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What Normal Could Look Like

The economy of the future will feature more consumer savings, and business balance sheet repair (more cash, more cost, lower profits, and deferred capital expenditures).  After an initial spike up likely starting in June and continuing into Q3, growth will be difficult.  Unemployment, after spiking to the mid-20% range, will come down slowly, remaining in double digits for 2020 and perhaps getting below 10% in 2022. Inflation Inflation is coming, …Read More

On Reopening: We’ve Just Seen The Iceberg’s Tip

New Data Should Accelerate Re-Opening When the pandemic started, the only data available was the number of new cases, existing cases, and deaths. The original models, perhaps based on prior pandemics like the Spanish Flu of 1918, forecast significant deaths, up to as many as 2 million in the U.S., and, of course, mass infections. Based on that, governments all over the world shut-down their economies. New mortality data is now available …Read More

Corona, Corona, Corona Bonds Really Do Have More Fun!

The equity market finally showed some sensitivity to the effects of the coronavirus (Covid-19) last week with the S&P 500 falling 1.25% from its record high close on Valentine’s day for the holiday shortened week.  The leading issue which dominated every news cycle (except for the Democratic debate for a few hours) was Covid-19 and the economic uncertainties surrounding it.  Markets rose on news or speculation that infection cases were …Read More

A Full-Employment Recession: Post-WWII Growth Model Flawed

There were three big interrelated economic events at the end of October. We had the first pass at Q3 GDP, followed by the Fed meeting (another reduction in the Fed Funds Rate), and the week ended with a much stronger than anticipated jobs report. The data continue to imply that the traditionally accepted post-WWII growth model (emphasis on positive aggregate GDP growth) is no longer applicable, and policies based on it …Read More

Demographic Trends: The Case Against Negative Interest Rates

Japan has a 2.2% unemployment rate, yet, for 30 years, they have not had any significant economic growth, due to their demographic structure. Today, the developed world has Japan’s 1990s demographic features, with falling fertility rates, rising dependency ratios (retirees/working aged), and, ultimately, declining populations. Under these conditions, aggregate GDP growth will be harder and harder to achieve. QE’s “Wealth Effect” All the central banks of developed economies have adopted the Fed’s …Read More

Look For The Preponderance Of The Evidence, Don’t Rely On One Factor

The headline on my LinkedIn page on Friday (October 4th) read: “Jobless rate reaches half-century low, HP plans to cut up to 9,000 jobs…” Is this good news about jobs, or bad? I’ve learned many times over the years to rely on the preponderance of the evidence, and not on any single indicator. The jobs numbers, themselves indicate that the economy is still expanding. But, the lower level of job creation, along with …Read More