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Nothing is done until it's done, and, in the case of Sino-U.S. trade talks, even if a deal is reached, the new normal is that tensions will be bubbling in the background.
The Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings, which contains granular detail on wages and provides a useful cross-check on the regular average weekly wage earnings--AWE--data, was published yesterday.
Experimental figures, released earlier this week, suggest that wages have increased at a faster rate than indicated by the average weekly earnings--AWE--data.
The stand-out news from August's labour market report was the pick-up in the headline three-month average rate of year-over-year growth in average weekly wages, excluding bonuses, to 3.1%--its highest rate since January 2009--from 2.9% in July.
This week's labour market, inflation and retail sales data--the last before the MPC meets on May 10--will have a major bearing on the Committee's decision.
December's labour market report, released today, won't be a game-changer for the near-term outlook for interest rates; January data will be released before the MPC meets in March, and February data will be available at its key meeting in May.
Markets will be hyper-sensitive to U.K. data releases following the MPC's warning that it is on the verge of raising interest rates.
China's FX reserves rose to $3,062B in November, from $3,053B on October. On the face of it, the increase is surprising.
The value of Japanese retail sales bounced back strongly in December, rising 0.9% month-on-month, after a 1.1% drop in November.
Chief U.S. Economist Ian Shepherdson on the U.S. and European Economies
We didn't believe the first estimate of Q1 GDP growth, 0.7%, and we won't believe today's second estimate, either. The data are riddled with distortions, most notably the long-standing problem of residual seasonality, which depressed the number by about one percentage point.
The headline payroll number each month is the difference between the flow of gross hirings and the flow of gross firings. The JOLTS report provides both numbers, with a lag, but we can track the firing side of the equation via the jobless claims numbers. Claims are volatile week-to-week, thanks to the impossibility of ironing out every seasonal fluctuation in such short-term data, but the underlying trend is an accurate measure. The claims data are based on an actual count of all the people making claims, not a sample survey like most other data. That means you'll never be blindsided by outrageous revisions, turning the story upside-down.
It is often argued that the average weekly earnings--AWE--figures exaggerate the severity of the squeeze on households' incomes.
The decline in China's unofficial PMI, which has dropped to a six-year low, signals increasing troubles ahead for U.S. manufacturers selling into China, and U.S. businesses operating in China. This does not mean, though, that the U.S. ISM will immediately fall as low as the Caixin/Markit China index appears to suggest in the next couple of months. Our first chart shows that in recent years the U.S. manufacturing ISM has tended hugely to outperform China's PMI from late spring to late fall, thanks to flawed seasonals.
The soft-looking August payroll number almost certainly will be revised up substantially, as the readings for this month have been in each of the past six years. Runs of remarkably consistent revisions--from 53K to 104K, with a median of 66K--don't happen by chance very often. A far more likely explanation is that the seasonal adjustments are flawed, having failed to keep up with changes in employment patterns since the crash. If the median revision is a good guide to what happens this year, the August number will be pushed up to 240K, in line with our estimate of the underlying trend and much more closely aligned with the message from a host of leading indicators.
Japan's trade surplus has whipsawed recently. Sharp changes are to be expected in January and February, due to the shifting timing of Chinese New Year.
A flawed theory still is circulating that the economy might outperform over the next two quarters because firms will stockpile goods due to the risk of a no-deal Brexit.
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