October 14, 2016

3Q16 GDP Estimates Continue Trending Down

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 3:31 pm

Apparently the retail sales news didn’t impress the caretakers of the GDP-predicting model at the Atlanta branch of the Federal Reserve, which has just cut its 3Q16 GDP prediction to an annualized 1.9 percent — half of what it was forecasting in early August.

Moody’s, featuring max Hillary Clinton contributor Mark Zandi, still has 2.3 percent.

Neither outfit cited today’s August Manufacturing and Trade Inventories and Sales report from the Census Bureau. Inventories went up a seasonally adjusted 0.2 percent, as did sales. August sales were the same as a year ago, while inventories came in 0.8 percent higher. So a large portion of the past year’s pitiful GDP growth occurred because inventories have been built up, not because people have actually bought more stuff.

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UPDATE: From Bloomberg:

Consumer confidence unexpectedly fell to a one-year low in October as Americans soured on the outlook for the economy amid a contentious presidential election campaign.
The University of Michigan preliminary index of sentiment declined to 87.9 from 91.2 in September, according to a report Friday. …

A sustained acceleration in worker pay has remained elusive even as companies keep adding jobs at a solid pace …”

Worker pay not going up much? How can that be? Mark Zandi tells us every month on the ADP conference call that wages are rising. (/sarcasm)

Stupid AP Fact Check Says Trump Was Wrong in Saying Bill Clinton ‘Lost’ His Law License

The latest installment of “Stupid Fact Checks” involves the Associated Press, which appears to be determined to deny the truth of any statement, no matter how obviously correct, made by Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump or running mate Mike Pence.

At Sunday’s second debate, Trump said, “what President Clinton did, he was impeached, he lost his license to practice law, he had to pay an $850,000 fine to one of the women.” The AP, as seen after the jump, claims Trump was wrong in saying Clinton “lost” his license:

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September Retail Sales: +0.6 Percent, +0.5 Percent Ex-Autos, ‘Control Group’ and ‘Core’ Less Impressive

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:29 am

Predictions: After a -0.3 percent showing in August, predictions per Yahoo’s Economic Calendar are for a 0.6 percent to 0.7 percent increase.

Some preliminary indicators haven’t been so strong.

The report will be here at 8:30.

HERE IT IS: Before looking at the seasonalizing, this is probably as much as anyone could have hoped for:

The U.S. Census Bureau announced today that advance estimates of U.S. retail and food services sales for September, adjusted for seasonal variation and holiday and trading-day differences, but not for price changes, were $459.8 billion, an increase of 0.6 percent (±0.5%) from the previous month, and 2.7 percent (±0.9%) above September 2015. Total sales for the July 2016 through September 2016 period were up 2.4 percent (±0.5%) from the same
period a year ago. The July 2016 to August 2016 percent change was revised from down 0.3 percent (±0.5%)* to down 0.2 percent (±0.2%)*.

Retail trade sales were up 0.6 (±0.5%) from August 2016, and up 2.2 percent (±0.7%) from last year. Nonstore retailers were up 10.6 percent (±1.6%) from September 2015, while Food services and drinking places were up 6.1 percent (±3.3%) from last year.

Well, there was a big dropoff in not seasonally adjusted sales from $471.4 billion in August to $445.4 billion in September. That’s typical. Last year’s virtually identical drop got seasonally adjusted to a tiny gain below 0.1 percent, but the seasonal results compared to declines in previous years is all over the map.

I don’t think the topline increase is a strong indicator of potential strength, though the press will certainly characterize it as such. Several more such months with similar results would be, but that seems like wishful thinking.

The large positive results in food service and drinking places run counter to what the national restaurant industry surveys are saying, but there may be an adverse selection problem at work (i.e., the establishments selecting or electing to respond are the ones who aren’t doing well, while feistier newcomers are out there taking business away from them).

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UPDATE: Zero Hedge is very unimpressed

Just as we detailed previously, headline retail sales data met expectations with a 0.6% rise MoM but the control group missed expectations with a mere 0.1% rise (vs 0.4% expectations). However, year-over-year, control group retail sales rose just 2.5% – the slowest gain since Nov 2015.

Historically, retail sales growth this slow has tended to lead to recession…

The “core retail sales” excludes autos and gasoline sales. That metric was up 0.3 percent. “Control group retail sales” also excludes building materials. My math shows that group up 0.2 percent in September.

UPDATE 2: Zero Hedge explains why the reported increase at “Food Service and Drinking Places” is suspect.

Friday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (101416)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 8:15 am

This open thread is meant for commenters to post on items either briefly noted below (if any) or otherwise not covered at this blog. Rules are here.

Positivity: Nun who witnessed multiple Eucharistic miracles on path to sainthood

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 8:10 am

From :

Oct 14, 2016 / 12:02 am

Mother Marie Adele Garnier led no ordinary life.

Marked with spiritual and physical suffering, visions of Christ, political upheaval, and a dramatically thwarted engagement early in her life, she eventually became the foundress of an order of sisters based in London that has now spread throughout the world.

Due to her remarkable life and virtue, Mother Marie Adele Garnier, founder of the Benedictine Tyburn Convent in London, has now been given the title “Servant of God” by the Congregation for the Cause of Saints, the title given to individuals whose cause has officially opened – the first step to canonization.

Her sisters have been trying to open her cause for 20 years, but lack of funds prevented them – vow of poverty, and all.

“But, in more recent times, on account of the increasing widespread fame of her holiness and her powerful intercession in obtaining both spiritual and temporal favours in response to prayers through her intercession, we firmly believe that the time has come to go forward with her Cause for Canonisation,” the order explains on their website.
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