US Economy Is Gaining Momentum

J: In an amazing and surprising development for most economic forecasters (but not me), the US economy has picked up speed in nearly all measures of economic growth. We have not seen such an occurrence since the record expansion of March 1991-March 2001, a full ten-year period (120 months) of growth. In that expansion, real GDP growth shot up from 2.9 percent at a seasonally adjusted annual rate in the first quarter of 1996 to a whopping 7.2 percent in the second quarter and did not fall below 3.0 percent again until the first quarter of 2000. That's a string of fifteen quarters of very strong real GDP growth. At the moment, we have posted two such consecutive quarters. (L: Not quite f

GIC Meeting Gleanings

L: The GIC is the Global Interdependence Center, which is a non-profit based in Philadelphia that encourages the expansion of global dialogue and free trade in order to improve cooperation and understanding among nations. They hold meetings all over the world. The event we attended was in Fayetteville, AR on Monday. The theme was "Location Matters in a Global Economy" and it featured six speakers from the nearest Federal Reserve Bank districts, three more globally-focused speakers and three others who are based in Fayetteville, working for national companies. Here are some of my favorite fact-bites or reactions: Inflation Rate The Federal Reserve Act in November 1977 explicitly identifi

GDP Pace Surprises Everyone

L: Jim wrote this a few days ago, but then our trip to Arkansas intervened (all our trips are business+pleasure) so I'm posting it late. Fortunately, it's still relevant! (Guess he needs to get better staff.) ;-) J: On October 27 the BEA surprised us all with the news that real GDP grew at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 3.0 percent in the third quarter of 2017. Coming after the 3.1 percent pace in the second quarter of 2017, that marked the first time we have seen growth of 3.0 percent or more for two consecutive quarters since the third quarter of 2014. If we beat that 3.0 percent threshold in the fourth quarter, which is my forecast but not the consensus, that would be the firs

A Minor Miracle in Congress

J: On October 26 the House of Representatives voted 216-212 to pass a Budget Resolution. All the votes in favor were from Republicans. Some 20 Republicans, mostly from states with high taxes, joined 192 Democrats in opposing the resolution (known as “H Con Res 71”). The House had passed an earlier version on October 9 by a 219-206 vote. However, the rules under the Budget Impoundment and Control Act of 1974 (Public Law 93-344) require the House and Senate to pass the same resolution. The Senate passed their version of the resolution by a 51-49 vote on October 19. All Democrats and the two independents (Rufus King of Maine and Bernie Sanders of Vermont) who caucus with them voted agains

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