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9 August 2017 Productivity Growth Might be Turning up, Labor Costs Subdued (Publication Centre)

We are a bit more optimistic than the consensus on the question of second quarter productivity growth, but the data are so unreliable and erratic that the difference between our 1.2% forecast and the 0.7% consensus estimate doesn't mean much.

21 February 2017 Wages Don't Necessarily Lead Inflation, but Unit Labor Costs do (Publication Centre)

Fed Chair Yellen said something which sounded odd, at first, in her Q&A at the Senate Banking Committee last Tuesday. It is "not clear" she argued, that the rate of growth of wages has a "direct impact on inflation".

US Datanote Productivity and Labor Costs Jobless Claims (Publication Centre)

In one line: Spectacular but unsustainable.

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.

10 August 2018 Near-Term Core Inflation Risk is Modest the Fed Fears the Future (Publication Centre)

The continued modest rate of increase in unit labor costs makes it hard to worry much about the near-term outlook for core inflation.

20 December 2016 Fiscal Easing Likely Would Boost Productivity, but not by Enough (Publication Centre)

The two key planks of the argument that a substantial easing of fiscal policy won't be inflationary are that labor participation will be dragged higher, limiting the decline in the unemployment rate, while productivity growth will rebound, so unit labor costs will remain under control.

24 January 2019 Slower Growth won't Necessarily Loosen the Labor Market Much (Publication Centre)

One of the arguments we hear in favor of an endless Fed pause--in other words, the cyclical tightening is over--is that GDP growth is set to slow markedly this year, to only 2% or so.

26 March 2018 Smoot and Hawley are Still Dead, Trump is not Resurrecting them... Yet (Publication Centre)

Everyone needs to take a deep breath: This is not 1930, and Smoot-Hawley all over again.

20 Aug 2019 Third Quarter Growth Looks OK on the Surface Details Less Good (Publication Centre)

Halfway through the third quarter, we have no objection to the idea that GDP growth likely will exceed 2% for the third straight quarter.

19 March 2019 Lessons from Rapid Wage Gains and Low Inflation in Eastern Europe (Publication Centre)

Following our note yesterday about upside risks to wage growth and the question of how the Fed will respond, given their sensitivity to labor cost-push inflation risk in the past, we want to address a question raised by readers.

2 April 2019 Manufacturing Might have Hit Bottom, but Don't Celebrate Yet (Publication Centre)

We were happy to see the small increase in the March ISM manufacturing index yesterday, following better news from China's PMIs, but none of these reports constitute definitive evidence that the manufacturing slowdown is over.

29 May 2018 Capex Starts the Second Quarter Strongly, Further Gains Ahead? (Publication Centre)

The newly-revised data on capital goods orders, released on Friday, support our view that sustained strength in business capex remains a good bet for this year.

23 February 2018 Earnings Set to Beat Consensus this Year (Publication Centre)

The knee-jerk reaction of the stock market to the unexpectedly high hourly earnings growth number for January was predicated on two connected ideas.

3 May 2018 The Fed Expects Above-Target Inflation Soon, but is Relaxed (Publication Centre)

The Fed pretty clearly wanted to tell markets yesterday that inflation is likely to nudge above the target over the next few months, but that this will not prompt any sort of knee-jerk policy response beyond the continued "gradual" tightening.

7 February 2019 November's Drop in Imports won't be Repeated, but it will Lift Q4 Growth (Publication Centre)

The startling November international trade numbers, released yesterday, greatly improve the chance that the fourth quarter saw a third straight quarter of 3%- plus GDP growth.

7 March 2019 Productivity Growth Rose Last Year, but it Probably has Peaked (Publication Centre)

We're expecting to learn this morning that productivity rose by a respectable 1.7% in the year to the fourth quarter, the best performance in nearly four years.

7 September 2017 Jobless Claims will Rocket After Harvey, but Timing is Tricky (Publication Centre)

The jobless claims numbers today likely will mark the end of the calm before the storm effect, even though the data cover the week ended September 1, and Harvey hit on August 26.

6 June 2017 ISM Non-manufacturing Jobs Up Sharply. Summer Payrolls to Surge? (Publication Centre)

The 6.4-point rebound in the May ISM non-manufacturing employment index, to a very high 57.8, supports our view that summer payroll growth will be strong. On the face of it, the survey is consistent with job gains in excess of 300K, as our first chart shows, but that's very unlikely to happen.

9 August. 2016 NFIB Survey Signals Better Non-Oil Business Capex as Soon as Q3 (Publication Centre)

The headline NFIB index of small business activity and sentiment in July likely will be little changed from June--we expect a half-point dip, while the consensus forecast is for a repeat of June's 94.5--but what we really care about is the capex intentions componen

31 October 2018 The October ADP will be Constrained by the Soft September Payroll Data (Publication Centre)

Today's October ADP measure of private payrolls likely will overshoot Friday's official number.

19 June 2017 Don't Rule Out a September Fed Hike, Watch the Labor Market Data (Publication Centre)

In the wake of last week's rate increase, the fed funds future puts the chance of another rise in September at just 16%. After hikes in December, March and June, we think the Fed is trying to tell us something about their intention to keep going; this is not 2015 or 2016, when the Fed happily accepted any excuse not to do what it had said it would do.

29 November 2017 The Profit Share in GDP is set to Fall Sharply as Wage Growth Picks up (Publication Centre)

It doesn'tt matter if third quarter GDP growth is revised up a couple of tenths in today's third estimate of the data, in line with the consensus forecast.

14 November 2018 Expect a Rebound in October's Core CPI, but the Trends are Benign (Publication Centre)

The near-term U.S. inflation outlook is benign, but it is not without risk.

18 September 2017 Will Markets Care About a Falling Trade Surplus in the Eurozone? (Publication Centre)

The Eurozone's external surplus weakened at the start of Q3.

12 July 2019 June's Core CPI Makes it Clear that a 50bp Ease is an Unnecessary Risk (Publication Centre)

Monthly core CPI prints of 0.3% are unusual; June's was the first since January 2018, so it requires investigation.

11 August 2017 Core CPI Looks Set to Revert to 0.2% in July, but Nothing is Certain (Publication Centre)

Our base case forecast for today's July core CPI is that the remarkable and unexpected run of weak numbers, shown in our first chart, is set to come to an end, with a reversion to the prior 0.2% trend.

10 August. 2016 When Rates are Close to Zero, Behavior Changes (Publication Centre)

Slowly but surely, it is becoming respectable to argue that central bank policy in the developed world is part of the problem of slow growth, not the solution. We have worried for some time that the signal sent by ZIRP--that the economy is in terrible shape--is more than offsetting the cash-flow gains to borrowers.

12 March 2019 Strong January Retail Sales Can't Alone Rescue Q1 Consumption (Publication Centre)

The reported rebound in January retail sales was welcome, but the overshoot to consensus was matched, more or less, by the unexpected downward revisions to the December numbers.

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.

13 July. 2016 Will Higher Prices for Imports Change Inflation Perceptions? (Publication Centre)

In recent years we have argued consistently that investors and the commentariat overstate the importance of the dollar as a driver of U.S. inflation. Only about 15% of the core CPI is meaningfully affected by shifts in the value of the dollar, because the index is dominated by domestic non-tradable services.

16 Aug 2019 Consumption Started Q3 Strongly Industry Still in the Doldrums (Publication Centre)

The surge in July core retail sales was flattered by the impact of the Amazon Prime Event, which helped drive a 2.8% leap in sales at nonstore retailers.

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%.

13 March 2019 Durable Goods Orders are Noisy, but the Near-term Outlook is Grim (Publication Centre)

Our default position for core durable goods orders over the next few months is that they will fall, sharply.

13 November 2017 Rising R-Star and Higher Inflation in 2018 Spell Trouble for Markets (Publication Centre)

As a general rule, faster productivity growth is always good news.

13 February 2018 Unit Labor Costs are Key to Inflation Outlook (Publication Centre)

Jim Bullard, the St. Louis Fed president, said last week that Phillips Curve effects in the U.S. are "weak", and that nominal wage growth is not a good predictor of future inflation.

14 Jan. 2015 - Small Firms Recovery Accelerates, but Labor Costs are Rising (Publication Centre)

Yesterday's data were second-tier in the eyes of the markets, but not, perhaps in the eyes of the Fed. The continued surge in job openings, which reached a 14-year high in December, means that the Beveridge Curve--which links the number of job openings to the unemployment rate--shows no signs at all of returning to normal.

12 June 2018 Core Inflation to Trend Gently Higher - Many Risks in Both Direction (Publication Centre)

We continue to expect core CPI inflation to drift up further over the course of this year, partly because of adverse base effects running through November, but it's hard to expect a serious acceleration in the monthly run rate when the rate of increase of unit labor costs is so low.

U.S. Datanote: U.S. Consumer Prices, June (Publication Centre)

In one line: Tariffs, labor costs, and tight rental home supply pushing up core inflation, plus some noise.

5 December 2018 "Tariff Man" Doesn't Understand Tariffs that's Unfortunate (Publication Centre)

The key data originally scheduled for today--ADP employment and the ISM non-manufacturing survey, and the revised Q3 productivity and unit labor costs-- have been pushed to Thursday because the federal government will be closed for the National Day of Mourning for president George H. W. Bush.

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