Free Markets, Free People

Economy


Economic Statistics for 19 Feb 14

The MBA reports that mortgage applications fell -4.1% last week, with purchases down -6.0% and re-fis -3.0%.

In weekly retail sales, ICSC Goldman reports a 2.5% weekly sales increase, and a 2.1% year-on-year increase. Meanwhile, Redbook says sales rose 3.2% on a year-ago basis.

Thanks to the extreme cold, housing starts plunged -16% in January to a 0.88 million annual rate.

A completely revised method of reporting Producer prices was released today. The overall PPI for January rose 0.2%, which was 1.2% on a year-over-year basis. The core PPI, less food, energy & trade services, rose 0.1% for the month. There is no annual comparison for the latter method of calculating the core PPI rate. The PPI for goods rose 0.4% for the month, and 0.9% for the year. The PPI for trade services rose 0.1% for the month, and 1.3% for the year.


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Unemployment the people’s main priority? So let’s hike the minimum wage …

A poll came out the other day saying that the majority of American’s first priority is unemployment.  And it should be given the incredible low we’re now suffering in labor force participation.

So what bright idea are Democrats pushing in spite of that?  Hey, let’s raise the minimum wage?

Result? Well, even the CBO, the Dems favorite “go to” agency to support their ideas (when it actually agrees, of course), doesn’t see this as a particularly bright idea if they’re concerned about the people’s priority:

Once fully implemented in the second half of 2016, the $10.10 option would reduce total employment by about 500,000 workers, or 0.3 percent, CBO projects.

Notice it says reduce “total employment” by 500,000.  It also says it is only a projection and that it could actually be higher than that.

Wonderful.

But, but … it will help the poor!

The increased earnings for low-wage workers resulting  from the higher minimum wage would total $31 billion, by CBO’s estimate. However, those earnings would not  go only to low-income families, because many low-wage  workers are not members of low-income families. Just  19 percent of the $31 billion would accrue to families  with earnings below the poverty threshold, whereas  29 percent would accrue to families earning more than three times the poverty threshold, CBO estimates.

Or said another way, Democrats are willing to see a half million plus lose their jobs to serve 19% (and that assumes that all of the 19% keep their jobs).

But, but … it will give the poor more to spend!

Moreover, the increased earnings for some workers would  be accompanied by reductions in real (inflation-adjusted)  income for the people who became jobless because of the  minimum-wage increase, for business owners, and for consumers facing higher prices.

Those are facts, folks.  Democrats don’t deal in facts, they deal in emotions … and if they can pass a minimum wage bill, they’ll feel wonderful about themselves.  And if they can’t, they’ll blame it all on the mean old Repubicans who want you to be able to keep your job or something radical like that.

~McQ


Economic Statistics for 14 Feb 14

Export prices rose 0.2% in January, while import prices rose 0.1%. On a year-over-basis, export prices are down -1.2% and import prices down -1.5%.

The Fed reports that  industrial production fell -0.3% in January, while capacity utilization in the nation’s factories declined -07% to 78.5%.

The University of Michigan’s Consumer Sentiment Index remained steady at 81.2 in February.


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Economic Statistics for 13 Feb 14

Initial jobless claims rose 8,000 to 339,000. The 4-week average rose 2,750 to 336,750, while continuing claims fell 18,000 to 2.953 million.

Retail sales in January fell a worse than expected -0.4%, following December’s -0.1% drop.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index rose 1.4 points to -30.7 in the latest week.

Business Inventories rose a troubling 0.5% in December, while a meager 0.1% sales increase raised the stock-to-sales ratio to 1.30.

The Fed’s balance sheet rose $10.2 billion last week, with total assets of $4.119 trillion. Reserve Bank credit increased $10.5 billion.

The Fed reports that M2 money supply rose by $14.9 billion in the latest week.


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Economic Statistics for 12 Feb 14

The Treasury announced that the deficit in January came in at $10.4 billion with the year-to-date deficit  at $144 billion Last year at this time, the deficit was $290 billion.

The MBA reports that mortgage applications fell -2.0% last week, with purchases down 5.0% and re-fis down -0.2%.

The Atlanta Fed Business Inflation Expectations survey shows expectations of 2.0% inflation for the next year.


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Economic Statistics for 11 Feb 14

The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index rose slightly to 94.1 in January from the previous month’s 93.9.

ICSC Goldman reports a -0.3% weekly retail sales drop, and a 2.3% year-on-year increase. Meanwhile, Redbook says sales rose a slow 2.8% on a year-ago basis.

Wholesale inventories rose 0.3% in December, but a 0.5% sales increase left the stock-to-sales ratio unchanged at 1.17.


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Economic Statistics for 7 Feb 14

Consumer credit jumped $18.8 billion in December, including a big $5.0 billion increase in revolving credit.

The BLS reported a paltry 113,000 net new jobs were created in January. Yet the unemployment rate laughably fell a tick to 6.6%. Still, 638,000 people came back into the labor force, and the participation rate rose 0.2% to 63%. Average hourly earnings increased by 0.2%, while the average work week remained steady at 34.4 hours.


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Economic Statistics for 6 Feb 14

Chain stores sales are being reported today, and show significant weakness in January, with year-on-year sales rates sharply lower than December.

The Challenger Job-Cut Report shows a jump to 45,107 layoffs in January, versus December’s 30,623.

The Gallup US Payroll to Population rate declined to 42.0% in January from 42.9% in December.

The US trade deficit increased to $38.7 billion in December from $34.6 billion in November, mainly from a -1.8% decline in exports.

Initial jobless claims fell 20,000 to 331,000. The 4-week average rose 1,000 to 334,000, while continuing claims rose 15,000 to 2.964 million.

Non-farm productivity rose at a healthy 3.2% annualized rate, while unit labor costs declined -1.6% annualized.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index fell -1.3 points to -33.1 in the latest week.

The Fed’s balance sheet rose $7.1 billion last week, with total assets of $4.109 trillion. Reserve Bank credit increased $4.2 billion.

The Fed reports that M2 money supply rose by $25.5 billion in the latest week.


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