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Elliot Eisenberg, Ph.D. is a nationally acclaimed economist and public speaker specializing in making the arcana and minutia of economics fun, relevant and educational. He holds a B.A. in economics with first class honors from McGill University, as well as a Masters and Ph.D. in public administration from Syracuse University. more

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Because single-family construction activity is rising much too slowly while multifamily activity shrinks, housing inventory has declined Y-o-Y for 27 straight months, prices keep rising faster than wages, and affordability is at its lowest level since early 2009. As a result, housing sales have been flat for the past 12 months at an annual rate…
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 The Friday File: The movie that destroyed the most cars is Transformers 3 at 532 vehicles, next is Matrix Reloaded at 300. In third, Fast & Furious 5 which wrecked 260, followed by Junkman with 150 vehicles. Fifth is A Good Day To Die Hard with 132 wrecks. G.I. Joe is sixth at 112, while…
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 With the competition to lure Amazon’s second headquarters in full swing, I think the competition really boils down to just Austin, Atlanta, Dallas, and Nashville. All are relatively inexpensive, have good airports and universities, are large enough for Amazon not to drastically alter the existing labor market, and are physically far from Seattle, giving Amazon…
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 As the Fed reduces its huge balance sheet over the next several years, what will its eventual holdings consist of? Traditionally, it’s only been Treasuries. Now, holdings include $1.8 trillion in mortgage-backed securities, bought to support housing, and $2.5 trillion in Treasuries. As the Fed sells both, rates will rise, but importantly the spread between…
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 While over a year away, based only on presidential popularity, if the 11/18 mid-term elections were held now, the Republicans would be expected to lose 40 House seats, giving control of the chamber to the Democrats. This result is based on all mid-term elections since 1950. Other mid-term elections featuring a president with similar levels…
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 Headline inflation as measured by the CPI is 1.94%, and, after falling for some months, is again rising, partly on the back of rising rent inflation. The core rate, which excludes food and energy, and is a better measure of underlying inflation, is 1.68% and still falling. Why? Cheaper cell phone plans, a continuing decline…
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 The Friday File: In addition to being the nation’s oldest first-term president, its wealthiest, and the first with no military or governmental experience, President Trump is the first President since Andrew Johnson (1865-1869), and only one of three without a pet. Theodore Roosevelt had 50 pets, followed by Coolidge with 29 (including a hippo), Washington…
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 The global oil market, based solely on the value of oil produced and thus excluding options, futures and the like, is $1.7 trillion/year, more than all other raw material markets combined. Gold is next at $170 billion/year, one-tenth the size of oil. Not too far behind is iron ore at $115 billion/year. Rounding out the…
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The destruction of private wealth and public infrastructure caused by hurricanes Harvey and Irma is roughly $200 billion. The impact on GDP growth will critically depend on how fast refineries in Houston and tourism in Florida recover, along with how much insurance money and government disaster assistance arrives. 17Q3 GDP will be three-quarters of one…
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 Median household income rose 3.2% in 2016 to $59,039, finally surpassing the previous inflation-adjusted record of $58,665 set in 1999, yes 1999! In addition, the male-female wage gap narrowed from 79.6% in 2015, to 80.5%, and the poverty rate declined to 12.7%. In 2000, it was just 11.3%, close to the record 1972 low of…
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