Economic Indicators Roundup

Yesterday, we talked about several economic indicators. I’ve compiled them all here, for your viewing pleasure, along with links to data sources.

We first discussed the Case Shiller housing price index for San Francisco.


The three conclusions that we can draw by looking at this are:

  1. Housing prices are currently trended downwards (as can be clearly seen)
  2. The downward trend began some time in late 2004/early 2005, continues today, and will continue up to 12 months projected out (assuming the trend continues as it has so far)
  3. Seasonally adjusted values are less volatile (fluctuate less) than non-seasonally adjusted values

We also took a look at the current GDP estimate (the “Preliminary” estimate) released by the BEA on 2/27. We saw that they had revised GDP growth from -3.8% (the Advance estimate) to -6.2% (the Preliminary estimate).


Image source: WSJ

This large change merits a more detailed look at the numbers, so we also took a look at GDP components, to see which components had taken the largest hit.


Source: BEA

Consumption of nondurable goods, residential investment, imports and exports showed annualized decreases of 15% or more from the previous quarter. The only large positive change was nondefense governmental expenditure, which rose by 15.1%.

Since we were in “depression mode” (pun intended), we also looked at unemployment rates. We saw both U3 (which is the conventional unemployment rate) and U6 (which is more inclusive, in that it includes those people who would be working or working full-time if the economy was doing better), from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. I’ll only show U6 here. For U3, you can go to the BLS website or take a look in almost any newspaper.

u6_0209There is obviously a clear increase that we are seeing in recent months. But I was interested in taking a look at exactly when the upward trend began, and for that we can take a look at the net month-to-month changes in the unemployment rates.

unemployment_monthly_changeInterestingly, for both U6 and U3, the upwards trend starts around August of 2007, which is when several credit-related busts started showing up in the bonds markets.

Later in the course, we will take a look at some interesting behavior in the actual (not effective) Fed Funds rate at around the same time.

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