Free Markets, Free People

Economy

Economic Statistics for 3 Jun 16

May’s Employment Situation is very disappointing, with only 38,000 net new jobs created. Labor force participation dropped -0.2% to 62.6% as 458,000 workers left the labor force. Overall, the number of people not in the labor force grew by 664,000. These negatives are hidden, of course, by the clearly meaningless “unemployment” rate which plunged by -0.3% to 4.7%. Average hourly earnings rose 0.2%, but the average workweek fell -0.1 hours to 34.4 hours. Still, congratulations to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, who’ve managed to create a method of calculating the unemployment rate that is completely unmoored from any actual labor market condition.

The nation’s trade deficit unexpectedly narrowed to $-37.4 billion in April.

Factory orders rose 1.9% in April, due to civilian aircraft orders. Core capital goods orders actually fell a disappointing-0.6%.

The PMI Services Index fell -1.5 points to 51.3 in May, while the ISM Non-Manufacturing Index dropped -2.8 points to 52.9.


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Economic Statistics for 2 Jun 16

Chain stores that reported sales today reported just slightly less strength in year-on-year sales than in April.

The Challenger Job-Cut Report shows that Layoff announcements during May were a relatively low 30,157 vs. April’s 64,141. 

ADP’s May Employment Report came in in at 173,000 net new jobs, compared to a revised 166,000 for April. 

May’s Gallup Good Jobs rate was 45.5%, up slightly from April’s 44.9% and the highest May rate since Gallup began measuring it in 2010.

Initial weekly jobless claims fell 1,000 to 267,000. The 4-week average fell 1,750 to 276,750. Continuing claims rose 12,000 to 2.172 million.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index rose 1.2 points to 43.2 in the latest week.

The Fed’s balance sheet rose $0.3 billion last week, with total assets of $4.461 trillion. Reserve bank credit fell $-9.4 billion.

The Fed reports that M2 money supply rose by $21.0 billion in the latest week.


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Economic Statistics for 1 Jun 16

May motor vehicle sales kept pace with April, at a 17.5 million annual rate, with North American vehicles selling at a 13.8 million pace.

The Fed’s Beige Book seems to indicate the economy is slowing, characterizing the nation’s economic growth as generally “modest”.

Construction spending fell -1.8% in April, with the year-on-year rate falling to 4.5%, the lowest since June, 2013.

The PMI Manufacturing Index for May fell -0.1 points to 50.7, but the ISM Manufacturing index rose 0.4 points to 51.3.

Gallup’s U.S. Job Creation Index rose 3 points to 33 in May.

Redbook reports that last week’s retail sales growth rose to an anemic 0.9% on a year-ago basis, from the previous week’s even weaker 0.4%.

The MBA reports that mortgage applications fell -4.1% last week, with purchases down -5.0% and refis down -4.0%.


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Economic Statistics for 31 May 16

In April, Personal income rose 0.4%, Consumer spending rose 1.0%, and the PCE Price index rose 0.3%. The Core PCE Price index rose 0.2%.

The S&P/Case-Shiller home price index for March rose 0.9%, and is up 5.4% on a yer-over-year basis.

The Chicago purchasing Manager’s Index slipped into a contractionary reading of 49.3 in May, from April’s 50.7.

The University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment index fell -2.1 points to a lower-than-expected 92.6 in May.

The State Street Investor Confidence Index fell -2.0 points to 106.6 in May.

The Dallas Fed Manufacturing Survey turned strongly negative, falling from 5.8 to -13.1 in May.


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Economic Statistics for 19 May 16

The Philadelphia Fed survey went into slightly more negative territory in May, down -0.2 to -1.8.

Conversely, the Chicago Fed National Activity Index turned positive, rising 0.55 points to 0.10 for May.

The Conference Board’s  index of leading economic indicators shot up 0.6% in April. 

Initial weekly jobless claims fell 16,000 to 278,000. The 4-week average rose 7,500 to 275,750. Continuing claims fell 13,000 to 2.152 million.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index rose 0.9 points to 42.6 in the latest week.

The Fed’s balance sheet fell $-4.7 billion last week, with total assets of $4.474 trillion. Reserve bank credit rose $8.9 billion.

The Fed reports that M2 money supply fell by $-9.7 billion in the latest week.


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Economic Statistics for 17 May 16

A jump in gas prices sent the Consumer Price Index up 0.4% in April, but up only 0.2% less food and energy prices. On a year-over-year basis, the CPI is up 1.1% overall, and up 2.1% less food and energy.

Housing starts rose 6.6% in April, to a moderate 1.172 million annual rate, but the year-over-year rate dipped negative, to -1.7%. Building permits, an indicator of future housing activity, rose 3.6% in April to a 1.116 million rate, but the year-on-year rate is even more negative, at -7.2%.

Industrial production rose 0.7% in April, while capacity utilization in the nation’s factories rose 0.6% to 75.4%.

E-Commerce retail sales for the 1st Quarter of 2016 came in with an unexpectedly strong 3.7% increase, and a 15.2% year-on-year increase.

Redbook reports that last week’s retail sales growth slowed into the doldrums again, up 0.5% on a year-ago basis, from the previous week’s 1.1%.


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The left wants so badly for socialism to work

And that’s why they were so enamored of Venezuela.  All the leftist illuminati waxed on and on about how Hugo Chavez was a champion of the people and how he was working an “economic miracle” there, as illustrated by the 2013 Salon article by David Sirota.  In it Sirota gloats about how wrong the right is concerning Venezuela.  Headlined “Hugo Chavez’s economic miracle”, the sub-headline on the piece is classic:”The Venezuelan leader was often marginalized as a radical. But his brand of socialism achieved real economic gains.”

In light of Venezuela’s imminent collapse, I’m sure Sirota is cringing today.  As usual, the “economic miracle” Chavez had wrought under his brand of socialism worked swimmingly until they ran out of other people’s money.  Then, well, same crap, different regime.

I had to laugh, in particular, at this paragraph from “gloaty-boy”:

When a country goes socialist and it craters, it is laughed off as a harmless and forgettable cautionary tale about the perils of command economics. When, by contrast, a country goes socialist and its economy does what Venezuela’s did, it is not perceived to be a laughing matter – and it is not so easy to write off or to ignore. It suddenly looks like a threat to the corporate capitalism, especially when said country has valuable oil resources that global powerhouses like the United States rely on.

Well, laughed at his silliness or is it perhaps willful ignorance in not understanding, even when he was calling Chavez’s Venezuela an “economic miracle” what was really going on there.  No one is laughing at the purely predictable and lamentable problems the citizens of Venezuela are going through now because of Chavez.  He sold them a bill of goods and now they’re suffering the consequences.

What’s frustrating though is the useful idiots like Sirota and gang who won’t take the time to learn why socialism doesn’t work and certainly won’t look too deeply into any regime, such as Chavez’s, that shows the possibility of their long held dream of collectivism and central planning working.

If, in fact, they’d do that, there wouldn’t be guys like me, 3 years after the fact, pointing a finger at them and laughing at something they wrote about an economy that was doomed from the beginning.  As most of us noted at the time of the Chavez takeover, it wasn’t a matter of “if” his plan would fail, but “when”.  “When” is now.

Look at the video and the pictures, Mr. Sirota.  They’re not pretty.  They’re not pretty at all.

How does it feel to have been a cheerleader for the kind of desperation and chaos Chavez’s “miracle” has brought?  How does it feel to have wished a stable and thriving nation (it had its problems, but nothing even close to those now) into the state it now endures?  And tell me again why Chavez’s daughter is worth 4 billion?

You must be so proud.

~McQ

Economic Statistics for 13 May 16

Retail sales snapped back in April, with an increase of 1.3%. Sales less autos rose 0.8% and sales less auto and gas rose 0.6%.

Producer prices for final demand rose 0.2% in April. Prices less food and energy rose 0.1%, and prices less food, energy, and trade services, rose 0.3%. On a year-over-year basis:
PPI-FD: 0.0%
Less food & energy: 0.9%
Less food, energy, and trade services: 0.9%

Business inventories rose 0.4% in March, but a 0.3% rise in sales kept the stock-to-sales ratio unchanged at 1.41.

May consumer sentiment is soaring, up 6.8 points to 95.8 for the mid-month flash reading.


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