May 2015

It's Official, We're Negative, GDP -0.7% for First Quarter

If is official.  It happened.  First quarter 2015 real GDP just went negative with a -0.7% contraction.  Remember folks, two consecutive quarters of negative growth can make up an official recession.  In reality the revision is a one percentage point slide.  Psychologically speaking, contraction isn't too swift as it often pricks bubble minds that blow hot air all over as they deflate.  The reason for the negative revision is imports.

Durable Goods Shows Steady As She Goes

The Durable Goods, advance report shows new orders declined by -0.5% in April.  In March new orders increased 5.1% yet in February, new orders dropped by -3.5%.  For April, transportation was the culprit as new orders in this category dropped -2.5%.  Core capital goods, on the other hand, gained 1.0%.  Without transportation new orders, which includes aircraft, durable goods new orders would have increased by 0.5%.

New Home Sales Increase 6.8% While Prices Surge

The April 2015 New Residential Single Family Home Sales surged 6.8% to 517,000 in annualized sales.  For the year, new single family home sales are up 26.1% from the year ago 410,000 sales levels.  The annual increase is well above the ±15.4% margin of error.  In no uncertain terms people are buying up new homes again.

Industrial Production Takes Another -0.3% Tumble

The Federal Reserve Industrial Production & Capacity Utilization report shows industrial production decreased -0.3% as gas and oil well drilling continues to collapse.  Overall mining contracted a very large -0.8%.  Manufacturing was unchanged.  March also showed a -0.3% industrial production change.  This if the fifth month in a row for a loss.

No Q2 Hope From Retail Sales

April Retail Sales has assuredly disappointed Wall Street and is just one report in a series indicating the U.S. economy has gone into standby mode.  Retail sales had no growth and even excluding gasoline sales only grew 0.1%.  Autos & parts dropped -0.4% for the month.  Without autos & parts sales, April retail sales increased 0.1%.  Gasoline sales declined by -0.7%.

Elizabeth Warren at the Roosevelt Institute (TPP and More)

Elizabeth Warren and Rosa DeLauro recently co-authored an article posted at the Boston Globe (titled Who is writing the TPP?) which says, "Hillary Clinton has said that the United States should be advocating a level and fair playing field, not special favors for big business, in our trade deals. We agree with this blunt assessment."

Trump, Fiorina and Huckabee Get Fast-Track Right

I was just about to write a column about Donald Trump being the only potential Republican candidate I knew of to forcefully come out against fast-track, and then I read this article. Carly Fiorina has now come out against it, as has Mike Huckabee. Fiorina and Huckabee are already declared candidates and Trump seems nearly certain to declare next month.