Except for CFC, Auto Sales Reach 2.5 Year High
Professor Mark J. Perry's Blog for Economics and Finance
The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) released its monthly report today on economic activity in the manufacturing sector for the month of January, with the following highlights:
KTLA News -- "Instead of showing up at the emergency room and risking a wait, why not make a reservation? Lakewood Regional Medical Center announced on Thursday that you can do just that.
Highlights from the 2010 United Van Lines Annual Migration Study, released earlier this month (see map above, click to enlarge):
"Online advertised vacancies rose 438,000 in January to 4,273,000 according to The Conference Board Help Wanted Online (HWOL) Data Series released today. With the January increase, labor demand has risen 1.44 million since the series low point in April 2009 (see chart). This increase now offsets approximately 80% of the 1.76 million drop in ad volume during the 2-year downturn period from April 2007 through April 2009."
Union membership in the U.S. fell to an all-time historical low of 11.9% of all workers in 2010, which is less than half of the 24.5% share in 1979, according to new data from the BLS. I'll provide some additional charts later on the breakdown between private and public sector unions.
1. USA: Convict an Akron, Ohio mother of a felony and sentence her to 10 days in jail for illegally sending her children to a school in a better school district.
WSJ -- "U.S. economic output finally regained the level reached before the recession, as growth sped up on stronger consumer spending and exports (see chart above).
Pretty scary satellite photo (click to enlarge) of Phoenix's foreclosures, each red dot represents a home currently in foreclosure, see more cities here.
From the conclusion of the Dallas Fed's National Economic Update released yesterday:
According to relocation expert Joe Vranich, a record-setting number of business - 204 in total - left California in 2010, or re-directed substantial capital to build facilities in other states that would have expanded in California in earlier, more business-friendly years (see chart above). That number of businesses leaving California is four times the number of businesses that left in 2009 (51).
Founder and CEO of Amazon, Jeff Bezos said in a statement: "We had our first $10 billion quarter, and after selling millions of third-generation Kindles with the new Pearl e-ink display during the quarter, Kindle books have now overtaken paperback books as the most popular format on Amazon.com. Last July we announced that Kindle books had passed hardcovers and predicted that Kindle would surpass paperbacks in the second quarter of this year, so this milestone has come even sooner than we expected – and it’s on top of continued growth in paperback sales."
1. Which age group do you think would be most likely to favor the legalization of marijuana?
The Conference Board announced today that its "Leading Economic Index (LEI) for the Euro Area increased 0.8 percent in December to 107.3, following a 0.6 percent increase in November and 0.2 percent increase in October," which was the highest level in three and-one-half years going back to the summer of 2007 (see chart above).
The Standard Chartered Bank in London recently released an interesting study called "The Super-Cycle Report, which suggests that in 2000 we entered a new "super-cycle" of global economic growth that will last until 2030, where "super-cycle" is defined as:
BBC News - "The world may have twice as much natural gas than previously thought, according to the rich nations' think tank the International Energy Agency (IEA). The world may have 250 years of gas usage at current levels thanks to "unconventional gas" from shale and coal beds, Anne-Sophie Corbeau, senior gas expert at the IEA told BBC News. Estimates may even be revised upwards.
Paul Kedrosky reported yesterday that copper thefts are rising again, due to the all-time record high prices in recent months. The chart above displays monthly copper prices back to 1980, and shows that copper prices have tripled from $1.40 per pound at the end of 2008 to recent highs this month approaching $4.50 per pound.
In a recent Wall Street Journal letter titled “The Sugar Program Makes Sense,” the American Sugar Alliance’s chief economist claimed that “sugar policy operates at no cost to the government and is projected to do so for the next decade.” While it’s true that U.S. sugar producers haven’t tapped American taxpayers directly since the beet sugar farmers raked in more than $240 million in farm subsidy payments from 2000 to 2005, U.S. sugar policy did force American consumers to pay out $4.5 billion last year in higher sugar prices to support the “Big Sugar” cartel.