June 7, 2019: Weekly Forecasting Update

The right response to almost all economic data releases is: Next to nothing has changed with respect to the forecast—your view of the economic forecast today is different from what it was last week, last month, or three months ago in only minor ways. About the only news is that over the past month we have seen a 1.2%-point decrease in our estimate in what production will be over April-June, largely driven by reductions in durable goods orders, capacity utilization, net exports, and—this morning—employment growth. This might be an impact of Trump's attempt to fight a trade war with China, plus Trump's attempts to add a trade war with Mexico to the mix:

Federal Reserve Bank of New York: Jun 07, 2019: Nowcast: "1.0% for 2019:Q2 and 1.3% for 2019:Q3. News from this week's data releases decreased the nowcast for 2019:Q2 by 0.5 percentage point and decreased the nowcast for 2019:Q3 by 0.7 percentage point. Negative surprises from the ISM manufacturing survey, employment data, and international trade data drove most of the decrease...

 

Key Points:

Specifically, it is still the case that:

  • The Trump-McConnell-Ryan tax cut has been a complete failure at boosting the American economy through increased investment in America.
    • But it has been a success in making the rich richer and thus America more unequal.
    • And it delivered a short-term demand-side Kerynesian fiscal stimulus to growth that has now ebbed.
  • U.S. potential economic growth continues to be around 2%/year.
  • There are still no signs the U.S. has entered that phase of the recovery in which inflation is accelerating.
  • There are still no signs of interest rate normalization: secular stagnation continues to reign.
  • There are still no signs the the U.S. is at "overfull employment" in any meaningful sense.

  • A change from 1 week ago: Slightly bad news about net exports, employment, and manufacturing...

  • A change from 1 month ago: A 1.2%-point decrease in our estimate of what production will be over April-June, largely driven by reductions in durable goods orders, capacity utilization, net exports, and this morning employment. This might be an impact of Trump's attempt to fight a trade war with China, plus Trump's attempts to add a trade war with Mexico to the mix.

  • A change from 3 months ago: The U.S. grew at 3.2%/year in the first quarter of 2019—1.6%-points higher than had been nowcast—but the growth number you want to put in your head in assessing the strength of the economy is the 1.6%/year number that had been nowcast. The falling-apart of Trump's trade negotiating strategy with China will harm Americans and may disrupt value chains, and the might be becoming visible in the data flow.

  • A change from 6 months ago: Bad trends in manufacturing production and workweek:

Average Weekly Hours of Production and Nonsupervisory Employees Manufacturing FRED St Louis Fed

Industrial Production Manufacturing NAICS FRED St Louis Fed


#macro #forecasting #highlighted

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