Reader Steve Kopits writes “I am thinking the business cycle rolls over right here.” Here are five key indicators that the NBER Business Cycle Dating Committee have consulted in the past, as of today.
Figure 1: Log nonfarm payroll employment (blue), industrial production (red), personal income excluding transfers, in Ch.2009$ (green), manufacturing and trade sales, in Ch.2009$ (black), and monthly GDP, in Ch.2009$ (bold teal), all normalized to 2014M11=0. Source: BLS, Federal Reserve, BEA, and Macroeconomic Advisers (17 October release), and author’s calculations.
As of March, the indicators (save sales, for which data was not available) were still rising — with industrial production still below prior peak levels. So, as of today reported data for March suggest no recession (with the caveat that these data are subject to revision). That conclusion does not speak to May 2017 — hence I will not “pull an Ed Lazear” and declare “no-recession” now (or a “Don Luskin” for that matter).
On a separate matter, I note that recession prognosticator David Malpass, who predicted a recession in 2012, and no recession 2008 has been nominated by President Trump to be Undersecretary of the Treasury for International Affairs.