Thursday, June 19, 2014

Are Positive Indicators Tipping In Favor of the U.S. Economy?

The economy appears to be moving forward into a post-Recession period. Multiple markers are turning positive as jobless claims decline, confidence rises, manufacturing expands, employment numbers improve and inflation increases. The general predictors are positive and optimism is returning to the market showing higher levels of economic activity.

Of particular interest is manufacturing which has a significant impact as a root source of income and job growth. As manufacturing moves upward future investment is likely to spur further economic growth in supporting industries. This is supported by positive improvements in small business optimism and hiring. 

Jobless Claims: According to the Department of Labor’s June 14th figures unemployment figures are at 312,000 (of 2,561,000) which is a 6,000 decrease from the previous week and near pre-recession levels in 2007 (of  2,541,000) (DOL, June 19th, 2014). 

Consumer Confidence: Bloomberg expectations gauge rose to 48.5% while women and people earning more than $100K are also more confident (1).  The positive sentiment can reflect people’s willingness to make purchases, invest money, and engage in positive economic activity. 

Expanding Manufacturing: The U.S. National Economic Committee recently released numbers showing that manufacturing output since the official end of the recession increased 30% and is increasing 50% faster than the rest of the economy (6). Likewise, the Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank released a statement that its business activity index jumped to 17.8 based upon improved manufacturing, orders, employment, hours, delivery times, and shipments (2). 

Employment Hiring Improvement: According to U.S. treasury Secretary Jack Lew the economy added 217,000 jobs in May (2). The unemployment rate remained under 6.5% at 6.3% indicating the majority of society can find some level of employment. 

General Predictors Up: The Conference Board stated their index moved from .3 to .5% based upon a number of measurements that include financial and employment numbers (3). Using wide measurements creates battery of numbers that work to test multiple areas of the economic market. 

Federal Reserve Discusses Inflation: Federal Reserve Chairman Janet Yellen released a statement that the economy is continuing to grow and stimulus infusions are on track to be tapered back (4). Inflation is starting to tick upwards signaling economic activity is more robust. 

Small Business Optimism High: The National Federation of Independent Business revealed their Small Business Optimism Index increased 1.4 points to 96.6 last month (5). They are optimistic about sales and hiring which lends further support to the economy.

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