Welcome to Bespoke Brunch Reads — a linkfest of the favorite things we read over the past week. The links are mostly market related, but there are some other interesting subjects covered as well. We hope you enjoy the food for thought as a supplement to the research we provide you during the week.
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How the Inflation Rate Is Measured: 477 Government Workers at Grocery Stores by Rachel Wolfe (WSJ)
A look at the small battalion of price-checkers who wander from store to store looking for the prices of goods and services that feed into the consumer price index. [Link; paywall]
The Physical Capacity Shortage View of Inflation by Alex Williams (Employ America)
Recent inflation data suggests that physical limitations are a larger constraint on inflation than availability of labor inputs, with logistics and plant capacity more relevant than the unemployment rate. [Link]
Why the Northeast is quietly running out of diesel by Rachek Premack (FreightWaves)
Very low diesel inventories are sparking concerns that the East Coast may run out of diesel fuel, though so far tight supplies haven’t led to actual shortages thus far despite a dearth of supply amidst high prices. [Link]
NYC Billionaire Catsimatidis Warns of Looming East Coast Diesel Rationing by Lucia Kassai (Bloomberg)
The CEO of United Refining Co, an East Coast oil refiner and fuel station operator, tight diesel markets will mean an absolute shortfall of the fuel over the summer. [Link; soft paywall]
Ford F-150 Lightning First Drive: Quiet Storm by Andrew J. Hawkins (The Verge)
Reviews are flowing in from Ford F-150 Lightning media events in Texas held last week, and the results are an interesting insight into the unique offering that doesn’t try and reinvent the wheel, while completely reinventing the fuel source. [Link]
MIT, Harvard scientists find AI can recognize race from X-rays — and nobody knows how by Hiawatha Bray (Boston Globe)
Machine learning programs can generate some strange results, as in this case where a program designed to read x-ray and CT scans manages to identify the race of the patient at a 90% accuracy. [Link]
Covid shutdowns in China are delaying medical scans in the U.S. by Christopher Rowland (WaPo)
A GE Healthcare factory in China stopped producing contrast media, imperiling the ability of hospitals in the United States to do otherwise routine scans. [Link; soft paywall]
NYC Rent Guidelines Board votes to increase tenants’ rents by up to 6% by Gwynne Hogan and Catalina Gonella (Gothamist)
The oversight board which approves the rate at which stabilized rent apartments can raise prices; they will rise 2% to 4% for one year leases and as much as 6% for 2 year leases. [Link]
Countdown Starts for NYC Businesses Required to Post Salary Ranges on Job Ads by Jeff Green (Bloomberg)
A New York City law will require employers to disclose pay in job postings, joining CO, WA, CT, and four other states in enacting salary transparency rules of one kind or another. [Link; soft paywall]
This Year’s College Admissions Horror Show by Nicole LaPorte (Yahoo!/Town & Country)
Elite high schools promised students – and more relevantly, perhaps, their parents – a path to elite college admission. But changing criteria and a smaller acceptance class this year mean many hopefuls didn’t get their hope-for invitations. [Link]
China’s Economic Slowdown Is Rippling All Around the World by Jason Douglas and David Harrison (WSJ)
The massive boom that has pulled hundreds of millions of Chinese citizens into the global middle class has faltered, with companies across the world warning activity is plunging. [Link; paywall]
Target Workers Are Joining the Union Wave by Bryce Covert (The New Republic)
The 21,000 pit stop on I-81 in southwest Virginia is a strange place for unionization to spread, but Target is facing a unionization vote in the tiny outpost. It would be the first store to unionize nationally, and as many as six other stores are considering similar moves. [Link]
Monthly Budget Review: April 2022 (CBO)
The federal deficit for the October-April fiscal period of 2022 showed an 84% decline in the federal deficit relative to October-April of 2021, one of the largest and fastest declines ever recorded. [Link]
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Have a great weekend!