Two strong Recovery Winter numbers today.
First up, housing starts: "Privately-owned housing starts in January were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 699,000. This is 1.5 percent (±16.8%) above
the revised December estimate of 689,000 and is 9.9 percent (±14.2%) above the January 2011 rate of 636,000."
And new unemployment claims: "In the week ending February 11, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 348,000, a decrease of 13,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 361,000. The 4-week moving average was 365,250, a decrease of 1,750 from the previous week's revised average of 367,000."
Again, none of this is like crazy insane boom times data. But it all reflects an economy converging on normalcy and I think it's plausible that we'll see convergence at an accelerating rate. The things to watch for are spikes in rents and gasoline prices. The Federal Reserve will have to hold its nerve through an inflation panic. I would invest in things that you think oil-exporting nations are likely to want to buy.
TODAY IN SLATE
The Ebola Story
How our minds build narratives out of disaster.
The Budget Disaster That Completely Sabotaged the WHO’s Response to Ebola
PowerPoint Is the Worst, and Now It’s the Latest Way to Hack Into Your Computer
The Shooting Tragedies That Forged Canada’s Gun Politics
A Highly Unscientific Ranking of Crazy-Old German Beers
Welcome to 13th Grade!
Some high schools are offering a fifth year. That’s a great idea.
The Actual World
“Mount Thoreau” and the naming of things in the wilderness.