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  • Fragile Economy - Handle with Care

    Just when many economists thought the economic recovery might be gaining a little momentum, reality comes along and throws a big bucket of icy cold water on the party. The employment report was by far the worst in a week where economic data had been signaling at least some improvement. Net job losses...
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  • What's Next?

    An op-ed in today’s Wall Street Journal written by Kevin Warsh, a member of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, is a must-read. Without striking a self-congratulatory tone about their apparent successes thus far in averting catastrophe, the article provides insights into the ramifications of...
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  • Still in the Early Innings

    After enduring the deepest economic downturn of the postwar era, manufacturers are finally beginning to see some signs of recovery. For the second month in a row, industrial production and capacity utilization have posted decent-sized gains. A temporary rebound in the auto industry, thanks in part to...
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  • Climbing out of the Hole

    The recovery watch continues and based on anecdotal reports out of the Fed's Beige Book , economic activity is stabilizing, and even showing signs of improving, around the nation. Indeed, the key question is quickly becoming how strong and steady the gains will be as we emerge from the deep hole...
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  • Labor Day Lament

    While we're getting more and more signs that an honest-to-goodness economic recovery might be in the offing, one particularly stubborn segment of the economy continues to cast a lingering shadow: the labor market. Today's employment report did show yet another moderation in the pace of job losses...
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  • Bye-Bye Clunkers

    One of the common threads you'll see in the discussion about "cash for clunkers" is that it was a phenomenal success (see here and here for examples). The program did manage to lift auto sales temporarily by 600,000 units, that much is true. Unfortunately, July and August sales are likely...
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  • More Trouble Brewing on the Home Front?

    Improving data on new home construction and existing home sales provide the strongest evidence yet that the U.S. housing market is in the midst of a nascent recovery. Unfortunately, concerns are aplenty that several issues could throw a monkey-wrench into things and turn the recovery into a falling house...
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  • The $14 Trillion Question

    Times like these can test an economist's mettle. Since everyone seems to be interested in hearing the answer to one question, namely "Is the recession over?", it helps when you can give with some degree of confidence a reply of yes (or no). Moving from recession to recovery is not a process...
  • The Known Unknown

    When analyzing the U.S. economy's recovery prospects, one key factor that often comes into play is perhaps the most difficult to nail down: pent-up demand. At the moment, households are cutting back on discretionary spending and rebuilding their savings. A time will come when consumers start to feel...
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  • The Path to the Great Egress

    Instead of P.T. Barnum , now we have Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke trying to mark a clear path to the exits. With his semiannual testimony to Congress and an op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal, Chairman Bernanke is going to great lengths to reassure market participants that the Fed will know...
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