Throughout this site there are many discussions of economic indicators. This post is the latest in a series of posts indicating facets of U.S. economic weakness or a notably low growth rate.
The level and trend of economic growth is especially notable at this time. As seen in various sources, recession estimates have been at high levels.
As seen in the July 2023 Wall Street Journal Economic Forecast Survey the consensus (average estimate) among various economists is for .97% GDP in 2023, 1.26% GDP in 2024, and 2.08% GDP in 2025.
Charts Indicating U.S. Economic Weakness
Below is a small sampling of charts that depict weak growth or contraction, and a brief comment for each:
The Yield Curve (T10Y2Y)
Many people believe that the Yield Curve is a leading economic indicator for the United States economy.
On March 1, 2010, I wrote a post on the issue, titled “The Yield Curve As A Leading Economic Indicator.”
While I continue to have the stated reservations regarding the “Yield Curve” as an indicator, I do believe that it should be monitored.
The U.S. Yield Curve (one proxy seen below) is negative and is (all things considered) notably negative when viewed from a long-term perspective. Below is the spread between the 10-Year Treasury Constant Maturity and the 2-Year Treasury Constant Maturity from June 1976 through the September 6, 2023 update, showing a value of -.71% [10-Year Treasury Yield (FRED DGS10) of 4.27% as of the September 6 update, 2-Year Treasury Yield (FRED DGS2) of 4.94% as of the September 6 update]:
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 September 7, 2023: https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/T10Y2Y
All Employees, Temporary Help Services (TEMPHELPS)
I have written extensively about many facets of employment and unemployment, as the current and future unemployment issue is of tremendous importance yet is in many ways misunderstood.
One theory regarding employment is that hiring cycles typically begin with an uptake in temporary employment. Conversely, due to various factors a reduction in temporary employees can be an (early) indicator of lessening labor demand.
Shown below is this measure with last value of 2,935.5 (Thousands) through August, last updated September 1, 2023:
Below is this measure displayed on a “Percent Change From Year Ago” basis with value -5.9%:
source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, All Employees, Temporary Help Services [TEMPHELPS], retrieved from FRED, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; accessed September 6, 2023: https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/TEMPHELPS
Job Openings (JTSJOL)
Job openings (Job Openings: Total Nonfarm [JTSJOL]), although still at a (very) high level, have recently declined significantly. This “Job Openings” measure had a value of 8,827 (Thousands) through July 2023, as of the August 29, 2023 update, as shown below:
Below is this measure displayed on a “Percent Change From Year Ago” basis with value -22.4%:
source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Job Openings: Total Nonfarm [JTSJOL], retrieved from FRED, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; accessed September 6, 2023: https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/JTSJOL
Total Business Sales (TOTBUSSMSA)
Total Business Sales, when viewed from a “Percent Change From Year Ago” basis, has recently dipped into negative territory. Shown below is a chart of Total Business Sales with data through June 2023 (last value of $1,818,637), last updated August 15, 2023:
Here is the same measure on a “Percent Change From Year Ago” basis, with value -3.1%:
source: U.S. Census Bureau, Total Business Sales [TOTBUSSMSA], retrieved from FRED, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; accessed September 6, 2023: https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/TOTBUSSMSA
As mentioned previously, many other indicators discussed on this site indicate weak economic growth or economic contraction, if not outright (gravely) problematical economic conditions.
The Special Note summarizes my overall thoughts about our economic situation
SPX at 4436.84 as this post is written