F. Hale Stewart is a financial adviser with Thompson Creek Wealth and a transactional attorney, specialising in asset protection and advanced tax planning.
Existing Home Sales Up Slightly
Sales at the National Level
1-Year Chart of Regional Sales Levels
Understanding the recent weakness of productivity growth is central to addressing the longer-run challenges confronting the economy. Productivity growth over the past decade has been lackluster by post-World War II standards. Output per hour increased only 1-1/4 percent per year, on average, from 2006 to 2015, compared with its long-run average of 2-1/2 percent from 1949 to 2005. This halving of productivity growth, if it were to persist, would have wide-ranging consequences for living standards, wage growth, and economic policy more broadly. A number of explanations have been offered for the decline in productivity growth, including mismeasurement in the official statistics, depressed capital investment, and a falloff in business dynamism, with reality likely reflecting some combination of all of these factors and more.
We should also consider the possibility that weak demand has played a role in holding back productivity growth, although standard economic textbooks generally trace a path from productivity growth to demand rather than vice versa. Chair Yellen recently spoke on the influence of demand on aggregate supply.3 In her speech, she reviewed a body of literature that suggests that demand conditions can have persistent effects on supply.4 In most of the literature, these effects are thought to occur through hysteresis in labor markets. But there are likely also some channels through which low aggregate demand could affect productivity, perhaps by lowering research-and-development spending or decreasing the pace of firm formation and innovation. I believe that the relationship between productivity growth and the strength of aggregate demand is an area where further research is required.
Real Output per Person
Real Output Per Hour
Weekly Charts of Commodity ETFs Show Industrial Metals Are the Only Sector Stoking Inflation
Weekly Chart of Agricultural ETF
Weekly Chart of Industrial Metals ETF
Weekly Chart of Energy ETF