May
25

Ridiculous Rent

The Friday File: 63 years ago Patricia O’Grady moved into a Greenwich Village apartment; the rent was $16/month. And she never moved out. By the time she passed on this past March, her rent had zoomed to $28.43/month, ruled by rent control. At her insistence, her unit was never upgraded and had no … [Read more...]

May
24

Go Gambling

Last week the Supreme Court legalized sports betting. Based on other nations with mature betting markets, this is a $100 billion/year (maybe a $150 billion/year) industry now that no one will be forced into black market offshore wagering and bookies. This should generate a meaningful rise in state … [Read more...]

May
23

Delivery Dearth

 Last year, 3.85 million babies were born, the lowest level since 1987! Moreover, the fertility rate for women age 15 to 44 was 60.2 births/1,000 women, the lowest since this rate was first recorded over a century ago. Only women aged 40 to 44 saw a rise in fertility in 2017; to 11.6 births/1,000 … [Read more...]

May
22

Energetic Economy

 Higher oil prices used to severely depress GDP. That’s no longer so. Household energy spending/GDP has been generally declining for decades and is now near its lowest percentage ever. Thus, the recent price rise will probably knock just a quarter-point off GDP. Moreover, because we’re now the … [Read more...]

May
21

Extra Education

 In 1992, college graduates were 26% of the labor force, those with some college or a technical degree comprised 25%, high school dropouts were 13%, and high school graduates were a whopping 36%. Today, college graduates are 41% and rising, and are the only group that has significantly grown! Those … [Read more...]

May
18

Tiny Trips

 The Friday File: The least visited country in the world last year was the Pacific island nation of Tuvalu, which greeted 2,000 visitors. It was followed by the South Pacific nation of Kiribati, hosting 5,000 visitors. The third least visited state was Niue, also an Island nation in the Pacific, … [Read more...]

May
17

Rocking Rails

 US rail traffic is outstanding! Railroads originated 1,099,000 intermodal (shipping) containers in April, up 6.8% Y-o-Y and the 15th straight Y-o-Y intermodal increase. Moreover, weekly April volume was the third highest ever, and for the seventh straight month intermodal volume was the highest … [Read more...]

May
16

Dwelling Disappointment

Seasonally adjusted annualized April housing starts were 1.287 million. While that is up 10.5% Y-o-Y, and 8% YTD, housing growth is painfully weak, and all because of single-family activity. Multifamily has fully recovered and will henceforth move sideways. However, single-family starts of 894,000 … [Read more...]

May
15

Double Deficits

The recent tax cuts and spending increases will push up business and household spending, which will necessarily boost imports, which in turn will hurt our trade deficit. At the same time, these policies will also widen the budget deficit. And, looking back in history, every $1 billion rise in the … [Read more...]

May
14

Developing Disaster

 Several developing markets including Argentina, Indonesia, and Turkey, are getting whacked! While each is unique, these developing nations generally suffer from high externally denominated public and corporate indebtedness, large deficits, and high inflation. What lit the fuse is the greenback’s … [Read more...]