Wednesday, October 17, 2012

3 Weekly Indicator series point to improving economy

- by New Deal democrat

Yesterday I took a look at rail car loads, noting that once coal was subtracted, rail loads are not just positive, but increasingly so since midyear. But rail car loads are not the only high frequency measure of the economy that have been improving since then.

Below is the same weekly chart, first of the YoY $ change in Gallup's 14 day average of spending (left column), the YoY% change in withholding tax receipts (center), and rail car loads ex-coal (right):

Week endingGallup spending tax receipts carloads ex-coal
7/7 -$3+10.7%+1700
7/14 $0+1.5%+7500
7/21 -$4-0.5% -3400
7/28 -$3 +3.6%+100
8/5 +$2 -1.1% +900
8/12 +$7+4.1%+3600
8/19 +$8 +4.3%+4600
8/26 +15 +5.2%+6500
9/1 +$7 +4.8%+2400
9/8 +$1 +4.3% +5500
9/15 +$5 +7.3%+4400
9/22 +$7 +5.2%+4000
9/29 +$11+6.7%+7700
10/6 +$22+4.8%+6600

Consumer spending as measured by Gallup, and withholding tax receipts, like rail car loads ex-coal, show the same stall with a few actual negative readings in July and early August, and improving positive readings since then. We saw confirmation of that in yesterday's retail sales numbers for September and positive revisions to August.

It will be interesting to see if the rest of September's monthly data as it comes in validates the improvement in the Weekly Indicators I've been charting each Saturday.