uscon_conf

Then there is US jobs, the unemployment rate fell to a nine-year low. Employment, or non-farm payrolls, which is the US measure economists like to watch, rose by 178,000 in November, that's pretty good, but the wider point is that in the first eleven months of this year, non-farm payrolls have risen by a smidgeon less than two million. The number of involuntary part-time workers reduced by 220,000 to just 3.6%, the lowest level so far during this cycle. The fall in unemployment occurred despite the workforce increasing in size by 1.7 million this year, although it did drop a little month on month in November. The one negative relates to wages, average hourly wages fell by 0.1%, but with higher paid jobs in business and professional services rising by 63,000 in November, the fall in wages was surely a one-off.

And this takes us to the latest purchasing managers indexes, (PMIs) from ISM. November saw two. And they both rose. The non-manufacturing index, for example, rose to a 13-month high, jumping like a filly to 57.2, from 54.8 the month before. A sub-index tracking employment leaped even higher. As Capital Economics put it: "The surge in the employment index to 58.2, from 53.1, left it consistent, on past form, with monthly gains in private services payrolls of almost 300,000. " The manufacturing PMI increased to a five-month high.

Combine the two PMIs, and they point to growth of 3% annualised, in the final quarter of this year in the US.

And finally data covering the US economy in Q3 has been revised upwards, and now records growth of 3.2% annualised from 2.9% estimated previously. But the good news does not end there. An alternative measure of the US economy: GDI, gross domestic income, rose by 5.2%. In theory GDI should equal GDP, so that jump was encouraging. It was helpded by a 6.6% rise in corporate profits (annualised.)

So all this augers well, with Capital Economics predicting 2.7% growth next year.

Some might react to the recent US election result as a kick in the teeth for liberal values, but right now the US economy is no donkey.

PS: GDI equals compensation of employees + gross operating surplus (which is effectively corporate profits) + gross mixed income + taxes – subsidies on production and imports. GDP equals consumption + investment + government spending + exports - imports. In theory the two measures should throw up the same result, the fact they rarely do shows how hit and miss estimates of the economy are.