Blue World Economic Index® Report for March 2018

Brief Explanation

 

Blue World Economic Index®

Scale: -2 to +2

Release Date:  Usually the Last or First Business Day of Each Month

Release Site: www.blueworldassetmanagers.com

Management Value: Critical

Date: Tuesday, April 03, 2018

 

 

 

 

 

Analysis

The economy is still on the move according to the March 2018 readings. The index advanced led by substantial moves in Employment (no surprise considering the February Jobs Report) and…wait for it…Manufacturing where the advance was entirely from the more objective Non-fed sub-group.

There continue to be some nagging risks, economic and political, out there including, of course, the Fed, lack of inflationary pressure, trade war fears, and – – can’t believe we’re saying this – – porn stars, but the economy appears increasingly resilient in the face of all of it.

The Numbers

The table showing the March numbers is above and we can tell you that April appears off to a strong start. Let’s see if it holds!

The Blue World Jobs Report Analysis will be out Friday morning. See you there!

 

Every effort is made to ensure accuracy of data transcription but accuracy cannot be guaranteed.  The official release sites should be cross referenced.  The index assignments represent the opinion of Blue World Asset Managers, Ltd. who does not warrant or guarantee predictions based on the index.

©Blue World Asset Managers, LTD Tuesday, April 03, 2018

Blue World Jobs Report Analysis March 9, 2018

Blue World Employment Situation Report Analysis

Release Date: Usually on the first Friday of the month

Release Site: www.bls.gov

Market Impact: Usually Very High

Management Value: Critical

Date: Friday, March 09, 2018

Brain Surgery is not Rocket Science to a Brain Surgeon©

 

 

BRACE YOUSELVES…

WE CAN’T FIND ANYTHING “WRONG” WITH IT!!!

And you know we try! So often is the case that the headlines are contradicted by the detail the deeper we push into the weeds. This works in both directions and for any report, not just jobs. This report has a couple of “weaker” spots but no “weak” ones. We’ll start with those.

Overall, Weekly Hours Worked and Wages were essentially up-less-than-expected to flat as was the number of Unemployed. That’s it.

The Participation Rate bridges the gap between “weak” and “strong” by straddling the line, in as much as 63% is still unacceptably low, but it moved .3% to the North in a single month. You may recall we were horrified the last time it moved that much from one report to the next. We called it virtually unprecedented, and it moved the wrong way. Not this time!

The headlines screamed 313k of which 287k came from the Private Sector. That, plus upward revisions to December 2017 and January 2018 of +54k, brings the 2018 monthly average to the mid-200’s.  The Labor Force grew by an impressive and refreshing 806k. Total Employed grew by 785k, and the Not in Labor Force tally fell by a fabulous 653k. That’s huge. The Diffusion indexes for the Total Private Sector and Manufacturing are massive and flirting with 70. For reference, we saw 30s not so long ago.

Now, let’s get back to hours and wages. There is concern from the “experts” out there this morning that there is still no sign of wage pressure. Au contraire! I guess they just don’t know their way around the deep weeds like we do… Review Table B-3 of the Report. Average Hourly Earnings for All Employees M/M and Y/Y were up .1% and 2.5%, respectively. Both were below most consensus estimates. BUT, Average Weekly Earnings were up 3.1% Y/Y so salaried employees seem to be on the move so Hourly will follow if this holds. Even more important, compensation in the Construction industry came in at Y/Y increases of 3.5% and 4% for Hourly and Weekly, respectively. In our relative world of the past ten years, those are pretty good numbers. The work week for all employees remained range-bound but Weekly Hours in Manufacturing jumped from 41.2 hours to 41.5 hours. That is the highest reading since before 2011 (Chart) and Overtime in Manufacturing hit 3.6 hours. That is only the second time since 2011.

Risks? First and foremost is still the Fed. We don’t want to see rate hikes in anticipation of inflation. We need to see some consistent evidence and inter-report confirmation lest we risk locking up the economic brakes. Second, this report may set unrealistic expectations. A reading of say, 230k in the Private Sector next month may not look so good compared to today’s outsized numbers. Also, beware of revisions. We see them be material time and time again. Today is a great example. Optimism, when supported by trending data, is OK when making strategic business decisions. Euphoria is just plain dangerous!

Matt will be on WBBM’s Noon Business Hour in Chicago at 12:09 CST to break it all down live. That’s AM780 and 105.9FM and the Podcast will post later in the day.

If you missed it, you can review the Blue World Economic Index® for February 2018. We’ll see you back here around the first of April for the next BWEI® Report and the jobs report for March is schedule for release on Friday, April 6th.

Have a great March and may your brackets prove un-bustable!!

Thanks for reading, and please stay tuned…

Release Site: www.bls.gov

Every effort is made to ensure accuracy of data transcription but accuracy cannot be guaranteed.  The official release site should be cross referenced. The analysis represents the opinion of Blue World Asset Managers, LTD. who does not warrant or guarantee predictions based on its analysis.

 

©Blue World Asset Managers, LTD Friday, March 09, 2018

Blue World Economic Index® for February 2018

Brief Explanation

Blue World Economic Index®

Scale: -2 to +2

Release Date:  Usually the Last or First Business Day of Each Month

Release Site: www.blueworldassetmanagers.com

Management Value: Critical

Date: Thursday, March 01, 2018

 

 

 

 

 

Analysis

Confirming our regular observation that stock market performance is not a good proxy for economic health, the U.S. economy remained firmly on solid ground in February 2018 pulling back .04 from its record high .18 for December to its prior record high of .14, but there were some hints at trouble. The first half of the month looked to continue an uninterrupted northerly trend, but then mid-month started getting weird with a huge downgrade to December retail, soft January readings and a sudden build to inventories at the manufacturer and wholesale levels. Retailer inventories remained low, but the obvious concern now is that the motivation to aggressively re-stock may be muted.

The Inflation composite was unchanged at a continued weak -.23. The PPI had been showing signs for months, but the CPI just never followed suit. This month it was the CPI showing a material pop and the PPI showing weakness. The Fed is signaling more rate hikes, and that has spawned “Correction Part Deux” this week. We remain of the opinion that inflation is not a material risk at present based on the inconsistent and non-confirmatory nature of the six reports that comprise the BWEI® Inflation component.

While we still consider the Fed to be the biggest risk to the economy right now, there are several other things we could talk about but only two of real note. First is that the Consumer component is still stratospheric, regularly setting new records, and showing no sign of slowing. Second is the seemingly emergent turbulence in Real Estate as (you guessed it) rates rise. We are starting to see corroboration in other subtle corners of the economy such as the wobbly performance of furniture sales in the last couple of months. 

We’ve already fielded a couple of questions regarding the downward revision to GDP. Fuggetaboudit. The downgrade was largely based on the inventory phenomenon and a blip widening of the trade gap as exports took a hit. That masked what was an otherwise 4%+ report.

The Numbers

We got a little long-winded in the analysis section, so instead of listing out the numbers we decided to just post the composite table for the month. If there are any specific questions, give us a call or ping us through the Blue World contact form.

The jobs report has been scheduled for Friday, March 9th. Our analysis will be up that morning and then Matt will go on the air in Chicago with the Noon Business Hour crew at WBBM AM780 and 105.9FM at 12:09 central time to break it down live. The podcast will post later in the day.

 

Have a great March and may your brackets be un-bustable!!

 

Every effort is made to ensure accuracy of data transcription but accuracy cannot be guaranteed.  The official release sites should be cross referenced.  The index assignments represent the opinion of Blue World Asset Managers, Ltd. who does not warrant or guarantee predictions based on the index.

©Blue World Asset Managers, LTD Thursday, March 01, 2018

Blue World Economic Index® for January 2018

Brief Explanation

Blue World Economic Index®

Scale: -2 to +2

Release Date:  Usually the Last or First Business Day of Each Month

Release Site: www.blueworldassetmanagers.com

Management Value: Critical

Date: January 31, 2018

 

Analysis

What else can be said? The economy is on the move. The BWEI® made a material move to the North this month, and much of that was based on quarterly reviews of the twelve and twenty-four month trends which are more heavily weighted when calculating the index value. An upgrade of the ADP 1-year trend from -.5 to .5 was particularly impactful.  Within the Consumer Major Category, the TD Ameritrade IMX demanded trend upgrades as did Investor Confidence, while the Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index set a monthly average record high.

We continue to feel the momentum is real but fragile and subject to political, economic, and policy risk, not the least of which is an apparent bias toward prophylactic rate increases in anticipation of inflation. The Hawks need to stand down for a while and let this thing develop. Uncertainty about the outcome of investigations is causing hesitancy as the world frets about whether the guy whose policies sparked the move will make it through a full term.

There was a great deal of anticipation regarding the Employment Cost Index report that came out Wednesday morning, but we don’t know why. This is a quarterly report which won’t take the effects of the post-tax reform wage increases into effect until Q2 of 2018. In spite of that, one can hallucinate a slightly positive trend developing already. Matt talked about the impact of tax reform on WBBM’s Noon Business Hour in Chicago on January 11th. You can follow the link, scroll down to the 11th and Matt starts at 2:20 into the podcast. 

The Numbers

The index advanced .06 to .18 (rounded) from .11. That ties the all-time record high set in September of 2014.

Employment, Inflation and Services remain painted in red ink where Employment showed material improvement, Inflation retreated fractionally, and Services were still stubbornly unchanged. Consumer, General Measures, Manufacturing, Retail, and Real Estate are positive where all padded their leads except Manufacturing and Retail, which showed fractional slips. The Manufacturing pullback was actually welcome as the Fed sub-group surveys came back down to solid yet sustainable levels of strength.

ADP was huge Wednesday morning. Let’s see if it translates to the BLS out this Friday the 2nd of February. The Blue World Jobs Report Analysis will be out before noon Friday. See you there and have a great month!

 

Every effort is made to ensure accuracy of data transcription but accuracy cannot be guaranteed.  The official release sites should be cross referenced.  The index assignments represent the opinion of Blue World Asset Managers, Ltd. who does not warrant or guarantee predictions based on the index.

©Blue World Asset Managers, LTD Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Blue World Economic Index® for February 2017

Brief Explanation

 

Blue World Economic Index®

Scale: -2 to +2

Release Date:  Usually the Last or First Business Day of Each Month

Release Site: www.blueworldassetmanagers.com

Management Value: Critical

 

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

 

Feb 17 Graph

 

The index is on the move…but still betting on the come! Overall, the composite improved by .08, moving from -.25 to -.16, a healthy jump. Six of the eight major categories are still running in the negative, but six of the eight also improved in February.

From a hundred thousand feet conditions appear to be improving, but the charge is clearly being led by the surveys of anticipation as opposed to the hard data. Is that ok? Of course! As we’ve said, no optimism, no recovery. But the delta is rather striking and nowhere more than in Manufacturing. That category follows twelve reports each month. Six of them make up the Regional Fed Manufacturing Districts sub-group survey reports. The hard manufacturing data actually slipped in February, but the Fed sub-group jumped by .17 to post a +.2! That says managers are optimistic that things are going to pick up rather quickly. Let’s hope it develops that way.

Policy matters, and in fact, anticipation of policy matters. The prospective changes that are being advertised have the general business community and the consumer in a very giddy mood, but we caution it is still just a good mood driven by optimism, so be excited, but don’t bet the farm until the hard data establishes a verifiable trend. The way it’s looking, we still believe that could show early signs before year end.

The Employment Situation Report is scheduled for release on Friday, March 10.  That may delay The Blue World Jobs Report Analysis until Monday the 13th, but if that’s the case it will incorporate the Labor Market Conditions Index analysis so there will be a little more meat on the bone.

 

Have a great month!

 

Every effort is made to ensure accuracy of data transcription but accuracy cannot be guaranteed.  The official release sites should be cross referenced.  The index assignments represent the opinion of Blue World Asset Managers, Ltd. who does not warrant or guarantee predictions based on the index.

©Blue World Asset Managers, LTD Tuesday, February 28, 2017