Markets & Economy

We’re living in a wage-suppressed world, and disinflation is here

Any near-term economic surprise is likely to come from overseas

A rational week. What a relief. The steep drops in interest rates and stocks stopped just where charts said they should, and both rebounded in predictable perfection, now dead neutral. U.S. snowboarders should land so well. Janet Yellen gave her first formal testimony as Fed ... chairman? Chairwoman? Chairperson? Madame chairman? None of the above. In the self-effacing dignity and directness that will mark her years on the job, she has chosen officially: chair. A run of weak economic data is still dismissed as just another weather report, especially by Eastern-centric media. Atlanta has had a tough stretch, true. And it's been cold in the Upper Midwest, but ice fishing is a hobby oop der. Philly's all-time record four, 6-inch snowstorms? Please. Wimps. So, a 0.4 percent decline in January retail sales? Just the weather. Today the worst factory production report since 2009, despite a surge in utility output? The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) says this h...