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The annual jamboree for central bankers at Jackson Hole, Wyo., is always a cause for considerable speculation in terms of clues that may be dropped as to future policy direction, particularly from the Federal Reserve.

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Every word of the Fed Chairman address is keenly shifted, every nuance carefully weighed to see what clues it gives to future policy direction. This time is no different but markets have been curiously sanguine since last month after considerable volatility earlier in the year. The Vix volatility index slid to its lowest level last week since August 2014

Source: Financial Times

Source: Financial Times

That is peculiar because the direction of interest rates at the Fed has been the cause of considerable volatility for emerging market exchange rates, bonds and precious metals in recent years. (more…)

This election season, infrastructure investment has become the belle of the ball, putting blighted manufacturing towns such as Monessen, Pa. and Granite City, Ill., not only on the map, but they’ve become the go-to backdrop for both candidates as they criss-cross the nation trying to win votes.

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But what do candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump’s plans really mean for the roads, bridges and infrastructure that everyone agrees need to be repaired? Can they even be successfully executed?


Construction unemployment rates in all states and the U.S., overall. Source: Associated Builders and Contractors of America, Markstein Advisors.

Politico reports that Clinton has proposed a five-year, $275 billion plan. Trump suggested he would double her proposal. Clinton’s website touts a White House report that every $1 billion in infrastructure spending creates 13,000 jobs.

Everyone is Employed Now

Only one problem: That report is from 2011 when the construction industry was in the midst of one of its worst economic years in its history. Five years later, there’s actually a shortage of skilled construction laborers as construction has enjoyed robust growth every year since. Although spending has recently declined both home construction and nonresidential have posted strong gains this year. (more…)