Here at The Motley Fool, we've been following the economic developments that have affected your life and your pocketbook so far this year. We've covered the inverted yield curve, the historically low savings rate, inflation, stagflation, and the hotly debated housing bubble, among other timely topics. Check out the articles below to get caught up on the dismal science's most relevant topics from the first half of 2006. We've given you little tasters of each story so you can decide which ones you're most interested in reading.

What Does the Inverted Yield Curve Really Mean?

By Bill Mann (TMF Otter)

With the level of fretting in the popular press over the fact that the yield curve is inverted, you might be forgiven for picturing Bambi's forest when some rumor starts that MAN has shown up with his thundersticks.

Really, I'm pretty sure that most of the chinwags yammering over the yield curve don't even really know what it is . (For more, click here.)

How's a Depression Sound? Great?

By Seth Jayson (TMF Bent)

The more I see data like that savings rate -- or evidence of a continued cooling in the vaporous economic engine that is the housing market -- the more I'm going to start moving money into companies that sell what people need, not what people can live without. So long, Best Buy (NYSE:BBY); hello Colgate-Palmolive (NYSE:CL). Urban Outfitters (NASDAQ:URBN)? It's been fun, but if it comes to a point where people have to choose between $180 jeans (slimming and edgy as they may be) or corn flakes for the kids, or gas for the drive to work, I'm betting on the likes of Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) and ExxonMobil (NYSE:XOM) . (For more, click here.)

Hooray for the Low Savings Rate!

By Robert Brokamp (TMF Bro)

Hey, did you hear the good news? Americans aren't saving squat!

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the savings rate in January was a negative 0.7% -- that is, the average American household spent 0.7% more than it made . (For more, click here.)

Recession in 2007?

By Rich Smith (TMFDitty)

John Mauldin: "What we saw in January was a 'baby' inversion, but the yield curve is only a good predictor of recession when the inversion is of a significant size -- say 10 to 20 basis points or more -- and if it remains inverted for 90 days or more.

So that's the good news. If we're going to see a recession, it won't be until 2007, because the inversion didn't stick. ." (For more, click here.)

The Fed's Stag Party

By Seth Jayson (TMF Bent)

Why should you fear stagflation? Because its one of those economic ills that doesn't have easy fixes. The all-powerful Fed may look completely impotent in a few months' time, and here's why. If the Fed continues tightening to try to curb inflation, it may squeeze investment, which in turn can squeeze job and wage growth . (For more, click here.)

This Just In: People Are Crazy

By Seth Jayson (TMF Bent)

This morning, we discovered that in 2005, real wages decreased. For the first time since 1996, wages increased by an amount that failed to cover inflation. (It's sad to note that, in light of those wage figures, the Conference Board's survey shows that 21% of Americans believe their income will increase in the months ahead.) Yet consumers are convinced we're in the best of times, and they're willing to bet money (that they don't seem to have) on that belief? . (For more, click here.)

Another Housing Hoohah

By Seth Jayson (TMF Bent)

With all the snarky observations I've been making about the hissing housing bubble, you might expect me to have a "Booyah! Told you so!" ready for this monthly update.

I don't. That's because I don't really want to see any of those poor folks out there who bought high -- and continue buying higher -- to get crushed. It's also because this month's widely reported housing market "cooling" just might be anything but . (For more, click here.)

I Want My Bubble Back!

By Seth Jayson (TMF Bent)

There's nothing funnier or more satisfying (for me, at least) than watching the National Association of Realtors (NAR) change its tune these days. The latest news release from this sunny-Jim industry group finally fesses up to its past fiction, but even when it admits the bubble's going to pop, it can't muster the courage to just come out and say it.

Nope, according to the news template the NAR released to the press on June 6, "The housing boom has ended, but sales at historically healthy levels will continue ..." (For more, click here.)

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