From data clarity comes policy clarity. While the December jobs report shows that labor market performance remains steady, there are significant concerns that are not going to abate on their own. It was a good year for those seeking work. Employers added a net 2.2 million new jobs to their payrolls. This is slower than the 2.7 million added in 2015 and the 3 million added in 2014. It is nonetheless an encouraging performance given that the employment recovery began in earnest six years ago and has been confronting sluggish and volatile economic growth.
In a potentially brighter sign for a slow-growing, stressed U.S. manufacturing sector, the Institute for Supply Management reported that its widely followed Purchasing Managers' Index rose to a two-year high in December. This critical leading index of manufacturing growth has been strengthening consistently since September even as actual manufacturing output data remain distressingly weak, preventing the U.S. factory sector from achieving a full recovery from the Great Recession.
Global Economy, Money & Finance, Currency, Government Finance, Inflation
For only the second time in a decade and the first time in a year, the Federal Open Market Committee, the policymaking body of the Federal Reserve, has elected to increase the target range for its influential federal funds rate by 25 basis points to 0.50% to 0.75%.
One day in mid-October, more than 1,200 U.S. websites were taken down by a massive botnet attack launched through hacked Internet of Things (IoT) devices such as home Wi-Fi routers and CCTV cameras. There doesn’t seem to have been a political or criminal motive for the assault. Rather, it was more like some sophisticated hackers taking a joyride at the expense of millions of Americans.
Global Economy, Competitiveness, Foreign Trade, Government Policy
For a few years now, I’ve been contributing to Judy Dempsey’s “Judy Asks” feature over at Carnegie Europe, where she poses questions on international topics to various experts. Here are links to some of the questions I’ve answered this year—click through to read my responses and those of other experts, including from Johns Hopkins, the Council on Foreign Relations, The Economist, and the Financial Times.
After multiple holdups, a new trade agreement has been reached between the EU and Canada. The Comprehensive and Economic Trade Agreement (CETA), for which negotiations began in 2009, was signed on October 30 after the EU bridged differences among some constituencies.
The U.S., meanwhile, has not concluded a trade deal since 2012, despite having two in the works for years. What’s holding them up?
In my August webinar on the global outlook, I opened by noting that during this century, the changes in the global economic picture have been the most consequential since Bretton Woods, with new powers, dramatic crises, and constant change. The bottom line in the outlook is that we’re still in a slow-growth world, one struggling to adjust to post-recession dynamics.
Global Economy, Economic Environment, Recession, Money & Finance, GDP
Last month, I presented at the Industry & Economic Outlook Conference hosted by the National Fluid Power Association. I focused my presentation on the global manufacturing trends that are important to manufacturers. Below are some highlights from my presentation; you can view my slides here.
The National Association for Business Economics has awarded the MAPI Foundation's Cliff Waldman the Edmund A. Mennis Contributed Paper Award for his research on productivity and automation in the U.S. manufacturing sector. His report is drawn from his series on productivity that was commissioned by Rockwell Automation.