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30 June. 2015 Slowing Aircraft Orders Holding Back Chicago PMI - No Hit to ISM (Publication Centre)

The seasonal adjustment problems which tend to drive up the national ISM manufacturing survey in late spring and summer are more or less absent from the Chicago PMI, which will be released today. As far as we can tell, the biggest short-term influence on the Chicago number is variations in the order flow for Boeing aircraft; the company moved its headquarters to the city from Seattle in 2001.

1 March 2017 The Soaring Trade Deficit is set to Constrain First Quarter Growth (Publication Centre)

Yesterday's wall of data told us a bit about where the economy likely is going, and a bit about how it started the first quarter. The January trade and inventory data were disappointing, but the February Chicago PMI and consumer confidence reports were positive.

30 September. 2016 August Spending is Less Worrying than the Scope for Higher In ation (Publication Centre)

Yesterday's relatively good news--we discuss the implications of the August trade data below--will be followed by rather more mixed reports today. We hope to see a partial rebound, at least, in the September Chicago PMI, but we fully expect soft August consumer spending data.

04 Jan. 2016 While We Were Out... (Publication Centre)

...The data were all over the map, with existing home sales plunging while consumer confidence rose; Chicago-area manufacturing activity plunged but national durable goods were flat; real consumption rose at a decent clip but pending home sales dipped again. Markets, by contrast, are little changed from the week before the holidays. What to make of it all?

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.

30 November 2017 A Strong Start to Fourth Quarter Consumption, Probably (Publication Centre)

The rate of growth of third quarter consumers' spending was revised up by 0.3 percentage point to 3.3% in the national accounts released yesterday.

30 Apr. 2015 FOMC acknowledges slowdown in Q1, but core view unchanged (Publication Centre)

The FOMC delivered no big surprises yesterday, but seemed keen to make it clear that policymakers are sticking to their core views, despite the slowdown in growth in the first quarter. Unlike the March statement, yesterday's note pointed out that the slowdown came in the winter months, though it did not directly blame the weather for the sluggishness in growth.

30 Nov. 2015 Capex to Rebound--Modestly--as the Oil Hit Is Overtaken (Publication Centre)

Capex data by industry are available only on an annual basis, with a very long lag, so we can't directly observe the impact the collapse in the oil sector has had on total equipment spending. But we can make the simple observation that orders for non-defense capital goods were rising strongly and quite steadily-- allowing for the considerable noise in the data--from mid-2013 through mid-2014, before crashing by 9% between their September peak and the February low. It cannot be a coincidence that this followed a 55% plunge in oil prices.

29 March 2018 Net Trade Will be a Drag on Q1 GDP, but Inventories are Rocketing (Publication Centre)

If we're right with our forecast that real consumers' spending rose by just 0.1% month-to-month in February -- enough only to reverse January's decline -- then it would be reasonable to expect consumption across the first quarter as a whole to climb at a mere 1.2% annualized rate.

29 Feb. 2016 Core PCE Inflation Will Breach the Target This Year, Two Years Early (Publication Centre)

When we argue that the Fed will have to respond to accelerating wages and core prices by raising rates faster than markets expect, a frequent retort is that the Fed has signalled a greater tolerance than in the past for inflation overshoots.

29 June 2018 Core PCE Inflation is Nudging Towards the Target (Publication Centre)

Our base-case forecast for the May core PCE deflator, due today, is a 0.17% increase, lifting the year-over-year rate by a tenth to 1.9%.

30 November 2018 Fourth Quarter Consumption is Headed for a Solid 3% Gain (Publication Centre)

Neither the strength in October consumption nor the softness of core PCE inflation, reported yesterday, are sustainable.

3 December 2018 Tariff Deferment Shows Both Sides Want a Deal, but it Will Take Time (Publication Centre)

The agreement between Presidents Trump and Xi at the G20 is a deferment of disaster rather than a fundamental rebuilding of the trading relationship between the U.S. and China.

3 January 2018 The Manufacturing Upswing Continues no Sign of Weakening (Publication Centre)

The Manufacturing Upswing Continues; no Sign of Weakening

31 August. 2015 Fed Officials All Over the Map, But September Still Looks Unlikely (Publication Centre)

FOMC members in fleeces took to the airwaves en masse on Friday morning from Jackson Hole, but most said pretty much what you'd expect them to say. Arch-hawks Loretta Mester and no-quite-so-hawkish Jim Bullard strongly suggested that they think the time to raise rates is very near, while super-dove Naryana Kocherlakota said he doesn't regard a near-term hike as "appropriate". No surprises there.

31 May. 2016 Can we Still be Confident that the Saving Rate Will Fall? (Publication Centre)

Europeans, who usually save more of their income than Americans, have spent all the windfall from falling gas prices. Americans have not. It is tempting, therefore, to argue that perhaps Americans have come to see the error of their low-saving ways, and are now seeking to emulate the behavior of high-saving Europeans. Undeniably, the plunge in gas prices has given Americans the opportunity to save more without making hard choices.

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%.

31 October 2017 Consumption Set for a Sluggish Q4, Capex Will Take up the Slack (Publication Centre)

The September consumption data were a bit better than median expectations, with real spending rebounding by 0.6%, led by an 15.1% leap in the new vehicle component.

4 March 2019 Does the Flatter Phillips Curve Mean the Next Downturn will be Severe (Publication Centre)

Investors focussed last week on Chair Powell's semi-annual Monetary Policy Testimony, but he said nothing much new.

7 February 2018 Fed Officials Likely to Signal that the Plan is to Stick to the Plan (Publication Centre)

No fewer than four FOMC members will speak today, ranging from the very dovish to the pretty hawkish.

31 March 2017 February Consumption Will Look Grim (Publication Centre)

On the face of it, the February consumer spending data, due today, will contradict the upbeat signal from confidence surveys. The dramatic upturn in sentiment since the election is consistent with a rapid surge in real consumption, but we're expecting to see unchanged real spending in February, following a startling 0.3% decline in January.

31 January 2018 FOMC Likely More Bullish on Growth, but No Policy Changes (Publication Centre)

Chair Yellen's final FOMC meeting today will be something of a non-event in economic terms.

31 August 2017 Third Quarter Consumption off to a Strong Start? (Publication Centre)

Today's wave of economic reports are all likely to be strong. The most important single number is the increase in real consumers' spending in July, the first month of the third quarter.

29 Apr. 2016 Weak Q1 Growth Won't Persist - Better Data Coming, Soon (Publication Centre)

The astonishing 86% annualized plunge in capital spending in mining structures--mostly oil wells--alone subtracted 0.6 percentage points from headline GDP growth in the first quarter. The collapse was bigger than we expected, based on the falling rig count, but the key point is that it will not be repeated in the second quarter.

31 August. 2016 ADP Likely to Report Strong August Payrolls, But it's Unreliable (Publication Centre)

We are expecting a hefty increase in the August ADP employment number today--our forecast is 225K, above the 175K consensus --but we do not anticipate a similar official payroll number on Friday. Remember, the ADP number is based on a model which incorporates lagged official employment data, the Philly Fed's ADS Business Conditions Index, and data from firms which use ADP for payroll processing.

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.

30 Oct. 2015 The Third Quarter ECI is Set to Rebound, but How Far? (Publication Centre)

We have been asked by a few readers how much confidence we have in our forecast of a 1% rebound in the third quarter employment costs index, well above the 0.6% consensus and the mere 0.2% second quarter gain. The answer, unfortunately, is not much, though we do think that the balance of risks to the consensus is to the upside.

28 February 2018 Powell Plays the Continuity Card, Mostly, but he's Bullish on Growth (Publication Centre)

Fed Chair Powell sounded a lot like Janet Yellen yesterday, at least in terms of substance.

1 May 2018 ISM Manufacturing has Peaked, but don't Expect a Sudden Rollover (Publication Centre)

We're expecting the April ISM report today to bring yet more evidence that the manufacturing cycle is peaking, though we remain of the view that the next cyclical downturn is still some way off.

10 January 2019 Fed Doves Sound, Well, Dovish... but don't Ignore the Warning from Evans (Publication Centre)

The latest batch of FOMC speakers yesterday, together with the December minutes--participants said "the committee could afford to be patient about further policy firming"--offered nothing to challenge the idea, now firmly embedded in markets, that the next rate hike will come no sooner than June, if it comes at all.

12 July. 2016 Do Pricing Distortions Mean We Should Ignore Weak Help Wanted? (Publication Centre)

Judging from our inbox, economy bulls are pinning a great deal of hope on the idea that the collapse in the Help Wanted Online index is misleading, because the index is subject to distortions caused by shifts in pricing behavior in the online job advertising business. These distortions were analyzed in a recent Fed paper--click here to read on the Fed's website-- which makes a convincing case that at least some of the decline in the HWOL over the past half-year represents a change in recruiters' behavior rather than slowing in labor demand.

16 December 2016 Core Inflation has Levelled-Off, but Only Temporarily, Headline to Soar (Publication Centre)

A casual glance at our first chart, which shows the headline and core inflation rates, might lead you to think that our fears for next year are overdone. Core inflation rose rapidly from a low of 1.6% in January 2015 to 2.3% in February this year, but since then it has bounced around a range from 2.1% to 2.3%.

1 March 2018 Don't Extrapolate Januarys Core PCE Deflator (Publication Centre)

All eyes today will be on the core PCE deflator for January, following the unexpectedly large 0.3% increase in the core CPI.

1 June. 2016 ISM Set to Slip Below 50, but Will the Fed Care Enough to Hold Fire? (Publication Centre)

When the Fed raised rates in December, it subverted one of its own long-standing conventions by hiking with the ISM manufacturing index below 50. The December survey, released just 15 days before the meeting, showed the headline index slipping to 48.6, the third straight sub-50 reading. It has since been revised down to 48.0, the lowest reading since June 2009.

03 October. 2016 ISM Unlikely to Rebound Much, but Manufacturing is Not Shrinking (Publication Centre)

Today's September ISM manufacturing survey is one of the most keenly-awaited for some time. Was the unexpected plunge in August a one-time fluke--perhaps due to sampling error, or a temporary reaction to the Gulf Coast floods, or Brexit--or was it evidence of a more sustained downshift, possibly triggered by political uncertainty?

1 December. 2016 ISM Set to Show that Manufacturing is Recovering, Albeit Slowly (Publication Centre)

We have lost count of the number of times the drop in the ISM manufacturing survey, in the wake of the plunge in oil prices, was a harbinger o f recession across the whole economy. It wasn't, because the havoc wreaked in the industrial economy by the collapse in capital spending in the oil sector was contained.

1 July. 2016 Manufacturing Activity Has Levelled-Off - Better News Ahead (Publication Centre)

The manufacturing sector is much more exposed to external forces--the dollar, and global growth--than the rest of the economy. But much of the slowdown in the sector over the past year-and-a-half, we think, can be traced back to the impact of plunging oil prices on capital spending in the sector.

1 June 2017 ADP Likely to Rebound Strongly, but Probably Will Overstate Payrolls (Publication Centre)

We're expecting a strong-looking 225K increase in the May ADP measure of private sector payroll growth, due today. The consensus forecast is 180K.

28 September 2018 Mixed Signals on Industry Peak or Plateau (Publication Centre)

It seems reasonable to think that manufacturing should be doing better in the U.S. than other major economies.

18 May 2018 Second Quarter Growth Started Strongly, but a Long Way to go (Publication Centre)

The half-way point of the quarter is not, alas, the half-way point of the data flow for the quarter.

23 October 2018 Business Surveys have Flattened Richmond Fed due to Correct (Publication Centre)

All the regional PMIs and Fed business surveys are volatile in the short-term, so observations for single months need to be viewed with due skepticism.

24 October 2017 Which to Believe, the Markit PMI or the ISM Survey? (Publication Centre)

A startlingly wide gap has emerged over the past nine months between the ISM manufacturing index and Markit's manufacturing PMI.

28 February 2017 What Will the President say About Taxes and Spending? (Publication Centre)

It seems pretty clear from press reports that the White House budget, which reportedly will be released March 14, will propose substantial increases in defense spending, deep cuts to discretionary non- defense spending, and no substantive changes to entitlement programs. None of this will come as a surprise.

28 February 2019 Expect Underwhelming Q4 GDP Growth Data Today Q1 Likely Worse (Publication Centre)

We expect to learn today that the economy expanded at a 2.1% annualized rate in the fourth quarter, slowing from 3.4% in the third.

19 July 2018 Housing Investment Likely Dipped in Q2 it's the Only Point of Weakness (Publication Centre)

We can't finalize our forecast for residential investment in the second quarter until we see the June home sales reports, due next week, but in the wake of yesterday's housing starts numbers we can be pretty sure that our estimate will be a bit below zero.

22 March 2019 Existing Home Sales have Bottomed, but Price Gains Still Slowing (Publication Centre)

Existing home sales peaked last February, and the news since then has been almost unremittingly gloomy.

19 May 2017 Expect a Hike on June 14 Unless Financial Conditions Tighten, a Lot (Publication Centre)

The probability of a rate hike on June 14, as implied by the fed funds future, has dropped to 90%, from a peak of 99% on May 5.

21 September 2018 Housing Activity is Faltering, but the Modestly (Publication Centre)

The New York Fed tweeted yesterday that "Housing market fundamentals appear strong.

2 December. 2016 Friendly Seasonals Set to Push Payrolls Back Above 200K? (Publication Centre)

Our payroll model, which incorporates survey data as well as the error term from our ADP forecast, points to a hefty 225K increase in November employment. We have tweaked the forecast to the upside because of the tendency in recent years for the fourth quarter numbers to be stronger than the prior trend, as our first chart shows.

21 October. 2016 Government Spending Higher Next Year? (Publication Centre)

It has become pretty clear over the past couple of weeks that Hillary Clinton will be the next president, so it's now worth thinking about how fiscal policy will evolve over the next couple of years.

4 December 2018 The Manufacturing Cycle has Peaked, but No Rollover Yet (Publication Centre)

The rebound in the ISM manufacturing index was a relief, after the sharp drop in October, though the strength in last week's Chicago PMI meant that it wasn't a complete surprise.

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