Markets & Economy

Here’s some evidence that the U.S. economy is doing OK

Purchasing managers are often the most forward-looking of all employees in any company
  • On the first business day each month, the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) reports its manufacturing-sector survey, and then a few days later the service-sector one.
  • The ISMs have caught the beginnings and turns and ends of every interest rate and Fed cycle.
  • A reading of 50.0 is a break-even economy, 44.0 marks a real recession and over 60.0 shows overheating.
  • Last Friday, July 1, the manufacturing survey taken at the end of June rose nicely to 53.2 from May’s 51.3.
  • On July 6 came services -- at least 70 percent of the economy; May had been a thin 52.9, forecast to rise to 53.4 -- and instead June blew out to 56.5.

One of the greatest losses in the new media age is the old-fashioned editor. Flint-tough, cranky and dismissive to reporters unless they had done their digging properly and found “news.” Today, any story which attracts clicks and eyeballs and wins the high-speed news race, even if half-fabricated or a not-news re-hash -- good job! One aspect of good reporting will take you back to annoying days in school. You’ve labored over a term paper for a couple of weeks, got it done on time, made a good argument in good style, and get a C-plus with this note: “Derivative. Needs original sources.” It's not good enough to read and quote several historians’ comments on George Washington’s writing -- instead, read and quote George himself. Today in business news, and especially the daily flood of economic data, every new datum is spun into importance, fluffed to look hot on your phone, and often has lost its original-source heft. Or heft has been manufactured. One of the be...