Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Diesel: US Prime Supplier Sales

Here is the entire data series for diesel prime supplier sales in the USA, courtesy of the EIA. This took a little bit to cobble together, as the changing sulfur regulations change the data series over time.

The data is reported monthly, in the form of the average daily sales of diesel, so if we see a value of 100,000 that is 100 million gallons per day in a particular month. I've plotted up the monthly values and the 12 month moving average which will smooth out the heavy seasonality we observe.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Structural Changes in the Labor Force?

So here is the labor force, in thousands of persons pulled from the St. Louis Fed FRED database by aggregating the eight regional data sets (non-seasonally adjusted). It pretty much grinds upwards at the rate of population growth, with some seasonality around the trend line...until recently.

As a fan of non-seasonally adjusted (NSA) data, one way to account for seasonal effects is to look at the data on a year over year basis, which we see above. The data series is right at twenty years, so it is not that long...but we see one striking observation with respect to changes in the size of the labor force on a year over year basis, there aren't any negative values until recently.

Now I have a quirk about trying to quantify things, but a meaningful framework of analysis is often the tricky bit (which is not to say that I have cracked that nut here!).

So, the approach I took was to compare the values for year over year change for the month of June across the data set, a total of twenty observations. I took the first nineteen to be from the same distribution, and assumed a normal distribution (quite arguable, but it keeps the spreadsheet work simple). Using the mean and standard deviation derived, if the last observation is from the same distribution, where does it fit?

For the June, 2010 year over year change in the labor force, the value is 4.5 standard deviations out which is, umm improbable...suggesting that this observation is from a different distribution, which I interpret as an indication of structural changes in the make up of the US labor force.

Examing the month over month change for the time series, a strong seasonality is clearly indicated. A comparison of June values only but for month over month changes might also be indicative...

So what does the month over month change tell us for June, 2010? Now we are only 3 standard deviations out, which is still <1%...

So, this would appear to be an armchair indication of structural changes in the labor force and hence reflected in the labor force participation rate, EMRATIO and the like.

Monday, August 2, 2010

State Tax Revenues - Q1 2010 Year Over Year Increase Due to Tax Rate Increases

OK, this has been out for a few weeks and there has been no direct discussion in the press that I have found that the year over year increases in state tax revenues for Q1 2010 are completely due to legislated tax increases (taking the Rockefeller estimates of the revenue impacts of those increases as a given).

Here is the table from the most recent report on state tax revenues by the Rockefeller Institute:

above from Rockefeller Institute State Revenue Report, July, 2010 p. 15

Now, let us normalize the reported increases in that table with the estimates of the impacts of legislated tax rate increases. First, the estimated impacts:
During the January-March 2010 quarter, enacted tax changes increased state revenue by an estimated net of $4.9 billion compared to the same period in 2009.3 Personal income tax increases accounted for approximately $2.7 billion and sales tax for approximately $1.7 billion of the change.

Rockefeller Institute State Revenue Report, July, 2010 pp. 12-13

Now, the calculation of the impacts - taking the values for Personal Income Tax (PIT), Corporate Income Tax (CIT), Sales Tax and Total (which includes some other sources of revenue in addition to the three breakout categories):

Lots to think about here, but the most glaring question that arises is with respect to the retail revival that has been much reported in the business me the money.

Rockefeller Institute State Revenue Report, July, 2010