Friday, July 28, 2017

Both long leading indicators in advance Q2 GDP turn negative

 - by New Deal democrat

While Q2 GDP increased at a smart rate, there was bad news in both of the long leading indicators that are contained in the release.

First of all, real private residential investment declined at a -6.8% annual rate.  That's even worse when you take into account that the best measure is housing investment as a share of GDP. Since housing investment declined and GDP rose, that's an even bigger hit.

Secondly, proprietors' income also declined slightly.  Proprietors' income is a somewhat less reliable proxy for corporate income, which won't be reported for at least one more month.  Corporate profits adjusted for unit labor costs had increased very slightly in Q1. 

Of course this could just be quarterly noise.  But since it is pretty clear that we are in the latter stages of this expansion, these two declines could be portents of what is to come in a year or two.

On the bright side, the employment cost index increased, even after adjusting for inflation.  This is a median rather than an average measure, so it means that most workers saw some improvement in their pay in the second quarter.

I'll update later with graphs once FRED posts the info. UPDATED