• A Jack Johnson Playlist

    Sitting, Waiting, Wishing Despite the record-breaking length of this economic expansion, inflation has made fewer appearances in the last decade than Eagles Super Bowl wins ever. Consumer inflation in 2019 increased by 2.3%, which is the highest rate since 2011. Additionally, this muted inflation is really only present in certain pockets of the economy like healthcare where prices increased 4.6% last year. For producers, costs increased an even more meager 1.3% last year.  Moral of the story: Wages increased a mere 0.7% in 2019 while we were seeing record-low levels of unemployment. Even tariffs didn’t have a meaningful impact on consumer or producer prices. If we haven’t seen it yet,…

  • Wrapping up 2019

    There’s a job for that  The economy created 145k new jobs to cap off the last month of the decade. While this number fell 20k short of expectations and was accompanied by downward revisions for the prior two months’ reported numbers, unemployment remained at a 50-year low. A broader unemployment rate (U6), which includes discouraged workers no longer seeking jobs and part-time workers looking for full-time jobs, fell to all-time record low levels in December. Despite these unemployment levels, wage growth fell below 3% in December for the first time since the summer of 2018.  Moral of the story: We created 2.1m jobs in 2019, which is down from the…

  • Trying to See 2020

    New year, new optimism The manufacturing sector posted the fifth straight month of contraction in December as the ISM manufacturing index came in at 47.2 (below 50 indicates a contractionary environment). This marks the lowest reading for this index since June 2009, when we were just coming out of the global financial crisis. A big driver for this weakness was Boeing’s suspension of the 737 Max production and the recent GM strike.  Moral of the story: The manufacturing sector has been plagued by slowing global growth and the trade war with China. However, as we make progress toward a deal with China, the manufacturing sector should see some reprieve in…