Business Cycle Indicators, Mid-April

Industrial production continues to rise, while February monthly GDP erased January’s decline.

Figure 1: Nonfarm Payroll employment from CES (bold blue), civilian employment (orange), industrial production (red), personal income excluding current transfers in Ch.2017$ (bold green), manufacturing and trade sales in Ch.2017$ (black), consumption in Ch.2017$ (light blue), and monthly GDP in Ch.2017$ (pink), GDP, 3rd release (blue bars), all log normalized to 2021M11=0. Source: BLS via FRED, Federal Reserve, BEA 2023Q4 3rd release, S&P Global Market Insights (nee Macroeconomic Advisers, IHS Markit) (4/1/2024 release), and author’s calculations.

Note that GDPNow as of 4/16 is 2.9% q/q AR, while the Lewis-Mertens-Stock/NY Fed Weekly Economic Indicator stands at 2.01% for the week ending 4/13. The Baumiester, Leiva-Leon, Sims Weekly Economic Conditions Index (WECI) is at -0.39%, which — if trend growth is 2% — implies 1.61% growth.


44 thoughts on “Business Cycle Indicators, Mid-April

  1. Moses Herzog

    Running a blog is a heavier burden than sometimes people realize. “Hats off” to Menzie Chinn for some “rapid fire” type posts and still keeping the quality of the posts high. For us economics blog addicts, it’s such a treat. Like waiting for the old hardcopy magazines in the old post mail box. or picking up the old school hardcopy newspapers in the driveway. Just makes the days a little brighter.

    1. Paweł Skrzypczyński

      I’m with you! Menzie does a great job. Thanks!
      Btw. S&P Global assumes monthly GDP will step back again in March. They predict 1.7% q/q saar for Q1, which is lower than consesus (2.2% according to Reuters).

      1. A very sad (about this specific topic) Moses Herzog

        Well, my friend Pawel, I know you respect S&P Global, the same as Menzie and I do. I’m the low guy between the 3 of us on the intelligence level, so it makes me feel so great whenever you and Menzie agree with me.

        It makes me so ANGRY right now Pawel, It makes me so incredibly ANGRY when I think how America has failed Ukraine and Poland now. It makes me so angry you will never never believe it Pawel. I just want to say I am sorry, And I apologize for all good Americans, I say I’m sorry we let Ukraine and Poland down, during these hard times for Ukraine, I’m so sorry, But I feel right now. Poland is a better “war time” friend to Ukraine that America is or ever will be. And ALL Americans should feel a deep shame about that.

        1. Willie Justice

          Yes, Moses. I agree. I hope we can at least partially make up for our failure to support democracy now that the intestinal blockage seems to have changed his tune.

          1. Moses Herzog

            Amen brother William,

            I got half a bottle of wine left here, good mood. Menzie knew all my anger today and let in ALL my borderline comments. I felt so happy today Menzie “got me” and didn’t block the things I wanted so badly to communicate. I think Menzie must have heard stories from his Dad or his grandparents about not being able to say things….. so Menize “puts up” with me. God Bless you William and God Bless Menzie

  2. Macroduck

    Off topic – Israel’s vulnerability:

    The FT ran a piece this week speculating on Iran’s ability to penetrate Israel’s air defenses:

    Iran is a major producer of drones and missiles, and reportedly has tens of thousands if such weapons in its arsenal. Simple attrition could eliminate Israel’s defense if that’s true, and the FT also speculates that Israel’s defenses aren’t as impenetrable as Iran’s half-hearted barrage made it appear.

    If this is all true, then an escalation would almost certainly involve Israel attempting to eliminate Iran’s offensive capacity early. Iran would know that. War, if it comes, is likely to begin with massive attacks from both sides, as both sides trying to avoid attrition.


    1. Anonymous

      Israel would be no more successful against Iran than U.S. client against Houthis the past few years,

      Israel enjoyed the best air and missile defense anywhere in the world and a lot of their ammunition was fired Saturday night.

      There are reports of strikes in Iran, Iraq and Syria. Early but seems IDF rates Iran as weak, and their defenses okay.

      1. Menzie Chinn Post author

        Anonymous: I am curious. Do you know the pre-strike stockpile of anti-rocket missiles, air-to-air missiles used for shooting down drones, and anti-ballistic missiles, and what their current inventory is?

          1. pgl

            THE UNITED STATES shot down more drones and missiles than Israel did on Saturday night during Iran’s attack, The Intercept can report.

            More than half of Iran’s weapons were destroyed by U.S. aircraft and missiles before they ever reached Israel. In fact, by commanding a multinational air defense operation and scrambling American fighter jets, this was a U.S. military triumph. The extent of the U.S. military operation is unbeknownst to the American public, but the Pentagon coordinated a multination, regionwide defense extending from northern Iraq to the southern Persian Gulf on Saturday. During the operation, the U.S., U.K., France, and Jordan all shot down the majority of Iranian drones and missiles. In fact, where U.S. aircraft originated from has not been officially announced, an omission that has been repeated by the mainstream media. Additionally, the role of Saudi Arabia is unclear, both as a base for the United States and in terms of any actions by the Saudi military.

            And yet MAGA Republicans keep saying Biden is incompetent at these things. Like Trump would solve everything in a single day?

        1. Anonymous

          Sorry I have no more than news site information.

          I suspect both Iran and Israel have not consumed a large part of their defensive stocks.

          Drones should be engaged by point defense less expensive missiles and “guns”. Cruise missiles can be addressed with point defenses and aircraft, the problem with cruise missiles is their altitudes are usually low making tracking and mid course engagement difficult, that implies expensive SAM or fighters controlled by airborne radars, only U.S. and other large air forces.

          The link to defense is sensors for target awareness, command networks engagement planning and defensive systems.

          As above I don’t have facts, but I think the attack defense in Israel is well supplied and intact.

          On last Saturday I have seen one report, not followed up where USAF fighters engaged drones and cruise missiles out of bases in Jordan, plausible but significant sensor and refueling should have been involved.

          1. Moses Herzog

            @ Anonymous
            Not meaning to be offensive, but you write like English is your second language. Do you mind sharing what nation/country you are communicating from??

          2. Moses Herzog

            Uuuuuuuhhhh, that’s a pretty damned solid answer……. still trying to decide if I believe it. Seems like a con “work-around” to not answer my straight question……… Where did you come from before arriving in Brooklyn??—- let’s cut off the bullsh*t factor please, which nation/ethnicity?? PLEASE

          3. Anonymous


            I lived in the Bronx til I was 10, raised in suburbs since.

            Maybe the tech school rather than liberal arts…..

            Native U.S. citizen.

            I do not BS you

          4. Willie Justice

            Having known enough people from the Bronx, I can hear the accent reading the posts. It is pretty entertaining.

          5. Moses Herzog

            @ Anon I’m drinking now….. I will accept your answer, But can you tell us the nation before you arrived at the Bronx?? I’m not trying to be contentious now. Just answer the question please

        2. Ivan

          Iran signaled their attack including the timing beforehand, to ensure Israel would not be surprised or overwhelmed. Irans attack was for show not a serious attack. Israel did the same with its counter response. Both sides can now cool down and declare victory – as they continue proxy-wars. US has shown Iran that it will defend Israel against missile attacks. Israel has shown that it can reach some serious targets inside Iran. Not sure how much of a missile defense Iran has but they now know that they are vulnerable.

          Iran attacked with over 300 drones/missiles – the largest attack from Russia on Ukraine has been about 100. I doubt that Israel would be able to take out 100% in a massive surprise attack from Iran, but Iran would have no reason to do that. Israel probably has been instructed by Biden that they will be on their own if they conduct another diplomat killing level provocation. I seriously doubt Israel will go after Iranian targets/diplomats again. This was all a miscalculation by the Jahu, and Biden got it tapped down. Both sides now realize that a direct war is not in their interest. Biden has gained power to influence Israeli actions in Gaza and will likely use that power to push some kind of peace before the US election.

      1. Ivan

        Indeed – both had been gaining appetite for a direct confrontation. Both got a taste of what that would be like. Both realized that was not a dish they liked as much as they thought they would. Back to the good old proxy wars and trying to build that elusive “decisive military advantage” that could eradicate the other side.

        Unfortunately, the right wings “crush the enemy with might” addiction is self-reinforcing. Both sides get hurt, scared and infuriated. The natural reflex to that is “we have not choice but to eradicate the other”. There is a hormonally driven “fight or flight” response, no hormones to drive “talk and negotiate”.

        Israel is in an existential panic attack, Biden is working on them, but it is extremely difficult to get them out of that because the Jahu in charge of that country is in his own personal existential panic attack.

    2. Moses Herzog

      Alot of things we read recently could make us doubt Israel’s military strength, MD, I say this as a pretty dumb German American guy. God is always looking out for Israel, Don’t doubt that, And if that makes me a simpleton for believing religion/faith, over factual knowledge, MD, here I am.

  3. pgl

    The Floor Action Response Team did not take its acronym into consideration

    o break up the monotony of an otherwise average Thursday, amid ongoing news coverage of the former president’s third day of his criminal trial, the House Freedom Caucus has revived a team of conservative lawmakers. Their objective, as described by Politico, is to “take shifts monitoring the chamber floor to prevent their own party leaders from making unilateral moves that could curb their power.” This initiative is known as the Floor Action Response Team, the acronym for which is very much FART.

    As Business Insider points out, the team is not new, although news of its new life is currently trending on X (formerly Twitter) as many users trip over themselves to rip out (sorry) jokes about its name. In 2022, Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) discussed it during an appearance on a Blaze Media show, saying, “Myself and other members of the House Freedom Caucus, we have a Floor Action Response Team. F-A-R-T, I’m a mother of four boys, I can appreciate that.” It seems as though FART is now primarily concerned about “the removal of its members from the Rules Committee or changes to agreements made at the beginning of this Congress with former Speaker Kevin McCarthy,” per Politico, adding that this could all be troubling for Speaker Mike Johnson.

  4. Moses Herzog

    Just some interesting numbers I found over on BLS:

    I find these numbers interesting based on the number of semi-truck drivers and other industry workers who I have personally heard bad mouth unions. It’s interesting how easy it is for American businessmen to dupe and fool the typical non-college man. Say for example, at the Republican Party Conventions. Imagining Bruce Hall at the Republican convention waving a teeny USA flag with his red dunce cap on.

      1. Moses Herzog

        @ MD You damned son-of-a-gun guy. Trying to make me happy when I want to feel sorry for myself in these adult drinks… Damned tricksters.

        Pretty awesome/happy news

        1. Macroduck

          Votes have been counted. VW Chattanooga is unionizing.

          Next? Better deals for Southern auto plant workers in an effort to prevent further unionization, while the UAW works to unionize more Southern auto plants. If Biden is still president come January, union-busting tactics will be prosecuted. If not, then not.

  5. Macroduck

    Off topic – J.D. Vance as Exhibit A:

    I have mentioned in past comments the connection between Russia’s propaganda operations and the right-wing in U.S. politics. Politico’s coverage of freshman Ohio Senator J.D. Vance gives a great example of Russia’s propaganda goals coming out of the mouths of a U.S. right-winger:

    ” If Vance gets his way, cutting off U.S. funding to Ukraine will be only the first step in a much broader reorientation of the U.S.’s role in the global order.

    Vance is deeply skeptical of the so-called rules-based international order — the system of laws, norms and multilateral institutions established in the years following the Second World War to mitigate global conflict and facilitate international economic activity.”

    This U.S.-fostered system of international law and norms is one of the main targets of Russian propaganda operations.

    Vance claims that the system of international rules has caused hardship for Ohio’s working class. The problem with this view is that it’s the corruption of that system of rules, not the concept of rule-based commerce, that has harmed the working class. Corruption of the rules along with tax cuts for the rich, weak labor protections, anti-union laws, under-funded schools and a profit-based health-care system. The rule of law, properly constructed, protects the poor from the rich. Ya know, law and order? Those other problems for the middle class, by the way, are the economic policy agenda of Vance’s Republican Party.

    Like guns for toddlers, homophobia, banning books and banging on the Bible, the goal of tearing down the rules-based international order is just another distraction from problems we actually face. It just happens that Vance has chosen a fake problem that aligns perfectly with Russia’s – and China’s – interests.

    Marjorie Taylor-Greene is a grand-standing, bile-spewing idiot. Vance actually seems to have a brain, and what’s in that brain ain’t pretty.

  6. pgl

    Let’s recap on how Bruce Hall thought a projection that the US economy will grow by 2% per year during 2024/25 was lackluster. Oh China might see 4% growth. When we pointed out that emerging market economies tend to grow faster than advanced economies – something about standard economic growth models that are was over Brucie’s brain – he declares China to be comparable to the US. OK!

    Macroduck points out that the US economy has grown past the CBO definition of potential GDP and potential GDP typically grows at 2% per year. Brucie next tries to insert “ceteris paribus” which this moron cannot even spell or has no clue what the term even means.

    But wait – Brucie finds a Krugman discussion of the difficulty of measuring potential GDP (like we have never discussed that before). Funny thing – this was not a discussion about the current economy but one about the depressed economy during Trump’s mishandling of COVID19. Way to go Brucie – reminding us of Trump’s incompetence is a great way to get people to vote for him in November!

  7. Moses Herzog

    Biden getting that fiery Teddy Roosevelt style speeches, like his outstanding SOTU speech. He’s hitting a good rhythm now, and he needs to stay strong, get rest at appropriate intervals, and keep giving these fiery Teddy Roosevelt/Bill Clinton style speeches!!!! When people feel discontent they eat up that committed and resolute style emotion from leaders.

    Got $2.97 gasoline this morning. One city block from my house if Bruce-ie was curious. Go Biden!!!!

  8. pgl

    Paul Gosar, Marjorie Taylor Greene and Thomas Massie have vowed to oust Mike Johnson as Speaker. His big sin was to allow a vote on aid to Ukraine which passed overwhelmingly. Huh – Putin does not rule the House anymore? The horror!

    1. Ivan

      It is ironic that those 3 clowns might have been the ones who forced the most scary Christian nationalist GOP speaker ever, to abandon the hyperpartisan politics of the Gingrinch era. He could either go down in flames and see GOP and his own power be obliterated at the next election – or go back to old style bargaining with the opposition to get around his own fringe. Not surprising that he chose the path with the highest chance of being speaker for more than a year. He still has his goal of delivering God a Christian nationalist autocracy in the worlds only superpower if not this Xmas then the next.

    1. Ivan

      No doubt Moscow Marjorie is peddling Putin’s narratives. And she is far from alone on the right wing fringe in doing that. It will be difficult to sort out exactly who is the Russian controlled duper and who is just dopes being duped. Marjorie is very likely in the latter category.

  9. pgl

    Trump Media flags Nasdaq on possible short-selling of shares

    Former President Donald Trump’s newly public Trump Media & Technology company may be the target of market manipulation, CEO Devin Nunes alleged in a letter to Nasdaq CEO Adena Friendman on Friday. Shares of the stock, which are listed on the Nasdaq under the ticker D-J-T, have seen extreme swings since going public on March 26. “Reports indicate that, as of April 3, 2024, DJT was ‘by far’ ‘the most expensive U.S. stock to short,’ meaning that brokers have a significant financial incentive to lend non-existent shares. Data made available to us indicate that just four market participants have been responsible for over 60% of the extraordinary volume of DJT shares traded: Citadel Securities, VIRTU Americas, G1 Execution Services, and Jane Street Capital,” wrote Nunes in a letter disclosed in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Citadel is run by billionaire hedge fund investor Ken Griffin.

    What?What? DJT management actually accusing others of manipulating the stock market? Just wow. You know there would be fire back:

    Citadel, in a statement to FOX Business, said: “Devin Nunes is the proverbial loser who tries to blame ‘naked short selling’ for his falling stock price. Nunes is exactly the type of person Donald Trump would have fired on ‘The Apprentice.’ If he worked for Citadel Securities, we would fire him, as ability and integrity are at the center of everything we do.”


    1. Ivan

      Is Trump making tons of money by lending his shares to short sellers, for a juicy fee? He is locked into not selling them for the next few months. But I guess lending for a fee must be OK?

    2. Ithaqua

      Wow, that is one great takedown from Citadel! I wonder if Fox Business read it aloud on one of their primetime shows… OK, maybe I don’t.

  10. pgl

    There’s a conservative ‘great migration’ from blue states — and one place is the big winner

    Conservatives are flocking en masse from blue states to one Republican stronghold in particular: South Carolina. And the majority of those newcomers — about 57% — were Republican, the Journal reported, citing data from a nonpartisan voter-file vendor called L2. In 2022, the top 10 states people moved to South Carolina from were North Carolina, Georgia, New York, California, Florida, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Texas, New Jersey, and Maryland, according to US Census data reviewed by The State. Conservative Move, a real-estate company with about 500 agents across the country, helps conservatives find homes near like-minded people — and South Carolina is becoming a big draw.

    I grew up in Atlanta where you called South Carolina the armpit of the South. If MAGA morons want to live together in this dump – fine by me. Hey – South Carolina was the first state to succeed in 1860. Let these MAGA hatters do it again!

    1. Macroduck

      This sounds to me like gerrymandering with a moving van. Which is cool. South Carolina’s Senators are both Republican as are 6 of 7 House members. More Republicans there can’t change much. States from which Republicans are leaving are another matter. Let’s help ’em pack.

    2. Ivan

      I am glad to see that so many of the states losing conservatives to SC are swing/purple states. South Carolina is lost already. But it would be nice with a loss of conservatives in North Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Virginia, Pennsylvania and Texas. But those babies better get ready to move their own lawns and change their own diapers. Because the illegals, poor and asylum seekers will be moving to states that treat them like humans not dirt. Labor shortages for low wage jobs are beginning to bite, and they will eventually bite hardest in red states.

  11. Macroduck

    Off topic –

    De-dollarization – hope is not a plan:

    The factors cited as encouraging holding dollars have to do with the current environment, so may not prove persistent – yuan weakness and higher rates abroad.

    If well-to-do Chinese continue to see offshore assets as a good idea, as the well-to-do around the world generally do, then Business Insider should expand its list of factors.

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