• GDP Guesstimate

    One day before being announced, the Blue-Chip consensus of top business economists predicted 21Q3 GDP growth of 4%. The Atlanta Fed GDPNow model anticipated 0%. To prove all wrong, 21Q3 GDP was 2%! The future, even when a day away, is unknowable. GDP fell from 6.7% in 21Q2 due to the rise of the … [Read More...]

  • Payment Problem

    During the Housing Boom peak of 7/2006, it took 42% of median household income to cover mortgage payments on a median-priced house. That percentage bottomed at 26.9% in 1/2013 and peaked at 32% in 11/18. In 2019 and 2020, the Fed lowered rates, dropping the ratio to just 28.6% in 8/2020. As of … [Read More...]

  • Strengthening Strip

    YTD gaming revenue in Vegas is $4.06 billion, down just 5.2% from Jan-May 2019, and YTD auto traffic is up 5.6% compared to two years ago. However, deplaned passengers and room nights are both down 41%. But, comparing 5/21 to 5/19, gaming revenue is up 25.9%, auto traffic is up 9.8%, and deplaned … [Read More...]

  • Judge Judy

    The Friday File: Since starting in 1996, Judy Sheindlin will have adjudicated roughly 12,750 cases when her last show airs on 6/8/21. Judge Judy has had the #1 first-run show in syndicated TV for 11 straight years, and is on track for a 12th, with an average of 7.8 million viewers. That is why her … [Read More...]

  • Pool Problem

    The Friday File: In addition to semiconductor, chicken wing, and lumber shortages, you can add chlorine. When Covid-19 first, hit DIY handwashing solutions often recommended adding chlorine powder. Add to that a surge in the demand for pools, and a fire in a chlorine manufacturing plant, and … [Read More...]

Nov
29

Istanbul Insanity

Rather than raising rates to fight inflation, Turkish President Erdogan is lowering them in an idiotic effort to drive growth by weakening his currency. It’s already fallen 40% this year, and annual inflation is minimally 20%. A weaker currency helps borrowers who borrow in lira, exporters who need … [Read more...]

Nov
26

Plentiful Packages

The Friday File: In 2008, the USPS and UPS each delivered about 3.5 billion packages in the US while FedEx delivered almost 2 billion, a total of almost 9 billion, or 30 packages/person. In 2020, the USPS delivered slightly more than 7 billion, UPS 5.5 billion, Amazon 4 billion and quickly rising, … [Read more...]

Nov
24

Turkey Trouble

While turkeys don’t fly, their cost are soaring. The price of an 8- to 16-pound frozen turkey is $1.35/lb. up 27% Y-o-Y, largely due to frozen bird inventories being down 30% from their 2016-2020 5-year average. Accordingly, the American Farm Bureau reports that a Thanksgiving feast for 10 with … [Read more...]

Nov
23

Monetary Man

President Biden reappointed Chairman Powell to a second four-year term as Fed Head. Simultaneously, he promoted Lael Brainerd from Fed Governor to Vice Chair. With these titles, both will enjoy easy Senate confirmation. President Biden still has three more positions to fill on the seven-member Board … [Read more...]

Nov
22

Credit Cards

In 20Q1, mailed credit-card solicitations totaled 931 million. They collapsed to just 352 million in 20Q2, but by 21Q3 recovered and hit 940 million. Better yet for consumers, cash-back card offers hit 1.11% during 21Q2 and 21Q3, their highest level since at least 2010, while miles/points offered … [Read more...]

Nov
19

Got Game?

The Friday File: An NBA basketball’s diameter is between 9.43 and 9.51 inches. The hoop has a diameter of 18 inches. A ball hitting the center has roughly 4.25 inches between the edge of the basketball and the hoop. Shots three inches off center go in 74% of the time. If off four inches the … [Read more...]

Nov
18

Government Giving

During the 1980s, federal payments to individuals including Social Security and Medicare was 10% of GDP. From 1990 till the Housing Bust it was about 12%. During the Bust it hit 15%, but quickly fell and was 14.5% on the Covid eve. It then quickly jumped to 20%, a rise of 5.5% or $1.2 trillion! This … [Read more...]

Nov
17

Undulating Unemployment

During 2/20, the unemployment rate was 3.5%. There were 5.7 million unemployed persons and the labor force, composed of those working and those looking for work, was 164.5 million. During 10/21, the unemployment rate was 4.6%, composed of 7.4 million unemployed individuals and a labor force of 161.4 … [Read more...]

Nov
16

Slowing Salaries

In a sign of perhaps peaking inflation, annual wage growth declined from 4.2% to 4.1% in October, the first decline since 4/21, immediately prior to the recent dramatic run-up in inflation. Moreover, the decline was widespread, extending to hourly workers, service workers, and most critically those … [Read more...]

Nov
15

Profound Purchases

Compared to 1/1/19, inflation-adjusted US purchases of services has fully recovered, great news. The problem: purchases of goods remain up by almost 20%! Apparently, Covid-19 habits die hard. The US economy is not suffering from anything resembling stagflation. Rather, we are seeing very strong … [Read more...]