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Economics & Research Blog

Sideways is Considered Good News

The economy continues to surprise not just for its resilience but for the acceptance of lackluster figures as being good.

By Dr. Joe Webb
Published: June 1, 2007

The economy continues to surprise not just for its resilience but for the acceptance of lackluster figures as being good. GDP for the first quarter was revised down from +1.3% to +0.6%. It will probably be revised up when they issue the final number at the end of June, but it's not like it will be anywhere near average. Some analysts found good news in the report, that things are increasing on the consumer side. Obviously not enough. One of the numbers we look at, proprietor's income, was up +1.8%, but this is not particularly good.

The ISM report for manufacturing was at 55 for May, and that tells us that things are still growing, but at a subdued pace.

Today's unemployment report was at 4.5%, which is nothing new either. There was a rare event in the report, and that was that the household survey and the payroll survey went up by the same amount: 157,000. The best news in the report was that the household survey stopped producing negative numbers.

All of the inflation data are still relatively tame. The minutes of the recent Fed meeting (I'd rather have the actual recordings of them throwing things at each other and calling each other names) indicated their shared belief that housing will be slow for a longer period than expected. They'll be keeping interest rates where they are for the rest of the year, unless something cataclysmic happens.

In Monday's chart of the week, we'll have a fresh look at the relationship between print and GDP.

Dr. Joe Webb is one of the graphic arts industry's best-known consultants, forecasters, and commentators. He is the director of WhatTheyThink.com's Economics and Research Center.

What do you think? Please send feedback to Dr. Joe by emailing him at drjoe@whattheythink.com.

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