Jim Picerno says the job market — or more specifically, the Department of Labor researchers who track and then revise employment data — is signaling to us that the United States is not going back into recession anytime soon. Revisions to the private nonfarm payroll numbers have been positive each month since May, Picerno says.
James Picerno at Capital Spectator says there are positive signs of continuing recovery out there, but there are also new warning signs from aggregate business lending data compiled by the St. Louis Fed. Taken together with other indicators showing the so-called soft patch, the "worrisome cracks forming in C&I’s momentum" are worth watching.
Yes, true active management talents exists and it's worth pursuing in some cases. But it's hard to identify in advance and it can be costly. Meanwhile, the idea that you can manage a portfolio of betas is catching on. One reason is the growing recognition that if you own a multi-asset class portfolio, which is sound advice, then much of the risk and return for the overall strategy is driven by the design and management of the beta mix. In that case, it makes sense to focus on the betas.
Remember, this is all about managing expectations. Let's not forget that the Fed could, if it was so inclined, push long rates much lower by printing money. There are some very good reasons for why Bernanke and company are reluctant to roll out the nuclear option. But events may be set to overwhelm otherwise cautious thinking on matters of monetary policy.
The recession risk, although higher today than it was a month or two back, still isn't so severe that the threat is now destined to go viral. Nonetheless, the markets are predicting a higher risk of trouble ahead, as last month's selling suggested.SEE ALSO: A reminder that the last recession hasn't been officially declared over
As always, the standard caveat is relevant here: initial claims are volatile and so any one reading should be taken with a grain of salt. That said, it’s getting harder to dismiss the trend this year for this series: treading water.SEE ALSO: Rise in jobless claims underscores wobbly recovery
Simply put, we thought deflation was so 2009. Wasn’t that battle already won? Perhaps not. If this was a “normal” business cycle, it’d be easy to dismiss what amounts to a small and statistically insignificant bout of deflation. But we’re still suffering the aftershocks of the Great Recession.And if you want to put a deflation thesis to work in the investment market, here are some ideas from Michael Johnston.
It’s clear that much of the “progress” we’ve seen in the job market so far has been a function of sidestepping economic apocalypse. In other words, the negative momentum of shedding jobs has slowed over the past year, arguably to the point that employment is now simply treading water rather than sinking.
Even if the decline in jobless claims resumes in the weeks ahead, as we expect it will, let’s not forget that there’s still a big test ahead for the economy. Having rebounded from the apocalypse of late-2008/early 2009, the challenge now is one of creating and sustaining growth that ends up as a net plus. That's a much tougher job than printing money.