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Professor Mark J. Perry's Blog for Economics and Finance
The American Staffing Association Index, a weekly barometer of temporary and contract employment, a key coincident economic indicator, and a leading indicator of U.S. payroll employment, reached a year-to-date high of 90 for the week ending September 18 (see chart above). For comparable weeks in the last three years, the staffing index was 91 in 2008, 72 in 2009, and 90 in 2010. During most years like 2007, 2009 and 2010, the temporary staffing activity increases towards year-end, so if that pattern prevails this year, we can expect ongoing improvements in temporary and contract employment this fall.
"The Chicago Fed Midwest Manufacturing Index (CFMMI) increased 0.6% in August, to a seasonally adjusted level of 85.0 (see chart). Revised data show the index increased 0.3% in July. Regional manufacturing output in August rose 7.6% from a year earlier, and national output increased 4.2%.
Source: Michigan gas prices.
Exhibit A: MIT's Billion Price Project is showing declining monthly rates of inflation since March (red line above), and mild price deflation for the month ending August 30, see chart above and Paul Krugman's post here.
The chart above is an update of previous CD posts (most recent one here), showing the ongoing de-leveraging of U.S. households based on new data released yesterday by the Federal Reserve.
The Conference Board reported on Thursday that its Leading Economic Index (LEI) increased in August for the fourth consecutive month to its highest-ever level of 116.4 (see chart). Starting in April 2009, the LEI has increased every month except for April of this year, for a record of 28 increases over the last 29 months. As the graph above shows, the last six recessions have been preceded by sharp declines in the LEI, and we're not seeing any declines in the LEI that would predict a pending recession.
The 15-year fixed mortgage rate fell to a new all-time low this week of 3.29%, according to Freddie Mac.
The Council of Graduate Schools (CGS) released its annual report today, here are links to the press release and full report.
The BEA released data today on State Personal Income for the second quarter of 2011. Based on data in the report (but not reported by the BEA - it only reports quarterly growth rates), the annual growth in personal income from 2010:Q2 to 2011:Q2 for the booming oil-rich state of North Dakota was a phenomenal 13.31%, which was almost twice the growth rate for No. 2 Texas at 7.27% and No. 3 Iowa at 7.17%, and more than two times the national average of 5.47%.
Moscow-based Arch Group's first Sleepbox unit has been installed at the Sherematyevo Airport in Moscow.
Here's a thought on taxes: Perhaps it receive greater attention that the statutory IRS tax rates at any given time are not legally-binding, maximum tax rates, it's more the case that the IRS rates are the legally-required minimum tax rates enforced by the IRS. Advocates of higher tax rates like Warren Buffett seem to feel constrained by the current tax code, as if the current tax rates are legally-binding maximum rates, when that is not the case. Maybe the IRS should clarify that it only enforces legally-required minimum tax rates, but these rates are not binding and can be adjusted upward by any taxpayer who voluntarily chooses to pay taxes a higher rate?
Washington, D.C. – September 21, 2011 – "On the heels of a period of weakness in design activity, the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) took a sudden upturn in August. As a leading economic indicator of construction activity, the ABI reflects the approximate nine to twelve month lag time between architecture billings and construction spending. The American Institute of Architects (AIA) reported the August ABI score was 51.4, following a very weak score of 45.1 in July (see chart above). This score reflects an increase in demand for design services (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings). The new projects inquiry index was 56.9, up sharply from a reading of 53.7 the previous month (see chart).
Loaded outbound export containers leaving Los Angeles for overseas destinations surged in August, registering an increase of 11.5% compared to July, and a gain of 24.8% compared to August of last year, according to shipping data recently released by the Port of Los Angeles (see chart above). The 184,321 outbound containers set a new record for the month of August, and indicates that the global demand for U.S. manufactured products remains strong. Strong August shipping from the L.A. Port should translate into solid August exports when the BEA releases international trade data next month, as well as contribute to gains in third quarter GDP when those data are released around November 1.
Carpe Diem started five years ago on September 20, 2006. Here's a link to CD post #1 (this current post is #8,254), which features a quote in the WSJ from Warren Buffett - not about taxes, but about whether business degrees from Ivy League universities matter for success in the business world (answer: No).
IBD's Michael Ramirez.
Among administrators and deans at the University of San Diego, females are well-represented. For example, the president, provost and VP for Student Affairs are female (top three above) and three of the university's six academic deans are female (bottom three above). Among chairs and faculty in science, social science and math departments, females are also well-represented including:
Where do you fit politically? To find out, take the 2011 Pew Research Political Typology Quiz.
For the last four years since 2008, the average price of a new home in Detroit has been below the national average price of a new car (see chart). For 2011, the average price in Detroit for homes sold year-to-date through July is $14,998, compared to the $29,602 average price of a new car. In other words, you could buy two houses in Detroit for about the same price as a new car. Maybe a middle-income household in Detroit could be a two-home, two-car family?