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Friday, April 15, 2016

We Are Not In The Mood For This.

So I am reading about "residual seasonality" affecting first quarter growth. I guess the "weather" excuse became too risible? The comic economic commentary index, which always soars in the beginning of US recessions, is rising rapidly.

Many Who Know claim that first quarter growth will not reflect the real health of our economy. Which is very vibrant and thrilling. Or something like that. 

The NY Fed is going to get in the GDP forecasting game. But unlike Atlanta, they are going to modelize it, rather than depending on that irritating data. It's a model on top of data. Since they have already been publishing GDP models on Liberty Street, I don't understand what is so different? 

But anyway, here is the link to the new " FRBNY Nowcast".  As of this morning, 0.8 Q1 & 1.2 Q2.

Note for non-US persons reading this blog:
1) All US GDP numbers are always annualized. 
2) No Fed bank ever forecasts recessions. It's an unwritten rule. Thus this is as close to a recession forecast as you are ever going to see from a Fed source
3) The basic US annualized quarterly GDP error range is slightly more than one percent.    



Admittedly, March was crappy:

The crappiness hardly began in March. Really, folks. So retail joined in the party, a bit. That in a March that included Easter? Hah, it will be revised up. There will be sales in the last week. But still, this is not a growing economy. 

Of course, there is always April:


But now it is not just carloads joining the pity party. Intermodal has joined in. 

April is the cruelest month? One suspects not, because of this:

That was February. Inventory to sales ratios can't keep rising forever (although they do contribute to GDP). Since March retail sales weren't very good, one can presume that we have additional adjustments ahead. 


Since rail is lower, it ain't over. The trucking gauge has been running way better than rail, but look at the petroleum report. Four-week product supplied for distillate fuel oil is down 7% YoY. At this time of year, that's mostly trucking.

NFIB - ah, yes, the small business report. In March's version, the "R" word appeared in a dispirited manner:
For a broader perspective, the Index has turned decidedly “south” over the last 15 months falling from a reading of 100 in December 2014 to 92.8. A “chartist” looking at the data historically might conclude that the Index has clearly hit a top and is flashing a recession signal. The April survey will decide whether or not the alarm should be rung. This month’s change was not statistically significant, just not in a positive direction.
 This is what he's talking about:
It should be noted (you may read the report on the website) that small business hiring appears past peak,

 
small business openings look to be stalled or past peak, 
 

and, you know, there's perhaps not much more there:
 

If you read the link to the pdf of the report and go through the earnings/sales/sales expectations, particularly the last on the bottom of page 9, you'll see that vibrant hiring is unlikely. Price cutting in small firms often precedes a recession:

You may imagine how thrilled they are with the campaign for a $15 hour minimum wage.  When the law forces you to pay your workers more than you are earning, hiring preferences ratchet down. 

April is the next "large" survey. I expect it to be slightly better. I think this is just going to ooze along, but not upwards. Ooze tends to follow gravity's pull.  

Missing a recession bar, but you get the idea from looking at this long term Industrial Production graph:
  
Note: In case you weren't getting it, Industrial Capacity Utilization (missing a recession bar):
  

Comments:
Did you see what Oregon is pulling on the $15 minimum wage? They realize that most of the state can't pay those wages. So the new minimum wage hike is broken into three areas of the state. It truly is insane.

Oregon increase
 

Yikes, even at $12.50 the rural areas are going to be crushed. A lot of the jobs in those areas are really low-value-add since the forest products industry took a nosedive. Not that anybody in the Willamette Valley cares.

There's going to be a period of adjustment, but there is one glaring loophole that I suspect will be used. There's no minimum wage for sole proprietors.

 
I keep thinking about those little restaurants on the east side. There's not a large amount of traffic to those areas and its seasonal. They can't afford this. And my employer is in Hood River. I don't think he'd move across the river but you never know.
 
Leave it to the Oregon Dems in the state legislature (at the behest of SEIU) to raise the minimum drastically leading into a recession. In two years, when the state economy has cratered, it'll be too late to repair the damage.
 
Well, the whole Oregon increase won't be seen until 2022.

I believe this year it increases in July to $9.75 & $9.50.

Then in 2017 it increases to $10.25/$11.00/$10.00.

So the impact will be gradual, but I do think it will impact employment over 2017/2019.
 
In Minnesota our depressive alcoholic ne'er-do-well trust fund baby governor jacked up taxes on high-income folks a few years ago when the Democrats held all of the legislature. They defined high-income as $159K for single folks, $258K for couples.

The governor's trust fund is socked away in no-tax South Dakota.

Minnesota has always hit above its weight in terms of attracting and keeping the wealth builders. Even when our taxes were high, the quality of life or something kept folks here. This has changed in the last few years and dramatically so.

Two articles:
http://tcbmag.com/Opinion/Columns/Editors-Note/The-Migration-of-Minnesota-s-Mojo

http://tcbmag.com/Industries/Politics-Public-Policy/Minnesota-s-Great-Wealth-Migration

This magazine did some serious research. It turns out that the folks who make a lot--$25 million or so--are bailing out of Minnesota and they're cutting all ties when they do. No visits to the folks back home, no donations to museums, colleges or churches. Their tax advisors tell them that just flying into MSP for a wedding could trigger tax obligations.

These are the folks that fund startups. Minnesota used to be a good place for them. Not anymore, apparently. Medtronic, which makes pacemakers among other stuff, is trying to move out.

I've talked to two libs about this. They both said, nah, there have always been snowbirds who move to Arizona and come back in summer, this is no big deal. I point out that they aren't talking about Karl Larson who retired from 3M with his pension. The real wealth, and the talent behind it, is leaving and providing no forwarding address.
 
Hey Mom,

I emailed you a picture.
 
Well, I tried to email you a picture. But the email bounced.
 
maxedoutmama2atgmail.com ?
 
aha. I was using the old Hotmail address. The photo is now sent again.
 
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