Blog posts

  • Good News for Retail Sales

    October 16, 2014
    Retail Sales for September made headlines for coming in below August and disappointing some economists.  We aren’t among those disappointed soothsayers. Retail Sales for September were down from August by 6.8%.  The month-to-month decline is milder than each of the last two years and...

  • A Look at the June Numbers

    July 17, 2014
    Our forecast calls for slower growth in the US economy in the second half of 2014, particularly in the fourth quarter.  Given that outlook, there should be empiric evidence of the shift in economic activity from acceleration to deceleration.  Those changes never occur in a vacuum and are...

  • Corporate Profit Blues

    June 25, 2014
    Corporate profits in the US took a nose dive in the first quarter of 2014 according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis (www.bea.gov).  Profits in the first quarter of 2014 came in 3.0% below the first-quarter of 2013 and a steep 9.8% below the fourth-quarter-2013 figure.  The 9.8% drop is...

  • ECB and Negative Interest Rates

    June 9, 2014
    The European Central Bank (ECB) introduced negative interest rates for the first time in its history.  This historic action caught the attention of the press, so I thought you might like a quick look at what it means without having to listen to a long lecture that will make the details on the...

  • Trouble Between EU and Russia Fails to Create Market for US Natural Gas

    May 29, 2014
    There have been hopes that troubles between the EU and Russia over Ukraine would produce a market for US natural gas, most likely in the form of LNG.  We have been skeptical of that from the beginning of the crisis, stating that the Russian oil and gas will flow through the Ukraine pipelines...

  • Retail Sales: A Closer Look at the Numbers

    May 15, 2014
    Retail Sales were in the news on Wednesday, and the headlines/lead broadcast comments were not encouraging.  The news anchor said retail sales were disappointing and probably related to weather (again with the weather!).  Retail Sales (excluding auto sales and not adjusted for inflation)...

  • Good News out of Europe

    May 1, 2014
    The European Central Bank (ECB) announced that business and non-business loan activity increased in the first quarter of 2014, and concurrently, an easing of lending standards in European Banks. The increase in loan demand was small at 2.0%, but a whole lot better than the -11.0% of the last...

  • Where is the Cheap Manufacturing?

    April 29, 2014
    A study by the Boston Consulting Group shows that traditional views on low-cost manufacturing are not true anymore. The last 10 years has seen a shift in the lost-cost advantage away from China. China is still ranked the lowest cost by some measures, but the all-in cost, including quality, has...

  • Margin Squeeze on Businesses

    April 24, 2014
    Rising costs are creating a margin squeeze on businesses.  We have been encouraging readers and listeners alike to take preemptive action against these rising costs, and hopefully, you have.  Act quickly if you have not because material and labor costs are going up.  According to the...

  • Taxes Do Matter

    April 22, 2014
    Romania, one of Europe’s growing countries, is cutting taxes to spur more growth.  They are planning on eliminating the business profits tax on profits reinvested into the country, lower the social security tax, and lower the value-added tax (VAT) on some foods.  Eventually it hopes to...