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Raising Profits without Raising Sales - What's the Bottom Line?

Japan’s firms, particularly its 5,000 largest firms, have mastered the art of producing growth in profits without growth in sales. They’ve done this by cutting costs, particularly labor costs.

TOE Alert: Machinery Orders up a Lot, But Beware of Monthly Gyrations

Japan-watchers got very excited because core private machinery orders in October were up 10% on a month-on-month basis, However, the monthly movements in orders have very large gyrations, even though the most volatile elements are removed from core orders. Bottom line: core orders could be a genuine “green shoot,” or one month’s surprising number may be misleading us.

Getting to 2% Real Growth Productivity Revolution

Richard Katz's December issue of the Oriental Economist includes reports of Getting to 2% Real Growth Productivity Revolution, How Much Productivity Growth is Needed? Talk with MOF’s Top Official, Japan's Software Industry - What Went Wrong? Taking the Lead on Climate Change - New Energy Model for PRC, Development Aids Climate Goals, and Cheap Yen, Lots of Buying - Tourism Explodes.

Housing Sector to Be a Good Driver for GDP Ahead

FMI’s Commentary on progress in the housing sector.

Data Round-Up: Regionals Show Solid Services, Some Mfg Improvement in 15Q2; Home Price Gains Healthy

FMI’s analyses of this morning’s June Chicago PMI and other Regional Business Surveys and April Home Prices data.

ACA Subsidy Snafus Responsible for Part of 2015 Lull

FMI’s Commentary on one cause for recent subdued retail sales: the Affordable Care Act.

Data Round-Up: Real Equipment Likely Rose Just +5% in 15Q1

FMI’s analysis of this morning’s March Durable Goods Orders report.

When Healthcare is a “Lemon”: Asymmetric Information and Market Failure

In this article, David explains how asymmetric information exchange between providers and patients contributes to medical errors, customer frustration, over and under-treatment in U.S. healthcare industry.

Data Round-Up: Vehicle Sales Off to Strong 2015 Start; Services Holding Up Well

FMI’s analyses of January Vehicle Sales and the January Non-Manufacturing Index.

The Oil Price Collapse: The Need for a New Roadmap - Part 1, Resources Economics

Reserves must be seen as a co-production of nature and man-made technology. Except for wood and dung that pre-industrial populations could burn on the spot, there is no such thing as a ‘natural resource’. Our advanced energy system is fueled by a combination of stuff-in-place and human skills. Terms like ‘gas to Liquids’ (GTL) or ‘cracking’ capture the manufacturing element; the evolution underway will not stop there—to the point possibly of ‘oil’ being someday manufactured from CO2 and water. As John and Beth Mitchell and Valerie Marcel and put it in their report for Chatham House in London: “The foreseeable problem is not finite resources but the rate at which these very large resources can be converted into reserves for potential production. Reserves of oil and gas have each more than doubled since 1980–faster than the increase in production. Technologies are developing which are creating new reserves of ‘unconventional’ oil, as they already have for gas.”