3 Critical Unemployment Charts – March 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 = 10.0 weeks):

(click on charts to enlarge images)(charts updated as of 3-10-17)

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 March 11, 2017;

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

Here is the chart for Unemployed 27 Weeks and Over (current value = 1.801 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 March 11, 2017;

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

Here is the chart for Total Nonfarm Payroll (current value = 145.798 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 March 11, 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 2372.60 as this post is written

Total Household Net Worth As Of 4Q 2016 – Two Long-Term Charts

In the last post (“Total Household Net Worth As A Percent Of GDP 4Q 2016“) 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 2016:Q4).  The last value (as of the March 9, 2017 update) is $92.80541 Trillion:

(click on each chart to enlarge image)

TNWBSHNO_3-9-17 92805.41

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

TNWBSHNO_3-9-17 6.3 percent change from year ago

Data Source: FRED, Federal Reserve Economic Data, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System; accessed March 11, 2017:

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

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The Special Note summarizes my overall thoughts about our economic situation

SPX at 2372.60 as this post is written

Total Household Net Worth As A Percent Of GDP 4Q 2016

The following chart is from the CalculatedRisk post of March 9, 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)

household net worth as a percentage of GDP

As seen in the above-referenced CalculatedRisk post:

Household net worth was at $92.8 trillion in Q4 2016, up from $90.8 trillion in Q3 2016.

The Fed estimated that the value of household real estate increased to $23.1 trillion in Q4. The value of household real estate is now above the bubble peak in early 2006 – but not adjusted for inflation, and also including 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.

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The Special Note summarizes my overall thoughts about our economic situation

SPX at 2372.60 as this post is written

Building Financial Danger – March 11, 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 March 10, 2017 with a last price of 2372.60), 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 daily since 2008

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The Special Note summarizes my overall thoughts about our economic situation

SPX at 2372.60 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 March 6, 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.

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I post various indicators and indices because I believe they should be carefully monitored.  However, as those familiar with this blog 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 2377.16 as this post is written

Recession Probability Models – March 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 March 3, 2017 using data through February) this “Yield Curve” model shows a 4.1727% probability of a recession in the United States twelve months ahead.  For comparison purposes, it showed a 4.0601% probability through January, 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 March 1, 2017, currently shows a .26% probability using data through December.

Here is the FRED chart (last updated March 1, 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 March 6, 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 February 9 post titled “The February 2017 Wall Street Journal Economic Forecast Survey“ economists surveyed averaged a 16.49% 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 2383.12 as this post is written

VIX Weekly And Monthly Charts Since The Year 2000 – March 2, 2017 Update

For reference purposes, below are two charts of the VIX from year 2000 through Wednesday’s (March 1, 2017) close, which had a closing value of 12.54.

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 chart

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The Special Note summarizes my overall thoughts about our economic situation

SPX at 2395.96 as this post is written

Charts Of Equities’ Performance Since March 9, 2009 And January 1, 1980 – March 2, 2017 Update

In the March 9, 2012 post (“Charts of Equities’ Performance Since March 9, 2009 And January 1, 1980“) I highlighted two charts for reference purposes.

Below are those two charts, updated through the latest daily closing price.

The first is a daily chart of the S&P500 (shown in green), as well as five prominent (AAPL, IBM, WFM, SBUX, CAT) individual stocks, since 2005.  There is a blue vertical line that is very close to the March 6, 2009 low.  As one can see, both the S&P500 performance, as well as many stocks including the five shown, have performed strongly since the March 6, 2009 low:

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

S&P500 and prominent stocks

This next chart shows, on a monthly LOG basis, the S&P500 since 1980.  I find this chart notable as it provides an interesting long-term perspective on the S&P500′s performance.  The 20, 50, and 200-month moving averages are shown in blue, red, and green lines, respectively:

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

S&P500 monthly LOG since 1980

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The Special Note summarizes my overall thoughts about our economic situation

SPX at 2395.96 as this post is written

Long-Term Stock Charts DJIA, DJTA, S&P500, Nasdaq Indexes

StockCharts.com maintains long-term historical charts of various major stock market indices, interest rates, currencies, commodities, and economic indicators.

As a long-term reference, below are charts depicting various stock market indices for the dates shown.  All charts are depicted on a monthly basis using a LOG scale.

(click on charts to enlarge images)(charts courtesy of StockCharts.com)

The Dow Jones Industrial Average, from 1900 – February 24, 2017:

DJIA since 1900

The Dow Jones Transportation Average, from 1900 – February 24, 2017:

DJTA since 1900

The S&P500, from 1925 – February 24, 2017:

S&P500 since 1925

The Nasdaq Composite, from 1978 – February 24, 2017:

Nasdaq Composite since 1978

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The Special Note summarizes my overall thoughts about our economic situation

SPX at 2395.96 as 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 February 23, 2017 update (reflecting data through February 17, 2017) is -1.274.

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 March 1, 2017 incorporating data from January 5,1973 through February 24, 2017, on a weekly basis.  The February 24, 2017 value is -.79:

NFCI

Data Source: FRED, Federal Reserve Economic Data, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; accessed March 1, 2017:

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

The ANFCI chart below was last updated on March 1, 2017 incorporating data from January 5,1973 through February 24, 2017, on a weekly basis.  The February 24 value is .07:

ANFCI

Data Source: FRED, Federal Reserve Economic Data, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; accessed March 1, 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 blog 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 2397.50 as this post is written