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Unemployment

The Economy Slows; The Real “New Normal”

The virus’ resurgence has caused more business disruptions, raising the specter of a renewed economic slowdown.  Spending and income numbers have mainly been negative in Q4, and the much hoped for stimulus relief package is now stuck on the president’s desk. The Economy “Drop in Spending, Higher Claims Cloud Outlook for Growth,” WSJ, 12/24/20, A1. Restaurants: -3.7% November (M/M); -0.6% October Hotels/Motels: -8.7% November (M/M); -4.4% October Movie Theaters: -17.2% …Read More

Policy Rx for Recession Aggravates Income Inequality

T’was the week before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was spending, not even your spouse; the stockings were hung by the chimney with flairs, in hopes that the Congress would supplement CARES. And so, it appears that the economy continues to deteriorate as the Congress attempts to put together another stimulus without provisions for certain favored constituents of either party – much easier said than done.  …Read More

Inflation Expectations Rise Even as the Economy Cools

It has now become clear, and mainstream, that the economy weakened significantly in November, and that such weakness will carry forward to year’s end, at a minimum.  The weakness occurred primarily in the services sector as the virus’ resurgence caused some governors to mandate new or additional service business restrictions. As a result, jobless claims have spiked, travel and hotel occupancy fell to even lower levels, and restaurant and other …Read More

Mr. Market Won’t Let the Grinch-Like Economy Steal This Christmas!

The employment data for November were downbeat, and those surveys were taken prior to many newly imposed restrictions including stay-at-home orders. Other economic data, including Black Friday-Cyber Monday spending, and manufacturing and service indexes also disappointed.  Pessimism also showed up in the Fed’s recent Beige Book, its survey of business sentiment. Yet, despite all the downbeat economic news and forecasts, equity markets set new all-time highs the week ended December …Read More

The Economy: On the Other Side of the Abyss

The good news is that a vaccine is definitely coming.  But getting to herd immunity is going to take more than a quarter or two, especially given the resistance of about half of the American population to getting the vaccine, at least early on. The economy is likely to remain soft until well after the pandemic passes.  There are many reasons for this including a decade of poor policymaking and …Read More

Vaccine: That Pinhead of Light at Tunnel’s End

Pfizer’s vaccine announcement gave the equity market the vision and hope that some semblance of “normal” was closer than previously assumed; perhaps a light at the end of the tunnel. Reality is that, due both to the complex logistics of handling the Pfizer vaccine, the two shot inoculation process, and the voluntary system in America, that light at tunnel’s end is just a pinhead, with a long and treacherous journey …Read More