Thursday, December 31, 2009

Year Over Year Changes in UEMPMED

So how is the "recoveryless recovery" (seen written in all seriousness, can't make that up!) treating the hapless jobseeker now that we are seeing a decline in new claims?

Well, as of the November, 2009 data point not all that well. I decided to take a look at the year over year changes in the median duration of unemployment (UEMPMED). I chose that series over the Mean Duration (UEMPMEAN) so as to limit the impact of outliers and the pre-Great Recession chronically unemployed on the number.

What we are looking at is the amount of time in weeks in which 50% of the people move off of the UE rolls...and the amount of time required is accelerating through November on a year over year basis.

Data source:


Sunday, December 20, 2009

Industrial Capacity: Continuing Decline

We had another increase in industrial capacity utilization in the latest stats from the Fed, while we experienced the largest year over year percent decline in the data series going back to 1967 (so the year over year changes begin in 1968).

The industrial capacity also declined on a month over month basis for the eleventh consecutive month.

Data source:

FED Industrial Capacity data download

Friday, December 11, 2009

Rolling 12 Month Total - UE Final Payments

This is another case where the data had to be copy-pasted into a .csv and then imported into a spreadsheet to make the is the 12 month rolling total number of final UE benefit payment recipients, i.e. folks who have exhausted their standard 26 weeks of unemployment benefits over the previous year.

What struck me was the change in character of the peak count curve over time - what is quite a sharp peak after the first recession in the '70's (recall it is a twelve month total, so it will lag) becomes a somewhat broader peak in the double dip recession of the '80's, then it changes character significantly in the '90's recession becoming a much blunter and broader peak - and the final transformation into a plateau after the first recession of the '00's (double oughts?).

The question being, should the progression continue as the changes in the curve shape reflect broad changes in the makeup of the US economy and work force? And would that mean an even broader plateau at a much higher level now?

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Consumer Goods Imports - Year Over Year Changes

This is the M4 account from the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), which is the quarterly nominal dollar amount of consumer goods ex-automobiles imported into the USA, non-seasonally adjusted. It would appear to have a nice uptick in 3Q 2009...

This type of unadjusted data, which exhibits strong seasonal behavior, is best reviewed on year over year basis and we see that in the plot above. This shows the "uptick" to be essentially entirely seasonal behavior as the 3Q 2009 as compared to the 3Q 2008 was down by ~-$18 billion

One approach to normalizing the absolute dollar amounts is to compare the year over year changes on a percent basis, which is displayed in the final plot above. Overall, it makes me wonder how big a holiday sales season could be had even if end demand was there...

Data source:BEA Balance of Payments

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Personal Income Less Transfer Payments

So the 3rd quarter of 2009 was the start of the recovery, with a positive GDP that has been revised down once so far...looking at previous recessions and the call by NBER (using their quarterly dates) for the start and end of recessions, unless the private income less transfer payments starts seriously ticking up on on a year over year basis - that call may be awhile in coming...

Data sources:
BEA NIPA Tables - Section 2 Table 2.1 is the one you want
NBER Recession Dates

Monday, December 7, 2009

Consumer Credit - Continued Declines

Quick plot ginned up on FRED - what we see appears to be a continuing acceleration in the year over year decline in revolving consumer credit... ho ho ho...