Mickey Levy is the chief economist of Berenberg Capital markets, LLC for the Americas and Asia and a member of the Shadow Open Market Committee. The views expressed in this column are the author’s own and do not reflect those of Berenberg Capital Markets, LLC.

My Articles

February 4, 2019, 12:23 PM EST
Job growth in January 2019 was surprisingly strong with payroll gains of 304,0000 and average hourly earnings growth remaining above 3% yr/yr for the fourth consecutive month, seemingly defying mounting concerns about global economic conditions, the government shutdown, and declines in various confidence surveys.
January 7, 2019, 4:33 PM EST
The U.S. December jobs report was exceptional with employment gains of 312,000, rising labor force participation and hours worked, and average hourly earnings growth of over 3% for the third consecutive month.
December 7, 2018, 11:54 AM EST
The November jobs report was mixed relative to expectations but still reflects a robust labor market. Job growth dipped below 200,000 while the unemployment rate was unchanged at 3.7 percent, a 49 year low. Average hourly earnings growth topped 3 percent year over year for the second consecutive month:
November 7, 2018, 2:40 PM EST
The Democrats gained control of the House of Representatives and Republicans maintained control of the Senate in the 2018 U.S. midterm elections, as predicted by political analysts. At the time of writing this note, election results show Democrats with 220 seats in the House and Republicans with 198, with 17 seats undeclared. Republicans are projected to maintain a majority in the Senate.
October 31, 2018, 4:19 PM EDT
September real consumption increased for durable goods at a rate of 1.8 percent, the highest rate of growth since March, and for nondurable goods at 0.2 percent. Consumption of services, however, was flat, largely due to a 1.8 percent decline in food services consumption following big gains in prior months. Other discretionary categories of spending were mixed: recreational goods and vehicles rose at a rate of 2 percent from the prior month; recreational services declined by 0.1 percent; motor vehicle and parts increased by 3.1 percent; personal care services increased by 0.1 percent; clothing and footwear declined by 0.6percent; and spending on personal care products remained the same from August.
October 10, 2018, 4:30 PM EDT
The September Employment Report was solid despite slower than expected job growth. There were strong upward revisions to prior months and a larger than expected drop in the unemployment rate. Hurricane Florence probably dented hiring in some sectors as well, which should reverse in the coming months.
September 26, 2018, 2:56 PM EDT
My colleagues and I recently analyzed every Federal Reserve interest rate increase episode between 1983 and 2015 and found several patterns emerge: bond yields rose, the yield curve flattened, the U.S. stock market either chopped sideways or rose, the U.S. dollar fell as frequently as it appreciated, and as the Fed raised rates from accommodative to a neutral monetary policy, the economy continued to grow, largely unaffected by the rate increases and removal of monetary accommodation. We also found that when the Fed tightened the money supply too much, the economic expansion tipped into recession.
September 10, 2018, 12:29 PM EDT
The U.S. labor market continued a solid performance in August, with a healthy increase in nonfarm payrolls, sustained low unemployment, a big 0.4 percent increase in average hourly earnings since last month—the best gain this year—and an increase in aggregate hours worked. Businesses are sufficiently confident in the outlook to continue boosting hiring, and households are pocketing higher wages, which should support healthy consumption gains.
August 1, 2018, 12:28 PM EDT
Last week’s announcement of the second quarter (Q2) GDP numbers shows that the U.S. economy is in good shape. Real GDP advanced 4.1%, the fastest rate of growth since the third quarter of 2014. That puts average growth in the first half of 2018 at 3.1%.
July 19, 2018, 2:48 PM EDT
Trump’s proposed new tariffs on $200 billion of imported goods from China escalate the U.S.-China trade conflict and intensify the debate about the economic and political implications of trade negotiations.  Clearly, the tariffs will be costly to some U.S. industries, but they also put China in a bind.  Also, markets are speculating that China may devalue its currency as a retaliatory measure.  These issues are more complex on many dimensions than they seem on the surface. 
June 12, 2018, 4:16 PM EDT
Amid strong momentum in the economy and inflation virtually at the Fed’s longer-run 2 percent inflation target, the Fed is expected to increase its policy rate from 1.75 to 2.0 percent at the conclusion of its June 12-13 FOMC meeting, and announce the next step in its balance sheet normalization policy. Beginning in July, it will roll over maturing US Treasury securities that exceed $24 billion (up from $18 billion) during each calendar month and reinvest principal mortgage-backed security payments that exceed $16 billion (up from $12 billion). The Fed will also publish its quarterly Summary of Economic Projections and Fed Chairman Powell will host his second post-meeting press conference.
May 30, 2018, 3:18 PM EDT
The Minutes to the May FOMC meeting released last week reiterated increased confidence in inflation stabilizing near two percent and diminished downside inflation risks, as well as confidence in expectations of above-potential medium-term GDP growth. Most Fed participants judged that another policy rate hike would be appropriate soon—a nod to a June rate hike that is widely expected.
May 17, 2018, 10:00 AM EDT
Encouraging data on U.S. consumers and businesses suggest that GDP growth is on pace for a rebound in Q2 after a shaky and quirky Q1.
May 7, 2018, 3:35 PM EDT
The Fed left its policy rate unchanged at 1.5 percent to 1.75 percent at its May 1–2 FOMC meeting, as expected, and its official post-meeting policy statement reflected an upgraded assessment of inflation conditions.
December 12, 2017, 11:02 AM EST
The House of Representatives and Senate have now approved separate plans to overhaul the federal tax system.  It now appears likely that a reconciliation process will quickly produce legislation that can pass both chambers of Congress and be signed into law by President Trump.  Though far from perfect – it still leaves us with a tax code that is far too complex and riddled with inefficiencies – the final bill, if passed, should nevertheless provide a noticeable boost to the US economy.