• 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...]

  • Monetary Machinations

    The Powell Fed has made it clear it will continue purchasing Treasuries and MBS for the foreseeable future and keep short-term rates at rock bottom levels, but will not counter rising long-term rates. This is because financial conditions are loose, and liquidity is plentiful. Moreover, the Fed sees … [Read More...]

Oct
05

Vaccination Variation

Over the last eight months, Covid-19 vaccination rate disparities between racial and ethnic groups, no matter how defined, have disappeared. However, gaps reflecting political affiliation have widened precipitously. At present, among those 18 and over, 92% of Democrats, 68% of Independents and 56% … [Read more...]

Oct
04

Solid Savings

From the dotcom bust in 3/01 to the Housing Bust in 1/08, household savings rates steadily fell from 6% to just 3%, of course house prices were skyrocketing. From the Housing Bust through 12/14, savings rates rose to 8% and remained there until Covid-19. Now, after bouncing wildly for 14 months due … [Read more...]

Oct
01

Word Wampum

The Friday File: In 2011, “mesothelioma” was the most costly keyword to bid on in Google Ads, at a cost per click of $42.51. Of late, “law” keywords (like car accident lawyer, malpractice lawyer) are even more expensive at $54.86/click, but that now places them just fourth. In third, “casino” at … [Read more...]

Sep
30

Growing GDP

While 21Q3 GDP estimates keep getting lowered due to the Delta variant, 21Q4 estimates are being raised somewhat as the Delta variant pushes some spending from 21Q3 into 21Q4. Overall, 2021 GDP is likely to come in at 5.75%, lower than hoped for six months ago, but still not bad at all. 2022 GDP … [Read more...]

Sep
29

Debt Debacle

If the debt ceiling isn’t raised, the Fed could ameliorate some of the worst impacts. It could offer to buy unlimited amounts of defaulted Treasuries, preventing panic selling. It could similarly sell some of its Treasury stock that is not in default. The Fed could allow banks to count defaulted … [Read more...]

Sep
28

Missing Men

Between 1959 and 2021, the number of male students for every 100 women fell by 62%! Thus, by the conclusion of the 2020/21 academic year, women were 59.5% of college students, a new record. Moreover, after four years of college 50% of women graduate vs. 40% of men. After six years, 65% of women … [Read more...]

Sep
27

Tail Trouble

The biggest sources of economic tail risk through 21Q4 are, in order of concern, a material rise in inflation, a market taper tantrum like 2013, a new and worse Covid-19 variant, the frothy stock market deflating, and souring relations vis-a-vis China leading to an economic or geopolitical … [Read more...]

Sep
24

Big Betting

The Friday File: For the year ending 5/31/21, Nevada had the most legal sports wagering at $14.6 billion, resulting in $910 million in revenue and $61.4 million in taxes. NJ followed with a handle of $14.4 billion, $982 million in revenue, which was tops, and $121 million in taxes. Pennsylvania was … [Read more...]

Sep
23

Increased Inflation

Despite the Federal Reserve’s interest rate setting committee expecting slower growth this year than they did when they met in June, they strongly signaled that they plan to begin tapering their monthly purchases of Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities as early as 11/21 and end them by 22Q3. … [Read more...]

Sep
22

Empty Evergrande

With debts exceeding $300 billion, 2% of Chinese GDP, Evergrande’s likely Thursday bankruptcy won’t be pretty. But it isn’t a short-term Lehman moment. Chinese banks are in good shape and can absorb losses, and if some can’t, Beijing will bail them out. The government will also make whole condo … [Read more...]