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15 September. 2016 Will September's Regional Surveys Follow the ISM's Drop? (Publication Centre)

Today's huge wall of data will add significantly to our understanding of third quarter economic growth, with new information on consumers' spending, industrial activity, inflation and business sentiment. In light of the unexpected drop in the ISM surveys in August, we are very keen to see the Empire State and Philly Fed surveys for September.

17 March 2017 February's Manufacturing Data Flattered by Warm Weather? (Publication Centre)

The latest survey evidence strongly supports our view that momentum is building in the industrial economy, but the official production data continue to lag. Yesterday's March Philly Fed survey was remarkably strong, with the correction in the headline sentiment index -- inevitable, after February's 33-year high -- masking increases in all the subindexes.

21 June 2018 Business Surveys Set to Suffer from Tariffs, but the Hit will be Uneven (Publication Centre)

The startling jump in the Philly Fed index in May, when it rose 11.2 points to a 12-month high, seemed at first sight to be a response to fading tensions over global trade.

20 July 2017 The June Housing Starts Rebound is not the Start of a Boom (Publication Centre)

We would like to be able to argue with conviction that the surge in June housing starts and building permits represents the beginning of a renewed strong upward trend, but we think that's unlikely.

20 July 2018 Mortgage Lending Standards Tighten Again More to Come (Publication Centre)

The average FICO credit score for successful mortgage applicants has risen in each of the past four months.

20 Nov. 2015 Will Corporate Yields Become a Good Leading Indicator Again? (Publication Centre)

In the years before the crash of 2008, if you wanted to know what was likely to happen to the pace of U.S. economic growth, all you needed to know was what happened to corporate bond yields a year earlier. The correlation between movements in BBB industrial yields--not spreads--and the changes in the rate of GDP growth, lagged by a year, was remarkably strong from 1994 through 2008, as our first chart shows. Roughly, a 50 basis point increase in yields could be expected to reduce the pace of year-over-year GDP growth--the second differential, in other words--by about 1.5 percentage points.

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 May. 2016 Fed on Course to Hike, Soon, but Will Brexit Risk Forestall June? (Publication Centre)

The April FOMC minutes don't mince words: "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".

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.

20 October 2017 September Existing Home Sales Likely Fell, but the Outlook is Bright (Publication Centre)

Usually, we forecast existing home sales from the pending sales index, which captures sales at the point contracts are signed.

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.

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.

20 September 2018 Business Surveys Wobbling in the Face of Higher Rates (Publication Centre)

In the wake of the unexpectedly weak September Empire State survey, released Monday, we are now very keen to see what today's Philadelphia Fed survey has to say.

27 Apr. 2016 FOMC Statement Today Likely to Offer Little to Rate Hawks (Publication Centre)

A rate hike today would be a surprise of monumental proportions, and the Yellen Fed is not in that business. What matters to markets, then, is the language the Fed uses to describe the soft-looking recent domestic economic data, the upturn in inflation, and, critically, policymakers' views of the extent of global risks.

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.

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.

4 May. 2016 Will the March Easter Depress the April ADP Employment Number? (Publication Centre)

The official payroll numbers seem not to be consistently affected by seasonal adjustment problems when Easter falls in March, probably because the earliest possible date for the holiday, the 23rd, comes long after the payroll data are captured. The BLS data cover the week of the 12th.

22 Apr. 2016 Jobs Data Suggest--But Don't Guarantee Faster Q2 Growth (Publication Centre)

Looking back at the numbers over the past few weeks, it is pretty clear that the gap between the strong payroll reports and the activity data widened to a chasm in the first quarter. We now expect GDP growth of about zero--the latest Atlanta Fed estimate is +0.3% and the New York Fed's new model points to 0.8%--but payrolls rose at an annualized 1.9% rate.

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

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

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.

21 Apr. 2016 Further Evidence that the Manufacturing Rollover is History? (Publication Centre)

The recent sharp, if not startling, upturn in the regional manufacturing surveys should continue today with the release of the Philadelphia Fed report. The survey is constructed in the same way as the more volatile Empire State, which has rocketed in the past few months, and the headline indexes follow similar trends, 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.

20 October. 2016 Are Jobless Claims Really at a 43-Year Low?  (Publication Centre)

The recent jobless claims numbers have been spectacularly good, with the absolute level dropping unexpectedly in the past two weeks to a 43-year low. The four-week moving average has dropped by a hefty 14K since late August.

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.

12 February 2018 The Next Round of Data Likely Will Dampen Inflation Fears, For a Time (Publication Centre)

It's hard to know what will stop the correction in the stock market, but we're pretty sure that robust economic data--growth, prices and/or wages--over the next few weeks would make things worse.

15 Jan. 2015 - Falling December Retail Sales no Threat to the Strong Growth Story (Publication Centre)

We want to be very clear about the terrible-looking December retail sales numbers: The core numbers were much less bad than the headline, and there is no reason to think the dip in the core is anything other than noise.

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 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.

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?

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?

19 January 2017 Core Inflation Pressure Building Slowly, Headline to Jump Further (Publication Centre)

The solid numbers for December mean that core inflation remains on track to breach 2?-?% this year, though probably not until the summer. Over the next few months, base effects will help to hold the core rate close to the December pace.

16 February 2018 Healthcare Costs Drove up January's Core PPI (Publication Centre)

Having panicked at the January hourly earnings numbers, markets now seem to have decided that higher inflation might not be such a bad thing after all, and stocks rallied after both Wednesday's core CPI overshoot and yesterday's repeat performance in the PPI.

18 January 2018 Housing Starts Likely Dipped Last Month, but the Trend is Rising (Publication Centre)

Hot on the heels of yesterday's news that the NAHB index of homebuilders' sentiment and activity dropped by two points this month -- albeit from December's 18-year high -- we expect to learn today that housing starts fell last month.

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.

18 May 2017 Political Uncertainty is set to Plague Markets for Many Months (Publication Centre)

The turmoil in Washington has begun to hit markets. We don't know how this will end, but we do know that it isn't going away quickly.

16 June 2017 Housing Construction Should Rebound (Publication Centre)

We were surprised by the weakness of the April housing starts report; we expected a robust recovery after the March numbers were depressed by the severe snowstorms across a large swathe of the country. Instead, single-family permits rose only trivially and multi-family activity--which is always volatile--fell by 9% month-to-month.

18 August. 2016 What are the Chances of 4%-plus Growth in the Third Quarter? (Publication Centre)

The latest model-based third quarter GDP forecast from the Atlanta Fed is 3.6%, well above the 2.5% consensus forecast reported by Bloomberg. We are profoundly skeptical of so-called "tracking models" of GDP growth, because they are based mostly on forecasts and assumptions until very close to the actual GDP release.

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.

16 March 2018 Housing Starts and Manufacturing Likely Shone in February (Publication Centre)

Today brings yet another broad array of data, with new information on housing construction, industrial production, consumer sentiment, and job openings.

17 Apr. 2015 Core Inflation not yet slowing after energy price collapse (Publication Centre)

The plunge in gas prices since their peak last summer likely will exert modest downward pressure on core inflation by the end of this year, via reduced costs of production and distribution, but it probably is too soon to start looking for these effects now.

16 September. 2016 Something Bad Happened to Industry in August, Will it Last? (Publication Centre)

We have not been expecting the Fed to raise rates next week, and yesterday's data made a hike even less likely. The September Philly Fed and Empire State surveys were alarmingly weak everywhere except the headline level, and the official August production data were grim.

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.

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