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  • Signs of Life for Manufacturing Sector

    Now that the distortive effects of “cash for clunkers” have finally worked their way out of the data, we can make a better assessment of whether things are getting better or worse for the manufacturing sector. Well, so far so good. Total manufacturing output surged 1.1 percent during November...
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  • ‘Tis the Season to be...Thrifty

    Consumer spending has only now begun to tick above the levels observed last year when the financial crisis and recession really snowballed. However, recent data from the Federal Reserve’s flow of funds report point to a consumer still rattled by the housing market’s implosion, stock portfolio...
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  • Stuck on the Sidelines

    Judging by the reaction , this morning’s employment report, which showed a net decline of only 11,000 jobs and 0.2 percentage point drop in the unemployment rate, is being received as a sign the job market is on the mend. While the rapid deceleration in job losses is certainly welcome news, some...
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  • Fun with Numbers

    Since Thanksgiving is upon us, it’s a good time to take a step back from the ups and downs of the economy. A timely Wall Street Journal article suggests oft-repeated data on how many turkeys will be eaten and the ranking of Thanksgiving air and road travel are overhyped and probably inaccurate...
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  • Housing Blues, Part Deux

    Just when it seemed everyone thought the housing market was beginning to see some silver lining start to show, the MBA’s quarterly report on mortgage loan delinquencies and foreclosures offered a fresh reminder of how tenuous the situation remains for housing. Indeed, the report showed that 14...
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  • A Small Problem?

    The devastating consequences created by the residential mortgage market’s blow-up have been well documented. Now concerns over the broader impact of souring commercial real estate (CRE) loans are on the rise. The value of CRE loans outstanding is significantly smaller than residential loans ($3...
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  • One Step at a Time

    This week we saw something that hadn’t happened in over a year: growth in real GDP. Indeed, real GDP expanded 3.5 percent on an annualized basis during the third quarter, bolstered by consumer spending, business equipment spending, housing construction and exports. In a bit of a statistical quirk...
  • Jobless Recovery Redux

    The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta’s macroblog provides a good look at the evidence that points to the likelihood that the emerging recovery will be a jobless one. First, despite what has been an appreciable improvement in corporate profits during the third quarter, businesses have chosen to hold...
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  • Down but not Out

    After struggling through the worst downturn in the postwar era, the manufacturing sector is showing some signs of life. Sure, a large share of the rebound in output over the past three months is due to automakers restarting shuttered facilities and expanding inventories depleted by “cash for clunkers”;...
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  • Smart Grid Potpourri

    This month’s Economist includes an article that goes over some of the developments in the smart grid arena internationally, including efforts to reduce peak demand and integrate renewables into the transmission network. The article describes a California utility’s (PG&E) program to install...
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