• Horrible Hurricane

    Here's how Hurricane Florence will impact economic data: initially, weekly first-time unemployment claims will rise, with the amount of the increase quickly telling us the hurricane severity. September auto sales will fall, but October sales will spike due to buyers replacing flood damaged cars. … [Read More...]

  • Remarkable R-E-S-P-E-C-T

    The Friday File: Yesterday legendary singer and songwriter Aretha Franklin died at 76. During her spectacular career, she won 18 Grammys, sold 75 million albums, had 17 Billboard pop chart top 10 songs, and quit flying in 1983 preferring a custom tour bus. Her best-selling album was Amazing Grace, … [Read More...]

  • GDP Growth

    CY2018 US GDP growth should average 3.1%, led by rising employment, strong income gains, tax cuts, increased defense spending and very strong consumer and small business confidence. During CY2019, growth is likely to steadily slow, yet still average a solid 2.6% as tax cut impacts fade, trade wars … [Read More...]

  • Poor Promotions

    Research shows that high-performing sales representatives are more likely to be promoted into management. For example, a doubling of sales boosts the probability of promotion by 15% above baseline. But the new manager’s pre-promotion doubling of sales is also associated with a 7.5% reduction in the … [Read More...]

  • Largest Lingos

    The Friday File: Looking only at native speakers, the most spoken language in the world is Chinese with 1.3 billion first-language speakers. A distant second is Spanish with almost 440 million speakers. English is third with 372 million native speakers, and Arabic follows with 295 million. In fifth … [Read More...]

Sep
21

Crumbling Caracas

The Friday File: Last month, Venezuela’s hyperinflation rate was a staggering 223.1%, and according to IMF forecasts, it could reach 1 million percent for the full year. If Venezuela’s inflation gets no worse, it would be just the 23rd worst case of hyperinflation; what a relief. The worst case: … [Read more...]

Sep
20

Unbelievable Unemployment

For the week ending 9/15/18, initial unemployment claims fell to 204,000, their lowest level since 11/15/69, yes, 1969! The four-week moving average declined to 205,750, its lowest level since 12/6/69. Moreover, claims have been below 300,000 since 3/7/15, the longest period since record keeping … [Read more...]

Sep
19

Life Longevity

After peaking in 2014 at 78.9 years, US life expectancy has declined for two years running, falling to 78.7 in 2015 and 78.6 in 2016. This is the first time life expectancy has declined two years in a row since 1962 and 1963, when a very bad flu was to blame. The culprit now is almost entirely the … [Read more...]

Sep
18

Telephone Trouble

While the Trump administration inexplicably works overtime to stop the vertical AT&T/Time Warner merger, the bigger question is will the DOJ fight the more troubling horizontal T-Mobile/Sprint merger? The firms argue, with some supporting data, that the merger will indeed boost investment. But, … [Read more...]

Sep
17

Improving Incomes

Inflation-adjusted median household income rose to $61,372 in 2017, up 1.8% from 2016, and up smartly from the 2012 cyclical trough of $54,569. Despite the recent rise, median income is not meaningfully higher than the 1999 pre-recession peak of $60,062. In 2017, income rose more due to a rise in … [Read more...]

Sep
14

Pot Pricing

The Friday File: When legal weed stores first opened in WA in 7/14, the average price/gram was $32.48. By 1/1/15, it was $21.07, by 1/1/16, $12.32, and by 9/18 $7.45, and it’ll get cheaper. The price initially fell because it became legal; it keeps falling because increasingly big state-of-the-art … [Read more...]

Sep
13

Risk Revision

10 years after Lehman Brothers failed, risk has migrated. In 2008, the six largest banks had $9 trillion in assets; the four largest asset managers, $5 trillion. Today, the same banks have $10 trillion, but the same four lightly regulated asset manager behemoths have $16.5 trillion. Similarly, at … [Read more...]

Sep
12

Horrible Hurricane

Here's how Hurricane Florence will impact economic data: initially, weekly first-time unemployment claims will rise, with the amount of the increase quickly telling us the hurricane severity. September auto sales will fall, but October sales will spike due to buyers replacing flood damaged cars. … [Read more...]

Sep
12

2018 New Mexico Housing Summit – Albuquerque

Elliot was the keynote speaker at the 2018 New Mexico Housing Summit sponsored by the New Mexico Mortgage Finance Authority in Albuquerque, September 12, 2018.  Listen to the podcast interview Elliot did with Santa Fe radio … [Read more...]

Sep
11

Lacking Labor

Y-o-Y job openings are up 11.9%, hires are up just 3.3%, and the number hired has declined three months in a row. Moreover, job openings exceed the number of unemployed by 659,000; they surpassed zero for the first time in March. Additionally, quit rates hit 2.4%, their highest rate since 4/01, and … [Read more...]