Blog posts

  • Don’t Be Misled by Headlines

    February 14, 2014
    In a recent article, the headline said that the January drop in retail sales bodes ill for GDP reports.  That is certainly an attention-getting headline, especially because it suggested that GDP may we be weakening, and a macroeconomic problem is imminent.  This is another case where...

  • Economy Larger Factor than Weather

    February 11, 2014
    We have looked at manufacturer, distributor, and retail sales over decades and have found that the economy is a significantly larger factor than the weather.  We have looked at pool covers, yard tools, air conditioners (central air and window units), and other similar series, and they all have...

  • Looking Past the Doom and Gloom Headlines

    February 5, 2014
    The stock market is moving lower and headlines are filled with bad news. We are reading about jittery markets, manufacturing decline in the US and China, the decline in the Purchasing Managers Index, and investor fears, to name a few recent phrases I have come across. Please keep in mind that...

  • GDP is UP

    February 4, 2014
    Fourth-quarter 2013 GDP was released by the government recently, and the data looks good. GDP (adjusted for inflation) is at a record high. The “record high” comment is for anyone who still thinks the recovery from the Great Recession is incomplete. The fourth quarter came in 2.7% higher than...

  • Exuberance!

    January 23, 2014
    A recent article stated that “Companies around the world are starting to share the exuberance that inspired investors” and that there is “increased confidence in the durability of the expansion”. First, perhaps we should question whether it was exuberance or a lack of options that inspired...

  • The Declining Unemployment Rate

    January 21, 2014
    The unemployment rate fell to 6.7% in December. The decline was welcomed by most, and to those who think it matters, it was a harbinger of better days ahead. A frequent question at presentations involves the question of those people who have given up looking for a job or who are working at part-...

  • December Retail Sales - Ho Ho Hum

    January 15, 2014
    The December Retail Sales numbers are in and they are not terrible, but neither are they terribly encouraging.  Total Retail Sales, without automobiles, came in 15.3% higher than November. The month-to-month seasonal gain was milder than normal and milder than 8 of the last 10 years (the 10-...

  • Is There Really a Growing Income Disparity?

    January 10, 2014
    I have noticed from numerous media sources that Washington is abuzz about tackling the “unfairness” of income disparity in the US, and how members of government are looking to reclaim the war on poverty first instituted by President Lyndon Johnson. There is certainly the general notion that...

  • Starting the Year

    January 7, 2014
    It is very cold and gray over much of the country today, and that could have a dampening impact on the economic start to 2014. A cold snap can take some of the life out of housing and automobile sales as people stay in and/or they need more cash to pay for extra heating bills. It is easy to put...

  • A Promising Budget Deal from Washington

    December 12, 2013
    House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Senate Budget Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-WA) announced a budget deal which will need to be voted on by Congress.  The Deal replaces $63 billion in sequester cuts with other savings and non-tax revenues, and it includes an additional $22.5 billion in...