Growth at what cost?

The chart above shows two series: Real Gross Domestic Product (GDPC1, black line) and Total Public Debt (GFDEBTN, red area curve). Both are measured quarterly in billions and millions of dollars respectively. Three different recessions, illustrated with vertical grey bars are covered: the Early 1990s recession (July 1990 to Mar 1991), the Early 2000s [...]

Increasing unemployment and increasing debt

The chart above shows three series: the U3, Civilian Unemployment Rate (UNRATE, black line), U6, the Total unemployed (U6RATE, blue line) and Total Public Debt as Percent of Gross Domestic Product (GFDEGDQ188S, pink area curve in the background). All data is measured in percentage terms and sampled quarterly.

There are three periods of [...]

Will US states default again?

The Federal Government isn’t the only US entity with excessive debt. While US states are obliged to balance their budget every year that doesn’t stop them from issuing debt to address budgetary shortfalls. The chart above shows two series: first, state and local government current tax receipts (black line, W070RC1Q027SBEA) compared to the debt [...]

Employment has flat lined

Lots of attention is focused on the unemployment rate, with minor reductions pointed to as evidence that things are “getting better”. I thought it would be interesting to look not at unemployment but rather at employment. The chart above shows three series – Civilian Employment (CE16OV, blue line), Workers Not in Labor Force (LNS15000000, [...]

US Money Supply: Ad Astra

The chart above shows St. Louis Adjusted Monetary Base (AMBSL, black line, measured monthly) for the period January 2003 to March 2013. We can see that until the depths of The Great Recession growth in the supply of money was relatively benign; in fact the money supply increased, on average, by roughly 3% per [...]

A sequester you say? America’s profligacy

With all the talk of sequester, I thought I’d take a closer look at the money. Not so much where it comes from – more on that later – but where it goes and how much is spent on what. The chart above shows that we as a nation are spending 63% more money [...]

A mediocre economic recovery

While metrics such as Gross Domestic Product (GDP) are useful in understanding economic performance, it is only a single measurement (with well known flaws) and must be augmented to more properly understand the state of the economy.

I’ve posted about the Chicago Fed National Activity Index (CFNAI) in the past; this is broad [...]

Will consumer debt kill the recovery?

The chart above shows two series: first the amount of consumer loans outstanding at commercial banks (CCLACBM027SBOG, black line) compared to the personals savings rate (GPSAVE_PC1, blue line), while the grey vertical bar illustrates The Great Recession; some observations are apparent.

First, consumer loans apparently surged immediately after the Great Recession, jumping 65% [...]

While rates are low …

Talk of the debt ceiling and attempts to abolish it are troublesome since folks tend to not look at the bigger picture.

The chart above shows the cost of servicing US Federal Debt ( red bars )1 compared with the benchmark, US 10 year interest rate ( black line )2 from 1988 to [...]

Goverment stewardship of US taxes

I’ve been looking at a lot of Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) data for a client lately, and for my own purposes started looking at longer term trends regarding what the US government gets up to with our money. Here is an interesting one: the chart above shows the ratio of what’s called Federal [...]