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Economic Growth: Its Importance and the Potential Impact of its Demise

Conceptually, economic growth is a function of two factors: the growth of jobs, and the productivity of those employed.  In a world where the labor force of industrialized nations is stagnating, or, worse, shrinking, one might reasonably ask: “Why is economic growth, as measured by the increase in real GDP, so important to the economy?”  A good argument can be made that real GDP per capita would be a better …Read More

“Normal,” It’s Not What You Think!

Most readers remember the pre-recession days of 4% GDP growth, interest rates at levels where savers had return choices worth pursuing (e.g., the 10 year T-Note at 4%), and workers could count on annual real wage growth.  Today, many refer to this as “normal,” and there is a desire, if not a movement, to return the economy back to such a state. You can see this in the political arena.  …Read More

The Risk of Recession is Rising; So is Market Risk

Recession: This is the hardest world for any business economist to pen, especially when the equity market is on a tear.  Nevertheless, that is the reality of a slow growth, deflationary world where not much negative must happen to push the 1% growth economy into negative territory.  Post-election, markets initially rose on the hopes of economic stimulus from the Trump administration.  Then, they flattened as prospects for rapid policy changes …Read More

Hope is Not a Good Investment Strategy

According to the Bespoke Investment Group, every year, Wall Street analysts declare that the stock market will rise, and since 2000, the annual average forecast has been for a 9.5% gain.  The reality is that the market has only risen at a 3.9% rate over this time frame.  The 2008 forecast was for a market increase of 11%; the reality was -38%.  To say that Wall Street promotes the stock …Read More

Quarterly Economic Outlook: Q3/2016

The “Brexit” caused market swoon on Wall Street turned out to be a nasty 5.3% two day dive (S&P 500) that was all but reversed in the next 4 trading sessions.  The reason was clear early on – despite forecasts of immediate worldwide economic doom and gloom, the non-binding referendum was mostly a political statement about bureaucratic government, and the referendum split along demographic lines (older vs. younger, and rural …Read More

Barone: What’s eating Wall Street?

There was no Santa Claus rally in 2015. In the last few weeks, the market has done poorly, with the S&P 500 falling 1.75 percent in December and another 4.9 percent in the first four trading days of 2016, the worst start to a new year in the history of the index. The U.S. labor market is strong, and consumers seemed to have opened their wallets and purses for the …Read More