by Bill McBride on 3/11/2014 02:30:00 PM
Tuesday, March 11, 2014
CBO: Federal Deficit through February $148 billion less this year than it was in fiscal year 2013 (adjusted for timing)
From the Congressional Budget Office (CBO): Monthly Budget Review for February 2014
The federal government ran a budget deficit of $379 billion for the first five months of fiscal year 2014, CBO estimates, $115 billion less than the shortfall recorded in the same span last year. Revenues are higher and outlays are lower than they were at this time a year ago. Without shifts in the timing of certain payments (which otherwise would have fallen on a weekend), the deficit for the five-month period would have been $148 billion less this year than it was in fiscal year 2013.And for February 2014:
The federal government incurred a deficit of $195 billion in February 2014, CBO estimates—$9 billion less than the $204 billion deficit incurred in February 2013. Because March 1 and February 1 both fell on a weekend in 2014, certain payments that ordinarily would have been made in March this year were made in February, and certain payments that would have been made in February were made in January. Without those shifts in the timing of payments, the deficit in February 2014 would have been $1 billion larger than it was.The consensus was the deficit for February would be around $218 billion, and it appears the deficit for fiscal 2014 will be smaller than the CBO currently expects (less than 3.0% of GDP).
CBO estimates that receipts in February totaled $144 billion—$21 billion (or 17 percent) more than those in the same month last year ... Total spending in February 2014 was $338 billion, CBO estimates, $12 billion more than outlays in the same month in 2013.
by Bill McBride on 3/11/2014 10:00:00 AM
From the BLS: Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary
There were 4.0 million job openings on the last business day of January, little changed from December, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. ...The following graph shows job openings (yellow line), hires (dark blue), Layoff, Discharges and other (red column), and Quits (light blue column) from the JOLTS.
Quits are generally voluntary separations initiated by the employee. Therefore, the quits rate can serve as a measure of workers’ willingness or ability to leave jobs. ... The number of quits (not seasonally adjusted) was little changed over the 12 months ending in January for total nonfarm, total private, and government.
This series started in December 2000.
Note: The difference between JOLTS hires and separations is similar to the CES (payroll survey) net jobs headline numbers. This report is for January, the most recent employment report was for February.
Click on graph for larger image.
Notice that hires (dark blue) and total separations (red and light blue columns stacked) are pretty close each month. This is a measure of turnover. When the blue line is above the two stacked columns, the economy is adding net jobs - when it is below the columns, the economy is losing jobs.
Jobs openings decreased slightly in January to 3.974 million from 3.914 million in December.
The number of job openings (yellow) is up 7.6% year-over-year compared to January 2013.
Quits decreased in January and are up about 3% year-over-year. These are voluntary separations. (see light blue columns at bottom of graph for trend for "quits").
Not much changes month-to-month in this report - and the data is noisy month-to-month, but the general trend suggests a gradually improving labor market. It is a good sign that job openings are close to 4.0 million and are at 2005 levels.
by Bill McBride on 3/11/2014 09:10:00 AM
From the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB): February optimism takes a tumble
Small business optimism continues its winter hibernation with the latest Index dropping 2.7 points to 91.4 ... NFIB owners increased employment by an average of 0.11 workers per firm in February (seasonally adjusted), virtually unchanged from January.Click on graph for larger image.
This graph shows the small business optimism index since 1986. The index decreased to 92.7 in February from 94.1 in January.
Monday, March 10, 2014
by Bill McBride on 3/10/2014 08:09:00 PM
Congratulations to Tom Lawler for winning another "Crystal Ball" award (most accurate 2- and 3-year forecasts ending in 2013 for panel of forecasters).
Also I've another great site to the right sidebar: House of Debt by Atif Mian and Amir Sufi (I've linked to several over their papers of the years and I'm happy to see them blogging).
• At 7:30 AM ET, the NFIB Small Business Optimism Index for February.
• At 10:00 AM, the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey for January from the BLS. The number of job openings were up 10.5% year-over-year in December compared to December 2012, and Quits increased in December and were up about 12% year-over-year.
• Also at 10:00 AM, Monthly Wholesale Trade: Sales and Inventories for January. The consensus is for a 0.4% increase in inventories.
by Bill McBride on 3/10/2014 02:37:00 PM
In November 2012, I was interviewed by Joe Weisenthal at Business Insider. One of my comments during our discussion on state and local governments was:
I wouldn’t be surprised if we see all of a sudden a report come out, “Hey, we’ve got a balanced budget in California.”At the time that was way out of the consensus view. And a couple of months later California announced a balanced budget, see The California Budget Surplus
The situation has improved since then. Here is the most recent update from California State Controller John Chiang: Controller Releases February Cash Update
State Controller John Chiang today released his monthly report covering California's cash balance, receipts and disbursements in February 2014. Revenues for the month totaled $5.6 billion, surpassing estimates in the 2014-15 Governor's Budget by $968.9 million, or 20.9 percent.This is just one state, but I expect local and state governments (in the aggregate) to add to both GDP and employment in 2014.
"Driven by strong retail sales and personal income tax withholdings, February receipts poured in at nearly $1 billion above projections," said Chiang. "How we conserve and invest during the upswings of California's notorious boom-or-bust revenue cycles will determine how critical programs – such as public safety and education – will weather the next economic dip. With fiscal discipline and a focus on slashing debt, we can make California more recession-resistant and prosperity a more enduring hallmark of our state."
Income tax receipts exceeded the Governor’s expectations by $721.7 million, or 45.7 percent. Corporate tax receipts came in ahead of estimates by $87.4 million, or 236.2 percent. Sales and use taxes were $113.7 million above, or 3.9 percent, expectations in the Governor's 2014-15 proposed budget.
The State ended the month with a General Fund cash deficit of $14.1 billion, which was covered with both internal and external borrowing. That figure was down from last year, when the State faced a cash deficit of $16.2 billion at the end of February 2013.