U-3 And U-6 Unemployment Rate Long-Term Reference Charts As Of August 3, 2018

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 3.9% unemployment rate:

(click on charts to enlarge images)(charts updated as of 8-3-18)

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 August 3, 2018;

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

Here is the U-6 chart, currently showing a 7.5% 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 August 3, 2018;

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

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The Special Note summarizes my overall thoughts about our economic situation

SPX at 2832.93 as this post is written

3 Critical Unemployment Charts – August 2018

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 = 9.5 weeks):

(click on charts to enlarge images)(charts updated as of 8-3-18)

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 August 3, 2018;

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

Here is the chart for Unemployed 27 Weeks and Over (current value = 1.435 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 August 3, 2018;

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

Here is the chart for Total Nonfarm Payrolls (current value = 149.128 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 August 3, 2018;

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 page titled “U.S. Unemployment Trends,” 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 2833.76 as this post is written

Stock Market Capitalization To GDP – Through Q2 2018

“Stock market capitalization to GDP” is a notable and important metric regarding stock market valuation.  In February of 2009 I wrote of it in “Does Warren Buffett’s Market Metric Still Apply?

On the Doug Short site there is an update depicting this “stock market capitalization to GDP” metric.

As seen in the August 2, 2018 post titled “Market Cap to GDP:  An Updated Look at the Buffett Valuation Indicator” two different versions are displayed, varying by the definition of stock market capitalization. (note:  additional explanation is provided in the post.)

For reference purposes, here is the first chart, with the stock market capitalization as defined by the Federal Reserve:

(click on charts to enlarge images)

stock market cap to GDP

Here is the second chart, with the stock market capitalization as defined by the Wilshire 5000:

stock market cap to GDP - Wilshire 5000

As one can see in both measures depicted above, “stock market capitalization to GDP” is at notably high levels from a long-term historical perspective.

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The Special Note summarizes my overall thoughts about our economic situation

SPX at 2827.22 as this post is written

VIX Weekly And Monthly Charts Since The Year 2000 – August 3, 2018 Update

For reference purposes, below are two charts of the VIX from year 2000 through Thursday’s (August 2, 2018) close, which had a closing value of 12.19.

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 chart

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 2827.22 as this post is written

Charts Of Equities’ Performance Since March 9, 2009 And January 1, 1980 – August 2, 2018 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, AMZN, 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 since 2005

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 since 1980

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The Special Note summarizes my overall thoughts about our economic situation

SPX at 2825.17 as this post is written

Major U.S. Stock Indexes Long-Term Price Charts

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 – July 27, 2018:

DJIA since 1900

The Dow Jones Transportation Average, from 1900 – July 27, 2018:

DJTA since 1900

The S&P500, from 1925 – July 27, 2018:

S&P500 since 1925

The Nasdaq Composite, from 1978 – July 27, 2018:

Nasdaq Composite since 1978

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The Special Note summarizes my overall thoughts about our economic situation

SPX at 2813.36 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 26, 2018 update (reflecting data through July 20, 2018) is -1.218.

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 August 1, 2018 incorporating data from January 8, 1971 through July 27, 2018, on a weekly basis.  The July 27, 2018 value is -.84:

NFCI

Data Source: FRED, Federal Reserve Economic Data, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; accessed August 1, 2018:

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

The ANFCI chart below was last updated on August 1, 2018 incorporating data from January 8,1971 through July 27, 2018, on a weekly basis.  The July 27 value is -.56:

ANFCI

Data Source: FRED, Federal Reserve Economic Data, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; accessed August 1, 2018:

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

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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 2809.76 as this post is written

U.S. Dollar Decline – August 1, 2018 Update

U.S. Dollar weakness is a foremost concern of mine.  As such, I have extensively written about it.  I am very concerned that the actions being taken to “improve” our economic situation will dramatically weaken the Dollar.  Should the Dollar substantially decline from here, as I expect, the negative consequences will far outweigh any benefits.  The negative impact of a substantial Dollar decline can’t, in my opinion, be overstated.

The following three charts illustrate various technical analysis aspects of the U.S. Dollar, as depicted by the U.S. Dollar Index.

First, a look at the monthly U.S. Dollar from 1983.  This clearly shows a long-term weakness, with the blue line showing technical support until 2007, and the red line representing a (past) trendline:

(charts courtesy of StockCharts.com; annotations by the author)

(click on charts to enlarge images)

U.S. Dollar Index monthly chart

Next, another chart, this one focused on the daily U.S. Dollar since 2000 on a LOG scale.  The red line represents a (past) trendline.  The gray dotted line is the 200-day M.A. (moving average):

U.S. Dollar Index daily chart

Lastly, a chart of the Dollar on a weekly LOG scale.  There are two clearly marked past channels, with possible technical support depicted by the dashed light blue line:

U.S. Dollar Index weekly chart

I will continue providing updates on this U.S. Dollar situation regularly as it deserves very close monitoring…

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The Special Note summarizes my overall thoughts about our economic situation

SPX at 2810.27 as this post is written

Consumer Confidence Surveys – As Of July 31, 2018

The Doug Short site had a post of July 31, 2018 (“Consumer Confidence Increases Marginally in July“) that displays 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 Index

University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index

There are a few aspects of the above charts that I find highly noteworthy.  Of course, until the sudden upswing in 2014, 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 2818.72 as this post is written

Employment Cost Index (ECI) – Second Quarter 2018

While the concept of Americans’ incomes can be defined in a number of ways, many prominent measures continue to show disconcerting trends.

One prominent measure is the Employment Cost Index (ECI).

Here is a description from the BLS document titled “The Employment Cost Index:  what is it?“:

The Employment Cost Index (ECI) is a quarterly measure of the change in the price of labor, defined as compensation per employee hour worked. Closely watched by many economists, the ECI is an indicator of cost pressures within companies that could lead to price inflation for finished goods and services. The index measures changes in the cost of compensation not only for wages and salaries, but also for an extensive list of benefits. As a fixed-weight, or Laspeyres, index, the ECI controls for changes occurring over time in the industrial-occupational composition of employment.

On July 31, 2018, the ECI for the second quarter was released.  Here are two excerpts from the BLS release titled “Employment Cost Index – June 2018“:

Compensation costs for civilian workers increased 0.6 percent, seasonally adjusted, for the 3-month period ending in June 2018, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Wages and salaries (which make up about 70 percent of compensation costs) increased 0.5 percent and benefit costs (which make up the remaining 30 percent of compensation) increased 0.9 percent. (See tables A, 1, 2, and 3.)

also:

Compensation costs for civilian workers increased 2.8 percent for the 12-month period ending in June 2018 compared with a compensation costs increase of 2.4 percent in June 2017. Wages and salaries increased 2.8 percent for the 12-month period ending in June 2018 and increased 2.3 percent for the 12-month period ending in June 2017. Benefit costs increased 2.9 percent for the 12-month period ending in June 2018. In June 2017, the increase was 2.5 percent. (See tables A, 4, 8, and 12.)

Below are three charts, updated on July 31, 2018 that depict various aspects of the ECI, which is seasonally adjusted (SA):

The first depicts the ECI, with a value of 133.3:

ECIALLCIV_7-31-18 133.3

source: US. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Cost Index: Total compensation: All Civilian[ECIALLCIV], retrieved from FRED, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, accessed July 31, 2018:

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

The second chart depicts the ECI on a “Percent Change from Year Ago” basis, with a value of 2.8%:

ECIALLCIV Percent Change From Year Ago

The third chart depicts the ECI on a “Percent Change” (from last quarter) basis, with a value of .6%:

ECIALLCIV_7-31-18 133.3 .6 Percent Change

_________

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 2821.28 as this post is written