Some Common Cents for December 23rd, 2016

December 27, 2016, by John Norris

Since the election, I have had more than one person ask me a variant of: “how are we going to pay for everything Trump says he is going to do?” This is ordinarily more rhetorical than an actual desire to know the answer, which is understandable. There has been no shortage of so-called experts predicting fiscal rack & ruin over the next 4 years. It always seems to go something like this: “Based on what...

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Some Common Cents for September 30th, 2016

October 3, 2016, by John Norris

It has always been prudent to choose your words wisely and avoid inflammatory issues when writing newsletters and newspaper columns. However, in the past, it was more difficult for readers to reach out to you with their opinions. This disconnect, if you will, between the writer and the reader probably engendered a more constructive flow of actual information and opinion. I started writing the precursor of Common Cents in 2001, I believe, and a weekly...

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Some Common Cents for July 8th 2016

July 8, 2016, by John Norris

This morning, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released the Employment Situation report for June 2016. It was pretty good, as the economy apparently created 287K net new jobs last month. That number is even better when you consider employers only created 11K during May. In truth, this wild swing was undoubtedly due to problems with the ‘seasonal adjustment factors’ the BLS uses to smooth out monthly vagaries. To that end, May job gains were...

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Some Common Cents for December 4th 2015

December 4, 2015, by John Norris

If I didn’t already have gray hair, mostly white actually, the events of the last several months would have caused that train to leave the station. I have been doing this line of work for a pretty long time, and there have been few times as confounding as these have been. Nothing much has changed in regards to overall economic activity and broad macroeconomic forecasts. However, the markets have been all over the place; hanging,...

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Some Common Cents for August 28th 2015

August 28, 2015, by John Norris

Not long ago, my father and I were talking about McDonald’s, and the reasons for that company’s declining market position, or at least the perception of it. He threw out the oft-given explanations, things like changing American consumer patterns and more flexible competition, and there is a lot of truth to that. However, I said the core reason is much simpler: everyone else simply caught up. By that I meant, McDonald’s single biggest comparative advantage...

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Some Common Cents for July 31, 2015

August 3, 2015, by John Norris

  This week, the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) announced the US economy grew at a 2.3% annualized rate during 2Q 2015. It made all sorts of revisions to previous estimates, bringing up 1Q 2015 GDP to 0.6% from negative territory, and taking 2013 down to 1.5% from 2.3% among other changes. While the numbers might have changed, the story didn’t: the US economy has been growing at a tepid rate for a pretty long...

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2Q 2014 GDP Numbers are in…

July 31, 2014, by John Norris

This morning the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) announced the US economy grew at a 4.0% annual rate during the 2nd Quarter of 2014. This was better than expected. Further, it revised the 1st Quarter number to -2.1% from the previously announced -2.9%. Yet, the broad markets are largely in the red thus far today. Why is that? First, the better than expected release has many people think the Federal Reserve will continue to curtail its bond...

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