Thursday, August 11, 2022

Chicago Fed National Financial Conditions Index (NFCI)

The St. Louis Fed’s Financial Stress Index (STLFSI3) is one index that is supposed to measure stress in the financial system. Its reading as of the August 11, 2022 update (reflecting data through August 5, 2022) is -2.1880:

STLFSI3

source: Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, St. Louis Fed Financial Stress Index [STLFSI3], retrieved from FRED, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; accessed August 11, 2022: https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/STLFSI3

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 10, 2022 incorporating data from January 8, 1971 through August 5, 2022 on a weekly basis.  The August 5 value is -.24561:

NFCI

Data Source: FRED, Federal Reserve Economic Data, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; accessed August 11, 2022:  
http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/NFCI

The ANFCI chart below was last updated on August 10, 2022 incorporating data from January 8, 1971 through August 5, 2022, on a weekly basis.  The August 5, 2022 value is -.19553:

ANFCI

Data Source: FRED, Federal Reserve Economic Data, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; accessed August 11, 2022:  
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 4206.17 as this post is written

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Recession Probability Models – August 2022

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 August 10, 2022 using data through July 2022) this “Yield Curve” model shows a 17.6265% probability of a recession in the United States twelve months ahead.  For comparison purposes, it showed a 5.9258% probability through June 2022, 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 August 1, 2022 currently shows a 1.72% probability using data through June 2022.

Here is the FRED chart (last updated August 1, 2022):

Smoothed U.S. Recession Probabilities

Data Source:  Piger, Jeremy Max and Chauvet, Marcelle, Smoothed U.S. Recession Probabilities [RECPROUSM156N], retrieved from FRED, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, accessed August 10, 2022:  
http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/RECPROUSM156N

The two models featured above can be compared against measures seen in recent posts.  For instance, as seen in the July 17, 2022 post titled “The July 2022 Wall Street Journal Economic Forecast Survey“ economists surveyed averaged a 49% 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 4202.44 as this post is written

Monday, August 8, 2022

Charts Indicating Economic Weakness – August 2022

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 estimates, the probability of recession has grown significantly and the second consecutive quarter of Real GDP contraction was reported on July 28.

As seen in the July 2022 Wall Street Journal Economic Forecast Survey the consensus (average estimate) among various economists is for .71% GDP growth in 2022, 1.14% GDP growth in 2023, and 2.05% GDP growth in 2024.

Charts Indicating U.S. Economic Weakness

Below are a small sampling of charts that depict weak growth or contraction, and a brief comment for each:

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Real Average Hourly Earnings

Various measures of (nominal) average hourly earnings continue to show significant growth. However, due to continuing high inflation, Real Average Hourly Earnings continues to decline. Shown below is a chart of earnings measures as seen in The Economics Daily of July 19, 2022 titled “Real average hourly earnings down 3.6 percent over the 12 months ending June 2022”:

12-month percent change in real average hourly and weekly earnings

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Real average hourly earnings down 3.6 percent over the 12 months ending June 2022 at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2022/real-average-hourly-earnings-down-3-6-percent-over-the-12-months-ending-june-2022.htm (visited August 04, 2022).

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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) has turned negative and is (all things considered) notably low 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 August 5, 2022 value, showing a value of -.41% [10-Year Treasury Yield (FRED DGS10) of 2.68% as of the August 5 update, 2-Year Treasury Yield (FRED DGS2) of 3.03% as of the August 5 update]:

T10Y2Y -.41 Percent

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 August 8, 2022: https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/T10Y2Y

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Rail Freight Carloads (RAILFRTCARLOADSD11)

“Rail Freight Carloads” continues to show a generally downward progression from a longer-term perspective.  Shown below is a chart with data through April 2022 (last value of 986,994), last updated July 13, 2022:

Rail Freight Carloads

Here is the same measure on a “Percent Change From Year Ago” basis, with value -3.0%:

Rail Freight Carloads Percent Change From Year Ago

source:  U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics, Rail Freight Carloads [RAILFRTCARLOADSD11], retrieved from FRED, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; accessed August 4, 2022: https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/RAILFRTCARLOADSD11

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Average Weekly Overtime Hours of Production and Nonsupervisory Employees: Manufacturing (AWOTMAN)

Various U.S. manufacturing measures continue to indicate growth. However, overtime hours for manufacturing is somewhat subdued by recent-era economic expansion standards and the measure on a Percent Change From Year Ago level has recently gone negative.

Shown below is the “Average Weekly Overtime Hours of Production and Nonsupervisory Employees: Manufacturing” measure (with last value of 4.0 hours through July) last updated August 5, 2022:

Average Weekly Overtime Hours of Production and Nonsupervisory Employees, Manufacturing

Below is this measure displayed on a “Percent Change From Year Ago” basis with value -2.4%:

Average Weekly Overtime Hours of Production and Nonsupervisory Employees, Manufacturing Percent Change From Year Ago

source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Average Weekly Overtime Hours of Production and Nonsupervisory Employees: Manufacturing [AWOTMAN], retrieved from FRED, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; accessed August 8, 2022: https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/AWOTMAN

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Other Indicators

As mentioned previously, many other indicators discussed on this site indicate slow 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 4136.77 as this post is written

Building Financial Danger – August 8, 2022 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 on this site concerning both ongoing and recent “negative developments.”  These developments, as well as other exceedingly problematical 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 – will occur. [note: the “next crash” and its aftermath has paramount 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” label]

As reference, below is a daily chart since 2008 of the S&P500 (through August 5, 2022 with a last price of 4145.19), 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 4145.19 as this post is written

Friday, August 5, 2022

Monthly Changes In Total Nonfarm Payroll – August 5, 2022 Update

For reference purposes, below are five charts that display growth in payroll employment, as depicted by the Total Nonfarm Payroll measures (FRED data series PAYEMS).

PAYEMS, which is seasonally adjusted, is defined in Financial Reserve Economic Data [FRED] as:

All Employees: Total Nonfarm, commonly known as Total Nonfarm Payroll, is a measure of the number of U.S. workers in the economy that excludes proprietors, private household employees, unpaid volunteers, farm employees, and the unincorporated self-employed. This measure accounts for approximately 80 percent of the workers who contribute to Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

This measure provides useful insights into the current economic situation because it can represent the number of jobs added or lost in an economy. Increases in employment might indicate that businesses are hiring which might also suggest that businesses are growing. Additionally, those who are newly employed have increased their personal incomes, which means (all else constant) their disposable incomes have also increased, thus fostering further economic expansion.

Generally, the U.S. labor force and levels of employment and unemployment are subject to fluctuations due to seasonal changes in weather, major holidays, and the opening and closing of schools. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) adjusts the data to offset the seasonal effects to show non-seasonal changes: for example, women’s participation in the labor force; or a general decline in the number of employees, a possible indication of a downturn in the economy. To closely examine seasonal and non-seasonal changes, the BLS releases two monthly statistical measures: the seasonally adjusted All Employees: Total Nonfarm (PAYEMS) and All Employees: Total Nonfarm (PAYNSA), which is not seasonally adjusted.

The series comes from the ‘Current Employment Statistics (Establishment Survey).’

The source code is: CES0000000001

The first chart shows the monthly change in Total Nonfarm Payroll from the year 2000 through the current July 2022 report (July 2022 value of 528 (Thousands)):

(click on charts to enlarge images)

PAYEMS Monthly Change

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 5, 2022; https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/PAYEMS

The second chart shows a longer-term chart of the same month-over-month change in Total Nonfarm Payroll (reports of February 1939 through the present report of July 2022):

PAYEMS Monthly Change

The third chart shows the aggregate number of Total Nonfarm Payroll, from the reports of January 1939 – July 2022 (July 2022 value of 152.536 million):

Total Nonfarm Payroll 152536

The fourth chart shows this same measure of aggregate number of Total Nonfarm Payroll as seen above but presented on a LOG scale:

PAYEMS 152536 LOG scale

Lastly, the fifth chart shows the Total Nonfarm Payroll number on a “Percent Change from Year Ago” basis from January 1940 – July 2022: (July 2022 value of 4.2%)

Total Nonfarm Payroll 4.2% Change From Year Ago

_________

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 4138.65 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 = $32.27):

(click on chart to enlarge image)(chart last updated 8-5-22)

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 August 5, 2022: 
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 8-5-22)

CES0500000003 5.2% 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 = $27.57):

(click on chart to enlarge image)(chart last updated 8-5-22)

AHETPI

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 August 5, 2022: 
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 8-5-22)

AHETPI 6.2% 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 4122.76 as this post is written

U-3 And U-6 Unemployment Rate Long-Term Reference Charts As Of August 5, 2022

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 3.5% unemployment rate:

U-3 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 5, 2022: 
http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/UNRATE

Here is the U-6 chart, currently showing a 6.7% 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 5, 2022:  
http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/U6RATE

_____

The Special Note summarizes my overall thoughts about our economic situation

SPX at 4124.57 as this post is written