Building Financial Danger – October 9, 2017 Update

My overall analysis indicates a continuing elevated and growing level of financial danger which contains many worldwide and U.S.-specific “stresses” of a very complex nature. I have written numerous posts in this site concerning both ongoing and recent “negative developments.”  These developments, as well as other exceedingly problematic conditions, have presented a highly perilous economic environment that endangers the overall financial system.

Also of ongoing immense importance is the existence of various immensely large asset bubbles, a subject of which I have extensively written.  While all of these asset bubbles are wildly pernicious and will have profound adverse future implications, hazards presented by the bond market bubble are especially notable.

Predicting the specific timing and extent of a stock market crash is always difficult, and the immense complexity of today’s economic situation makes such a prediction even more challenging. With that being said, my analyses continue to indicate that a near-term exceedingly large (from an ultra-long term perspective) stock market crash – that would also involve (as seen in 2008) various other markets as well – will occur.

(note: the “next crash” and its aftermath has great significance and implications, as discussed in the post of January 6, 2012 titled “The Next Crash And Its Significance“ and various subsequent posts in the “Economic Depression” category)

As reference, below is a daily chart since 2008 of the S&P500 (through October 6, 2017 with a last price of 2549.33), depicted on a LOG scale, indicating both the 50dma and 200dma as well as price labels:

(click on chart to enlarge image)(chart courtesy of StockCharts.com; chart creation and annotation by the author)

S&P500 since 2008

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The Special Note summarizes my overall thoughts about our economic situation

SPX at 2547.81 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 = $26.55):

(click on chart to enlarge image)(chart last updated 10-6-17)

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 October 6, 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 10-6-17)

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 = $22.23):

(click on chart to enlarge image)(chart last updated 10-6-17)

AHETPI_10-6-17 22.23

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 October 6, 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 10-6-17)

AHETPI_10-6-17 22.23 2.5 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 2545.06 this post is written

U-3 And U-6 Unemployment Rate Long-Term Reference Charts As Of October 6, 2017

Shortly after each monthly employment report I have been posting a continual series titled “3 Critical Unemployment Charts.”

Of course, there are many other employment charts that can be displayed as well.

For reference purposes, below are the U-3 and U-6 Unemployment Rate charts from a long-term historical perspective.  Both charts are from the St. Louis Fed site.  The U-3 measure is what is commonly referred to as the official unemployment rate; whereas the U-6 rate is officially (per Bureau of Labor Statistics) defined as:

Total unemployed, plus all persons marginally attached to the labor force, plus total employed part time for economic reasons, as a percent of the civilian labor force plus all persons marginally attached to the labor force

Of note, many economic observers use the U-6 rate as a (closer) proxy of the actual unemployment rate rather than that depicted by the U-3 measure.

Here is the U-3 chart, currently showing a 4.2% unemployment rate:

(click on charts to enlarge images)(charts updated as of 10-6-17)

U.S. unemployment rates

Data Source: FRED, Federal Reserve Economic Data, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis: Civilian Unemployment Rate [UNRATE] ; U.S. Department of Labor: Bureau of Labor Statistics; accessed October 6, 2017;

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

Here is the U-6 chart, currently showing a 8.6% unemployment rate:

U-6 rate

Data Source: FRED, Federal Reserve Economic Data, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis: Total unemployed, plus all marginally attached workers plus total employed part time for economic reasons  [U6RATE] ; U.S. Department of Labor: Bureau of Labor Statistics; accessed October 6, 2017;

http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/U6RATE

_____

The Special Note summarizes my overall thoughts about our economic situation

SPX at 2546.58 as this post is written

3 Critical Unemployment Charts – October 2017

As I have commented previously, as in the October 6, 2009 post (“A Note About Unemployment Statistics”), in my opinion the official methodologies used to measure the various job loss and unemployment statistics do not provide an accurate depiction; they serve to understate the severity of unemployment.

However, even if one chooses to look at the official statistics, the following charts provide an interesting (and disconcerting) long-term perspective of certain aspects of the officially-stated unemployment (and, in the third chart, employment) situation.

The three charts below are from the St. Louis Fed site.  Here is the Median Duration of Unemployment (current value = 10.3 weeks):

(click on charts to enlarge images)(charts updated as of 10-6-17)

median duration of unemployment

Data Source: FRED, Federal Reserve Economic Data, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis: Median Duration of Unemployment [UEMPMED] ; U.S. Department of Labor: Bureau of Labor Statistics; accessed October 6, 2017;

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

Here is the chart for Unemployed 27 Weeks and Over (current value = 1.733 million)

unemployed 27 weeks and over

Data Source: FRED, Federal Reserve Economic Data, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis: Civilians Unemployed for 27 Weeks and Over [UEMP27OV] ; U.S. Department of Labor: Bureau of Labor Statistics; accessed October 6, 2017;

http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/UEMP27OV

Here is the chart for Total Nonfarm Payrolls (current value = 146.659 million):

Total Nonfarm Payrolls

Data Source: FRED, Federal Reserve Economic Data, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis: All Employees: Total nonfarm [PAYEMS] ; U.S. Department of Labor: Bureau of Labor Statistics; accessed October 6, 2017;

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

Our unemployment problem is severe.  The underlying dynamics of the current – and especially future – unemployment situation remain exceedingly worrisome.    These dynamics are numerous and complex, and greatly lack recognition and understanding.

My commentary regarding unemployment is generally found in the “Unemployment” category.  This commentary includes the April 24, 2012 five-part post titled “The Unemployment Situation Facing The United States”, which discusses various problematical issues concerning the present and future employment situation.

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The Special Note summarizes my overall thoughts about our economic situation

SPX at 2548.75 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 October 5, 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 91dma

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 2552.07 as this post is written

Deflation Probabilities – October 5, 2017 Update

While I do not agree with the current readings of the measure – I think the measure dramatically understates the probability of deflation, as measured by the CPI – the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta maintains an interesting data series titled “Deflation Probabilities.”

As stated on the site:

Using estimates derived from Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS) markets, described in a technical appendix, this weekly report provides two measures of the probability of consumer price index (CPI) deflation through 2022.

A chart shows the trends of the probabilities.  As one can see in the chart, the readings are volatile.

As for the current weekly reading, the October 5, 2017 update states the following:

Both the 2017–22 deflation probability and the 2016–21 deflation probability were 3 percent over the September 27 to October 4 period.  These deflation probabilities, measuring the likelihoods of net declines in the consumer price index over the five-year periods starting in early 2016 and early 2017, are estimated from prices of the five-year Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS) issued in April 2016 and April 2017 and the 10-year TIPS issued in July 2011 and July 2012.

_________

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 2552.07 this post is written

Chicago Fed National Financial Conditions Index (NFCI)

The St. Louis Fed’s Financial Stress Index (STLFSI) is one index that is supposed to measure stress in the financial system.  Its reading as of the September 28, 2017 update (reflecting data through September 22, 2017) is -1.546.

Of course, there are a variety of other measures and indices that are supposed to measure financial stress and other related issues, both from the Federal Reserve as well as from private sources.

Two other indices that I regularly monitor include the Chicago Fed National Financial Conditions Index (NFCI) as well as the Chicago Fed Adjusted National Financial Conditions Index (ANFCI).

Here are summary descriptions of each, as seen in FRED:

The National Financial Conditions Index (NFCI) measures risk, liquidity and leverage in money markets and debt and equity markets as well as in the traditional and “shadow” banking systems. Positive values of the NFCI indicate financial conditions that are tighter than average, while negative values indicate financial conditions that are looser than average.

The adjusted NFCI (ANFCI). This index isolates a component of financial conditions uncorrelated with economic conditions to provide an update on how financial conditions compare with current economic conditions.

For further information, please visit the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago’s web site:

http://www.chicagofed.org/webpages/publications/nfci/index.cfm

Below are the most recently updated charts of the NFCI and ANFCI, respectively.

The NFCI chart below was last updated on October 4, 2017 incorporating data from January 5,1973 through September 29, 2017, on a weekly basis.  The September 29, 2017 value is -.86:

NFCI

Data Source: FRED, Federal Reserve Economic Data, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; accessed October 4, 2017:

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

The ANFCI chart below was last updated on October 4, 2017 incorporating data from January 5,1973 through September 29, 2017, on a weekly basis.  The September 29 value is -.61:

ANFCI

Data Source: FRED, Federal Reserve Economic Data, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; accessed October 4, 2017:

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

_________

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 2535.25 as this post is written

Recession Probability Models – October 2017

There are a variety of economic models that are supposed to predict the probabilities of recession.

While I don’t agree with the methodologies employed or probabilities of impending economic weakness as depicted by the following two models, I think the results of these models should be monitored.

Please note that each of these models is updated regularly, and the results of these – as well as other recession models – can fluctuate significantly.

The first is the “Yield Curve as a Leading Indicator” from the New York Federal Reserve.  I wrote a post concerning this measure on March 1, 2010, titled “The Yield Curve as a Leading Indicator.”

Currently (last updated October 2, 2017 using data through September) this “Yield Curve” model shows a 10.3271% probability of a recession in the United States twelve months ahead.  For comparison purposes, it showed a 9.9858% probability through August, and a chart going back to 1960 is seen at the “Probability Of U.S. Recession Predicted by Treasury Spread.” (pdf)

The second model is from Marcelle Chauvet and Jeremy Piger.  This model is described on the St. Louis Federal Reserve site (FRED) as follows:

Smoothed recession probabilities for the United States are obtained from a dynamic-factor markov-switching model applied to four monthly coincident variables: non-farm payroll employment, the index of industrial production, real personal income excluding transfer payments, and real manufacturing and trade sales. This model was originally developed in Chauvet, M., “An Economic Characterization of Business Cycle Dynamics with Factor Structure and Regime Switching,” International Economic Review, 1998, 39, 969-996. (http://faculty.ucr.edu/~chauvet/ier.pdf)

Additional details and explanations can be seen on the “U.S. Recession Probabilities” page.

This model, last updated on October 2, 2017, currently shows a .18% probability using data through July.

Here is the FRED chart (last updated October 2, 2017):

U.S. Recession Probability

Data Source:  Piger, Jeremy Max and Chauvet, Marcelle, Smoothed U.S. Recession Probabilities [RECPROUSM156N], retrieved from FRED, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, accessed October 2, 2017:

http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/RECPROUSM156N

The two models featured above can be compared against measures seen in recent blog posts.  For instance, as seen in the September 8 post titled “The September 2017 Wall Street Journal Economic Forecast Survey“ economists surveyed averaged a 16.08% probability of a U.S. recession within the next 12 months.

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The Special Note summarizes my overall thoughts about our economic situation

SPX at 2534.58 as this post is written

October 3, 2017 Gallup Poll Results On Economic Confidence – Notable Excerpts

On October 3, 2017 Gallup released the poll results titled “Confidence in U.S. Economy Dips to +4 in September.”

Notable excerpts include:

Americans’ confidence in the economy declined slightly in September, with Gallup’s U.S. Economic Confidence Index slipping to +4 from August’s reading of +6.

also:

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:

The current conditions component measured +13 in September, the result of 34% describing the economy as “excellent” or “good” minus the 21% describing the economy as “poor.” September’s current conditions score essentially ties the +14 observed in August — the highest monthly reading in the 2008-2017 Gallup Daily tracking trend.

However, economic expectations dimmed slightly in September. Over the course of the month, half of Americans said economic conditions were “getting worse,” while 44% said conditions were “getting better,” resulting in an economic outlook score of -6. This is down four points from August’s -2 outlook score — but, as was the case with the overall metric, was no different from how this component performed in the final half of August. In the first half of August, by contrast, the economic outlook component was neutral, meaning it averaged a score of 0.

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

Gallup's U.S. Economic Confidence Index Components - Monthly Averages

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

Gallup's U.S. Economic Confidence Index - Monthly Averages

 

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The Special Note summarizes my overall thoughts about our economic situation

SPX at 2531.87 as this post is written

VIX Weekly And Monthly Charts Since The Year 2000 – October 3, 2017 Update

For reference purposes, below are two charts of the VIX from year 2000 through Monday’s (October 2, 2017) close, which had a closing value of 9.45.

Here is the VIX Weekly chart, depicted on a LOG scale, with the 13- and 34-week moving averages, seen in the cyan and red lines, respectively:

(click on chart to enlarge image)(chart courtesy of StockCharts.com; chart creation and annotation by the author)

VIX Weekly LOG

Here is the VIX Monthly chart, depicted on a LOG scale, with the 13- and 34-month moving average, seen in the cyan and red lines, respectively:

(click on chart to enlarge image)(chart courtesy of StockCharts.com; chart creation and annotation by the author)

VIX Monthly LOG

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The Special Note summarizes my overall thoughts about our economic situation

SPX at 2529.12 as this post is written