March 2016

Bernie Sanders vs Hillary Clinton on H-1B and Guestworker Visas

In a nutshell: Judging by the past, Hillary Clinton, just like most Republicans, will most likely support importing more cheap labor to displace more American workers — and further depress domestic wages — with more guestworker visas. Whereas, Bernie Sanders would not.

A 33 Month High for Oil Imports Means Yet Another All Time High for Oil Inventories

The reality of the crude oil glut finally caught up with the oil price rally that had been driven by rumors of an OPEC / Russian pact last week, as oil prices fell 5% in their first weekly loss since mid-February. Almost the entirety of that drop occurred on Wednesday, after the EIA release of the weekly oil data, which showed a near record addition to our already record crude stockpiles.

Services Use More Than Estimated as Q4 GDP Revised Upward to 1.4%

Q4 GDP was revised upward again to now be 1.4%.  That's double the original advance report of 0.7% and the first revision was 1.0%.  The primary cause of the upward revision was more consumer spending in services than previously estimated.  The trade deficit Q4 GDP impact was significantly less.  Residential housing was revised upward as well.

Will Obama secretly pass TPP trade deal?

With all the time and money spent in writing, negotiating and promoting this huge trade deal (that mostly just benefits huge multinational corporations), can the American people really expect President Obama to throw it all away into a big bonfire? Especially after millions of dollars have been spent by special interest groups on his campaign and on the campaigns of all those in Congress who voted to give fast-track for TPP to Obama? I mean, really — where would the big pay-off be for all their corporate masters?

February Durable Goods Drops By -2.8%

The Durable Goods, advance report shows another decline in manufactured durable goods new orders for February.  New orders dropped by -2.8% and has been down three of the past for months.  February shipments also were negative with a -0.9% drop.  Core capital goods new orders by themselves declined by -1.8%.  Without transportation new orders, which includes aircraft, durable goods new orders would have decreased by -1.0%.

New Home Sales Down -6.1% From a Year Ago

The February 2016 New Residential Single Family Home Sales increased by 2.0%.  Don't get too excited as the ±18.8% error margin is way larger than the actual monthly gain.  Monthly sales increased by 10,000 annualized units to 512,000 for the month.  Annual sales have contracted by -6.1%.  Sales were 545,000 a year ago.  The annual -6.1% sales change has a ±17.9% error margin.

February Industrial Production Drops -0.5%

The Federal Reserve Industrial Production & Capacity Utilization report declined -0.5% for February on mining and utilities.  More ominous is an annual -1.0% decline.  January was revised to a 0.8% monthly increase.  The G.17 industrial production statistical release is also known as output for factories and mines.


February CPI down 0.2% on Cheaper Gasoline; 0.3% Rise in Core Prices Reduces Real PCE

Consumer prices for food and most goods and services were all up in February, but another big drop in energy prices dragged the overall index down.   The Consumer Price Index Summary from the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicated that seasonally adjusted prices fell by 0.2% in February after they had been unchanged in January and fallen 0.1% in December.

Anti-Establishment Conservatives Should Support Trump Over Cruz

Now that the Republican primary is essentially down to Donald Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz, it’s time for conservatives to give some serious thought to the choice they now face. I believe it is fair to say that both Trump and Cruz are anti-Establishment candidates, and both have tapped into the anger of voters who are tired of the status quo and the GOP Establishment, but they are anti-Establishment in different and important ways.