Free Markets, Free People

Economy

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Economic Statistics for 15 Oct 14

The Fed’s Beige Book report indicates economic growth—again—is modest to moderate. Slowing inflation and weak growth overseas is spurring concern about slower economic growth. There is even talk, based on this report, of another new round of Quantitative Easing.

Reinforcing the Fed’s concerns, Producer Prices for Final Demand fell -0.1% in September, while prices less food and gas—the so-called “core rate”—were unchanged. The PPI-FD less food, energy & trade services also fell 0.1%. Goods prices fell -0.2% and services prices fell -0.1%.  On a year-over-year basis, the PPI-FD is up 1.6% at the headline level and 1.8% at the core.

The Treasury reports that a revenue surplus of $105.8 billion in September pushed the FY2014 deficit down to $483.4 billion from $680.2 billion in FY2013.

The October Atlanta Fed Business Inflation Expectations survey shows that businesses expect 1.9% inflation over the next year. This is down from 2.1% in the previous month.

The Empire State manufacturing index for October fell sharply to 6.17 from September’s 5-year high of 27.54.

September retail sales fell a worse-than-expected -0.3% in September. Sales less autos fell -0.2% and sales less autos and gas fell -0.1%. Analysts expected an overall increase of 0.3%.

The MBA reports that mortgage applications rose 5.6% last week, with purchases down -1.0% but refis up 11.0%.


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Economic Statistics for 9 Oct 14

Chain stores today are reporting moderate increases in rates of year-on-year sales growth in September.

A drop in wholesale sales of -0.7% swelled inventories by 0.7%, leading to a hefty stock-to-sales ratio of 1.19.

Initial weekly jobless claims fell 1,000 to 287,000. The 4-week average fell 7,000 to 287,750. Continuing claims  fell 21,000 to 2.381 million.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index rose 2 points to 36.8 in the latest week.

The Fed’s balance sheet rose $5.1 billion last week, with total assets of $4.455 trillion. Reserve bank credit rose $3.9 billion.

The Fed reports that M2 money supply fell by $-7.3 billion in the latest week.


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More self-inflicted economic problems on the way

The Obama economy is a mess, with median incomes retreating, fudged employment numbers and generally the usual mess you can expect from a over-regulated and highly manipulated “market”.  In other words, it stinks because of government as much as anything else.  Our betters seem not to understand the very basics of human nature – humans respond to incentives.  So they continue to cobble together more and more feel good projects (i.e. they make the “elite” feel good) that backfire.  Why?  Because humans respond to disincentives as well – and their feel good projects are long on disincentives, something they can’t seem to wrap their heads around.

By design, the next example of that will take place after the November mid-term elections:

Starting this year, the United States’ working population will face three major employment disincentives resulting from the very benefits the Affordable Care Act (ACA) provides: (1) an explicit tax on full-time work, (2) an implicit tax on full-time work for those who are ineligible for the ACA’s health insurance subsidies, and (3) an implicit tax that links the amount of available subsidies to workers’ incomes.

A new study published by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University advances the understanding of how much these ACA taxes will reduce overall employment, and why. It concludes that the reduction will be nearly double that projected by previous analyses. Labor markets ultimately will reduce weekly employment per person by about 3 percent—translating to roughly 4 million fewer full-time-equivalent workers.

4 million more jobs in an economy already suffering one of the lowest labor participation rates in its history.  Why have “middle class” wages stagnated or dropped?  One major reason has to do with disincentives like this.  Its like the $15 minimum wage trope.  Force it on business and they have a “disincentive” to hire people for jobs that aren’t worth that and an incentive to automate or go short handed and double up the work on someone else.

That’s precisely the type of disincentive that ObamaCare is about to inflict on the economy.  We’ll then hear the usual nonsense about greedy and uncaring companies and how the “market” has failed us.  It is as predictable as the next blizzard being somehow blamed on global warming.

Meanwhile, these 4 million that may join the currently unemployed are real people who will suffer real problems because of the disincentive provided by a very poorly thought out law that won’t effect those who passed it.  All Democrats can hope is that enough people will drop off the unemployment roles by the time the next presidential election rolls around that the fudged unemployment stats look acceptable.

What a hell of a way to run a railroad.

~McQ

 

Economic Statistics for 7 Oct 14

ICSC-Goldman reports weekly retail sales rose 0.1%, and rose 3.9% on a year-over-year basis. Redbook reports retail sales rose 5.4% on a year-ago basis.

Gallup’s Economic Confidence Index rose 1 point in September to -15.

Consumer credit rose a lower-than-expected $13.5 billion in August, as revolving credit slipped to $0.2 billion.


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Economic Statistics for 3 Oct 14

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 248,000 net new jobs were created in September, with the unemployment rate falling to 5.9%. Average weekly hours rose to 34.6 hours from 34.5 hours, while average hourly income was unchanged at $20.67. All good so far. However, 97,000 people left the labor force last month, sending the labor force participation rate down -0.1% to 62.7%, the lowest since February of 1978. That means that 8,609,000 people who would have jobs with a historical participation rate average of 66.2%, do not now have jobs. In real terms, the unemployment rate is actually 10.87%, based on the historical labor force participation rate.

The US trade deficit fell by $400,000 to $-40.1 billion in August.

The Markit PMI services index for September fell -0.6 points to 58.9.

The ISM non-manufacturing index fell -1 point to 58.6 in September.

The JP Morgan Global Composite PMI fell -0.2 points to 54.9, while the Services PMI fell -0.2 points to 55.3 in September.


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Economic Statistics for 2 Oct 14

Challenger’s count of layoff announcement totals 30,477 in September, the lowest since June 2000. 

Gallup’s U.S. Payroll to Population employment rate fell a slight -0.1% to 44.8% in September.

Initial weekly jobless claims fell 8,000 to 287,000. The 4-week average fell 3,750 to 294,750. Continuing claims fell 45,000 to 2.441 million.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index fell -0.7 points to 34.8 in the latest week.

The Fed’s balance sheet fell $-8.8 billion last week, with total assets of $4,493 trillion. Reserve bank credit fell $-9.9 billion.

The Fed reports that M2 money supply fell by $-10.0 billion in the latest week.


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