America's Current & Future Economic Situation - By Ted Kavadas
Monday, March 11, 2019
Charts Indicating Economic Weakness – March 2019
U.S. Economic Indicators
Throughout this site there are many discussions of economic indicators. At this time, the readings of various indicators are especially notable. This post is the latest in a series of posts indicating U.S. economic weakness or a notably low growth rate.
While many U.S. economic indicators – including GDP – are indicating economic growth, others depict (or imply) various degrees of weak growth or economic contraction. As seen in the February 2019 Wall Street Journal Economic Forecast Survey the consensus (average estimate) among various economists is for 3.0% GDP growth in 2018 and 2.2% GDP growth in 2019. However, there are other broad-based economic indicators that seem to imply a weaker growth rate.
As well, it should be remembered that GDP figures can be (substantially) revised.
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:
Total Federal Receipts
“Total Federal Receipts” growth continues to be intermittent in nature since 2015. As well, the level of growth does not seem congruent to the (recent) levels of economic growth as seen in aggregate measures such as Real GDP.
“Total Federal Receipts” through January had a last value of $339,980 Million. Shown below is the measure displayed on a “Percent Change From Year Ago” basis with value -5.8%, last updated March 5, 2019:
“Total Construction Spending: Commercial” is a measure of construction exhibiting a contraction on a “Percent Change From Year Ago” basis. This measure through December had a last value of $86,188 Million. Shown below is the measure displayed on a “Percent Change From Year Ago” basis with a value of -3.2%, last updated March 4, 2019:
The Aruoba-Diebold-Scotti Business Conditions Index (ADS Index)
Among the broad-based economic indicators that seem to imply subdued or intermittent growth is that of the Aruoba-Diebold-Scotti Business Conditions Index (ADS Index.) Below is a chart of the index from the year 2000 through March 2, 2019, with a value of -.4717, as of the March 8 update:
source: Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, Chicago Fed National Activity Index [CFNAI], retrieved from FRED, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, February 25, 2019: https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/CFNAI
The CFNAI-MA3, with current reading of 0:
source: Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, Chicago Fed National Activity Index: Three Month Moving Average [CFNAIMA3], retrieved from FRED, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, February 25, 2019: https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/CFNAIMA3
As mentioned previously, many other indicators discussed on this site indicate economic weakness or economic contraction, if not outright (gravely) problematical economic conditions.
The Special Note summarizes my overall thoughts about our economic situation