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Sep 16 2022

Labor: Snatching Defeat From The Jaws Of Victory

  • Sep 16, 2022

This year it’s been popular to say the Fed will hike interest rates until it “breaks something.” Has that not already happened? Pull up charts of the Japanese yen, the British pound, and the euro, among others. And stateside, the Fed has broken one of economists’ favorite toys: the Phillips Curve.

Dec 06 2019

Lagging From Behind?

  • Dec 6, 2019

As Yogi Berra might have quipped, it’s not just the leading indicators that are lagging… the lagging ones are, too.

Nov 07 2019

Labor Cost Observations

  • Nov 7, 2019

We take a look at different data sets reflecting labor costs. The main finding is that using Unit Labor Cost as the measurement for the true cost suggests that the labor market is very tight in terms of affordability for businesses.

Apr 12 2019

Margins Prove Capitalism Still Works

  • Apr 12, 2019

Corporate profits were outstanding last year, but even the benefit of a 40% cut in the top income-tax rate wasn’t enough to lift the net profit margin back to the all-time high of 10.6% established in early 2012. Still, the latest 10.0% figure is more than a percentage point above the 2007 cycle high and about two points better than any other cycle high.


Nov 07 2014

Interest Rates Range Bound—Can’t Be Too Bearish

  • Nov 7, 2014

The sell-off in risky assets in early October promptly led to expectations of a more dovish Fed.

May 05 2007

Second Half 2007: Inflation Acceleration Expected

  • May 5, 2007

CPI inflation accelerated again in March. As we see it, the important development is that inflation has broadened out.

Apr 04 2007

Inflation Outlook: Worrisome

  • Apr 4, 2007

CPI and PPI monthly inflation kicked up a bit with February readings and could  do so again when March results are released.

Mar 05 2007

Inflation Still A Potential Threat

  • Mar 5, 2007

Inflation trends are a mixed bag at present.

Feb 05 2007

Inflation Trends Are A Mixed Bag

  • Feb 5, 2007

Twelve month rates of change for both CPI and PPI have been trending down over the past fifteen months, and seem to be less of an immediate threat. But, the Core CPI seems to be in an uptrend.

Jan 03 2007

Inflation Is A Potential Threat

  • Jan 3, 2007

Inflation prospects are especially unclear. While many inflation gauges seem to be slowing, the threat of an inflation flare-up remains.

Dec 05 2006

Inflation Still A Potential Threat

  • Dec 5, 2006

Looking ahead, CPI twelve month rate of inflation is likely to be in the +2% area for the first half of 2007.

Nov 05 2006

Inflation Concerns

  • Nov 5, 2006

Inflation expectations seem to be on the rise.

Aug 05 2006

Inflation Watch

  • Aug 5, 2006

CPI on a twelve month basis still expected to decelerate over the next three months. The final 3 months of the year, however could be another story, with CPI twelve month inflation accelerating.        

Jan 04 2006

Inflation Watch

  • Jan 4, 2006

Major reason for lower inflation forecasts is expectation of slowing economy (recession?) in 2006.

Aug 03 2005

The Consumer: Still Chugging Along

  • Aug 3, 2005

Consumer spending may have finally peaked in this cycle, but a consumer collapse is far from imminent. Consumers can be expected to remain supportive of economic growth.

Jul 04 2005

Inflation Watch

  • Jul 4, 2005

After a brief dip, project twelve month CPI to accelerate to about +3.8% by year end.

Jun 04 2005

Inflation Watch

  • Jun 4, 2005

We continue to be more optimistic about the dollar than most, and believe the post election U.S. dollar weakness was overdone.

May 04 2005

Inflation Watch: 2005 Outlook

  • May 4, 2005

Further U.S. dollar weakness could certainly be an inflation negative (higher import prices), but we are more optimistic about the dollar than most.

Apr 05 2005

Inflation Watch: 2005 Outlook

  • Apr 5, 2005

For now the economic expansion remains healthy, but could fade some in the second half of the year.

Mar 05 2005

2005 Outlook: High Energy Prices Will Show Up In Next CPI & PPI Reports

  • Mar 5, 2005

We estimate +3.3% real GDP growth in 2005, after weakening in the second half of the year.

Feb 05 2005

View From The North Country

  • Feb 5, 2005

Steve Leuthold’s commentary on how he would structure a defensive portfolio.

Feb 05 2005

Inflation Watch: 2005 Outlook

  • Feb 5, 2005

CPI and PPI declined more than expected in December due to impact of lower energy prices.

Jan 05 2005

Looking Ahead To 2005

  • Jan 5, 2005

Continued U.S. dollar weakness could certainly be an inflation negative, but we are getting more optimistic about the dollar.

Dec 05 2004

Recent Surge In CPI/PPI Inflation Temporary, Not Sustainable

  • Dec 5, 2004

Higher oil prices and higher food prices pushed recent CPI and PPI higher. Next month’s readings will likely show less inflation with oil prices coming down some recently.

Jul 04 2000

View From The North Country

  • Jul 4, 2000

Per Ray DeVoe, pay increases for the service sector workers are running at a 7%-8% annual rate of increase, compare this to the BLS calculation of +3.5% for this same sector. Steve and Sharon ride the rails through the Scotland highlands.

Mar 05 2000

View From The North Country

  • Mar 5, 2000

Workers’ stock market purchasing power at all time low. Also, a book out of the past, has an eerie ring to it.

Jul 05 1999

View From The North Country

  • Jul 5, 1999

Despite proclamation of a “neutral” bias toward future interest rate shifts, expect the Fed to raise short rates at least 25 basis points more.

Oct 05 1997

Bond Market Summary

  • Oct 5, 1997

Among the industrial nations, U.S. bond market offers highest yields, a reversal from earlier in the decade...A return to “normalcy” implies falling US bond yields.

Sep 05 1997

Bond Market Summary

  • Sep 5, 1997

Bond risk still considered well below potential equity market risk...longer term, bond potential returns at least equal to potential equity returns.

Aug 05 1997

View From the North Country

  • Aug 5, 1997

The balanced budget: politicians had to move fast because the budget looked as if it might balance itself without their help. Wage Inflation: our belief that it has been accelerating has been wrong, particularly in Q2.

Aug 05 1997

Bond Market Summary

  • Aug 5, 1997

How long can the Goldilocks’ economy keep going? The current economic expansion (at 25 quarters) is long in the tooth by historical standards. Inflation outlook improved. Shortage of treasury bonds to become a reality?

Jun 05 1997

View From the North Country

  • Jun 5, 1997

Current government wage inflation statistics don’t jibe with today’s real world. Future releases will show a significant jump.

Apr 05 1997

Bond Market Summary

  • Apr 5, 1997

Economic expansion long in the tooth...Fed working to slow down the economy...Inflation cool...U.S. rates very competitive with foreign yields...strong dollar should continue to stimulate foreign bond buying.

Mar 05 1997

Bond Market Summary

  • Mar 5, 1997

Bond rally should be rekindled by mid-year. U.S. yields remain relatively high compared to foreign yields. Bonds expected to outperform stocks over next 6-12 months.

Jul 05 1996

Bond Market Summary

  • Jul 5, 1996

Bonds expected to outperform stocks over next 6-12 months...economy should slow, inflation should remain under control, and corporate earnings momentum should gradually fade.

Jun 05 1996

Bond Market Summary

  • Jun 5, 1996

Bond market decline slowed in May. But positive economy news, potential Fed tightening (not likely near-term), and labor inflation still disturb bond market investors.

Dec 05 1994

View From the North Country

  • Dec 5, 1994

The Economic Surprise And Inflation, The Feds Overheating Economy And Inflation Fears Are Justified and “Contract With America”: The Danger Is Big Tax Cuts But Minimal Spending Cuts

Nov 05 1994

View From the North Country

  • Nov 5, 1994

Economic growth and stock market performance don’t go hand in hand - the stock market looks ahead. Don’t be surprised by more wage irrflation. The AdvantHedge short selling program is updated and explained because readers have expressed a growing interest (maybe it’s the market).

Oct 05 1993

View from the North Country

  • Oct 5, 1993

A month ago, this section featured the commentary "Bad News For The PBGC (And The Taxpayer)". This proved to be quite timely.

Jul 05 1992

View from the North Country

  • Jul 5, 1992

The Ross Perot Factor...A New Hero Streaks Across The Political Heavens... Let’s Screw the Kids (Government Generosity for the Elderly)...U. S. Cheap Labor?