Friday, October 12, 2012

Recession Watch Indicator for week ended October 12, 2012

Here's my own personal cut at a recession watch indicator, for week ended October 12, 2012.
  • ECRI Weekly Leading Index Growth Rate: modestly positive (+5.7) and rising steadily now – pale green flag (+1)
  • ECRI recession call: yes, a real negative - bright yellow (-2)
  • Weekly Employment Insurance Initial Claims moving average: elevated but reasonably below 400K (364K) – pale green flag (+1)
  • Recent M2 Money Stock: rising – green flag (+2)
  • Macroeconomic Advisers GDP outlook for Q3: modest growth (+1.6% - down from +2.0%; Q4 at +1.3%) – pale green flag (+1)
  • Recent Employment Growth: modest (114K) – pale green flag (+1)
  • Recent ISM Manufacturing Reports: slightly positive (51.5) after three negative months – neutral (0)
  • Recent ISM Services Reports: modestly positive (rose to 55.1) – pale green flag (+1)
  • Average: +0.625 (up from +0.50) – pale green – recession not likely although still remotely possible
No real change in the overall outlook since last week.
ECRI still insists that we are already in what could be called an "invisible" recession (my words), but I would assert that the ongoing strength of the service sector of the economy overwhelms the weaker manufacturing sector. I suspect that ECRI's long-term data series history is biased by a manufacturing sector that has increasingly become less relevant as the decades and years have gone by.
I continue to expect that the "fiscal cliff" in 2013 will result in SOME economic weakness, but not an outright, deep, and prolonged recession. Call it a weak recession or a semi-recession if you want, but not a full, deep recession. Flip a coin as to whether the economists at NBER officially "date" it as a recession (late in 2013 or early 2014.)
-- Jack Krupansky


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