Author Archives: Ted Kavadas

CEO Confidence Surveys 2Q 2017 – Notable Excerpts

On July 6, 2017, The Conference Board released the 2nd Quarter Measure Of CEO Confidence.   The overall measure of CEO Confidence was at 61, down from 68 in the first quarter. [note:  a reading of more than 50 points reflects more positive than negative responses]

Notable excerpts from this July 6 Press Release include:

CEOs’ appraisal of current economic conditions waned, with 60 percent saying conditions were better compared to six months ago, down from 71 percent in the first quarter. Business leaders were also less positive in their appraisal of current conditions in their own industries. Now, just 47 percent say conditions in their own industries have improved, down from 60 percent last quarter.

Looking ahead, CEOs’ optimism regarding the short-term outlook for the economy moderated due to a greater percentage expressing a “more of the same” sentiment as opposed to foreseeing conditions worsening. Currently, 41 percent expect economic conditions to improve over the next six months, compared to approximately 65 percent last quarter. The outlook for their own industries was also less favorable, with 48 percent of CEOs anticipating an improvement over the next six months, down from 67 percent in the first quarter of this year.

The Business Roundtable last month also released its CEO Economic Outlook Survey for the 2nd Quarter of 2017.   Notable excerpts from the June 6, 2017 release, titled “Survey:  America’s Business Leaders Maintaining Confidence in U.S. Economy“:

The Business Roundtable CEO Economic Outlook Index — a composite of CEO
plans for capital spending and hiring and projections for sales over the next six months —
reached its highest level in three years, since the second quarter of 2014 (95.4). The Index
stood at 93.9 in the second quarter of 2017, up from 93.3 in the first quarter. For the
second quarter in a row, the Index stands well above its historical average of 80.0.

CEO plans for capital investment rose by 4.6 points from the last quarter, while
expectations for sales stayed steady, increasing by 0.5 point. Plans for hiring for the next
six months dropped a modest 3.3 points.

CEOs project 2.0 percent GDP growth in 2017, down two-tenths from their projection for
2017 made in March.

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I post various economic forecasts because I believe they should be carefully monitored.  However, as those familiar with this site are aware, I do not necessarily agree with many of the consensus estimates and much of the commentary in these forecast surveys.

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The Special Note summarizes my overall thoughts about our economic situation

SPX at 2427.43 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 = $26.25):

(click on chart to enlarge image)(chart last updated 7-7-17)

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 July 7, 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 7-7-17)

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 = $22.03):

(click on chart to enlarge image)(chart last updated 7-7-17)

AHETPI_7-7-17 22.03

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 July 7, 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 7-7-17)

AHETPI_7-7-17 2.3 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 2423.53 this post is written

U-3 And U-6 Unemployment Rate Long-Term Reference Charts As Of July 7, 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 4.4% unemployment rate:

(click on charts to enlarge images)(charts updated as of 7-7-17)

U.S. unemployment rate

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 July 7, 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 July 7, 2017;

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

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The Special Note summarizes my overall thoughts about our economic situation

SPX at 2418.44 as this post is written

3 Critical Unemployment Charts – July 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 = 9.6 weeks):

(click on charts to enlarge images)(charts updated as of 7-7-17)

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 July 7, 2017;

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

Here is the chart for Unemployed 27 Weeks and Over (current value = 1.664 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 July 7, 2017;

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

Here is the chart for Total Nonfarm Payrolls (current value = 146.404 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 July 7, 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 2417.36 as this post is written

Building Financial Danger – July 7, 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 July 6, 2017 with a last price of 2409.75), 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 2418.06 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 July 6, 2017 update (reflecting data through June 30, 2017) is -1.505.

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 July 6, 2017 incorporating data from January 5,1973 through June 30, 2017, on a weekly basis.  The June 30, 2017 value is -.87:

NFCI_7-6-17

Data Source: FRED, Federal Reserve Economic Data, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; accessed July 6, 2017:

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

The ANFCI chart below was last updated on July 6, 2017 incorporating data from January 5,1973 through June 30, 2017, on a weekly basis.  The June 30 value is -.21:

ANFCI_7-6-17

Data Source: FRED, Federal Reserve Economic Data, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; accessed July 6, 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 2409.75 as this post is written

Deflation Probabilities – July 6, 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 July 6, 2017 update states the following:

The 2017–22 deflation probability was 6 percent on July 5, unchanged from June 28. The 2016–21 deflation probability was 0 percent on July 5, also unchanged from June 28. These 2016–21 and 2017–22 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 2409.75 this post is written

Recession Probability Models – July 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 July 5, 2017 using data through June) this “Yield Curve” model shows a 9.869% probability of a recession in the United States twelve months ahead.  For comparison purposes, it showed a 7.8283% probability through May, 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 July 3, 2017, currently shows a .24% probability using data through April.

Here is the FRED chart (last updated July 3, 2017):

RECPROUSM156N

Data Source:  Piger, Jeremy Max and Chauvet, Marcelle, Smoothed U.S. Recession Probabilities [RECPROUSM156N], retrieved from FRED, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, accessed July 5, 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 June 9 post titled “The June 2017 Wall Street Journal Economic Forecast Survey“ economists surveyed averaged a 15.80% 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 2432.54 as this post is written

July 5, 2017 Gallup Poll Results On Economic Confidence – Notable Excerpts

On July 5, 2017 Gallup released the poll results titled “Americans’ Confidence In Economy Remains at Low for the Year.”

Notable excerpts include:

Americans’ confidence in the economy remained at a 2017 low in June, with Gallup’s U.S. Economic Confidence Index averaging +3 for the second month in a row. Despite confidence lagging below January’s monthly record high of +11, June nonetheless marked the eighth consecutive month in which U.S. adults rated the economy positively.

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.

Last week, Americans’ confidence in the economy averaged a score of 0, the first time in the 33 full weeks since the presidential election that the index’s weekly average was not positive. However, this may be more of a fluke than a harbinger — lower scores in the middle of the week dragged down the weekly average. They returned to previous levels by the end of the week.

also:

Last month, Americans continued to view current economic conditions positively, with 33% describing the economy as “excellent” or “good” compared with 23% describing it as “poor.” This leaves the current conditions component at +10 for June, identical to its performance in May.

For the third month in a row, however, a slightly larger share of Americans (49%) said the economy is “getting worse” than said it is “getting better” (45%). This puts the economic outlook component at -4 in June, in line with its May reading.

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

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

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

Gallup U.S. Economic Confidence Index - Monthly Averages

 

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The Special Note summarizes my overall thoughts about our economic situation

SPX at 2432.54 as this post is written

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

For reference purposes, below are two charts of the VIX from year 2000 through Friday’s (June 30, 2017) close, which had a closing value of 11.18.

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 2423.41 as this post is written