Free Markets, Free People

Dale Franks

Dale Franks’ QandO posts

Economic Statistics for 16 Nov 11

Today’s economic statistical releases:

Like the PPI yesterday, the CPI softened last month, down -0.1%, and up 3.6% year over year. The core rate rose 0.1% last month and 2.1% last year.

The Mortgage Banker’s Association reports that mortgage application dropped sharply in the latest week, down -12.2%.

Industrial production was up sharply, rising 0.7% last month, while capacity utilization rate rose to 77.8% in the nation’s factories.

The Housing Market Index rose to 20, the 3rd consecutive 3-point jump, and the highest reading in 18 months.

~
Dale Franks
Google+ Profile
Twitter Feed

Economic Statistics for 15 Nov 11

Today’s economic statistical releases:

A decline in energy prices resulted in a -0.3% drop in producer prices, with the core rate, which excludes food and energy, remaining unchanged last month. On a year-over-year basis, producer prices have risen 6.1%, with the core rate rising 2.8%.

Retail sales activity continued to increase in October, rising 0.5% overall, and 0.3% excluding auto sales.

The Empire State Manufacturing Survey edged back into positive territory for the first time since May, rising from -8.48 to 0.61. The six-month outlook is strengthening, with predictions of growth in new orders, which should, if it materializes, result in increased hiring as well.

Finally, in the two weekly retail sales reports, Redbook reports pre-Thanksgiving promotions helped boost store sales by 3.3%. ICSC-Goldman says sales rose 0.3% last week, up 3.21% from the year before.

~
Dale Franks
Google+ Profile
Twitter Feed

Observations: The QandO Podcast for 13 Oct 11

In this podcast, Bruce Michael, and Dale discuss Obama’s “Americans are lazy” comment, the failing EU. and the presidential race.

The direct link to the podcast can be found here.

Observations

As a reminder, if you are an iTunes user, don’t forget to subscribe to the QandO podcast, Observations, through iTunes. For those of you who don’t have iTunes, you can subscribe at Podcast Alley. And, of course, for you newsreader subscriber types, our podcast RSS Feed is here. For podcasts from 2005 to 2010, they can be accessed through the RSS Archive Feed.

Cooking With the Troops

Cooking With the Troops is a 501(c)(3) charity that supports U.S. and Allied troops, their families, and caregivers worldwide. We’re helping them by taking part in their national sponsorship drive, which begins today. Among other things, I produced this video for them:

In brief, CWTT has four major programs to help our troops and their families.

Food Events provide a culinary change of pace — particularly for the wounded, injured, and ill — to help morale, and remind those taking part that their service and sacrifice is appreciated. Educational components are added where possible to add to the effectiveness of the events.

Culinary Career Transition helps those interested in culinary careers — particularly those that have to leave service because of their injuries — explore options and find the right career choice as well as the best investment of their educational benefits to reach that goal.

Homefront Support focuses on teaching how to do good food fast rather than fast food via fun events that cover food safety basics, cooking basics, nutrition, and more.

Frontline Support works to get the best possible culinary and nutritional care packages to the troops, and to make it possible for those at home to learn about life and nutrition at the front even as ways are found to do Food Events as close to the front as possible.

To do this, they need your help. Please click on the sponsorship banner on the sidebar to go to their donation page. Or simply click here.

~
Dale Franks
Google+ Profile
Twitter Feed

Economic Statistics for 10 Nov 11

Today’s economic statistical releases:

The trade deficit improved last month, falling to -$43.1 billion. Sadly, the improvement comes largely from gold purchases, which isn’t a sign of confidence or hope. It’s a sign of a panicked flight to safety, based on a growing financial terror about the Euro Zone. Yesterday, Barclay’s came out and said (PDF) what everyone has been fearing: Italy is going to default on its debt, and no amount of economic reform will stop it.  Bye-bye, Euro.  Also yesterday, as I predicted, the French and Germans are now discussing  a "core" Euro zone, which would consist of…France and Germany. If Italy goes down, there’s simply no way to wall off the resulting bank failures, credit tightening, and economic contraction that will result from the evaporation of those assets. Presumably, Spain, Portugal, and Ireland will auger in shortly after Italy does, as their debt becomes impossible to service in the resulting Italian contraction. Yet, somehow, the failures of this model of political-economic policy seem lost on American policymakers.

Initial jobless claims continue to edge down, coming in at 390,000 this week. Last week’s claims were revised upwards by 3,000 to 400,000.

Export prices fell -2.1% last month, while import prices dropped -0.6%. On a year-over-year basis, export prices are up 6.3%, and import prices are up 11%.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index edged up slightly last week, though it remains near historic lows at 51.6.

~
Dale Franks
Google+ Profile
Twitter Feed

Economic Statistics for 8 Nov 11

Today’s economic statistical releases:

The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index came roaring back this month rising 1.3 points to a still depressed 90.2.

In the weekly retail sales numbers, ICSC-Goldman reports same-store sales rose 1%, though the year-on-year rate dropped to 2.7%. Redbook, meanwhile, says year-on-year sales slowed significantly to 3.1%.

~
Dale Franks
Google+ Profile
Twitter Feed

Admin Note

There are no economic stats being released today, hence the lack of a post about same. In fact, it’s a bit of a lame week for economic stats. Not much happening other than the standard weekly reports.

Meanwhile, here at QandO, I’ve implemented a new commenting system called Livefyre. I learned about it Saturday at BlogWorld Expo, and it has a lot of neat features, foremost of which is that it directly ties the blog comments to Facebook, Twitter, and, soon, Google Plus. It also allows you to sort the comments by date, post directly to your social media account, has a much more effective conversation threading model, and a host of other little improvements to the WordPress basic commenting functionality. Enjoy.

~
Dale Franks
Google+ Profile
Twitter Feed

Observations: The QandO Podcast for 06 Oct 11 (UPDATED)

In this podcast, Bruce Michael, and Dale discuss Herman Cain, the Occupy Movement, and Europe.

UPDATE: Well, no sooner do I post this podcast where I question why the Chinese would be interested in pouring some money into the European Stabilization Fund, the Chinese provide an answer. They wouldn’t.

Also last night, the chairman of the supervisory board of China Investment Corporation, the country’s sovereign wealth fund, put further distance between China and the eurozone bail-out, saying that Europe’s bloated welfare state meant that people did not work hard enough.

“I think if you look at the troubles which happened in European countries, this is purely because of the accumulated troubles of their worn out welfare societies,” Jin Liqun said in an interview with Al Jazeera television. “I think the labour laws are outdated – the labour laws induce sloth, indolence rather than hard working. The incentive system is totally out of whack.”

Eurozone leaders had been hoping that China would use some of its trade surplus to back the bail-out fund.

Now they need to hope something else.

The direct link to the podcast can be found here.

Observations

As a reminder, if you are an iTunes user, don’t forget to subscribe to the QandO podcast, Observations, through iTunes. For those of you who don’t have iTunes, you can subscribe at Podcast Alley. And, of course, for you newsreader subscriber types, our podcast RSS Feed is here. For podcasts from 2005 to 2010, they can be accessed through the RSS Archive Feed.

The Employment Situation: Economic Statistics for 4 Nov 11

It’s all about employment today.

The Monster employment index rose three points to 151 as online recruiting increased in October.

What everyone is really interested in today, though, is the monthly Employment Situation. A disappointing 80,000 net new jobs were created last month, which was well below an already dismal expectation of 90,000 jobs. On the plus side, sharp revisions to prior months were unveiled. September jobs were revised to 158,000 from the originally reported 103,000, while August jobs were revised to  104,000 from the original 57,000. Sadly, we need in excess of 300,000 new jobs per month to begin growing jobs at a rate that will begin to replace the million lost since 2008. Earnings rose 0.2% last month, while the average workweek remained steady at 34.3 hours.

Essentially, the job market remains moribund, though the unemployment rate dropped to 9.0%. But, that drop in the unemployment rate reflects an increase of 277,000 in employment from the household survey, rather than discouraged workers leaving the workforce, which is a positive sign, as that figure has increased for three months in a row. The broadest measure of labor underutilization, the U-6 unemployment rate (Total unemployed, plus all persons marginally attached to the labor force, plus total employed part time for economic reasons, as a percent of the civilian labor force plus all persons marginally attached to the labor force) also fell to 16.2% from last month’s 16.5%.

~
Dale Franks
Google+ Profile
Twitter Feed