Consumers Are Spending More, Faster

J: The late Willam Safire was a brilliant wordsmith who served as a speechwriter during the Nixon Administration (1969-1974). In a speech he wrote that was delivered by then-Vice President Spiro T. Agnew to the California Republican State Convention on September 11, 1970, he introduced the phrase "nattering nabobs of negativism" to describe the media at that time. (L: Jim loves this phrase, and I have to admit the fancy words and alliteration are pretty cool.) J: The same crowd, albeit mostly with new players, is still at it. (L: Jim is going to be talking about how the tax cuts did NOT end up as "negative" as Democrats were predicting.) In response to the tax cut, House Minority Lead

A Milestone in Employment Opportunities

Every month the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) releases a report of the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey aka "JOLTS." It usually comes out a week or so after the widely-followed "Employment Situation" report but because it covers data for the month before that report, it is not a report that usually moves markets or excites analysts. That is a mistake! In their May 8 JOLTS report, the BLS told us that as of March 30 there were 6,550,000 unfilled job openings across the US on a seasonally adjusted basis. This was the highest number recorded in the history of this series, which began in December 2000. The chart shows this unprecedented number and the complete history of the series a

The US Economy is Huge: Here Are Some Cool Facts

L: Jim ran across this article from the American Enterprise Institute and wanted to share it. It basically compares the GDPs of US states to the annual GDPs of other countries. Here's one fact from the article to spur you to click to it if you're interested: America’s largest state economy is California, which produced $2.75 trillion of economic output in 2017, just slightly below the GDP of the United Kingdom last year of $2.62 trillion. Consider this: California has a labor force of 19.3 million compared to the labor force in the UK of 33.8 million (World Bank data here). Amazingly, it required a labor force 75% larger (and 14.5 million more people) in the UK to produce the same economic

GDP Growth a Bit of a Surprise

L: For reasons unknown, GDP numbers in the first quarter of each of the last eight years have been pitifully low in comparison to the other three quarters. This quarter wasn't great, but it wasn't pitifully low either. J: On April 27, the BEA gave us the first ("Advance Estimate") data on how the overall US economy performed in the first three months of 2018. They said real GDP grew at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 2.3 percent from the last quarter of 2017. As the chart shows, that was the best first quarter performance since the 3.2 percent growth seen in the first quarter of 2015. It was certainly far better than the decline of 1.5 percent in the first quarter of 2011 or the 0

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