Friday , October 18 2019
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Tag Archives: Consumer

Braindead or Willfully Manipulative? How the Media Reported Retail Sales

Like a centrally directed disinformation campaign. Here’s what happened. And it was everywhere. Misleading headlines about retail sales, from which reporters then extrapolated silly conclusions about the consumer while clamoring for a rate cut from the Fed. Barron’s: “The American consumer – backed by strong wage growth – has offset weakness in corporate profits and capital spending for much of the past year. The Commerce Department’s latest update of retail and food service...

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Carmageddon for Tesla in Q3, GM Pulls Out All Stops, Ford Withers, Auto Sales at 1999-2000 Level

But consumers spent a record amount in Q3 on new vehicles due to record prices. General Motors, Ford, and Fiat Chrysler reported third-quarter new-vehicle deliveries in the US on Wednesday, and Tesla followed with its global deliveries for the quarter on Wednesday evening. Because Tesla doesn’t report deliveries in the US, the industry is stuck with estimating them, and they have plunged in Q3 due to waning demand, and so Tesla is selling its Model 3 production overseas. Other auto...

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How Employees & Employers Get Bled by Health Insurance

Something is seriously wrong with this system. The annual cost of the average health insurance family plan through employers — employer and employee contributions combined – rose another 4.9% in 2019, to $20,576. This is up 255% from 20 years ago, having soared five times faster than the Consumer Price Index (+52%). Employees paid about 29% of the premium for family coverage ($6,015 annually, red portion) and employers paid about 71% ($14,561 annually, blue portion). Over the past 20...

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Drama in the Oil Markets, But This Isn’t 2007 Anymore

How the US shale boom changed the equation. If the attack on Saudi oil facilities had occurred in 2007, it would have caused chaos in the US economy. The attacks on Saudi Arabia’s largest oil-processing plant at Abqaiq and its second-largest oil field in Khurais on Saturday knocked out about 5.7 million barrels a day of output – about half of Saudi production and about 5% of global production. Saudi military officials told reporters on Monday that the preliminary investigation of...

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Men’s “Real” Earnings Below 1973 Level: Census Bureau

Top 20% households made out like bandits, bottom 40% got crushed. The median earnings of men working full time year-round in 2018 ticked up to $55,291. Adjusted for inflation, this was below the amount they earned in 1973, according to the annual data trove released by the Census Bureau today. In other words, there has been a “real” income decline for men over the past four-plus decades! Women have seen a lot of progress in their real earnings, but they started out much lower, and they...

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THE WOLF STREET REPORT: What to Do About the Student-Loan Fiasco?

The University-Corporate-Financial Complex is going to squeal. OK, I’m going to wade into this debate. And I’m going to do it with my boots on (11 minutes). Enjoy reading WOLF STREET and want to support it? Using ad blockers – I totally get why – but want to support the site? You can donate “beer money.” I appreciate it immensely. Click on the beer mug to find out how: Would you like to be notified via email when WOLF STREET publishes a new article? Sign up here....

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Here’s What I’m Worried About. And It’s Not a Recession

A rout in the hyper-inflated bond market can blow up everything at this point. This is the transcript from my podcast last Sunday, THE WOLF STREET REPORT: The locker room at my swim club has become the litmus test. When a complex topic, after years of being absent or ignored, suddenly crops up in conversation, and not just sporadically but all the time, it means that there is some kind of peaking going on. This suddenly hot topic now is a “coming recession.” Just about everyone is...

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Inflation Data Shows Tariffs Are Not a Tax on Consumers but on Foreign & US Corporations

Inflation runs hot in housing, medical services, health insurance, other items that are not imported. The consumer price inflation data released today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which corroborates prior inflation data, says that, yes, prices are rising, but they’re rising sharply in services that are not impacted by imports and tariffs, such as rents and other housing costs, healthcare, education, and other services, and also in restaurants (where customers pay mostly for labor...

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The State of the American Debt Slaves, Q2 2019

The bifurcation among consumers. Consumer credit – auto loans, student loans, and revolving credit such as credit card balances and personal loans, but not housing-related debt such as mortgages and HELOCs – grew 5.4%, or by $208 billion, in the second quarter compared to a year ago, to a new record of $4.06 trillion (not seasonally adjusted), according to the Federal Reserve this afternoon. This 5.4% year-over-year gain was the strongest such gain in two years. The quarterly gain from...

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What Plunging Global Semiconductor Sales Just Said about Autos, IT & How the Economy Reacts to Uncertainties

The deepest plunge since the Financial Crisis, but more persistent. Global chip sales plunged 16.8% in June from June last year, to $32.7 billion, on a three-month moving average basis, and are down 22% from the peak in October 2018, according to the World Semiconductor Trade Statistics today. As deepest and most relentless plunge in semiconductor sales since the Financial Crisis continues, any hopes for a V-shaped recovery, such as during the Financial Crisis, have been shelved: This...

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