Interesting news even as we are flying partly blind (some government series are still lagging).
Here’re industrial and manufacturing indices, normalized to 2009M06=0 (recession trough).
The 0.9% and 0.6% declines in m/m manufacturing and industrial output compare to 0.55% and 0.5% standard deviations over the 2009M06-2013M01 period. The manufacturing decline is therefore statistically significant. Last month’s numbers were also revised down. As noted in Reuters, automobile production seems to be driving this latest movement.
This data follows the retail sales data released yesterday which drove down nowcasts of GDP.
Do we know what this means for the overall economy? Not really, because we are still lagging behind in reports for two of the indicators the NBER Business Cycle Dating Committee has historically focused on: real manufacturing and trade sales, and personal income excluding transfer receipts (latter will now be released on 3/1). Hence, the below graph looks pretty similar to that I presented nearly a month ago in this post.
The advance and second release of GDP will be releaseed (as an “initial” release) on February 28. Until then, keep on guessing!
Update, 3:45PM Pacific: And…today’s NY Fed nowcast for the first quarter of 2019: