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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Phil's Favorites

The War on All Fact People

 

David Brin shares an excerpt from his new book on the GOP's relentless war against democracy and how we can fight back. You can also read the first, second and final chapters of Polemical Judo at David's blog Contrary Brin.

The War on All Fact People 

Excerpted from David Brin's new book, the beginning of chapter 5, Polemical Judo: ...



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Chart School

SP500 Kitchin Cycle Review

Courtesy of Read the Ticker

The biggest known news date in the next 18 months is the US Election. The biggest unknown news date is when the US believes it is in a economic recession.

The Kitchin Cycle is still working.

We must conclude the major 900 period low is now in, and we are now in a up swing, which may top out ate 2020 or late 2021. Any future top out may only generate a 10% to 20% correction, of course this can be deemed very mild. This is expected, but the expected does always play out. 

Rolling the dice to get '7' does not always work. Post US elections seasonal's aligned with a poor start of the decade seasonal trends, add on high global recession risk, add on a stock market slump tends to occur in the years ending 9,1,2,3,4 (like 1973, 1...



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Zero Hedge

Haftar Blocks All Libyan Oil Exports Day Before Berlin Peace Conference

Courtesy of ZeroHedge View original post here.

Given Libyan commander Khalifa Haftar has over the past two years captured the majority of the oil and gas rich country's energy producing regions, he's now playing his biggest card yet to leverage international peace talks in his favor amid a final push for his Libyan National Army (LNA) forces to take Tripoli. 

Bloomberg reports Saturday that the Benghazi-based 'rebel' general has now "blocked oil exports at ports under his contr...



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The Technical Traders

Energy Continues Basing Setup - Breakout Expected Near January 24th

Courtesy of Technical Traders

After watching Crude Oil fall from the $65
ppb level to the $58 ppb level (-10.7%) over the past few weeks, we still
believe the energy sector is setting up for another great trade for skilled
investors/traders.

We are all keenly aware that Winter is still
here and that heating oil demands may continue to push certain energy prices
higher.  Yet Winter is also a time when
people don’t travel as much and, overall, energy prices tend to weaken
throughout Winter.

Over the past 37 years, the historical monthly breakdown for Crude Oil is as follows:

December: Generally l...



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Insider Scoop

10 Biggest Price Target Changes For Friday

Courtesy of Benzinga

  • Citigroup lifted Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE: CAT) price target from $145 to $170. Caterpillar closed at $147.87 on Thursday.
  • UBS cut Twitter Inc (NYSE: TWTR) price target from $37 to $35. Twitter shares closed at $34.19 on Thursday.
  • Morgan Stanley boosted the price target for Yum! Brands, Inc. (NYSE: YUM) from $113 to $118. Yum! Brands closed at $102.16 on Thursday.
  • Jefferies lifted the price target on Ventas, Inc. (NYSE: ...


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Kimble Charting Solutions

Tesla About To Run Out Of Energy Here? Short-Term Peak Possible?

Courtesy of Chris Kimble

Tesla (TSLA) has been screaming higher of late, as very impressive gains have taken place.

Is Tesla about to run out of energy/take a break/experience some selling pressure? A unique price setup is in play, that bulls might want want to be aware of.

This chart applies Fibonacci to the 2016 lows and 2017 highs at each (1). The impressive rally of late has it testing its 161% extension level, based upon those price points.

At the same time, it is hitting its 161% extension level, it finds itself at the top of a 7-year rising channel, with momentum hitting the highest ...



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Lee's Free Thinking

Why Blaming the Repo Market is Like Blaming the Australian Bush Fires

 

Why Blaming the Repo Market is Like Blaming the Australian Bush Fires

Courtesy of  

The repo market problem isn’t the problem. It’s a sideshow, a diversion, and a joke. It’s a symptom of the problem.

Today, I got a note from Liquidity Trader subscriber David, a professional investor, and it got me to thinking. Here’s what David wrote:

Lee,

The ‘experts’ I hear from keep saying that once 300B more in reserves have ...



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Digital Currencies

Cryptos Have Surged Since Soleimani Death, Bitcoin Tops $8,000

Courtesy of ZeroHedge View original post here.

Bitcoin is up over 15% since the assassination of Iran General Soleimani...

Source: Bloomberg

...topping $8,000 for the first time since before Thanksgiving...

Source: Bloomberg

Testing its key 100-day moving-average for the first time since October...

...



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Members' Corner

Tobin Smith: Foxocracy, the 2020 Election, and the Stock Market

 

Fox News has been spreading false information and hooking its audience into an angry, xenophobic and paranoid worldview for decades. It's no mystery that Fox was instrumental in the 2016 election -- but how did it do it? Tobin Smith, CEO of Transformity Research, Inc. and former Fox News contributor and talk show host, explores this phenomenon and discusses Fox News’ emotionally predatory and partisan propaganda media strategies and tactics in his new book, Foxocracy: Inside the Network&...



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Biotech

Why telling people with diabetes to use Walmart insulin can be dangerous advice

Reminder: We are available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

 

Why telling people with diabetes to use Walmart insulin can be dangerous advice

A vial of insulin. Prices for the drug, crucial for those with diabetes, have soared in recent years. Oleksandr Nagaiets/Shutterstock.com

Courtesy of Jeffrey Bennett, Vanderbilt University

About 7.4 million people ...



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Mapping The Market

How IPOs Are Priced

Via Jean Luc 

Funny but probably true:

...

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Promotions

Free eBook - "My Top Strategies for 2017"

 

 

Here's a free ebook for you to check out! 

Phil has a chapter in a newly-released eBook that we think you’ll enjoy.

In My Top Strategies for 2017, Phil's chapter is Secret Santa’s Inflation Hedges for 2017.

This chapter isn’t about risk or leverage. Phil present a few smart, practical ideas you can use as a hedge against inflation as well as hedging strategies designed to assist you in staying ahead of the markets.

Some other great content in this free eBook includes:

 

·       How 2017 Will Affect Oil, the US Dollar and the European Union

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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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