Data Watch

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Durable Goods Orders: “Dangerously Boring”

What makes Durable Goods Orders a “high profile” indicator is that it can foreshadow significant changes in economic activity sooner than other statistics. It is important to keep in mind, however, durable goods orders are highly volatile month-to-month due, in large measure, to sudden large changes in orders for defense goods and aircraft. In order

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And the Fed says the economy is doing fine!

In April, manufacturing (and total industrial production) increased a revised 1.1% month-on-month. There were some optimistic comments, but as it has been true with every piece of economic data released, frustration quickly asserts itself. In May, manufacturing dropped 0.4% month-on-month. This has been true, in the case of manufacturing production, since a recovery-type movement exhausted

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Retail Sales Report: The consumer disappoints

Last month the news was upbeat: Retail sales improved in April, suggesting stronger U.S. consumer spending this spring that should bolster broader economic growth as unemployment stays low. This month was a downer: Americans broadly reduced spending at retailers in May, dealing the latest setback to an economy struggling to shift into faster growth. In reality, what we see

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Factory Orders: Another notch in the ‘weakness board’

The June benchmark factory orders revision has downgraded the past significantly. Furthermore, as the trend chart shows, the Fed tightening talk of 2014 had a massive negative impact on factory orders for all manufacturing industries. Factory orders in April 2017 equalled what they were in early 2011! It makes one wonder why there was no

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Low unemployment rate, but absent rises in wages or inflation

I wonder how much longer this accurate appraisal of Fed thinking can go on: The tendency to dismiss weak inflation numbers will continue as long as unemployment plumbs fresh lows for this cycle. Central bankers believe they are in the range of full employment, and don’t want to risk being too far below their estimates

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Surveys mixed, confirmed by data

Despite some weirdly optimistic headlines on the state of US manufacturing after the ISM’ Manufacturing PMI and some other surveys, the detail was less obviously positive. It was more a case of not being as bad as expected following the string of other surveys indicating a downturn in manufacturing activity. Taken in the round, the surveys do

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Consumer expenditures recoil

Despite “uplifting” comments: Americans ramped up their spending in April at the fastest pace in four months, offering fresh evidence the U.S. economy is rebounding this spring after a lackluster winter. The truth is less cheerful, with year-on-year consumer spending growth following confidence down! And how did markets react to the inflation, confidence and comsumer

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2%? Maybe in 2025!

As someone said: “Inflation is not cooperating with the Fed!” Although San Francisco Fed Williams is sanguine: When you look at how the data relate to those two big goals I mentioned—maximum employment and price stability—they paint a very clear picture: The U.S. economy has fully recovered from the global financial crisis and the ensuing

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Manufacturing going to pot

The Core Durable Goods Orders data for April released today showed a second month of MoM fall. The data for durable goods is echoing that seen in the surveys of manufacturing for both April and May.  The outlier appears to be the Industrial and Manufacturing Output figures for April, which showed surprising monthly strength. The

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