A tale of two Christmas’

The 2016 Christmas run up saw the shares of retailers ( tracked by XRT, first chart ) rise an anaemic 1%, while in 2017 the same stocks BOOMED, soaring some 5.17 during the last two weeks of December. Why?

Well, MasterCard reports record Christmas spending of some $800B this year. In fact, this was [...]

Where are the manufacturing jobs?

Lots of happy news in the US media recently about manufacturing in The United States, some suggesting we are the cusp of resurgence, arguing building goods in China no longer makes sense , others suggesting that as the trade deficit is lowered somehow US Manufacturers are “gaining ground”.

However few addressed the real reason [...]

Looking for work

Lots of happy news in the (where else?) US media about unemployment. “Things are getting better” is the underlying mantra, but if you’re unemployed and looking for work is this true?

The chart above shows the average time folks are out of a job, across two recessions. Specifically, the black line show the [...]

Manufacturing employment is shrinking

The US media is pushing lots of happy news about a manufacturing resurgence. Headlines like “Rumors of U.S. manufacturing’s demise are premature”, “Why American manufacturing is on the rise” and “How Innovation and Location Are Leading a U.S. Manufacturing Resurgence” are common. Many of these articles focus on exports, conveniently omitting the inconvenient fact [...]

Part time employment is booming

There has been lots of media speculation regarding the impact of the Affordable Care Act (aka, “Obamacare”) and employment in The United States. Specifically, the law requires businesses employing more than 50 people to offer full time employees healthcare. Many worry that businesses will cut staff or cut staff hours or, perhaps both.


Job openings and recession

The United States has what is called a consumer driven economy; in other words spending by consumers provides a significant component of GDP. In America’s case consumer spending accounts for over 70% of GDP and here is a problem: if people aren’t working they aren’t spending. Unemployment in America remains at record highs while [...]

Feeling good about the economy?

While the media continues an incessant stream of happy news reiterating the mantra “things are getting better”, I try to look at a broad range of indicators to get a true idea of the state of economy. So you think “things are getting better” do you? Enough to quit your job? Perhaps without another [...]

Manufacturing gains ZERO jobs in April

I’ve previously written about America’s mythical manufacturing revival so here is the latest installment off the back of Friday’s job numbers.

How many jobs were created in the manufacturing sector in April?

Precisely ZERO.

Seems like the sector is driving increases in productivity over increases in employment.


Looking at Unemployment differently

Unemployment is a notoriously controversial topic and The Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS (unintentionally) complicates matters by publishing no fewer than six instead of one single metric. The media widely publishes U3, or the total unemployed plus “discouraged workers” but ignores broader measures such as U6, which reports all unemployed, as [...]

Increasing unemployment and increasing debt

The chart above shows three series: the U3, Civilian Unemployment Rate (UNRATE, black line), U6, the Total unemployed (U6RATE, blue line) and Total Public Debt as Percent of Gross Domestic Product (GFDEGDQ188S, pink area curve in the background). All data is measured in percentage terms and sampled quarterly.

There are three periods of [...]