CFE Analysis | Macro

Beware of Seasonal Adjustment

By Kevin Heerdt and Jonathan H. Wright Economic data released by the government and other entities are being distorted by normally acceptable statistical methods. The extreme economic data that are coming out raise important issues of seasonal adjustment. Of course, there is no questioning the fact that the economic data are bad in an unprecedented […]

CFE | CFE Analysis | Macro

Votes, deaths and layoffs

There are 50 states, but only 13 where the 2016 presidential election was decided by a margin of less than eight percentage points. Six of them went for Hillary Clinton and seven for Donald Trump. It is likely that this year’s election will be largely decided in those states. So how are they faring in […]

CFE | CFE Analysis | Finance

Market Volatility

Get ready for another crazy month on Wall Street. Months like March tend to come in pairs, at least as far as volatility goes. Daily moves of 4% or more are usually rare for the S&P 500; there were only ten of them in the entire decade of 2010 through 2019. In March, there were […]

CFE | CFE Analysis | Macro

The best kind of stimulus

No sooner was the ink dry on the March 27 $2 trillion stimulus package than Washington began work on the next stimulus. This is the right thing to do. Deficit hawks who worry about the debt-GDP ratio should want it, because without further stimulus, the debt-GDP ratio will soar because of crumbling GDP. Both President […]

CFE | CFE Analysis | Commentary

COVID-19 Data: Signal versus Noise

Two burning questions confront all of us: How big is our public health problem? How sharp is our economic retrenchment? We think that the toolkit of economic forecasters has something to offer on the scale of the public health problem. Ignore the frantic quotes focused on reported COVID-19 cases—the numbers are all but meaningless. Instead, […]

CFE | CFE Analysis | Commentary

Oily Disaster

The United States has become the world’s largest oil producer. That honor is likely to vanish, and with it a lot of companies. If so – and it is almost certain to be so if the oil price war is not promptly ended – the question will be what impact that will have on the […]

CFE | CFE Analysis | Finance | Macro

Trump stocks

President Trump has frequently pointed to the performance of the stock market in praising his own performance, although not in the past week when markets worldwide came down with (fears of) the coronavirus. Even at the end of the market’s worst week since 2008, the S&P 500 has still risen at a compound rate of […]

CFE | CFE Analysis

Memo to the Fed: Remember 2008

One thing I learned during more than 40 years as a journalist is that the power to set the terms of the debate sometimes can be decisive in determining the outcome of the debate. That could be happening now with monetary policy. By loudly demanding that the Federal Reserve lower interest rates – and announcing […]