Reclaiming Common Sense

This week was an brief week for this column, lasting just three days. This column was "on vacation," even though the data kept rolling. There were three main reports released this week that on which this column normally reports: The New Construction Report, The Weekly Unemployment Claims Report and the Existing Home Sales report.

(June 19) New home construction, and new home sales, provide a turbo charge to the economic engine of our country by stimulating construction jobs, financial service jobs, retail jobs, retail sales, and by reducing unemployment.  "May New Construction Best Since 2007" details how Starts are up, under construction data is up, and completions are up.

(June 20)  You can't sell what isn't for sale.  "May Existing Home Sales Held Back by Lack of Inventory" dug into the existing home sales data and reported that there was a record high May Average Sales Price paid this past month. The total single family and condominium sales level was comparable to what we had during 2001

(June 21)  Unemployment Claims, First-time Unemployment Claims and Continuing Unemployment Claims, are at generational lows with all-time high levels of employment. We are experiencing September Unemployment Claims levels, plural, during June that we normally only see during the final week fo September or the first week of October. This is "Unemployment Claims Craziness." What is crazy is that this is actively being ignored by the media. How low can these claims levels fall this Fall?

The economic data is comparable to a series of recipes at a popular restaurant. The seasonal factors are the seasoning. Was that a little hint of cayenne? Was that thyme? What kind of cheese did you use?  The non-seasonally adjusted data provided a considerable amount of boost to this economy. The new construction sector is up for the seventh straight May. Even so, new construction starts and completions are "stuck in the 1990s."  Existing Home Sales Were relatively strong, considering that "there isn't anything to sell." We had the lowest May inventory level on record since 1999.  We had the lowest ever during December 2017. We had the lowest January Inventory level January 2018. We had the lowest February, March, April, and May existing home inventory levels this January, February, March, April and May.   The Existing Home Sales data is great if you are selling, not so great if you are buying. The Continuing claims Data is trending lower every month.  This means that we could have some of the lowest unemployment levels, unemployment rate and unemployed workers, when the June Jobs Report is released.

We need to talk about the economy, not Seth Rogen refusing to take a picture with Paul Ryan, not Time magazine photoshopping its cover photo, not Bill Maher wanting a Recession, not Robert Deniro dropping F-bombs, not Peter Fonda calling for the abduction of the President's son.  Most people care about housing costs, employment, unemployment, inflation, and retail sales (mostly what is "on sale.") I didn't know that Seth Rogen still had an acting career. I wasn't sure that Time Magazine was publishing a print version of its magazine. What was Robert Deniro's most recent film... Anyone, Anyone...?  Peter Fonda? I was surprised to hear that he was still alive.

It's the economy.