As Bob Johnson wraps up his time at Morningstar, he looks back at what he's learned about the best way to watch the economy.
There are signs that both transitory issues and long-term headwinds are conspiring to keep price levels below the Fed’s target for now, but higher inflation is still a possibility.
Signs that productivity isn't as bad as feared and record high job openings are nice to see after a streak of poor data, says Bob Johnson.
Strong jobs number helped take the edge off disappointing consumption, autos, and other data this week.
Morningstar's Bob Johnson says there was a lot to like in July's jobs numbers, but issues in the auto sector could drag in the second half of the year.
Bob Johnson is expecting about 160,000 jobs added, far fewer than a year ago, with smaller increases in local government, construction, and healthcare.
As U.S. growth remains relatively anemic, the rest of the world is looking slightly better.
This week's data shows that these segments are not powering the growth that some had hoped for, says Morningstar's Bob Johnson.
It doesn't appear that the housing market is going to save us from slower economic growth.
Transitory special factors have been keeping prices down, but signs suggest some deeper factors at work, too.
Bob Johnson says demographics have a lot to do with the growth being stuck at 2.5%, but healthcare and retail are also trouble spots.
June's employment numbers don't look quite so exciting year over year, but given current labor shortages, we'll take stable growth.
Although wage growth isn't accelerating, lower inflation levels mean there is more room for consumer spending growth, says Morningstar’s Bob Johnson.
Bob Johnson expects around 150,000 jobs added but says a June upside surprise is possible.
The gap between wage/income growth and consumption has grown uncomfortably wide, perhaps signaling weaker consumption growth ahead.
Morningstar's Bob Johnson says he was encouraged by the revised first-quarter GDP estimate, but auto sales, durable goods orders, and pending home sales were worrisome.
While growth is likely to remain slower than usual, the risk of an outright recession now seems further out versus a month ago.
Core inflation is likely to fall in the range of 1.8% to 2.0%, with GDP growth between 1.75% and 2%, says Morningstar's Bob Johnson.
Since the beginning of the year, bonds have risen at the same time that equities have continued to gain.
The Fed may be planning another hike this year, but the economy isn't strong enough to justify it, says Morningstar's Bob Johnson.
Sector-level economic data suggests U.S. growth is less than robust, says Morningstar’s Bob Johnson.
Morningstar's Bob Johnson says latest numbers show a labor shortage, but that a few factors are keeping wages from spiking.
Top-line consumption numbers obscure some important changes in spending patterns, says Morningstar's Bob Johnson.
A disappointing employment report coupled with other signs of a slowing economy make a June rate hike much less likely, says Morningstar’s Bob Johnson.
Bob Johnson says the April boost in some sectors likely won't happen again and expects about 175,000 jobs added for May.
A revision in first-quarter GDP from pathetic growth to merely bad is no sign that the economy is picking up steam.
The sector's potential for improvement could make a difference for GDP growth, says Morningstar's Bob Johnson.
The impact of higher rates on housing affordability could give the Fed pause in its tightening plans.
With seven of 10 of the largest categories of manufacturing expanding in April, Bob Johnson thinks the sector can help offset a weaker consumer.
A tight labor market may not be sending prices as high as feared, but consumers will still feel the squeeze.
Bob Johnson says there's good news with payroll taxes, but individual income and corporate taxes showed no growth while interest expense rose.
More than a million nonseasonally adjusted new jobs is actually nothing special, and the quality of the gains was quite poor.
Bob Johnson sees good news in the 211,000 jobs added in April, but bad news on the quality of many of those jobs.
Bob Johnson says the government employment numbers on Friday have room to move higher after a weak March.
Economic growth fell short, but it could have been worse.
Morningstar's Bob Johnson gives his take on what’s driving the markets today.
U.S. GDP is looking ugly in the short run, while Europe is making a comeback against the odds.
March data confirms 2017 started off with a whimper, and it will be hard to make up that ground in the rest of the year.
Without dramatic changes to the birth rate or immigration or other policy measures, the U.S. economy looks set to underperform the growth rates of decades past.
Rising inflation and stagnant wage growth are combining to reduce consumer spending power.
March's surprisingly weak employment report is another hint that economic growth in 2017 will be sluggish, says Morningstar's Bob Johnson.
Lethargic economic growth should eventually lead to slowing jobs numbers, but there is no sign of that ahead of Friday’s March payroll report.
Slower consumption growth will weigh this year, while housing will likely make a smaller contribution versus last year.
Across the economy, there doesn't appear to be much excitement about growth or fear of a recession, says Morningstar's Bob Johnson.
Another rise in new-orders data suggests the industrial economy is on solid ground, but demographics are holding housing down.
Morningstar's Bob Johnson sees these trends as being responsible for the shift in asset class performance so far this year.
Stable gasoline prices could bring headline inflation down very soon.
Morningstar's Bob Johnson sees signs that year-over-year inflation growth is peaking, but a shock could quickly boost prices and threaten growth.
The Fed's plan for stair-step rate hikes in the coming years will likely be derailed by economic reality, says Morningstar's Bob Johnson.
There were lots of positives from the February employment report, but digging deeper into seasonal, sector, and real wage issues raises some concerns, says Morningstar's Bob Johnson.