Usefulness of “lagging indicators”

That may be the role of industrial production growth presented as YoY growth of the 6-month moving average.

Note that it only turns negative after a recession (as defined by the NBER) has already begun. Sometimes quite a way into the recession (as in the 1973, 1981 and 1990 recessions, for example).

In January the measure turned negative (-0.2) for the first time after the “recovery” was completed almost six years ago.

Lagging Indicator

That´s just one more piece of evidence that goes against the grain of FOMC members, like John Williams who, in a speech yesterday (that sounded more like a “self-help” encounter) concluded:

Despite the Sturm und Drang of international and market developments, the U.S. economy is, all in all, looking pretty good. I still expect to see U.S. GDP growth of about 2¼% for 2016. I still expect unemployment to edge down to about 4½% by late in the year. And I still see inflation edging up to our 2% goal within the next two years. So I’m not down—it all looks good to me.

5 thoughts on “Usefulness of “lagging indicators”

  1. Hi Marcus, Scott Sumner recently cited a presentation of James Bullard to the CFA society of St.Louis. Apparently a hawk in the board has change his mind on the normalization path of the Fed monetary policy. Reading the PowerPoint presentation my impression is that he has no a clear the relation between causes and effects nonetheless he seems much more sensitive to market indicators and I think that’s a good thing. Have any comment on the last last GDP now numbers. Thanks for your illuminating blogs

    • Luigi, I´ve done a few posts on Bu8llard. Two examples:
      I call him a “windsock” (that contraption at airports that “track” wind direction and are always “swinging”.)
      He is very sensitive to market indicators but is a poor “storyteller”.
      The GDPNow is very sensitive to “marginal” data points, so also “swings” a lot.
      The chart in this post (which remains valid if you go back to just after the war) is interesting because it has never given a “false” signal. Averages are less “erratic” and before they go negative, they have to take a lot of “punching” in the head.
      In that case, according to the chart there is a good chance that a recession (according to the NBER) may have already started. Let´s keep our fingers crossed and see how it behaves in the next couple of months.

  2. Excellent blogging. I think I remember someone else a while back, perhaps it was you, posted a graph of industrial production tracking money growth. It was interesting to look at as well, even though it has implications the passionate side of me would rather not contemplate.

  3. Maybe Kuroda will do clean tests of negative rate(IOR) more further,several times.

    So,under going super poor communication(sorry,my perceive),
    JY should not abandon negative rate option. Did she?

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