Monthly Archives: December 2016

Median Household Income Chart

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

Doug Short, in his December 30, 2016 post titled “Real Median Household Income:  Slow Growth in 2016” 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)

Median Household Income

As Doug mentions in his aforementioned post:

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 middle of the Great Recession.

Among other items seen in his blog 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 2243.62 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 December 29, 2016 update (reflecting data through December 23) is -1.134.

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 December 29, 2016 incorporating data from January 5,1973 through December 23, 2016, on a weekly basis.  The December 23, 2016 value is -.77:

NFCI

Data Source: FRED, Federal Reserve Economic Data, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; accessed December 29, 2016:

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

The ANFCI chart below was last updated on December 29, 2016 incorporating data from January 5,1973 through December 23, 2016, on a weekly basis.  The December 23 value is -.17:

ANFCI

Data Source: FRED, Federal Reserve Economic Data, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; accessed December 29, 2016:

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 2247.89 as this post is written

Consumer Confidence Surveys – As Of December 27, 2016

Doug Short had a blog post of December 27, 2016 (“Consumer Confidence Increases in December“) 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

University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment

There are a few aspects of the above charts that I find highly noteworthy.  Of course, until the recent sudden upswing, 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.

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The Special Note summarizes my overall thoughts about our economic situation

SPX at 2271.05 as this post is written

Long-Term Charts Of The ECRI WLI & ECRI WLI, Gr. – December 23, 2016 Update

As I stated in my July 12, 2010 post (“ECRI WLI Growth History“):

For a variety of reasons, I am not as enamored with ECRI’s WLI and WLI Growth measures as many are.

However, I do think the measures are important and deserve close monitoring and scrutiny.

Below are three long-term charts, from Doug Short’s ECRI update post of December 23, 2016 titled “ECRI Weekly Leading Index: “Pinching Productivity.”  These charts are on a weekly basis through the December 23, 2016 release, indicating data through December 16, 2016.

Here is the ECRI WLI (defined at ECRI’s glossary):

ECRI WLI

This next chart depicts, on a long-term basis, the Year-over-Year change in the 4-week moving average of the WLI:

This last chart depicts, on a long-term basis, the WLI, Gr.:

ECRI WLI,Gr.

_________

I post various economic 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 2260.97 as this post is written

The U.S. Economic Situation – December 23, 2016 Update

Perhaps the main reason that I write of our economic situation is that I continue to believe, based upon various analyses, that our economic situation is in many ways misunderstood.  While no one likes to contemplate a future rife with economic adversity, current and future economic problems must be properly recognized and rectified if high-quality, sustainable long-term economic vitality is to be realized.

There are an array of indications and other “warning signs” – many readily apparent – that current economic activity and financial market performance is accompanied by exceedingly perilous dynamics.

I have written extensively about this peril, including in the following:

Building Financial Danger” (ongoing updates)

A Special Note On Our Economic Situation

Forewarning Pronounced Economic Weakness

Thoughts Concerning The Next Financial Crisis

Was A Depression Successfully Avoided?

Has the Financial System Strengthened Since the Financial Crisis?

The Next Crash And Its Significance

My analyses continues to indicate that the growing level of financial danger will lead to the next stock market crash that will also involve (as seen in 2008) various other markets as well.  Key attributes of this next crash is its outsized magnitude (when viewed from an ultra-long term historical perspective) and the resulting economic impact.  This next financial crash is of tremendous concern, as my analyses indicate it will lead to a Super Depression – i.e. an economy characterized by deeply embedded, highly complex, and difficult-to-solve problems.

For long-term reference purposes, here is a chart of the Dow Jones Industrial Average since 1900, depicted on a monthly basis using a LOG scale (updated through December 16, 2016, with a last value of 19941.96):

(click on chart to enlarge image)(chart courtesy of StockCharts.com)

DJIA since 1900

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The Special Note summarizes my overall thoughts about our economic situation

SPX at 2260.60 as this post is written

Updates Of Economic Indicators December 2016

Here is an update of various indicators that are supposed to predict and/or depict economic activity. These indicators have been discussed in previous blog posts:

The December 2016 Chicago Fed National Activity Index (CFNAI) updated as of December 22, 2016: (current reading of CFNAI is -.27; current reading of CFNAI-MA3 is -.14):

CFNAI

The ECRI WLI (Weekly Leading Index):

As of December 16, 2016 (incorporating data through December 9, 2016) the WLI was at 143.4 and the WLI, Gr. was at 11.0%.

A chart of the WLI,Gr., from Doug Short’s ECRI update post of December 16, 2016:

ECRI WLI, Gr.

The Aruoba-Diebold-Scotti Business Conditions (ADS) Index:

Here is the latest chart, depicting the ADS Index from December 31, 2007 through December 17, 2016:

ADS Index

The Conference Board Leading (LEI), Coincident (CEI) Economic Indexes, and Lagging Economic Indicator (LAG):

As per the December 16, 2016 press release, titled “The Conference Board Leading Economic Index (LEI) for the U.S. Increased Remains Flat in November,” (pdf) the LEI was at 124.6, the CEI was at 114.6, and the LAG was 123.2 in November.

An excerpt from the  release:

“The U.S. Leading Economic Index continued on an upward trend through 2016, although at a moderate pace of growth,” said Ataman Ozyildirim, Director of Business Cycles and Growth Research at The Conference Board. “The underlying trends in the LEI suggest that the economy will continue expanding into the first half of 2017, but it’s unlikely to considerably accelerate. Although the industrial and construction indicators held the U.S. LEI back in November, the weakness was offset by improvements in the interest rate spread, initial unemployment insurance claims, and stock prices.”

_________

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 2260.97 as this post is written

Durable Goods New Orders – Long-Term Charts Through November 2016

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 November 2016, updated on December 22, 2016. This value is $228,171 ($ Millions):

(click on charts to enlarge images)

Durable Goods New Orders

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

Durable Goods New Orders 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 December 22, 2016;

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 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 2258.78 as this post is written

The Yield Curve – December 22, 2016

Many people believe that the Yield Curve is an important economic indicator.

On March 1, 2010, I wrote a post on the issue, titled “The Yield Curve As A Leading Economic Indicator.”

An excerpt from that post:

On the NY Fed link above, they have posted numerous studies that support the theory that the yield curve is a leading indicator.   My objections with using it as a leading indicator, especially now, are various.  These objections include: I don’t think such a narrow measure is one that can be relied upon;  both the yields at the short and long-end of the curve have been overtly and officially manipulated, thus distorting the curve; and, although the yield curve may have been an accurate leading indicator in the past, this period of economic weakness is inherently dissimilar in nature from past recessions and depressions in a multitude of ways – thus, historical yardsticks and metrics probably won’t (and have not) proven appropriate.

While I continue to have the above-stated reservations regarding the “yield curve” as an indicator, I do believe that it should be monitored.

As an indication of the yield curve, below is a weekly chart from January 1, 1990 through December 21, 2016.  The top two plots show the 10-Year Treasury and 2-Year Treasury yields.  The third plot shows the (yield) spread between the 10-Year Treasury and 2-Year Treasury, with the December 21, 2016 closing value of 1.34%.  The bottom plot shows the S&P500:

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

Yield Curve

Additionally, below is a chart showing the same spread between the 10-Year Treasury and 2-Year Treasury, albeit with a slightly different measurement, using constant maturity securities.  This daily chart is from June 1, 1976 through December 20, 2016, with recessionary periods shown in gray. This chart shows a value of 1.32%:

T10Y2Y

source:  Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, 10-Year Treasury Constant Maturity Minus 2-Year Treasury Constant Maturity [T10Y2Y], retrieved from FRED, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; accessed December 22, 2016:

https://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/T10Y2Y

_____

The Special Note summarizes my overall thoughts about our economic situation

SPX at 2265.18 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 December 15, 2016 update (reflecting data through December 9) is -1.18.

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 December 21, 2016 incorporating data from January 5,1973 through December 16, 2016, on a weekly basis.  The December 16, 2016 value is -.78:

NFCI

Data Source: FRED, Federal Reserve Economic Data, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; accessed December 21, 2016:

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

The ANFCI chart below was last updated on December 21, 2016 incorporating data from January 5,1973 through December 16, 2016, on a weekly basis.  The December 16 value is -.10:

ANFCI

Data Source: FRED, Federal Reserve Economic Data, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; accessed December 21, 2016:

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 2265.18 as this post is written