State of the Empire: The Empire State Manufacturing Index retreated for the 4th month, to its lowest level since January with new orders declining from +7,75 to -5.5, shipments down from +13 to a -0.5 and employment flat while hours worked fell. Naturally the stock markets reached new highs.
Creditable Debt: According to the NY Fed's Quarterly Report on Household Debt, the 3rd quarter was up 1.1% from the prior quarter at $11.28 trillion, $1.5 trillion below the 2008 peak. The increases were widespread, from mortgages, auto loans, student loans, and credit cards. Delinquency rates have declined from 8.7% at peak in 2010 to 5.3% today. This all suggests that households are no longer deleveraging.
This Is Where We Came In: Mortgage lenders continue to whittle away at downpayment requirements as home prices increase, on the belief that prices only go up.
Waldo, Found! For quite some time the denialist camp has enjoyed asking where the “missing global warming” was. Turns out it wasn't missing, it was simply hiding out in places where there are damned few weather stations. Filling in those gaps has more than doubled the global warming trend as the Arctic has warmed exceptionally fast. If the entire period from 1980 to 2012 is considered, the warming trend is 0.16 °C per decade - which conforms to the long-term global warming trend.
Labor Pains: Boeing has a contract with the machinists' union that runs until 2016, but as part of its blackmail threats surrounding where it will build the new 777X. Boeing is trying to get the union to take significant cuts - ending defined-benefit pensions, increasing medical costs and instituting a two-tier wage system. The rank and file has voted the offer down. Boeing continues to threaten a move to another state with cheaper, non-union labor.
Bedtime Reading: The Republicans have blocked another nominee to the federal appellate bench – this makes three well-qualified women who have become victims of the Republican fear that another woman would be in position for elevation to the Supreme Court. Democrats, incensed at the blatant sexism as well as the groundless obstructionism of the Republicans, are muttering about changing the filibuster rules and instituting majority rule at least on Presidential appointments. But that's probably just more of their gutless bluster.
The Parting Shot: