The Independent Market Observer

Can the Labor Market Normalize?

July 21, 2021

A couple of weeks ago, we left off our discussion on the labor market with the conclusion that the labor market shifts were real and reflected underlying changes in both the demographics and demand for jobs. Knowing that, however, doesn’t tell us what is likely to happen in the future. So, let’s think through the factors that will determine just that.

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Is the COVID Recession Over?

July 20, 2021

Yesterday was an interesting day. Yes, the headline declines in the stock market made it interesting, and that news is certainly part of it. Still, that kind of volatility is normal. We haven’t seen it for a while, but if you look back, it’s no big deal. In fact, markets are ticking back up again.

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Monday Update: June Retail Sales Beat Expectations

July 19, 2021

Last week saw a number of important economic updates, with a focus on June’s inflation and retail sales reports. Retail sales were a highlight, as the pace of sales increased by more than expected during the month. This will be another busy week for updates, which will address the housing market, weekly initial jobless claims, and more.

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Australia’s Love-Hate Relationship with China

July 16, 2021

Australia has been one of the biggest beneficiaries of China’s growth in the past several decades. China’s infrastructure spending after the last two crises—the great financial crisis and the more recent COVID-19 pandemic—created a demand for resources that was largely fulfilled by Australia. Indeed, this demand helped alleviate some of the pain for the Australian economy.

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What Do Rising Medical Risks Mean for the Economic Outlook?

July 15, 2021

It was about three weeks ago that I ended the regular coronavirus updates as the medical news had improved sufficiently that the country had largely reopened and the virus was under control. Since then, unfortunately, we have seen infections tick back up, and it is clear that—from a medical perspective—the virus is still with us. Thus, this update discusses where we are now and what it might mean going forward.

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What About Climate Change?

July 14, 2021

As regular readers know, I largely steer clear of politics. Political beliefs are largely beyond argument (on both sides), so it’s not a good use of time to put out arguments that go against someone’s convictions. Yet, in economics and markets, we do have to deal with the facts, as we saw recently with the pandemic. Regardless of where you stand on the vaccine, for example, the facts are what they are. And that is where we now find ourselves with climate change.

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Monthly Market Risk Update: July 2021

July 13, 2021

My colleague Sam Millette, senior investment research analyst on Commonwealth’s Investment Management and Research team, has helped me put together this month’s Market Risk Update. Thanks for the assist, Sam!

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Monday Update: Service Sector Expands in June

July 12, 2021

Last week was relatively quiet in terms of economic updates, with only three major data releases. In June, service sector confidence remained in healthy expansionary territory despite a slightly larger-than-expected pullback for the ISM Services index during the month. This week will be packed with updates, with June’s inflation and industrial production reports and the first look at consumer sentiment in July serving as highlights.

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Economic Risk Factor Update: July 2021

July 9, 2021

My colleague Sam Millette, senior investment research analyst on Commonwealth’s Investment Management and Research team, has helped me put together this month’s Economic Risk Factor Update. Thanks for the assist, Sam!

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Looking Back at the Markets in June and Ahead to July 2021

July 8, 2021

As we close out the first half of the year, we know a couple of things. First, the U.S. economy is almost entirely reopened following the pandemic shutdown. Although we are not yet fully back, the healing process continues. The story for the rest of the year in the U.S. will be about managing the risks, staying open, and growing our economy. As we are largely past the pandemic, the challenge ahead will be keeping the progress going.

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