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The New (Scary) Fed Steps Into New Territory

The pandemic’s second wave has appeared in Europe and now in the U.S. The Fed is more concerned about the economy and has taken the unprecedented step of telling Congress it will monetize whatever spending Congress desires. (Not your Father’s Fed!) The latest weekly unemployment data confirm the Fed’s worst fears: The Recovery has stalled! Overview No matter who wins the election, the following issues must be faced: Deflationary forces are at …Read More

Weak Employment Data, Savings Out of Bullets

Personal income fell -2.7% in August.  Still, consumer spending rose 1.0% M/M.  What Gives? The economy is still very much an employment story.  While the official U3 unemployment rate fell to 7.9% from 8.4%, the underlying data was, simply put, “ugly!” “Excess” Savings Last week, I discussed the theory that the “excess” savings from the stimulus packages (one-time stimulus checks and the now expired supplemental $600/week in unemployment benefits) would …Read More

The “Excess Savings” Hypothesis vs. Economic Deceleration

There is some speculation that because only a little more than half of the buildup in savings from the stimulus checks and enhanced unemployment benefits was spent through July, Q4 economic activity will continue to show recovery as the “savings” continues to be spent.  Call this the “Excess Savings” Hypothesis.   Unfortunately, the incoming data makes this appear to be little more than “hope.” The weekly state and PUA unemployment data …Read More

The Real Story Of Employment Data

There were two separate events of economic  significance the week ended September 5th. First, the financial markets displayed volatility that hasn’t been seen for several months. The S&P 500 began the week at 3,508, rose 2.5% to 3,587 on Wednesday, fell -3.7% to 3,455 on Thursday, and after falling to an intraday low of 3,374 (-6.0% from Wednesday’s high) closed at 3,427 on Friday. On the week, the index lost …Read More

The Fed’s Ill-Designed Inflation Policies

On Thursday, August 27, Fed Chair Jay Powell spoke at the Fed’s annual Jackson Hole symposium. His talk was much anticipated, as it was expected that the old 2% inflation objective would be updated. In fact, the Fed had telegraphed the change; and the Fed has been following the newly announced policy for several months. The policy change allows the Fed to permit inflation to exceed the Fed’s announced 2% target without …Read More

The Inflation Scare

Interest rates backed up last week.  The 30-year T-Bond, which was 1.19% on August 4, closed at 1.44% on Friday (August 14).  The 10-year T-Note closed at 0.71%.  It was 0.52% on August 4.  The CPI showed up with a +0.6% M/M rise (7.4% annual rate) for July.  That pushed the Y/Y rate to +1.0% from +0.6% in June.  Clothing prices rose +1.1% M/M in July.  They had risen +1.7% …Read More