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Trickle Be Dammed Is Not Misspelled – Professional Edition With Extended Free Excerpt

A huge gain in individual income taxes collected in September suggests that the effects of bubble friendly Fed policy are trickling down to the owners of small businesses. Unfortunately, wage and hour data tells us that the trickle is dammed there. Will our dammed nation will be our damnation? This is an extended free excerpt…

Initial Claims of Disaster To Be Taken With A Grain of Salt

First time unemployment claims continued their strength in late September but that should change radically in the weeks ahead as the effects of the chaos in Washington begin to ripple through the economy. In the short run the data will weaken, but more important will be what happens after the government reaches a deal on…

More Housing Data Says Bubble Will Rage On, Fed Will Never Learn

The Case Chiller Index reported earlier this week that the median US house sale price in July was up 12.4% year over year. This severely lagged and smoothed index actually represents the 3 month average contract price of repeat sales only, with a time mid point of mid April. Are you interested in where the 3…

Claims Data Suggests Economy Overheating, and Fed Doesn’t Know It

First time unemployment claims data has been extremely strong in recent weeks. The government and pundits (including yours truly)  blamed an undercount of claimants due to software upgrades in two states. The scuttlebutt was that not all claims had been reported. But subsequent weekly adjustments to the data have been no greater than normal. The…

Housing Recovery Is An Illusion While Housing Inflation Rages

The new home sales industry remains extremely depressed, with activity near historical lows in spite of the biggest August sales increase in 7 years. Housing may not be a drag on the economy, but the idea that it’s making a positive contribution is not supported.  Meanwhile housing inflation rages, with new home prices above the…

Strong Retail Sales Another Reason For Fed To Taper

Retail sales rose in August, continuing their uptrend. The trend is gradually slowing, but the numbers are still quite robust. This is based on the actual data, not seasonally adjusted (NSA) and adjusted for CPI inflation. Unlike the headline data, this the actual unit volume of retail sales (see Note at end). Retail sales are growing…

First Time Unemployment Claims Hit Record Low But There’s a But

First time unemployment claims hit a record low as a percentage of total employed for the past 16 years, which is as far back as I have this stat.  Claims totaled just 0.169% of total nonfarm payrolls, breaking the 2006 low of 0.186%. This is less than the levels seen during the housing bubble. Are…