The Education 529 Channel

February New Home Sales Up 6.1% MoM, Beats Forecast

This morning's release of the February New Home Sales from the Census Bureau came in at 592K, up 6.1% month-over-month from a revised 558K in January. Seasonally adjusted estimates for November and December were also revised. The forecast was for 565K.

Update: A Closer Look at the Cost of Education

Many reports on the cost of education and affordability over the last decade have focused on the rapid growth of educational debt. Here we examine student aid, costs of undergraduate education, and enrollment over time. We've used data from the College Board's annual Trends in Higher Education publications. We've updated this report with the latest data.

Trends in the Teenage Workforce Update

In July of 2015, CNN Money featured an article with the optimistic and intriguing title "More American teens are getting jobs. That's good for everyone." After reading the article, we revised one of our monthly charts on Labor Force Participation to include the age 16-19 cohort -- one we elsewhere combine with the 20-24 year-olds. We've updated this article to include the latest employment data.

Monthly Market Risk Update: March 2017

Just as I do with the economy, I review the market each month for warning signs of trouble in the near future. Although valuations are now high—a noted risk factor in past bear markets—markets can stay expensive (or get much more expensive) for years and years, which doesn’t give us much to go on timing-wise.

Baby Boomer Employment Across Time

The 20th century Baby Boom was one of the most powerful demographic events in the history of the United States. We've created a series of charts to show seven age cohorts of the employed population from 1948 to the present. What we see is essentially the "Boomer Bulge" in employment across time. Those born between 1946 and 1964 continue to grow the employment of the two oldest cohorts. It will be interesting to see how long those two trends continue.

Is the U.S. Workforce Nearing Full Recovery?

We've updated our monthly workforce analysis to include last week's Employment Report for February. The unemployment rate ticked down from 4.8% to 4.7%, and the number of new nonfarm jobs (a relatively volatile number subject to extensive revisions) was surprised forecasts at 235K.

Long-Term Trends in Employment by Age Group

The Labor Force Participation Rate (LFPR) is a simple computation: You take the Civilian Labor Force (people age 16 and over employed or seeking employment) and divide it by the Civilian Noninstitutional Population (those 16 and over not in the military and or committed to an institution). The result is the participation rate expressed as a percent.

NFIB Small Business Survey: Optimism Remains High in February

The latest issue of the NFIB Small Business Economic Trends came out this morning. The headline number for February came in at 105.3, a decrease of 0.6 from the previous month's 105.9, and just under its interim high. The index is at the 98th percentile in this series. Today's number came in below the forecast of 106.1.

The Ratio of Part-Time Employed Remains High, But Improving

Let's take a close look at Friday's employment report numbers on Full and Part-Time Employment. Buried near the bottom of Table A-9 of the government's Employment Situation Summary are the numbers for Full- and Part-Time Workers, with 35-or-more hours as the arbitrary divide between the two categories. The source is the monthly Current Population Survey (CPS) of households. The focus is on total hours worked regardless of whether the hours are from a single or multiple jobs.

The Consequences of Overestimating Retirement Expenses

Research has shown that individual and household spending declines in real-dollar terms upon and following retirement. Yet most financial advisors still use traditional retirement planning approaches that target constant real-dollar spending for the client’s planning period.

How to Know if Your Marketing is Working

We recognize the importance of marketing communication, but our results don’t give me a good feeling about whether clients recognize or appreciate it. Should we dispense with email and figure out another way to communicate?

The Most Broadly Overvalued Moment in Market History

"The issue is no longer whether the current market resembles those preceding the 1929, 1969-70, 1973-74, and 1987 crashes. The issue is only - are conditions like October of 1929, or more like April? Like October of 1987, or more like July?

January Real Median Household Income: Little Change from December at $58,056

The Sentier Research median household income data for January, released yesterday, came in at $58,056. The nominal median grew by $185 month-over-month and is up only $875 year-over-year. In percentages, the latest month is up 0.3% MoM and up 1.5% YoY. Adjusted for inflation, the latest month shrank $133 MoM and was down $579 YoY. The real numbers equate to changes of -0.2% MoM and -1.0% YoY.

Were Fama and French Right about Value and Size? An Ex-Post Test

Fama and French’s 1992 seminal research, which identified the value and size factors, was met with skepticism. Even the authors questioned the underlying economic rationale for their findings. With a quarter century of data, let’s look back and see if the skepticism was justified. Have value and small-cap outperformed?

The Fatal Flaws In Your Financial Plan

Congratulations! If you are reading this article it is probably because you have money invested somewhere in the financial markets. That’s the good news. The bad news is the majority of you reading this article have probably NOT saved enough for retirement.