Our thinking on the US recovery has been that things were never quite as bad as we feared in the worst of times (the last two Augusts), and never quite as good as we’d hoped in the best of times (the last two winters).
Back in December, we first started writing about the possibility that distortions in seasonality adjustments — the result of the Census Bureau’s X12 algorithmic program having been thrown off by the severity of the downturn in the fourth quarter of 2008 — had exaggerated the economic upturns and downturns for the past couple of years. Read more
When is seasonally-adjusted not seasonal?
The first three months of the year were the warmest on record for the contiguous US, says NOAA (via Menzie Chinn). Read more
FT Alphaville has written a fair amount about seasonal distortions in economic data but thought this latest piece of research from Nomura was worth highlighting
(mostly because it involves time-travel).
It pokes a small but important hole in the surprisingly low 348k new US claims for unemployment insurance which were filed in the week ending 11 February, the fewest since March 2008. Read more
Wednesday’s ISM reading in the US was solid, but maybe the best reason to look favourably on it is that you can now trust the report more than you could in recent months.
We’ve previously written about how the severity of the downturn at the end of 2008 might have borked the statistical techniques used to seasonally adjust economic data, basing this mostly on some recent analysis done by the US economics teams at Nomura and Goldman Sachs. Read more
Every time there’s an ADP employment report that runs away from consensus expectations, the masses start bickering about whether it’s a helpful predictor of the next BLS payrolls report.
The obvious response is that ADP mirrors payrolls fairly closely over long stretches of time, but in a given month anything can happen. Read more
Endless worries about a eurozone disintegration and potential growth slowdowns across the developing world, but at least there’s been a streak of surprisingly not-terrible economic indicators in the US heading into the new year.
Or: feels a lot like December 2010, doesn’t it? Read more