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Tag Archives: slack

Scorching, Blistering, Highest In A Decade! Powell’s The Voice of Reason Here?

If there is one thing Economists understand very well, it’s mathematics. This is practically all they do, and all that means much to their discipline. If there’s one thing Economists don’t seem either competent with or interested in, it’s the economy. The math is supposed to match the other’s reality, yet rarely does.There are times, however, when simple calculation is sufficient and (figuratively) on the money (literally, that is the whole other story).Such was the case around 2011 and...

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QE Didn’t JOLT (again)

COVID-19 is a 2020 story and not so much one for 2021. Pretty much everyone, however, will be seeking to make it that way. To begin this week a stark reminder of that promise: vaccine-phoria. While that unleashed a curiously narrow risk and reflation frenzy, the fact that it wasn’t more widespread speaks to this disparity.A vaccine doesn’t really change all that much over the intermediate term. An unquestionable good for public health (whatever that means) and a positive development given...

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Eurodollar Accounting

One step forward, two steps back. Implicit in the Fed’s big strategy reviewed unveiled by Federal Reserve Chairman Jay Powell at the end of August was an admission that policymakers had screwed up. No minor detail, either, they have messed up big time on the big stuff. Though failing to be explicit about it is so infuriatingly cowardly, it’s at least a definite step in the right direction. Following from that, though, next in line would be to figure out what, exactly, got screwed up and...

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Exposed Inflation Bubble

Wait, wait, wait. Hold up. The Federal Reserve just concluded its near two-year long Grand Strategy Review. The purpose, in its most basic component, was to figure out why inflation hadn’t shown up in the manner everyone at the Federal Reserve spent years promising even though the unemployment tumbled to 50-year lows. The labor market was so tight, inflation was guaranteed. Then it didn’t happen.Behind the resulting monetary policy change (spoiler: not a change) to an average inflation...

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If Trade Wars Couldn’t, Might Pig Wars Change Xi’s Mind?

Forget about trade wars, or even the eurodollar’s ever-present squeeze on China’s monetary system. For the Communist Chinese government, its first priority has been changed by unforeseen circumstances. At the worst possible time, food prices are skyrocketing. A country’s population will sit still for a great many injustices. From economic decay to corruption and rising authoritarianism, the line between back alley grumbling and open rebellion is usually a thick one. But you put food problems...

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All Signs Of More Slack

The evidence continues to pile up for increasing slack in the US economy. While that doesn’t necessarily mean there is a recession looming, it sure doesn’t help in that regard. Besides, more slack after ten years of it is the real story. The Federal Reserve’s favorite inflation measure in October 2019 stood at 1.31%, matching February for the lowest in several years. Despite constantly referencing a tight labor market and its fabulous unemployment rate, broad pricing pressures remain scant....

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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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Post-Landmine Payrolls

It’s never about a single payroll report. Even still, there’s something significant in how the “good” ones aren’t measuring up the way they used to. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the US economy gained 224k payrolls in the month of June 2019. Well above consensus, the headline is being described as relieving some of the growing economic anxiety. Set aside 224k being anything like good in a wider historical context, it doesn’t even stack up for recent times. Last year, for...

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Bond JOLTS Without Wages To Back Just JO

In the absence of a booming economy, one has been conjured from a select few employment statistics. The catalog, beginning in 2014, consisted of a rapidly falling unemployment rate, the Establishment Survey which dazzled with headline payroll growth supposedly adding up to the “best jobs market in decades”, and the JOLTS series but curiously omitting everything but the Job Openings piece. Over the years since, the middle one has been quietly scratched from the list. That leaves the...

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Payroll Time

Never get hung up on one payroll report, good or bad. The Establishment Survey series, seasonally-adjusted and statistically smoothed as much as humanly possible, is still incredibly noisy. It didn’t used to be this way, which is an important clue that “something” has changed. The lack of consistency in the monthly measurement is as the unevenness of overall economic growth. That way we aren’t surprised by any one weak payroll report because we realize they all are. What is truly...

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