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Chemicals and the Economy

US employment growth, disposable income, weaken again

June has typically been the seasonal peak for US employment.  July’s data continued this trend, as the chart shows: The July figure was 135.6m, compared to 136.8m in June (blue column) It is still well below 2007’s peak of 139.1m This is the first time jobs have been lower over a 4 year period since records began in […]

US employment ‘surprise’ confirms computers lack commonsense

Last week saw more evidence that recent weakness in chemical markets mirrors developments in the global economy. Of course, given the bullish mood amongst investors, these signs were still treated as being ‘surprises’. This is perhaps inevitable when trading is dominated by the computers owned by the high-frequency traders, rather than people. Computers can be […]

October’s demand begins to disappoint

October is usually one of the 4 strongest months for demand, alongside January, March and May. This year it should be particularly strong, as many say September’s demand was the weakest they can remember. The reason it is normally strong is that companies shoukd be racing to fulfil orders for the Christmas season. Factories often […]

US job numbers still below 2008 levels

The US jobs market remains very fragile. That seems to be the key message from last week’s monthly job statistics. And, of course, if jobs are hard to get, then consumer spending and GDP will remain weak. The chart shows the monthly jobs trend since 2008: • The number of jobs dived to 134.4m by […]

US job news shows demographics slowing demand

Friday’s weak US jobs report seemed to surprise most of those Wall Street analysts who are supposed to understand this key subject. The reason is that they ignore the major demographic changes now underway. The chart above shows official US employment numbers since 1939 (blue column) and per capita disposable income since 1969 (red line), […]

US job vacancy rates worse than in 1970s and 1980s

The above slide appears to be a series of random lines, at first glance. But it comes from an important speech from the vice chair of the US Federal Reserve, Janet Yellen, on US unemployment patterns. It describes the so-called Beveridge Curve, which highlights the relationship between unemployment (horizontal axis) and the job vacancy rate […]

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