Unthinking Uber

Rather than fighting regulation, Uber, the ride hailing leader, should embrace it! Uber struggles to make money not due to compliance with rules and regulations but from competition from startups forcing it to compete on price. Uber should graciously agree to regulations -- as traffic is too … [Read more...]


Coronavirus Concern

The economic impact of the deadly 2003 SARS outbreak in China knocked 0.5% off annual GDP in Taiwan and Singapore, 1% in China, and 2.5% in Hong Kong. Impacts were negligible in the rest of Asia and trivial elsewhere. While China is much bigger today, the Coronavirus is much less deadly and Chinese … [Read more...]


Jumpin Jeopardy!

The Friday File: Recently, the gameshow Jeopardy! had a tournament featuring only the three highest earning contestants, Ken Jennings, Brad Rutter and James Holtzhauer, with the winner taking home a cool million! The winner was the first player to win three games. Not only did Jennings win, but he … [Read more...]


Hot House

December existing home sales jumped 10.8% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.54 million, best since 2/18. That pushed up existing home sales in CY2019 to 5.344 million, up exactly 1,000 units compared to CY2018! Sales should rise only slightly in 2020. New construction will rise some, but … [Read more...]


Global Growth

The IMF is predicting global growth of just 3.3% in 2020, but that’s up from 2.9% in 2019, the slowest growth since the Great Recession. The improvement is due to aggressive global monetary easing, the US-China trade truce, diminished fears of a no-deal Brexit and an uptick in global trade growth … [Read more...]


Cooling Cars

In 2019, US sales of autos and light trucks totaled 16.9 million. 2019 is the first year since 2014, when sales were 16.5 million, that auto sales fell below 17 million. Sales peaked in 2016 at 17.5 million and have been slowly declining since. As for the world’s largest car market, China, 2019 … [Read more...]


Transitory Totals

December housing starts jumped an amazing 40.8% Y-o-Y! Single-family rose 29.6% Y-o-Y, while multifamily rose a staggering 74.6% Y-o-Y, although CY2019 starts grew just 3.2% versus CY2018. The December rise is entirely weather related; Midwest starts jumped 85.4% Y-o-Y and in the West 72.7%. Less … [Read more...]


Pour Prohibition

The Friday File: The 18th Amendment to the Constitution was ratified on 1/17/1919 and went into effect a year later; 100 years ago today! Massachusetts was the first state to pass a temperance law in 1838, and in 1846 Maine was the first to prohibit alcohol sales. Prohibition turned crime into … [Read more...]


Mild Meltdown

The US manufacturing sector is in its worst shape since the end of the Great Recession in 6/09 and is firmly shrinking; it’s the second time since the end of the Great Recession. Although this contraction is slightly worse than the last manufacturing recession of 15Q4, which was mild, like then the … [Read more...]


Deteriorating Deficit

The CY2019 deficit is $1.02 trillion and Y-o-Y it grew 17.1%. While that’s down from a 28.2% rise in 2018, it’s no reason to celebrate. In 2018, tax cuts dramatically reduced revenues. In 2019, revenues rose 5%, but expenditures rose by a still larger 7.5%. The deficit is now an uncomfortable 4.7% … [Read more...]