It is All Greek to Me


The Greek referendum, expected to be a close affair, delivered a resounding victory to Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, who gambled his political future on the vote. By giving a large majority to the “no” camp, Greek voters didn’t simply reject the creditors’ proposal (which in any case was not really on the table anymore); they rejected the whole framework of the European approach to the Greek crisis.

By voting “no,” Greek voters accomplished what was thought to be impossible: Making the Greek case even more complicated Read More »

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Employment Holds Strong but…


Payroll employment jumped 223,000 in June, a little less than expectations but still well above the level needed to absorb anemic labor market growth. Moreover, business services continued to show strong gains in full-time as opposed to just temporary hires, which reflects an improving market for new college graduates. Health care also saw strong gains, while retailers continued to staff up in the wake of the winter doldrums. Those gains, along with ongoing strength in leisure and hospitality employment, reflect moves by consumers to loosen their purse strings and spend what they saved at the gas pump over the winter. Read More »

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Will Teens Get Off the Couch in June?


We are expecting payroll employment to rise by a respectable 250,000 jobs in June, 245,000 in the private sector and the unemployment rate to hold steady at 5.5%. The real issue will be the composition of those jobs. Read More »

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Rebound in Construction Spending Continues


Construction spending rose 0.8% in May and held most of April’s bounce-back. The April data were revised down a bit, but March revisions now show that we were already seeing a comeback from the worse-than-usual winter by early spring. Gains during the most recent month occurred in both the public and private sectors, but were still spotty in some areas. Read More »

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Could Grexit Delay Liftoff?


New York Federal Reserve Bank President William Dudley left September in play for liftoff in an interview with the Financial Times published on Sunday. His comments, however, were actually made on Friday, before Greece upped the ante further by punting the decision on reforms to a referendum after their next payment comes due at midnight in Greece on June 30. Financial markets have been much calmer than they were on this issue three years ago because the direct contagion risks are now much smaller Read More »

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Greece Closes Banks and Readies for Default


Deadlines have come and gone before, but there is a strong sense that this will be the momentous week of resolution for Greece. On Sunday, after the collapse of negotiations with the European partners and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Greece announced a bank holiday until July 6th and introduced capital controls, mostly aimed at stopping the flight of deposits and liquidity from the banking system.

Despite the narrowing of the gap between the Greek government on the one side and the European Union (EU) and the international creditors on the other, the Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras was incapable or unwilling to muster the strength to close the deal. Read More »

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The U.S. Consumer is Back


Personal consumption expenditures surged at a 0.9% pace in May and were revised up for the month of April. Personal incomes jumped at a 0.5% rate and were also revised up in April. The data on May, coupled with upward revisions to April, confirm Read More »

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New Home Sales Surge


New home sales accelerated to a 546,000-unit pace in May. This data not only beat expectations but also comes after a strong upward revision to April. Both the Northeast and West posted increases from April Read More »

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Dismal Durable Goods Orders


Durable goods orders fell 1.8% in May and were revised down for the month of April. Much of the drop was driven by a sharp drop in aircraft orders, which are extremely volatile. The remainder, however, was a disappointment. The vehicle sector, which had been one of the bright spots for factory orders, flatlined in May Read More »

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Home Sales Highest Since 2009


Existing home sales grew to 5.35 million on an annualized basis in May. That is the fastest pace of sales since November 2009 when sales were inflated by the temporary tax credit for first-time home buyers. Read More »

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