Oct
18

Fed Front

Jerome Powell

The decision over who will lead the Fed is down to four candidates. Janet Yellen is probably in second place behind current Fed governor Jerome Powell. He would continue Yellen’s policy of gradually raising rates but would have a lighter regulatory touch. John Taylor is in third, followed by former … [Read more...]

Oct
17

Declining Dropouts

graduation

 As recently as 1996, 34% of Hispanics dropped out of high school. By 2016, the rate was just 10%! Similarly, the rate for blacks declined from 16% to 7%, while the rate for whites fell from 8% to 5%. Asians saw their rate decline too; from 5% in 1999 to 3% now. In 2016, 47% of Hispanics aged 18 to … [Read more...]

Oct
16

Global Growth

imf

 Global economic growth is expected to be 3.6% this year and 3.7% next year, up pleasantly from 3.2% in 2016. Better yet, all 15 nations that the IMF individually follows are growing. As for the US, after 1.5% growth last year, 2017 looks to show 2.1% growth and next year, 2.3%. China will grow … [Read more...]

Oct
13

Seriously Superstitious

Black Friday 13

 The Friday File: While 13% of Americans consider themselves superstitious, among those 18-25, 18% are and 15% of those 30-44 are. Among those 45-64, it’s 11%, and for those over 64, it’s 6%. Interestingly, 35% consider picking up a penny good luck, 30% consider knocking on wood good luck, and 27% … [Read more...]

Oct
12

Deficient Departures

quit

 While the number of job openings declined slightly in August to 6.08 million from July’s all-time high of 6.14 million, quit rates remain relatively low. Since 10/16, quit rates have vacillated between 2.1% and 2.2%, and are barely above the 2% rate that was first breached in this recovery back in … [Read more...]

Oct
11

Falling Fuel

gas pump

 US households spent slightly less than $2,000 on gasoline in 2016, the lowest inflation-adjusted amount since 2003. The lowest amount spent on gasoline since 1980 was $1,500 in 1998, while the highest was about $3,300 in 1980 and 2012. However, as a percent of before-tax household income, gasoline … [Read more...]

Oct
10

Powerful Pay

pow

 Despite confusion wrought by hurricanes Harvey and Irma, September’s employment report was stellar. Upward revisions to wage growth totaling three-tenths-of-one-percent for July and August and a 0.5% rise in September suggest wages are rising! Moreover, the unemployment rate declined to 4.2%, its … [Read more...]

Oct
09

New Nobelist

U.S. economist Richard Thaler poses in an undated photo provided by the University of Chicago Booth School of Business

The 2017 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences was awarded to University of Chicago Professor Richard Thaler. Thaler’s research in behavioral economics incorporates psychology and the awareness that people are irrational in relatively consistent ways to improve decision making. His research has resulted … [Read more...]

Oct
06

Prolific Petty

tom petty

 The Friday File: This past Monday, Tom Petty passed away at just 66. During a career that began in earnest in 1975 with the formation Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, he won or shared three Grammy Awards, sold over 80 million records, released 18 albums, and along with the Heartbreakers, was … [Read more...]

Oct
05

Strengthening Spending

Technicians build LEAP engines for jetliners at a new, highly automated General Electric (GE) factory in Lafayette

 After hitting an all-time high rate of $69 billion/year in 4/08, core capital goods (CCG) spending collapsed, bottoming at $46 billion/year in 4/09. It then quickly recovered, hitting a new high of $70 billion/year in 9/14, but oil prices then sank and spending fell to just $60 billion/year by … [Read more...]