The Good News Economist

When all you read is gloom, turn here for a much different perspective.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

All Job Losses During The Great Recession Have Been Erased

It has been way too long since my last post.  Sorry folks!  But these numbers -- many just published by Factcheck.org -- are well worth passing on to everyone:

§  All job losses during the great recession have been erased.
§  In June the economy added 200,000+ jobs for the fifth month in a row -- 288,000 in June alone.  The five month streak is the longest since the late 1990s.
§  The Unemployment rate is now at 6.1% -- you may remember that the unemployment rate was at 10.1% at the height of the great recession.
§  Corporate profits and stock prices continue to set record highs.
§  The number of food-stamp recipients has retreated from the record high of 2012; fewer beneficiaries have been added under Obama than were added under George W. Bush.
§  Under Obama, federal spending has risen more slowly than the rate of inflation. 
§  Auto sales -- a consistently bright spot in the recovery -- heated up even more in June. They clocked in at 17 million at an annualized rate for the best month in eight years.
§  Gallup polling found that 45 percent of Americans were working full-time in June, one of the highest rates since the polling company began tracking the figure. 
§  The government data released Thursday mirrored those results, with the employment-to-population ratio rising to 59 percent, the highest level since 2009.


Friday, December 6, 2013

Unemployment falls to 7%

The United States lost 8.7 million jobs in the aftermath of the financial crisis. As of November, it had gained about 7.4 million of those jobs back.
http://money.cnn.com/2013/12/06/news/economy/november-jobs-report/index.html



Saturday, August 31, 2013

GDP Growth Better Than Earlier Believed

Real GDP growth for the second quarter was raised to an annualized rate of 2.5 percent compared to the initial estimate of 1.7 percent and compared to a fourth quarter rise of 1.1 percent. Expectations were for 2.2 percent.

The upward revision to GDP growth was mainly due to a sharp upward revision to net exports. Also, there were improvements to inventories and nonresidential structures investment.

Comparisons to the first quarter of the year showed that the increase in real GDP in the second quarter primarily reflected positive contributions from personal consumption expenditures, exports, private inventory investment, nonresidential fixed investment, and residential fixed investment that were partly offset by a negative contribution from federal government spending. Imports, which are a subtraction in the calculation of GDP, increased.

Headline inflation rates when annualized remain quite tame.


Monday, January 28, 2013

Durable Goods Orders Surprise Everyone

Manufacturing momentum is accelerating again. While civilian aircraft added huge lift to December durable goods orders, the gains were broad based. New factory orders for durable goods in December jumped a whopping monthly 4.6 percent, following a boost of 0.7 percent in November. 

The market forecast was for only a 1.6 percent increase. The transportation component on the index spiked 11.9 percent. Excluding transportation, durable goods orders increased 1.3 percent, following a rise of 1.2 percent in November. The consensus called for a 0.4 percent rise in orders excluding transportation.

Outside of transportation, the index increases were led by primarily metals, up 3.6 percent, and computers & electronics, up 3.3 percent. Also rising were fabricated metals and machinery.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Initial Jobless Claims Plunge

Initial unemployment claims in the January 12 week plunged 37,000 to 335,000 for a recovery low and massively below anybody's expectations.  The consensus predicted for the week had been 368,000. There are no unusual factors skewing the latest data although some seasonal adjustments may play a role.

The four-week average is down 6,750 to 359,250 which is about 10,000 below the mid-December level.

Improvement continues in the jobs market, and this report continues to point to a longer term trend leading to more robust jobs growth this year.




Friday, January 4, 2013

Jobs Grow For 34 Straight Months

Today’s report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows that private sector businesses added 168,000 jobs in December. Total non-farm payroll employment rose by 155,000 jobs last month. The economy has now added private sector jobs for 34 straight months, and a total of 5.8 million jobs have been added over that period, taking account of the preliminary benchmark revision. In 2012, private businesses added two million payroll jobs, taking account of the preliminary benchmark revision.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

US Stocks Follow the World New Year Rally Thanks to DC

The US stock market rallied on Wednesday - the first day of the trading new year. Gains were broad. Financial shares and tech stocks fared exceptionally well. The US rally followed a broad world stock surge that begin as lawmakers finalized voting late Tuesday evening in Washington DC. Investors were cheering that late year deal which keeps tax cuts in place for most Americans but raises the tax rate on individuals earning more than $400,000 a year and married couples earning over $450,000 a year. Lawmakers in DC also extended federal emergency unemployment insurance benefits for another year as the jobs marketing continues to improve.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

GDP Gets Notable Upgrade

For its final estimate for the third quarter, GDP got a notable upgrade. Real GDP growth for the third quarter was revised up to 3.1 percent annualized, compared to the second estimate of 2.7 percent annualized and to the advance estimate of 2.0 percent.

The latest number easily topped market expectations for a 2.8 percent advance.

 Demand figures also got a boost. Final sales of domestic product increased 2.4 percent versus the second estimate of 1.9 percent and second quarter growth of 1.7 percent. Final sales to domestic producers (which exclude net exports) were revised to 1.9 percent, compared to the second estimate of 1.7 percent and compared the prior quarter's 1.4 percent.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Unemployment rate falls to lowest level since 2008

The U.S. economy added 146,000 jobs in November, and the unemployment rate fell to 7.7% from 7.9% in October, the Labor Department said. That's the lowest unemployment rate since December 2008. "Our analysis suggests that Hurricane Sandy did not substantively impact the national employment and unemployment estimates for November," the Labor Department said in a press release.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Stocks: Lots of Room to Run

Stocks have lots of room to run, said Goldman Sachs senior investment strategist Abby Joseph Cohen at the Bloomberg Hedge Fund conference in New York Wednesday morning. Cohen, a 22 year veteran of Goldman Sachs, estimates that even after the 2012 market rally, stocks could rise another 10% to 15% in 2013. While Congress has given the U.S. population reason to worry about taxes and the fiscal cliff, the overall fundamentals of the U.S. economy are healthy, and consumers have money to spend, Cohen said. Moreover, the U.S. has been reducing its debt relative to its growth domestic product during the past few years. She noted that debt was 4% of GDP for the fiscal year that started in October compared to an 11% ratio in 2008. "We are slowly growing our way out of the most extreme version of the debt crisis," she said.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

November A Solid Month For Manufacturers

November was a solid month for the nation's manufacturers based on the PMI index from Markit Economics which shows a final reading of 52.8, up four tenths from the flash reading and up a sharp 1.8 points from October. Very encouraging is a good description for the details which show accelerating monthly growth for new orders and for output. New exports orders show their first monthly increase since May. Backlog orders are in the plus column for the first time since August. Employment growth is steady and respectable.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Consumer Confidence Increases Again

The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index, which had increased in October, also posted a moderate increase in November. The Index now stands at 73.7, up from 73.1 in October. The Expectations Index rose to 85.1 from 84.0 last month. The monthly Consumer Confidence Survey, is conducted for The Conference Board by Nielsen, a leading global provider of information and analytics. The survey is conducted around what consumers buy and watch. Lynn Franco, the Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board: “The Consumer Confidence Index increased in November and is now at its highest level in more than four and a half years (76.4 Feb. 2008). This month’s moderate improvement was the result of an uptick in expectations. Over the past few months, consumers have grown increasingly more upbeat about the current and expected state of the job market, and this turnaround in sentiment is helping to boost confidence.”

Monday, November 26, 2012

Texas Future Outlook Remains Positive

Texas factory activity was little changed in November but the outlook slipped. The production index, a key measure of state manufacturing conditions, came in at 1.7, indicating output barely increased from October. Other survey measures suggested flat manufacturing activity in November. The new orders index came in at 0.4, suggesting that demand was unchanged from October. Perceptions of broader business conditions worsened in November. The general business activity index fell to minus 2.8 from plus 1.8 in October, returning to negative territory. The company outlook index moved down to minus 4.8 in November from plus 2.4 in October, registering its first negative reading since April. Labor market indicators were mixed. The employment index edged up to 6.7 in November, with more than 20 percent of firms reporting hiring compared with 15 percent reporting layoffs. The hours worked index dipped from minus 5.9 to minus 7.1. Indexes reflecting future business conditions fell sharply in November. The index of future general business activity plunged from 16.8 to minus 5.3, its lowest reading in four months. The index of future company outlook dropped from 20.9 to 1.8. Indexes for future manufacturing activity also fell this month but remained positive.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Yes Florida, The Economy *IS* On The Mend

I happened across this article today and wish I could claim that I wrote it. Here is the opening...

Sen. Marco Rubio (R) of Florida delivered his party's weekly address on Saturday morning, and made a provocative claim about President Obama.

"The bottom line is this president inherited a country with serious problems," Rubio said. "He asked the Congress to give him the stimulus and Obamacare to fix it. The Democrats in Congress gave it to him. And not only did it not work, it made everything worse."

What a joke!

So have a look at the full article here and see the Rubio claim debunked soundly.

Not only has the U.S. economy grown for the last 10 quarters, but the workforce has ADDED jobs for the last 22 months straight.

Can we do better? Sure. Did Obama policies make things worse?

I don't think so!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Unemployment Claims Continue to Plummet

Fewer Americans filed for their first week of unemployment benefits last week. So few in fact, that the number of initial claims fell to its lowest level since May 2008.

About 366,000 people filed initial jobless claims in the week ended Dec. 10, the Labor Department said Thursday. That was a decrease of 19,000 from the prior week.

The report continues to signal that the unemployment rate will come down further in December. Even the most pessimistic of economists often look for the weekly tally to stay below 400,000 to signal that job growth is strong enough to lower the unemployment rate.

The drop in claims last week and the drop in the unemployment rate last month was the complete opposite of what a majority of economists had expected. (Remember the majority is always wrong?)




Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Job Openings Now at Highest Level in Over Three Years

The Labor Department announced on Tuesday that the number of positions waiting to be filled in the U.S. rose in September to the highest level in more than three years. Job openings increased by 225,000 to 3.35 million, the most since August 2008.

Hiring also advanced by 185,000 to 4.25 million.

Last Thursday the government announced that payrolls grew by 80,000 workers in October, and that gains in the prior two months were revised up, by nearly 102,000 positions.

In the 12 months ended in September, the recovery has now created a net 1.3 million jobs, from a gross total of 48.3 million new hires.




Thursday, November 3, 2011

Weekly Jobless Claims Break Below 400,000

Jobless claims continue to come down and this week initial claims fell 9,000 to 397,000. The four-week average is now also approaching the 400,000 level, down 2,000 in the week to 404,500. This level is more than 10,000 lower than the month-ago comparison and offers a positive indication for the October employment report to be released on Friday.

The report comes on the heals of an ADP report release Wednesday that showed October private payrolls rose 110,000 six digit growth that mirrored September's growth of 116,000.

The Wednesday Challenger Job-Cut Report also showed corporate layoff rates to be significantly subdued.

The doomsters have long pointed to a jobless claims level of 400,000 as the mark that indicates robust hiring is on the way... of course don't look for the perma-pessimists to change their tune even though the recovery has now produced this number.

The is no doubt however that if the jobless claims levels continue their current trends, that both private and government payroll nets will continue their healthy rise.




Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Manufacturing Sector Growth Hits 29 Months in a Row

Manufacturing continues to be the shining star in this recovery.  Several reports out this week underscore the fact that US factories continue to post solid results in a growing US economy.

The ISM report on business reported on Tuesday that their "PMI indicates growth for the 29th consecutive month in the overall economy, as well as expansion in the manufacturing sector for the 27th consecutive month. The past relationship between the PMI and the overall economy indicates that the average PMI for January through October (55.7 percent) corresponds to a 4.6 percent increase in real gross domestic product. In addition, if the PMI for October (50.8 percent) is annualized, it corresponds to a 2.9 percent increase in real GDP annually."

On Monday two region reports underscored the ISM report.

Very strong rates of monthly expansion in the Chicago area extended through October. The Chicago purchasing managers composite index came in at 58.4, well above 50 to indicate monthly expansion in general business activity though at a slightly less robust pace than September's 60.4 level. But October's 58.4 reading, which is four tenths above the Econoday consensus, is impressive and is right at the four-month average of 58.5.

In Texas -- factory activity increased in October said the Dallas Fed Manufacturing survey. The production index remained positive, suggesting growth is continuing. Other measures of the Dallas survye of current manufacturing conditions also indicated growth in October, and the pace of new orders accelerated, compared to September.

The reports summarize surveys which include businesses from all areas of the economy -- surveys that continue to show exceptionally healthy manufacturing conditions in their regions.




Friday, October 28, 2011

Remembering 1974 - Again! - DJTA Biggest Jump Since 1939

This week stocks surged, extending the biggest monthly rally for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index since 1974, and the euro strengthened as European leaders agreed to expand a bailout fund to stem the region’s debt crisis. The 20 percent monthly advance for the Dow Jones Transportation Average, a proxy for the economy, is the biggest since 1939. The S&P 500 rose to its highest level in almost three months and has rebounded 17 percent since Oct. 3.



In addition to remembering 1974, Economic growth strengthened in the third quarter and the component mix is more favorable than expected. GDP growth improved to a 2.5 percent annualized increase in the third quarter. The advance estimate matched market expectations for a 2.5 percent gain. (For once the majority was right!)

Optimism is clearly now appearing as the consumer sentiment index jumped to 60.9 compared to 57.5 at mid-month to imply a 64.3 level for the final two weeks of the month. The improvement the last two weeks is centered in the leading component of expectations which jumped 4.8 points to 51.8. The current conditions component also rose, up 1.3 points to 75.1. Inflation expectations show no change from mid-month, at 3.2 percent for the one-year outlook and 2.7 percent for the five-year.

And on the job front, initial jobless claims are holding steady in a narrow range just above 400,000. Claims came in at 402,000 in the October 22 week, a bit better than expectations. The four-week average of 405,500 is 10,000 below the month-ago period to point to continued improvement and a positive October employment report.




Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Europe Uncertainty Plummets - Deal is Done


European Union leaders unveiled a deal early Thursday on debt crisis measures that includes a 50% loss on Greek bonds.

The agreement came at the end of a series of talks to finalize the details of a comprehensive policy response to the government debt and banking problems threatening the stability of the euro currency and global economy.

The deal will likely resolve three related problems: the debt crisis in Greece, instability in the banking sector and an under-capitalized bailout fund.

Under the new plan, Greek bondholders voluntarily agreed to write down the value of Greek bonds by 50%, which translates into €100 billion and will reduce the nation's debt load to 120% of economic output from 150%.

The agreement also calls for the creation of a new financing program with the International Monetary Fund worth up to €100 billion.

Stronger bailout fund: The leaders agreed on two ways to increase the firepower of the EU bailout fund, known as the European Financial Stability Facility. The methods will each leverage the fund by four or five fold, the statement said, boosting its resources to about €1 trillion.
The fund will be used to partially ensure new issues of government bonds. In addition, it will be supplemented by the creation of one or more special investment vehicles, which will be open to private sector players such as sovereign wealth funds.

The EU heads of state also agreed to raise capital requirements for banks vulnerable to losses on euro-area government bonds.

Banks would be required to sharply increase core capital levels to 9% to create a buffer against potential losses.




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