Small Business Optimism

January 14, 2020 Small business optimism fell 2.0 points in December to 102.7 after having jumped 2.3 points in November.  The August 2018  level of 108.8  broke the previous record high level of 108.0 set 35 years ago back in July 1983.  The current level of...

Trade Deficit

January 7, 2020 The trade deficit for November narrowed by $3.9 billion to $43.1 billion after having narrowed by $4.2 billion in October.  The $887 billion trade deficit in goods for 2018 was a record high level.  It should narrow slightly in 2019. The U.S. and China...

Corporate Profits

December 20, 2019 Corporate profits before tax with inventory valuation and capital consumption adjustments fell 0.2% in the third quarter after having risen 3.8% in the second quarter.  During the last year profits on this basis has declined 1.2%.  The IVA and CC...

Corporate Leverage

December 4, 2019 Economists like to keep an eye on the amount of leverage amongst corporations.  When corporations take on huge amounts of debt in relation to their net worth, any economic downturn will be much more severe than it would otherwise be as corporations...

Corporate Cash

December 4, 2019 Corporate cash holdings rose $226 billion in the third quarter to $3.00 trillion (above).  At 11.1% they are significantly higher than their long-run average of 9.8% of non-financial assets (below). Stephen Slifer NumberNomics Charleston,...

S&P 500 Stock Prices

November 1, 2019 The stock market continues to power its way upwards to a series of record high levels. Given that many economists worry about slower growth overseas particularly in China which is the world’s second largest economy,  weakness in the U.S....