• 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...]

  • Exhausted Europe

    While the US and Chinese economies look to be stabilizing and even strengthening, the same cannot be said for Europe. Business activity there is growing at its slowest rate since 2013. Manufacturing activity is in recession and is steadily deteriorating, luckily the service sector is doing … [Read More...]

  • Money Man

    This past Sunday, former Fed Chairman extraordinaire Paul Volker died. During his helm (1979-1987), he unequivocally changed economic history. He not only fought relentlessly for central bank independence but slayed runaway 1970s inflation. Because of the latter, he was one of the most unpopular … [Read More...]

  • Modest Moving

    Just 9.8% of Americans changed their residence between 2018 and 2019, the lowest percentage since such record keeping began in 1947/48! This new low is occurring amidst the weakest population growth on record, limited immigration and an aging society. Most troubling, however, just 20% of those … [Read More...]

  • Tariff Travails

    Prior to slapping tariffs on China, US tariff revenues were $3 billion/month. They’re now $7 billion/month; an increase of around $50 billion/year or 0.25% of GDP. Thus, GDP has been reduced by at least this much, and realistically much more because some purchases are simply not made and we’re … [Read More...]

Jan
14

Fantastic Filters

New research has tentatively reconfirmed earlier findings that simply installing commercially available $700 air filters in classrooms that were void of any noxious fumes to begin with raised math scores by 0.20 standard deviations and English scores by 0.18 standard deviations! These are shocking, … [Read more...]

Jan
13

Jolly Jobs

December net job growth of 145,000 brings CY2019 employment gains to 2.1 million, down from almost 2.7 million in 2018. While job growth has slowed, average growth over the past decade has been 2.2 million/year, so it remains sufficiently solid to support continued strong household consumption … [Read more...]

Jan
10

Falling Fahrenheit

The Friday File: In 1851, scientists established body temperature at 98.6 degrees. After reexamining almost 700,000 temperature readings since 1840, researchers find body temperature has been steadily falling by 1/20 of a degree per birth decade. After accounting for measurement error and improved … [Read more...]

Jan
09

Advanced Age

In 1981, the median age of the US homebuyer was 31. By 1989, it had drifted up to 34, and just after the relatively mild 1990 recession, it shot up to 42. By 1997, it bottomed at 35 and since then has almost steadily risen. By 2000 it was 39, by 2006 it was 41, in 2013 it rose to 42, by 2015 it was … [Read more...]

Jan
08

Beneficial Balance

The US goods and services trade deficit shrank to $43.1 billion in November, its lowest level since 10/16 when it was just $42 billion. And, our trade deficit with China over the last 12 months is $358 billion, down from $420 billion for the year ending 12/18. Separately, after hurting GDP growth … [Read more...]

Jan
07

Poor Population

On 6/30/19 the US population was 328,239,523 and for the year ending 6/30/19 population growth was a dismal 1,552,022, or just 0.5%, continuing a decades-long decline. This growth rate was the lowest since the population fell in 1918 due to the Spanish Influenza pandemic; lower than what it was … [Read more...]

Jan
06

Bad Boeing

Boeing recently announced it was reducing to zero planes/month, from 42 planes/month, production of the 737 MAX which was already down from 52 planes/month following a second crash and the subsequent grounding of the plane in 4/19. Halting production will dramatically reduce industrial production, … [Read more...]

Jan
03

Cash Consultations

The Friday File: 16% of persons want to be consulted before their partner makes a purchase of under $100, and 20% set it at $100-$199. It then steadily declines to 12% for purchases between $200-$299, 8% between $300-$399, and 2% from $400-$499. For purchases over $500 the percentage rises to 16%. … [Read more...]

Jan
02

Fed Forecasts

A year ago, six Fed members saw short-term rates ending 2019 up by three-quarters of a point, 5 members saw them rising by half a point, 4 members by a quarter-point, and two members saw no change. In the end, the Fed lowered rates by three-quarters of a point. For what it’s worth, 13 Fed members … [Read more...]

Dec
31

Gracious Grazie

I wish to take this opportunity to thank you all for your ongoing interest in my daily economics blog. You all enrich my life in many ways and I am deeply appreciative. I wish you and yours the best year ever in annualized, seasonally risk-adjusted terms. May it be a year of full employment, large … [Read more...]