Broker Check

Weekly Commentary by Dr. Scott Brown

The may Employment Report
June 5, 2017

"Nonfarm payrolls rose less than expected in the initial estimate for May, while gains for March and April were revised a net 66,000 lower. The unemployment rate fell to 4.3% ......."Click here to read more

Blue Skies or Stormy Weather?
May 29, 2017

"The 2nd estimate (first revision) of 1Q17 GDP growth was stronger than expected, but well within the normal range for such revisions ......."Click here to read more


And if You Try Sometimes...
May 22, 2017

"Following the election, stock market participants gained optimism on the view that the new administration would push through a reduction in regulations, sharply boost infrastructure spending and achieve board tax reform......."Click here to read more


Employment, Inflation, and the Fed
May 8, 2017

"Growth in the nonfarm payrolls rebounded in April, following a soft increase in March, consistent with a longer-term downward trend ......."Click here to read more


Storytime
May 1, 2017

"Real GDP rose at a 0.7% annual rate in the advance estimate for 1Q17, below the median forecast ......."Click here to read more



"Soft" vs. "Hard" Data and 1Q17 GDP Growth
April 24, 2017

"The Bureau of Economic Analysis reports its advance estimate of first quarter economic growth on Friday. In recent years, the National Income and Product Accounts have exhibited what's called "residual seasonality" in 1Q growth ......."Click here to read more



The Federal Budget Outlook 
April 17, 2017

"It's a long-standing adage in Washington that the federal debt is a problem only when the other party is in charge. Republicans label Democrats as the party of "tax and spend", while Republicans are deemed the party of "borrow and spend". ......."Click here to read more



March Payrolls, the FOMC, and Backcasting 1Q17
April 10, 2017

"Nonfarm payrolls were reported to have risen by "just" 98,000 in March, while the unemployment rate fell to its lowest level (4.5%) since  May 2007. . ......."Click here to read more



Consumer Stumble or Just a Pause? 
April 3, 2017

"Consumer spending accounts for 69% of Gross Domestic Product. Last week, the data on the household sector were mixed. ......."Click here to read more



Coming Into View 
March 27-31, 2017

"Upcoming data reports will help to fill in the near-term picture of the economy, while developments in Washington will lead to ......."Click here to read more


Fed and Markets Still Divided on Growth Outlook
March 20-24, 2017

"The median projection for the federal fund rate is 1.4 percent at the end of this year, 2.1 percent at the end of next year, and 3 percent at the end of 2019 . ......."Click here to read more


The February Employment Report
March 13-17, 2017

"Prior to seasonal adjustment, the U.S. economy added more than a million jobs in February. ......."Click here to read more

Numbers 
February 27- March 10, 2017

"The majority of U.S. economic data are based on statistical samples and the various figures are typically adjusted for seasonal variation. That means that the numbers are subject to some level of uncertainty. ......."Click here to read more



Borderline
February 20-24, 2017

"President Trump is expected to announce a revised tax cut plan soon. In the meantime, it's worth revisiting how the sausage gets made in Washington. By law, tax code changes must originate in the House of Representatives, and the Senate will have its say......."Click here to read more



Rebel Yell(en)
February 13-17, 2017

"Fed Chair Janet Yellen will present her monetary policy testimony to Congress on Tuesday and Wednesday. We may not learn much new regarding the pace of future rate increases (which will remain data-dependent) and she's certain to avoid getting into any discussion of fiscal policy......"Click here to read more



A Clouded, But Optimistic Outlook
February 6-10, 2017

"January economic data are relatively unreliable, but recent figures paint a fairly consistent picture of where we are headed in the near term. While there is reason to be optimistic, it's still a mixed bag, with some concerns about what we'll see coming out of Washington over the next several months....."Click here to read more

Shakin' My Head
January 30- February 3, 2017

"Real GDP rose at 1.9% annual rate in the initial estimate for 4Q16, with the headline growth figure held down by a wider trade deficit. That does not mean that foreign trade is a drag on the U.S. economy. President Trump has inherited an economy that is in good shape. However, the federal budget situation, manageable right now, is set to become more troublesome in the years ahead - and that is before....."Click here to read more


A Tale of Two Economies
January 23-27, 2017

"It goes without saying that therei s a sharp contrast between the economic views of the incoming administration and those of the Federal Reserve. President Trump, and most of the individuals who voted for him, sees a weak economy, devastated by job losses in manufacturing. The Federal Reserve sees an economy nearing full employment. So who's correct? ....."Click here to read more


Thrill or Chill on Capitol Hill? 
January 16-20, 2017

"Since the November election, the financial markets have priced in a more friendly business environment, with growth boosted by expansionary fiscal policy. However, the White House does not have absolute power. Congress writes the laws. While the outcome is uncertain, the legislative mechanics suggest that may see little, if any, tax cuts in calendar 2017....."Click here to read more


December Job Report: Where to Now?
January 9-13, 2017

"The December Employment Report showed the job market to be in good shape. The pace of job growth slowed in 2016, partly reflecting tighter labor market conditions. The unemployment rate edged up, following an unusually large drop in November...."Click here to read more



An Uncertain Outlook, But For Whom? 
December 19, 2016 - January 6, 2017

"the outlook for 2017 is now shaping up as a battle of ideas, though few seem to be realizing it yet. The stock market as risen since the election. Consumers, small businesses owners, home builders, and manufacturers are all more optimistic. Many expect..."Click here to read more



The Fed Outlook- 2017 and Beyond
December 12-16, 2016

"Federal Reserve policymakers are widely expected to raise short-term interest rates this week. The policy statement should continue to suggest that, while the pace of tightening is expected to be gradual, action will remain data-dependent...."Click here to read more



The November Employment Report
December 5-9, 2016

"The November job market report was a mixed bag. Nonfarm payrolls were in line with expectations, continuing to reflect a more moderate pace of job growth in 2016 ...."Click here to read more



The Trump Trade
November 21-December 2, 2016

"The stock market has risen significantly since the election, largely on expectations of a rollback in regulations, a large infrastructure spending package and a reduction in taxes. Normally, any of these would ...."Click here to read more


The Election and the Economy
November 14-18, 2016

"Following the surprising election of Donald Trump and the news that Republicans had held on to the House and Senate, the stock market rallied. Optimism on near-term economic growth may be warranted, but investors should also be realistic...."Click here to read more


The October Employment Report
November 7-11, 2016

"The October job market data were not far from expectations, consistent with a further tightening in labor market conditions. While the average hourly earnings figures can be quirky....."Click here to read more


Numbers and Their Meaning 
October 31-November 4, 2016

"The US economy is complex. Most people want to sum it up in one simple number: real GDP growth. However, that estimate has a nubmer of flaws....."Click here to read more


The Next Few Weeks
October 24-28, 2016

"Recent data reports have added little color to the economic outlook, but that may change soon enough. The advance GDP report should show the economy advancing at a moderate pace, but results are likely to remain mixed across sectors....."Click here to read more


The September Employment Report
October 10-21, 2016

"Nonfarm payrolls rose at a moderately strong pace in the initial estimate for September, a bit less than expected, but well within the usual range of uncertainty. The pace of job growth appears to have slowed this year, but we’re still adding jobs beyond a long-term sustainable pace......."Click here to read more


Adjusting the Outlook
October 3-7, 2016

"Investors place far too much emphasis on the GDP figures. However, digging into the components suggests a less optimistic (not pessimistic) outlook for growth in the near term......"Click here to read more


Who's Confused, The Fed or the Market
September 26-30, 2016

"The Federal Reserve provides a lot more information than it used to. The central bank issues policy statements, it makes public its economic projections and policy expectations, and the Fed chair holds regular press conferences to explain things. However, despite this added clarity, financial market..........."Click here to read more


Limited Economic Upside
September 19-23, 2016

"This being a presidential election year, views on the economy vary widely. The labor market has improved substantially in the last few years, to the point where we are seeing some evidence of wage pressures. On the other hand, growth in inflation adjusted Gross Domestic Product has been low by historical standards............"Click here to read more

The Return of Fiscal Policy
September 12-16, 2016

"The world’s central bankers are tired of having to do all the heavy lifting to support growth. Some have suggested the need for fiscal policy to take a bigger role. Is that a good idea? Is expansionary fiscal policy even feasible at this point?..........."Click here to read more


The August Employment Report
September 5-9, 2016

"Nonfarm payrolls rose less than expected in August. Monthly changes have been uneven in recent months, which is consistent with the usual noise in the data, although the underlying trend appears to have slowed this year. Job growth should slow as the job market tightens, but how much slack remains in the job market? That’s an important question for Fed policymakers as they consider what to do in September..........."Click here to read more