Posted by Larry Doyle on June 26th, 2014 8:37 AM |
Anyone with a modicum of ‘sense on cents’ is well aware of the maxim ‘garbage in, garbage out.’
If we are to believe that the inflation data reported by Uncle Sam does not properly capture the true level of price increases in our economy — did somebody say intentionally misleading — then the immediate question begs, what is the real level of economic activity in the nation?
Recall that real GDP is defined as:
A measure of economic growth from one period to another expressed as a percentage and adjusted for inflation (i.e. expressed in real as opposed to nominal terms). The real economic growth rate is a measure of the rate of change that a nation’s gross domestic product (GDP) experiences from one year to another.
If inflation is under reported, and the rate of change in our economic growth is a known figure, then by definition the output (that is, real GDP) will be overstated. So I repeat my question: What is the real level, that is a more honest and accurate assessment, of our 1st quarter GDP? (more…)
Posted by Larry Doyle on June 8th, 2011 5:57 AM |
What issue in our nation generates the strongest personal reaction?
While my poll is entirely unscientific and my answer is my own opinion, I STRONGLY believe that the topic of healthcare generates the strongest reaction of any issue facing our nation. Why? It’s personal nature, that is, “if you do not have your health, then what else really matters”? (more…)
Posted by Larry Doyle on April 5th, 2011 8:16 AM |
What does our economic future hold? Great question, right?
Is our economy truly rebounding as much as our equity markets may portend or are we riding high predominantly due to government stimulus similar to an economic anabolic steroid? Is our future as bleak as the numerous and sundry doomsayers would proclaim? Does it appear as if our economy has a split personality or is operating in two different realms? Do you often wonder what others—especially those in Washington—may be seeing if the economic landscape in your backyard remains very challenging?
I continue to believe our overall economy is operating and will continue to operate with a ‘walking pneumonia’ type condition. The massive debt burdens at all levels of our economy continue to serve as a drag and inhibit any sort of truly robust rebound. Let’s navigate and take the pulse of Rick Davis of Consumer Metrics Institute which captures real time discretionary online consumer activity. (more…)
Posted by Larry Doyle on December 14th, 2010 6:28 AM |
If a picture paints a thousand words, then the graphs I am highlighting today would encompass many volumes. I thank the regular reader of Sense on Cents who brought them to my attention. Major prop to Barry Ritholtz of The Big Picture who ran this commentary yesterday. Major credit to the writer at the Global Macro Monitor blog.
The Global Macro Monitor blog was started by an independent trader and economist and, in a prior life, was a global macro hedge fund PM/trader, headed emerging market bond trading desks on Wall Street, and an economist/global strategist, beginning his career at the World Bank in the mid 1980’s. His unique and unconventional views are reflected on his website at marcromon.wordpress.com.
We constructed these charts with data from today’s release of the Federal Reserve’s Flow of Funds. They are both stunning and frightening as they illustrate the cardiac arrest that took place in the credit markets. The collapse in credit issuance/borrowing began in 2008 and would have been net negative without the Federal government. In 2009, for example, the Federal government was 141 percent of total net credit borrowings. (more…)
Posted by Larry Doyle on November 10th, 2010 7:47 AM |
Economic data is typically released and then reviewed in aggregate fashion. As such, understanding the dynamics at work within our economy is often clouded by the inability to access and analyse ‘the trees’ as opposed to ‘the forest.’ What happens as a result of this reality? Economic programs to address issues are typically crafted while looking through the rear view mirror. Regrettably results generated are often sub-standard and fraught with unintended consequences.
How might we change our perspective? Let’s check in with Rick Davis of Consumer Metrics Institute who projects what will occur in our economy based on a forward looking process that captures real-time consumer activity. As a longstanding admirer of Rick and his work, I welcome sharing his recent fabulous piece, Revisiting The Character of “The Great Recession”
We have commented before about how the “Great Recession” has changed character over time, evolving from a relatively normal “garden variety” and V-shaped consumer confidence recession into something far more persistent — where a lack of jobs and negative home equity has transformed it into a “new frugality.” But we haven’t previously discussed how the “Great Recession” has been an uneven experience among even those living in “Main Street” America. A recent review of our data has convinced us that this has not been a recession of shared pain, but one that has cut much deeper in some demographics than in others. (more…)
Posted by Larry Doyle on September 22nd, 2010 5:12 AM |
Almost three full years from the official start of The Great Recession and fifteen months from its end, and our economy continues to limp along and languish amidst the weight of ongoing — even unrecognized — debts. Can we take a double dose of Nyquil, chase it with some Irish Mist, and hope we wake up feeling better in the morning? If it were only that easy.
The simple fact is our economy is battling a serious bout of seemingly terminal ‘walking pneumonia.’ How might we diagnose that malady? All we need to do is read yesterday’s Release from the Federal Reserve:
Information received since the Federal Open Market Committee met in August indicates that the pace of recovery in output and employment has slowed in recent months. (more…)
Posted by Larry Doyle on August 31st, 2010 5:56 AM |
I have informed more people than I care to count that I do not believe we are going to have an economic double dip. Am I turning positive on the economy? Do I see blue skies and fair winds on our economic horizon? No, regrettably not. The reason I do not believe we will have an economic double dip is very simply I do not believe that our “real” economy, not the government sponsored version, ever really came out of the initial recession.
People may care to debate or challenge me on my premise, but my ‘sense on cents’ leads me to believe that we have been experiencing one long and ongoing recession. I definitely sense that more people are now coming to accept this reality as well. This ‘walking pneumonia’ economic syndrome is captured in a recent commentary by Rick Davis of Consumer Metrics Institute,
The “Great Recession” that began in 2008 has had many nuances, but among the most important are that many of the observed changes in consumer behavior have begun to linger, much as the recession itself now appears to have done. If a new consumer thrift paradigm becomes endemic — either because of natural demographic processes or scarred generational memories of upside-down loans — the lingering recession might well end up being measured in years, not quarters as commonly expected. (more…)
Posted by Larry Doyle on August 23rd, 2010 7:56 AM |
Do you increasingly feel that you are not receiving the full story in terms of our overall economy? Do you feel as if the ‘political class’ in Washington is speaking a different language than the ‘working class’ in the rest of the country? Do you scratch your head as to why economic releases are often immediately panned and quickly thereafter revised? (Case in point, the initial release of 2nd quarter GDP on July 30th was quickly thereafter projected to be halved.) For all of the above reasons, more and more Americans are relying on independent economic research and analysis. Two of my favorites in this camp (aside from Sense on Cents, of course!!) are John Williams of Shadow Government Statistics and Rick Davis of Consumer Metrics Institute.
I recently highlighted Williams’ work in writing, What Is the Real Rate of Unemployment in the United States? In that commentary, I referenced Williams as he had stated:
That began a lengthy process of exploring the history and nature of economic reporting and in interviewing key people involved in the process from the early days of government reporting through the present.
For a number of years I conducted surveys among business economists as to the quality of government statistics (the vast majority thought it was pretty bad), and my results led to front page stories in the New York Times and Investors Business Daily, considerable coverage in the broadcast media and a joint meeting with representatives of all the government’s statistical agencies. Despite minor changes to the system, government reporting has deteriorated sharply in the last decade or so. (LD’s emphasis) (more…)
Posted by Larry Doyle on August 19th, 2010 12:14 PM |
I spent yesterday afternoon in New York City meeting with a variety of people. Without violating any confidences, there were a number of common themes that came from all my conversations. The themes included:
1. The financial system remains very fragile.
2. The economy remains in very tough shape.
3. Trading volumes in both equity and fixed income markets remain depressed. Equity volumes from just this past May are down by over 30%. I have heard of summer doldrums, but these figures are a lot more than that.
4. Investors do not want to sell what they currently own because they do not know what they might purchase to replace it. Investors do not want to allocate more capital because they are concerned about market valuations in general. (more…)