Blog posts

  • A Strengthening Hand in the EU

    March 27, 2014
    The Euro Zone showed an improving current account surplus with the release of the January data according to the European Central Bank.  The EU-27 surplus rose to a record high $34.9 billion in January.  The current account balance is a broad measure of an economy’s international financial...

  • Rethinking the Proposed Tax Overhaul

    March 21, 2014
    It is never fun to admit you were wrong about something, but it happens. I wrote a blog on February 28th that said I was pleased with the tax overhaul proposal put forth by David Camp, Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, (R-MI). I read the published overviews of the proposal and came...

  • A Look at February Factory Output

    March 20, 2014
    The February US Total Manufacturing Index (not seasonally adjusted) bounced back nicely from a disappointing January.  The January decline was the steepest since 2007, and the February rebound was the best since 2005.  A way to smooth out the sharp monthly movements is to look at the...

  • China: Spending Too Much

    March 13, 2014
    The US government is not the only place where too much spending could bring about a financial reckoning.  China is facing some credit and spending problems that may threaten the nation’s health, though not immediately. Government leaders have talked over the last year or more about reigning...

  • Employment is Climbing

    March 7, 2014
    The February employment data is out, and the number is good.  Using the BLS Household Survey data (not seasonally adjusted) we saw a 1.3% climb in employment from one year ago.  This is a reasonable number; not great, but good enough to indicate that the economy is still expanding in...

  • The Economic Impact of the Situation in Ukraine

    March 5, 2014
    Events in the Ukraine have captured the attention of political leaders and the media.  Russia’s move into the Crimea Peninsula has set off a wave of protests from the US and other nations.  The isolation of Russia and sanctions against them are being talked about in Washington if Mr....

  • Camp’s Tax Reform Plan

    February 28, 2014
    It is too bad that Dave Camp’s (Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, R-MI) tax reform plan doesn’t have much chance (and that is putting it optimistically) of surviving a Senate vote after it clears the House.  I think it should receive serious consideration because it has some...

  • A Tough January in the Housing Industry

    February 26, 2014
    January was a tough month in the housing industry, both in terms of new construction and sales of existing homes.   The decline in the Housing Starts annual year-over-year comparison (12/12 rate-of-change) is a clear leading indicator that not only the housing industry is slowing now, but...

  • Report on the Minimum Wage Increase

    February 20, 2014
    The Congressional Budget Office, CBO, issued its report on the President’s plan to boost the minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10.  The impact of such a move has been a popular question while talking to groups around the country.  The CBO report is consistent with what I have been saying: it...

  • Troubles on the Job Horizon

    February 18, 2014
    The Stock Market has rebounded of late, the US Congress agreed to lift the debt ceiling for a year, and January Retail Sales were solid.  Life seems good on the surface.  Underneath the surface, things are not looking nearly as rosy.  It appears that job growth will be slowing in the...