Reclaiming Common Sense

This week was epitomized by two topics: Stock Market Volatility and the Wuhan Virus. The virus started in the Wuhan Province of China. It is not racists to call it the Wuhan Virus or the Chinese Coronavirus or COVID-19. The stock market had its largest one day point drop followed by its largest one day point gain. All of this obfuscated the good news regarding low inflation and record low first-time claims. It also allowed some further digging into the February jobs Report data and some looking forward to the release of the February MARTS retail report and the release of the February New Home Construction, New Home Sales, and Existing Home Sales data.


(March 10) This week started where last week ended with looking into the Jobs Report data. "Record Feb. Wages and Workers" examined the Current Employment Statistics (CES) data for workers, wages, and hours worked.  The Best February Ever for all but Manufacturing and Information Technology (with regard to workers) must be worth some discussion.


(March 10)  Next  up was the monthly comparison of President Trump with former Presidents Reagan, Clinton, George W Bush, and Obama. This installment, "Five Presidents at 37 Months: All Sectors Up" examined the CES data and the Current Population Survey (CPS) data after 37 months in office. President Trump was the only President to add workers in all sectors. President Clinton added workers in all sectors except Mining and Logging. President Trump has added more full-time jobs than the prior Presidents, combined or separately.


(March 11) Next week we will receive the monthly Retail Report. Pundits will say that this is backwards looking. "All" reports are backwards looking.  "Feb. Retail Sales Forecast: Woohoo before Wuhan" was written a little early in an effort to get people to realize that the first quarter activity is mostly in the books. Retail sales normally spike during March as some people get tax refund money in their accounts. First Quarter will not be negative. A recession is two back to back negative growth, quarter to quarter GDP, quarters. This report projects strong February to February growth.


(March 12) Inflation is important. Wages are growing faster than inflation. That is a good thing. What are the talking heads discussing? Deflation. We had it during 2009 and 2015. The energy deflation of 2015 was called a "Gasoline Stimulus." Now they are talking about how it could impact frackers. "Feb. CPI: Low Inflation, Low Unemployment" looked at Shelter Inflation, Commodity  Deflation, and Service Inflation.


(March 12)  Five years ago we saw the start of the "Seasonally Adjusted First-time Claims Streak" for first-time claims being reported under 300,000 claims. The federal government stopped keeping track of the streak shortly after the 2016 election. It continues to this day, stronger than ever. We almost had a seasonally adjusted claims week of 200,000. "261st Consecutive Week with Seasonally Adjusted First Time Claims Under 300k" goes into the detail, and how the first-time claims issuance rate is the lowest ever for the first week of March. The Continuing Claims streak continues, too, at 151 weeks.


(March 14) Friday was spent researching three reports: The New Home Construction Report, the New Home Sales Report, and the Existing Home Sales Report, all for February. This data was also collected generated prior to the Wuhan Virus. "Feb. Real Estate Forecast: Wuhan Virus-Proof" details how new home construction, new home sales, and existing home sales start their annual acceleration during February. They should have all been unimpacted by the Wuhan Virus. We should see February records for new home and existing home average sales prices.


Here is the link to the data on the Wuhan Virus
  • 145,377 Cases Worldwide 80,973 China, 2,174 in USA
  • Deaths Worldwide 5429 China 3193, USA 47
  • Recovered 71,715
  • Net Cases 68,233

The Wuhan Virus is virtually contained to China and Europe.  An interesting note is that the "International Conveyance" was being reported as "Other," is now being reported as "Cruise Ship."There may be more than just one cruise ship.


Next week we will receive the February Retail Sales data, February New Construction data, and February Existing Home Sales data, as well as the weekly unemployment claims  If we are lucky, this data should be good enough to assuage fears of the Wuhan Virus and cause the markets to rebound. Stay Calm.


It's the Economy.