Video: FOMC reaction

We talked to the FT’s US markets editor Michael MacKenzie just after the FOMC presser ended. See also the reactions from James Mackintosh and Robin Harding.

Macro Live, Fed presser edition

Live markets commentary from FT.com 

FOMC statement for meeting of September 16-17, 2014

A few quick takeaways:

– The “considerable time” phrase stayed, as did “significant underutilization of labor resources.” Read more

Reminder: Macro Live for FOMC presser starting at 2:25pm EST

Just passing along the same info as earlier today…

A potentially pivotal FOMC meeting wraps up today, after which Janet Yellen will take questions from the media. Read more

Reminder: US Macro Live, FOMC presser edition

A potentially pivotal FOMC meeting wraps up today, after which Janet Yellen will take questions from the media.

Over at the usual place, Matt and I will be providing commentary in real time during the presser in addition to cheering on the FT’s man in Washington, Robin “Hip Specs” Harding. We’ll start at 2:25pm EST (7:25pm in London). Read more

The Fed can take its time, if it wants to

By most accounts — the musings of Wall Street strategists and media Fed watchers, speeches by FOMC members, countless online FOMC previews — momentum is building for the Fed to soon change its “considerable time” language, and to give clearer guidance on when and why it will start raising rates.

Will such changes be included in the FOMC statement that will be released on Wednesday? Read more

Slacking to stand still

Our favourite passage of Janet Yellen’s speech at Jackson Hole this year wasn’t actually in the text. It was in a footnote.

Specifically, footnote 7: “For convenience, the analysis here is presented as if cyclical factors and structural factors can be neatly delineated. In reality, the line between the two may be indistinct.”

Our initial reaction to the footnote was that it’s a banal but important point about economics in general. Even the biggest topics remain open to debate. Simplification is sometimes necessary to provide an organisational framework and a common jargon for discussing the relevant issues.

But the footnote was obviously there for a more specific reason, which was made clear in the rest of the speech: its relevance to the ongoing discussion within the FOMC and among economic commentators everywhere for the last couple of years. Read more

Jobs report disappoints in otherwise strong week of US indicators

Blowout ISM readings for both manufacturing and services. A trade deficit shrinking more quickly than expected. Auto sales in July hitting a 103-month high. Initial jobless claims in August were little changed and remained low.

All indicators released just this week. Read more

Mester’s preference for forward guidance

Loretta Mester, the president of the Cleveland Fed, gave her first speech on Thursday since taking over from her predecessor Sandra Pianalto.

From the remarks, our emphasis: Read more

Shocking wages, up then down

An observation from Credit Suisse economists about wages, emphasis ours:

The 2008 negative shock on prices was so large and, more importantly, so unexpected that sticky nominal wages were unable to react timely to deflation, causing real labor costs to rise sharply. Read more

The Closer

FURTHER FURTHER READING

- Draghi’s incursion into fiscal policyRead more

“Oops, we raised rates too soon”

An amusing quartet of charts from BCA Research:

 Read more

David Autor’s guide to labour and the machine

David Autor chooses a surprising quote for the start of his latest paper on automation and jobs:

In 1966, the philosopher Michael Polanyi observed, “We can know more than we can tell… The skill of a driver cannot be replaced by a thorough schooling in the theory of the motorcar; the knowledge I have of my own body differs altogether from the knowledge of its physiology.” Polanyi’s observation largely predates the computer era, but the paradox he identified—that our tacit knowledge of how the world works often exceeds our explicit understanding—foretells much of the history of computerization over the past five decades. Read more

Janet Yellen’s Rorschach speech

If the policy implications of Janet Yellen’s every word could be ignored, then her speech at Jackson Hole this year would merely be a wonderful elucidation of why it’s so hard to measure labour market health in real time.

The meaning for policy obviously can’t be ignored, and yet markets didn’t respond strongly one way or the other, while the instant reactions from commentators and strategists differed widely. Read more

On wages and inflation: jeers for fears

We live in disinflationary times, at least in the developed world.

This doesn’t mean that monetary and fiscal policies lack the potency to offset disinflation or deflation. What it means is that holding policy constant across time, non-policy economic forces have become less and less inflationary in recent years. Read more

Video and review: “The System Worked”, by Dan Drezner

While reading Dan Drezner’s The System Worked, I kept thinking of the well-publicised conversation between Barack Obama and Tim Geithner that took place shortly before Obama’s inauguration as president in January 2009. Read more

Before Jackson Hole, roundup of Yellen’s quotes on the labor market

Janet Yellen’s speech this Friday at the annual Jackson Hole symposium is titled, with understated simplicity and brevity, “Labor Markets”. The wider symposium is itself themed, “Re-Evaluating Labor Market Dynamics”.

And it’s no wonder. Even now, after more than a year of monetary policymakers and academics arguing about the amount of labour market slack and how much it should matter, most of the known unknowns in the debate remain, well, unknown.

In anticipation of the speech, the economics team at Credit Suisse has rounded up some of Yellen’s quotes on the labour market since she became Fed chair earlier this year (emphasis in the original, and my own thoughts follow the excerpt):
 Read more

A new secular stagnation e-book

Click the image for a link to the pdf of a new secular stagnation e-book, which features entries from Summers, Krugman, Blanchard, and many others, including some critics:

Earlier this year we wondered if perhaps Janet Yellen was thinking of secular stagnation as one of the potential reasons for the Fed’s recent, if slight, downgrading of US potential growth. Read more

“Humans need not apply”

 Read more

The situation in Ferguson, MO

A departure from the usual Alphaville fare…

The tense standoff between protesters and the police in Ferguson, Missouri worsened dramatically on Wednesday, while the arrest of two journalists focused attention on the extent to which the city’s police force has become militarised.

Throughout the day, images of armed police officers perched on tanks and aiming weapons at protesters spread throughout social media. The police also issued a statement requesting that crowds assemble only during daylight hours. Read more

The Closer

FURTHER FURTHER READING

- The deep design thinking behind MIT’s incredible origami robotRead more

Video: James Sweeney on where the US economy is headed

A brief chat on the US economy with James Sweeney, chief economist of Credit Suisse investment bank and the co-author of some influential strategy notes on shadow banking and collateral. His latest note considers the labour market slack issue and the likely impact on asset markets once financial conditions begin to tighten.

The Closer

FURTHER FURTHER READING

- The FICC and the dead: banks and volatilityRead more

When investment gets real (and netted)

Does the secular deflation of computers and related equipment skew the macroeconomic data on investment in the direction of irrelevance? Read more

Video: Dan Drezner on the economic sanctions against Russia

 Read more

The Closer

FURTHER FURTHER READING

- The FT & McKinsey books of the yearRead more

The Closer

FURTHER FURTHER READING

- The pre-recession UK debt fuelled boom that never was? Read more

Wait, *now* are the kids moving out?

The chart above comes via the indispensable Sober Look, who notes that household formation continues to look stagnant.

As explained in an excellent recent post by George Masnick, different and sometimes contradicting data sets make household formation a difficult indicator to measure in real time. Read more

The Closer

FURTHER FURTHER READING

- GE brings the internet of things to the factory floor. Read more