Posts Tagged ‘Bureau of Economic Analysis’

Interview with Rick Davis of the Consumer Metrics Institute

Interview with Rick Davis of the Consumer Metrics Institute

 

By Ilene

Introduction: Richard Davis is President of the Consumer Metrics Institute (CMI). At the Institute, Rick measures real-time consumer transactions as an objective indicator of consumer demand and the associated health of the US economy. In this interview, we explore the history behind the government-published numbers and the reasons prompting Rick to devise better ways to measure the state of the economy.

History

Ilene: Rick, what got you interested in measuring economic numbers?

Rick: I first became frustrated with the current state of economic data after learning about the history of the collection process and the government’s continued reliance on 70 year old concepts. The government began collecting economic data during Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s (FDR) second term, around 1937. There was concern that the recovery from the 1937-1938 recession (i.e., a recession nested within the Great Depression) was stalling. The economy had been improving significantly from early 1933 through 1936 before the wheels came off the recovery in mid-1937.  FDR’s administration realized it did not have adequate data to monitor the economy and the administration asked the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) to look into this problem. Wesley Clair Mitchell set out to find data that would help FDR’s administration address its concerns about the U.S. economy.

Wesley Clair Mitchell was a once-in-a-generation economic genius when it came to data collection. He collected over 500 interesting data sets measuring items such as sales, employment, railcar loadings--items that would allow him to constantly monitor the health of the economy. Most of these things are still measured, and the numbers have evolved into the core reports put out by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA).

What frustrated me was that the data sets measured by Dr. Mitchell were developed in the 1930s and designed to capture those things that were important to the 1930s economy. They are not geared for today’s economy. Things that mattered in the mid-20th century simply cannot completely describe what is happening in the 2010 economy.

For instance, to find out what was happening in the music industry in 1950, someone could have gone to a neighborhood music store, counted the Doris Day 45’s in the retail bins…
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Strong GDP growth with weak fundamentals

Strong GDP growth with weak fundamentals

Courtesy of James D. Hamilton at Econbrowser

The Bureau of Economic Analysis reported today that the seasonally adjusted real value of the nation’s production of goods and services grew at a 5.7% annual rate during the fourth quarter. That’s great news, but…

Rate of growth of real GDP (annual rates), 1947:Q2 to 2009:Q4. Shaded regions represent dates of recessions as declared by NBER.
gdp_growth_jan_10.gif

Three-fifths of that Q4 GDP growth came from the fact that businesses were drawing down inventories more slowly than they had the quarter before. Firms sold $8.5 billion more goods (at a quarterly rate) in 2009:Q4 than they produced, and met those sales by drawing down inventories by $8.5 billion. This reduction in inventories counts as negative investment spending of -$8.5 billion at a quarterly rate (or -$34 B at the annual rate these numbers are typically reported) for purposes of calculating fourth-quarter GDP. Firms sold $34.8 billion more than they produced in 2009:Q3, which amounted to negative inventory investment of -$139 B at an annual rate for Q3. Since this component of investment spending went from -139 to -34, it counts as positive growth when you compare Q3 GDP with Q4 GDP. This mechanism alone contributed 3.4 percentage points to the 5.7% growth rate for real GDP reported for Q4.

To put it another way, if consumers, businesses, foreigners, and the government had all purchased exactly the same quantity of real goods and services in 2009:Q4 as they had in 2009:Q3, more of those sales would have come out of inventory drawdown in Q3 than in Q4, so even without any gain in final sales we would have had to produce more stuff in Q4 than Q3, specifically, 3.4% more stuff at an annual rate. In fact real final sales to consumers, businesses, foreigners, and the government were not stagnant, but grew at a 2.3% annual rate during the fourth quarter, and the two effects combined give us the 5.7% reported GDP growth.

gdp_compon_jan_10.gif

Just because the production gains can be accounted for in terms of slower inventory drawdown doesn’t mean they aren’t real, and doesn’t mean they can’t continue. I noted in July that we might expect inventory restocking to add 1.6% to the annual GDP growth rate…
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Politics

TRUMP CONCEDES (SORT OF)

 

TRUMP CONCEDES (SORT OF)

Courtesy of Teri Kanefield

The Trump Legal team filed more documents today in the appellate court. I tweeted a bit about how silly they were (let me know if you all want me to march through them). Then this happened:

Trump giving the go-ahead for the transition to get underway was (I believe) the closest he will get to conceding the election. Two amusing things happened. First, Trump tweeted this about 10 minutes after Emily Murphy submitted a letter saying she would move forward, and that she has made her decisions solely on her own and not at anyone’s direction. Looks like Trump wanted people to think that she was, in fact, acting at his direction.

The other amusing part was that Tr...



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Phil's Favorites

TRUMP CONCEDES (SORT OF)

 

TRUMP CONCEDES (SORT OF)

Courtesy of Teri Kanefield

The Trump Legal team filed more documents today in the appellate court. I tweeted a bit about how silly they were (let me know if you all want me to march through them). Then this happened:

Trump giving the go-ahead for the transition to get underway was (I believe) the closest he will get to conceding the election. Two amusing things happened. First, Trump tweeted this about 10 minutes after Emily Murphy submitted a letter saying she would move forward, and that she has made her decisions solely on her own and not at anyone’s direction. Looks like Trump wanted people to think that she was, in fact, acting at his direction.

The other amusing part was t...



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ValueWalk

Proposed Klamath River Dams Removal: The Height Of Obtuse Thinking?

By William E. Simpson II. Originally published at ValueWalk.

Considering the recent revelations as published in several California newspapers regarding the Klamath River dams removal proposal, many important questions arise to those who are using logic to examine the fishy-reasoning for considering the removal of several perfectly good dams.

Q3 2020 hedge fund letters, conferences and more

Photo: William E. Simpson II: CAL-FIRE tanker trucks and helicopters dr...

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Zero Hedge

As Oil Soars, Former NHL Player Turned Hedge Fund Manager Says "Inevitable" It Will Go Higher

Courtesy of ZeroHedge View original post here.

Update (1100ET): WTI jyust broke above $45 as today's move goes vertical. This is the highest price for oil since March, which is interesting given that Cushing storage is near capacity...

*  *  *

If you're bullish on oil, we've got good news and bad news. The good news is that one hedge fund manager is finally taking an outsized bet on oil and is making headlines...



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Biotech/COVID-19

Why the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine is now a global game changer

 

Why the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine is now a global game changer

Courtesy of Michael Head, University of Southampton

In the long dark tunnel that has been 2020, November stands out as the month that light appeared. Some might see it as a bright light, others as a faint light – but it is unmistakably a light.

On November 9, Pfizer announced the interim results of its candidate vaccine, showing it to be “more than 90% effective” in preventing symptomatic COVID-19 in late-stage human trials. The news was greeted with joy.

A ...



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Chart School

Bitcoin Chart Review

Courtesy of Read the Ticker

Bitcoin is testing its old all time high. Bitcoin is not alone as it is at the same party of all risk on trends. Abundant end of year liquidity, add the relief of finishing US elections will see the end of the buyers strike and gains should continue (just like 2016).

Bitcoin is on fourth types of charts held within readtheticker.com, each chart answers different questions.

Charts ...

Cycle charts shows off price and time cycles, with forecasts.


Click for popup. Clear your browser cache if image is not showing.




Long term channels, with time and price targets.


Click f...



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Kimble Charting Solutions

Transports Sending Strong Bullish Message To Other Dow Indices?

Courtesy of Chris Kimble

Are Transportation stocks about to send a quality bullish message to other Dow indices this month? Sure could be!

This 3-pack looks at the Dow Jones Industrials, Transports, and Utilities indices on a monthly basis.

One week from the end of a month, the DJ Transports are attempting an important bullish breakout at (1). Unless a sharp reversal takes place in the next week, Transports could close out the month at new monthly closing highs!

The Dow is attempting to close at all-time highs this month, while the Dow Utilities Index remains a few percent below 2020 highs....



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Digital Currencies

Dalio Admits "I Might Be Missing Something" As Bitcoin Surges Above $18,000

Courtesy of ZeroHedge

Since the US election, Bitcoin prices (in USD) have surged a stunning 40%, also lurching higher after each vaccine headline hit.

Source: Bloomberg

Getting ever closer to its all-time record high...

Source: Bloomberg

As crypto prices soared overnight, Bridgewater Associates founder Ray Dalio stepped back into the fray, saying in a Twitter thread that “I might be missing something about Bitco...



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Mapping The Market

COVID-19 Forces More Than Half of Asset Management Firms to Accelerate Adoption of Digital Marketing Technology

By Jacob Wolinsky. Originally published at ValueWalk.

There is no doubt that the use of technology to support client engagement initiatives brings both opportunities and threats but this has been brought into sharp focus this year with the COVID-19 pandemic.

The crisis has brought to the fore the need for firms to enable flexibility in client engagement – the expectation that providers will communicate to clients on their terms, at their speed and frequency and on their preferred channels, is now a given. This is even more critical when clients are experiencing unparalleled anxiety from both market conditions and their own personal circumstances.

...

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The Technical Traders

Adaptive Fibonacci Price Modeling System Suggests Market Peak May Be Near

Courtesy of Technical Traders

Our Adaptive Fibonacci Price Modeling system is suggesting a moderate price peak may be already setting up in the NASDAQ while the Dow Jones, S&P500, and Transportation Index continue to rally beyond the projected Fibonacci Price Expansion Levels.  This indicates that capital may be shifting away from the already lofty Technology sector and into Basic Materials, Financials, Energy, Consumer Staples, Utilities, as well as other sectors.

This type of a structural market shift indicates a move away from speculation and towards Blue Chip returns. It suggests traders and investors are expecting the US consumer to come back strong (or at least hold up the market at...



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Lee's Free Thinking

Texas, Florida, Arizona, Georgia - The Branch COVIDIANS Are Still Burning Down the House

 

Texas, Florida, Arizona, Georgia – The Branch COVIDIANS Are Still Burning Down the House

Courtesy of Lee Adler, WallStreetExaminer 

The numbers of new cases in some of the hardest hit COVID19 states have started to plateau, or even decline, over the past few days. A few pundits have noted it and concluded that it was a hopeful sign. 

Is it real or is something else going on? Like a restriction in the numbers of tests, or simply the inability to test enough, or are some people simply giving up on getting tested? Because as we all know from our dear leader, the less testing, the less...



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Insider Scoop

Economic Data Scheduled For Friday

Courtesy of Benzinga

  • Data on nonfarm payrolls and unemployment rate for March will be released at 8:30 a.m. ET.
  • US Services Purchasing Managers' Index for March is scheduled for release at 9:45 a.m. ET.
  • The ISM's non-manufacturing index for March will be released at 10:00 a.m. ET.
  • The Baker Hughes North American rig count report for the latest week is scheduled for release at 1:00 p.m. ET.
...

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Promotions

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Feb. 26, 1pm EST

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Phil will discuss positions, COVID-19, market volatility -- the selloff -- and more! 

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