Weekly Economic Activity through September 17th

Year-on-year, activity growth is still growing. Shown below are the Lewis-Mertens-Stock (NY Fed) WEI, and the Woloszko (OECD) Weekly Tracker, and the Baumeister-Leiva-Leon-Sims Weekly Economic Conditions Index for the US, for data up to a few days ago (September 17th):

Figure 1: Lewis-Mertens-Stock (NY Fed) Weekly Economic Index (blue), Woloszko (OECD) Weekly Tracker (tan), Baumeister-Leiva-Leon-Sims Weekly Economic Conditions Index for US plus 2% trend (green) Source: NY Fed via FREDOECDWECI, and author’s calculations.

The WEI took a dive from the previous week, down to 1.8% from 2.8%, while the Weekly Tracker continued to rise. It’s fair to say there some divergence, which is not surprising, given the large differences in methodologies. The WEI relies on correlations in ten series available at the weekly frequency (e.g., unemployment claims, fuel sales, retail sales). The Weekly Tracker is “big data” approach that uses Google Trends and machine learning to track GDP.

The WEI reading for the week ending 9/17 of 1.8 is interpretable as a y/y quarter growth of 1.8% if the 1.8% reading were to persist for an entire quarter. The OECD Weekly Tracker reading of 3.8 is interpretable as a y/y growth rate of 3.8% for year ending 9/17. The Baumeister et al. reading of 1.1% is interpreted as a 1.1% growth rate in excess of long term trend growth rate. Average growth of US GDP over the 2000-19 period is about 2%, so this implies a 3.1% growth rate for the year ending 9/17.

Since these are year-on-year growth rates, it’s possible we were in a recession in H1 as one observer suggested a month ago, but it (still) seems unlikely.

36 thoughts on “Weekly Economic Activity through September 17th

  1. pgl

    Steven Kopits
    August 23, 2022 at 8:14 am

    Still a classic. Now it is FINALLY true that mortgage rates are up giving some concern about residential investment. But cratering? Stevie needs to tune down his incessant hyperbole.

    1. Moses Herzog

      Brent at $86. Anyone remember what Kopits’ forecast was?? I seemingly remember BlueStatesResidentKopits throwing up the strong possibility of $200, but I am getting tired of going through 50 posts to find the shit someone threw up on the wall.

      1. Barkley Rosser

        And WTI at $78. Yowza. Of course, DJI has slid below 30,000, gold is falling, in the mid-1600s, and crytos are down also, those wonderful inflation hedges, with even the successful merge by etherereum not saving it from taking a pretty big hit today.

        I think the combo of higher Fed interest rates and Putin’s desperate mobilization are really spooking the markets.

        1. Anonymous

          why would wti/brent not spike after putin threat as in mar 2022?

          16 sep eia petroleum balance sheet report shows most inventories build with gasoline near even y on y and distillate only 9% less than year ago

          with net draw from the strat petrol reserve at 194 million barrels y on y….

          net exports (crude imports and product exports) for week of 16 Sep were 1.2 million barrels per day

          net finished export 4.6 million barrels per day. (eia weekly import and export report)

          4 week average finished product exports hit 3.5 million per day or since mar 2022.

          always a net crude importer.

          strong $$ and recession abroad may drive this down.

          if usa were not exporting so much product; gasoline price at the pump might be what they were in jan 2021.

          i would call energy pricing effected by economy slowing down and rise in core cpi taking demand from gasoline.

          economic slowing encouraging better inventory picture in distillates.

          strong $$ from fed actions would make usa exports more expensive…..

          btw distillate inventories are not so rosy as electric generation is often able to switch from natural gas to distillate oils


      Even if it craters, it’s such a small component of GDP now with only .9% intensity to all gdp. Most likely reno’s will pick up the slack. This is a great time for business investment. Think long over short in terms of projects. The dollar won’t be this strong forever and credit this cheap.

        1. pgl

          “Heck FRED doesn’t even graph real corporate profit growth.”

          Gee – most of us learned some advanced computer tool called Excel. Look – we get you are an incompetent boob but that is not FRED’s fault.

        2. pgl

          FRED shows real GDP in 2021 that is 1.4787 times real GDP in 2000. I have no effing clue where you get your questionable data from but it you think average annual growth of only 0.3% per year will increase real GDP that much in 21 years you are even dumber than I gave you credit for.

          Come on Johnny boy – you preK teacher has asked you to show your work. Pay attention to her – moron.

          1. pgl

            September 23, 2022 at 12:13 pm
            Yeah, GDP isn’t the same as corporate profits…not that pgl can tell the difference!

            What a stupid comment. My critique of your usual sloppiness never implied the two were the same. You are one pathetically whiny little boy.

        3. pgl

          ‘Meanwhile real annual corporate profits (adjusted by CPI) have grown about 5% this century.’

          Wait – your writing has not even approached the level of a 3 year old. I looked at your graph and nominal profits are up a lot so even when inflation adjusted have grown over the past 21 years by more than 5%. Now it might be a statement if the real growth have averaged 5% PER YEAR.

          But JohnH is too stupid to SAY that. And of course given his incompetency using Excel – I doubt he could ever show the proper arithmetric.

          Dude – pay attention to your preK teacher. DAMN!

  2. ltr


    January 15, 2020

    Shares of Gross Domestic Product for Private Fixed Nonresidential & Residential Investment Spending, Government Consumption & Gross Investment and Exports of Goods & Services, 2020-2022


    January 15, 2020

    Shares of Gross Domestic Product for Private Fixed Nonresidential & Residential Investment Spending, Government Consumption & Gross Investment and Exports of Goods & Services, 2020-2022

    (Indexed to 2020)

    [ Residential investment seems likely to slow from here, along with exports, so I would not expect growth to be robust given the Federal Reserve tightening sequence. ]

  3. pgl

    Is JohnH’s real identity Tucker Carlson? After all both of these clowns advocate that we just let Putin run over Ukraine with no resistance. And we know JohnH is rather dumb. So is Tucker:


    He also insisted that the reason for refusing to listen to the former military official’s take on helping Ukraine would be “for the same reason that you wouldn’t, say, take financial advice from someone who had gone bankrupt or go to marriage counseling with some who’s been mmm … divorced three times because they’ve demonstrably failed in their so-called area of expertise.”

    Did Tucker realize that a lot of people thought was he referring to Donald Trump?

    1. JohnH

      Another blatant lie from pgl. I defy him to show that I ever suggested that we just let Putin run over Ukraine.

      What I have said, over and over again, is that it’s hypocritical for the US to criticize Putin’s behavior after its own brutal wars in Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan. And people like pgl seem to have amnesia when it comes to US behavior abroad.

        1. pgl

          Dude – that is so dishonest. I opposed the 2003 invasion of Iraq. You did not. But the situation in Ukraine is not nearly the same. We are not invading. Your boy Putin is. Come on – just say it. You love those pictures of Russian killing Ukrainian kids and raping their mothers. You are that disgusting.

        2. pgl

          Your new favorite writer wrote this:

          Launched in an act of naked aggression, the Ukraine War has not gone well for the attacker. Few will be inclined to shed tears for Vladimir Putin, who through his own folly has gotten himself into a dilly of a mess.

          Now why do you not note this very truthful statement? Oh yea – you are Putin’s pet poodle and you are afraid if you were honest about this invasion, Putin would punish you. You are indeed a coward to the core.

          1. Barkley Rosser


            One of the weirdest things about Putin’s speech is that he actually brought up how the Ukrainians gave up their nuclear weapons back in the early 90s and might be plotting to get them back, despite there being basically no evidence of that. Somehow he seems not to realize that this is just a reminder to anybody remotely informed that he violated the 1993 Budapest Memorandum/Accords by invading Uktaine both in 2014 and now, as that agreement, which Russia signed, had signatories promising to respect the independence and terriitorial integrity of Ukraine as part of the condition of it giving up its substantial stache of nuclear weapons.

            The hypocrisy is amazing, if not all that surprising.

      1. pgl

        A difference without a distinction. Now Putin needs his pet poodle’s help in arresting the citizens of Moscow and St. Petersburg from protesting the draft. Hey Johnny boy – maybe he will let you even shoot Russian citizens. Go for it!

      2. baffling

        what putin has done in Ukraine does not remotely compare to the United States actions in those countries. it is absurd to even make an equivalence between the two.

        Johnh, I challenge you to denounce the actions of Russia and putin in Ukraine as immoral and illegal. or choose not to do so, as would a Russian troll.

        1. pgl

          “Johnh, I challenge you to denounce the actions of Russia and putin in Ukraine as immoral and illegal.”

          He can’t. Putin does not like the pet poodles in the Kremlin being honest about this and has been known to kill dissidents.

      3. Barkley Rosser


        It may be that US military leaders should not be commenting on how Russian military is doing given some of this past, although people do sometimes learn from past mistakes. But it is certainly the case that the Russian invasion has turned into a serious botch, so there is much to criticize.

        Like pgl, and apparently unlike you (I was not keeping track of you back then), I opposed the US invasion of Iraq from before it started and all the way through it. It was based on lies about WMD and other things, and it led to all kinds of death and damage that did not need to happen.

        That said, looking at it from now, I would say that it has turned out better than I thought it would when it started and for a long time after. The government of Iraq is very corrupt and seems to be having trouble actually properly forming itself. But there is at least a veneer of democracy, more so than in most Middle Eastern nations. There is not the massive violation of human rights going on that happened under Saddam, and Kurdistan has effective autonomy. There are ongoing conflicts, but there is not open warfare, and ISIS and other anti-government militias are largely under control. There are only small numbers of US troops there now, tied to training and other minimal functions. A hard bottom line on US military performance is that after lots of death and destruction, effectively the US military won in the end.

        Libya was a botch, but US involvement there was minimal, mostly some bombing. France and UK were much more heavily involved. Place is still a botch. At the time I forecasted here that it would end up becoming de facto two countries, which is still the case, with the eastern and western halves of Libya deeply different and rarely united politically. Maybe US could have done better there, but, frankly, if US had done zero, the outcome would probably not be much different from what it is. This does not look like some big embarrassment for US military leaders, maybe political ones like Obama. US military barely involved there, while Russians and Turks are very much so, actively battling it out through proxiss, as in Syria, where there are actually US troops in the northeast that should get out.

        As for Afghanistan, I supported going in to get rid of al Qaeda after they attecked us, but then thought we should have left immediately after achieving that victory. That was probably naive on my part that we would, and it became a mess with certainly some embarrassments for the US military along the way. Of course the crucial mistake was W. Bush, just sort of ignoring it while leaving US forces there when he made the mistake to invade Iraq.

      4. Barkley Rosser

        BTW, even though I have just posted that Iraq looks better now than I thought it might, I still think invading it was a giant mistake, with the death and destruction not justified by whatever positives the current situation there is, although I know some Kurds who live where I do who disagree.

  4. pgl

    It is long overdue for the government of Iran to treat Iranian women with respect:


    Women have been at the forefront of escalating protests in Iran sparked by the death in custody of a woman detained for breaking hijab laws. Crowds cheered when women burned their hijabs on a bonfire in Sari on Tuesday, the fifth successive day of unrest. Activists said a woman was among three protesters shot dead by security forces in Urmia, Piranshahr and Kermanshah. Authorities accused protesters of killing two civilians in Kermanshah as well as a police assistant in Shiraz. At least seven people are now reported to have been killed since protests against the hijab laws and morality police erupted after Mahsa Amini’s death. The 22-year-old Kurdish woman from the north-western city of Saqez died in hospital on Friday, after spending three days in a coma. She was with her brother in Tehran when she was arrested by morality police, who accused her of breaking the law requiring women to cover their hair with a hijab, or headscarf, and their arms and legs with loose clothing. She fell into the coma shortly after collapsing at a detention centre. There were reports that police beat Ms Amini’s head with a baton and banged her head against one of their vehicles, Acting UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Nada al-Nashif said. The police have denied that she was mistreated and said she suffered “sudden heart failure”. But her family has said she was fit and healthy.

    1. Moses Herzog

      I don’t know if this is the same “tribe” of Kurds who helped America, but Kurdish female soldiers (I’m probably thinking more of the Kurdish women fighters specific to Iraq and some parts of the outskirts of Syria) are strong and courageous soldiers/fighters. America owes the Kurds a huge “I owe you”, especially after we abandoned them there. if America had more MidEastern allies like the Kurdish women of Iraq, America would have much less headaches out of that region. Their toughness and military favors have been asymmetrical with them giving and America taking, and if America has any ethics left in our foreign policy we will help them bigtime somewhere down the line. We owe them that much. Believe it or not it kinda makes me angry when I think about it.

      1. Barkley Rosser

        There is a large Kurdish community in Harrisonburg where I live, and I have been friendly with some of them for quite some time, even helped them out quite a bit at one point, a matter known on the internet. Anyway, today there was the annual International Festival here, and it closed out with the Kurds doing their dancing, which is really cool. I enjoyed watching them very much so.

        1. Moses Herzog

          @ Prof Rosser God bless the Kurds, and ALL of their warrior/soldier women (no sarcasm). I wish I had 1/10th of Kurdish women’s strength and fighting ability. Sign me up for those Kurdish women’s DNA fighting/ war ability. Great people. Tell them your douche friend Moses said “Hello!!!” and wanted to buy beers for 20 of them ok?? Or just buy 1 beer and told them the cheap Moses wanted to buy them 1 beer, : )

          1. Moses Herzog


            We LOVE you Kurdish female soldiers!!! America owes 50 “I owe yous” to you. Your American douche friend Moses Says “America’s shit government is extremely sorry we betrayed you ‘on the battlefield’ ” Dumb American I am, I ask you don’t ‘give up” on America as your friend YET. I feel/hope America’s military can repay your kindness to us. America’s government is kinda shit sometimes, but please “hold out” we might help you. I pray that day will happen,

            Signed, Douche Moses

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