October 2016

Q3 GDP Comes In At 2.9%

The GDP initial estimate reports a solid 2.9% economic growth for the third quarter.  Trade exports and private inventories accelerated in Q3.  Consumer spending was home hum, although durable goods consumer spending dramatically increased.  Residential investment declined for the quarter.  While a nice report, GDP is always revised and this is just the initial release.

Pro-Trump, Anti-Trump and the Meta-Narrative

"As in Jephthah’s day, at stake in the upcoming presidential election is the life or death of a nation.  Is Trump America’s Jephthah?  Only if, by the providence of Almighty God, He moves the hearts and minds of the American people to reject America’s political elite who would choose global hegemony to an independent American republic.” ~ Herb Titus

Industrial Production Increases a Sluggish 0.1%

The Federal Reserve Industrial Production & Capacity Utilization report shows industrial production had a 0.1% increase for September.  Manufacturing production by itself increased 0.2%.  The bigger news is industrial production has declined by -1.0% for the year and manufacturing by itself had no annual growth.  Q3 by itself brought better tidings as industrial production rose an annualized 1.8%.

Inflation Increases As Gas Prices and Shelter Costs Rise

The Consumer Price Index showed a September 0.3% increase.  The culprits were shelter, which soared up 0.4% for the month and gasoline, which rose 5.8% for the month.  Food inflation had no change.  Inflation with food and energy price changes removed increased 0.1% as shelter and medical costs are part of core inflation.

Rod Dreher Has Officially Jumped the Shark

The American Conservative blogger Rod Dreher has never been entirely my cup of tea. His posts are frequently too overwrought, and they come off as, for lack of a better word, prissy. (I tried hard to come up with another word to describe them that wasn’t so loaded, but I couldn’t think of one that wasn’t equally or more loaded.) However, since Dreher is an outside the mainstream conservative, I have often found myself defending him against attacks from mainstream conservatives, especially back in the days when conservatives were still debating the Iraq War.

JOLTS Shows Job Openings Don't Necessarily Mean Hiring

The BLS August 2016 JOLTS report shows once again job openings exceeding the number of hires.  While the number of openings declined for the month, the number of hires stayed below it.  The Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey history clearly has hires exceeding openings as a trend since February 2015.  For August, job openings were 5.4 million while hires were 5.2 million.

Unemployment Rate Uptick Largely Due to Statistical Swings

The September 2016 unemployment report shows some fairly wild statistical swings that result in a distorted unemployment picture.  The unemployment rate ticked up 0.1% to 5.0%.  Over 350 thousand more were now considered employed.  Both the labor participation rate and the civilian to employment ratio also ticked up a tenth of a percentage point.