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30 June 2017 Core PCE Inflation set to Fall Again, but it won't Sway the Fed (Publication Centre)

We have argued recently that the year-over-year rates of core CPI and core PCE inflation could cross over the next year, with core PCE rising more quickly for the first time since 2010.

30 April 2018 Hospital Services Inflation is now the Biggest Near-Term Threat to the Fed (Publication Centre)

We already have a pretty good idea of what happened to consumers' spending in March, following Friday's GDP release, so the single most important number in today's monthly personal income and spending report, in our view, is the hospital services component of the deflator.

22 Feb. 2016 The Fed is Ahead of the Curve but Behind the Economy (Publication Centre)

Here's something we didn't expect to write: The CPI measure of goods prices, excluding food and energy, rose in the three months to January, compared to the previous three months. OK, the increase was marginal, a mere 0.3%, but conventional wisdom has assumed for some time that the strong dollar would push goods prices down indefinitely.

22 August 2017 Is the Worst Over for State and Local Government Spending? (Publication Centre)

Consumption and investment spending by state and local government accounts for just over 10% of the U.S. economy, making it more important than exports or consumers' spending on durable goods, and roughly equal to all business investment in equipment and intellectual property.

31 January 2017 Will Faster Wage Growth Finally Trigger An Acceleration in the ECI? (Publication Centre)

The headline employment cost index has been remarkably dull recently, with three straight 0.6% quarterly increases. The consensus forecast for today's report, for the three months to December, is for the same again.

31 May 2017 A Consumer Rebound is Underway, but Watch out for Healthcare Costs (Publication Centre)

In the wake of April's 0.2% increase in real consumers' spending, and the upward revisions to the first quarter numbers, we now think that second quarter spending is on course to rise at an annualized rate of about 3.5%.

8 June 2017 Hiring Plans Signal 200K-plus Summer Payroll Gains (Publication Centre)

Our core view on the May payroll number remains that the single most likely cause of the unexpectedly modest increase is a seasonal adjustment error, triggered when the survey is conducted early in the month.

7 March 2017 Why has Spending not Faltered After Tax Refunds were Delayed? (Publication Centre)

The delay in the processing of personal income tax refunds this year appears not to have had any adverse impact on retail sales, so far. Indeed, the Redbook chainstore sales survey suggests that sales have accelerated over the past few weeks.

6 September 2017 Harvey set to Distort Chainstore, MBA Data Today, but no hit on ISM (Publication Centre)

Last Friday's August auto sales numbers were overshadowed by the below-consensus payroll report and the six-year high in the ISM manufacturing index, but they are the first data to reflect the impact of Hurricane Harvey.

6 November 2018 Expect Little Change in Economic Policy After the Midterms (Publication Centre)

We read the same polls, newspapers, and political websites as everyone else, and we're not claiming any special insight into the outcome of the midterm elections today.

20 April 2018 Soaring Hospital Inflation Soon to be a Problem for the Fed? (Publication Centre)

The biggest surprise in the recent inflation numbers has been the surge in the PCE measure of hospital services costs, where the year-over-year rate has jumped to 3.8% in February, an eight-year high, from just 1.3% in September.

19 July 2017 Falling CPI Physicians Fees are a Response to Rising Part B Premiums (Publication Centre)

The closer we look at the data, the more convinced we become that the rollover in CPI physicians' services prices, which has subtracted nearly 0.1% from core CPI inflation since January, is a response to sharply higher Medicare part B premiums, especially for new enrollees.

13 January 2017 Will Consumers' Spending Rise in Line with the Sentiment Surveys? (Publication Centre)

December's retail sales numbers are the most important of the year for retailers, but they don't necessarily tell us anything about the future prospects for consumers' spending or the broad economy. The December 2016 numbers, however, might be different, because they capture consumers' behavior in the first full month after the election.

12 June 2017 Can Core PCE Inflation Overtake Core CPI Inflation? (Publication Centre)

For the past six years, the PCE measure of core inflation has undershot the CPI version. The average spread between the two year-over-year rates since January 2011 has been 0.3 percentage points, and as far as we can tell most observers expect it to be little changed for the foreseeable future.

11 October 2017 JOLTS Data Signal Rapid Job Gains, and Tight Labor Supply (Publication Centre)

Today's JOLTS survey covers August, which seems like a long time ago. But the report is worth your attention nonetheless.

11 May 2017 Core PPI Inflation is set to Rise Further, CPI Components to Follow? (Publication Centre)

Today brings the April PPI data, which likely will show core inflation creeping higher, with upward pressure in both good and services. The upside risk in the goods component is clear enough, as our first chart shows.

14 November 2017 NFIB Survey set to Rebound After the Hurricane Hit, Capex Strong? (Publication Centre)

The minutes of the September 19/20 FOMC meeting record that "...it was noted that the National Federation of Independent Business reported that greater optimism among small businesses had contributed to a sharp increase in the proportion of small firms planning increases in their capital expenditures."

16 Oct. 2015 Goods Prices Aren't Falling Fast Enough to Offset Services Gains (Publication Centre)

The strong dollar is pushing down goods prices, but not very quickly. As a result, the sustained upward pressure on rents is gradually nudging core CPI inflation higher. It now stands at 1.9%, up from a low of 1.6% in January, and even relatively modest gains over the third quarter will push the rate above 2% by year-end. We can't rule out core CPI inflation ending the year at a startling 2.3%.

18 May. 2016 Did the FOMC Discuss Brexit Risk at the April Meeting? (Publication Centre)

The April FOMC statement dropped the March assertion that "global economic and financial developments continue to pose risks" to the U.S. economy, even though growth "appears to have slowed". Instead policymakers pointed out that "labor conditions have improved further", perhaps suggesting they don't take the weak-looking March data at face value. We certainly don't.

18 Mar. 2016 Medical Costs are Accelerating, but Goods Will Lift Core PCE Too (Publication Centre)

In the excitement over the FOMC meeting--all things are relative--we ran out of space to cover some of this week's other data, notably the PPI, industrial production and housing starts. They are worth a recap, given that only the Michigan sentiment report will be released today.

18 December 2017 Has Plunging Healthcare Inflation Held Down Nominal Wage Gains? (Publication Centre)

The shortfall in nominal wage growth, relative to measures of labor market tightness, remains the single biggest mystery of this business cycle.

11 July 2017 Small Businesses are Still Optimistic, but a Correction is Due (Publication Centre)

Before last November's election, movements in the headline NFIB index of activity and sentiment among small businesses could be predicted quite reliably from shifts in the key labor market components, which are released in advance of the main survey.

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