell which one it is. Back on September 12, basically Mario Draghi’s final act as head of Europe’s Central Bank was to acknowledge...

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More Trends That Ended 2019 The Wrong Way

Auto sales in 2019 ended on a skid. Still, the year as a whole wasn’t nearly as bad as many had feared. Last year got off on the wrong foot in the aftermath of 2018’s landmine, with auto sales like consumer spending down pretty sharply to begin it. Spending did rebound in mid-year if only somewhat, enough, though, to add a little more to the worst-is-behind-us narrative which finished off 2019. That’s the version that is being described, Jay Powell’s underlying labor market strength...

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Manufacturing Clears Up Bond Yields

Yesterday, IHS Markit reported that the manufacturing turnaround its data has been suggesting stalled. After its flash manufacturing PMI had fallen below 50 several times during last summer (only to be revised to slightly above 50 every time the complete survey results were tabulated), beginning in September 2019 the index staged a rebound jumping first to 51.1 in that month. Subsequent months of data had continued the trend. By November, the PMI registered 52.6 and solidly on the upswing....

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Which Way Is Domestic Manufacturing Really Leaning?

The way the global economy shifted from globally synchronized growth to globally synchronized downturn was specific: dollar then trade then manufacturing and industry which then spread into other areas. If the economy is to avoid moving further down that same track, then something in that chain of events must actually change. Meaning just that: actual change in the way the numbers are pointing rather than just applying more positive words to mostly the same data. As far as the dollar goes,...

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Latest European Sentiment Echoes Draghi’s Last Take On Global Economic Risks

While sentiment has been at best mixed about the direction of the US economy the past few months, the European economy cannot even manage that much. Its most vocal proponent couldn’t come up with much good to say about it – while he was on his way out the door. At his final press conference as ECB President on October 24, Mario Draghi had to acknowledge (sort of) how he is leaving quite the mess for Christine Lagarde. Incoming data since the meeting in September confirm our previous...

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Insight from Shanghai: NEV regime takes off training wheels as government slashes subsidies

China has put leadership in the development of New Energy Vehicles (NEVs) – battery electric, plug in hybrid and fuel cell vehicles – at the heart of its industrial policy. The country is the world’s largest market for electric vehicles, with 2.3 million battery electric and plug in hybrid vehicles on the road in 2018, accounting for 45% of the global stock. In a draft of the latest development plan for the sector released early December, the government envisages that NEVs will account for a...

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