Category Archives: Monthly

A Weak Q2, But Increasing Momentum Through H2

The recently completed second quarter looks vulnerable to a weak GDP print. The drag from fiscal tightening will combine with mediocre business investment, a widening trade gap and weak inventory accumulation to bring overall economic growth back into the “weak-to-modest” … Continue reading

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Plodding Through Mid-2013, More Push, More Pull

Themes for the U.S. economy have not changed significantly over the last month.  Monetary policy remains highly expansive, pushing on financial markets, while fiscal policy remains contractionary, pulling on federal government spending. Housing has emerged as a driver for the … Continue reading

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The Push and the Pull

The U.S. economy is experiencing the opposing forces of expansive monetary policy and tightening fiscal policy. Between the push and the pull, the private sector is expected to grow moderately through the remainder of this year, enough to bring the unemployment rate down slowly and keep real estate markets heading in a positive direction. Continue reading

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The Inventory Swing and the Fiscal Cliff Increase Odds of Mid‐Year Lull

Real GDP growth for the recently completed first quarter of 2013 appears likely to exceed earlier expectations when the first estimate is released on April 26. Despite the drag from fiscal tightening, real GDP growth is set to register in … Continue reading

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U.S. Economy Maintains Momentum As Fiscal Headwinds Increase

The federal spending sequester took effect March 1. The $85 billion reduction in federal defense and nondefense discretionary spending for FY2013 is expected to exert about a 0.6 percent drag on real GDP growth for 2013. This adds to the … Continue reading

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Animal Spirits, Monetary Stimulus and Fiscal Tightening

In their 2009 book entitled “Animal Spirits,” George Akerlof and Robert Shiller characterize the term as a “restless and inconsistent element in the economy…sometimes we are paralyzed by it. Yet at other times it refreshes and energizes us, overcoming our … Continue reading

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The Fiscal Cliff: Shoes Still Dropping, Gloves Are Off, Belts Are Tightening

President Obama signed the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 into law on January 2. While the passage of the act did reduce uncertainty about the tax burden facing U.S. households this year, it did not address all aspects of … Continue reading

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Looking for Traction on the Edge of the Fiscal Cliff

With the election behind us and hurricane season brought to a dramatic conclusion by Hurricane Sandy, the U.S. economy lurches, stumbles or fades at the end of 2012. The three verbs all imply a transition from the deceptively solid 2.7 … Continue reading

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Mild Acceleration in Economy Dampened by Fiscal Cliff, Hurricane Sandy

The U.S. economy accelerated mildly from a weak 1.3 percent real GDP growth rate in Q2 to 2.0 percent in Q3.  Consumer spending increased, and so did federal government spending. The fly in the ointment came in the form of … Continue reading

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September Producer Price Index, August Trade, October Sentiment and UI Claims

Grab Bag of Data Consistent with Moderate Improvement in 2012H2  The September Producer Price Index increased by 1.1 percent, pushed by higher energy prices. The Core PPI for Finished Goods was unchanged in September, checked by declining equipment prices. The … Continue reading

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