Lest You Be Lulled by the NFP Release: Employment Growth 1 yr before Recessions

Figure 1: M/m annualized growth rate in nonfarm payroll employment in the runup to 2007-09 recession (red), to 2001 recession (teal), and assumed 2020 recession starting in January (dark blue). NBER defined recession dates shaded gray, starting at peak. Source: BLS via FRED, ALFRED, and author’s calculation.

Update, 5:30pm Pacific:

Forward looking indicators continue to suggest a slowdown.

Figure 2: US economic policy uncertainty (EPU) index, 7 day centered moving average (gray, left scale), 10 year-3 month Treasury spread (blue, right scale), and 10 year-2 year Treasury spread (red, right scale), both in percentage points. Light orange shading denotes Trump administration, orange denotes Federal government closures. Source: policyuncertainty.com, and Federal Reserve Board via FRED, and Bloomberg (for 2/1).

Is California in Recession? (Part XIV)

December coincident indices from the Philadelphia Fed are out. Time to re-evaluate this assessment from a year ago in Political Calculations that California was in recession.

Going by these [household survey based labor market] measures, it would appear that recession has arrived in California, which is partially borne out by state level GDP data from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. [text as accessed on 12/27/2017]

The release provides an opportunity to revisit this question (the December employment figures are discussed here). It’s (still) unlikely that a recession occurred in 2017. However, growth has decelerated at the end of 2018.

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