A NEW YEAR: SNAPSHOTS OF OUR PROGRESS, AND STATE DETAIL January 2015
After a shaky start, 2015 ended on a positive note, with payrolls up, unemployment down, and the long-term unemployed coming back into the labor force. Our updated spider, or radar, graphs spin an uneven, but encouraging tale; and the OECD recently ranked the U.S. pretty low on the financial vulnerability scale. Even so, we continue to face risks, both at home and from abroad.
To read full report, click here: SL 1-15
TIME TO FRET ABOUT CORPORATE DEBT AND STOCK PRICES? June 2014
While the job market looked strong in May, consumption seems to be slowing. Worrywarts to the contrary, the labor market is far from tight, but some other indicators are looking a bit late cycle-ish. The Federal Open Market Committee lowered their projections for 2014 in their June meeting, a smart move given the most recent downward revision to Q1 GDP. Diesel fuel sales rose 5.1% over the year for the November-January period, an encouraging signal for future job growth.
To read full report, click here: SL 6-14
August Note on the Federal Reserve and Interest Rates August 2014
Continuing a downward trend that began in January, yields on the longest maturities have moved below year-ago levels. This retreat occurred despite reductions in the Federal Reserve’s asset purchases, which is a bit counter-intuitive.
To read full report, click here: August Note on FOMC
NOT A BAD MONTH, BUT WE COULD USE MORE OF THEM March 2014
State withholding tax receipts, the job market, and retail sales brightened in February. But household incomes are only just crawling out of a deep funk, and we don’t see how some analysts are describing the job market as tighter than it looks.
To read full report, click here: SL 3-14
US ECONOMY SLOWS: SNOWED OUT OR STRUCTURAL? February 2014
The U.S. economy slowed as the year turned, and some of our revenue contacts were flirting with worry but not yet embracing it. It could be weather—it’s been a nasty winter in much of the country, and then there’s California’s drought to worry about. Looking beyond the winter lull, there are some important structural things to consider: the slow pace of business startups, which is not only bad news for the job market, but also makes you wonder where the entrepreneurial energy has gone. And the CBO is telling us we face some grim growth numbers in the coming years—that, despite the enormous hit to GDP relative to its long-term trend, a hit of over $6,000 per capita.
To read full report, click here: SL 2-14
BUMPY, FRUSTRATING RECOVERY RETAINS ITS CHARACTER January 2014
Although many indicators,and our surveys of state tax receipts, ended the year on a steady note,the December employment report was surprisingly weak with no real offsets. This is yet another unneeded reminder that the recovery from a financial crisis is a halting process. This recovery is the bumpiest, most frustrating expansion in modern history, but we are, believe it or not, doing a bit better than the historical average of such recoveries in terms of job growth. State tax receipts ended the year at the low end of healthy, an inauspicious portent for 2014.
To read full report, click here: SL 1-14
ENDING 2013 ON A PRETTY GOOD NOTE December 2013
Most economic indicators are looking pretty good, even if we’re a long way from boom territory.
Employment growth is decent, state tax collections are flowing respectably. Things are
strong enough for the Fed to begin the long-dreaded taper, but not so good that they’re going
to raise interest rates any time soon. Household balance sheet repair continues, and 2014 is
likely to begin on a firm note.
To read full report, click here: SL 12-13
STEADY AS SHE GOES, WHICH ISN’T SAYING MUCH November 2013
The labor market continues its ragged process of healing, but progress is slow. What now appear
to be strong gains in monthly employment would have been greeted with a yawn ten or
twenty years ago. Our survey of state tax receipts show withheld collections growing, but not
strongly; sales tax receipts softened in October. Meanwhile, several Fed research papers suggest
the central bank will remain indulgent even when it reduces its pace of asset purchases; there’s
even some worry about structural damage to the labor market caused by rampant long-term
unemployment. And the OECD reminds us that if we want to get employment growing more
rapidly, we need more business startups (which we’re not really getting).
To read full report, click here: SL 11_13
IT’S STILL ALL ABOUT JOBS October 2013
September job growth was soft, but retail sales were decent. And with
employment growth barely keeping up with population increase, and
income gaps high and widening, there’s still plenty to worry about—and
it’s really no wonder that the FOMC is not yet tapering.
To read the full report, please click here: SL 10-13