Browsing Posts tagged EREPSI

Economic Indicators Roundup (January 27, 2015)

Economic indicators are everywhere, so this is kind of like a dashboard that I like to follow.  For each indicator, I will try to give you a brief description, the latest reading and what I understand to be its implications.  For simplicity, I will assign each a rating of positive, neutral or negative.  For the economic indicators, I will denote in each one’s section how I decide which rating to give it.  At the end, I assign an overall rating, but this is just to guide me in my takeaway of where things stand.  It’s not scientifically rigorous or anything.

  • Positive – indicative of a healthy, growing economy.
  • Neutral – indicative of a slow or no growth economy but not a contracting (recession) economy.
  • Negative – indicative of a shrinking economy or recession.

(NOTE: For a “Quick ‘n Easy” read, just review the labeled white boxes, then skip to my “Easy Take” summary at the end.  You can review any charts/graphs afterward.  I want to make sure no one is intimidated by the length of my posts, even though I’m trying to making them easy …)


Quick Summary

Indicator (Click for details – only works if full article is open) Current Rating (change from previous roundup)
GDPNow (GDP Forecast from Atlanta Fed) Positive
ADS Business Conditions Index Positive   (Upgrade)
Bloomberg Financial Conditions Index Positive   (Upgrade)
Daily Consumer Leading Indicators Negative
Citigroup Economic Surprise Index Neutral
Employment Trends Index Positive
Chicago Fed National Activity Index Positive
Easynomics Real Estate Price Stability Index Positive
Easy Trends Dashboard   (min/max -3 to +3) +2.56 = Definitely moving in a positive direction, with hardly any unconfirmed trends or off-trend readings

NOTE: You may be reading an outdated analysis.  Please visit my latest economic indicators roundup.



Economic Indicator: GDPNow   |   POSITIVE
Easy Intro: None yet   |   Link to Source   |   Latest Date This Info Represents: 4th Quarter 2014 (i.e., three months ending December 2014)

Quick ‘n Easy

The current forecast for real GDP growth in the 4th quarter of 2014 is 3.5 percent – slightly above-average growth by historical standards. The Federal Reserve Board of Atlanta combines a whole bunch of public data to mimic what the government does when reporting Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which is the broadest and most comprehensive measure of the economy that is widely accepted. It basically measures the value of all goods and services produced in the country, regardless of industry. In a sense, that’s what economics is all about, the value of things. The rate at which GDP is growing tells us whether our economy is strong or not. Historically, the average has been about 3.3 percent per year. It would be great to see at least that rate of growth.

Economic Indicators - GDPNow from Atlanta Fed - Jan 21 2015

Source: FRBAtlanta.org

Easy Description: GDPNow is a frequently updated estimate of the growth rate of the economy (GDP growth) as opposed to having to wait for quarterly estimates from the Bureau of Economic Analysis for “official” figures.

Latest Readings:

4th Quarter of 2014: On Jan 21, GDPNow is positive (+) 3.5 percent annualized growth rate (versus +3.4 percent on Jan 14)

NOTE: “Annualized growth rate” is how much growth we would see over a full year if economic growth continued at the same pace as it did in the latest quarter being forecast.

Implications: After two solid quarters of growth, the 4th quarter of 2014 is projected to fall back slightly closer to average but still slightly above historical averages. Due to a negative 1st quarter caused mainly by unusually cold weather, however, the overall year of 2014 will likely show sluggish growth overall, just as we’ve seen for several years now.

Additional Info: This is a new indicator, so my use of it here may evolve over time. I like it because it provides a very comprehensive and more timely update for overall economic growth.

Easynomics Rating Methodology: For this index, I will use data on the most recent quarter available. If the latest GDPNow estimate refers to a quarter for which there is already an official BEA reading, then I will go with the BEA reading. I will rate anything between zero and (+) 3.3 as “neutral” – anything above or below that will be rated “positive” or “negative” respectively.

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Economic Indicators Roundup (January 21, 2015)

Economic indicators are everywhere, so this is kind of like a dashboard that I like to follow.  For each indicator, I will try to give you a brief description, the latest reading and what I understand to be its implications.  For simplicity, I will assign each a rating of positive, neutral or negative.  For the economic indicators, I will denote in each one’s section how I decide which rating to give it.  At the end, I assign an overall rating, but this is just to guide me in my takeaway of where things stand.  It’s not scientifically rigorous or anything.

  • Positive – indicative of a healthy, growing economy.
  • Neutral – indicative of a slow or no growth economy but not a contracting (recession) economy.
  • Negative – indicative of a shrinking economy or recession.

(NOTE: For a “Quick ‘n Easy” read, just review the labeled white boxes, then skip to my “Easy Take” summary at the end.  You can review any charts/graphs afterward.  I want to make sure no one is intimidated by the length of my posts, even though I’m trying to making them easy …)


Quick Summary

Indicator (Click for details – only works if full article is open) Current Rating (change from previous roundup)
GDPNow (GDP Forecast from Atlanta Fed) Positive   (Upgrade)
ADS Business Conditions Index Neutral   (Downgrade)
Bloomberg Financial Conditions Index Neutral
Daily Consumer Leading Indicators Negative
Citigroup Economic Surprise Index Neutral
Employment Trends Index Positive
Chicago Fed National Activity Index Positive
Easynomics Real Estate Price Stability Index Positive
Easy Trends Dashboard   (min/max -3 to +3) +2.56 = Definitely moving in a positive direction, with hardly any unconfirmed trends or off-trend readings

NOTE: You may be reading an outdated analysis.  Please visit my latest economic indicators roundup.



Economic Indicator: GDPNow   |   POSITIVE   (Upgrade)
Easy Intro: None yet   |   Link to Source   |   Latest Date This Info Represents: 4th Quarter 2014 (i.e., three months ending December 2014)

Quick ‘n Easy

The current forecast for real GDP growth in the 4th quarter of 2014 is 3.5 percent – slightly above-average growth by historical standards. The Federal Reserve Board of Atlanta combines a whole bunch of public data to mimic what the government does when reporting Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which is the broadest and most comprehensive measure of the economy that is widely accepted. It basically measures the value of all goods and services produced in the country, regardless of industry. In a sense, that’s what economics is all about, the value of things. The rate at which GDP is growing tells us whether our economy is strong or not. Historically, the average has been about 3.3 percent per year. It would be great to see at least that rate of growth.

Economic Indicators - GDPNow from Atlanta Fed - Jan 21 2015

Source: FRBAtlanta.org

Easy Description: GDPNow is a frequently updated estimate of the growth rate of the economy (GDP growth) as opposed to having to wait for quarterly estimates from the Bureau of Economic Analysis for “official” figures.

Latest Readings:

4th Quarter of 2014: On Jan 21, GDPNow is positive (+) 3.5 percent annualized growth rate (versus +3.4 percent on Jan 14)

NOTE: “Annualized growth rate” is how much growth we would see over a full year if economic growth continued at the same pace as it did in the latest quarter being forecast.

Implications: After two solid quarters of growth, the 4th quarter of 2014 is projected to fall back slightly closer to average but still slightly above historical averages. Due to a negative 1st quarter caused mainly by unusually cold weather, however, the overall year of 2014 will likely show sluggish growth overall, just as we’ve seen for several years now.

Additional Info: This is a new indicator, so my use of it here may evolve over time. I like it because it provides a very comprehensive and more timely update for overall economic growth.

Easynomics Rating Methodology: For this index, I will use data on the most recent quarter available. If the latest GDPNow estimate refers to a quarter for which there is already an official BEA reading, then I will go with the BEA reading. I will rate anything between zero and (+) 3.3 as “neutral” – anything above or below that will be rated “positive” or “negative” respectively.

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Economic Indicators Roundup (January 12, 2015)

Economic indicators are everywhere, so this is kind of like a dashboard that I like to follow.  For each indicator, I will try to give you a brief description, the latest reading and what I understand to be its implications.  For simplicity, I will assign each a rating of positive, neutral or negative.  For the economic indicators, I will denote in each one’s section how I decide which rating to give it.  At the end, I assign an overall rating, but this is just to guide me in my takeaway of where things stand.  It’s not scientifically rigorous or anything.

  • Positive – indicative of a healthy, growing economy.
  • Neutral – indicative of a slow or no growth economy but not a contracting (recession) economy.
  • Negative – indicative of a shrinking economy or recession.

(NOTE: For a “Quick ‘n Easy” read, just review the labeled white boxes, then skip to my “Easy Take” summary at the end.  You can review any charts/graphs afterward.  I want to make sure no one is intimidated by the length of my posts, even though I’m trying to making them easy …)


Quick Summary

Indicator (Click for details – only works if full article is open) Current Rating (change from previous roundup)
GDPNow (GDP Forecast from Atlanta Fed) Neutral
ADS Business Conditions Index Positive
Bloomberg Financial Conditions Index Neutral   (Downgrade)
Daily Consumer Leading Indicators Negative
Citigroup Economic Surprise Index Neutral   (Downgrade)
Employment Trends Index Positive
Chicago Fed National Activity Index Positive
Easynomics Real Estate Price Stability Index Positive
Easy Trends Dashboard   (min/max -3 to +3) +2.56 = Definitely moving in a positive direction, with hardly any unconfirmed trends or off-trend readings

NOTE: You may be reading an outdated analysis.  Please visit my latest economic indicators roundup.



Economic Indicator: GDPNow   |   NEUTRAL
Easy Intro: None yet   |   Link to Source   |   Latest Date This Info Represents: 4th Quarter 2014 (i.e., three months ending December 2014)

Quick ‘n Easy

The current forecast for real GDP growth in the 4th quarter of 2014 is 3.26 percent – barely below-average growth by historical standards. The Federal Reserve Board of Atlanta combines a whole bunch of public data to mimic what the government does when reporting Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which is the broadest and most comprehensive measure of the economy that is widely accepted. It basically measures the value of all goods and services produced in the country, regardless of industry. In a sense, that’s what economics is all about, the value of things. The rate at which GDP is growing tells us whether our economy is strong or not. Historically, the average has been about 3.3 percent per year. It would be great to see at least that rate of growth.

Economic Indicators - GDPNow from Atlanta Fed - Jan 7 2015

Source: FRBAtlanta.org

Easy Description: GDPNow is a frequently updated estimate of the growth rate of the economy (GDP growth) as opposed to having to wait for quarterly estimates from the Bureau of Economic Analysis for “official” figures.

Latest Readings:

4th Quarter of 2014: On Jan 7, GDPNow is positive (+) 3.26 percent annualized growth rate (versus +3.1 percent on Jan 2)

NOTE: “Annualized growth rate” is how much growth we would see over a full year if economic growth continued at the same pace as it did in the latest quarter being forecast.

Implications: We have now seen two solid quarters of growth after the 1st quarter of 2014 setback due to cold weather. The 4th quarter is projected to fall back slightly to near-average growth. Thus, the overall year would once again show sluggish growth, just as we’ve seen for several years now.

Additional Info: This is a new indicator, so my use of it here may evolve over time. I like it because it provides a very comprehensive and more timely update for overall economic growth.

Easynomics Rating Methodology: For this index, I will use data on the most recent quarter available. If the latest GDPNow estimate refers to a quarter for which there is already an official BEA reading, then I will go with the BEA reading. I will rate anything between zero and (+) 3.3 as “neutral” – anything above or below that will be rated “positive” or “negative” respectively.

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Housing and Real Estate – Easy Pod (December 30, 2014)

Housing and real estate were at the center of the 2008 financial crisis, so it should be obvious why it is an important part of our economy…

For a “Quick ‘n Easy” read, just review the labeled white boxes, then skip to my “Easy Take” summary at the end. You can review any charts/graphs afterward. I want to make sure no one is intimidated by the length of my posts, even though I’m trying to making them easy…

NOTE: You may be reading an outdated analysis. Please see my latest Housing and Real Estate Easy Pod for more info.

I’m continuing with a feature called “Easy Pod” – a collection of indicators that help portray the current status of something. In this post, that something is housing and real estate. Let’s first review a few key concepts that are important to know about housing and real estate: (you can skip to below the first horizontal line if you’ve read this Easy Pod in the past)

  • There are two basic kinds of real estate, residential and non-residential. Residential refers to places where people live. Non-residential includes things like businesses, office buildings or warehouses.
  • For residential real estate (this is what we’ll refer to as “housing”) there are new homes and existing homes. The difference should be fairly obvious. New homes are looking for their first owner, while existing homes already have an owner.
  • “Inventory” is how many of something you have available to sell. When we talk about the current inventory of new homes, we are talking about how many new homes are available to be sold. When inventory is high, that makes it more likely that prices will be lower. Remember, it’s the “supply and demand” basics here. If you have too much of something, people will pay less for it. The way we try to measure inventory in housing is by comparing how many unsold homes there are versus how fast homes are selling. That’s why you’ll see things like “8 months inventory.” It means that, at the current rate of home sales, it would take 8 months to get rid of the extra inventory.
  • Sales levels and prices are definitely related to one another. If you see home sales slowing down, it means that homes are not in as much demand, so chances are good that prices will go down. You have to look at the combination of housing prices, sales and inventory to get a good feel for what’s going on.

There are a number of indicators that describe what’s going on in housing and real estate, and there are even some people who combine these indicators into one number (an index) to give a summary. In this “Easy Pod” I will show you indicators and indices that I like to follow. Check back regularly for updates.


Quick Summary

Previous Easy Pod: July 2, 2014

Indicator (Click for details – only works if full article is open) Current Rating (change since last Easy Pod)
New Home Sales Negative
Housing Starts Negative
NMHC Quarterly Survey of Apartment Market Conditions Positive
NAHB Housing Market Index (HMI) Neutral
Easynomics Real Estate Price Stability Index Positive




Indicator: New Home Sales   |   NEGATIVE
Easy Intro: None yet   |   Link to SourceClick here   |   Latest Date This Info Represents: November 2014

Quick ‘n Easy

Every new home that is built and sold adds to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), helping our economy grow. Unfortunately, in November 2014, new homes were selling at an extremely low rate. The good news is that the trend has generally been pointed upward since early 2011. Fortunately, the proper number of new homes are being built so that the ones in inventory (still on the market) can get cleared out at a normal pace.

New Residential Homes Sales November 2014 - FRED

Source: StLouisFed.org

Easy Description: Statistics that tell us how many new single-family homes (basically a building for one family, not apartments or condos) were sold. It also tells us about the selling price of those homes and the unsold inventory of new homes (waiting to be sold).

Latest Reading: If sales in November 2014 were to continue at that rate for a whole year, there would be 438,000 new homes sold. This “annualized” rate is 1.6 percent lower than last month’s revised rate, and it is 1.6 percent below the rate from the same month last year. There were 213,000 new homes still for sale (inventory), so at the current pace it would take about 5.8 months to sell the remainder.

Also, take a look at my latest new residential homes inventory months of supply trend analysis to see where the trends are headed.

Implications: After hitting an interim low of 270,000 in Feb 2011, the pace of new home sales has been generally rising (with some big ups and downs). We’re still a long way off from a normal level, but we appear to be on the mend.

The “5.8 months of inventory” part is key to understanding that home builders have done a pretty good job of adjusting to market conditions. Because so few homes were being sold after the big recession hit, they dropped the number of homes they built way down, which means that supply decreased and prices didn’t decrease as much. (Quick refresher on “supply and demand” – when something has a bigger supply  than there is a demand for it, sellers are forced to lower the price so that buyers will have a greater willingness to buy it.) We were at very low levels of new home construction, which is why that inventory months of supply figure is not way above historical averages anymore. Before the housing boom, the typical months of inventory level was around 6 months.  At the 6 months level, prices tend to be stable.

So, what about the fact that new homes are generally being sold more often these days than during the housing crash? Builders have started making more homes, which will eventually push up supply enough to keep up with the new demand so that prices don’t move too much in one direction or the other. The kind of massive price increases we saw in the housing boom were unsustainable, just as massive price decreases from this point onward would have to be temporary, too. Market forces nearly always tend to push things toward a “healthy” equilibrium.

But regardless of the fact that the inventory number is looking pretty decent, this number of sales (438,000 annualized rate) is still way too low. And when fewer homes are being sold, that’s less economic growth. The sale of a new home is just like the sale of a car, television or clothes – someone made something and sold it, which adds to the GDP. What we’d like to see from here is a continued increase in new home sales numbers while keeping that months of inventory right around the 6 month mark. That would mean the housing market is on its way to greater positive contributions to the GDP report without having any false imbalances in the system.

Easynomics Rating Methodology: The long term average is about 672,000 new homes sold per year. I’d be concerned to see numbers that are 15 percent below that average. Therefore, I will give this indicator a rating based on the average of the last three months’ annual selling pace: Above 672,000 is “positive”; below 571,000 is “negative”; anything between is “neutral.”

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Economic Indicators Roundup (December 29, 2014)

Economic indicators are everywhere, so this is kind of like a dashboard that I like to follow.  For each indicator, I will try to give you a brief description, the latest reading and what I understand to be its implications.  For simplicity, I will assign each a rating of positive, neutral or negative.  For the economic indicators, I will denote in each one’s section how I decide which rating to give it.  At the end, I assign an overall rating, but this is just to guide me in my takeaway of where things stand.  It’s not scientifically rigorous or anything.

  • Positive – indicative of a healthy, growing economy.
  • Neutral – indicative of a slow or no growth economy but not a contracting (recession) economy.
  • Negative – indicative of a shrinking economy or recession.

(NOTE: For a “Quick ‘n Easy” read, just review the labeled white boxes, then skip to my “Easy Take” summary at the end.  You can review any charts/graphs afterward.  I want to make sure no one is intimidated by the length of my posts, even though I’m trying to making them easy …)


Quick Summary

Indicator (Click for details – only works if full article is open) Current Rating (change from previous roundup)
GDPNow (GDP Forecast from Atlanta Fed) Neutral
ADS Business Conditions Index Positive
Bloomberg Financial Conditions Index Positive
Daily Consumer Leading Indicators Negative
Citigroup Economic Surprise Index Positive   (Upgrade)
Employment Trends Index Positive
Chicago Fed National Activity Index Positive
Easynomics Real Estate Price Stability Index Positive
Easy Trends Dashboard   (min/max -3 to +3) +2.67 = Definitely moving in a positive direction, with hardly any unconfirmed trends or off-trend readings

NOTE: You may be reading an outdated analysis.  Please visit my latest economic indicators roundup.



Economic Indicator: GDPNow   |   NEUTRAL
Easy Intro: None yet   |   Link to Source   |   Latest Date This Info Represents: 4th Quarter 2014 (i.e., three months ending December 2014)

Quick ‘n Easy

The current forecast for real GDP growth in the 4th quarter of 2014 is 3.0 percent – below-average growth by historical standards. The Federal Reserve Board of Atlanta combines a whole bunch of public data to mimic what the government does when reporting Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which is the broadest and most comprehensive measure of the economy that is widely accepted. It basically measures the value of all goods and services produced in the country, regardless of industry. In a sense, that’s what economics is all about, the value of things. The rate at which GDP is growing tells us whether our economy is strong or not. Historically, the average has been about 3.3 percent per year. It would be great to see at least that rate of growth.

Economic Indicators - GDPNow from Atlanta Fed - Dec 23 2014

Source: FRBAtlanta.org

Easy Description: GDPNow is a frequently updated estimate of the growth rate of the economy (GDP growth) as opposed to having to wait for quarterly estimates from the Bureau of Economic Analysis for “official” figures.

Latest Readings:

4th Quarter of 2014: On Dec 23, GDPNow is positive (+) 3.0 percent annualized growth rate (versus +2.7 percent on Dec 16)

NOTE: “Annualized growth rate” is how much growth we would see over a full year if economic growth continued at the same pace as it did in the latest quarter being forecast.

Implications: We have now seen two solid quarters of growth after the 1st quarter of 2014 setback due to cold weather. The 4th quarter is projected to fall back slightly to below-average growth. Thus, the overall year would once again show sluggish growth, just as we’ve seen for several years now.

Additional Info: This is a new indicator, so my use of it here may evolve over time. I like it because it provides a very comprehensive and more timely update for overall economic growth.

Easynomics Rating Methodology: For this index, I will use data on the most recent quarter available. If the latest GDPNow estimate refers to a quarter for which there is already an official BEA reading, then I will go with the BEA reading. I will rate anything between zero and (+) 3.3 as “neutral” – anything above or below that will be rated “positive” or “negative” respectively.

continue reading…

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Economic Indicators Roundup (December 22, 2014)

Economic indicators are everywhere, so this is kind of like a dashboard that I like to follow.  For each indicator, I will try to give you a brief description, the latest reading and what I understand to be its implications.  For simplicity, I will assign each a rating of positive, neutral or negative.  For the economic indicators, I will denote in each one’s section how I decide which rating to give it.  At the end, I assign an overall rating, but this is just to guide me in my takeaway of where things stand.  It’s not scientifically rigorous or anything.

  • Positive – indicative of a healthy, growing economy.
  • Neutral – indicative of a slow or no growth economy but not a contracting (recession) economy.
  • Negative – indicative of a shrinking economy or recession.

(NOTE: For a “Quick ‘n Easy” read, just review the labeled white boxes, then skip to my “Easy Take” summary at the end.  You can review any charts/graphs afterward.  I want to make sure no one is intimidated by the length of my posts, even though I’m trying to making them easy …)


Quick Summary

Indicator (Click for details – only works if full article is open) Current Rating (change from previous roundup)
GDPNow (GDP Forecast from Atlanta Fed) Neutral
ADS Business Conditions Index Positive
Bloomberg Financial Conditions Index Positive   (Upgrade)
Daily Consumer Leading Indicators Negative
Citigroup Economic Surprise Index Neutral
Employment Trends Index Positive
Chicago Fed National Activity Index Positive   (Upgrade)
Easynomics Real Estate Price Stability Index Positive
Easy Trends Dashboard   (min/max -3 to +3) +2.67 = Definitely moving in a positive direction, with hardly any unconfirmed trends or off-trend readings

NOTE: You may be reading an outdated analysis.  Please visit my latest economic indicators roundup.



Economic Indicator: GDPNow   |   NEUTRAL
Easy Intro: None yet   |   Link to Source   |   Latest Date This Info Represents: 4th Quarter 2014 (i.e., three months ending December 2014)

Quick ‘n Easy

The current forecast for real GDP growth in the 4th quarter of 2014 is 2.7 percent – below-average growth by historical standards. The Federal Reserve Board of Atlanta combines a whole bunch of public data to mimic what the government does when reporting Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which is the broadest and most comprehensive measure of the economy that is widely accepted. It basically measures the value of all goods and services produced in the country, regardless of industry. In a sense, that’s what economics is all about, the value of things. The rate at which GDP is growing tells us whether our economy is strong or not. Historically, the average has been about 3.3 percent per year. It would be great to see at least that rate of growth.

Economic Indicators - GDPNow from Atlanta Fed - Dec 16 2014

Source: FRBAtlanta.org

Easy Description: GDPNow is a frequently updated estimate of the growth rate of the economy (GDP growth) as opposed to having to wait for quarterly estimates from the Bureau of Economic Analysis for “official” figures.

Latest Readings:

4th Quarter of 2014: On Dec 16, GDPNow is positive (+) 2.7 percent annualized growth rate (versus +2.2 percent on Dec 11)

NOTE: “Annualized growth rate” is how much growth we would see over a full year if economic growth continued at the same pace as it did in the latest quarter being forecast.

Implications: We have now seen two solid quarters of growth after the 1st quarter of 2014 setback due to cold weather. The 4th quarter is projected to fall back to sluggish growth. Thus, the overall year would once again show slow growth, just as we’ve seen for several years now.

Additional Info: This is a new indicator, so my use of it here may evolve over time. I like it because it provides a very comprehensive and more timely update for overall economic growth.

Easynomics Rating Methodology: For this index, I will use data on the most recent quarter available. If the latest GDPNow estimate refers to a quarter for which there is already an official BEA reading, then I will go with the BEA reading. I will rate anything between zero and (+) 3.3 as “neutral” – anything above or below that will be rated “positive” or “negative” respectively.

continue reading…

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