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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ValueWalk

Workhorse Blows Up; Buffett And Berkshire Get Busy

By Jacob Wolinsky. Originally published at ValueWalk.

Whitney Tilson’s email to investors discussing Workhorse Group Inc (NASDAQ:WKHS) blows up; Buffett and Berkshire get busy; the king of SPACs wants you to know he’s the next Warren Buffett.

Q4 2020 hedge fund letters, conferences and more

Workhorse Blows Up

1) Another day, another blowup of one of the stocks I've warned my readers about...

On Monday, it was software supplier Ebix (EBIX). Yesterday, it was electric-vehicle developer Workhorse (WKHS), which tumbled 47% and was down ...



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Kimble Charting Solutions

Is Rising Inflation About To Hit U.S. Economy In Big Way?

Courtesy of Chris Kimble

Inflation seems to be a thing of the past… but current trading in bond and commodity markets tell us that it could become a thing of the future!

Inflation hasn’t been an issue, or even on our radar, since the 1980s. Sure, the 2007 surge in oil prices offered some concern but the financial crisis killed any thoughts of inflation.

So what’s got us concerned about inflation in 2021?

Today we take a look at long-term charts of two potential inflation indicators: Crude Oil ...



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Phil's Favorites

Within a Matter of Months, the Fed's Balance Sheet Will Hit $8 Trillion; These Charts Tell the Rest of the Story

Courtesy of Pam Martens

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: February 24, 2021 ~

Every Thursday, at approximately 4:30 p.m., the Federal Reserve provides a report on its balance sheet as of the prior day. It’s known as the H.4.1 report or the Wednesday Level report.

On Thursday, September 4, 2008, the ...



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Zero Hedge

Square Adds $170 Million In Bitcoin To Enable "Economic Empowerment"

Courtesy of ZeroHedge

Building on the list of recent companies to add crypto to their reserves, or embrace as a payments solution, Jack Dorsey's other company - Square - reportedly added $170 million of bitcoin to its existing $50 million reserves.

Full Square Statement:

Square also announced today that it has purchased approximately 3,318 bitcoins at an aggregate purchase price of $170 million.

Combined with Square’s previous purchase of $50 million in bitcoin, this represents approximately five percent of Square’s ...



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Digital Currencies

What Is Top Shot?

 

What Is Top Shot?

Courtesy of 

What I’m about to write is going to sound incredibly stupid. Some of it also might not be factually accurate, as I’m still very much a NoobWhale.  If you want to learn more, I suggest you start herehere, or ...



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Biotech/COVID-19

6 important truths about COVID-19 vaccines

 

6 important truths about COVID-19 vaccines

For many, distinguishing between fact and fiction is difficult. Olemedia/E+ via Getty Images

Courtesy of Sarah Lynch, Binghamton University, State University of New York and Kanneboyina Nagaraju, Binghamton University, State University of New York

One of the biggest barriers s...



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Chart School

Silver Review

Courtesy of Read the Ticker

We used to say billions, now its trillions of money printing, and investors are hunting for a way to defend their purchasing power, silver is one way to do so.


Lets review silver with Elliot wave, Wyckoff, Cycles and Fractals.


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Changes in the world is the source of all market moves, to catch and ride the change we believe a combination of ...

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Politics

Why the British abandoned impeachment - and what the US Congress might do next

 

Why the British abandoned impeachment – and what the US Congress might do next

The impeachment trial of Warren Hastings in 1788. Library of Congress

Courtesy of Eliga Gould, University of New Hampshire

Impeachment was developed in medieval England as a way to discipline the king’s ministers and other high officials. The framers of the U.S. Constitution took that idea and applied it to presidents, judges and other federal leaders.

Now that tool is in use, and in question, during ...



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Mapping The Market

The Countries With The Most COVID-19 Cases

 

The Countries With The Most COVID-19 Cases

By Martin Armstrong, Statista, Jan 12, 2021

This regularly updated infographic keeps track of the countries with the most confirmed Covid-19 cases. The United States is still at the top of the list, with a total now exceeding the 22 million mark, according to Johns Hopkins University figures. The total global figure is now over 85 million, while there have been more than 1.9 million deaths.

You will find more infographics at ...



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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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About Phil:

Philip R. Davis is a founder Phil's Stock World, a stock and options trading site that teaches the art of options trading to newcomers and devises advanced strategies for expert traders...

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