today’s news

 

I thought three items were interesting:

 

hotels

Hotel occupancy in New York City is currently at 20%.  How low is that?

–at 70% occupancy, hotels make tons of money

–at 60%, they’re at breakeven on a financial reporting basis

–at 50%, they’re at breakeven on a cash basis.   Normally this is where they are this time of year

–at 30%, they give off an eerie “empty” vibe and people are nervous about staying

 

population

Population growth in the US during the year ending July 2019, at +0.48%, was the lowest in the past century.

The recent trend had been for a population increase of about 1.5% annually, composed of equal parts new births and immigration.  The birth rate has fallen off since the financial meltdown in 2008, however.  Also, the current administration is suppressing immigration, both at the borders and through a white racist tone that makes foreigners (at least my friends) fear to come/remain here.

This makes a difference because in its simplest formulation GDP expands either by having more people working or having workers become more efficient.  The poster child for the consequences of an anti-immigration stance combined with an aging population  is Japan, which hasn’t shown much growth for the past thirty years.

If we assume that we can achieve steady 1% annual productivity growth (a lot), the ceiling for GDP growth in the US is around +1.5% a year.

Immigration suppression is one of the key ways the current administration is creating not-yet-fully-felt, long-term damage to the domestic economy.  Not felt, but not unseen on Wall Street, I think.  This and the tariff wars are the main reasons the US-centric Russell 2000 has lagged the other market indices by so much over the past two years.