Of Rates and Recessions (Third of a Series)

This week we continue unpacking the rich content our three top economists provided for last week’s exclusive webinar [link]. Here are some key takeaways.

Nominal GDP remains relatively high in the US, with greater growth reflected in higher corporate revenues and earnings. But real GDP is zero. 3Q is likely positive, thanks to a narrowing trade deficit, but still overall “lackluster.” Jobs are higher with low unemployment, though no increase in output. Lower productivity translates to lower cost of living gains.

Still feels like 2019, especially in the job market with number of workers. Underemployment is down, but inflation and wages are up. Same number of workers, but 10-12 million more jobs! Low productivity comes with new employees who take longer to get up to speed. Inflation is handing inflation from goods (too many) to services. Also, not enough supply of workers.

For telling indicators look at nominal GDP and consumption: we’re in disinflation’s early stages. Look at unemployment claims, the ADP wage tracker and OIS spreads. Also “final sales to domestic private purchases” which isolates consumer spending and private investment.