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It’s Not All Good News...

Our May Trends Report Executive Summary talked about the good things going on in the US Economy, including a look at commodity prices. That good news is not, and will not, be felt by everyone this year and even into next year. The March figure for the Mining Production Index excluding Oil & Gas Extraction is 19.3% lower than last year, making this the lowest year-over-year comparison in just shy of 33 years. The best that can be said is the monthly data trend stopped declining in March, but that does not mean a cyclical low has been established.

Pop Quiz! Is this U.S. economy growing?

Relative to where we were prior to the Great Recession, GDP in the US, adjusted for inflation, is which of the following?

4.8% below
3.2% below
Even with based on the latest data
3.2% above
9.4% above

Accurately finish the following statement: In 2015, the US portion of the global economy, measured in US dollars,…:
Increased to 15.5%
Increased to 24.5%
Decreased to 20.5%
Decreased to 18.5%

Answers:

Job Growth Numbers & Reflecting on January's Lull

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that private sector employment in February increased by 230 thousand jobs from January. This is a solidly positive number. The total number of private sector employment using the BLS Payroll Survey is 2.2% higher than one year ago. The ongoing growth in jobs is a healthy sign for the economy, but that isn’t the only reason why I want you to see the number. Job growth rose from the 182 thousand reported for January.

It’s not all bad news out of China…

It continues to be tough sledding for the stock market and for commodity prices. The barrage of bad tidings can wear you down. We are keeping a close eye on the consumer-related numbers because we think they hold the key to the future. We expect mixed results as the January data becomes available because of the severe weather patterns that hit much of the US. We think the more compelling story will be when the February numbers start rolling in.

Markets are slumping and expectations for China are dumping

Conditions will turn around because US consumer spending is upward bound. The housing industry looks strong through the latest data (November) and December Automotive Retail Sales were robust at 9.0% higher than last December. Employment is rising at a healthy clip. Disposable Personal Income is rising. The consumer is driving the US economy higher and the US economy is 59.6% bigger than China’s economy. Long live the US consumer.

When the Global Economy is Shaky, Bet on the US Consumer

There is angst out there stemming from the global market’s performance since the beginning of this year. Some are even comparing it to the crisis of 2008. We think this is incorrect because retail sales are GROWING. They were down in 2008. Huge difference.

The 2015 numbers are in... So how'd we do?

The 2015 numbers are in, so how did our forecasts do? Below we’ve provided forecast results for US, EU, Canada, and Chinese Industrial Production as well as US Housing, US Retail Sales, and US Employment figures.

At ITR Economics, our goal is to maintain a minimum 94% forecast accuracy looking twelve months into the future. Our mission is to provide the best economic intelligence to reduce risk and drive practical and profitable business decisions.

2015 Forecast Results

Oil Prices: Good for Consumers, Bad for Biz

Oil prices recently turned downward again and are trending below $40/bbl in early December. Commodity pricing is weak in general; oil seems to be the poster child for that weakness. The low level of oil is good for motorists and people heating homes and therefore people with a stake in seeing retail sales grow. But the trend is bad news for business and people depending on oil patch activity. If this is you, keep reading. Seeing the price go down from November to December is normal. Prices on average decline in December, then decline further in January and further still in February.

Big Four Economies? Not so fast...

The rising trends in the US housing industry, October improvement in the S&P 500, and the solidly positive trend in US Retail Sales are going a long ways to compensate for the ongoing weakness in segments of the industrial economy related to the oil patch and steel. The service sector is motoring right along and the light duty vehicle outlook is bright.

Dr. Alan Beaulieu voted one of "Planners' Favorite Speakers!"

We are very pleased to announce that ITR Economics' President, Dr. Alan Beaulieu, has been voted one of Meeting & Convention Magazine's "Planners' Favorite Speakers!" Meeting planners were asked "Who is the single best speaker you have heard in the past two years?" Alan makes the list along with the likes of Bill Clinton, Anderson Cooper, and George W. Bush. Congratulations Alan! 

See the full list here

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