Category Archives: Uncategorized

Total Household Net Worth As Of 1Q 2017 – Two Long-Term Charts

In the last post (“Total Household Net Worth As A Percent Of GDP 1Q 2017“) I displayed a long-term chart depicting Total Household Net Worth as a percentage of GDP.

For reference purposes, here is Total Household Net Worth from a long-term perspective (from 1945:Q4 through 2017:Q1).  The last value (as of the June 8, 2017 update) is $94.83540 Trillion:

(click on each chart to enlarge image)

Total Household Net Worth

Also of interest is the same metric presented on a “Percent Change from a Year Ago” basis:

Total Household Net Worth Percent Change From Year Ago

Data Source: FRED, Federal Reserve Economic Data, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System; accessed June 9, 2017:

http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/TNWBSHNO

_____

The Special Note summarizes my overall thoughts about our economic situation

SPX at 2445.05 as this post is written

Total Household Net Worth As A Percent Of GDP 1Q 2017

The following chart is from the CalculatedRisk post of June 8, 2017 titled “Fed’s Flow of Funds:  Household Net Worth increased in Q4.” It depicts Total Household Net Worth as a Percent of GDP.  The underlying data is from the Federal Reserve’s Z.1 report, “Financial Accounts of the United States“:

(click on chart to enlarge image)

Total Household Net Worth As A Percent Of GDP

As seen in the above-referenced CalculatedRisk post:

Household net worth was at $94.8 trillion in Q1 2017, up from $92.5 trillion in Q4 2016.

The Fed estimated that the value of household real estate increased to $23.5 trillion in Q1. The value of household real estate is now above the bubble peak in early 2006 – but not adjusted for inflation, and this also includes new construction.

As I have written in previous posts concerning this Household Net Worth (as a percent of GDP) topic:

As one can see, the first outsized peak was in 2000, and attained after the stock market bull market / stock market bubbles and economic strength.  The second outsized peak was in 2007, right near the peak of the housing bubble as well as near the stock market peak.

also:

I could extensively write about various interpretations that can be made from this chart.  One way this chart can be interpreted is a gauge of “what’s in it for me?” as far as the aggregated wealth citizens are gleaning from economic activity, as measured compared to GDP.

_____

The Special Note summarizes my overall thoughts about our economic situation

SPX at 2431.56 as this post is written

June 6, 2017 Gallup Poll Results On Economic Confidence – Notable Excerpts

On June 6, 2017 Gallup released the poll results titled “Confidence In Economy in May Lowest Since November 2016.”

Notable excerpts include:

Though still historically high, Americans’ confidence in the economy fell to a six-month low in May, largely dragged down by Democrats’ worsening economic attitudes. Gallup’s U.S. Economic Confidence Index averaged a score of +3 in May, down slightly from April (+5) but eight points below January’s record monthly high (+11).

Gallup’s U.S. Economic Confidence Index is the average of two components: how Americans rate current economic conditions and whether they believe the economy is improving or getting worse. The index has a theoretical maximum of +100 if all Americans were to say the economy is doing well and improving, and a theoretical minimum of -100 if all were to say the economy is doing poorly and getting worse.

also:

Even as some Americans become more pessimistic about the economy overall, attitudes about the economy’s current conditions have been relatively stable. Last month, 32% of Americans assessed the economy as “excellent” or “good,” while 22% said the economy was “poor.” Overall, the current conditions component averaged +10 in May, similar to +11 in April and three points shy of the nine-year high (+13) the measure hit in February and March.

Meanwhile, perceptions about the economy’s outlook have more clearly deteriorated. In May, slightly more Americans (49%) said the economy was “getting worse” than said it was “getting better” (45%). The economic outlook component stood at -4 for the month, representing a slight dip from April when the component averaged -1, and it is down notably from its record high in January of +11.

Here is an accompanying chart of the two components of the Gallup Economic Confidence Index, discussed above:

Gallup U.S. Economic Confidence Index Components

Here is an accompanying chart of the Gallup Economic Confidence Index:

Gallup U.S. Economic Confidence Index - Monthly Averages

 

_____

The Special Note summarizes my overall thoughts about our economic situation

SPX at 2429.33 as this post is written

Average Hourly Earnings Trends

I have written many blog posts concerning the worrisome trends in income and earnings.

Along these lines, one of the measures showing disconcerting trends is that of hourly earnings.

While the concept of hourly earnings can be defined and measured in a variety of ways, below are a few charts that I believe broadly illustrate problematic trends.

The first chart depicts Average Hourly Earnings Of All Employees: Total Private (FRED series CES0500000003)(current value = $26.22):

(click on chart to enlarge image)(chart last updated 6-2-17)

CES0500000003

Data Source: FRED, Federal Reserve Economic Data, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis: Average Hourly Earnings of All Employees:  Total Private [CES0500000003] ; U.S. Department of Labor: Bureau of Labor Statistics; accessed June 2, 2017:

http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/CES0500000003

This next chart depicts this same measure on a “Percentage Change From A Year Ago” basis.   While not totally surprising, I find the decline from 2009 and subsequent trend to be disconcerting:

(click on chart to enlarge image)(chart last updated 6-2-17)

CES0500000003 Percent Change From Year Ago

There are slightly different measures available from a longer-term perspective. Pictured below is another measure, the Average Hourly Earnings of Production and Nonsupervisory Employees – Total Private (FRED series AHETPI)(current value = $22.00):

(click on chart to enlarge image)(chart last updated 6-2-17)

AHETPI

Data Source: FRED, Federal Reserve Economic Data, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis: Average Hourly Earnings of Production and Nonsupervisory Employees:  Total Private [AHETPI] ; U.S. Department of Labor: Bureau of Labor Statistics;  accessed June 2, 2017:

http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/AHETPI

Pictured below is this AHETPI measure on a “Percentage Change From A Year Ago” basis.   While not totally surprising, I find the decline from 2009 and subsequent trend to be disconcerting:

(click on chart to enlarge image)(chart last updated 6-2-17)

AHETPI Percent Change From Year Ago

I will continue to actively monitor these trends, especially given the post-2009 dynamics.

_________

I post various economic indicators and indices because I believe they should be carefully monitored.  However, as those familiar with this site are aware, I do not necessarily agree with what they depict or imply.

_____

The Special Note summarizes my overall thoughts about our economic situation

SPX at 2437.53 this post is written

Consumer Confidence Surveys – As Of May 30, 2017

Doug Short had a blog post of May 30, 2017 (“Michigan Consumer Confidence Down, Remains Optimistic“) in which he presents the latest Conference Board Consumer Confidence and Thomson/Reuters University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index charts.  They are presented below:

(click on charts to enlarge images)

Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index

University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index

There are a few aspects of the above charts that I find highly noteworthy.  Of course, until the sudden upswing in 2014, the continued subdued absolute levels of these two surveys was disconcerting.

Also, I find the “behavior” of these readings to be quite disparate as compared to the other post-recession periods, as shown in the charts between the gray shaded areas (the gray areas denote recessions as defined by the NBER.)

While I don’t believe that confidence surveys should be overemphasized, I find these readings to be very problematical, especially in light of a variety of other highly disconcerting measures highlighted throughout this site.

_____

The Special Note summarizes my overall thoughts about our economic situation

SPX at 2412.91 as this post is written

Durable Goods New Orders – Long-Term Charts Through April 2017

Many people place emphasis on Durable Goods New Orders as a prominent economic indicator and/or leading economic indicator.

For reference, below are two charts depicting this measure.

First, from the St. Louis Fed site (FRED), a chart through April 2017, updated on May 26, 2017. This value is $231,168 ($ Millions):

(click on charts to enlarge images)

DGORDER_5-26-17

Second, here is the chart depicting this measure on a “Percentage Change from a Year Ago” basis:

DGORDER Percent Change From Year Ago

Data Source: FRED, Federal Reserve Economic Data, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis: Manufacturers’ New Orders:  Durable Goods [DGORDER]; U.S. Department of Commerce: Census Bureau; accessed May 26, 2017;

http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/DGORDER

_________

I post various indicators and indices because I believe they should be carefully monitored.  However, as those familiar with this site are aware, I do not necessarily agree with what they depict or imply.

_____

The Special Note summarizes my overall thoughts about our economic situation

SPX at 2415.58 as this post is written

Median Household Income Chart

I have written many blog posts concerning the worrisome trends in income and earnings.

Doug Short, in his May 23, 2017 post titled “April Real Median Household Income Shows Encouraging Growth,” produced the chart below.  It is based upon data from Sentier Research, and it shows both nominal and real median household incomes since 2000, as depicted.  As one can see, post-recession real median household income (seen in the blue line since 2009) remains worrisome.

(click on chart to enlarge image)

Monthly Median Household Income chart

As Doug mentions in his aforementioned post, regarding the change in real median household incomes:

As the excellent data from Sentier Research makes clear, the mainstream U.S. household was struggling before the Great Recession. At this point, real household incomes are about where they were during the Great Recession.

Among other items seen in his post is a chart depicting each of the two (nominal and real household incomes) data series’ percent change over time since 2000.

_________

I post various indicators and indices because I believe they should be carefully monitored.  However, as those familiar with this site are aware, I do not necessarily agree with what they depict or imply.

_____

The Special Note summarizes my overall thoughts about our economic situation

SPX at 2398.42 as this post is written

Money Supply Charts Through April 2017

For reference purposes, below are two sets of charts depicting growth in the money supply.

The first shows the MZM (Money Zero Maturity), defined in FRED as the following:

M2 less small-denomination time deposits plus institutional money funds.
Money Zero Maturity is calculated by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.

Here is the “MZM Money Stock” (seasonally adjusted) chart, updated on May 19, 2017 depicting data through April 2017, with a value of $14,809.5 Billion:

MZMSL_5-19-17

Here is the “MZM Money Stock” chart on a “Percent Change From Year Ago” basis, with a current value of 5.2%:

MZMSL_5-19-17 5.2 Percent Change From Year Ago

Data Source: FRED, Federal Reserve Economic Data, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; accessed May 23, 2017:

https://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/MZMSL

The second set shows M2, defined in FRED as the following:

M2 includes a broader set of financial assets held principally by households. M2 consists of M1 plus: (1) savings deposits (which include money market deposit accounts, or MMDAs); (2) small-denomination time deposits (time deposits in amounts of less than $100,000); and (3) balances in retail money market mutual funds (MMMFs). Seasonally adjusted M2 is computed by summing savings deposits, small-denomination time deposits, and retail MMMFs, each seasonally adjusted separately, and adding this result to seasonally adjusted M1.

Here is the “M2 Money Stock” (seasonally adjusted) chart, updated on May 18, 2017, depicting data through April 2017, with a value of $13,431.3 Billion:

M2SL_5-18-17

Here is the “M2 Money Stock” chart on a “Percent Change From Year Ago” basis, with a current value of 6.0%:

M2SL_5-18-17 Percent Change From Year Ago

Data Source: FRED, Federal Reserve Economic Data, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; accessed May 23, 2017:

https://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/M2SL

_____

The Special Note summarizes my overall thoughts about our economic situation

SPX at 2394.02 as this post is written

Walmart’s Q1 2018 Results – Comments

I found various notable items in Walmart’s Q1 2018 management call transcript (pdf) dated May 18, 2017.  (as well, there is Walmart’s press release of the Q1 results and related presentation materials)

I view Walmart’s results and comments as particularly noteworthy given their retail prominence and focus on low prices.  I have previously commented on their quarterly management call comments; these previous posts are found under the “paycheck to paycheck” tag.

Here are various excerpts that I find most notable:

comments from Doug McMillon, President and CEO, page 3, wrt Walmart U.S.: :

Comp store sales grew 1.4 percent and comp store traffic improved 1.5 percent. We got off to a slower start than expected, due in part to delayed federal tax refund checks, but saw sales strengthen throughout the quarter. We also continued to manage the business well from an inventory and availability standpoint.

comments from Doug McMillon, President and CEO, page 4:

In U.S. eCommerce, we like the traction and we are working hard to make even more improvements. Walmart.com launched two new initiatives in the quarter. First, we made the change to shipping terms at the beginning of the quarter. Customers don’t have to pay a membership fee to get two-day shipping on millions of items. Second, we recently began offering customers pick-up discounts on non-store items. Our stores are located within 10 miles of nearly 90 percent of the U.S. population—so this is convenient for many of our customers, and also saves them money when they order online and pick it up during their visit to our stores.

comments from Brett Biggs, EVP & CFO, page 7:

Gross profit margin increased 1 basis point during the quarter. The rate for Walmart U.S. was flat, while Walmart International was up slightly.

comments from Brett Biggs, EVP & CFO, page 8, wrt Walmart U.S.:

You will recall in our fourth quarter comments that the first quarter started out slower than anticipated from a sales standpoint, due in part to the delayed issuance of federal income tax refund checks. As anticipated, our sales strengthened as the quarter progressed, delivering comp sales growth of 1.4 percent, led by an increase in customer traffic of 1.5 percent. This marks the 10th consecutive quarter of positive comp traffic. On a twoyear stacked basis, comp traffic is up 3 percent. Average ticket declined slightly primarily due to lower sales of higher ticket items at the beginning of the quarter, as well as continued price investment. Additionally, the grocery business continued to improve with food categories delivering the strongest quarterly comp sales performance in more than three years, due in part to a lack of market deflation in food, excluding price investments.

comments from Brett Biggs, EVP & CFO, page 9, wrt Walmart U.S.:

Gross margin rate was flat in the quarter. Savings from procuring merchandise and the acceleration of post-holiday markdowns taken in the fourth quarter benefited the margin rate, but this was offset by investments in price and the mix effects from our growing e-commerce business.

_____

The Special Note summarizes my overall thoughts about our economic situation

SPX at 2357.03 as this post is written

Broad-Based Indicators Of Economic Activity

The Chicago Fed National Activity Index (CFNAI) and the Aruoba-Diebold-Scotti Business Conditions Index (ADS Index) are two broad-based economic indicators that I regularly feature in this site.

The short-term and long-term trends of each continue to be notable.

Doug Short, in his blog post of May 11, 2017, titled “The Philly Fed ADS Index Business Conditions Index Update” displays both the CFNAI MA-3 (3-month Moving Average) and ADS Index (91-Day Moving Average) from a variety of perspectives.

Of particular note, two of the charts, shown below, denote where the current levels of each reading is relative to the beginning of past recessionary periods, as depicted by the red dots.

The CFNAI MA-3:

(click on charts to enlarge images)

CFNAI-MA3

The ADS Index, 91-Day MA:

ADS Index

Also shown in the Doug Short’s aforementioned post is a chart of each with a long-term trendline (linear regression) as well as a chart depicting GDP for comparison purposes.

_________

I post various indicators and indices because I believe they should be carefully monitored.  However, as those familiar with this site are aware, I do not necessarily agree with what they depict or imply.

_____

The Special Note summarizes my overall thoughts about our economic situation

SPX at 2389.03 as this post is written