Productivity Unpuzzled

It is certainly the case that the recently reported NFP numbers were poor. Compared to a mean/median of 193k a month in private job additions over this past six years or so, June’s paltry total – of 65k after we add back the 40k Verizon strikers – was 1.9 standard deviations away from what we have become used to.

Indeed, taking the raw, 25k increment, this was the worst showing since early 2010, capping off a three-month run which has been the worst since 2012. If we compare instead aggregate hours scaled for population, it can be argued that the figure has been edging into a zone which has been typical of past recessions – though, with frequent short-lived spikes in the record, this indicator needs the confirmation of subsequent bad months ahead. Continue reading

Money, Macro & Markets – The Archive

Regular readers will know that the articles published here are but a small subset of the detailed work I undertake to analyse economic and political developments and their effects on markets. In order to give some idea of the scope of this, presented below is an archive of past issues of the Austrian School-informed, in-depth monthly publication, ‘Money, Macro & Markets’ in addition to which I compile twice monthly updates as the ‘Midweek Macro Musings’ which are also made available on a complimentary basis to subscribers to the former letter.

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What WILL it Take?

In the midst of all the recent uproar, one anonymous Twitterer seized his chance to have his Uber-Warholian, 140-characters-of-fame moment and thundered: ‘Central banks are losing control of this market!’ no doubt eliciting whatever the social media equivalent of a cry of ‘Hear! Hear!’ and an approbatory nodding of the head might be from among his followers. Continue reading

Manufacturing matters

Much predictably fatuous comment has been devoted to the fact that, to the extent that the US is facing any difficulties at all outside the oil patch, at present these ‘only’ affect manufacturing—a sector which , as any fool knows, accounts for a mere 12% of GDP. Ergo, we are told, while employment in general holds up and consumer spending is maintained, a recession is not to be countenanced—a bill of clean health which conveniently supports the sell-side’s fingers-crossed contention that stocks are cheap and that credit is beginning to offer up real bargains for the man brave enough to dip his toe back into the waters. Continue reading

Has the Fed ‘Bought the Farm’?

Those of us who have not been stuck on Mars for the past five years, tending our potato patch, will be dimly aware that the Grand Mages of the economic world – the central bankers – have been manfully searching their spell-books and bubbling their alembics in order to exorcise the dreaded demon of Deflation from the land, terrified that the world will collapse around them if too many shoppers are too routinely confronted with anything that might smack of being a bargain. Continue reading

Laying the Foundations

As the Yellen Fed inches painfully towards taking its first ‘data-dependent’ steps to raise rates (albeit with the promise that such a process will follow the disastrous, well signposted creep upward which enabled so much damage to be wrought after the Tech Bust), the evidence mounts as to just how belated any such action will be. Take housing, for instance. Continue reading

Midweek May Macro

Amid all the debate about the US economy and the somewhat vague prospect of the Fed finally showing some cojones at some point in the future, the principle feature which allows the Doves to block any renormalization of the rate is the supposedly soft state of the labour market, particularly with reference to the sorry-looking participation rate.

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Monday Morning Macro

Though the punditocracy has become much more aware of the sheer scale of China’s equity bubble in recent weeks, it is still arguably the case that reality is running ahead of reportage even as more and more evidence emerges of just how dire things are in the world beyond the brokerage screens.

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