Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for April 4, 2018

Short Items of Interest—U.S. EconomyManufacturing Employment UpAccording to ADP, the payroll company, the labor market is getting tighter—the level of job creation is as high as it has been in well over a year. This is not always the most accurate estimate of the overall job situation so we will have to wait for the official figures, but the ADP nu...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for April 3, 2018

Short Items of Interest—U.S. EconomyPork Tariffs The Chinese have been cautious as regards what they have taken aim at. There are significant parts of the U.S. economy that are closely connected to the Chinese economy. Also, there are certainly areas that would hurt the U.S. far more than tariffs on pork, fruits and nuts. The U.S. would most defini...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for April 2, 2018

Short Items of Interest—U.S. EconomyMixing Issues with MexicoIt remains a mystery to me just why Trump so dislikes our neighbor to the south, but it seems that not a day goes by without another assault on Mexico. The imposition of steel tariffs on Mexico will be contingent on what they do with NAFTA (as will those with Canada). Now, the issue of NA...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for March 30, 2018

Short Items of Interest—U.S. EconomyThe Rush for Summer HelpThis is the time of year when the U.S. business community really clashes with the aims of those opposed to immigration into the U.S. It has been the argument of the anti-immigrant groups that these low-skilled jobs need to be filled by Americans looking for work. Low-skilled immigrant visa...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for March 28, 2018

Short Items of Interest—U.S. EconomyGDP Growth Better than ExpectedEven just a few days ago, the consensus view was that GDP numbers for the fourth quarter would be better than the earlier predictions, but not as good as they have turned out to be. The final look at the Q4 numbers from 2017 show the economy growing at very nearly 3%. The growth fel...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for March 27, 2018

Short Items of Interest—U.S. EconomyNot All Consumer Confidence Numbers UpThe University of Michigan report was as upbeat as ever, but the report from the Conference Board slipped a little from its 18-year high last month. This is not the time for alarm, however, as almost every analyst predicted there would be a tumble from that exalted high, but ...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for March 26, 2018

Short Items of Interest—U.S. EconomyJohn Williams Likely to Replace Bill DudleyThe head of the New York Fed is one of the most important of the 12 regional Fed leaders as it is the branch that interacts with Wall Street most consistently. It is the only regional Fed that has a permanent seat at the table for the Open Market Committee. Dudley announ...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for March 21, 2018

Short Items of Interest—U.S. Economy Next Salvo of Trade Restrictions Aimed at China By the end of the week, the Trump administration will be hitting the Chinese with another round of tariffs and trade restrictions that could cost the Chinese some $30 billion. The focus of these restrictions has been technology related. The U.S. has accused the Chi...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for March 20, 2018

Short Items of Interest—U.S. Economy Fed Set to Become More Aggressive? We will get an idea of the Fed's thinking soon enough, but there are some factors that have led analysts, as well as some at the Fed, to assume that a more aggressive anti-inflation stance may be developing sooner than originally expected. The combination of generally good econ...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for March 19, 2018

Short Items of Interest—U.S. EconomyConsumer Confidence Hits 14-Year HighThis is more than a little confusing to economists. Not that we always expect the data to be consistent, but generally speaking, when there is an anomaly of some kind, it is resolved one way or the other. Thus far, there is a pretty significant division between what consumers ...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for March 16, 2018

Short Items of Interest—U.S. EconomyExpectations Remain in Place Among Most EconomistsThere have been some fluctuations as far as the threat of inflation is concerned. The thought had been that low unemployment would have triggered the rise of wages by now, but they have remained stubbornly low. The inflation threat from higher prices for commoditi...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for March 15, 2018

Short Items of Interest—U.S. EconomyWhat Is Wrong With the Consumer These Days?If there is anything that can be counted upon in the world of the economy, it is that U.S. consumers know how to consume. We are the most diligent of spenders and have been for decades. Our mantra is, "I can't be broke, I still have checks in my checkbook." When we are n...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for March 14, 2018

Short Items of Interest—U.S. EconomyRetail Sales Fall for Third Month in a RowThis was not supposed to be taking place after that big tax cut plan, but reality has started to sink in. The majority of the population simply did not see a major increase in their take home pay. For someone making between $50,000 and $75,000 a year, the tax break is $87...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for March 13, 2018

Short Items of Interest—U.S. EconomyConference Board Indicators RiseFrom time to time, I think we have mentioned that gauging the level of employment is always tricky. This is, at best, a moving target; people somehow refuse to be easily categorized. The Conference Board has put together a more complex index that tries to look at multiple factors t...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for March 12, 2018

Short Items of Interest—U.S. EconomyMortgage Rates Start to Become Real Headwind The idea of housing market headwinds has been discussed all year; yet there has not been all that much reaction. The price of homes has been going up. In some parts of the country, this has managed to price a lot of people out of the market (part of what has been drivi...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for March 9, 2018

Short Items of Interest—U.S. EconomyHousehold Wealth Hits New RecordsOne thing that can be said about the rising values of the stock market and the increase of home prices throughout the country is that it has made the U.S. household far wealthier than it has ever been. The level of household wealth sets new records every month and this one is no e...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for March 8, 2018

Short Items of Interest—U.S. EconomyRise of Nationalists in Trump's Inner CircleIt is a bit early to say anything definitive as we have learned that policy in the Trump era is ever-changing, and often with little warning. A few months ago, it appeared that the power of economic policy rested in the more traditional hands of people like Gary Cohn, b...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for March 6, 2018

Short Items of Interest—U.S. EconomyService Sector Continues to ThriveThe shocker for the Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) this month was the employment gauge. This reading fell hard—over 6.6%. This forced the whole index to trend down a little, but it is still above 59, firmly in the expansion category (anything above 50). Ordinarily, a big drop i...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for March 5, 2018

Short Items of Interest—U.S. EconomyWhite House Civil WarThere has been tension within the ranks of White House advisors from the start—not all that unusual. The people who are tasked to head up departments and provide policy advice are expected to compete with one another to advance the agenda of the group they head. Trump is now dealing with a br...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for March 2, 2018

Short Items of Interest—U.S. EconomyTariff Shock WavesFrankly, most analysts and observers never thought it would come to this. There were so many reasons that imposing tariffs on imported steel was a bad idea. It instantly makes everything made of steel more expensive in the U.S., such as cars, buildings, equipment, etc. It instantly pits the U.S....
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