Blog Posts

  • November 15, 2017
    Inflationary pressures have had a much bigger impact on business profitability in 2017 than they did in 2016. The latest reading for the Producer Price Index (PPI), a measure of inflation for companies rather than consumers, was up 3.3% compared to this time last year (on a month-over-month basis...

  • November 8, 2017
    Robots! Have you heard the myth that robots are going to eliminate all our jobs? There is no basis for this, but the fear seems real enough as I talk to people. And have you heard that there is no manufacturing left in this country? There is no basis for that one either. Yet, these opinions persist...

  • November 1, 2017
    President Trump is reportedly considering nominating Jerome Powell as Federal Reserve Chair. This is a powerful position in the US economy as the Fed determines monetary policy, such as interest rates, acceptable inflation, money supply, and exchange rate goals. (While the President and Congress...

  • October 25, 2017
    At my last presentation, someone asked about China’s currency manipulation, specifically efforts to weaken the Chinese currency. It is an interesting question, but one that relies on an outdated narrative. China’s most recent currency devaluation came all the way back in the summer of 2015, in an...

  • October 23, 2017
    An oft-asked (two-part) question: What can we expect from the evolution in automobiles to electric vehicles? Will this be devastating to the oil and automotive industries and, thus, to our economy? The disruption to the oil industry, and to related jobs and infrastructure, would indeed be...

  • October 20, 2017
    The most frequent subject of conversation in my travels over the past few weeks has been tax reform. Business leaders want to know if the package of tax reforms proposed by the Trump administration will create jobs and spur the economy. My answer to their question is twofold. First, we still don...

  • October 17, 2017
    Invention involves risk. Knowing where you are, your customers are, and the economy is, in terms of the business cycle, mitigates the risk of inventing your future. Imagine if you could look forward with a reasonable expectation of accuracy. That is precisely why we have a system of leading...

  • October 12, 2017
    Many people are telling me that business is good, which means they are positively correlated to the economy. Profits are heading in the right direction, orders are coming in, and now it is time to prepare next year’s budgets. It is easy to let optimism lead to a straight-line forecast or at least a...

  • October 3, 2017
    The hot topic on the road last week was the Administration's tax reform proposal. The proposal is a mixed bag, with some aspects helping middle-income earners and some aspects helping high-income folks. It is still much too soon to be delving into details as Congress might (probably will) add,...

  • September 25, 2017
    Is the Yield Curve Enough to Predict Recessions? Regarding the inverted yield curve, Alan and I agree that an inverted yield curve is a confirming leading indicator, not a “must have.” A recent article correctly points out that recessions have occurred without an inverse yield curve forming. It...