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1 December 2017 The ISM Manufacturing Index is set to Drop, but the Trend Remains Firm (Publication Centre)

All the regional PMI and Fed business surveys we follow suggest that today's national ISM manufacturing report for November will be weaker than in October

1 July. 2015 Upside Risk for ADP and ISM Manufacturing - Both of Little Value (Publication Centre)

We will have a much better idea of the pace of domestic demand growth after today's wave of economic data, though the report which will likely generate the most attention in the markets--ADP employment--tells us nothing of value. The headline employment number in the report is generated by a regression which is heavily influenced by the previous month's official data.

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.

3 July 2018 Tariffs and Truck Shortages are Creating Industrial Bottlenecks (Publication Centre)

The startling jump in supplier delivery times in the June ISM manufacturing survey, to a 14-year high, was due--according to the ISM press release--to disruptions to steel and aluminum supplies, transportation problems and "supplier labor issues".

3 April 2017 Expect Strength in Both the ISM and Construction Data Today (Publication Centre)

We'd be very surprised to see a material weakening in today's March ISM manufacturing survey. The regional reports released in recent weeks point to another reading in the high 50s, with a further advance from February's 57.7 a real possibility.

4 January 2017 December's ISM looks great, but it's not definitive (Publication Centre)

It probably would be wise to view the increase in the ISM manufacturing index in December with a degree of skepticism. The index is supposed to record only hard activity, but we can't help but wonder if some of the euphoria evident in surveys of consumers' sentiment has leaked into responses to the ISM. That said, the jump in the key new orders index-- which tends to lead the other components--looked to be overdue, relative to the strength of the import component of China's PMI.

5 Jan. 2015 - While We Were Out... (Publication Centre)

...Third quarter growth was revised up sharply and the prospects for fourth quarter consumption improved substantially. Less positively, the first signs of faltering capex in the wake of the plunge in oil prices emerged in the macro data, and the ISM manufacturing index began to reverse its run of absurd, seasonally-assisted, "strength".

5 September 2018 The Surge in August's ISM is Welcome but won't be Repeated (Publication Centre)

August's 14-year high in the ISM manufacturing index, reported yesterday, clearly is a noteworthy event from a numerology perspective, but we doubt it marks the start of a renewed upward trend.

17 August 2017 The Manufacturing Recovery Continues, but no Boom in Sight (Publication Centre)

The elevated readings from the ISM manufacturing survey this year have not been followed by rapid growth in output. The headline ISM averaged 55.8 in the second quarter, a solid if unspectacular reading. But output rose by only 1.2% year-over-year, and by 1.4% on a quarterly annualized basis.

5 December 2017 ISM Non-manufacturing Set for Clear Correction. Don't Worry (Publication Centre)

Last week's strong ISM manufacturing survey for November likely will be followed by robust data for the non-manufacturing sector today, but the headline index, like its industrial counterpart, likely will dip a bit.

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.

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.

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.

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 October 2018 The 14-year High in the ISM Likely Can't Hold, Expect a Correction (Publication Centre)

The case for believing that August's unexpected 14-year high in the ISM manufacturing index was a fluke is pretty straightforward, and it has both short and medium-term elements.

05 Jan. 2016 ISM Manufacturing Shouldn't Fall Further, Seasonals Permitting (Publication Centre)

The first major data release of 2016 showed manufacturing activity slipping a bit further at the end of last year, but we doubt the underlying trend in the ISM manufacturing index will decline much more. Anything can happen in any given month, especially in data where the seasonal adjustments are so wayward, but the key new orders and production indexes both rose in January; almost all the decline in the headline index was due to a drop in the lagging employment index.

25 May 2018 Aircraft Likely Drove up April Durable Goods Orders, Core Softer? (Publication Centre)

We see significant upside risk to today's headline durable goods orders numbers for April.

25 May. 2016 Trade Deficit Set for April Rebound, but the Future Looks Brighter (Publication Centre)

A widening core trade deficit is the inevitable consequence of a strengthening currency and faster growth than most of your trading partners. Falling oil prices have limited the headline damage by driving down net oil imports, but the downward trend in core exports since late 2014 has been steep and sustained, as our first chart shows. The deterioration meant that trade subtracted an average of 0.3 percentage points from GDP growth in the past three quarters.

25 July 2018 More Signs Today that Housing Market Activity is Peaking (Publication Centre)

New home sales surprised to the upside in May, rising 6.7% to 689K, a six-month high.

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.

23 March 2018 Stock up on Chinese-Made T-Shirts, While They're Still Nearly Free (Publication Centre)

Yesterday's announcement that the administration plans to imposes tariffs worth about $60B per year -- thatìs 0.3% of GDP -- on an array of imports of consumer goods from China is a serious escalation.

26 January 2017 Will Today's Data Shift Fourth Quarter GDP Growth Forecasts? (Publication Centre)

Three of today's economic reports, all for December, could move the needle on fourth quarter GDP growth. Ahead of the data, we're looking for growth of 1.8%, a bit below the consensus, 2.2%, and significantly weaker than the Atlanta Fed's GDPNow model, which projects 2.8%.

27 April 2017 The Path to Implementing Huge Tax Cuts Looks Insurmountably Steep (Publication Centre)

The tax plan released by the administration yesterday was so thoroughly leaked that it contained no real surprises. The border adjustment tax is dead -- not that we thought it would have passed the Senate in any event -- and the centerpiece is a proposed cut in the corporate income tax rate to 15% from 35%.

28 August 2017 Expect a Correction in the July Trade Data, but Trends are Favorable (Publication Centre)

Net foreign trade made a positive contribution of 0.2 percentage points to GDP growth in the second quarter, matching the Q1 performance.

28 June 2017 ISM Survey Suggests May Trade Deficit to Drop Sharply (Publication Centre)

The April international trade numbers were startlingly, and surprisingly, horrible. The deficit in trade in goods leaped by $6.2B -- the biggest one-month jump in two years -- to $67.1B, though the headline damage was limited by a sharp narrowing in the oil deficit, thanks to lower prices, and a rebound in the aircraft surplus.

27 May. 2016 June, July, or September: Evaluating the Fed's Options (Publication Centre)

After a busy week of data, and a holiday weekend ahead, it's worth stepping back a bit and evaluating the arguments over the timing of the next Fed hike. The first question, though, is whether the data will support action, on the Fed's own terms. The April FOMC minutes said: "Most participants judged that if incoming data were consistent with economic growth picking up in the second quarter, labor market conditions continuing to strengthen, and inflation making progress toward the Committee's 2 percent objective, then it likely would be appropriate for the Committee to increase the target range for the federal funds rate in June".

27 February 2018 The Q4 Surge in the Trade Deficit is set for a Substantial Reversal (Publication Centre)

The closer we look at the startling surge in imports in the fourth quarter, the more convinced we become that it was due in large part to a burst of inventory replacement following the late summer hurricanes.

27 February 2017 How Quickly Will Core Capital Goods Orders Rebound? (Publication Centre)

Orders for non-defense capital goods, excluding aircraft, have risen in six of the past seven months. In the fourth quarter, orders rose at a 4.7% annualized rate, in contrast to the 5.3% year-over-year plunge in the first half of the year.

22 November 2017 Core Capital Goods Orders Rising Strongly, Further Gains Ahead? (Publication Centre)

Today brings a wave of data, some brought forward because of Thanksgiving. We are most interested in the durable goods orders report for October, which we expect will show the upward trend in core capital goods orders continues.

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.

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

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

28 March 2018 February Foreign Trade Data Could Move the Needle on Q1 GDP Growth (Publication Centre)

Markets often greet the monthly international trade numbers with a shrug.

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.

21 March 2017 The Debt Ceiling is Back, but no Crisis Likely Until the Fall (Publication Centre)

The federal debt ceiling was re-imposed last week, with no fanfare, and no reaction in the markets. All eyes were focussed instead on the Fed's rate hike and Chair Yellen's press conference.

2 November 2018 October Payrolls are Hurricane-Wild, but AHE is Headed for 3%-plus (Publication Centre)

Don't bet the farm on today's October payroll numbers, which will be hopelessly--and unpredictably-- compromised by the impact of hurricanes Florence and Michael.

20 January 2017 Are Layoffs Really Falling Again, Signalling Stronger Payroll Gains? (Publication Centre)

After three straight lower-than-expected jobless claims numbers, we have to consider, at least, the idea that maybe the trend is falling again. This would be a remarkable development, given that claims already are at their lowest level ever, when adjusted for population growth, and at their lowest absolute level since the early 1970s.

2 October 2017 Four Reasons Why the Treasury Selloff Might be the Real Thing (Publication Centre)

The recent sell-off in Treasuries has not yet reached significant proportions.

22 May 2018 Chainstore Sales Growth has Surged, Thank Warmer Weather? (Publication Centre)

We have been pleasantly surprised by the recent Redbook chainstore sales numbers.

2 May. 2016 ECI Core Wages Tell the Story Hidden by Calendar Quirks in AHE (Publication Centre)

For most of the decade since the whole-economy average hourly earnings numbers were first published, the year-over-year rate of increase has run faster than the ECI measure of private sector wages and salaries, excluding incentive-paid occupations. But in the first quarter of this year, the ECI measure rose 2.5% year-over-year, the fastest increase in six years, while hourly earnings rose 2.3%. That difference might not sound like much, but it matters a good deal when put into context.

2 September. 2016 Downside Risk for Hourly Earnings - Two Calendar Quirks Coincide (Publication Centre)

The key market risk in the August employment report is the hourly earnings number. The consensus forecast is for a 0.2% month-to-month increase, in line with the underlying trend, but the balance of risks is firmly to the downside.

22 July. 2016 July Payrolls Won't Excite Markets, but Hourly Earnings Should (Publication Centre)

This is the final Monitor before we hit the beach for two weeks, so want to highlight some of the key data and event risks while we're out. First, we're expecting little more from the FOMC statement than an acknowledgment that the labor market data improved in June. After the May jobs report, the FOMC remarked that "...the pace of improvement in the labor market has slowed".

2 November 2017 No Immediate Change to Rate Forecasts if Powell Nominated  (Publication Centre)

After a slew of media reports in recent days, we have to expect that the president will today announce that Fed governor Jerome Powell is his pick to replace Janet Yellen as Chair.

21 July 2017 What to Look for from the Fed and the Data Over the next Two Weeks (Publication Centre)

Chair Yellen remains as committed as ever to the idea that the tightening labor market will eventually push up inflation, but the unexpectedly weak core CPI readings for the past four months have complicated the picture in the near-term.

3 May. 2016 Auto Sales Set for Clear April Rebound, Boosting Consumption (Publication Centre)

The startling 5.5% drop in auto sales in March left sales at just 16.5M, well below the 17.4M average for the previous three months and the lowest level since February last year. A combination of the early Easter, which causes serious problems for the seasonal adjustments, and the lagged effect of the plunge in stock prices in January and February, likely explains much of the decline.

5 July. 2016 Can We be Sure The Labor Market is Tight Enough to Boost Wage Gains? (Publication Centre)

We have argued consistently for some time that the next year will bring a clear acceleration in U.S. wage growth, because the unemployment rate has fallen below the Nairu and a host of business survey indicators point to clear upward wage pressures. Nominal wage growth has been constrained, in our view, by the unexpected decline in core inflation from 2012 through early 2015, which boosted real wage growth and, hence, eased the pressure from employees for bigger nominal raises.

5 March 2018 Whatever the Problem is, Tariffs aren't the Answer (Publication Centre)

The apparently imminent imposition of 25% tariffs on imported steel and 10% on aluminum does not per se constitute a serious macroeconomic shock.

5 January 2018 Robust December Jobs, Strong AHE and a New Low for Unemployment? (Publication Centre)

In the wake of yesterday's ADP report, which showed private payrolls up 250K in December, we have revised our forecast for today's official headline number up to 240K from 210K.

4 September 2018 Is Fear of Further Tariffs Boosting Capex and Inventory-Building? (Publication Centre)

While we were out, most of the core domestic economic data were quite strong, with the exception of the soft July home sales numbers and the Michigan consumer sentiment survey.

4 January 2018 ADP Likely Will Show a Solid Gain in December Private Employment (Publication Centre)

Today's ADP employment report for December ought to show private payrolls continue to rise at a very solid pace

5 September 2017 Underlying Trend in Labor Data Unaffected by "Soft" August Report (Publication Centre)

We had hoped that the statistical problems which have plagued the initial estimates of August payrolls in recent years had faded, but Friday's report suggests our judgement was premature.

6 October 2017 September Payrolls Hit by the Hurricanes, but Earnings set to Pop (Publication Centre)

We would be quite surprised if today's official payroll number exceeded the 135K ADP reading; a clear undershoot is much more likely.

8 March 2017 Could a Bad Payroll Report for February Really Stop the Fed? (Publication Centre)

With the FOMC decision now just seven days away, the forcefulness of recent Fed speakers has led many analysts to argue that only a spectacularly bad payroll report, or an external shock, can prevent a rate hike next week. External shocks are unpredictable, by definition, and we think the chance of a startlingly terrible employment report is low, though substantial sampling error does occasionally throw the numbers off-track.

9 December. 2016 The Oil Hit Spread Widely Across the Economy - Now, it's Over (Publication Centre)

A core element of our relatively upbeat macro view before the implementation of fiscal stimulus under the new administration is that the ending of the drag from falling capex in the oil sector will have quite wide, positive implications for growth. The recovery in direct oil sector spending is clear enough; it will just track the rising rig count, as usual.

7 March 2018 ADP Set to Report Strong Payrolls in February, 200K Seems a Good Bet (Publication Centre)

All the signs are that ADP will today report a solid increase in February private payrolls; our forecast is 200K, but if you twist our arms we'd probably say the mild weather last month across most of the country points to a bit of upside risk.

7 June 2018 Slower Growth in Consumer Credit is a Correction, not a Warning (Publication Centre)

We've been hearing a good deal about the slowdown in the rate of growth of consumer credit in recent months, and with the April data due for release today, it makes sense now to reiterate our view that the recent numbers are no cause for alarm.

7 December. 2016 Durable Goods Orders Plunged Last Month, but the Core is Stabilizing (Publication Centre)

Unless Boeing received a huge aircraft order on November 30, we can now be pretty sure that most of October's 4.6% leap in headline durable goods orders reversed last month. Through November 29, Boeing booked orders for 34 aircraft, compared to 85 in October. Moreover, the bulk of the orders were for relatively low value 737s, whereas the October numbers were boosted by a surge in orders for 787s, whose list price is about three times higher.

4 December 2017 Hefty Tax Cuts at Full Employment Make no Sense, but they're Coming (Publication Centre)

It's not our job to pontificate on the merits, or otherwise, of the tax cut bill from a political perspective.

4 Apr. 2016 While We Were Out... (Publication Centre)

The March employment report didn't tell us what we really want to know. The underlying trend in wage growth remains obscured by the calendar quirk which depresses reported hourly earnings when the 15th of the month--pay day for people paid semi-monthly -- falls after the payroll survey week.

29 September 2017 Inventories Look set to Boost Q3 GDP Growth Substantially (Publication Centre)

With almost two thirds of the nominal data for the third quarter now available, we can make a stab at the contribution of inventories to real GDP growth.

29 September. 2016 Rocketing Soybean Exports Set to Hold Down August Trade Deficit (Publication Centre)

Today is all about beans. Specifically, soybeans, and more specifically, just how many of them were exported in August. This really matters, because if soybean exports in August and September remained close to their hugely elevated July level, the surge in exports relative to the second quarter will contribute about one percentage point to headline GDP growth.

29 November 2017 Unemployment in Mexico Keeps Falling, but Risks Have Increased (Publication Centre)

Yesterday's October labour market data in Mexico showed that the adjusted unemployment rate rose a bit to 3.4%, from 3.3% in September.

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.

28 September. 2016 Expect Weak Headline Durable Orders (Publication Centre)

A third outright decline in the past four months seems a decent bet for today's August durable goods orders, thanks to the malign influence of the downward trend in orders for civilian aircraft. The global airline cycle is maturing, and orders for both Boeing and Airbus aircraft have been slowing for some time.

3 January 2017 Consumer Confidence Gains Overstate Spending (Publication Centre)

While we were out, the data showed that consumers' confidence has risen very sharply since the election, hitting 15-year highs, but actual spending has been less impressive and housing market activity appears poised for a marked slowdown.

3 July 2017 Three Jobs Reports in Nine Weeks set to Shift Market Rate Expectations (Publication Centre)

The next nine weeks bring three jobs reports, which will determine whether the Fed hikes again in September, as we expect, and will also help shape market expectations for December and beyond.

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 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.

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.

2 May 2018 Fed to Acknowledge Higher In ation, but no Policy Shi Signal is Likely (Publication Centre)

The Fed will do nothing and say little that's new after its meeting today. The data on economic activity have been mixed since the March meeting, when rates were hiked and the economic forecasts were upgraded, largely as a result of the fiscal stimulus.

28 November 2018 The Fed is Nearer Neutral, but That's not News Where is Neutral (Publication Centre)

Today brings a ton of data, as well as an appearance by Fed Chair Powell at the Economic Club of New York, in which we assume he will address the current state of the economy and the Fed's approach to policy.

19 October 2017 Leading Indicators Will be Hit by Storms, but not on the Katrina Scale (Publication Centre)

We don't use the index of leading economic indicators as a forecasting tool. If it leads the pace of growth at all, it's not by much, and in recent years it has proved deeply unreliable.

14 February 2017 Yellen to Keep March Open, and Signal Fiscal Easing not Needed (Publication Centre)

We're not expecting drama from Chair Yellen's semi-annual Monetary Policy Testimony in the Senate today. Dr. Yellen will want to keep alive the idea of a rate hike next month, but she will not signal that action is likely, given the continuing lack of clarity on the path of fiscal policy.

12 September. 2016 Everything Changes in the Second Half (Publication Centre)

This week brings a wave of data on all aspects of the economy, bar housing. By the end o f the week, we'll have a better idea of the shape of consumers' spending, the industrial sector and the inflation picture, and estimates of third quarter GDP growth will start to mean something.

10 September 2018 The Payroll Blip is Over, Expect Further Labor Market Tightening (Publication Centre)

Normal service appears to have resumed in August, with payrolls rising by 201K, very close to the 196K average over the previous year.

1 September. 2016 Will Construction Rebound in Q3, Despite Weaker Jobs Numbers? (Publication Centre)

Last fall and winter, when the weather was warmer than usual--thanks largely to El Nino--construction employment rocketed. Between October and March, job gains averaged 36K, compared to an average of 20K per month over the previous year. When these strong numbers began to emerge, we expected to see a parallel acceleration in construction spending.

2 May 2017 The Rebounding Auto Sales to Signal the Start of a Q2 Consumer Rebound (Publication Centre)

March auto sales were much weaker than expected, falling by 5.5% month-to-month to a 25-month low, 16.5M. The average for the previous six months was 17.8M. The sudden drop in March likely was driven in large part by the huge snowstorm which tracked across the Northeast in the middle week of the month, so we think a decent rebound in April is a good bet.

15 May 2017 Mexican Manufacturing set to Remain Resilient in Q2 and Q3 (Publication Centre)

Recent industrial data for Mexico point to renewed upside risks for GDP growth, despite the likely headwind to consumption from high inflation and depressed confidence.

16 November 2018 The Boost to Retail Sales from Tax Cuts is Fading, as Holidays Approach (Publication Centre)

The headline retail sales numbers for October looked good, but the details were less comforting.

16 May 2017 Manufacturing is Recovering, Despite the Hard and Soft Data Gap (Publication Centre)

The over-hyped mystery of the gap between the hard and soft data in the industrial economy has largely resolved itself in recent months.

15 May 2018 Mexico's Manufacturing Ended Q1 Strongly, Will the Trend Continue? (Publication Centre)

Mexican industrial production is slowly improving, and further good numbers are likely in coming months.

1 November 2018 Productivity Growth is Rising the Fed's r-star Will Have to Climb too (Publication Centre)

On the heels of yesterday's benign Q3 employment costs data--wages rebounded but benefit costs slowed, and a 2.9% year-over-year rate is unthreatening--today brings the first estimates of productivity growth and unit labor costs.

1 November 2016 Will Core PCE Inflation hit 2% This Year? (Publication Centre)

In the absence of an unexpected surge in auto sales or a sudden burst of unseasonably cold weather, lifting spending on utilities, fourth quarter consumption is going to struggle to rise much more quickly than the 2.1% annualized third quarter increase.

1 August 2018 Expect a Placeholder Statement from the FOMC Today (Publication Centre)

The Fed shifted its stance significantly in June, so we're expecting only trivial changes in today's statement.

08 May. 2015 Payroll Set to Rebound In April - a Return to the 275K Trend? (Publication Centre)

In the wake of the soft-looking ADP employment report released on Wednesday, the true consensus for today's official payroll number likely is lower than the 230K reported in the Bloomberg survey. As we argued in the Monitor yesterday, though, we view ADP as a lagging indicator and we don't use it is as a forecasting tool.

01 Mar. 2016 Worst is Over for Manufacturers, but no Real Rebound Yet (Publication Centre)

The worst is over for manufacturers, we think. The three major forces depressing activity in the sector last year--namely, the strong dollar, the slowdown in China, and the collapse in capital spending in the oil sector--will be much less powerful this year.

1 February 2018 Firmer Fed Language on Growth, Inflation, Tees-up the March hike (Publication Centre)

Yesterday's FOMC statement was a bit more upbeat on growth than we expected, with Janet Yellen's final missive describing everything -- economic growth, employment, household spending, and business investment -- as "solid".

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.

1 May 2017 Ignore the Weak Q1 GDP Numbers -- they Cannot be Trusted (Publication Centre)

If you apply a seasonal adjustment to a seasonally adjusted series, it shouldn't change. When you apply a seasonal adjustment to the U.S. GDP numbers, they do change. First quarter growth, reported Friday at just 0.7%, goes up to 1.7%, on our estimate.

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 2018 Payrolls Likely Constrained by Trade- War Talk, AHE Hit by the Calendar? (Publication Centre)

We're expecting a 180K increase in today's May headline payroll number, a bit below the underlying trend--200K or so--for the second straight month.

16 October 2017 Don't Rule Out a Hurricane-Induced Jump in the Core CPI (Publication Centre)

The September core CPI was held down by prescription drug prices, which fell by 0.6%, and vehicle prices, which fell by 0.4%.

15 March 2018 Retail Sales have Corrected from the Post-Hurricane Surge (Publication Centre)

Don't worry about the weakness of the recent retail sales numbers. The three straight 0.1% month-to- month declines tell us nothing about the underlying state of the consumer.

2 August 2018 No Change in the Message from the FOMC Expect Sep. Dec. Hikes (Publication Centre)

The FOMC did nothing yesterday and said nothing significantly different from its June statement, as was universally expected.

19 October 2018 Mortgage Lenders were Spooked by Higher Rates even Before Stocks Fell (Publication Centre)

Rising mortgage rates appear to have triggered the start, perhaps, of a tightening in lending standards, even before Treasury yields spiked this month and stock prices fell.

19 June. 2015 Core Inflation Steady, for Now, but Watch Out for Accelerating Rents (Publication Centre)

Core inflation failed in May to record its fifth straight 0.2% increase, but--on the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo--we are obliged to point out that it was the nearest-run thing you ever saw. As published, the core index rose 0.145%, but favorable rounding--at the fourth decimal place--did the job.

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.

17 April 2018 The Manufacturing Rebound Continues, but Expect a Soft March (Publication Centre)

Over the past 18 months, the year-over-year rate of growth of manufacturing output has swung from minus 2.1% to plus 2.5%.

2 Mar. 2015 If Real Wages are Key for the Fed, Policy Will Change Very Soon (Publication Centre)

If recent labor market trends continue, the four employment reports which will be released before the June FOMC meeting will show the economy creating about 1.1M jobs, pushing the unemployment rate down to 5.3%, almost at the bottom of the Fed's estimated Nairu range, 5.2-to-5.5%.

2 June 2017 May Payrolls Likely Solid, but Calendar Quirk will hit Wage Data (Publication Centre)

The 253K increase in May private payrolls reported by ADP yesterday was some a bit stronger than our 225K forecast. Plugging the difference between these numbers into our payroll model generates our 210K forecast for today's official number.

2 July 2018 Construction Activity is Accelerating, it's not Just Hurricane Repairs (Publication Centre)

Perhaps the single strongest U.S. economic data series in recent months has been construction spending, which has risen by more than 1%, month-to-month, in four of the past five months.

18 September 2018 Chainstore Sales Growth has Jumped Thank the Tax Cuts (Publication Centre)

The first estimate of retail sales growth in August was weaker than implied by the Redbook chainstore sales survey, but our first chart shows that the difference between the numbers was well within the usual margin of error.

2 February 2017 March is Alive as the FOMC's Tone Becomes More Direct (Publication Centre)

The FOMC statement did enough to keep alive the idea that rates could rise in March, but the ball is now mostly in Congress' court. If a clear plan for substantial fiscal easing has emerged by the time of the meeting on March 15, policymakers can incorporate its potential impact on growth, unemployment and inflation into their forecasts, then a rate hike will be much more likely.

17 May. 2016 Core Inflation is Still Trending Higher - Expect Rebound Today (Publication Centre)

The year-over-year rate of core CPI inflation rose steadily from a low of 1.6% in January 2015 to 2.3% in February this year. At that point, the three-month annualized rate had reached a startling 3.0%. You could be forgiven, therefore, for thinking that the dip in core inflation back to 2.2% in March was an inevitable correction after a period of unsustainably rapid gains, and that the underlying trend in core inflation isn't really heading towards 3%.

17 July 2017 Mexico's Industrial Sector Remains Subdued, Oil is Mainly to Blame (Publication Centre)

Upbeat survey data and relatively resilient consumer spending numbers indicate that the Mexican economy is in good shape, despite a marginal slowdown in most of Q2.

17 February 2017 Slowing Real Incomes Threaten Spending (Publication Centre)

The rate of growth of real personal incomes is under sustained downward pressure, slowing to 2.1% year-over-year in December from 3.4% in the year to December 2015. In January, we think real income growth will dip below 2%, thanks to the spike in the headline CPI, reported Wednesday. Our first chart shows that the 0.6% increase in the index likely will translate into a 0.5% jump in the PCE deflator, generating the first month-to-month decline in real incomes since January last year.

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.

17 October. 2016 Retail Sales are Noisy, but the Trend in Consumption Looks Solid (Publication Centre)

In the wake of the September retail sales report, we can be pretty sure that real consumers' spending rose at a 2¾% annualized rate in the third quarter, slowing from the unsustainable 4.3% jump. That would mean consumption contributed 1.9 percentage points to headline GDP growth.

17 May 2018 Labor Market Indicators are Contradictory, Which to Trust? (Publication Centre)

Some of the recent labor market data appear contradictory. For example, the official JOLTS measure of the number of job openings has spiked to an all-time high, and the number of openings is now greater than the number of unemployed people, for the first time since the data series begins, in 2001.

18 July 2017 Will Foreign Trade be a Drag on Second Quarter GDP Growth? (Publication Centre)

Markets usually ignore the monthly import price data, presumably because they are far removed, especially at the headline level, from the consumer price numbers the Fed targets.

17 September 2018 Hurricane Florence will Distort the Data, but not on Harvey's Scale (Publication Centre)

As we reach our deadline on Sunday afternoon, eastern time, Tropical Storm Florence continues to dump vast quantities of rain on the Carolinas, and is forecast to head through Kentucky and Tennessee, before heading north.

18 April 2018 Mortgage Applications Wilting Under the Weight of Higher Rates (Publication Centre)

Mortgage applications appear to have recovered from their reported February drop, which was due mostly to a very long-standing seasonal adjustment problem

15 Apr. 2016 Downside Risk to March Output, but Worst is Over - Gains Ahead (Publication Centre)

In the wake of the uptick in the March ISM manufacturing survey, we think today's official production data for the same month are likely to disappoint. Our model of the month-to-month output numbers incorporates the ISM data, but it is substantially driven by manufacturing hours worked, which fell in both February and March.

12 May. 2015 Small firms in better shape than NFIB suggests - Rebound due (Publication Centre)

On the face of it, small business have taken quite a hit over the past few months. The headline index from the NFIB survey of small businesses has dropped to a nine-month low of 95.2 in March from 100.4 in December. As a result, the gap between the NFIB and the ISM manufacturing indexes, which had been narrowing, has widened again.

13 Jan. 2015 - Small Business Sector on the Brink of Normalization (Publication Centre)

Within the next few month, and perhaps as soon as next month, the gap between the headline NFIB and ISM manufacturing indexes, shown in our first chart, will close for the first time since late 2008.

1 Apr. 2015 The Dollar is hurting exporters - more pain to come (Publication Centre)

The easiest way to track the impact of the rising dollar on real economic activity is via the export orders component of the ISM manufacturing survey. We have been profoundly skeptical of the value of the ISM headline index, because it suffers from substantial seasonal adjustment problems, but the export orders index seems not to be similarly afflicted.

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.

04 October. 2016 The August ISM Plunge was a Fluke, After all, What Happens Next? (Publication Centre)

The substantial, though incomplete, rebound in the September ISM manufacturing survey is consistent with our view that the outlook for the industrial economy right now is better than at any time since before the crash in oil prices

10 Feb. 2015 Small Firms are Back in Business, But They Can't Find Staff (Publication Centre)

The headline index in today's NFIB small business survey probably won't quite converge with the ISM manufacturing index, but it will come v ery close. To close the gap completely, for the first time since the crash, the NFIB needs to rise to just over 102, from 100.4.

5 July 2017 ISM Signals Continued Industrial Recovery, but not a Boom (Publication Centre)

The June ISM manufacturing index signalled clearly that the industrial recovery continues, with the headline number rising to its highest level since August 2014, propelled by rising orders and production. But the industrial economy is not booming and the upturn likely will lose a bit of momentum in the second half as the rebound in oil sector capex slows.

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.

02 Mar. 2016 State and Local Government Construction Set to Boost Q1 GDP (Publication Centre)

Markets reacted strongly to yesterday's consensus-beating data, with the ISM manufacturing survey drawing most of the attention as the industrial recession thesis took another body blow. But we are more interested in the strong construction spending data for January, which set the first quarter off on a very strong note.

4 Dec. 2015 November Labor Data Will Support Yellen's Case for Hiking (Publication Centre)

We're expecting to see November payrolls up by about 200K this morning, but our forecast takes into account the likelihood that the initial reading will be revised up. In the five years through 2014, the first estimate of November payrolls was revised up by an average of 73K by the time o f the third estimate. Our forecast for today, therefore, is consistent with our view that the underlying trend in payrolls is 250K-plus. That's the message of the very low level of jobless claims, and the strength of all surveys of hiring, with the exception of the depressed ISM manufacturing employment index. Manufacturing accounts for only 9% of payrolls, though, so this just doesn't matter.

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.

3 Sept. 2015 Trade Deficit Likely Dropped in July, but Q3 Picture Still Unclear (Publication Centre)

The July trade deficit likely fell significantly further than the consensus forecast for a dip to $42.2B from $43.8B in June, despite the sharp drop in the ISM manufacturing export orders index. Our optimism is not just wishful thinking on our p art; our forecast is based on the BEA's new advance trade report. These data passed unnoticed in the markets and the media. The July report, released August 28, wasn't even listed on Bloomberg's U.S. calendar, which does manage to find space for such useless indicators as the Challenger job cut survey and Kansas City Fed manufacturing index. Baffling.

3 Feb. 2015 Behind the Noise, U.S. Economic Fundamentals are Solid (Publication Centre)

We are not bothered by either the drop in real December consumption, all of which was due to a weather-induced plunge in utility spending, or the drop in the ISM manufacturing index, which is mostly a story about hopeless seasonal adjustments.

Consistently Right

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