May 7, 2018
Why You Should Read: Lacy Hunt's macro analysis runs counter to Wall Street's optimism. In this chartbook, he looks at important indicators from a long-term perspective and finds plenty of reason to worry. It's important to wrestle with his contrary view.
(Note: Lacy explained many of these charts in his most recent quarterly review, which you can re-read here.)
- (Page 2) Debt isn't stimulating growth like it used to. The amount of GDP each dollar of corporate debt produces is now back down where it was at the last three recessionary troughs, and near all-time lows.
- (Pages 6 and 8) The money supply isn't growing and velocity of money is at its lowest since 1949. Both indicate slowing economic growth.
- (Page 9) Vehicle sales appear to have topped out in 2015, near the same point they stalled in the 2001 recession even though population has grown considerably since then.
- (Page 10) Year-over-year percent change in bank credit is down to the 2.5% area, which in the past we saw only in recessionary conditions.
- (Page 19) Gross federal debt as a percentage of GDP is nearing 100%, almost double the 55% average since 1952. Financing this debt will likely divert capital from more productive private sector uses.
- (Page A-3) Real disposable personal income per capita, viewed as ten-year percentage change, is below 1%. This is not consistent with sustainable consumer spending growth.
- (Page A-4) Contrary to the strong job market we hear about, year-over-year percent change in nonfarm payroll employment has been trending down since 2015.
Bottom Line: All these indicators point to a slowing economy and approaching recession, not the accelerating growth we hear about elsewhere.