70 Words


 Usually the gap between GDP and potential GDP (what GDP would be if all economic resources were fully utilized) is very small. However, during 09Q2, the gap hit $935 billion; 6.5% of GDP. That was the largest gap since 82Q4 when it hit 7.9%. Since mid-2009 the gap has steadily shrunk and is now … [Read more...]


Failing Farms

 Non-inflation-adjusted farm income is projected to hit just $59.50 billion in 2018 due to lower crop and livestock prices. This will be its lowest level since 2006, when farm income was $57.44 billion, and is 7% lower than it was last year as the farm crisis enters year five. Farm income steadily … [Read more...]


Truthful Taxes

 In 2017, the IRS audited 1 of every 160 individual tax returns, the lowest percentage since 2002, and the sixth straight year of declines. Overall audit probabilities peaked in 2010 at 1 in 90. For millionaires, the audit probabilities are 1 in 23, down from 1 in 8 in 2010. And remember, for you … [Read more...]


Movie Métier

 The Friday File: There are 281,000 people employed in the production and distribution of movies and sound recordings in the USA. CA leads with 106,500. NY follows with 26,500, then TX with 16,500, and FL with 11,000. They are the only states with more than 10,000 such jobs. There are seven states … [Read more...]


Diabolical Debt

 The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office forecasts that the recently passed deficit-financed tax cuts and spending increases will boost the national debt by $1.9 trillion through 2027. Thus, debt held by the public will rise from 78% today to 96.2% of GDP by 2027 compared to 91.% before the … [Read more...]


Lotsa Leverage

 As house prices relentlessly rise, the percentage of conventional loans this past winter going to borrowers with debt-to-income (DTI) ratios above 45% hit 20%, almost triple what the percentage was 12 months ago, but less than the housing boom peak of 36%. Meanwhile the share of buyers with DTIs … [Read more...]


Midterm Miasma

 Since 1970 there have been 12 midterm elections. The only time the party holding the White House gained seats was Clinton 1998 and Bush 2002. Each had an approval rating above 60% and they only gained 4 and 8 seats respectively. Six times the occupant of the WH had an approval rating below 50%, and … [Read more...]


Tolerable Toil

While March net job growth of just 103,000 was slightly disappointing, payback for last month’s great weather was inevitable. Importantly, monthly average job growth YTD is 202,000, very strong this late in the business cycle. The unemployment rate was unchanged, suggesting slack remains, and Y-o-Y … [Read more...]


Patty Procurement

 The Friday File: After a 9% jump to 1.46 billion in 2017, France, for the first time ever, consumed more hamburgers than jambons-beurres, whose sales totaled 1.22 billion. The split baguette with ham and butter had been the best seller since the 19th century! Interestingly, the French also love … [Read more...]


European Economics

 Despite being a train wreck heading into 2017, Europe is enjoying an economic upswing. The eurozone grew 2.5% in 2017, its fastest rate in a decade, and on par with US growth. This surprisingly strong progress has pushed the euro up 17% against the dollar. Moreover, French business confidence is … [Read more...]