Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for January 23, 2019

Short Items of Interest—U.S. Economy Home Sales Data Slows Sales of new homes fell by 6.4% in the last month, the slowest month recorded since 2015. This was not a huge shock to the system as there have been a variety of "headwinds" that evoked a lot of comment these last few months. It has been the usual issue of higher prices and higher mortgage ...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for January 22, 2019

Short Items of Interest—U.S. Economy Flagging Consumer Confidence For the last couple of years, the consumer confidence level has been high and, in many respects, higher than would have been expected. The sense has been that consumers pay close attention to only a handful of factors as far as the economy is concerned—jobs, prices and the behavior o...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for January 18, 2019

Short Items of Interest—U.S. Economy Jobless Claim Still Low In the next few weeks, the jobless numbers are going to be very hard to interpret. This may be about the last week that claims can be assessed as an accurate indication of the state of the U.S. workforce. The government shutdown is dumping hundreds of thousands of federal workers into the...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for January 16, 2019

Short Items of Interest—U.S. Economy Small Business and the Shutdown Much of the attention has been focused on the estimated 800,000 people who are federal employees and not being paid. This will certainly have an economic impact in those regions where federal employment is a major part of the community, but an even bigger impact will be felt by th...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for January 14, 2019

Short Items of Interest—U.S. Economy Visa Reversal? At this stage nobody quite knows what this means, but on the surface, it sounds promising. The statement by President Trump in a tweet was cryptic and nobody knows if this is part of some well-developed effort or something that just occurred to him. The statement suggests there will be some major ...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for January 11, 2019

Short Items of Interest—U.S. Economy Shutdown and Unemployment The government shutdown has now lasted longer than any of the previous episodes. With both sides as dug in as they ever were, there is no end in sight. The impact on the 800,000 employees has started to become severe. There have been significant problems for those who once relied on var...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for January 9, 2019

Short Items of Interest—U.S. Economy Small Business Loses Confidence Small business confidence can be an illusive quarry. It is so diverse it can be hard to gauge an overall attitude to much of anything. The National Federation for Independent Business (NFIB) does a pretty fair job of polling and assessing the group. Their studies have been showing...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for January 7, 2019

Short Items of Interest—U.S. Economy Gig Economy Is a Flop At least that is the conclusion for the time being. It was just a few years ago that many thought the "gig economy" would totally transform the workforce and alter the relationship between employer and employee forever. After some 10 years of research, it is safe to say that the gig economy...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for January 4, 2019

Short Items of Interest—U.S. Economy Momentum Shift There is more evidence that 2019 will not be the repeat of 2018 that many had been hoping for. The latest edition of the Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) fell sharply to 54.1. This was after a reading of 59.3 in November. A five-point loss is not common and comes as a result of far weaker export n...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for January 2, 2019

Short Items of Interest—U.S. Economy Tariffs and Exemptions From the very beginning, there has been a certain amount of confusion accompanying the steel and aluminum tariffs. The fact is U.S. steel and aluminum makers have been facing severe competitive pressures over the years from nations like China and Russia that openly subsidize and support th...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for December 28, 2018

Short Items of Interest—U.S. Economy Consumer Debt There are many aspects of the recent economic rebound that are positive and have contributed to optimism regarding the coming year, but there are also some potential land mine issues. One of the most threatening is debt. The level of consumer debt is back to where it once was—not a good thing. The ...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for December 26, 2018

Short Items of Interest—U.S. Economy Strong Retail Numbers The expectations for this year's retail season were pretty high at the start. There had been a pattern set already with strong back-to-school numbers and then a strong Halloween. The November numbers looked good, but there was some concern retailers were limiting themselves with another yea...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for December 21, 2018

Short Items of Interest—U.S. Economy Third Quarter GDP Down a Bit The latest revision of the third quarter data is a little less than anticipated. The estimate was that growth was at 3.5%. Now it seems that consumers were not quite as active as originally thought and the actual number (for now) is 3.4%. There will be more revisions of the Q3 number...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for December 19, 2018

Short Items of Interest—U.S. Economy More Backpedaling on the Wall The latest twists and turns over the border wall are somewhat predictable given the number of times this situation has arisen already. Those lines in the sand are blurring again. It looks like it is time for another acrimonious compromise. Trump spokespeople have indicated the $5 bi...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for December 17, 2018

Short Items of Interest—U.S. Economy Reaction From State and Local Level It has taken a while, but the various stimulus efforts that had been undertaken at the start of the year have finally begun to pay off for the states and cities. They have seen some additional revenue coming in as result of the better business atmosphere and more consistent ta...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for December 14, 2018

Short Items of Interest—U.S. Economy Rethinking Fed Strategy There has not been a new position staked out by the Fed at this point. However, economists are busy reading the tea leaves and consulting their Runes as they look ahead to 2019 and what Fed policy might look like. The expectation earlier this year was that 2019 would look a lot like 2018 ...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for December 12, 2018

Short Items of Interest—U.S. Economy Massive Farm Bill Set to Pass At varying points over the last couple of years, it seemed the Farm Bill would never make it through Congress despite the fact it is critical to the survival of the agricultural sector in the U.S. This is the legislation that authorizes the myriad of subsidies and assistance program...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for December 10, 2018

Short Items of Interest—U.S. Economy Position Unchanged on China? It has been more than a little challenging to determine just where the talks with China might be. Both nations have adopted a fairly hard-line approach to the negotiations, but that is not unusual given what is at stake. The question is whether any part of this deal is set in stone o...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for December 7, 2018

Short Items of Interest—U.S. Economy Job Numbers About as Expected The latest employment data was not much of a shock, which is just fine for this time of year. The level of unemployment has remained where it was at 3.7%, although there were slightly fewer jobs added than had been expected. The assessment prior to this report was that some 200,000 ...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for December 5, 2018

Short Items of Interest—U.S. Economy Trade Challenges Await New Year It seems likely President Trump will have several major battles on his hands over trade. After a bit of a rally earlier in the week, the global markets have tumbled again in response to renewed concerns regarding trade. After the initial enthusiasm over comments by Trump and Direc...
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